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Panasonic GH3 versus Panasonic G9

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 and the Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2012 and November 2017. Both the GH3 and the G9 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The GH3 has a resolution of 15.9 megapixel, whereas the G9 provides 20.2 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 Panasonic G9

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Panasonic GH3 and the Panasonic G9. 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. 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 GH3 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Panasonic GH3 vs Panasonic G9
Compare GH3 versus G9 top
Compare GH3 and G9 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic G9 is notably larger (7 percent) than the Panasonic GH3. Moreover, the G9 is markedly heavier (20 percent) than the GH3. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

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
  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)
Panasonic GH3» 5.2 in 3.7 in 3.2 in 19.4 oz 540 Y Sep 2012 1,299- i
Panasonic G9« 5.4 in 3.8 in 3.6 in 23.2 oz 400 Y Nov 2017 1,699 i i
Fujifilm X-H1« » 5.5 in 3.8 in 3.4 in 23.7 oz 310 Y Feb 2018 1,899 i i
Olympus E-M1 II« » 5.3 in 3.6 in 2.6 in 20.2 oz 440 Y Sep 2016 1,999 i i
Olympus E-M5 II« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 1.8 in 16.5 oz 310 Y Feb 2015 1,099 i i
Olympus E-M1« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 17.5 oz 350 Y Sep 2013 1,399- i
Olympus E-M5« » 4.8 in 3.5 in 1.7 in 15.0 oz 360 Y Feb 2012 1,299- i
Panasonic GH5s« » 5.5 in 3.9 in 3.4 in 23.3 oz 440 Y Jan 2018 2,499 i i
Panasonic GH5« » 5.5 in 3.9 in 3.4 in 25.6 oz 410 Y Jan 2017 1,999 i i
Panasonic G85« » 5.0 in 3.5 in 2.9 in 17.8 oz 330 Y Sep 2016 899 i i
Panasonic GX8« » 5.2 in 3.1 in 2.5 in 17.2 oz 330 Y Jul 2015 1,199- i
Panasonic GH4« » 5.2 in 3.7 in 3.3 in 19.8 oz 500 Y Feb 2014 1,499- i
Panasonic GM5« » 3.9 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 7.4 oz 220 n Sep 2014 749- i
Panasonic G6« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 13.8 oz 340 n Apr 2013 599- i
Panasonic GM1« » 3.9 in 2.2 in 1.2 in 7.2 oz 230 n Oct 2013 749- i
Panasonic GH2« » 4.9 in 3.5 in 3.0 in 15.6 oz 330 n Sep 2010 1,499- i

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 GH3 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 24 percent) than the G9, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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 Panasonic G9

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.

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.

Panasonic GH3 and Panasonic G9 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the G9 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixel, compared with 15.9 MP of the GH3. This megapixel advantage translates into a 13 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the G9 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.34μm versus 3.76μm for the GH3). However, it should be noted that the G9 is much more recent (by 5 years and 1 month) than the GH3, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the G9 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

Unlike the GH3, the G9 has the capacity to capture high quality composite images (80.6MP) by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).

GH3 versus G9 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. 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 Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Panasonic GH3» Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p22.712.481271
Panasonic G9« Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p----
Fujifilm X-H1« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p----
Olympus E-M1 II« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.712.8131280
Olympus E-M5 II« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.012.584273
Olympus E-M1« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p23.012.775773
Olympus E-M5« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i22.812.382671
Panasonic GH5s« » Four Thirds 9.9 3680 27004K/60p----
Panasonic GH5« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p23.913.080777
Panasonic G85« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p22.812.565671
Panasonic GX8« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.512.680675
Panasonic GH4« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p23.212.879174
Panasonic GM5« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.111.772166
Panasonic G6« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961
Panasonic GM1« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i22.311.766066
Panasonic GH2« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i21.211.365560

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 G9 provides a better video resolution than the GH3. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/60p, while the GH3 is limited to 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Panasonic GH3 vs Panasonic G9

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 G9 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the GH3 (3680k vs 1746k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic GH3, the Panasonic G9, 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 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
Panasonic GH3»1746 n 3.0 614 swivel Y 4000 6.0 Y n
Panasonic G9«3680 Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 20.0 n Y
Fujifilm X-H1« »3690 Y 3.0 1040 full-flex Y 8000 14.0 n Y
Olympus E-M1 II« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 18.0 n Y
Olympus E-M5 II« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 10.0 n Y
Olympus E-M1« »2360 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n Y
Olympus E-M5« »1440 n 3.0 610 tilting Y 4000 9.0 n Y
Panasonic GH5s« »3680 n 3.2 1620 swivel Y 8000 12.0 n 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 GX8« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 10.0 n Y
Panasonic GH4« »2359 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 8000 12.0 Y n
Panasonic GM5« »1166 n 3.0 921 fixed Y 500 5.8 n n
Panasonic G6« »1440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n
Panasonic GM1« »- n 3.0 1036 fixed Y 500 5.0 Y n
Panasonic GH2« »1534 n 3.0 460 swivel n 4000 3.0 Y n

The G9 is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. 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 Panasonic G9

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Panasonic GH3 or the Panasonic G9 – has the upper hand? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 108g or 16 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (540 versus 400) on a single battery charge.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (24 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2012).


Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DC-G9:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (20.2 vs 15.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 13%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/60p vs 1080/60p).
  • More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (3680k vs 1746k dots).
  • Easier setting verification: Has a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 614k dots).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (20 vs 6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years and 1 month of technical progress since the GH3 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G9 is the clear winner of the contest (11 : 6 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 06:11 G9

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the GH3 and the G9 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 where reviews by experts come in. 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). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Panasonic GH3»HiRec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2012 1,299- i
Panasonic G9«HiRec85/1005/5-5/5 Nov 2017 1,699 i i
Fujifilm X-H1« »Rec86/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Feb 2018 1,899 i i
Olympus E-M1 II« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2016 1,999 i i
Olympus E-M5 II« »HiRec81/1005/54.5/55/5 Feb 2015 1,099 i i
Olympus E-M1« »HiRec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2013 1,399- i
Olympus E-M5« »HiRec80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2012 1,299- i
Panasonic GH5s« »-84/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Jan 2018 2,499 i i
Panasonic GH5« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2017 1,999 i i
Panasonic G85« »HiRec84/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 899 i i
Panasonic GX8« »Rec82/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2015 1,199- i
Panasonic GH4« »HiRec85/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2014 1,499- i
Panasonic GM5« »Rec77/1005/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 749- i
Panasonic G6« »HiRec-5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 599- i
Panasonic GM1« »Rec78/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 749- i
Panasonic GH2« »HiRec79/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Sep 2010 1,499- i

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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, 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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please send me an email, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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