Panasonic GF3 vs Sony HX400V
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in June 2011 and February 2014. The GF3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the HX400V is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (GF3) and a 1/2.3-inch (HX400V) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 12 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 20.2 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V? 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 GF3 and the Sony HX400V are illustrated 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 HX400V is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony HX400V is considerably larger (67 percent) than the Panasonic GF3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the GF3 nor the HX400V are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the HX400V has a lens built in, whereas the GF3 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 GF3 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
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.
|1.||Panasonic GF3||108 mm||67 mm||32 mm||264 g||300||n||Jun 2011||549|
|2.||Sony HX400V||130 mm||93 mm||103 mm||660 g||300||n||Feb 2014||499|
|3.||Canon SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549|
|4.||Olympus E-PL3||110 mm||64 mm||37 mm||313 g||300||n||Jun 2011||599|
|5.||Olympus E-PM1||110 mm||64 mm||34 mm||265 g||330||n||Jun 2011||499|
|6.||Panasonic GF5||108 mm||67 mm||37 mm||267 g||360||n||Apr 2012||499|
|7.||Panasonic LX7||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Jul 2012||499|
|8.||Panasonic G3||115 mm||84 mm||47 mm||336 g||270||n||May 2011||599|
|9.||Panasonic G10||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||388 g||380||n||Mar 2010||499|
|10.||Panasonic G2||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||428 g||360||n||Mar 2010||599|
|11.||Panasonic GF2||113 mm||68 mm||33 mm||310 g||300||n||Nov 2010||549|
|12.||Panasonic LX5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Jul 2010||499|
|13.||Panasonic G1||124 mm||84 mm||45 mm||360 g||410||n||Sep 2008||599|
|14.||Sony HX350||130 mm||93 mm||103 mm||652 g||300||n||Dec 2016||449|
|15.||Sony HX90V||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||360||n||Apr 2015||429|
|16.||Sony H400||130 mm||95 mm||122 mm||628 g||300||n||Feb 2014||319|
|17.||Sony H300||128 mm||89 mm||92 mm||590 g||350||n||Feb 2014||219|
|Notes: 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 HX400V was launched at a lower price than the GF3, despite having a lens built in. 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 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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Panasonic GF3 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Sony HX400V a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the HX400V is 88 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 5.6. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the HX400V offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 12 MP of the GF3. 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 1.18μm versus 4.33μm for the GF3). However, it should be noted that the HX400V is much more recent (by 2 years and 8 months) than the GF3, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the HX400V has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Sony HX400V implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the HX400V for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-12800.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Panasonic GF3||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||20.6||10.0||458||49|
|4.||Olympus E-PL3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.9||10.3||499||52|
|5.||Olympus E-PM1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||21.0||10.3||499||52|
|6.||Panasonic GF5||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.4||11.6||618||61|
|8.||Panasonic G3||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||21.0||10.6||667||56|
|9.||Panasonic G10||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52|
|10.||Panasonic G2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53|
|11.||Panasonic GF2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.2||10.3||506||54|
|13.||Panasonic G1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||none||21.1||10.3||463||53|
|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 HX400V provides a faster frame rate than the GF3. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Panasonic is limited to 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the HX400V has an electronic viewfinder (210k 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 Sony HX400V along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Panasonic GF3||none||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||3.2||Y||n|
|2.||Sony HX400V||210||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon SX60||922||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/2000s||6.4||Y||Y|
|4.||Olympus E-PL3||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||Y|
|5.||Olympus E-PM1||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||Y|
|6.||Panasonic GF5||none||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
|7.||Panasonic LX7||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||Y|
|8.||Panasonic G3||1440||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||Y||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
|9.||Panasonic G10||202||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.6||Y||n|
|10.||Panasonic G2||1440||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||Y||1/4000s||2.6||Y||n|
|11.||Panasonic GF2||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||2.6||Y||n|
|12.||Panasonic LX5||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||Y|
|13.||Panasonic G1||1440||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|14.||Sony HX350||202||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony HX90V||638||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony H400||210||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/2000s||0.7||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony H300||none||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/1500s||0.8||Y||Y|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The GF3 has a touchscreen, while the HX400V has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
The GF3 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the HX400V uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Panasonic GF3||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Sony HX400V||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Canon SX60||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Olympus E-PL3||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Olympus E-PM1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Panasonic GF5||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Panasonic LX7||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Panasonic G3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Panasonic G10||Y||mono / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Panasonic G2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Panasonic GF2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Panasonic LX5||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Panasonic G1||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Sony HX350||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Sony HX90V||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony H400||-||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|17.||Sony H300||-||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
It is notable that the HX400V 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.
Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the HX400V has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.
The HX400V is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the GF3 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the GF3 was succeeded by the Panasonic GF5. 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 is the bottom line? Is the Panasonic GF3 better than the Sony HX400V or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- More compact: Is smaller (108x67mm vs 130x93mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in June 2011).
Arguments in favor of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20.2 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 30%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/60i).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 460k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 3.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the GF3 necessitates an extra lens.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
- 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.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 8 months of technical progress since the GF3 launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the HX400V is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 9 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 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Panasonic GF3 and the Sony HX400V 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 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 GF3 or the HX400V. 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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.
|1.||Panasonic GF3||3/5||82/100||..||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||549|
|2.||Sony HX400V||4/5||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2014||499|
|3.||Canon SX60||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549|
|4.||Olympus E-PL3||3/5||+ +||..||72/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||599|
|5.||Olympus E-PM1||..||86/100||..||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2011||499|
|6.||Panasonic GF5||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||499|
|7.||Panasonic LX7||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||499|
|8.||Panasonic G3||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2011||599|
|9.||Panasonic G10||3/5||..||..||70/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2010||499|
|10.||Panasonic G2||..||..||..||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2010||599|
|11.||Panasonic GF2||3/5||82/100||..||70/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2010||549|
|12.||Panasonic LX5||4/5||+||..||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|13.||Panasonic G1||..||+ +||..||70/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2008||599|
|14.||Sony HX350||..||..||..||..||..||4/5||Dec 2016||449|
|15.||Sony HX90V||4/5||+ +||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||429|
|16.||Sony H400||..||o||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2014||319|
|17.||Sony H300||..||+||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2014||219|
|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.
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 use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 400D vs Panasonic GF3
- Canon T5 vs Sony HX400V
- Canon T7i vs Panasonic GF3
- Fujifilm X-E3 vs Sony HX400V
- Leica X Typ 113 vs Sony HX400V
- Nikon D7500 vs Sony HX400V
- Panasonic GF3 vs Panasonic GF5
- Panasonic GF3 vs Panasonic GX850
- Panasonic GF3 vs Pentax K-3 II
- Panasonic GF3 vs Sony RX1
- Panasonic LF1 vs Sony HX400V
- Sony HX400V vs Sony RX1
Specifications: Panasonic GF3 vs Sony HX400V
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||Sony HX400V|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses||24-1200mm f/2.8-6.3|
|Launch Date||June 2011||February 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 549||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic GF3||Sony HX400V|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12 Megapixels||20.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4000 x 3000 pixels||5184 x 3888 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.33 μm||1.18 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.34 MP/cm2||71.80 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||160 - 6,400 ISO||80 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||80 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||Venus FHD||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||49||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||20.6||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.0||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||458||..|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic GF3||Sony HX400V|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||210k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||460k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic GF3||Sony HX400V|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3.2 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Panasonic GF3||Sony HX400V|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Geotagging||no internal GPS||GPS built-in|
|Body Specs||Panasonic GF3||Sony HX400V|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||300 shots per charge||300 shots per charge|
108 x 67 x 32 mm
(4.3 x 2.6 x 1.3 in)
130 x 93 x 103 mm
(5.1 x 3.7 x 4.1 in)
|Camera Weight||264 g (9.3 oz)||660 g (23.3 oz)|
Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.