Panasonic G3 vs S5
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 and the Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in May 2011 and September 2020. Both the G3 and the S5 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on a Four Thirds (G3) and a full frame (S5) sensor. The G3 has a resolution of 15.8 megapixels, whereas the S5 provides 24 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 DC-S5? 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 S5 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The G3 can be obtained in four different colors (black, brown, red, white), while the S5 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic S5 is notably larger (35 percent) than the Panasonic G3. Moreover, the S5 is substantially heavier (113 percent) than the G3. It is noteworthy in this context that the S5 is splash and dust-proof, while the G3 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
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. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
Concerning battery life, the G3 gets 270 shots out of its DMW-BLD10 battery, while the S5 can take 440 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLK22 power pack. The power pack in the S5 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Panasonic G3||115 mm||84 mm||47 mm||336 g||270||n||May 2011||599|
|2.||Panasonic S5||133 mm||98 mm||82 mm||714 g||440||Y||Sep 2020||1,999|
|3.||Canon M||109 mm||66 mm||32 mm||298 g||230||n||Jul 2012||599|
|4.||Fujifilm X-T4||135 mm||93 mm||64 mm||607 g||500||Y||Feb 2020||1,699|
|5.||Panasonic S1||149 mm||110 mm||97 mm||1017 g||400||Y||Feb 2019||2,499|
|6.||Panasonic S1H||151 mm||114 mm||110 mm||1052 g||400||Y||May 2019||3,999|
|7.||Panasonic G9||137 mm||97 mm||92 mm||658 g||400||Y||Nov 2017||1,699|
|8.||Panasonic GH5||139 mm||98 mm||87 mm||725 g||410||Y||Jan 2017||1,999|
|9.||Panasonic G7||125 mm||86 mm||77 mm||410 g||350||n||May 2015||649|
|10.||Panasonic G6||122 mm||85 mm||71 mm||390 g||340||n||Apr 2013||599|
|11.||Panasonic GF6||111 mm||65 mm||38 mm||323 g||340||n||Apr 2013||499|
|12.||Panasonic G5||120 mm||83 mm||71 mm||396 g||320||n||Jul 2012||599|
|13.||Panasonic GF5||108 mm||67 mm||37 mm||267 g||360||n||Apr 2012||499|
|14.||Panasonic GX1||116 mm||68 mm||39 mm||318 g||320||n||Nov 2011||699|
|15.||Panasonic G10||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||388 g||380||n||Mar 2010||499|
|16.||Panasonic G2||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||428 g||360||n||Mar 2010||599|
|17.||Panasonic GF2||113 mm||68 mm||33 mm||310 g||300||n||Nov 2010||549|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
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 markedly lower price (by 70 percent) than the S5, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its 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 S5 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the S5 is 276 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 1.0. The sensor in the G3 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the S5 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 24MP, the S5 offers a higher resolution than the G3 (15.8MP), but the S5 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 3.77μm for the G3) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the S5 is a much more recent model (by 9 years and 3 months) than the G3, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the S5 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Panasonic S5 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the S5 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic G3 are 23 x 17.2 inches or 58.3 x 43.8 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.7 x 35 cm for very good quality, and 15.3 x 11.5 inches or 38.9 x 29.2 cm for excellent quality prints.
Unlike the G3, the S5 has the capacity to capture high quality composite images (96MP) by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 160 to ISO 6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 are ISO 100 to ISO 51200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800.
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. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
|1.||Panasonic G3||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||21.0||10.6||667||56|
|2.||Panasonic S5||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/60p||..||..||..||..|
|5.||Panasonic S1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/60p||25.2||14.5||3333||95|
|6.||Panasonic S1H||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||6K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|7.||Panasonic G9||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/60p||..||..||..||..|
|8.||Panasonic GH5||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/60p||23.9||13.0||807||77|
|9.||Panasonic G7||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|10.||Panasonic G6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61|
|11.||Panasonic GF6||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||20.7||10.6||622||54|
|12.||Panasonic G5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|13.||Panasonic GF5||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.4||11.6||618||61|
|14.||Panasonic GX1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||20.8||10.6||703||55|
|15.||Panasonic G10||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52|
|16.||Panasonic G2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53|
|17.||Panasonic GF2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.2||10.3||506||54|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the S5 provides a better video resolution than the G3. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/60p, while the G3 is limited to 1080/60i.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under review are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the S5 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the G3 (2360k vs 1440k dots). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Panasonic G3 and Panasonic S5 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The G3 has one, while the S5 does not. While the built-in flash of the G3 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.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 S5 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 S5 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 S5 write their files to SDXC cards. The S5 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the G3 only has one slot. The S5 supports UHS-II cards on its first slot and UHS-I on its second one, while the G3 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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 DC-S5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
It is notable that the S5 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the G3 does not provide wifi capability.
The S5 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.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Panasonic G3 better than the Panasonic S5 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
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.
- More compact: Is smaller (115x84mm vs 133x98mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 378g or 53 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (70 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in May 2011).
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DC-S5:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 15.8MP), which boosts linear resolution by 26%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
- Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/60p vs 1080/60i).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (2360k vs 1440k dots).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.74x vs 0.70x).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1840k vs 460k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 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.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (440 versus 270) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.2 vs 2.0).
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports Ultra High Speed (UHS-II and UHS-I) SDXC cards.
- More modern: Reflects 9 years and 3 months of technical progress since the G3 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the S5 is the clear winner of the contest (27 : 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. 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 S5 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 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 S5 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.
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 (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 S5||4.5/5||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2020||1,999|
|3.||Canon M||3/5||+||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599|
|4.||Fujifilm X-T4||5/5||+ +||..||5/5||5/5||Feb 2020||1,699|
|5.||Panasonic S1||4.5/5||+ +||88/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2019||2,499|
|6.||Panasonic S1H||..||..||90/100||..||..||May 2019||3,999|
|7.||Panasonic G9||..||+ +||85/100||5/5||5/5||Nov 2017||1,699|
|8.||Panasonic GH5||4.5/5||+ +||85/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2017||1,999|
|9.||Panasonic G7||4/5||+ +||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||May 2015||649|
|10.||Panasonic G6||4/5||+ +||..||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||599|
|11.||Panasonic GF6||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||499|
|12.||Panasonic G5||3/5||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||599|
|13.||Panasonic GF5||3/5||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||499|
|14.||Panasonic GX1||3/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2011||699|
|15.||Panasonic G10||3/5||..||70/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2010||499|
|16.||Panasonic G2||..||..||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2010||599|
|17.||Panasonic GF2||3/5||82/100||70/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2010||549|
|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. 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. 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 are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Panasonic G3 vs Panasonic S5
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 S5|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses||Leica L mount lenses|
|Launch Date||May 2011||September 2020|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 1,999|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic G3||Panasonic S5|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||35.6 x 23.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||847.28 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||42.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.8 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4592 x 3448 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.77 μm||5.94 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.04 MP/cm2||2.83 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||4K/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||160 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 51,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||50 - 204,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||Venus FHD||Venus|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||56||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.0||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.6||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||667||..|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic G3||Panasonic S5|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots||2360k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||460k dots||1840k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fully flexible screen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic G3||Panasonic S5|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||4 shutter flaps/s||7 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/8000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||no||Single UHS-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Panasonic G3||Panasonic S5|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.2|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Panasonic G3||Panasonic S5|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||270 shots per charge||440 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
115 x 84 x 47 mm
(4.5 x 3.3 x 1.9 in)
133 x 98 x 82 mm
(5.2 x 3.9 x 3.2 in)
|Camera Weight||336 g (11.9 oz)||714 g (25.2 oz)|
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