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Panasonic GF1 vs GF5

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2009 and April 2012. Both the GF1 and the GF5 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 12 megapixels.

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

Headline Specifications
Panasonic GF1   Panasonic GF5
Panasonic GF1 Panasonic GF5
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
12 MP, Four Thirds Sensor 12 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
720/30p Video 1080/60i Video
ISO 100-3200 ISO 160-6400 (160-12800)
Viewfinder optional No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0" LCD, 460k dots 3.0" LCD, 920k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed touchscreen
3 shutter flaps per second 4 shutter flaps per second
380 shots per battery charge360 shots per battery charge
119 x 71 x 36 mm, 385 g 108 x 67 x 37 mm, 267 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5? 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

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Panasonic GF1 and the Panasonic GF5 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 GF5 can be obtained in three different colors (black, red, white), while the GF1 is only available in black.

Size Panasonic GF1 vs Panasonic GF5
Compare GF1 versus GF5 top
Comparison GF1 or GF5 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GF5 is notably smaller (14 percent) than the Panasonic GF1. Moreover, the GF5 is markedly lighter (31 percent) than the GF1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the GF1 nor the GF5 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.

Concerning battery life, the GF1 gets 380 shots out of its DMW-BLB13 battery, while the GF5 can take 360 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLE9 power pack.

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, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Panasonic GF1» 4.7 in 2.8 in 1.4 in 13.6 oz 380 n Sep 2009 749- i Panasonic GF1
 
Panasonic GF5« 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 9.4 oz 360 n Apr 2012 499- i Panasonic GF5
 
Olympus E-P1« » 4.8 in 2.8 in 1.4 in 12.5 oz 300 n Jun 2009 799- i Olympus E-P1
 
Olympus E-P2« » 4.8 in 2.8 in 1.4 in 12.5 oz 300 n Nov 2009 799- i Olympus E-P2
 
Panasonic LX100« » 4.5 in 2.6 in 2.2 in 13.9 oz 300 n Sep 2014 899 i i Panasonic LX100
 
Panasonic G6« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 13.8 oz 340 n Apr 2013 599- i Panasonic G6
 
Panasonic GF6« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 11.4 oz 340 n Apr 2013 499- i Panasonic GF6
 
Panasonic GF3« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 9.3 oz 300 n Jun 2011 549- i Panasonic GF3
 
Panasonic GX1« » 4.6 in 2.7 in 1.5 in 11.2 oz 320 n Nov 2011 699- i Panasonic GX1
 
Panasonic G10« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 13.7 oz 380 n Mar 2010 499- i Panasonic G10
 
Panasonic G2« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 15.1 oz 360 n Mar 2010 599- i Panasonic G2
 
Panasonic GF2« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 10.9 oz 300 n Nov 2010 549- i Panasonic GF2
 
Panasonic GH2« » 4.9 in 3.5 in 3.0 in 15.6 oz 330 n Sep 2010 899- i Panasonic GH2
 
Panasonic GH1« » 4.9 in 3.5 in 1.8 in 13.6 oz 300 n Mar 2009 899- i Panasonic GH1
 
Panasonic G1« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 1.8 in 12.7 oz 410 n Sep 2008 599- i Panasonic G1
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The GF5 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 33 percent) than the GF1, 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 imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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.

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 GF1 and Panasonic GF5 sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 12 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the GF1 and the GF5 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the GF5 is much more recent (by 2 years and 7 months) than the GF1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 are ISO 160 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 160-12800.

GF1 versus GF5 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the GF5 has a markedly higher DXO score than the GF1 (overall score 7 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.2 bits higher color depth, 1.3 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.3 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.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Panasonic GF1» Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.351354Panasonic GF1
 
Panasonic GF5« Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.411.661861Panasonic GF5
 
Olympus E-P1« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.453655Olympus E-P1
 
Olympus E-P2« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.450556Olympus E-P2
 
Panasonic LX100« » Four Thirds 12.7 4112 30884K/30p22.312.555367Panasonic LX100
 
Panasonic G6« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961Panasonic G6
 
Panasonic GF6« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i20.710.662254Panasonic GF6
 
Panasonic GF3« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i20.610.045849Panasonic GF3
 
Panasonic GX1« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p20.810.670355Panasonic GX1
 
Panasonic G10« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152Panasonic G10
 
Panasonic G2« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353Panasonic G2
 
Panasonic GF2« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.210.350654Panasonic GF2
 
Panasonic GH2« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i21.211.365560Panasonic GH2
 
Panasonic GH1« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/24p21.611.677264Panasonic GH1
 
Panasonic G1« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000-21.110.346353Panasonic G1

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 GF5 provides a better video resolution than the GF1. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the GF1 is limited to 720/30p.

