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Panasonic GH3 versus Fujifilm X-E3

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 and the Fujifilm X-E3 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2012 and September 2017. Both the GH3 and the X-E3 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on a Four Thirds (GH3) and an APS-C (X-E3) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 15.9 megapixel, whereas the Fujifilm provides 24 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 GH3 vs Fujifilm X-E3

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Panasonic GH3 and the Fujifilm X-E3 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the GH3 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Panasonic GH3 vs Fujifilm X-E3
Compare GH3 versus X-E3 top
Compare GH3 and X-E3 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Fujifilm X-E3 is notably smaller (28 percent) than the Panasonic GH3. Moreover, the X-E3 is substantially lighter (39 percent) than the GH3. It is worth mentioning in this context that the GH3 is splash and dust resistant, while the X-E3 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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can find an overview of optics for the two cameras in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (GH3) and the Fujinon X Lens Catalog (X-E3). 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 GH3 gets 540 shots out of its DMW-BLF19 battery, while the X-E3 can take 350 images on a single charge of its NP-W126S power pack.

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 GH3» 133 mm 93 mm 82 mm 550 g 540 Y Sep 2012 1,299- i Panasonic GH3
Fujifilm X-E3« 121 mm 74 mm 43 mm 337 g 350 n Sep 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-E3
Canon M6« » 112 mm 68 mm 45 mm 390 g 295 n Feb 2017 779 i i Canon M6
Fujifilm X-A5« » 117 mm 68 mm 40 mm 361 g 450 n Jan 2018 399 i i Fujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X-T20« » 118 mm 83 mm 41 mm 383 g 350 n Jan 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-T20
Fujifilm X-A3« » 117 mm 67 mm 40 mm 339 g 410 n Aug 2016 399- i Fujifilm X-A3
Fujifilm X-E2S« » 129 mm 75 mm 37 mm 350 g 350 n Jan 2016 699- i Fujifilm X-E2S
Nikon D7100« » 136 mm 107 mm 76 mm 765 g 950 Y Feb 2013 1,199- i Nikon D7100
Olympus E-M5 II« » 124 mm 85 mm 45 mm 469 g 310 Y Feb 2015 1,099 i i Olympus E-M5 II
Olympus E-M1« » 130 mm 94 mm 63 mm 497 g 350 Y Sep 2013 1,399- i Olympus E-M1
Olympus E-M5« » 122 mm 89 mm 43 mm 425 g 360 Y Feb 2012 1,299- i Olympus E-M5
Panasonic G80« » 128 mm 89 mm 74 mm 505 g 330 Y Sep 2016 899 i i Panasonic G80
Panasonic GX8« » 133 mm 78 mm 63 mm 487 g 330 Y Jul 2015 1,199- i Panasonic GX8
Panasonic GH4« » 133 mm 93 mm 84 mm 560 g 500 Y Feb 2014 1,499- i Panasonic GH4
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 GH2« » 124 mm 90 mm 76 mm 442 g 330 n Sep 2010 1,499- i Panasonic GH2

The camera’s price is obviously a critical decision-making factor. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The X-E3 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 31 percent) than the GH3, 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 GH3 vs Fujifilm X-E3

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Panasonic GH3 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Fujifilm X-E3 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the X-E3 is 64 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 GH3 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the X-E3 offers a 3:2 aspect.

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

Panasonic GH3 and Fujifilm X-E3 sensor measures

With 24MP, the X-E3 offers a higher resolution than the GH3 (15.9MP), but the X-E3 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.92μm versus 3.76μm for the GH3) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the X-E3 is a much more recent model (by 4 years and 11 months) than the GH3, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the X-E3 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The X-E3 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in relatively fast and reliable autofocus acquisition during video recording.

GH3 versus X-E3 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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 GH3» Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p22.712.481271Panasonic GH3
Fujifilm X-E3« APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p----Fujifilm X-E3
Canon M6« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----Canon M6
Fujifilm X-A5« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/15p----Fujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X-T20« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p----Fujifilm X-T20
Fujifilm X-A3« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----Fujifilm X-A3
Fujifilm X-E2S« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p----Fujifilm X-E2S
Nikon D7100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.213.7125683Nikon D7100
Olympus E-M5 II« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.012.584273Olympus E-M5 II
Olympus E-M1« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p23.012.775773Olympus E-M1
Olympus E-M5« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i22.812.382671Olympus E-M5
Panasonic G80« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p22.812.565671Panasonic G80
Panasonic GX8« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.512.680675Panasonic GX8
Panasonic GH4« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p23.212.879174Panasonic GH4
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 GH2« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i21.211.365560Panasonic GH2

