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Panasonic GF3 versus Panasonic G5

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in June 2011 and July 2012. Both the GF3 and the G5 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The GF3 has a resolution of 12 megapixel, whereas the G5 provides 15.9 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Panasonic GF3 vs Panasonic G5

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Panasonic GF3 and the Panasonic G5 is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the GF3 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Panasonic GF3 vs Panasonic G5
GF3 versus G5 top view
GF3 and G5 rear side

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic G5 is notably larger (38 percent) than the Panasonic GF3. Moreover, the G5 is substantially heavier (50 percent) than the GF3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the GF3 nor the G5 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 find an overview of suitable optics 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 GF3 gets 300 shots out of its DMW-BLE9 battery, while the G5 can take 320 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLC12 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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 Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(y/n)
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Panasonic GF3 (⇒ rgt) 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 9.3 oz 300 no 2011 549discont. check
Panasonic G5 (⇒ lft) 4.7 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 14.0 oz 320 no 2012 599discont. check
Olympus E-PM1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.3 in 9.3 oz 330 no 2011 499discont. check
Panasonic GX850 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.2 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 9.5 oz 210 no 2017 549 latest check
Panasonic G7 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.9 in 3.4 in 3.0 in 14.5 oz 350 no 2015 649discont. check
Panasonic GF6 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 11.4 oz 340 no 2013 499discont. check
Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.8 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 13.8 oz 340 no 2013 599discont. check
Panasonic GF5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 9.4 oz 360 no 2012 499discont. check
Panasonic LX7 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.8 in 10.5 oz 330 no 2012 499discont. check
Panasonic G3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.5 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 11.9 oz 270 no 2011 599discont. check
Panasonic GX1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.6 in 2.7 in 1.5 in 11.2 oz 320 no 2011 949discont. check
Panasonic GF2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 10.9 oz 300 no 2010 549discont. check
Panasonic LX5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 9.6 oz 400 no 2010 499discont. check
Panasonic G2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 15.1 oz 360 no 2010 599discont. check
Panasonic G10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 13.7 oz 380 no 2010 499discont. check
Panasonic G1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.9 in 3.3 in 1.8 in 12.7 oz 410 no 2008 599discont. check

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 GF3 was somewhat cheaper (by 8 percent) than the G5 at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Sensor comparison: Panasonic GF3 vs Panasonic G5

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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to 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 GF3 and Panasonic G5 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the G5 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixel, compared with 12 MP of the GF3. This megapixel advantage translates into a 15 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the G5 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.76μm versus 4.33μm for the GF3). However, it should be noted that the G5 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 1 month) than the GF3, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.

GF3 versus G5 MP

For most 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.

Sensor Characteristics
Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(Megapixel)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Panasonic GF3 (⇒ rgt) Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000 1080/60i 20.6 10 458 49
Panasonic G5 (⇒ lft) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 1080/60p - - - -
Olympus E-PM1 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024 1080/60i 21.0 10.3 499 52
Panasonic GX850 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.8 4592 3448 4K/30p 23.2 13.3 586 73
Panasonic G7 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.8 4592 3448 4K/30p - - - -
Panasonic GF6 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.8 4592 3448 1080/60i 20.7 10.6 622 54
Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 1080/60p 21.3 11.5 639 61
Panasonic GF5 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000 1080/60i 21.4 11.6 618 61
Panasonic LX7 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736 1080/60p 20.7 11.7 147 50
Panasonic G3 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.8 4592 3448 1080/60i 21 10.6 667 56
Panasonic GX1 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.8 4592 3448 1080/60p 20.8 10.6 703 55
Panasonic GF2 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000 1080/60i 21.2 10.3 506 54
Panasonic LX5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736 720/60p 19.6 10.8 132 41
Panasonic G2 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000 720/30p 21.2 10.3 493 53
Panasonic G10 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000 720/30p 21.2 10.1 411 52
Panasonic G1 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000 no 21.1 10.3 463 53

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the G5 provides a faster frame rate than the GF3. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the GF3 is limited to 1080/60i.

Feature comparison: Panasonic GF3 vs Panasonic G5

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the G5 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the GF3 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Panasonic GF3 and Panasonic G5 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(Y/n)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(Y/n)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(GN)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Panasonic GF3 (⇒ rgt) no no 3.0 460 fixed YES 4000 3.2 6.3 no
Panasonic G5 (⇒ lft) 1440 no 3.0 920 swivel YES 4000 6.0 10.5 no
Olympus E-PM1 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 460 fixed no 4000 5.5 no YES
Panasonic GX850 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 500 10.0 4 no
Panasonic G7 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1040 swivel YES 4000 7.0 9.3 no
Panasonic GF6 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 4.2 6.3 no
Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1440 no 3.0 1036 swivel YES 4000 7.0 10.5 no
Panasonic GF5 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 920 fixed YES 4000 4.0 6.3 no
Panasonic LX7 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 920 fixed no 4000 11.0 8.5 YES
Panasonic G3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1440 no 3.0 460 swivel YES 4000 4.0 11 no
Panasonic GX1 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 460 fixed YES 4000 4.2 7.6 no
Panasonic GF2 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 460 fixed YES 4000 2.6 6.0 no
Panasonic LX5 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 460 fixed no 4000 2.5 7.2 YES
Panasonic G2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1440 no 3.0 460 swivel YES 4000 2.6 11 no
Panasonic G10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 202 no 3.0 460 fixed no 4000 2.6 11 no
Panasonic G1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1440 no 3.0 460 swivel no 4001 3.0 10.5 no

Both the GF3 and the G5 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The GF3 was replaced by the Panasonic GF5, while the G5 was followed by the Panasonic G6.

Review summary: Panasonic GF3 vs Panasonic G5

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Panasonic GF3 or the Panasonic G5 – has the upper hand? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3:

  • More compact: Is smaller (108x67mm vs 120x83mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 132g or 33 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in June 2011).

Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (15.9 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 15%.
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/60i).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 460k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 vs 3.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 1 month) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the G5 is the clear winner of the contest (7 : 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.

GF3 03:07 G5

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 GF3 or the G5 handle or 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 expert reviews are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Panasonic GF3 (⇒ rgt) 82/100 71/100 4.5/5 4.5/5 4/5 2011 549discont. check
Panasonic G5 (⇒ lft) HiRec - 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2012 599discont. check
Olympus E-PM1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 86/100 71/100 Silver 4.5/5 - 4.5/5 2011 499discont. check
Panasonic GX850 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 76/100 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2017 549 latest check
Panasonic G7 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 80/100 Silver 5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2015 649discont. check
Panasonic GF6 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec - 4.5/5 - 4.5/5 2013 499discont. check
Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec - 5/5 - 4.5/5 2013 599discont. check
Panasonic GF5 (⇒ lft | rgt) - - 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2012 499discont. check
Panasonic LX7 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 75/100 Silver 4/5 5/5 4.5/5 2012 499discont. check
Panasonic G3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 88/100 HiRec 75/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2011 599discont. check
Panasonic GX1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 85/100 Rec 77/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2011 949discont. check
Panasonic GF2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 82/100 70/100 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2010 549discont. check
Panasonic LX5 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 73/100 Silver 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2010 499discont. check
Panasonic G2 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 72/100 Silver 4/5 4/5 4.5/5 2010 599discont. check
Panasonic G10 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 70/100 4/5 - 4/5 2010 499discont. check
Panasonic G1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 88/100 HiRec 70/100 HiRec 4/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2008 599discont. check

The above review scores should be interpreted 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 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.

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. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, kindly get in touch, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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