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Panasonic GH3 vs GH4

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2012 and February 2014. Both the GH3 and the GH4 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 15.9 megapixels.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Panasonic GH3
versus
Panasonic GH4
Panasonic GH3   Panasonic GH4
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
15.9 MP, Four Thirds Sensor 15.9 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
1080/60p Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 200-12,800 (125 - 25,600) ISO 200-25,600
Electronic viewfinder (1746k dots) Electronic viewfinder (2359k dots)
3.0 LCD, 614k dots 3.0 LCD, 1036k dots
Swivel touchscreen Swivel touchscreen
6 shutter flaps per second 12 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
540 shots per battery charge500 shots per battery charge
133 x 93 x 82 mm, 550 g 133 x 93 x 84 mm, 560 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4? 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.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Panasonic GH3 and the Panasonic GH4 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Panasonic GH3 vs Panasonic GH4
Compare GH3 versus GH4 top
Comparison GH3 or GH4 rear

In this particular case, the Panasonic GH3 and the Panasonic GH4 have exactly the same width and height, and, thus, have identically-sized bodies. However, the GH4 is slightly heavier (2 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 compare the optics available 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 following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Panasonic GH3 133 mm 93 mm 82 mm 550 g 540 Y Sep 2012 1,299i
2.
 
Panasonic GH4 133 mm 93 mm 84 mm 560 g 500 Y Feb 2014 1,499i
3.
 
Olympus E-M5 II 124 mm 85 mm 45 mm 469 g 310 Y Feb 2015 1,099i
4.
 
Olympus E-M1 130 mm 94 mm 63 mm 497 g 350 Y Sep 2013 1,399i
5.
 
Olympus E-M5 122 mm 89 mm 43 mm 425 g 360 Y Feb 2012 1,299i
6.
 
Panasonic GH5s 139 mm 98 mm 87 mm 660 g 440 Y Jan 2018 2,499 i
7.
 
Panasonic GH5 139 mm 98 mm 87 mm 725 g 410 Y Jan 2017 1,999i
8.
 
Panasonic G85 128 mm 89 mm 74 mm 505 g 330 Y Sep 2016 899i
9.
 
Panasonic GX8 133 mm 78 mm 63 mm 487 g 330 Y Jul 2015 1,199i
10.
 
Panasonic G6 122 mm 85 mm 71 mm 390 g 340 n Apr 2013 599i
11.
 
Panasonic GM1 99 mm 55 mm 30 mm 204 g 230 n Oct 2013 749i
12.
 
Panasonic GH2 124 mm 90 mm 76 mm 442 g 330 n Sep 2010 899i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The GH3 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 13 percent) than the GH4, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the 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 GH4 sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 15.9 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the GH3 and the GH4 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the GH4 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 4 months) than the GH3, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 125-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 are ISO 200 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.

GH3 versus GH4 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 Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Panasonic GH3 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p22.712.481271
2.
 
Panasonic GH4 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p23.212.879174
3.
 
Olympus E-M5 II Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.012.584273
4.
 
Olympus E-M1 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p23.012.775773
5.
 
Olympus E-M5 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i22.812.382671
6.
 
Panasonic GH5s Four Thirds 9.9 3680 27004K/60p........
7.
 
Panasonic GH5 Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p23.913.080777
8.
 
Panasonic G85 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p22.812.565671
9.
 
Panasonic GX8 Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.512.680675
10.
 
Panasonic G6 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961
11.
 
Panasonic GM1 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i22.311.766066
12.
 
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. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the GH4 provides a better video resolution than the GH3. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the GH3 is limited to 1080/60p.

Feature comparison

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 GH4 offers a higher resolution than the one in the GH3 (2359k vs 1746k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic GH3, the Panasonic GH4, and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Panasonic GH31746 n3.0 / 614 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
2.
 
Panasonic GH42359 n3.0 / 1036 swivel Y 1/8000s 12.0 Y n
3.
 
Olympus E-M5 II2360 n3.0 / 1037 swivel Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
4.
 
Olympus E-M12360 n3.0 / 1037 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
5.
 
Olympus E-M51440 n3.0 / 610 tilting Y 1/4000s 9.0 n Y
6.
 
Panasonic GH5s3680 n3.2 / 1620 swivel Y 1/8000s 12.0 n n
7.
 
Panasonic GH53680 n3.2 / 1620 swivel Y 1/8000s 12.0 n Y
8.
 
Panasonic G852360 n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 9.0 Y Y
9.
 
Panasonic GX82360 n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
10.
 
