Panasonic GH2 vs Sony NEX-7
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 and the Sony Alpha NEX-7 are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2010 and August 2011. Both the GH2 and the NEX-7 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on a Four Thirds (GH2) and an APS-C (NEX-7) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Panasonic GH2||Sony NEX-7|
|Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Micro Four Thirds lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|15.9 MP, Four Thirds Sensor||24 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|1080/60i Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO 160-12800||ISO 100-16000|
|Electronic viewfinder (1534k dots)||Electronic viewfinder (2359k dots)|
|3.0" LCD, 460k dots||3.0" LCD, 921k dots|
|Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)||Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|3 shutter flaps per second||10 shutter flaps per second|
|330 shots per battery charge||430 shots per battery charge|
|124 x 90 x 76 mm, 442 g||120 x 67 x 43 mm, 400 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 and the Sony Alpha NEX-7? 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 GH2 and the Sony NEX-7 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The GH2 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the NEX-7 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 NEX-7 is notably smaller (28 percent) than the Panasonic GH2. Moreover, the NEX-7 is markedly lighter (10 percent) than the GH2. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the GH2 nor the NEX-7 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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (GH2) and the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog (NEX-7). 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 adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Panasonic GH2»||124 mm||90 mm||76 mm||442 g||330||n||Sep 2010||899||Panasonic GH2|
|Sony NEX-7«||120 mm||67 mm||43 mm||400 g||430||n||Aug 2011||1,349||Sony NEX-7|
|Panasonic GX80« »||122 mm||71 mm||44 mm||426 g||290||n||Apr 2016||799||Panasonic GX80|
|Panasonic GM5« »||99 mm||60 mm||36 mm||211 g||220||n||Sep 2014||749||Panasonic GM5|
|Panasonic G6« »||122 mm||85 mm||71 mm||390 g||340||n||Apr 2013||599||Panasonic G6|
|Panasonic GH3« »||133 mm||93 mm||82 mm||550 g||540||Y||Sep 2012||1,299||Panasonic GH3|
|Panasonic G3« »||115 mm||84 mm||47 mm||336 g||270||n||May 2011||599||Panasonic G3|
|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 G2« »||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||428 g||360||n||Mar 2010||599||Panasonic G2|
|Panasonic GF1« »||119 mm||71 mm||36 mm||385 g||380||n||Sep 2009||749||Panasonic GF1|
|Panasonic GH1« »||124 mm||90 mm||45 mm||385 g||300||n||Mar 2009||899||Panasonic GH1|
|Sony A6400« »||120 mm||67 mm||50 mm||403 g||410||n||Jan 2019||899||Sony A6400|
|Sony A6000« »||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599||Sony A6000|
|Sony A3000« »||128 mm||91 mm||85 mm||411 g||470||n||Aug 2013||329||Sony A3000|
|Sony NEX-6« »||120 mm||67 mm||43 mm||345 g||360||n||Sep 2012||999||Sony NEX-6|
|Sony RX1« »||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Sep 2012||2,799||Sony RX1|
|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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The GH2 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 33 percent) than the NEX-7, 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.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Panasonic GH2 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Sony NEX-7 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the NEX-7 is 62 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 1.5. The sensor in the GH2 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the NEX-7 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 24MP, the NEX-7 offers a higher resolution than the GH2 (15.9MP), but the NEX-7 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.90μm versus 3.76μm for the GH2) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the NEX-7 is a somewhat more recent model (by 11 months) than the GH2, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Sony NEX-7 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the NEX-7 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inch or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inch or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inch or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic GH2 are 23 x 17.3 inch or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inch or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inch or 39 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 160 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha NEX-7 are ISO 100 to ISO 16000 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many 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 NEX-7 offers substantially better image quality than the GH2 (overall score 21 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.9 bits higher color depth, 2.1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.6 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Panasonic GH2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||21.2||11.3||655||60||Panasonic GH2|
|Sony NEX-7||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60i||24.1||13.4||1016||81||Sony NEX-7|
|Panasonic GX80||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||22.9||12.6||662||71||Panasonic GX80|
|Panasonic GM5||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||22.1||11.7||721||66||Panasonic GM5|
|Panasonic G6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61||Panasonic G6|
|Panasonic GH3||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||22.7||12.4||812||71||Panasonic GH3|
|Panasonic G3||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||21.0||10.6||667||56||Panasonic G3|
|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 G2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53||Panasonic G2|
|Panasonic GF1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||513||54||Panasonic GF1|
|Panasonic GH1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/24p||21.6||11.6||772||64||Panasonic GH1|
|Sony A6400||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24||13.6||1431||83||Sony A6400|
|Sony A6000||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||13.1||1347||82||Sony A6000|
|Sony A3000||APS-C||19.8||5456||3632||1080/60i||23.7||12.8||1068||78||Sony A3000|
|Sony NEX-6||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60i||23.7||13.1||1018||78||Sony NEX-6|
|Sony RX1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.1||14.3||2534||93||Sony RX1|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60i).