 

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The GF1 and the GF5 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. That said, the GF1 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the DMW-LVF1. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic GF1, the Panasonic GF5, and comparable cameras.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Panasonic GF1»- n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Panasonic GF1
 
Panasonic GF5«- n 3.0 920 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Panasonic GF5
 
Olympus E-P1« »- n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n Y Olympus E-P1
 
Olympus E-P2« »- n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n Y Olympus E-P2
 
Panasonic LX100« »2764 n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 n Y Panasonic LX100
 
Panasonic G6« »1440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 1/4000s 7.0 Y n Panasonic G6
 
Panasonic GF6« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n Panasonic GF6
 
Panasonic GF3« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 3.2 Y n Panasonic GF3
 
Panasonic GX1« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n Panasonic GX1
 
Panasonic G10« »202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6 Y n Panasonic G10
 
Panasonic G2« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n Panasonic G2
 
Panasonic GF2« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n Panasonic GF2
 
Panasonic GH2« »1534 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Panasonic GH2
 
Panasonic GH1« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Panasonic GH1
 
Panasonic G1« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Panasonic G1

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The GF5 has a touchscreen, while the GF1 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The GF1 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the GF5 uses SDXC cards. The GF5 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the GF1 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-GF1 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Panasonic GF1»Ymonomono--mini2.0---Panasonic GF1
 
Panasonic GF5«-stereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic GF5
 
Olympus E-P1« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-P1
 
Olympus E-P2« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-P2
 
Panasonic LX100« »Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Panasonic LX100
 
Panasonic G6« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Panasonic G6
 
Panasonic GF6« »-stereomono--mini2.0YY-Panasonic GF6
 
Panasonic GF3« »-stereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic GF3
 
Panasonic GX1« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic GX1
 
Panasonic G10« »Ymono---mini2.0---Panasonic G10
 
Panasonic G2« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic G2
 
Panasonic GF2« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic GF2
 
Panasonic GH2« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Panasonic GH2
 
Panasonic GH1« »Ystereo-Y-mini2.0---Panasonic GH1
 
Panasonic G1« »Y----mini2.0---Panasonic G1

It is notable that the GF1 has a hotshoe, while the GF5 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.

Both the GF1 and the GF5 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The GF1 was replaced by the Panasonic DMC-GF2, while the GF5 was followed by the Panasonic GF6. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Panasonic website.


Review summary

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Panasonic GF1 or the Panasonic GF5 – 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.


Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1:

  • More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
  • 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 September 2009).


Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (7 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.3 EV of extra DR).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60i vs 720/30p).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 460k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (108x67mm vs 119x71mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 118g or 31 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • 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: Reflects 2 years and 7 months of technical progress since the GF1 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GF5 is the clear winner of the contest (11 : 3 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.

GF1 03:11 GF5

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Panasonic GF1 and the Panasonic GF5 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the GF1 or the GF5. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Panasonic GF1»85/10069/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2009 749- i Panasonic GF1
 
Panasonic GF5«--4.5/54/54.5/5 Apr 2012 499- i Panasonic GF5
 
Olympus E-P1« »+66/1004/54/54.5/5 Jun 2009 799- i Olympus E-P1
 
Olympus E-P2« »+69/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2009 799- i Olympus E-P2
 
Panasonic LX100« »+ +85/1005/54/55/5 Sep 2014 899 i i Panasonic LX100
 
Panasonic G6« »+ +-5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 599- i Panasonic G6
 
Panasonic GF6« »+ +-4.5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 499- i Panasonic GF6
 
Panasonic GF3« »82/10071/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Jun 2011 549- i Panasonic GF3
 
Panasonic GX1« »+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2011 699- i Panasonic GX1
 
Panasonic G10« »-70/1004/5-4/5 Mar 2010 499- i Panasonic G10
 
Panasonic G2« »-72/1004/54/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599- i Panasonic G2
 
Panasonic GF2« »82/10070/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2010 549- i Panasonic GF2
 
Panasonic GH2« »+ +79/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Sep 2010 899- i Panasonic GH2
 
Panasonic GH1« »+ +72/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 899- i Panasonic GH1
 
Panasonic G1« »+ +70/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2008 599- i Panasonic G1
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.

Panasonic GF1:
Check Ebay offers
Panasonic GF5:
Check Ebay offers

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. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Panasonic GF1 vs Panasonic GF5

    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 GF1 Panasonic GF5
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date September 2009 April 2012
    Launch Price USD 749 USD 499
    Sensor Specs Panasonic GF1 Panasonic GF5
    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 12 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4000 x 3000 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.33 μm 4.33 μm
    Pixel Density 5.34 MP/cm2 5.34 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 720/30p Video 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 100-3200 ISO 160-6400 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 160-12800 ISO
    Image Processor Venus HD Venus FHD
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 54 61
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.2 21.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.3 11.6
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 513 618
    Screen Specs Panasonic GF1 Panasonic GF5
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional No viewfinder
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 460k dots 920k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input no Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Panasonic GF1 Panasonic GF5
    Autofocus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 4 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Panasonic GF1 Panasonic GF5
    External Flash Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Panasonic GF1 Panasonic GF5
    Battery Type DMW-BLB13 DMW-BLE9
    Battery Life (CIPA)380 shots per charge360 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 119 x 71 x 36 mm
    (4.7 x 2.8 x 1.4 in)
    108 x 67 x 37 mm
    (4.3 x 2.6 x 1.5 in)
    Camera Weight 385 g (13.6 oz) 267 g (9.4 oz)

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