Panasonic G3 vs GF1
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in May 2011 and September 2009. Both the G3 and the GF1 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The G3 has a resolution of 15.8 megapixels, whereas the GF1 provides 12 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Panasonic G3||Panasonic GF1|
|Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Micro Four Thirds lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|15.8 MP, Four Thirds Sensor||12 MP, Four Thirds Sensor|
|1080/60i Video||720/30p Video|
|ISO 160-6400||ISO 100-3200|
|Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)||Viewfinder optional|
|3.0" LCD, 460k dots||3.0" LCD, 460k dots|
|Swivel touchscreen||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|4 shutter flaps per second||3 shutter flaps per second|
|270 shots per battery charge||380 shots per battery charge|
|115 x 84 x 47 mm, 336 g||119 x 71 x 36 mm, 385 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Panasonic G3 and the Panasonic GF1. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The G3 can be obtained in four different colors (black, brown, red, white), while the GF1 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GF1 is notably smaller (13 percent) than the Panasonic G3. However, the GF1 is markedly heavier (15 percent) than the G3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G3 nor the GF1 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog. Mirrorless cameras, such as the two under consideration, have the additional advantage of having a short flange to focal plane distance, which makes it possible to mount many lenses from other systems onto the camera via adapters.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Panasonic G3»||115 mm||84 mm||47 mm||336 g||270||n||May 2011||599||Panasonic G3|
|Panasonic GF1«||119 mm||71 mm||36 mm||385 g||380||n||Sep 2009||749||Panasonic GF1|
|Canon M« »||109 mm||66 mm||32 mm||298 g||230||n||Jul 2012||599||Canon M|
|Panasonic G7« »||125 mm||86 mm||77 mm||410 g||350||n||May 2015||649||Panasonic G7|
|Panasonic G6« »||122 mm||85 mm||71 mm||390 g||340||n||Apr 2013||599||Panasonic G6|
|Panasonic GF6« »||111 mm||65 mm||38 mm||323 g||340||n||Apr 2013||499||Panasonic GF6|
|Panasonic G5« »||120 mm||83 mm||71 mm||396 g||320||n||Jul 2012||599||Panasonic G5|
|Panasonic GF5« »||108 mm||67 mm||37 mm||267 g||360||n||Apr 2012||499||Panasonic GF5|
|Panasonic GX1« »||116 mm||68 mm||39 mm||318 g||320||n||Nov 2011||699||Panasonic GX1|
|Panasonic G10« »||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||388 g||380||n||Mar 2010||499||Panasonic G10|
|Panasonic G2« »||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||428 g||360||n||Mar 2010||599||Panasonic G2|
|Panasonic GF2« »||113 mm||68 mm||33 mm||310 g||300||n||Nov 2010||549||Panasonic GF2|
|Panasonic GH1« »||124 mm||90 mm||45 mm||385 g||300||n||Mar 2009||899||Panasonic GH1|
|Panasonic G1« »||124 mm||84 mm||45 mm||360 g||410||n||Sep 2008||599||Panasonic G1|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The G3 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 20 percent) than the GF1, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature a Four Thirds sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the G3 offers a higher resolution of 15.8 megapixels, compared with 12 MP of the GF1. This megapixels advantage translates into a 15 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the G3 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.77μm versus 4.33μm for the GF1). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the G3 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 8 months) than the GF1, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.
The resolution advantage of the Panasonic G3 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the G3 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23 x 17.2 inch or 58.3 x 43.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 18.4 x 13.8 inch or 46.7 x 35 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.3 x 11.5 inch or 38.9 x 29.2 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic GF1 are 20 x 15 inch or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inch or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inch or 33.9 x 25.4 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 160 to ISO 6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 are ISO 100 to ISO 3200 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Panasonic G3||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||21.0||10.6||667||56||Panasonic G3|
|Panasonic GF1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||513||54||Panasonic GF1|
|Canon M||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.1||11.2||827||65||Canon M|
|Panasonic G7||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Panasonic G7|
|Panasonic G6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61||Panasonic G6|
|Panasonic GF6||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||20.7||10.6||622||54||Panasonic GF6|
|Panasonic G5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Panasonic G5|
|Panasonic GF5||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.4||11.6||618||61||Panasonic GF5|
|Panasonic GX1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||20.8||10.6||703||55||Panasonic GX1|
|Panasonic G10||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52||Panasonic G10|
|Panasonic G2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53||Panasonic G2|
|Panasonic GF2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.2||10.3||506||54||Panasonic GF2|
|Panasonic GH1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/24p||21.6||11.6||772||64||Panasonic GH1|
|Panasonic G1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||none||21.1||10.3||463||53||Panasonic G1|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the G3 provides a higher video resolution than the GF1. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60i, while the GF1 is limited to 720/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the G3 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the GF1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the GF1 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the DMW-LVF1. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic G3, the Panasonic GF1, and comparable cameras.
