Panasonic GH3 versus Panasonic GX7
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 are two enthusiast cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2012 and August 2013. Both the GH3 and the GX7 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The GH3 has a resolution of 15.9 megapixel, whereas the GX7 provides 15.8 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 GX7
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Panasonic GH3 and the Panasonic GX7. 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).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GX7 is notably smaller (29 percent) than the Panasonic GH3. Moreover, the GX7 is markedly lighter (27 percent) than the GH3. It is worth mentioning in this context that the GH3 is splash and dust resistant, while the GX7 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 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|
|Panasonic GH3»||5.2 in||3.7 in||3.2 in||19.4 oz||540||Y||Sep 2012||1,299||-|
|Panasonic GX7«||4.8 in||2.8 in||2.2 in||14.2 oz||350||n||Aug 2013||999||-|
|Olympus E-M5 II« »||4.9 in||3.3 in||1.8 in||16.5 oz||310||Y||Feb 2015||1,099|
|Olympus E-PL7« »||4.5 in||2.6 in||1.5 in||12.6 oz||350||n||Aug 2014||599||-|
|Olympus E-M10« »||4.7 in||3.2 in||1.8 in||14.0 oz||320||n||Jan 2014||699||-|
|Olympus E-M1« »||5.1 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||17.5 oz||350||Y||Sep 2013||1,399||-|
|Olympus E-P5« »||4.8 in||2.7 in||1.5 in||14.8 oz||330||n||May 2013||999||-|
|Olympus E-M5« »||4.8 in||3.5 in||1.7 in||15.0 oz||360||Y||Feb 2012||1,299||-|
|Panasonic G85« »||5.0 in||3.5 in||2.9 in||17.8 oz||330||Y||Sep 2016||899|
|Panasonic GX8« »||5.2 in||3.1 in||2.5 in||17.2 oz||330||Y||Jul 2015||1,199||-|
|Panasonic GH4« »||5.2 in||3.7 in||3.3 in||19.8 oz||500||Y||Feb 2014||1,499||-|
|Panasonic GM5« »||3.9 in||2.4 in||1.4 in||7.4 oz||220||n||Sep 2014||749||-|
|Panasonic G6« »||4.8 in||3.3 in||2.8 in||13.8 oz||340||n||Apr 2013||599||-|
|Panasonic GM1« »||3.9 in||2.2 in||1.2 in||7.2 oz||230||n||Oct 2013||749||-|
|Panasonic GX1« »||4.6 in||2.7 in||1.5 in||11.2 oz||320||n||Nov 2011||949||-|
|Panasonic GH2« »||4.9 in||3.5 in||3.0 in||15.6 oz||330||n||Sep 2010||1,499||-|
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 GX7 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 23 percent) than the GH3, 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 GX7
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 megapixel, compared with 15.8 MP of the GX7. This megapixel 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 GX7). Moreover, it should be noted that the GX7 is a somewhat more recent model (by 10 months) than the GH3, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of individual pixels.
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 Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar image quality. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Panasonic GH3»||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||22.7||12.4||812||71|
|Panasonic GX7«||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||22.6||12.2||718||70|
|Olympus E-M5 II« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.0||12.5||842||73|
|Olympus E-PL7« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.4||873||72|
|Olympus E-M10« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||884||72|
|Olympus E-M1« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||23.0||12.7||757||73|
|Olympus E-P5« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.4||895||72|
|Olympus E-M5« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||22.8||12.3||826||71|
|Panasonic G85« »||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||22.8||12.5||656||71|
|Panasonic GX8« »||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||23.5||12.6||806||75|
|Panasonic GH4« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||23.2||12.8||791||74|
|Panasonic GM5« »||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||22.1||11.7||721||66|
|Panasonic G6« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61|
|Panasonic GM1« »||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||22.3||11.7||660||66|
|Panasonic GX1« »||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||20.8||10.6||703||55|
|Panasonic GH2« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||21.2||11.3||655||60|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).
Feature comparison: Panasonic GH3 vs Panasonic GX7
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The two cameras under review are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the GX7 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the GH3 (2760k vs 1746k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic GH3, the Panasonic GX7, and comparable cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.
|Olympus E-M5 II« »||2360||n||3.0||1037||swivel||Y||8000||10.0||n||Y|
|Olympus E-PL7« »||-||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||4000||8.0||n||Y|
|Olympus E-M10« »||1440||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||4000||8.0||Y||Y|
|Olympus E-M1« »||2360||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||8000||10.0||n||Y|
|Olympus E-P5« »||-||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||8000||9.0||Y||Y|
|Olympus E-M5« »||1440||n||3.0||610||tilting||Y||4000||9.0||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 GX1« »||-||n||3.0||460||fixed||Y||4000||4.2||Y||n|
|Panasonic GH2« »||1534||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||4000||3.0||Y||n|
Both the GH3 and the GX7 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The GH3 was replaced by the Panasonic GH4, while the GX7 was followed by the Panasonic GX85.
Review summary: Panasonic GH3 vs Panasonic GX7
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Panasonic GH3 and the Panasonic GX7? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3:
- More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- 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.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2012).
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7:
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (2760k vs 1746k dots).
- 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.
- More compact: Is smaller (123x71mm vs 133x93mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 148g or 27 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (23 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (10 months) more recently.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the GX7 emerges as the winner of the match-up (8 : 5 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.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the GH3 or the GX7 handle or 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 table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.
|Panasonic GH3»||HiRec||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||1,299||-|
|Panasonic GX7«||Rec||79/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2013||999||-|
|Olympus E-M5 II« »||HiRec||81/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2015||1,099|
|Olympus E-PL7« »||Rec||-||5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2014||599||-|
|Olympus E-M10« »||-||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2014||699||-|
|Olympus E-M1« »||HiRec||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||1,399||-|
|Olympus E-P5« »||HiRec||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||May 2013||999||-|
|Olympus E-M5« »||HiRec||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||1,299||-|
|Panasonic G85« »||HiRec||84/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||899|
|Panasonic GX8« »||Rec||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2015||1,199||-|
|Panasonic GH4« »||HiRec||85/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||1,499||-|
|Panasonic GM5« »||Rec||77/100||5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||749||-|
|Panasonic G6« »||HiRec||-||5/5||-||4.5/5||Apr 2013||599||-|
|Panasonic GM1« »||Rec||78/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||749||-|
|Panasonic GX1« »||Rec||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2011||949||-|
|Panasonic GH2« »||HiRec||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2010||1,499||-|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when refering 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.
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