Panasonic GF1 vs Sony RX10 III
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 III are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2009 and March 2016. The GF1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the RX10 III is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (GF1) and an one-inch (RX10 III) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 12 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 20 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Panasonic GF1||Sony RX10 III|
|Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Micro Four Thirds lenses||24-600mm f/2.4-4.0|
|12 MP, Four Thirds Sensor||20 MP, 1" Sensor|
|720/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO 100-3,200||ISO 100-12,800 (64 - 25,600)|
|Viewfinder optional||Electronic viewfinder (2359k dots)|
|3.0 LCD, 460k dots||3.0 LCD, 1229k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|3 shutter flaps per second||14 shutter flaps per second|
|not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|380 shots per battery charge||420 shots per battery charge|
|119 x 71 x 36 mm, 385 g||133 x 94 x 127 mm, 1051 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 III? 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.
The physical size and weight of the Panasonic GF1 and the Sony RX10 III are illustrated 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.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony RX10 III is considerably larger (48 percent) than the Panasonic GF1. It is noteworthy in this context that the RX10 III is splash and dust-proof, while the GF1 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX10 III has a lens built in, whereas the GF1 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 GF1 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the GF1 gets 380 shots out of its DMW-BLB13 battery, while the RX10 III can take 420 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack. The power pack in the RX10 III 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 would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Panasonic GF1||119 mm||71 mm||36 mm||385 g||380||n||Sep 2009||749|
|Sony RX10 III||133 mm||94 mm||127 mm||1051 g||420||Y||Mar 2016||1,499|
|Olympus E-P1||121 mm||70 mm||36 mm||355 g||300||n||Jun 2009||799|
|Olympus E-P2||121 mm||70 mm||36 mm||355 g||300||n||Nov 2009||799|
|Panasonic LX100||115 mm||66 mm||55 mm||393 g||300||n||Sep 2014||899|
|Panasonic GX1||116 mm||68 mm||39 mm||318 g||320||n||Nov 2011||699|
|Panasonic G10||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||388 g||380||n||Mar 2010||499|
|Panasonic G2||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||428 g||360||n||Mar 2010||599|
|Panasonic GF2||113 mm||68 mm||33 mm||310 g||300||n||Nov 2010||549|
|Panasonic GH2||124 mm||90 mm||76 mm||442 g||330||n||Sep 2010||899|
|Panasonic GH1||124 mm||90 mm||45 mm||385 g||300||n||Mar 2009||899|
|Panasonic G1||124 mm||84 mm||45 mm||360 g||410||n||Sep 2008||599|
|Sony RX10 IV||133 mm||94 mm||145 mm||1095 g||400||Y||Sep 2017||1,699|
|Sony RX0||59 mm||41 mm||30 mm||110 g||240||Y||Aug 2017||699|
|Sony RX100 V||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||299 g||220||n||Oct 2016||999|
|Sony RX10 II||129 mm||88 mm||102 mm||813 g||400||Y||Jun 2015||1,299|
|Sony RX10||129 mm||88 mm||102 mm||813 g||420||Y||Oct 2013||1,299|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
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. 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. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 GF1 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Sony RX10 III an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the RX10 III is 48 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 2.7. The sensor in the GF1 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the RX10 III offers a 3:2 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the RX10 III offers a higher resolution of 20 megapixels, compared with 12 MP of the GF1. 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 2.41μm versus 4.33μm for the GF1). However, it should be noted that the RX10 III is much more recent (by 6 years and 6 months) than the GF1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
The resolution advantage of the Sony RX10 III implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the RX10 III for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.4 x 18.2 inches or 69.5 x 46.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.9 x 14.6 inches or 55.6 x 37.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.2 inches or 46.3 x 30.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic GF1 are 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 III are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 64-25600.
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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the RX10 III offers substantially better image quality than the GF1 (overall score 16 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.9 bits higher color depth, 2.3 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.1 stops of reduced 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.
