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Panasonic G5 vs GH2

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in July 2012 and September 2010. Both the G5 and the GH2 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 15.9 megapixels.

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

Headline Specifications
Panasonic G5
versus
Panasonic GH2
Panasonic G5   Panasonic GH2
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
15.9 MP – Four Thirds sensor 15.9 MP – Four Thirds sensor
1080/60p Video 1080/60i Video
ISO 160-12,800 ISO 160-12,800
Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots) Electronic viewfinder (1534k dots)
3.0" LCD – 920k dots 3.0" LCD – 460k dots
Swivel touchscreen Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
6 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
320 shots per battery charge330 shots per battery charge
120 x 83 x 71 mm, 396 g 124 x 90 x 76 mm, 442 g
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2? 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

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Panasonic G5 and the Panasonic GH2. 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.

Both cameras are available in two different colors (black, silver).

Size Panasonic G5 vs Panasonic GH2
Compare G5 versus GH2 top
Comparison G5 or GH2 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GH2 is notably larger (12 percent) than the Panasonic G5. Moreover, the GH2 is markedly heavier (12 percent) than the G5. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G5 nor the GH2 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.

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.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Panasonic G5 120 mm 83 mm 71 mm 396 g 320 n Jul 2012 599ebay.com
2.
 
Panasonic GH2 124 mm 90 mm 76 mm 442 g 330 n Sep 2010 899ebay.com
3.
 
Olympus E-PL5 111 mm 64 mm 38 mm 325 g 360 n Sep 2012 599ebay.com
4.
 
Panasonic G7 125 mm 86 mm 77 mm 410 g 350 n May 2015 649ebay.com
5.
 
Panasonic GM5 99 mm 60 mm 36 mm 211 g 220 n Sep 2014 749ebay.com
6.
 
Panasonic G6 122 mm 85 mm 71 mm 390 g 340 n Apr 2013 599ebay.com
7.
 
Panasonic GF6 111 mm 65 mm 38 mm 323 g 340 n Apr 2013 499ebay.com
8.
 
Panasonic GF5 108 mm 67 mm 37 mm 267 g 360 n Apr 2012 499ebay.com
9.
 
Panasonic GH3 133 mm 93 mm 82 mm 550 g 540 Y Sep 2012 1,299ebay.com
10.
 
Panasonic G3 115 mm 84 mm 47 mm 336 g 270 n May 2011 599ebay.com
11.
 
Panasonic GF3 108 mm 67 mm 32 mm 264 g 300 n Jun 2011 549ebay.com
12.
 
Panasonic GX1 116 mm 68 mm 39 mm 318 g 320 n Nov 2011 699ebay.com
13.
 
Panasonic G10 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 388 g 380 n Mar 2010 499ebay.com
14.
 
Panasonic GH1 124 mm 90 mm 45 mm 385 g 300 n Mar 2009 899ebay.com
Note: 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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The G5 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 33 percent) than the GH2, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.

Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 more expensive and 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 G5 and Panasonic GH2 sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 15.9 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the G5 and the GH2 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the G5 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 9 months) than the GH2, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 160 to ISO 12800. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 offers exactly the same ISO settings.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.

G5 versus GH2 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. 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
1.
 
Panasonic G5 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.411.661861
2.
 
Panasonic GH2 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i21.211.365560
3.
 
Olympus E-PL5 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388972
4.
 
Panasonic G7 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p22.812.490471
5.
 
Panasonic GM5 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.111.772166
6.
 
Panasonic G6 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961
7.
 
Panasonic GF6 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i20.710.662254
8.
 
Panasonic GF5 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i20.510.057350
9.
 
Panasonic GH3 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p22.712.481271
10.
 
Panasonic G3 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756
11.
 
Panasonic GF3 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i20.610.145950
12.
 
Panasonic GX1 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p20.810.670355
13.
 
Panasonic G10 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152
14.
 
Panasonic GH1 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/24p21.611.677264
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 are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the G5 provides a higher frame rate than the GH2. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the GH2 is limited to 1080/60i.

Feature comparison

Apart from 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 GH2 offers a slightly higher resolution than the one in the G5 (1534k vs 1440k dots). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Panasonic G5 and Panasonic GH2 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Panasonic G51440 n3.0 / 920 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0/s Y n
2.
 
Panasonic GH21534 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
3.
 
Olympus E-PL5optional n3.0 / 460 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0/s n Y
4.
 
Panasonic G72360 n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 7.0/s Y n
5.
 
Panasonic GM51166 n3.0 / 921 fixed Y 1/500s 5.8/s n n
6.
 
Panasonic G61440 n3.0 / 1036 swivel Y 1/4000s 7.0/s Y n
7.
 
