Panasonic GH3 vs GX1
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 are two enthusiast cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2012 and November 2011. Both the GH3 and the GX1 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The GH3 has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the GX1 provides 15.8 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1? 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 GH3 and the Panasonic GX1 are illustrated 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.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GX1 is considerably smaller (36 percent) than the Panasonic GH3. Moreover, the GX1 is substantially lighter (42 percent) than the GH3. It is worth mentioning in this context that the GH3 is splash and dust resistant, while the GX1 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. 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 adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Panasonic GH3||133 mm||93 mm||82 mm||550 g||540||Y||Sep 2012||1,299|
|2.||Panasonic GX1||116 mm||68 mm||39 mm||318 g||320||n||Nov 2011||699|
|3.||Olympus E-M5 II||124 mm||85 mm||45 mm||469 g||310||Y||Feb 2015||1,099|
|4.||Olympus E-M1||130 mm||94 mm||63 mm||497 g||350||Y||Sep 2013||1,399|
|5.||Olympus E-M5||122 mm||89 mm||43 mm||425 g||360||Y||Feb 2012||1,299|
|6.||Panasonic GH5s||139 mm||98 mm||87 mm||660 g||440||Y||Jan 2018||2,499|
|7.||Panasonic G85||128 mm||89 mm||74 mm||505 g||330||Y||Sep 2016||899|
|8.||Panasonic GX8||133 mm||78 mm||63 mm||487 g||330||Y||Jul 2015||1,199|
|9.||Panasonic GH4||133 mm||93 mm||84 mm||560 g||500||Y||Feb 2014||1,499|
|10.||Panasonic G6||122 mm||85 mm||71 mm||390 g||340||n||Apr 2013||599|
|11.||Panasonic GM1||99 mm||55 mm||30 mm||204 g||230||n||Oct 2013||749|
|12.||Panasonic G5||120 mm||83 mm||71 mm||396 g||320||n||Jul 2012||599|
|13.||Panasonic G3||115 mm||84 mm||47 mm||336 g||270||n||May 2011||599|
|14.||Panasonic GH2||124 mm||90 mm||76 mm||442 g||330||n||Sep 2010||899|
|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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The GX1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 46 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.
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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies 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.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the GH3 offers a slightly higher resolution of 15.9 megapixels, compared with 15.8 MP of the GX1. This megapixels advantage translates into a 0.3 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the GH3 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.76μm versus 3.77μm for the GX1). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the GH3 is a somewhat more recent model (by 10 months) than the GX1, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.
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-GX1 are ISO 160 to ISO 12800 (no boost).
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"). Of the two cameras under review, the GH3 provides substantially higher image quality than the GX1, with an overall score that is 16 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.9 bits higher color depth, 1.8 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.2 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
|1.||Panasonic GH3||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||22.7||12.4||812||71|
|2.||Panasonic GX1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||20.8||10.6||703||55|
|3.||Olympus E-M5 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.0||12.5||842||73|
|4.||Olympus E-M1||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||23.0||12.7||757||73|
|5.||Olympus E-M5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||22.8||12.3||826||71|
|6.||Panasonic GH5s||Four Thirds||9.9||3680||2700||4K/60p||..||..||..||..|
|7.||Panasonic G85||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||22.8||12.5||656||71|
|8.||Panasonic GX8||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||23.5||12.6||806||75|
|9.||Panasonic GH4||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||23.2||12.8||791||74|
|10.||Panasonic G6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61|
|11.||Panasonic GM1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||22.3||11.7||660||66|
|12.||Panasonic G5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|13.||Panasonic G3||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||21.0||10.6||667||56|
|14.||Panasonic GH2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||21.2||11.3||655||60|
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, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the GH3 has an electronic viewfinder (1746k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the GX1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the GX1 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the DMW-LVF2. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Panasonic GH3 and Panasonic GX1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|3.||Olympus E-M5 II||2360||n||3.0||1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
The Panasonic GH3 has 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 GX1 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.
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-GX1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|3.||Olympus E-M5 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
It is notable that the GH3 has a microphone port, which is missing on the GX1. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Panasonic GH3 (unlike the GX1) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the GH3 and the GX1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The GX1 was replaced by the Panasonic GX7, while the GH3 was followed by the Panasonic GH4. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Panasonic website.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Panasonic GH3 better than the Panasonic GX1 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3:
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (16 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.9 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.8 EV of extra DR).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (614k vs 460k dots).
- 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.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 vs 4.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (540 versus 320) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 10 months after the GX1).
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1:
- More compact: Is smaller (116x68mm vs 133x93mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 232g or 42 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (46 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in November 2011).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the GH3 is the clear winner of the match-up (16 : 4 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. 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 GH3 and the Panasonic GX1 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 the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the GH3 or the GX1 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 expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], 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.
|1.||Panasonic GH3||5/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||1,299|
|2.||Panasonic GX1||3/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2011||699|
|3.||Olympus E-M5 II||5/5||+ +||81/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2015||1,099|
|4.||Olympus E-M1||5/5||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||1,399|
|5.||Olympus E-M5||4/5||+ +||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||1,299|
|6.||Panasonic GH5s||..||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2018||2,499|
|7.||Panasonic G85||..||+ +||84/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||899|
|8.||Panasonic GX8||5/5||+||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2015||1,199|
|9.||Panasonic GH4||5/5||+ +||85/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||1,499|
|10.||Panasonic G6||4/5||+ +||..||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||599|
|11.||Panasonic GM1||3/5||+||78/100||5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||749|
|12.||Panasonic G5||3/5||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||599|
|13.||Panasonic G3||3/5||+ +||75/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2011||599|
|14.||Panasonic GH2||5/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2010||899|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, 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 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? 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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Panasonic GH3 vs Panasonic GX1
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 GH3||Panasonic GX1|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2012||November 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 1,299||USD 699|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic GH3||Panasonic GX1|
|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|
|Sensor Resolution||15.9 Megapixels||15.8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||4592 x 3448 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.76 μm||3.77 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.08 MP/cm2||7.04 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 12,800 ISO||160 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||125 - 25,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||Venus VII FHD||Venus FHD|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||71||55|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.7||20.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.4||10.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||812||703|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic GH3||Panasonic GX1|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1746k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||614k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic GH3||Panasonic GX1|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||6 shutter flaps/s||4.2 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-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 GX1|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Panasonic GH3||Panasonic GX1|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||540 shots per charge||320 shots per charge|
133 x 93 x 82 mm
(5.2 x 3.7 x 3.2 in)
116 x 68 x 39 mm
(4.6 x 2.7 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||550 g (19.4 oz)||318 g (11.2 oz)|
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