Panasonic GF5 vs LF1
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in April 2012 and April 2013. The GF5 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the LF1 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (GF5) and a 1/1.7-inch (LF1) 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.
|Panasonic GF5||Panasonic LF1|
|Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Micro Four Thirds lenses||28-200mm f/2.0-5.9|
|12 MP, Four Thirds Sensor||12 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor|
|1080/60i Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO 160-6400 (160-12800)||ISO 80-6400 (80-12800)|
|No viewfinder, LCD framing||Electronic viewfinder (200k dots)|
|3.0" LCD, 920k dots||3.0" LCD, 920k dots|
|Fixed touchscreen||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|4 shutter flaps per second||10 shutter flaps per second|
|360 shots per battery charge||250 shots per battery charge|
|108 x 67 x 37 mm, 267 g||103 x 62 x 28 mm, 192 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-LF1? 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 GF5 and the Panasonic LF1 is provided 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The GF5 can be obtained in three different colors (black, red, white), while the LF1 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 Panasonic LF1 is notably smaller (12 percent) than the Panasonic GF5. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the GF5 nor the LF1 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the LF1 has a lens built in, whereas the GF5 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 GF5 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
The power pack in the LF1 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. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Panasonic GF5»||108 mm||67 mm||37 mm||267 g||360||n||Apr 2012||499||Panasonic GF5|
|Panasonic LF1«||103 mm||62 mm||28 mm||192 g||250||n||Apr 2013||499||Panasonic LF1|
|Canon G16« »||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549||Canon G16|
|Canon S120« »||100 mm||59 mm||29 mm||217 g||230||n||Aug 2013||449||Canon S120|
|Canon SX50« »||123 mm||87 mm||106 mm||595 g||315||n||Sep 2012||429||Canon SX50|
|Olympus E-PM1« »||110 mm||64 mm||34 mm||265 g||330||n||Jun 2011||499||Olympus E-PM1|
|Panasonic GX800« »||107 mm||65 mm||33 mm||269 g||210||n||Jan 2017||549||Panasonic GX800|
|Panasonic G6« »||122 mm||85 mm||71 mm||390 g||340||n||Apr 2013||599||Panasonic G6|
|Panasonic GF6« »||111 mm||65 mm||38 mm||323 g||340||n||Apr 2013||499||Panasonic GF6|
|Panasonic FZ200« »||125 mm||87 mm||110 mm||588 g||540||n||Jul 2012||599||Panasonic FZ200|
|Panasonic LX7« »||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Jul 2012||499||Panasonic LX7|
|Panasonic G3« »||115 mm||84 mm||47 mm||336 g||270||n||May 2011||599||Panasonic G3|
|Panasonic GF3« »||108 mm||67 mm||32 mm||264 g||300||n||Jun 2011||549||Panasonic GF3|
|Panasonic GX1« »||116 mm||68 mm||39 mm||318 g||320||n||Nov 2011||699||Panasonic GX1|
|Panasonic G10« »||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||388 g||380||n||Mar 2010||499||Panasonic G10|
|Panasonic GF2« »||113 mm||68 mm||33 mm||310 g||300||n||Nov 2010||549||Panasonic GF2|
|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 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
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. 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Panasonic GF5 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Panasonic LF1 a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The sensor area in the LF1 is 81 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 4.5. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
Even though the GF5 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 12 megapixels. This implies that the GF5 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 4.33μm versus 1.89μm for the LF1), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the LF1 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year) than the GF5, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.
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-LF1 are ISO 80 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-12800.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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. Of the two cameras under review, the GF5 has a notably higher overall DXO score than the LF1 (overall score 9 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.6 bits higher color depth, and 1.6 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.
|Panasonic GF5||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.4||11.6||618||61||Panasonic GF5|
|Panasonic LF1||1/1.7||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||20.8||11.6||211||52||Panasonic LF1|
|Canon G16||1/1.7||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||21.0||11.7||230||54||Canon G16|
|Canon S120||1/1.7||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||21.3||11.9||246||56||Canon S120|
|Canon SX50||1/2.3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/24p||20.3||11.2||179||47||Canon SX50|
|Olympus E-PM1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||21.0||10.3||499||52||Olympus E-PM1|
|Panasonic GX800||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||23.2||13.3||586||73||Panasonic GX800|
|Panasonic G6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61||Panasonic G6|
|Panasonic GF6||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||20.7||10.6||622||54||Panasonic GF6|
|Panasonic FZ200||1/2.3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||19.1||10.8||114||37||Panasonic FZ200|
|Panasonic LX7||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||1080/60p||20.7||11.7||147||50||Panasonic LX7|
|Panasonic G3||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||21.0||10.6||667||56||Panasonic G3|
|Panasonic GF3||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||20.6||10.0||458||49||Panasonic GF3|
|Panasonic GX1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||20.8||10.6||703||55||Panasonic GX1|
|Panasonic G10||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52||Panasonic G10|
|Panasonic GF2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.2||10.3||506||54||Panasonic GF2|
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, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60i).
