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Panasonic GF5 vs GH1

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in April 2012 and March 2009. Both the GF5 and the GH1 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 GF5 VS Panasonic GH1
Panasonic GF5 Panasonic GH1
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
12 MP, Four Thirds Sensor 12 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
1080/60i Video 1080/24p Video
ISO 160-6400 (160-12800) ISO 100-1600 (100-3200)
No viewfinder, LCD framing Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)
3.0" LCD, 920k dots 3.0" LCD, 460k dots
Fixed touchscreen Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
4 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
360 shots per battery charge300 shots per battery charge
108 x 67 x 37 mm, 267 g 124 x 90 x 45 mm, 385 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1? 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

The physical size and weight of the Panasonic GF5 and the Panasonic GH1 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 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 GH1 is available in two color-versions (black, red).

Size Panasonic GF5 vs Panasonic GH1
Compare GF5 versus GH1 top
Comparison GF5 or GH1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GH1 is considerably larger (54 percent) than the Panasonic GF5. Moreover, the GH1 is substantially heavier (44 percent) than the GF5. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the GF5 nor the GH1 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 GF5 gets 360 shots out of its DMW-BLE9 battery, while the GH1 can take 300 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLB13 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
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)
Camera
Model
 
Panasonic GF5» 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 9.4 oz 360 n Apr 2012 499iPanasonic GF5
 
Panasonic GH1« 4.9 in 3.5 in 1.8 in 13.6 oz 300 n Mar 2009 899iPanasonic GH1
 
Olympus E-PL3« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.5 in 11.0 oz 300 n Jun 2011 599iOlympus E-PL3
 
Olympus E-PM1« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.3 in 9.3 oz 330 n Jun 2011 499iOlympus E-PM1
 
Panasonic LX100« » 4.5 in 2.6 in 2.2 in 13.9 oz 300 n Sep 2014 899 iPanasonic LX100
 
Panasonic G6« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 13.8 oz 340 n Apr 2013 599iPanasonic G6
 
Panasonic GF6« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 11.4 oz 340 n Apr 2013 499iPanasonic GF6
 
Panasonic LX7« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.8 in 10.5 oz 330 n Jul 2012 499iPanasonic LX7
 
Panasonic GF3« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 9.3 oz 300 n Jun 2011 549iPanasonic GF3
 
Panasonic G10« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 13.7 oz 380 n Mar 2010 499iPanasonic G10
 
Panasonic G2« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 15.1 oz 360 n Mar 2010 599iPanasonic G2
 
Panasonic GF2« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 10.9 oz 300 n Nov 2010 549iPanasonic GF2
 
Panasonic GH2« » 4.9 in 3.5 in 3.0 in 15.6 oz 330 n Sep 2010 899iPanasonic GH2
 
Panasonic G1« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 1.8 in 12.7 oz 410 n Sep 2008 599iPanasonic 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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The GF5 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 44 percent) than the GH1, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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.

Panasonic GF5 and Panasonic GH1 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 GF5 and the GH1 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 3 years and 1 month) than the GH1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 160 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 160-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-3200.

GF5 versus GH1 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. 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 GF5 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.411.661861Panasonic GF5
 
Panasonic GH1 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/24p21.611.677264Panasonic GH1
 
Olympus E-PL3 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.910.349952Olympus E-PL3
 
Olympus E-PM1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i21.010.349952Olympus E-PM1
 
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 LX7 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p20.711.714750Panasonic LX7
 
Panasonic GF3 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i20.610.045849Panasonic GF3
 
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 G1 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000none21.110.346353Panasonic G1

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the GF5 provides a higher frame rate than the GH1. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60i, while the GH1 is limited to 1080/24p.

 

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the GH1 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the GF5 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Panasonic GF5 and Panasonic GH1 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar 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 GF5none n 3.0 920 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Panasonic GF5
 
Panasonic GH11440 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Panasonic GH1
 
Olympus E-PL3optional n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5 n Y Olympus E-PL3
 
Olympus E-PM1optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5 n Y Olympus E-PM1
 
Panasonic LX1002764 n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 n Y Panasonic LX100
 
Panasonic G61440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 1/4000s 7.0 Y n Panasonic G6
 
Panasonic GF6none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n Panasonic GF6
 
Panasonic LX7optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y Panasonic LX7
 
Panasonic GF3none n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 3.2 Y n Panasonic GF3
 
Panasonic G10202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6 Y n Panasonic G10
 
Panasonic G21440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n Panasonic G2
 
Panasonic GF2optional n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n Panasonic GF2
 
Panasonic GH21534 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Panasonic GH2
 
Panasonic G11440 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 GH1 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The GH1 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the GF5 does not have a selfie-screen.