|Panasonic G3||1440||n||3.0||460||swivel||Y||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Panasonic G3|
|Panasonic GF1||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Panasonic GF1|
|Canon M||none||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.3||n||n||Canon M|
|Panasonic G7||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||7.0||Y||n||Panasonic G7|
|Panasonic G6||1440||n||3.0||1036||swivel||Y||1/4000s||7.0||Y||n||Panasonic G6|
|Panasonic GF6||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.2||Y||n||Panasonic GF6|
|Panasonic G5||1440||n||3.0||920||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Panasonic G5|
|Panasonic GF5||none||n||3.0||920||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Panasonic GF5|
|Panasonic GX1||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.2||Y||n||Panasonic GX1|
|Panasonic G10||202||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.6||Y||n||Panasonic G10|
|Panasonic G2||1440||n||3.0||460||swivel||Y||1/4000s||2.6||Y||n||Panasonic G2|
|Panasonic GF2||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||2.6||Y||n||Panasonic GF2|
|Panasonic GH1||1440||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Panasonic GH1|
|Panasonic G1||1440||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Panasonic G1|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The G3 has a touchscreen, while the GF1 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The G3 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the GF1 does not have a selfie-screen.
The G3 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the GF1 uses SDHC cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Panasonic G3||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic G3|
|Panasonic GF1||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic GF1|
|Canon M||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon M|
|Panasonic G7||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Panasonic G7|
|Panasonic G6||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Panasonic G6|
|Panasonic GF6||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Panasonic GF6|
|Panasonic G5||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic G5|
|Panasonic GF5||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic GF5|
|Panasonic GX1||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic GX1|
|Panasonic G10||Y||mono||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic G10|
|Panasonic G2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic G2|
|Panasonic GF2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic GF2|
|Panasonic GH1||Y||stereo||none||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic GH1|
|Panasonic G1||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic G1|
Both the G3 and the GF1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The GF1 was replaced by the Panasonic DMC-GF2, while the G3 was followed by the Panasonic G5. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Panasonic website.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Panasonic G3 or the Panasonic GF1 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (15.8 vs 12MP) with a 15% higher linear resolution.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60i vs 720/30p).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 49g or 13 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (20 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 8 months after the GF1).
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1:
- More compact: Is smaller (119x71mm vs 115x84mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (380 versus 270) out of a single battery charge.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2009).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the G3 is the clear winner of the match-up (11 : 3 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Panasonic G3 and the Panasonic GF1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the G3 or the GF1. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon M6 Mark II vs Panasonic G3
- Canon SX420 vs Panasonic G3
- Canon T1i vs Panasonic GF1
- Nikon D40 vs Panasonic GF1
- Nikon D7100 vs Panasonic GF1
- Panasonic G3 vs Panasonic ZS100
- Panasonic G3 vs Sony RX10 II
- Panasonic G95 vs Panasonic GF1
- Panasonic GF1 vs Panasonic GM5
- Panasonic GF1 vs Samsung NX30
- Panasonic GF1 vs Sony A68
- Panasonic GF1 vs Sony NEX-5R
Specifications: Panasonic G3 vs Panasonic GF1
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Panasonic G3||Panasonic GF1|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||May 2011||September 2009|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 749|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic G3||Panasonic GF1|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.8 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4592 x 3448 pixels||4000 x 3000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.77 μm||4.33 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.04 MP/cm2||5.34 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||720/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||160-6400 ISO||100-3200 ISO|
|Image Processor||Venus FHD||Venus HD|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||56||54|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.0||21.2|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.6||10.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||667||513|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic G3||Panasonic GF1|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||460k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic G3||Panasonic GF1|
|Autofocus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||4 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Panasonic G3||Panasonic GF1|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Panasonic G3||Panasonic GF1|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||270 shots per charge||380 shots per charge|
115 x 84 x 47 mm
(4.5 x 3.3 x 1.9 in)
119 x 71 x 36 mm
(4.7 x 2.8 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||336 g (11.9 oz)||385 g (13.6 oz)|
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