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Panasonic GH2 versus Panasonic G5

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2010 and July 2012. Both the GH2 and the G5 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 15.9 megapixel. 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 GH2 vs Panasonic G5

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Panasonic GH2 and the Panasonic G5 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth 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 GH2 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Panasonic GH2 vs Panasonic G5
Compare GH2 versus G5 top
Compare GH2 and G5 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic G5 is notably smaller (11 percent) than the Panasonic GH2. Moreover, the G5 is markedly lighter (10 percent) than the GH2. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the GH2 nor the G5 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 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. 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.

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)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Panasonic GH2» 124 mm 90 mm 76 mm 442 g 330 n Sep 2010 1,499- i Panasonic GH2
Panasonic G5« 120 mm 83 mm 71 mm 396 g 320 n Jul 2012 599- i Panasonic G5
Panasonic G7« » 125 mm 86 mm 77 mm 410 g 350 n May 2015 649- i Panasonic G7
Panasonic GM5« » 99 mm 60 mm 36 mm 211 g 220 n Sep 2014 749- i Panasonic GM5
Panasonic GF6« » 111 mm 65 mm 38 mm 323 g 340 n Apr 2013 499- i Panasonic GF6
Panasonic G6« » 122 mm 85 mm 71 mm 390 g 340 n Apr 2013 599- i Panasonic G6
Panasonic GM1« » 99 mm 55 mm 30 mm 204 g 230 n Oct 2013 749- i Panasonic GM1
Panasonic GH3« » 133 mm 93 mm 82 mm 550 g 540 Y Sep 2012 1,299- i Panasonic GH3
Panasonic G3« » 115 mm 84 mm 47 mm 336 g 270 n May 2011 599- i Panasonic G3
Panasonic GX1« » 116 mm 68 mm 39 mm 318 g 320 n Nov 2011 949- i Panasonic GX1
Panasonic G2« » 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 428 g 360 n Mar 2010 599- i Panasonic G2
Panasonic G10« » 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 388 g 380 n Mar 2010 499- i Panasonic G10
Panasonic GF1« » 119 mm 71 mm 36 mm 385 g 380 n Sep 2009 749- i Panasonic GF1
Panasonic GH1« » 124 mm 90 mm 45 mm 385 g 300 n Mar 2009 1,499- i Panasonic GH1

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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. The G5 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 60 percent) than the GH2, 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: Panasonic GH2 vs Panasonic G5

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels 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.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.

Panasonic GH2 and Panasonic G5 sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 15.9 megapixel. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the GH2 and the G5 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the G5 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 9 months) than the GH2, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

GH2 versus G5 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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"). 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 GH2» Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i21.211.365560Panasonic GH2
Panasonic G5« Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p----Panasonic G5
Panasonic G7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p----Panasonic G7
Panasonic GM5« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.111.772166Panasonic GM5
Panasonic GF6« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i20.710.662254Panasonic GF6
Panasonic G6« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961Panasonic G6
Panasonic GM1« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i22.311.766066Panasonic GM1
Panasonic GH3« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p22.712.481271Panasonic GH3
Panasonic G3« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756Panasonic G3
Panasonic GX1« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p20.810.670355Panasonic GX1
Panasonic G2« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353Panasonic G2
Panasonic G10« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152Panasonic G10
Panasonic GF1« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.351354Panasonic GF1
Panasonic GH1« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/24p21.611.677264Panasonic GH1

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 G5 provides a faster frame rate than the GH2. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the GH2 is limited to 1080/60i.

 

Feature comparison: Panasonic GH2 vs Panasonic G5

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under consideration are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the GH2 offers a slightly higher resolution than the one in the G5 (1534k vs 1440k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic GH2, the Panasonic G5, and comparable cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

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)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Panasonic GH2»1534 n 3.0 460 swivel n 4000 3.0 Y n Panasonic GH2
Panasonic G5«1440 n 3.0 920 swivel Y 4000 6.0 Y n Panasonic G5
Panasonic G7« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n Panasonic G7
Panasonic GM5« »1166 n 3.0 921 fixed Y 500 5.8 n n Panasonic GM5
Panasonic GF6« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.2 Y n Panasonic GF6
Panasonic G6« »1440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n Panasonic G6
Panasonic GM1« »- n 3.0 1036 fixed Y 500 5.0 Y n Panasonic GM1
Panasonic GH3« »1746 n 3.0 614 swivel Y 4000 6.0 Y n Panasonic GH3
Panasonic G3« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 4000 4.0 Y n Panasonic G3
Panasonic GX1« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 4000 4.2 Y n Panasonic GX1
Panasonic G2« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 4000 2.6 Y n Panasonic G2
Panasonic G10« »202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 2.6 Y n Panasonic G10
Panasonic GF1« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Panasonic GF1
Panasonic GH1« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel n 4000 3.0 Y n Panasonic GH1

Both the GH2 and the G5 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The GH2 was replaced by the Panasonic GH3, while the G5 was followed by the Panasonic G6.

Review summary: Panasonic GH2 vs Panasonic G5

So how do things add up? Is the Panasonic GH2 better than the Panasonic G5 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2:

  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2010).


Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5:

  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/60i).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 460k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (120x83mm vs 124x90mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (60 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 9 months) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the G5 is the clear winner of the contest (7 : 1 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.

GH2 01:07 G5

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the GH2 or the G5 handle or perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Panasonic GH2»HiRec79/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Sep 2010 1,499- i Panasonic GH2
Panasonic G5«HiRec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jul 2012 599- i Panasonic G5
Panasonic G7« »HiRec80/1005/54.5/54.5/5 May 2015 649- i Panasonic G7
Panasonic GM5« »Rec77/1005/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 749- i Panasonic GM5
Panasonic GF6« »HiRec-4.5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 499- i Panasonic GF6
Panasonic G6« »HiRec-5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 599- i Panasonic G6
Panasonic GM1« »Rec78/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 749- i Panasonic GM1
Panasonic GH3« »HiRec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2012 1,299- i Panasonic GH3
Panasonic G3« »HiRec75/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2011 599- i Panasonic G3
Panasonic GX1« »Rec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2011 949- i Panasonic GX1
Panasonic G2« »-72/1004/54/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599- i Panasonic G2
Panasonic G10« »-70/1004/5-4/5 Mar 2010 499- i Panasonic G10
Panasonic GF1« »85/10069/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2009 749- i Panasonic GF1
Panasonic GH1« »HiRec72/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 1,499- i Panasonic GH1

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when refering 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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

 

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. If the camera you are interested in is not available, please contact me, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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