Panasonic GF6none n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.2/s Y n
8.
 
Panasonic GF5none n3.0 / 920 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.0/s Y n
9.
 
Panasonic GH31746 n3.0 / 614 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0/s Y n
10.
 
Panasonic G31440 n3.0 / 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 4.0/s Y n
11.
 
Panasonic GF3none n3.0 / 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 3.2/s Y n
12.
 
Panasonic GX1optional n3.0 / 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.2/s Y n
13.
 
Panasonic G10202 n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6/s Y n
14.
 
Panasonic GH11440 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
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 G5 has a touchscreen, while the GH2 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

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.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the G5 and the GH2 write their files to SDXC cards. The G5 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the GH2 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-G5 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 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
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Panasonic G5Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Panasonic GH2Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---
3.
 
Olympus E-PL5Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
4.
 
Panasonic G7Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0Y--
5.
 
Panasonic GM5Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
6.
 
Panasonic G6Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
7.
 
Panasonic GF6-stereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
8.
 
Panasonic GF5-stereo / mono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Panasonic GH3Ystereo / monoYYmini2.0Y--
10.
 
Panasonic G3Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Panasonic GF3-stereo / mono--mini2.0---
12.
 
Panasonic GX1Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
13.
 
Panasonic G10Ymono / ---mini2.0---
14.
 
Panasonic GH1Ystereo / -Y-mini2.0---

It is notable that the GH2 has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The G5 does not feature such a mic input.

Both the G5 and the GH2 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The GH2 was replaced by the Panasonic GH3, while the G5 was followed by the Panasonic G6. Further information on the features and operation of the G5 and GH2 can be found, respectively, in the Panasonic G5 Manual (free pdf) or the online Panasonic GH2 Manual.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Panasonic G5 better than the Panasonic GH2 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5:

  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/60i).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 460k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (120x83mm vs 124x90mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 46g or 10 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (33 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 9 months after the GH2).


Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2:

  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.71x vs 0.70x).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2010).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G5 is the clear winner of the match-up (9 : 3 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

G5 09:03 GH2

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Panasonic G5 and the Panasonic GH2 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the G5 and the GH2 in practical situations. 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.

Expert reviews

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], 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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Panasonic G53/5+ +....4.5/54.5/5 Jul 2012 599ebay.com
2.
 
Panasonic GH25/5+ +..79/1004.5/55/5 Sep 2010 899ebay.com
3.
 
Olympus E-PL53/5+ +....4.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599ebay.com
4.
 
Panasonic G74/5+ +..80/1005/54.5/5 May 2015 649ebay.com
5.
 
Panasonic GM53.5/5+..77/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2014 749ebay.com
6.
 
Panasonic G64/5+ +....5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 599ebay.com
7.
 
Panasonic GF6..+ +....4.5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 499ebay.com
8.
 
Panasonic GF53/5......4.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 499ebay.com
9.
 
Panasonic GH35/5+ +..79/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 1,299ebay.com
10.
 
Panasonic G33/5+ +..75/1004.5/55/5 May 2011 599ebay.com
11.
 
Panasonic GF33/582/100..71/1004.5/54/5 Jun 2011 549ebay.com
12.
 
Panasonic GX13/5+..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Nov 2011 699ebay.com
13.
 
Panasonic G103/5....70/1004/54/5 Mar 2010 499ebay.com
14.
 
Panasonic GH1..+ +..72/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 899ebay.com
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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

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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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Panasonic G5 vs Panasonic GH2

    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 G5 Panasonic GH2
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date July 2012 September 2010
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 899
    Sensor Specs Panasonic G5 Panasonic GH2
    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 15.9 Megapixels 15.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4608 x 3456 pixels 4608 x 3456 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.76 μm 3.76 μm
    Pixel Density 7.08 MP/cm2 7.08 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 160 - 12,800 ISO 160 - 12,800 ISO
    Image Processor Venus VII FHD Venus FHD
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 61 60
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.4 21.2
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.6 11.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 618 655
    Screen Specs Panasonic G5 Panasonic GH2
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.70x 0.71x
    Viewfinder Resolution 1440k dots 1534k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 920k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Swivel screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Panasonic G5 Panasonic GH2
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 6 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Single or Dual Card Slots Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I no
    Connectivity Specs Panasonic G5 Panasonic GH2
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Panasonic G5 Panasonic GH2
    Battery Type DMW-BLC12 DMW-BLC12
    Battery Life (CIPA)320 shots per charge330 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 120 x 83 x 71 mm
    (4.7 x 3.3 x 2.8 in)
    124 x 90 x 76 mm
    (4.9 x 3.5 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 396 g (14.0 oz) 442 g (15.6 oz)
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