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Panasonic GH4 versus Panasonic G1

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2014 and September 2008. Both the GH4 and the G1 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The GH4 has a resolution of 15.9 megapixel, whereas the G1 provides 12 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 GH4 vs Panasonic G1

The physical size and weight of the Panasonic GH4 and the Panasonic G1 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the GH4 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Panasonic GH4 vs Panasonic G1
Compare GH4 versus G1 top
Compare GH4 and G1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic G1 is notably smaller (16 percent) than the Panasonic GH4. Moreover, the G1 is substantially lighter (36 percent) than the GH4. It is worth mentioning in this context that the GH4 is splash and dust resistant, while the G1 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.

Concerning battery life, the GH4 gets 500 shots out of its DMW-BLF19 battery, while the G1 can take 410 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLB13 power pack.

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 GH4» 5.2 in 3.7 in 3.3 in 19.8 oz 500 Y Feb 2014 1,499- i
Panasonic G1« 4.9 in 3.3 in 1.8 in 12.7 oz 410 n Sep 2008 599- 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
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 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 GH3« » 5.2 in 3.7 in 3.2 in 19.4 oz 540 Y Sep 2012 1,299- i
Panasonic GF2« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 10.9 oz 300 n Nov 2010 549- i
Panasonic G2« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 15.1 oz 360 n Mar 2010 599- i
Panasonic GF1« » 4.7 in 2.8 in 1.4 in 13.6 oz 380 n Sep 2009 749- i
Panasonic GH1« » 4.9 in 3.5 in 1.8 in 13.6 oz 300 n Mar 2009 1,499- i
Panasonic L10« » 5.3 in 3.8 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 450 n Aug 2007 599- i
Sony A7« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.7 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 1,699- 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 G1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 60 percent) than the GH4, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Panasonic GH4 vs Panasonic G1

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 GH4 and Panasonic G1 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the GH4 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixel, compared with 12 MP of the G1. This megapixel advantage translates into a 15 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the GH4 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.76μm versus 4.33μm for the G1). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the GH4 is much more recent (by 5 years and 4 months) than the G1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size.

GH4 versus G1 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most 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"). Of the two cameras under review, the GH4 provides substantially higher image quality than the G1, with an overall score that is 21 points higher. This advantage is based on 2.1 bits higher color depth, 2.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.8 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Panasonic GH4» Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p23.212.879174
Panasonic G1« Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000-21.110.346353
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
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 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 GH3« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p22.712.481271
Panasonic GF2« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.210.350654
Panasonic G2« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353
Panasonic GF1« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.351354
Panasonic GH1« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/24p21.611.677264
Panasonic L10« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.310.842955
Sony A7« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.814.2224890

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The GH4 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the G1 does not. The highest resolution format that the GH4 can use is 4K/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Panasonic GH4 vs Panasonic G1

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 GH4 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the G1 (2359k vs 1440k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic GH4, the Panasonic G1, and comparable cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, 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 GH4»2359 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 8000 12.0 Y n
Panasonic G1«1440 n 3.0 460 swivel n 4001 3.0 Y n
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
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 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 GH3« »1746 n 3.0 614 swivel Y 4000 6.0 Y n
Panasonic GF2« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 4000 2.6 Y n
Panasonic G2« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 4000 2.6 Y n
Panasonic GF1« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n
Panasonic GH1« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel n 4000 3.0 Y n
Panasonic L10« »optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 4000 3.0 Y n
Sony A7« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 5.0 n n

Both the GH4 and the G1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The G1 was replaced by the Panasonic G2, while the GH4 was followed by the Panasonic GH5.

Review summary: Panasonic GH4 vs Panasonic G1

So how do things add up? Is the Panasonic GH4 better than the Panasonic G1 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (15.9 vs 12MP) with a 15% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (21 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (2.1 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (2.5 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.8 stops ISO advantage).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 4K/30p movies.
  • More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (2359k vs 1440k dots).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1036k vs 460k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4001/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (500 versus 410) on a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years and 4 months of technical progress since the G1 launch.


Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1:

  • More compact: Is smaller (124x84mm vs 133x93mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 200g or 36 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (60 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2008).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GH4 is the clear winner of the match-up (14 : 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.

GH4 14:04 G1

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the GH4 and the G1 in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. 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 full reviews are available 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 GH4»HiRec85/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2014 1,499- i
Panasonic G1«HiRec70/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2008 599- 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
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 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 GH3« »HiRec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2012 1,299- i
Panasonic GF2« »82/10070/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2010 549- i
Panasonic G2« »-72/1004/54/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599- i
Panasonic GF1« »85/10069/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2009 749- i
Panasonic GH1« »HiRec72/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 1,499- i
Panasonic L10« »85/100Rec3.5/5rev4/5 Aug 2007 599- i
Sony A7« »HiRec80/1005/54.5/55/5 Oct 2013 1,699- i

The above review scores should be interpreted 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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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.

 

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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If the camera you are interested in is not available, please send me an email, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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