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Panasonic G3 versus Panasonic GX850

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX850 (labelled Panasonic GX800 in some countries) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in May 2011 and January 2017. Both the G3 and the GX850 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 GX850

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Panasonic G3 and the Panasonic GX850. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth measures 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 side – the G3 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Panasonic G3 vs Panasonic GX850
Compare G3 versus GX850 top
Compare G3 and GX850 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GX850 is notably smaller (28 percent) than the Panasonic G3. Moreover, the GX850 is markedly lighter (20 percent) than the G3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G3 nor the GX850 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 GX850 can take 210 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)
Camera
Model
Panasonic G3» 4.5 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 11.9 oz 270 n May 2011 599- i Panasonic G3
Panasonic GX850« 4.2 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 9.5 oz 210 n Jan 2017 549 i i Panasonic GX850
Canon M« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 10.5 oz 230 n Jul 2012 599- i Canon M
Panasonic G7« » 4.9 in 3.4 in 3.0 in 14.5 oz 350 n May 2015 649- i Panasonic G7
Panasonic GF7« » 4.2 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 9.4 oz 230 n Jan 2015 499- i Panasonic GF7
Panasonic GF6« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 11.4 oz 340 n Apr 2013 499- i Panasonic GF6
Panasonic G6« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 13.8 oz 340 n Apr 2013 599- i Panasonic G6
Panasonic G5« » 4.7 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 14.0 oz 320 n Jul 2012 599- i Panasonic G5
Panasonic GX1« » 4.6 in 2.7 in 1.5 in 11.2 oz 320 n Nov 2011 949- i Panasonic GX1
Panasonic GF2« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 10.9 oz 300 n Nov 2010 549- i Panasonic GF2
Panasonic GH2« » 4.9 in 3.5 in 3.0 in 15.6 oz 330 n Sep 2010 1,499- i Panasonic GH2
Panasonic G2« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 15.1 oz 360 n Mar 2010 599- i Panasonic G2
Panasonic G10« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 13.7 oz 380 n Mar 2010 499- i Panasonic G10
Panasonic G1« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 1.8 in 12.7 oz 410 n Sep 2008 599- i Panasonic G1

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 GX850 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 Panasonic GX850

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 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.

Panasonic G3 and Panasonic GX850 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 GX850 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the GX850 is much more recent (by 5 years and 7 months) than the G3, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the GX850 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

G3 versus GX850 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 GX850 offers substantially better image quality than the G3 (overall score 17 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.2 bits higher color depth, 2.7 EV in additional dynamic range, 0.2 stops of reduced low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Panasonic G3» Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756Panasonic G3
Panasonic GX850« Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p23.213.358673Panasonic GX850
Canon M« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765Canon M
Panasonic G7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p----Panasonic G7
Panasonic GF7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p----Panasonic GF7
Panasonic GF6« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i20.710.662254Panasonic GF6
Panasonic G6« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961Panasonic G6
Panasonic G5« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p----Panasonic G5
Panasonic GX1« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p20.810.670355Panasonic GX1
Panasonic GF2« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.210.350654Panasonic GF2
Panasonic GH2« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i21.211.365560Panasonic GH2
Panasonic G2« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353Panasonic G2
Panasonic G10« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152Panasonic G10
Panasonic G1« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000-21.110.346353Panasonic G1

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the GX850 provides a better video resolution than the G3. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the G3 is limited to 1080/60i.

 

Feature comparison: Panasonic G3 vs Panasonic GX850

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety 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 GX850 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Panasonic G3 and Panasonic GX850 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
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
Camera
Model
Panasonic G3»1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 4000 4.0 Y n Panasonic G3
Panasonic GX850«- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 500 10.0 Y n Panasonic GX850
Canon M« »- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 4.3 n n Canon M
Panasonic G7« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n Panasonic G7
Panasonic GF7« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 500 5.8 Y n Panasonic GF7
Panasonic GF6« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.2 Y n Panasonic GF6
Panasonic G6« »1440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n Panasonic G6
Panasonic G5« »1440 n 3.0 920 swivel Y 4000 6.0 Y n Panasonic G5
Panasonic GX1« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 4000 4.2 Y n Panasonic GX1
Panasonic GF2« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 4000 2.6 Y n Panasonic GF2
Panasonic GH2« »1534 n 3.0 460 swivel n 4000 3.0 Y n Panasonic GH2
Panasonic G2« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 4000 2.6 Y n Panasonic G2
Panasonic G10« »202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 2.6 Y n Panasonic G10
Panasonic G1« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel n 4001 3.0 Y n Panasonic G1

The GX850 is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the G3 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the G3 was succeeded by the Panasonic G5.

Review summary: Panasonic G3 vs Panasonic GX850

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Panasonic G3 and the Panasonic GX850? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • 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 210) on a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in May 2011).


Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX850:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (17 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.2 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2.7 EV of extra DR).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60i).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 460k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (107x65mm vs 115x84mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 67g or 20 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years and 7 months of technical progress since the G3 launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GX850 is the clear winner of the contest (10 : 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 06:10 GX850

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the G3 or the GX850 handle or 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. This is where reviews by experts come in. 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
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Panasonic G3»HiRec75/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2011 599- i Panasonic G3
Panasonic GX850«Rec76/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2017 549 i i Panasonic GX850
Canon M« »Rec-4/53.5/54/5 Jul 2012 599- i Canon M
Panasonic G7« »HiRec80/1005/54.5/54.5/5 May 2015 649- i Panasonic G7
Panasonic GF7« »Rec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2015 499- i Panasonic GF7
Panasonic GF6« »HiRec-4.5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 499- i Panasonic GF6
Panasonic G6« »HiRec-5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 599- i Panasonic G6
Panasonic G5« »HiRec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jul 2012 599- i Panasonic G5
Panasonic GX1« »Rec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2011 949- i Panasonic GX1
Panasonic GF2« »82/10070/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2010 549- i Panasonic GF2
Panasonic GH2« »HiRec79/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Sep 2010 1,499- i Panasonic GH2
Panasonic G2« »-72/1004/54/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599- i Panasonic G2
Panasonic G10« »-70/1004/5-4/5 Mar 2010 499- i Panasonic G10
Panasonic G1« »HiRec70/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2008 599- i Panasonic G1

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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

 

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. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If the camera you are interested in is not available, kindly get in touch, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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