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the X-E3 provides a better video resolution than the GH3. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Panasonic is limited to 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Panasonic GH3 vs Fujifilm X-E3

Apart from 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 X-E3 offers a higher resolution than the one in the GH3 (2360k vs 1746k dots). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Panasonic GH3 and Fujifilm X-E3 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or 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 GH3»1746 n 3.0 614 swivel Y 4000 6.0 Y n Panasonic GH3
Fujifilm X-E3«2360 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 8.0 n n Fujifilm X-E3
Canon M6« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 9.0 Y n Canon M6
Fujifilm X-A5« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n Fujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X-T20« »2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y n Fujifilm X-T20
Fujifilm X-A3« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n Fujifilm X-A3
Fujifilm X-E2S« »2360 n 3.0 1040 fixed n 4000 7.0 Y n Fujifilm X-E2S
Nikon D7100« »optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n Nikon D7100
Olympus E-M5 II« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 10.0 n Y Olympus E-M5 II
Olympus E-M1« »2360 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n Y Olympus E-M1
Olympus E-M5« »1440 n 3.0 610 tilting Y 4000 9.0 n Y Olympus E-M5
Panasonic G80« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 9.0 Y Y Panasonic G80
Panasonic GX8« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 10.0 n Y Panasonic GX8
Panasonic GH4« »2359 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 8000 12.0 Y n Panasonic GH4
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 GH2« »1534 n 3.0 460 swivel n 4000 3.0 Y n Panasonic GH2

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The GH3 has one, while the X-E3 does not. While the build-in flash of the GH3 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

Both the GH3 and the X-E3 write their imaging data to SDXC cards.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Panasonic GH3»YstereomonoYYmini2.0Y--Panasonic GH3
Fujifilm X-E3«YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y-YFujifilm X-E3
Canon M6« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon M6
Fujifilm X-A5« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y-YFujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X-T20« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Fujifilm X-T20
Fujifilm X-A3« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Fujifilm X-A3
Fujifilm X-E2S« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Fujifilm X-E2S
Nikon D7100« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D7100
Olympus E-M5 II« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Olympus E-M5 II
Olympus E-M1« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Olympus E-M1
Olympus E-M5« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Olympus E-M5
Panasonic G80« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Panasonic G80
Panasonic GX8« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-Panasonic GX8
Panasonic GH4« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Panasonic GH4
Panasonic G6« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Panasonic G6
Panasonic GM1« »-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic GM1
Panasonic GH2« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Panasonic GH2

The X-E3 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Fujifilm. In contrast, the GH3 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the GH3 was succeeded by the Panasonic GH4.

Review summary: Panasonic GH3 vs Fujifilm X-E3

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Panasonic GH3 and the Fujifilm X-E3? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (540 versus 350) on a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2012).

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Arguments in favor of the Fujifilm X-E3:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 15.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 25%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
  • Richer colors: Larger sensor generates images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Capable of capturing a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can be used in poorly lit environments and still produce good images.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
  • Better video autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident movie autofocus.
  • More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (2360k vs 1746k dots).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 614k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (121x74mm vs 133x93mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 213g or 39 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (31 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years and 11 months of technical progress since the GH3 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the X-E3 is the clear winner of the contest (16 : 7 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera.

GH3 07:16 X-E3

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the GH3 or the X-E3. 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). You can find the full text of the reviews 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 GH3»HiRec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2012 1,299- i Panasonic GH3
Fujifilm X-E3«Rec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-E3
Canon M6« »-80/1004/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 779 i i Canon M6
Fujifilm X-A5« »Rec-4/54/53.5/5 Jan 2018 399 i i Fujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X-T20« »HiRec82/1005/5-4.5/5 Jan 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-T20
Fujifilm X-A3« »-74/1004.5/5-4/5 Aug 2016 399- i Fujifilm X-A3
Fujifilm X-E2S« »-77/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Jan 2016 699- i Fujifilm X-E2S
Nikon D7100« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2013 1,199- i Nikon D7100
Olympus E-M5 II« »HiRec81/1005/54.5/55/5 Feb 2015 1,099 i i Olympus E-M5 II
Olympus E-M1« »HiRec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2013 1,399- i Olympus E-M1
Olympus E-M5« »HiRec80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2012 1,299- i Olympus E-M5
Panasonic G80« »HiRec84/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 899 i i Panasonic G80
Panasonic GX8« »Rec82/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2015 1,199- i Panasonic GX8
Panasonic GH4« »HiRec85/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2014 1,499- i Panasonic GH4
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 GH2« »HiRec79/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Sep 2010 1,499- i Panasonic GH2

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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 would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If the camera you are interested in is not available, please contact me, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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