Panasonic G61440 n3.0 / 1036 swivel Y 1/4000s 7.0 Y n
11.
 
Panasonic GM1none n3.0 / 1036 fixed Y 1/500s 5.0 Y n
12.
 
Panasonic GH21534 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.

The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the GH4 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).

The Panasonic GH3 and the Panasonic GH4 both have an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the GH3 and the GH4 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.

Connectivity comparison

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-GH3 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Panasonic GH3Ystereo / monoYYmini2.0Y--
2.
 
Panasonic GH4Ystereo / monoYYmicro2.0YY-
3.
 
Olympus E-M5 IIYstereo / monoY-micro2.0Y--
4.
 
Olympus E-M1Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0Y--
5.
 
Olympus E-M5Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Panasonic GH5sYstereo / monoYYfull3.1Y-Y
7.
 
Panasonic GH5Ystereo / monoYYfull3.1Y-Y
8.
 
Panasonic G85Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0Y--
9.
 
Panasonic GX8Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0YY-
10.
 
Panasonic G6Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
11.
 
Panasonic GM1-stereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
12.
 
Panasonic GH2Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---

Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.

Both the GH3 and the GH4 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The GH3 was replaced by the Panasonic GH4, while the GH4 was followed by the Panasonic GH5. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Panasonic website.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Panasonic GH3 and the Panasonic GH4? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3:

  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (13 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2012).


Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4:

  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
  • More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (2359k vs 1746k dots).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1036k vs 614k dots).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12 vs 6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 4 months) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the GH4 is the clear winner of the contest (8 : 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. 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.

GH3 02:08 GH4

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Panasonic GH3 and the Panasonic GH4 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the GH3 and the GH4 in practical situations. 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.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Panasonic GH35/5+ +..79/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 1,299i
2.
 
Panasonic GH45/5+ +..85/1005/55/5 Feb 2014 1,499i
3.
 
Olympus E-M5 II5/5+ +4.5/581/1005/55/5 Feb 2015 1,099i
4.
 
Olympus E-M15/5+ +..84/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2013 1,399i
5.
 
Olympus E-M54/5+ +..80/1004.5/55/5 Feb 2012 1,299i
6.
 
Panasonic GH5s....4.5/584/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2018 2,499 i
7.
 
Panasonic GH54.5/5+ +..85/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2017 1,999i
8.
 
Panasonic G85..+ +..84/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2016 899i
9.
 
Panasonic GX85/5+..82/1004.5/54.5/5 Jul 2015 1,199i
10.
 
Panasonic G64/5+ +....5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 599i
11.
 
Panasonic GM13/5+..78/1005/54.5/5 Oct 2013 749i
12.
 
Panasonic GH25/5+ +..79/1004.5/55/5 Sep 2010 899i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Panasonic GH3:
Check Ebay offers
Panasonic GH4:
Check Ebay offers

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. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Panasonic GH3 vs Panasonic GH4

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Panasonic GH3 Panasonic GH4
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date September 2012 February 2014
    Launch Price USD 1,299 USD 1,499
    Sensor Specs Panasonic GH3 Panasonic GH4
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Four Thirds Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 17.3 x 13.0 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 224.9 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 21.6 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 2.0x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 15.9 Megapixels 15.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4608 x 3456 pixels 4608 x 3456 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.76 μm 3.76 μm
    Pixel Density 7.08 MP/cm2 7.08 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 12,800 ISO 200 - 25,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 125 - 25,600 ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO
    Image Processor Venus VII FHD Venus IX
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 71 74
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.7 23.2
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.4 12.8
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 812 791
    Screen Specs Panasonic GH3 Panasonic GH4
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.67x 0.67x
    Viewfinder Resolution 1746k dots 2359k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 614k dots 1036k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Swivel screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Panasonic GH3 Panasonic GH4
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000s 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 6 shutter flaps/s 12 shutter flaps/s
    Electronic Shutterno E-Shutterup to 1/8000s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Panasonic GH3 Panasonic GH4
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI micro HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port External MIC port
    Headphone Socket Headphone port Headphone port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication no NFC NFC built-in
    Body Specs Panasonic GH3 Panasonic GH4
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type DMW-BLF19 DMW-BLF19
    Battery Life (CIPA)540 shots per charge500 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 133 x 93 x 82 mm
    (5.2 x 3.7 x 3.2 in)
    133 x 93 x 84 mm
    (5.2 x 3.7 x 3.3 in)
    Camera Weight 550 g (19.4 oz) 560 g (19.8 oz)

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