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Panasonic G3 vs GX850

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX850 (labelled Panasonic GX800 in some countries) are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, 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 megapixels.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Panasonic G3 versus Panasonic GX850
Panasonic G3 Panasonic GX850
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
15.8 MP, Four Thirds Sensor 15.8 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
1080/60i Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 160-6,400 ISO 200-25,600
Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots) No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 460k dots 3.0 LCD, 1040k dots
Swivel touchscreen Tilting touchscreen
4 shutter flaps per second 10 shutter flaps per second
270 shots per battery charge210 shots per battery charge
115 x 84 x 47 mm, 336 g 107 x 65 x 33 mm, 269 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-GX850? 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

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Panasonic G3 and the Panasonic GX850 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The G3 can be obtained in four different colors (black, brown, red, white), while the GX850 is available in three color-versions (black, silver, red).

Size Panasonic G3 vs Panasonic GX850
Compare G3 versus GX850 top
Comparison G3 or 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 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.

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 adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Panasonic G3 115 mm 84 mm 47 mm 336 g 270 n May 2011 599i
 
Panasonic GX850 107 mm 65 mm 33 mm 269 g 210 n Jan 2017 549 i
 
Canon M 109 mm 66 mm 32 mm 298 g 230 n Jul 2012 599i
 
Panasonic G7 125 mm 86 mm 77 mm 410 g 350 n May 2015 649i
 
Panasonic GF7 107 mm 65 mm 33 mm 266 g 230 n Jan 2015 499i
 
Panasonic G6 122 mm 85 mm 71 mm 390 g 340 n Apr 2013 599i
 
Panasonic GF6 111 mm 65 mm 38 mm 323 g 340 n Apr 2013 499i
 
Panasonic G5 120 mm 83 mm 71 mm 396 g 320 n Jul 2012 599i
 
Panasonic GF5 108 mm 67 mm 37 mm 267 g 360 n Apr 2012 499i
 
Panasonic GX1 116 mm 68 mm 39 mm 318 g 320 n Nov 2011 699i
 
Panasonic G10 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 388 g 380 n Mar 2010 499i
 
Panasonic G2 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 428 g 360 n Mar 2010 599i
 
Panasonic GF2 113 mm 68 mm 33 mm 310 g 300 n Nov 2010 549i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 GX850 was somewhat cheaper (by 8 percent) than the G3 at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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.

Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to 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 megapixels. 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.

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-GX850 are ISO 200 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.

G3 versus GX850 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). 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, and 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.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
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 GX850 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p23.213.358673
 
Canon M APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765
 
Panasonic G7 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p........
 
Panasonic GF7 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p........
 
Panasonic G6 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961
 
Panasonic GF6 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i20.710.662254
 
Panasonic G5 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p........
 
Panasonic GF5 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.411.661861
 
Panasonic GX1 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p20.810.670355
 
Panasonic G10 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152
 
Panasonic G2 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353
 
Panasonic GF2 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.210.350654

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, 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

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 GX850 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Panasonic G3 and Panasonic GX850 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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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)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
 
Panasonic G31440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Panasonic GX850none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/500s 10.0 Y n
 
Canon Mnone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.3 n n
 
Panasonic G72360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 7.0 Y n
 
Panasonic GF7none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/500s 5.8 Y n
 
Panasonic G61440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 1/4000s 7.0 Y n
 
Panasonic GF6none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n
 
Panasonic G51440 n 3.0 920 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
 
Panasonic GF5none n 3.0 920 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Panasonic GX1optional n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n
 
Panasonic G10202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
 
Panasonic G21440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
 
Panasonic GF2optional n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.

The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the GX850 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).

The Panasonic GX850 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the G3 and the GX850 write their files to SDXC cards. The GX850 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the G3 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.

Connectivity comparison

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-GX850 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Panasonic G3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Panasonic GX850-stereomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Canon MYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Panasonic G7YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
 
Panasonic GF7-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Panasonic G6YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
 
Panasonic GF6-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Panasonic G5Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Panasonic GF5-stereomono--mini2.0---
 
Panasonic GX1Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Panasonic G10Ymono---mini2.0---
 
Panasonic G2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Panasonic GF2Ystereomono--mini2.0---

It is notable that the G3 has a hotshoe, while the GX850 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.

The GX850 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Panasonic. In contrast, the G3 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the G3 was succeeded 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

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Panasonic G3 and the Panasonic GX850? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Arguments in favor of 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 composition and settings control.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/500s) to freeze action.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (270 versus 210) on a single battery charge.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • 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.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • 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.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years and 7 months of technical progress since the G3 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GX850 is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 7 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. 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.

G3 07:14 GX850

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Panasonic G3 and the Panasonic GX850 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 GX850 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts 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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Panasonic G3+ +75/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2011 599i
 
Panasonic GX850+76/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2017 549 i
 
Canon M+..4/53.5/54/5 Jul 2012 599i
 
Panasonic G7+ +80/1005/54.5/54.5/5 May 2015 649i
 
Panasonic GF7+..4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2015 499i
 
Panasonic G6+ +..5/5..4.5/5 Apr 2013 599i
 
Panasonic GF6+ +..4.5/5..4.5/5 Apr 2013 499i
 
Panasonic G5+ +..4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jul 2012 599i
 
Panasonic GF5....4.5/54/54.5/5 Apr 2012 499i
 
Panasonic GX1+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2011 699i
 
Panasonic G10..70/1004/5..4/5 Mar 2010 499i
 
Panasonic G2..72/1004/54/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599i
 
Panasonic GF282/10070/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2010 549i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Panasonic G3:
Check Ebay offers
Panasonic GX850:
Check Amazon price

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.

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    Specifications: Panasonic G3 vs Panasonic GX850

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Panasonic G3 Panasonic GX850
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date May 2011 January 2017
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 549
    Sensor Specs Panasonic G3 Panasonic GX850
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    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
    Crop Factor 2.0x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 15.8 Megapixels 15.8 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4592 x 3448 pixels 4592 x 3448 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.77 μm 3.77 μm
    Pixel Density 7.04 MP/cm2 7.04 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60i Video 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 160 - 6,400 ISO 200 - 25,600 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100 - 25,600 ISO
    Image Processor Venus FHD Venus
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 56 73
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.0 23.2
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.6 13.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 667 586
    Screen Specs Panasonic G3 Panasonic GX850
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.70x
    Viewfinder Resolution 1440k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 460k dots 1040k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Panasonic G3 Panasonic GX850
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000s 1/500s
    Continuous Shooting 4 shutter flaps/s 10 shutter flaps/s
    Electronic Shutterno E-Shutterup to 1/16000s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    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 UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Panasonic G3 Panasonic GX850
    External Flash Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Body Specs Panasonic G3 Panasonic GX850
    Battery Type DMW-BLD10 DMW-BLH7
    Battery Life (CIPA)270 shots per charge210 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 115 x 84 x 47 mm
    (4.5 x 3.3 x 1.9 in)
    107 x 65 x 33 mm
    (4.2 x 2.6 x 1.3 in)
    Camera Weight 336 g (11.9 oz) 269 g (9.5 oz)

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