Panasonic G3 vs Sony HX99
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in May 2011 and August 2018. The G3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the HX99 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (G3) and a 1/2.3-inch (HX99) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 15.8 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 18 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-HX99? 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 HX99 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear 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 HX99 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 HX99 is considerably smaller (39 percent) than the Panasonic G3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G3 nor the HX99 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the HX99 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.
Concerning battery life, the G3 gets 270 shots out of its DMW-BLD10 battery, while the HX99 can take 370 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack. The power pack in the HX99 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. 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 HX99||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||449|
|3.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|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 HX95||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||429|
|15.||Sony WX800||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||233 g||370||n||Oct 2018||399|
|16.||Sony HX90V||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||360||n||Apr 2015||429|
|17.||Sony HX400V||130 mm||93 mm||103 mm||660 g||300||n||Feb 2014||499|
|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 HX99 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 Sony HX99 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the HX99 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.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the HX99 offers a higher resolution of 18 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 1.25μm versus 3.77μm for the G3). However, it should be noted that the HX99 is much more recent (by 7 years and 3 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 HX99 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Sony HX99 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the HX99 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.5 x 18.4 inches or 62.2 x 46.6 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.6 x 14.7 inches or 49.7 x 37.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.3 x 12.2 inches or 41.5 x 31.1 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-HX99 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-6400.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). 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|
|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||..||..||..||..|
|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|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the HX99 provides a better video resolution than the G3. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Panasonic is limited to 1080/60i.
Beyond 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 HX99 (1440k vs 638k dots). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Panasonic G3 and Sony HX99 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
The G3 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the HX99 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The HX99 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.
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-HX99 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
It is notable that the G3 has a hotshoe, while the HX99 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
The HX99 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 how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Panasonic G3 and the Sony HX99? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer 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 638k dots).
- 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 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (18 vs 15.8MP), which boosts linear resolution by 7%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60i).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k 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.
- More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm 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 (370 versus 270) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- 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.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 7 years and 3 months of technical progress since the G3 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the HX99 is the clear winner of the contest (17 : 11 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 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 HX99 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the G3 or the HX99. 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 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.||Sony HX99||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||449|
|3.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|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 HX95||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 2018||429|
|15.||Sony WX800||..||..||..||..||..||Oct 2018||399|
|16.||Sony HX90V||4/5||+ +||..||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||429|
|17.||Sony HX400V||4/5||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2014||499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, 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 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
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Specifications: Panasonic G3 vs Sony HX99
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 HX99|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses||24-720mm f/3.5-6.4|
|Launch Date||May 2011||August 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 449|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic G3||Sony HX99|
|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||18 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4592 x 3448 pixels||4896 x 3672 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.77 μm||1.25 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.04 MP/cm2||64.04 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||160 - 6,400 ISO||80 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||80 - 6,400 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 HX99|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots||638k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||460k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic G3||Sony HX99|
|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||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Panasonic G3||Sony HX99|
|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|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Panasonic G3||Sony HX99|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||270 shots per charge||370 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)
102 x 58 x 36 mm
(4.0 x 2.3 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||336 g (11.9 oz)||242 g (8.5 oz)|
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