Panasonic G3 vs Sony HX400V
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in May 2011 and February 2014. The G3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the HX400V is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (G3) and a 1/2.3-inch (HX400V) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 15.8 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 20.2 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V? 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 Sony HX400V 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The G3 can be obtained in four different colors (black, brown, red, white), while the HX400V 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 Sony HX400V is notably larger (25 percent) than the Panasonic G3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G3 nor the HX400V are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the HX400V 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 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, 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.||Sony HX400V||130 mm||93 mm||103 mm||660 g||300||n||Feb 2014||499|
|3.||Canon SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549|
|4.||Panasonic G6||122 mm||85 mm||71 mm||390 g||340||n||Apr 2013||599|
|5.||Panasonic GF6||111 mm||65 mm||38 mm||323 g||340||n||Apr 2013||499|
|6.||Panasonic G5||120 mm||83 mm||71 mm||396 g||320||n||Jul 2012||599|
|7.||Panasonic GF3||108 mm||67 mm||32 mm||264 g||300||n||Jun 2011||549|
|8.||Panasonic GX1||116 mm||68 mm||39 mm||318 g||320||n||Nov 2011||699|
|9.||Panasonic G10||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||388 g||380||n||Mar 2010||499|
|10.||Panasonic G2||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||428 g||360||n||Mar 2010||599|
|11.||Panasonic GF2||113 mm||68 mm||33 mm||310 g||300||n||Nov 2010||549|
|12.||Panasonic GH2||124 mm||90 mm||76 mm||442 g||330||n||Sep 2010||899|
|13.||Panasonic G1||124 mm||84 mm||45 mm||360 g||410||n||Sep 2008||599|
|14.||Sony HX350||130 mm||93 mm||103 mm||652 g||300||n||Dec 2016||449|
|15.||Sony HX90V||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||360||n||Apr 2015||429|
|16.||Sony H400||130 mm||95 mm||122 mm||628 g||300||n||Feb 2014||319|
|17.||Sony H300||128 mm||89 mm||92 mm||590 g||350||n||Feb 2014||219|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The HX400V was launched at a lower price than the G3, despite having a lens built in. 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Panasonic G3 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Sony HX400V a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the HX400V is 88 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 5.6. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the HX400V offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 15.8 MP of the G3. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.18μm versus 3.77μm for the G3). However, it should be noted that the HX400V is much more recent (by 2 years and 9 months) than the G3, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the HX400V has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Sony HX400V implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the HX400V for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 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.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 160 to ISO 6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-12800.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|1.||Panasonic G3||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||21.0||10.6||667||56|
|4.||Panasonic G6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61|
|5.||Panasonic GF6||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||20.7||10.6||622||54|
|6.||Panasonic G5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||22.3||11.9||643||66|
|7.||Panasonic GF3||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||20.6||10.0||458||49|
|8.||Panasonic GX1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||20.8||10.6||703||55|
|9.||Panasonic G10||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52|
|10.||Panasonic G2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53|
|11.||Panasonic GF2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.2||10.3||506||54|
|12.||Panasonic GH2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||21.2||11.3||655||60|
|13.||Panasonic G1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||none||21.1||10.3||463||53|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
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 HX400V provides a faster frame rate than the G3. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Panasonic is limited to 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under consideration are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the G3 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the HX400V (1440k vs 210k dots). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Panasonic G3 and Sony HX400V in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Panasonic G3||1440||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||Y||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|2.||Sony HX400V||210||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon SX60||922||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/2000s||6.4/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Panasonic G6||1440||n||3.0 / 1036||swivel||Y||1/4000s||7.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Panasonic GF6||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.2/s||Y||n|
|6.||Panasonic G5||1440||n||3.0 / 920||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Panasonic GF3||none||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||3.2/s||Y||n|
|8.||Panasonic GX1||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.2/s||Y||n|
|9.||Panasonic G10||202||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.6/s||Y||n|
|10.||Panasonic G2||1440||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||Y||1/4000s||2.6/s||Y||n|
|11.||Panasonic GF2||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||2.6/s||Y||n|
|12.||Panasonic GH2||1534||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Panasonic G1||1440||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|14.||Sony HX350||202||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony HX90V||638||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony H400||210||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/2000s||0.7/s||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony H300||none||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/1500s||0.8/s||Y||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The G3 has a touchscreen, while the HX400V 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 HX400V does not have a selfie-screen.