The GF5 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the GH1 uses SDHC cards. The GF5 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the GH1 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-GF5 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 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
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Panasonic GF5-stereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic GF5
 
Panasonic GH1YstereononeY-mini2.0---Panasonic GH1
 
Olympus E-PL3Ystereonone--mini2.0---Olympus E-PL3
 
Olympus E-PM1Ystereomono--mini2.0---Olympus E-PM1
 
Panasonic LX100Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Panasonic LX100
 
Panasonic G6YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Panasonic G6
 
Panasonic GF6-stereomono--mini2.0YY-Panasonic GF6
 
Panasonic LX7Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic LX7
 
Panasonic GF3-stereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic GF3
 
Panasonic G10Ymononone--mini2.0---Panasonic G10
 
Panasonic G2Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic G2
 
Panasonic GF2Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic GF2
 
Panasonic GH2YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Panasonic GH2
 
Panasonic G1Ynonenone--mini2.0---Panasonic G1

It is notable that the GH1 has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The GF5 does not feature such a mic input.

Both the GF5 and the GH1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The GH1 was replaced by the Panasonic GH2, 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 what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Panasonic GF5 or the Panasonic GH1 – 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.


Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5:

  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60i versus 1080/24p).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 460k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (108x67mm vs 124x90mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 118g or 31 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (360 versus 300) on a single battery charge.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (44 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 1 month of technical progress since the GH1 launch.


Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1:

  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in March 2009).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the GF5 is the clear winner of the match-up (10 : 6 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.

GF5 10:06 GH1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Panasonic GF5 and the Panasonic GH1 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 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 GF5 or the GH1 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.

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
cam
era
  labs  
dp
re
  view  
e
photo
  zine  
ima
ging
resource
photo
graphy
  blog  
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Panasonic GF5....4.5/54/54.5/5 Apr 2012 499iPanasonic GF5
 
Panasonic GH1+ +72/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 899iPanasonic GH1
 
Olympus E-PL3+ +72/1004.5/5..4/5 Jun 2011 599iOlympus E-PL3
 
Olympus E-PM186/10071/1004.5/5..4.5/5 Jun 2011 499iOlympus E-PM1
 
Panasonic LX100+ +85/1005/54/55/5 Sep 2014 899 iPanasonic LX100
 
Panasonic G6+ +..5/5..4.5/5 Apr 2013 599iPanasonic G6
 
Panasonic GF6+ +..4.5/5..4.5/5 Apr 2013 499iPanasonic GF6
 
Panasonic LX7+ +75/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2012 499iPanasonic LX7
 
Panasonic GF382/10071/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Jun 2011 549iPanasonic GF3
 
Panasonic G10..70/1004/5..4/5 Mar 2010 499iPanasonic G10
 
Panasonic G2..72/1004/54/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599iPanasonic G2
 
Panasonic GF282/10070/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2010 549iPanasonic GF2
 
Panasonic GH2+ +79/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Sep 2010 899iPanasonic GH2
 
Panasonic G1+ +70/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2008 599iPanasonic G1
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Panasonic GF5:
Check Ebay offers
Panasonic GH1:
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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Panasonic GF5 vs Panasonic GH1

    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 GF5 Panasonic GH1
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date April 2012 March 2009
    Launch Price USD 499 USD 899
    Sensor Specs Panasonic GF5 Panasonic GH1
    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 1080/60i Video 1080/24p Video
    ISO Setting 160-6400 ISO 100-1600 ISO
    ISO Boost 160-12800 ISO 100-3200 ISO
    Image Processor Venus FHD Venus HD
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 61 64
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.4 21.6
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.6 11.6
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 618 772
    Screen Specs Panasonic GF5 Panasonic GH1
    Viewfinder Type No viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.70x
    Viewfinder Resolution 1440k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 920k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Swivel screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Panasonic GF5 Panasonic GH1
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 4 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I no
    Connectivity Specs Panasonic GF5 Panasonic GH1
    External Flash no Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Panasonic GF5 Panasonic GH1
    Battery Type DMW-BLE9 DMW-BLB13
    Battery Life (CIPA)360 shots per charge300 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 108 x 67 x 37 mm
    (4.3 x 2.6 x 1.5 in)
    124 x 90 x 45 mm
    (4.9 x 3.5 x 1.8 in)
    Camera Weight 267 g (9.4 oz) 385 g (13.6 oz)

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