Panasonic G3 vs GF2
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in May 2011 and November 2010. Both the G3 and the GF2 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The G3 has a resolution of 15.8 megapixels, whereas the GF2 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 GF2|
|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||1080/60i Video|
|ISO 160-6400||ISO 100-6400|
|Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)||Viewfinder optional|
|3.0" LCD, 460k dots||3.0" LCD, 460k dots|
|Swivel touchscreen||Fixed touchscreen|
|4 shutter flaps per second||2.6 shutter flaps per second|
|270 shots per battery charge||300 shots per battery charge|
|115 x 84 x 47 mm, 336 g||113 x 68 x 33 mm, 310 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-GF2? 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.
Body comparison: Panasonic G3 vs GF2
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Panasonic G3 and the Panasonic GF2 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The G3 can be obtained in four different colors (black, brown, red, white), while the GF2 is also available in four color-versions, but different ones (black, silver, red, white).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GF2 is notably smaller (20 percent) than the Panasonic G3. Moreover, the GF2 is markedly lighter (8 percent) than the G3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G3 nor the GF2 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 adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Panasonic G3»||4.5 in||3.3 in||1.9 in||11.9 oz||270||n||May 2011||599||-||Panasonic G3|
|Panasonic GF2«||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.3 in||10.9 oz||300||n||Nov 2010||549||-||Panasonic GF2|
|Panasonic G6« »||4.8 in||3.3 in||2.8 in||13.8 oz||340||n||Apr 2013||599||-||Panasonic G6|
|Panasonic GF6« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.5 in||11.4 oz||340||n||Apr 2013||499||-||Panasonic GF6|
|Panasonic G5« »||4.7 in||3.3 in||2.8 in||14.0 oz||320||n||Jul 2012||599||-||Panasonic G5|
|Panasonic GF3« »||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||9.3 oz||300||n||Jun 2011||549||-||Panasonic GF3|
|Panasonic GX1« »||4.6 in||2.7 in||1.5 in||11.2 oz||320||n||Nov 2011||699||-||Panasonic GX1|
|Panasonic G10« »||4.9 in||3.3 in||2.9 in||13.7 oz||380||n||Mar 2010||499||-||Panasonic G10|
|Panasonic G2« »||4.9 in||3.3 in||2.9 in||15.1 oz||360||n||Mar 2010||599||-||Panasonic G2|
|Panasonic GH2« »||4.9 in||3.5 in||3.0 in||15.6 oz||330||n||Sep 2010||899||-||Panasonic GH2|
|Panasonic GF1« »||4.7 in||2.8 in||1.4 in||13.6 oz||380||n||Sep 2009||749||-||Panasonic GF1|
|Panasonic G1« »||4.9 in||3.3 in||1.8 in||12.7 oz||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 obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The GF2 was somewhat cheaper (by 8 percent) than the G3 at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. 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.
Sensor comparison: Panasonic G3 vs GF2
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies 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 GF2. 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 GF2). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the G3 is a somewhat more recent model (by 6 months) than the GF2, 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 GF2 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-GF2 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400 (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 GF2«||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.2||10.3||506||54||Panasonic GF2|
|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 GF3« »||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||20.6||10.0||458||49||Panasonic GF3|
|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 GH2« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||21.2||11.3||655||60||Panasonic GH2|
|Panasonic GF1« »||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||513||54||Panasonic GF1|
|Panasonic G1« »||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||-||21.1||10.3||463||53||Panasonic G1|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60i).
Feature comparison: Panasonic G3 vs GF2
Beyond 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 GF2 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the GF2 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the DMW-LVF1. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Panasonic G3 and Panasonic GF2 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Panasonic G3»||1440||n||3.0||460||swivel||Y||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Panasonic G3|
|Panasonic GF2«||-||n||3.0||460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||2.6||Y||n||Panasonic GF2|
|Panasonic G6« »||1440||n||3.0||1036||swivel||Y||1/4000s||7.0||Y||n||Panasonic G6|
|Panasonic GF6« »||-||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 GF3« »||-||n||3.0||460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||3.2||Y||n||Panasonic GF3|
|Panasonic GX1« »||-||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 GH2« »||1534||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Panasonic GH2|
|Panasonic GF1« »||-||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Panasonic GF1|
|Panasonic G1« »||1440||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Panasonic G1|
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the G3 and the GF2 write their files to SDXC cards.
