Panasonic GH1 versus Panasonic GH4
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in March 2009 and February 2014. Both the GH1 and the GH4 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The GH1 has a resolution of 12 megapixel, whereas the GH4 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 GH1 vs Panasonic GH4
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Panasonic GH1 and the Panasonic GH4 is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the GH1 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GH4 is notably larger (11 percent) than the Panasonic GH1. Moreover, the GH4 is substantially heavier (45 percent) than the GH1. It is noteworthy in this context that the GH4 is splash and dust-proof, while the GH1 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
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.
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|
|Panasonic GH1»||4.9 in||3.5 in||1.8 in||13.6 oz||300||n||Mar 2009||1,499||-|
|Panasonic GH4«||5.2 in||3.7 in||3.3 in||19.8 oz||500||Y||Feb 2014||1,499||-|
|Olympus E-M1« »||5.1 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||17.5 oz||350||Y||Sep 2013||1,399||-|
|Olympus E-P2« »||4.8 in||2.8 in||1.4 in||12.5 oz||300||n||Nov 2009||799||-|
|Olympus E-450« »||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.5 oz||500||n||Mar 2009||499||-|
|Panasonic GH5« »||5.5 in||3.9 in||3.4 in||25.6 oz||410||Y||Jan 2017||1,999|
|Panasonic G85« »||5.0 in||3.5 in||2.9 in||17.8 oz||330||Y||Sep 2016||899|
|Panasonic G6« »||4.8 in||3.3 in||2.8 in||13.8 oz||340||n||Apr 2013||599||-|
|Panasonic GH3« »||5.2 in||3.7 in||3.2 in||19.4 oz||540||Y||Sep 2012||1,299||-|
|Panasonic G3« »||4.5 in||3.3 in||1.9 in||11.9 oz||270||n||May 2011||599||-|
|Panasonic GX1« »||4.6 in||2.7 in||1.5 in||11.2 oz||320||n||Nov 2011||949||-|
|Panasonic GF2« »||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.3 in||10.9 oz||300||n||Nov 2010||549||-|
|Panasonic GH2« »||4.9 in||3.5 in||3.0 in||15.6 oz||330||n||Sep 2010||1,499||-|
|Panasonic G2« »||4.9 in||3.3 in||2.9 in||15.1 oz||360||n||Mar 2010||599||-|
|Panasonic G10« »||4.9 in||3.3 in||2.9 in||13.7 oz||380||n||Mar 2010||499||-|
|Panasonic GF1« »||4.7 in||2.8 in||1.4 in||13.6 oz||380||n||Sep 2009||749||-|
|Panasonic G1« »||4.9 in||3.3 in||1.8 in||12.7 oz||410||n||Sep 2008||599||-|
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 two cameras under review were launched at the same price and fall into the same 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: Panasonic GH1 vs Panasonic GH4
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.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the GH4 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixel, compared with 12 MP of the GH1. This megapixel advantage translates into a 15 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the GH4 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 GH1). However, it should be noted that the GH4 is much more recent (by 4 years and 11 months) than the GH1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. 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 consideration, the GH4 has a markedly higher DXO score than the GH1 (overall score 10 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 1.6 bits higher color depth, 1.2 EV in additional dynamic range, and -0 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 GH1»||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/24p||21.6||11.6||772||64|
|Panasonic GH4«||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||23.2||12.8||791||74|
|Olympus E-M1« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||23.0||12.7||757||73|
|Olympus E-P2« »||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.4||505||56|
|Olympus E-450« »||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||-||21.5||10.5||512||56|
|Panasonic GH5« »||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/60p||23.9||13.0||807||77|
|Panasonic G85« »||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||22.8||12.5||656||71|
|Panasonic G6« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61|
|Panasonic GH3« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||22.7||12.4||812||71|
|Panasonic G3« »||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||21.0||10.6||667||56|
|Panasonic GX1« »||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||20.8||10.6||703||55|
|Panasonic GF2« »||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.2||10.3||506||54|
|Panasonic GH2« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||21.2||11.3||655||60|
|Panasonic G2« »||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53|
|Panasonic G10« »||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52|
|Panasonic GF1« »||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||513||54|
|Panasonic G1« »||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||-||21.1||10.3||463||53|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the GH4 provides a better video resolution than the GH1. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the GH1 is limited to 1080/24p.