The G3 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the HX400V uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Panasonic G3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Sony HX400V||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Canon SX60||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Panasonic G6||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Panasonic GF6||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Panasonic G5||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Panasonic GF3||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Panasonic GX1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Panasonic G10||Y||mono / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Panasonic G2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Panasonic GF2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Panasonic GH2||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Panasonic G1||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Sony HX350||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Sony HX90V||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony H400||-||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|17.||Sony H300||-||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
It is notable that the HX400V 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.
Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the HX400V has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.
The HX400V is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. 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 and Sony websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Panasonic G3 better than the Sony HX400V or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (1440k vs 210k dots).
- 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.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- More compact: Is smaller (115x84mm vs 130x93mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in May 2011).
Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20.2 vs 15.8MP), which boosts linear resolution by 13%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/60i).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 460k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the G3 necessitates an extra lens.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (300 versus 270) out of a single battery charge.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 9 months of technical progress since the G3 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the HX400V comes out slightly ahead of the G3 (13 : 12 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Panasonic G3 and the Sony HX400V place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best Superzoom Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the G3 or the HX400V 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 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], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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.||Sony HX400V||4/5||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2014||499|
|3.||Canon SX60||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549|
|4.||Panasonic G6||4/5||+ +||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||599|
|5.||Panasonic GF6||..||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||499|
|6.||Panasonic G5||3/5||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||599|
|7.||Panasonic GF3||3/5||82/100||..||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||549|
|8.||Panasonic GX1||3/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2011||699|
|9.||Panasonic G10||3/5||..||..||70/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2010||499|
|10.||Panasonic G2||..||..||..||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2010||599|
|11.||Panasonic GF2||3/5||82/100||..||70/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2010||549|
|12.||Panasonic GH2||5/5||+ +||..||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2010||899|
|13.||Panasonic G1||..||+ +||..||70/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2008||599|
|14.||Sony HX350||..||..||..||..||..||4/5||Dec 2016||449|
|15.||Sony HX90V||4/5||+ +||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||429|
|16.||Sony H400||..||o||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2014||319|
|17.||Sony H300||..||+||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2014||219|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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, 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? 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.
- Canon 1D Mark IV vs Sony HX400V
- Canon 4000D vs Panasonic G3
- Canon 5D Mark III vs Sony HX400V
- Canon T5 vs Panasonic G3
- Leica S Typ 006 vs Sony HX400V
- Leica X Typ 113 vs Sony HX400V
- Olympus E-M1X vs Panasonic G3
- Panasonic G3 vs Panasonic GM1
- Panasonic G3 vs Pentax KP
- Panasonic G3 vs Sony A7 III
- Sony HX400V vs Sony NEX-F3
- Sony HX400V vs Sony RX0
Specifications: Panasonic G3 vs Sony HX400V
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||Sony HX400V|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses||24-1200mm f/2.8-6.3|
|Launch Date||May 2011||February 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic G3||Sony HX400V|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.8 Megapixels||20.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4592 x 3448 pixels||5184 x 3888 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.77 μm||1.18 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.04 MP/cm2||71.80 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||160 - 6,400 ISO||80 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||80 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||Venus FHD||BIONZ X|
|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||Sony HX400V|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots||210k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||460k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic G3||Sony HX400V|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||4 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Panasonic G3||Sony HX400V|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Geotagging||no internal GPS||GPS built-in|
|Body Specs||Panasonic G3||Sony HX400V|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||270 shots per charge||300 shots per charge|
115 x 84 x 47 mm
(4.5 x 3.3 x 1.9 in)
130 x 93 x 103 mm
(5.1 x 3.7 x 4.1 in)
|Camera Weight||336 g (11.9 oz)||660 g (23.3 oz)|
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