Panasonic G3 vs LX5
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in May 2011 and July 2010. The G3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the LX5 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (G3) and a 1/1.7-inch (LX5) sensor. The G3 has a resolution of 15.8 megapixels, whereas the LX5 provides 10 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Panasonic G3 and the Panasonic LX5 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. 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 LX5 is available in two color-versions (black, white).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic LX5 is notably smaller (26 percent) than the Panasonic G3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G3 nor the LX5 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the LX5 has a lens built in, whereas the G3 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the G3 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Panasonic G3||115 mm||84 mm||47 mm||336 g||270||n||May 2011||599|
|2.||Panasonic LX5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Jul 2010||499|
|3.||Fujifilm X10||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||350 g||270||n||Sep 2011||599|
|4.||Olympus XZ-1||111 mm||65 mm||42 mm||275 g||320||n||Jan 2011||499|
|5.||Panasonic G6||122 mm||85 mm||71 mm||390 g||340||n||Apr 2013||599|
|6.||Panasonic GF6||111 mm||65 mm||38 mm||323 g||340||n||Apr 2013||499|
|7.||Panasonic G5||120 mm||83 mm||71 mm||396 g||320||n||Jul 2012||599|
|8.||Panasonic LX7||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Jul 2012||499|
|9.||Panasonic FZ150||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||528 g||410||n||Aug 2011||499|
|10.||Panasonic GF3||108 mm||67 mm||32 mm||264 g||300||n||Jun 2011||549|
|11.||Panasonic GX1||116 mm||68 mm||39 mm||318 g||320||n||Nov 2011||699|
|12.||Panasonic G10||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||388 g||380||n||Mar 2010||499|
|13.||Panasonic G2||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||428 g||360||n||Mar 2010||599|
|14.||Panasonic GF2||113 mm||68 mm||33 mm||310 g||300||n||Nov 2010||549|
|15.||Panasonic GH2||124 mm||90 mm||76 mm||442 g||330||n||Sep 2010||899|
|16.||Panasonic G1||124 mm||84 mm||45 mm||360 g||410||n||Sep 2008||599|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The LX5 was launched at a lower price than the G3, despite having a lens built in. 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.
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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Panasonic G3 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Panasonic LX5 a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The sensor area in the LX5 is 80 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 4.4. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3. The LX5 has the particularity of featuring a switch that allows to toggle between multiple aspect ratios, while maintaining the same field of view and full image resolution.
With 15.8MP, the G3 offers a higher resolution than the LX5 (10MP), but the G3 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.77μm versus 2.14μm for the LX5) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the G3 is a somewhat more recent model (by 9 months) than the LX5, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
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 inches or 58.3 x 43.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.7 x 35 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.3 x 11.5 inches or 38.9 x 29.2 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic LX5 are 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm for good quality, 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 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-LX5 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-12800.
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. Of the two cameras under review, the G3 provides substantially higher image quality than the LX5, with an overall score that is 15 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.4 bits higher color depth, 0.2 EV of lower dynamic range, and 2.3 stops in additional 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.
| DXO |
|1.||Panasonic G3||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||21.0||10.6||667||56|
|5.||Panasonic G6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61|
|6.||Panasonic GF6||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||20.7||10.6||622||54|
|7.||Panasonic G5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|10.||Panasonic GF3||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||20.6||10.0||458||49|
|11.||Panasonic GX1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||20.8||10.6||703||55|
|12.||Panasonic G10||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52|
|13.||Panasonic G2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53|
|14.||Panasonic GF2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.2||10.3||506||54|
|15.||Panasonic GH2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||21.2||11.3||655||60|
|16.||Panasonic G1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||none||21.1||10.3||463||53|
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 G3 provides a higher video resolution than the LX5. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60i, while the LX5 is limited to 720/60p.
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 LX5 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the LX5 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the DMW-LVF1. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Panasonic G3 and Panasonic LX5 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The G3 has a touchscreen, while the LX5 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 LX5 does not have a selfie-screen.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the G3 and the LX5 write their files to SDXC 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-LX5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
Both the G3 and the LX5 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The LX5 was replaced by the Panasonic LX7, 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 LX5 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (15.8 vs 10MP) with a 26% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (15 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.4 bits more color depth).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (2.3 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60i vs 720/60p).
- 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 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 9 months after the LX5).
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5:
- Flexible image proportions: Has a multi-aspect sensor that allows for alternative image shapes.
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the G3 necessitates an extra lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (110x65mm vs 115x84mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the G3).
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (400 versus 270) out of a single battery charge.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in July 2010).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the G3 is the clear winner of the match-up (12 : 8 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 LX5 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best Travel-Zoom Camera listings 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 LX5 perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.
|1.||Panasonic G3||3/5||+ +||75/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2011||599|
|2.||Panasonic LX5||4/5||+||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|3.||Fujifilm X10||..||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2011||599|
|4.||Olympus XZ-1||4/5||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||499|
|5.||Panasonic G6||4/5||+ +||..||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||599|
|6.||Panasonic GF6||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||499|
|7.||Panasonic G5||3/5||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||599|
|8.||Panasonic LX7||3/5||+ +||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||499|
|9.||Panasonic FZ150||3/5||+ +||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||499|
|10.||Panasonic GF3||3/5||82/100||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||549|
|11.||Panasonic GX1||3/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2011||699|
|12.||Panasonic G10||3/5||..||70/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2010||499|
|13.||Panasonic G2||..||..||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2010||599|
|14.||Panasonic GF2||3/5||82/100||70/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2010||549|
|15.||Panasonic GH2||5/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2010||899|
|16.||Panasonic G1||..||+ +||70/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2008||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Panasonic G3 vs Panasonic LX5
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 LX5|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses||24-90mm f/2.0-3.3|
|Launch Date||May 2011||July 2010|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic G3||Panasonic LX5|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||1/1.7" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||7.85 x 5.89 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||46.2365 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||9.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.8 Megapixels||10 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4592 x 3448 pixels||3648 x 2736 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.77 μm||2.14 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.04 MP/cm2||21.59 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||720/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||160 - 6,400 ISO||80 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||80 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||Venus FHD||Venus FHD|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||56||41|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.0||19.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.6||10.8|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||667||132|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic G3||Panasonic LX5|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||460k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic G3||Panasonic LX5|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||4 shutter flaps/s||2.5 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 LX5|
|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 LX5|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||270 shots per charge||400 shots per charge|
115 x 84 x 47 mm
(4.5 x 3.3 x 1.9 in)
110 x 65 x 43 mm
(4.3 x 2.6 x 1.7 in)
|Camera Weight||336 g (11.9 oz)||271 g (9.6 oz)|
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