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Panasonic G3 versus Panasonic GM1

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in May 2011 and October 2013. Both the G3 and the GM1 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 15.8 megapixel. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Panasonic G3 vs Panasonic GM1

The physical size and weight of the Panasonic G3 and the Panasonic GM1 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the G3 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Panasonic G3 vs Panasonic GM1
Compare G3 versus GM1 top
Compare G3 and GM1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GM1 is considerably smaller (44 percent) than the Panasonic G3. Moreover, the GM1 is substantially lighter (39 percent) than the G3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G3 nor the GM1 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 find an overview of suitable optics 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.

Concerning battery life, the G3 gets 270 shots out of its DMW-BLD10 battery, while the GM1 can take 230 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLH7 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Panasonic G3» 4.5 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 11.9 oz 270 n May 2011 599- i
Panasonic GM1« 3.9 in 2.2 in 1.2 in 7.2 oz 230 n Oct 2013 749- i
Canon G1 X Mark II« » 4.6 in 2.9 in 2.6 in 19.5 oz 240 n Feb 2014 799 i i
Canon M« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 10.5 oz 230 n Jul 2012 599- i
Olympus E-M10« » 4.7 in 3.2 in 1.8 in 14.0 oz 320 n Jan 2014 699- i
Panasonic GM5« » 3.9 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 7.4 oz 220 n Sep 2014 749- i
Panasonic GF6« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 11.4 oz 340 n Apr 2013 499- i
Panasonic G6« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 13.8 oz 340 n Apr 2013 599- i
Panasonic G5« » 4.7 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 14.0 oz 320 n Jul 2012 599- i
Panasonic GX1« » 4.6 in 2.7 in 1.5 in 11.2 oz 320 n Nov 2011 949- i
Panasonic GF2« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 10.9 oz 300 n Nov 2010 549- i
Panasonic GH2« » 4.9 in 3.5 in 3.0 in 15.6 oz 330 n Sep 2010 1,499- i
Panasonic G2« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 15.1 oz 360 n Mar 2010 599- i
Panasonic G10« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 13.7 oz 380 n Mar 2010 499- i
Panasonic G1« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 1.8 in 12.7 oz 410 n Sep 2008 599- i
Ricoh GR« » 4.6 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 8.6 oz 290 n Apr 2013 799- i

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The G3 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 20 percent) than the GM1, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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 Panasonic GM1

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to 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.

Panasonic G3 and Panasonic GM1 sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 15.8 megapixel. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the G3 and the GM1 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the GM1 is much more recent (by 2 years and 5 months) than the G3, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

G3 versus GM1 MP

For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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. Of the two cameras under consideration, the GM1 has a markedly higher DXO score than the G3 (overall score 10 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 1.3 bits higher color depth, 1.1 EV in additional dynamic range, 0 stops of reduced low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Panasonic G3» Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756
Panasonic GM1« Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i22.311.766066
Canon G1 X Mark II« » 1.5-inch 13.0 4160 31201080/30p21.510.858158
Canon M« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765
Olympus E-M10« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388472
Panasonic GM5« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.111.772166
Panasonic GF6« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i20.710.662254
Panasonic G6« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961
Panasonic G5« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p----
Panasonic GX1« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p20.810.670355
Panasonic GF2« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.210.350654
Panasonic GH2« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i21.211.365560
Panasonic G2« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353
Panasonic G10« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152
Panasonic G1« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000-21.110.346353
Ricoh GR« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.613.597278

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. 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 Panasonic GM1

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 GM1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic G3, the Panasonic GM1, and comparable cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Panasonic G3»1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 4000 4.0 Y n
Panasonic GM1«- n 3.0 1036 fixed Y 500 5.0 Y n
Canon G1 X Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 5.2 Y Y
Canon M« »- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 4.3 n n
Olympus E-M10« »1440 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y
Panasonic GM5« »1166 n 3.0 921 fixed Y 500 5.8 n n
Panasonic GF6« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.2 Y n
Panasonic G6« »1440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n
Panasonic G5« »1440 n 3.0 920 swivel Y 4000 6.0 Y n
Panasonic GX1« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 4000 4.2 Y n
Panasonic GF2« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 4000 2.6 Y n
Panasonic GH2« »1534 n 3.0 460 swivel n 4000 3.0 Y n
Panasonic G2« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 4000 2.6 Y n
Panasonic G10« »202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 2.6 Y n
Panasonic G1« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel n 4001 3.0 Y n
Ricoh GR« »- n 3.0 1230 fixed n 4000 4.0 Y n

Both the G3 and the GM1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The G3 was replaced by the Panasonic G5, while the GM1 was followed by the Panasonic GM5.

Review summary: Panasonic G3 vs Panasonic GM1

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Panasonic G3 or the Panasonic GM1 – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3:

  • 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.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (4000/sec vs 500/sec) to freeze action.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (270 versus 230) on a single battery charge.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (20 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in May 2011).


Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (10 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.3 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.1 EV of extra DR).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1036k vs 460k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (99x55mm vs 115x84mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 132g or 39 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 5 months of technical progress since the G3 launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GM1 emerges as the winner of the match-up (8 : 6 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera.

G3 06:08 GM1

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the G3 and the GM1 in practical situations. 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 table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Panasonic G3»HiRec75/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2011 599- i
Panasonic GM1«Rec78/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 749- i
Canon G1 X Mark II« »Rec77/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 799 i i
Canon M« »Rec-4/53.5/54/5 Jul 2012 599- i
Olympus E-M10« »-80/1005/54.5/55/5 Jan 2014 699- i
Panasonic GM5« »Rec77/1005/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 749- i
Panasonic GF6« »HiRec-4.5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 499- i
Panasonic G6« »HiRec-5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 599- i
Panasonic G5« »HiRec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jul 2012 599- i
Panasonic GX1« »Rec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2011 949- i
Panasonic GF2« »82/10070/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2010 549- i
Panasonic GH2« »HiRec79/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Sep 2010 1,499- i
Panasonic G2« »-72/1004/54/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599- i
Panasonic G10« »-70/1004/5-4/5 Mar 2010 499- i
Panasonic G1« »HiRec70/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2008 599- i
Ricoh GR« »-79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 799- i

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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If the camera you are interested in is not available, please send me an email, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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