Panasonic GH3 vs Sony H400
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2012 and February 2014. The GH3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the H400 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (GH3) and a 1/2.3-inch (H400) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 19.9 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Panasonic GH3 and the Sony H400 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures 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 GH3 and the Sony H400 are of equal size. It is worth mentioning in this context that the GH3 is splash and dust resistant, while the H400 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the H400 has a lens built in, whereas the GH3 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the GH3 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.||Sony H400||130 mm||95 mm||122 mm||628 g||300||n||Feb 2014||319|
|3.||Leica Q Typ 116||130 mm||80 mm||93 mm||640 g||300||n||Jun 2015||4,249|
|4.||Nikon D7100||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||950||Y||Feb 2013||1,199|
|5.||Olympus E-M5 II||124 mm||85 mm||45 mm||469 g||310||Y||Feb 2015||1,099|
|6.||Olympus E-M1||130 mm||94 mm||63 mm||497 g||350||Y||Sep 2013||1,399|
|7.||Olympus E-M5||122 mm||89 mm||43 mm||425 g||360||Y||Feb 2012||1,299|
|8.||Panasonic G80||128 mm||89 mm||74 mm||505 g||330||Y||Sep 2016||899|
|9.||Panasonic GX8||133 mm||78 mm||63 mm||487 g||330||Y||Jul 2015||1,199|
|10.||Panasonic GH4||133 mm||93 mm||84 mm||560 g||500||Y||Feb 2014||1,499|
|11.||Panasonic G6||122 mm||85 mm||71 mm||390 g||340||n||Apr 2013||599|
|12.||Panasonic GM1||99 mm||55 mm||30 mm||204 g||230||n||Oct 2013||749|
|13.||Panasonic GH2||124 mm||90 mm||76 mm||442 g||330||n||Sep 2010||899|
|14.||Sony RX100 IV||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||n||Jun 2015||999|
|15.||Sony HX400V||130 mm||93 mm||103 mm||660 g||300||n||Feb 2014||499|
|16.||Sony H300||128 mm||89 mm||92 mm||590 g||350||n||Feb 2014||219|
|17.||Sony H200||123 mm||83 mm||87 mm||530 g||240||n||Jan 2013||249|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
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 H400 was launched at a lower price than the GH3, despite having a lens built in. 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.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Panasonic GH3 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Sony H400 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the H400 is 88 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 5.6. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the H400 offers a higher resolution of 19.9 megapixels, compared with 15.9 MP of the GH3. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.19μm versus 3.76μm for the GH3). However, it should be noted that the H400 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 that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the H400 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Sony H400 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the H400 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.8 x 19.3 inches or 65.4 x 49.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.6 x 15.5 inches or 52.3 x 39.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.2 x 12.9 inches or 43.6 x 32.7 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic GH3 are 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
| DXO |
|1.||Panasonic GH3||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||22.7||12.4||812||71|
|3.||Leica Q Typ 116||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.7||2221||85|
|5.||Olympus E-M5 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.0||12.5||842||73|
|6.||Olympus E-M1||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||23.0||12.7||757||73|
|7.||Olympus E-M5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||22.8||12.3||826||71|
|8.||Panasonic G80||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||22.8||12.5||656||71|
|9.||Panasonic GX8||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||23.5||12.6||806||75|
|10.||Panasonic GH4||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||23.2||12.8||791||74|
|11.||Panasonic G6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61|
|12.||Panasonic GM1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||22.3||11.7||660||66|
|13.||Panasonic GH2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||21.2||11.3||655||60|
|14.||Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the GH3 provides a higher video resolution than the H400. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Sony is limited to 720/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under consideration are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the GH3 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the H400 (1746k vs 210k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic GH3, the Sony H400, and comparable cameras.
|3.||Leica Q Typ 116||3680||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0||n||Y|
|5.||Olympus E-M5 II||2360||n||3.0||1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|14.||Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0||1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The GH3 has a touchscreen, while the H400 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The GH3 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the H400 does not have a selfie-screen.
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.
The GH3 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the H400 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The GH3 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the H400 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|3.||Leica Q Typ 116||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Olympus E-M5 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|14.||Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the GH3 has a hotshoe, while the H400 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Panasonic GH3 (unlike the H400) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The H400 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the GH3 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the GH3 was succeeded 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 and Sony websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Panasonic GH3 and the Sony H400? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60p vs 720/30p).
- 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.
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (1746k vs 210k dots).
- 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.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 vs 0.7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (540 versus 300) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2012).
Arguments in favor of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (19.9 vs 15.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 12%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the GH3 necessitates an extra lens.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 4 months) more recently.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GH3 is the clear winner of the match-up (23 : 6 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports 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 Sony H400 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best Superzoom Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the GH3 or the H400 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 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], 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.||Sony H400||..||o||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2014||319|
|3.||Leica Q Typ 116||5/5||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||4,249|
|4.||Nikon D7100||5/5||+ +||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||1,199|
|5.||Olympus E-M5 II||5/5||+ +||81/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2015||1,099|
|6.||Olympus E-M1||5/5||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||1,399|
|7.||Olympus E-M5||4/5||+ +||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||1,299|
|8.||Panasonic G80||..||+ +||84/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||899|
|9.||Panasonic GX8||5/5||+||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2015||1,199|
|10.||Panasonic GH4||5/5||+ +||85/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||1,499|
|11.||Panasonic G6||4/5||+ +||..||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||599|
|12.||Panasonic GM1||3/5||+||78/100||5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||749|
|13.||Panasonic GH2||5/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2010||899|
|14.||Sony RX100 IV||4.5/5||+ +||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999|
|15.||Sony HX400V||4/5||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2014||499|
|16.||Sony H300||..||+||..||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2014||219|
|17.||Sony H200||..||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jan 2013||249|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. 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 are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Panasonic GH3 vs Sony H400
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||Sony H400|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses||24.5-1550mm f/3.4-6.5|
|Launch Date||September 2012||February 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 1,299||USD 319|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic GH3||Sony H400|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.9 Megapixels||19.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||5152 x 3864 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.76 μm||1.19 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.08 MP/cm2||70.91 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||720/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 12,800 ISO||80 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||125 - 25,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||Venus VII FHD||BIONZ|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||71||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.7||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.4||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||812||..|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic GH3||Sony H400|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1746k dots||210k 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|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic GH3||Sony H400|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||6 shutter flaps/s||0.7 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Panasonic GH3||Sony H400|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Body Specs||Panasonic GH3||Sony H400|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||540 shots per charge||300 shots per charge|
133 x 93 x 82 mm
(5.2 x 3.7 x 3.2 in)
130 x 95 x 122 mm
(5.1 x 3.7 x 4.8 in)
|Camera Weight||550 g (19.4 oz)||628 g (22.2 oz)|
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