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the LF1 has an electronic viewfinder (200k 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic GF5, the Panasonic LF1, and comparable cameras.
|Panasonic GF5||none||n||3.0||920||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Panasonic GF5|
|Panasonic LF1||200||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||Y||Panasonic LF1|
|Canon G16||optical||n||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.2||Y||Y||Canon G16|
|Canon S120||none||n||3.0||922||fixed||Y||1/2000s||12.1||Y||Y||Canon S120|
|Canon SX50||202||n||3.0||461||swivel||n||1/2000s||2.2||Y||Y||Canon SX50|
|Olympus E-PM1||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||Y||Olympus E-PM1|
|Panasonic GX800||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/500s||10.0||Y||n||Panasonic GX800|
|Panasonic G6||1440||n||3.0||1036||swivel||Y||1/4000s||7.0||Y||n||Panasonic G6|
|Panasonic GF6||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.2||Y||n||Panasonic GF6|
|Panasonic FZ200||1312||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y||Panasonic FZ200|
|Panasonic LX7||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||Y||Panasonic LX7|
|Panasonic G3||1440||n||3.0||460||swivel||Y||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Panasonic G3|
|Panasonic GF3||none||n||3.0||460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||3.2||Y||n||Panasonic GF3|
|Panasonic GX1||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.2||Y||n||Panasonic GX1|
|Panasonic G10||202||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.6||Y||n||Panasonic G10|
|Panasonic GF2||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||2.6||Y||n||Panasonic GF2|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The GF5 has a touchscreen, while the LF1 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the GF5 and the LF1 write their files to SDXC cards. The GF5 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the LF1 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-GF5 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Panasonic GF5||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic GF5|
|Panasonic LF1||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Panasonic LF1|
|Canon G16||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Canon G16|
|Canon S120||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Canon S120|
|Canon SX50||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon SX50|
|Olympus E-PM1||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PM1|
|Panasonic GX800||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Panasonic GX800|
|Panasonic G6||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Panasonic G6|
|Panasonic GF6||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Panasonic GF6|
|Panasonic FZ200||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic FZ200|
|Panasonic LX7||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic LX7|
|Panasonic G3||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic G3|
|Panasonic GF3||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic GF3|
|Panasonic GX1||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic GX1|
|Panasonic G10||Y||mono||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic G10|
|Panasonic GF2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic GF2|
It is notable that the LF1 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the GF5 does not offer wifi capability.
The LF1 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Panasonic. In contrast, the GF5 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the GF5 was succeeded 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.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Panasonic GF5 or the Panasonic LF1 – 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.
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5:
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (9 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.6 stops ISO advantage).
- 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.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (360 versus 250) on a single battery charge.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in April 2012).
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1:
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the GF5 necessitates an extra lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (103x62mm vs 108x67mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the GF5).
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- 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.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year) more recently.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the LF1 emerges as the winner of the match-up (9 : 7 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. 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 GF5 and the Panasonic LF1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best Prime Lens Compact 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the GF5 and the LF1 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
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.
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. 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon G7 X vs Panasonic GF5
- Canon T5 vs Panasonic LF1
- Leica S3 vs Panasonic GF5
- Nikon D300S vs Panasonic LF1
- Nikon D50 vs Panasonic LF1
- Panasonic GF1 vs Panasonic GF5
- Panasonic GF5 vs Panasonic GX800
- Panasonic GF5 vs Panasonic LX100 II
- Panasonic GF5 vs Sony HX90V
- Panasonic LF1 vs Sony A6300
- Panasonic LF1 vs Sony HX80
- Panasonic LF1 vs Sony RX100 VI
Specifications: Panasonic GF5 vs Panasonic LF1
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 GF5||Panasonic LF1|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses||28-200mm f/2.0-5.9|
|Launch Date||April 2012||April 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 499||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic GF5||Panasonic LF1|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||1/1.7" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||7.6 x 5.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||43.32 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||9.5 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4000 x 3000 pixels||4000 x 3000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.33 μm||1.89 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.34 MP/cm2||27.70 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||160-6400 ISO||80-6400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||160-12800 ISO||80-12800 ISO|
|Image Processor||Venus FHD||Venus|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||61||52|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.4||20.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.6||11.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||618||211|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic GF5||Panasonic LF1|
|Viewfinder Type||No viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||200k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic GF5||Panasonic LF1|
|Autofocus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||4 shutter flaps/s||10 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||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Panasonic GF5||Panasonic LF1|
|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 GF5||Panasonic LF1|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||360 shots per charge||250 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
108 x 67 x 37 mm
(4.3 x 2.6 x 1.5 in)
103 x 62 x 28 mm
(4.1 x 2.4 x 1.1 in)
|Camera Weight||267 g (9.4 oz)||192 g (6.8 oz)|
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