|Panasonic GF1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||513||54|
|Sony RX10 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||23.1||12.6||472||70|
|Olympus E-P1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.4||536||55|
|Olympus E-P2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.4||505||56|
|Panasonic LX100||Four Thirds||12.7||4112||3088||4K/30p||22.3||12.5||553||67|
|Panasonic GX1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||20.8||10.6||703||55|
|Panasonic G10||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52|
|Panasonic G2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53|
|Panasonic GF2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.2||10.3||506||54|
|Panasonic GH2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||21.2||11.3||655||60|
|Panasonic GH1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/24p||21.6||11.6||772||64|
|Panasonic G1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||none||21.1||10.3||463||53|
|Sony RX10 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Sony RX100 V||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.4||586||70|
|Sony RX10 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||23.0||12.6||531||70|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the RX10 III provides a better video resolution than the GF1. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Panasonic is limited to 720/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the RX10 III has an electronic viewfinder (2359k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the GF1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the GF1 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the DMW-LVF1. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Panasonic GF1 and Sony RX10 III along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Sony RX10 III||2359||Y||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||14.0||Y||Y|
|Sony RX10 IV||2359||Y||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y|
|Sony RX100 V||2359||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y|
|Sony RX10 II||2359||Y||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/3200s||14.0||Y||Y|
One feature that is present on the RX10 III, but is missing on the GF1 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
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 RX10 III 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 GF1 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the RX10 III uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The RX10 III 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.
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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 III and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Sony RX10 III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Sony RX10 IV||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Sony RX100 V||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Sony RX10 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the RX10 III offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the GF1 does not provide wifi capability.
The RX10 III is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the GF1 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the GF1 was succeeded by the Panasonic DMC-GF2. 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 GF1 better than the Sony RX10 III or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1:
- 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.
- More compact: Is smaller (119x71mm vs 133x94mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2009).
Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 III:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 32%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (16 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.9 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2.3 EV of extra DR).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 720/30p).
- 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.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 460k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (14 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the GF1 necessitates an extra lens.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (420 versus 380) 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.
- 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.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 6 years and 6 months of technical progress since the GF1 launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the RX10 III is the clear winner of the contest (21 : 4 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 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 GF1 and the Sony RX10 III 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 GF1 or the RX10 III. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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.
|Panasonic GF1||85/100||69/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||749|
|Sony RX10 III||+||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2016||1,499|
|Olympus E-P1||+||66/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2009||799|
|Olympus E-P2||+||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2009||799|
|Panasonic LX100||+ +||85/100||5/5||4/5||5/5||Sep 2014||899|
|Panasonic GX1||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2011||699|
|Panasonic G10||..||70/100||4/5||..||4/5||Mar 2010||499|
|Panasonic G2||..||72/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2010||599|
|Panasonic GF2||82/100||70/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2010||549|
|Panasonic GH2||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2010||899|
|Panasonic GH1||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||899|
|Panasonic G1||+ +||70/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2008||599|
|Sony RX10 IV||+||84/100||4.5/5||..||5/5||Sep 2017||1,699|
|Sony RX0||..||..||3.5/5||..||4/5||Aug 2017||699|
|Sony RX100 V||+ +||83/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2016||999|
|Sony RX10 II||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2015||1,299|
|Sony RX10||+||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,299|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted 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 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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 1D vs Sony RX10 III
- Canon 1Ds vs Panasonic GF1
- Canon 500D vs Sony RX10 III
- Canon D60 vs Sony RX10 III
- Canon G9 X vs Panasonic GF1
- Canon M6 vs Panasonic GF1
- Nikon 1 V2 vs Panasonic GF1
- Nikon D5500 vs Sony RX10 III
- Panasonic G110 vs Panasonic GF1
- Panasonic GF1 vs Sony NEX-3N
- Panasonic GX1 vs Sony RX10 III
- Sony A5000 vs Sony RX10 III
Specifications: Panasonic GF1 vs Sony RX10 III
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 GF1||Sony RX10 III|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses||24-600mm f/2.4-4.0|
|Launch Date||September 2009||March 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 749||USD 1,499|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic GF1||Sony RX10 III|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||1" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||13.2 x 8.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||116.16 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||15.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12 Megapixels||20 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4000 x 3000 pixels||5472 x 3648 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.33 μm||2.41 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.34 MP/cm2||17.18 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||720/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||64 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||Venus HD||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||54||70|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.2||23.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.3||12.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||513||472|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic GF1||Sony RX10 III|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2359k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||460k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic GF1||Sony RX10 III|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/2000s|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||14 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/32000s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Panasonic GF1||Sony RX10 III|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|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|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Panasonic GF1||Sony RX10 III|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||380 shots per charge||420 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
119 x 71 x 36 mm
(4.7 x 2.8 x 1.4 in)
133 x 94 x 127 mm
(5.2 x 3.7 x 5.0 in)
|Camera Weight||385 g (13.6 oz)||1051 g (37.1 oz)|
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