Panasonic GF3 vs GF6
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in June 2011 and April 2013. Both the GF3 and the GF6 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The GF3 has a resolution of 12 megapixels, whereas the GF6 provides 15.8 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-GF3 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6? 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 GF3 and the Panasonic GF6 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The GF3 can be obtained in five different colors (black, brown, pink, red, white), while the GF6 is available in four color-versions (black, brown, red, white).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GF3 and the Panasonic GF6 are of equal size. However, the GF6 is markedly heavier (22 percent) than the GF3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the GF3 nor the GF6 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 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, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Panasonic GF3||108 mm||67 mm||32 mm||264 g||300||n||Jun 2011||549|
|2.||Panasonic GF6||111 mm||65 mm||38 mm||323 g||340||n||Apr 2013||499|
|3.||Olympus E-PL3||110 mm||64 mm||37 mm||313 g||300||n||Jun 2011||599|
|4.||Olympus E-PM1||110 mm||64 mm||34 mm||265 g||330||n||Jun 2011||499|
|5.||Panasonic GF7||107 mm||65 mm||33 mm||266 g||230||n||Jan 2015||499|
|6.||Panasonic G6||122 mm||85 mm||71 mm||390 g||340||n||Apr 2013||599|
|7.||Panasonic GF5||108 mm||67 mm||37 mm||267 g||360||n||Apr 2012||499|
|8.||Panasonic LX7||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Jul 2012||499|
|9.||Panasonic G3||115 mm||84 mm||47 mm||336 g||270||n||May 2011||599|
|10.||Panasonic G10||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||388 g||380||n||Mar 2010||499|
|11.||Panasonic G2||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||428 g||360||n||Mar 2010||599|
|12.||Panasonic GF2||113 mm||68 mm||33 mm||310 g||300||n||Nov 2010||549|
|13.||Panasonic LX5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Jul 2010||499|
|14.||Panasonic G1||124 mm||84 mm||45 mm||360 g||410||n||Sep 2008||599|
|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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The GF6 was somewhat cheaper (by 9 percent) than the GF3 at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.
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.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the GF6 offers a higher resolution of 15.8 megapixels, compared with 12 MP of the GF3. This megapixels advantage translates into a 15 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the GF6 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.77μm versus 4.33μm for the GF3). However, it should be noted that the GF6 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 9 months) 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.
The resolution advantage of the Panasonic GF6 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the GF6 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23 x 17.2 inches or 58.3 x 43.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.7 x 35 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.3 x 11.5 inches or 38.9 x 29.2 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic GF3 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-GF3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 160 to ISO 6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6 are ISO 160 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 160-25600.
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 GF6 has a markedly higher DXO score than the GF3 (overall score 5 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.099999999999998 bits higher color depth, 0.6 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.4 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
|1.||Panasonic GF3||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||20.6||10.0||458||49|
|2.||Panasonic GF6||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||20.7||10.6||622||54|
|3.||Olympus E-PL3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.9||10.3||499||52|
|4.||Olympus E-PM1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||21.0||10.3||499||52|
|5.||Panasonic GF7||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|6.||Panasonic G6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61|
|7.||Panasonic GF5||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.4||11.6||618||61|
|9.||Panasonic G3||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||21.0||10.6||667||56|
|10.||Panasonic G10||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52|
|11.||Panasonic G2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53|
|12.||Panasonic GF2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.2||10.3||506||54|
|14.||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 are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60i).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The GF3 and the GF6 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. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Panasonic GF3 and Panasonic GF6 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the GF3 and the GF6 write their files to SDXC cards. The GF6 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the GF3 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-GF3 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
It is notable that the GF6 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the GF3 does not provide wifi capability.
Both the GF3 and the GF6 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The GF3 was replaced by the Panasonic GF5, while the GF6 was followed by the Panasonic GF7. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Panasonic website.
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Panasonic GF3 and the Panasonic GF6? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3:
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 59g or 18 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in June 2011).
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (15.8 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 15%.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (5 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.6 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 460k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4.2 vs 3.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (340 versus 300) out of a single battery charge.
- 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: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 9 months) more recently.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GF6 is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 2 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 GF3 and the Panasonic GF6 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 the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the GF3 or the GF6 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 where reviews by experts come in. 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 GF3||3/5||82/100||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||549|
|2.||Panasonic GF6||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||499|
|3.||Olympus E-PL3||3/5||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||599|
|4.||Olympus E-PM1||..||86/100||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2011||499|
|5.||Panasonic GF7||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||499|
|6.||Panasonic G6||4/5||+ +||..||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||599|
|7.||Panasonic GF5||3/5||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||499|
|8.||Panasonic LX7||3/5||+ +||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||499|
|9.||Panasonic G3||3/5||+ +||75/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2011||599|
|10.||Panasonic G10||3/5||..||70/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2010||499|
|11.||Panasonic G2||..||..||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2010||599|
|12.||Panasonic GF2||3/5||82/100||70/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2010||549|
|13.||Panasonic LX5||4/5||+||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|14.||Panasonic G1||..||+ +||70/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2008||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Panasonic GF3 vs Panasonic GF6
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 GF3||Panasonic GF6|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||June 2011||April 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 549||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic GF3||Panasonic GF6|
|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|
|Sensor Resolution||12 Megapixels||15.8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4000 x 3000 pixels||4592 x 3448 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.33 μm||3.77 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.34 MP/cm2||7.04 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||160 - 6,400 ISO||160 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||160 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||Venus FHD||Venus FHD|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||49||54|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||20.6||20.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.0||10.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||458||622|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic GF3||Panasonic GF6|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||460k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic GF3||Panasonic GF6|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3.2 shutter flaps/s||4.2 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Panasonic GF3||Panasonic GF6|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Panasonic GF3||Panasonic GF6|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||300 shots per charge||340 shots per charge|
108 x 67 x 32 mm
(4.3 x 2.6 x 1.3 in)
111 x 65 x 38 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||264 g (9.3 oz)||323 g (11.4 oz)|
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