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 NEX-7 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the GH2 (2359k vs 1534k dots). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Panasonic GH2 and Sony NEX-7 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Panasonic GH2||1534||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Panasonic GH2|
|Sony NEX-7||2359||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||n||Sony NEX-7|
|Panasonic GX80||2765||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y||Panasonic GX80|
|Panasonic GM5||1166||n||3.0||921||fixed||Y||1/500s||5.8||n||n||Panasonic GM5|
|Panasonic G6||1440||n||3.0||1036||swivel||Y||1/4000s||7.0||Y||n||Panasonic G6|
|Panasonic GH3||1746||n||3.0||614||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Panasonic GH3|
|Panasonic G3||1440||n||3.0||460||swivel||Y||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Panasonic G3|
|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 G2||1440||n||3.0||460||swivel||Y||1/4000s||2.6||Y||n||Panasonic G2|
|Panasonic GF1||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Panasonic GF1|
|Panasonic GH1||1440||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Panasonic GH1|
|Sony A6400||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n||Sony A6400|
|Sony A6000||1440||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n||Sony A6000|
|Sony A3000||202||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Sony A3000|
|Sony NEX-6||2359||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||n||Sony NEX-6|
|Sony RX1||optional||n||3.0||1229||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Sony RX1|
The GH2 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the NEX-7 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-GH2 and Sony Alpha NEX-7 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Panasonic GH2||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic GH2|
|Sony NEX-7||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-7|
|Panasonic GX80||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Panasonic GX80|
|Panasonic GM5||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Panasonic GM5|
|Panasonic G6||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Panasonic G6|
|Panasonic GH3||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Panasonic GH3|
|Panasonic G3||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic G3|
|Panasonic GX1||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic GX1|
|Panasonic G10||Y||mono||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic G10|
|Panasonic G2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic G2|
|Panasonic GF1||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic GF1|
|Panasonic GH1||Y||stereo||none||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic GH1|
|Sony A6400||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony A6400|
|Sony A6000||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A6000|
|Sony A3000||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A3000|
|Sony NEX-6||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Sony NEX-6|
|Sony RX1||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony RX1|
Both the GH2 and the NEX-7 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The GH2 was replaced by the Panasonic GH3, while the NEX-7 does not have a direct successor. 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 how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Panasonic GH2 or the Sony NEX-7 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2:
- 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.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (33 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2010).
Advantages of the Sony Alpha NEX-7:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 15.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 25%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (21 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.9 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2.1 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.6 stops ISO advantage).
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (2359k vs 1534k dots).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.73x vs 0.71x).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 460k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (120x67mm vs 124x90mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (430 versus 330) out of a single battery charge.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (11 months) more recently.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the NEX-7 is the clear winner of the contest (12 : 4 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 GH2 and the Sony NEX-7 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the GH2 or the NEX-7. 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 expert reviews are important. 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.
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. 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? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon G9 X Mark II vs Sony NEX-7
- Canon SX740 vs Panasonic GH2
- Fujifilm X30 vs Panasonic GH2
- Leica V-LUX Typ 114 vs Sony NEX-7
- Nikon D4 vs Sony NEX-7
- Olympus E-PL3 vs Sony NEX-7
- Olympus E-PL7 vs Sony NEX-7
- Panasonic G90 vs Panasonic GH2
- Panasonic GH2 vs Sony A3000
- Panasonic GH2 vs Sony A7 II
- Panasonic GH2 vs Sony NEX-5N
- Panasonic LX100 II vs Sony NEX-7
Specifications: Panasonic GH2 vs Sony NEX-7
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 GH2||Sony NEX-7|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2010||August 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 899||USD 1349|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic GH2||Sony NEX-7|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||23.4 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||365.04 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||28.1 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.9 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.76 μm||3.90 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.08 MP/cm2||6.57 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||160-12800 ISO||100-16000 ISO|
|Image Processor||Venus FHD||BIONZ|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||60||81|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.2||24.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.3||13.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||655||1016|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic GH2||Sony NEX-7|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1534k dots||2359k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||460k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic GH2||Sony NEX-7|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||No Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000/s||1/4000/s|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-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 GH2||Sony NEX-7|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Panasonic GH2||Sony NEX-7|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||330 shots per charge||430 shots per charge|
124 x 90 x 76 mm
(4.9 x 3.5 x 3.0 in)
120 x 67 x 43 mm
(4.7 x 2.6 x 1.7 in)
|Camera Weight||442 g (15.6 oz)||400 g (14.1 oz)|
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