Panasonic GM1 vs Sony H400
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in October 2013 and February 2014. The GM1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the H400 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (GM1) and a 1/2.3-inch (H400) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 15.8 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-GM1 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.
The physical size and weight of the Panasonic GM1 and the Sony H400 are illustrated 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The GM1 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, red), while the H400 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony H400 is considerably larger (127 percent) than the Panasonic GM1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the GM1 nor the H400 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the H400 has a lens built in, whereas the GM1 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 GM1 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Panasonic GM1||3.9 in||2.2 in||1.2 in||7.2 oz||230||n||Oct 2013||749|
|Sony H400||5.1 in||3.7 in||4.8 in||22.2 oz||300||n||Feb 2014||319|
|Canon SX410||4.1 in||2.7 in||3.3 in||11.5 oz||185||n||Feb 2015||279|
|Canon SX710||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||230||n||Jan 2015||349|
|Panasonic GM5||3.9 in||2.4 in||1.4 in||7.4 oz||220||n||Sep 2014||749|
|Panasonic LX100||4.5 in||2.6 in||2.2 in||13.9 oz||300||n||Sep 2014||899|
|Panasonic G6||4.8 in||3.3 in||2.8 in||13.8 oz||340||n||Apr 2013||599|
|Panasonic GX7||4.8 in||2.8 in||2.2 in||14.2 oz||350||n||Aug 2013||999|
|Panasonic G5||4.7 in||3.3 in||2.8 in||14.0 oz||320||n||Jul 2012||599|
|Panasonic GH3||5.2 in||3.7 in||3.2 in||19.4 oz||540||Y||Sep 2012||1,299|
|Panasonic G3||4.5 in||3.3 in||1.9 in||11.9 oz||270||n||May 2011||599|
|Panasonic GX1||4.6 in||2.7 in||1.5 in||11.2 oz||320||n||Nov 2011||699|
|Panasonic GH2||4.9 in||3.5 in||3.0 in||15.6 oz||330||n||Sep 2010||899|
|Ricoh GR||4.6 in||2.4 in||1.4 in||8.6 oz||290||n||Apr 2013||799|
|Sony HX400V||5.1 in||3.7 in||4.1 in||23.3 oz||300||n||Feb 2014||499|
|Sony H300||5.0 in||3.5 in||3.6 in||20.8 oz||350||n||Feb 2014||219|
|Sony H200||4.8 in||3.3 in||3.4 in||18.7 oz||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.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 H400 was launched at a lower price than the GM1, despite having a lens built in. 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 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. 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Panasonic GM1 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 15.8 MP of the GM1. 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 3.77μm for the GM1). However, it should be noted that the H400 is a somewhat more recent model (by 3 months) than the GM1, 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 GM1 are 23 x 17.2 inches or 58.3 x 43.8 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.7 x 35 cm for very good quality, and 15.3 x 11.5 inches or 38.9 x 29.2 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 25600, 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 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Panasonic GM1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||22.3||11.7||660||66|
|Panasonic GM5||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||22.1||11.7||721||66|
|Panasonic LX100||Four Thirds||12.7||4112||3088||4K/30p||22.3||12.5||553||67|
|Panasonic G6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61|
|Panasonic GX7||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||22.6||12.2||718||70|
|Panasonic G5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Panasonic GH3||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||22.7||12.4||812||71|
|Panasonic G3||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||21.0||10.6||667||56|
|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 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 GM1 provides a higher video resolution than the H400. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60i, while the Sony is limited to 720/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the H400 has an electronic viewfinder (210k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the GM1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Panasonic GM1 and Sony H400 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The GM1 has a touchscreen, while the H400 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
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 GM1 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 GM1 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 GM1 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the H400 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The GM1 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-GM1 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
The H400 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the GM1 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the GM1 was succeeded by the Panasonic GM5. 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 the Panasonic GM1 better than the Sony H400 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1:
- 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 (1080/60i vs 720/30p).
- 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 burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 0.7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- 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.
- More compact: Is smaller (99x55mm vs 130x95mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- 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 October 2013).
Arguments in favor of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (19.9 vs 15.8MP), which boosts linear resolution by 12%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/2000s vs 1/500s) to freeze action.
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the GM1 necessitates an extra lens.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (300 versus 230) out of a single battery charge.
- 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 (3 months) more recently.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GM1 is the clear winner of the match-up (15 : 9 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding 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 GM1 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 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 GM1 or the H400 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.
|Panasonic GM1||+||78/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||749|
|Sony H400||o||..||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||Feb 2014||319|
|Canon SX410||o||..||..||..||..||Feb 2015||279|
|Canon SX710||+||..||4/5||..||3.5/5||Jan 2015||349|
|Panasonic GM5||+||77/100||5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||749|
|Panasonic LX100||+ +||85/100||5/5||4/5||5/5||Sep 2014||899|
|Panasonic G6||+ +||..||5/5||..||4.5/5||Apr 2013||599|
|Panasonic GX7||+||79/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2013||999|
|Panasonic G5||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||599|
|Panasonic GH3||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||1,299|
|Panasonic G3||+ +||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||May 2011||599|
|Panasonic GX1||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2011||699|
|Panasonic GH2||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2010||899|
|Ricoh GR||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||799|
|Sony HX400V||+ +||..||4/5||..||4/5||Feb 2014||499|
|Sony H300||+||..||4.5/5||..||4/5||Feb 2014||219|
|Sony H200||..||..||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||Jan 2013||249|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
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. 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. 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 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.
- Canon 100D vs Panasonic GM1
- Canon 1D Mark II vs Sony H400
- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Sony H400
- Canon G5 X Mark II vs Panasonic GM1
- Canon XS vs Panasonic GM1
- Epson R-D1 vs Panasonic GM1
- Leica V-LUX 3 vs Sony H400
- Nikon Coolpix A vs Sony H400
- Nikon D750 vs Panasonic GM1
- Panasonic GM1 vs Panasonic GX8
- Panasonic TZ200 vs Sony H400
- Sony H400 vs Sony NEX-5T
Specifications: Panasonic GM1 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 GM1||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||October 2013||February 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 749||USD 319|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic GM1||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||15.8 Megapixels||19.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4592 x 3448 pixels||5152 x 3864 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.77 μm||1.19 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.04 MP/cm2||70.91 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||720/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 25,600 ISO||80 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||125 - 25,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||Venus IX||BIONZ|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||66||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.3||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.7||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||660||..|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic GM1||Sony H400|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||210k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1036k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic GM1||Sony H400|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||0.7 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||no E-Shutter|
|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 GM1||Sony H400|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Body Specs||Panasonic GM1||Sony H400|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||230 shots per charge||300 shots per charge|
99 x 55 x 30 mm
(3.9 x 2.2 x 1.2 in)
130 x 95 x 122 mm
(5.1 x 3.7 x 4.8 in)
|Camera Weight||204 g (7.2 oz)||628 g (22.2 oz)|
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