Connectivity comparison: Panasonic G3 vs GF2
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-GF2 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 GF2«||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic GF2|
|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 GF3« »||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic GF3|
|Panasonic GX1« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic GX1|
|Panasonic G10« »||Y||mono||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic G10|
|Panasonic G2« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic G2|
|Panasonic GH2« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic GH2|
|Panasonic GF1« »||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic GF1|
|Panasonic G1« »||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic G1|
Both the G3 and the GF2 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The GF2 was replaced by the Panasonic GF3, 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.
Review summary: Panasonic G3 vs GF2
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Panasonic G3 or the Panasonic GF2 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer 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).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
- More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 2.6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 6 months after the GF2).
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2:
- More compact: Is smaller (113x68mm vs 115x84mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (300 versus 270) out of a single battery charge.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in November 2010).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G3 is the clear winner of the match-up (7 : 3 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports 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 GF2 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the G3 or the GF2 perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
Expert reviews: Panasonic G3 vs GF2
This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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.
|Panasonic G3»||+ +||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||May 2011||599||-||Panasonic G3|
|Panasonic GF2«||82/100||70/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2010||549||-||Panasonic GF2|
|Panasonic G6« »||+ +||-||5/5||-||4.5/5||Apr 2013||599||-||Panasonic G6|
|Panasonic GF6« »||+ +||-||4.5/5||-||4.5/5||Apr 2013||499||-||Panasonic GF6|
|Panasonic G5« »||+ +||-||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||599||-||Panasonic G5|
|Panasonic GF3« »||82/100||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||549||-||Panasonic GF3|
|Panasonic GX1« »||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2011||699||-||Panasonic GX1|
|Panasonic G10« »||-||70/100||4/5||-||4/5||Mar 2010||499||-||Panasonic G10|
|Panasonic G2« »||-||72/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2010||599||-||Panasonic G2|
|Panasonic GH2« »||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2010||899||-||Panasonic GH2|
|Panasonic GF1« »||85/100||69/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||749||-||Panasonic GF1|
|Panasonic G1« »||+ +||70/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2008||599||-||Panasonic G1|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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 make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 1D Mark II vs Panasonic G3
- Nikon D40 vs Panasonic GF2
- Olympus E-M5 II vs Panasonic G3
- Olympus PEN-F vs Panasonic G3
- Panasonic G3 vs Panasonic GX7
- Panasonic G3 vs Panasonic LX100 II
- Panasonic G3 vs Panasonic LX7
- Panasonic G3 vs Pentax Q
- Panasonic GF2 vs Panasonic GF3
- Panasonic GF2 vs Panasonic GF6
- Panasonic GF2 vs Panasonic GX9
- Panasonic GF2 vs Sony RX100 IV
Specifications: Panasonic G3 vs Panasonic GF2
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 GF2|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||May 2011||November 2010|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 549|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic G3||Panasonic GF2|
|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||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||160-6400 ISO||100-6400 ISO|
|Image Processor||Venus FHD||Venus FHD|
|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||506|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic G3||Panasonic GF2|
|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|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic G3||Panasonic GF2|
|Autofocus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||4 shutter flaps/s||2.6 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Panasonic G3||Panasonic GF2|
|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 GF2|
|Battery Type||DMW-BLD10 power pack||DMW-BLD10 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||270 shots per charge||300 shots per charge|
115 x 84 x 47 mm
(4.5 x 3.3 x 1.9 in)
113 x 68 x 33 mm
(4.4 x 2.7 x 1.3 in)
|Camera Weight||336 g (11.9 oz)||310 g (10.9 oz)|
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