Feature comparison: Panasonic GH1 vs Panasonic GH4
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under review are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the GH4 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the GH1 (2359k vs 1440k dots). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Panasonic GH1 and Panasonic GH4 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.
|Olympus E-M1« »||2360||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||8000||10.0||n||Y|
|Olympus E-P2« »||-||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||4000||3.0||n||Y|
|Olympus E-450« »||optical||n||2.7||215||fixed||n||4000||3.5||Y||n|
|Panasonic GH5« »||3680||n||3.2||1620||swivel||Y||8000||12.0||n||Y|
|Panasonic G85« »||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||4000||9.0||Y||Y|
|Panasonic G6« »||1440||n||3.0||1036||swivel||Y||4000||7.0||Y||n|
|Panasonic GH3« »||1746||n||3.0||614||swivel||Y||4000||6.0||Y||n|
|Panasonic G3« »||1440||n||3.0||460||swivel||Y||4000||4.0||Y||n|
|Panasonic GX1« »||-||n||3.0||460||fixed||Y||4000||4.2||Y||n|
|Panasonic GF2« »||-||n||3.0||460||fixed||Y||4000||2.6||Y||n|
|Panasonic GH2« »||1534||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||4000||3.0||Y||n|
|Panasonic G2« »||1440||n||3.0||460||swivel||Y||4000||2.6||Y||n|
|Panasonic G10« »||202||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||4000||2.6||Y||n|
|Panasonic GF1« »||-||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||4000||3.0||Y||n|
|Panasonic G1« »||1440||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||4001||3.0||Y||n|
Both the GH1 and the GH4 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The GH1 was replaced by the Panasonic GH2, while the GH4 was followed by the Panasonic GH5.
Review summary: Panasonic GH1 vs Panasonic GH4
So what is the bottom line? Is the Panasonic GH1 better than the Panasonic GH4 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1:
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 175g or 31 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in March 2009).
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (15.9 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 15%.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (10 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.6 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.2 EV of extra DR).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/24p).
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (2359k vs 1440k dots).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1036k vs 460k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (500 versus 300) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 11 months of technical progress since the GH1 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GH4 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.
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 GH1 or the GH4 handle or perform in practice. 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.
|Panasonic GH1»||HiRec||72/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||1,499||-|
|Panasonic GH4«||HiRec||85/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||1,499||-|
|Olympus E-M1« »||HiRec||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||1,399||-|
|Olympus E-P2« »||Rec||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2009||799||-|
|Olympus E-450« »||-||-||4/5||-||4/5||Mar 2009||499||-|
|Panasonic GH5« »||HiRec||85/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jan 2017||1,999|
|Panasonic G85« »||HiRec||84/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||899|
|Panasonic G6« »||HiRec||-||5/5||-||4.5/5||Apr 2013||599||-|
|Panasonic GH3« »||HiRec||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||1,299||-|
|Panasonic G3« »||HiRec||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||May 2011||599||-|
|Panasonic GX1« »||Rec||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2011||949||-|
|Panasonic GF2« »||82/100||70/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2010||549||-|
|Panasonic GH2« »||HiRec||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2010||1,499||-|
|Panasonic G2« »||-||72/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2010||599||-|
|Panasonic G10« »||-||70/100||4/5||-||4/5||Mar 2010||499||-|
|Panasonic GF1« »||85/100||69/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||749||-|
|Panasonic G1« »||HiRec||70/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2008||599||-|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. 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? 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. If the camera you are interested in is not available, please send me an email, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.
- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Leica M10
- Canon 200D vs Nikon D80
- Canon 7D vs Sony A6500
- Canon 80D vs Olympus E-M5
- Canon T5i vs Fujifilm X-A2
- Fujifilm X-T100 vs Sony RX100 V
- Fujifilm XP130 vs Nikon W300
- Leica S-E Typ 006 vs Nikon D7200
- Nikon D5500 vs Canon SL2
- Panasonic LX100 vs Fujifilm X-A2
- Panasonic LX15 vs Fujifilm X-T20
- Sony RX10 vs Canon M3