Panasonic GM1 vs Sony NEX-C3
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 and the Sony Alpha NEX-C3 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in October 2013 and June 2011. Both the GM1 and the NEX-C3 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on a Four Thirds (GM1) and an APS-C (NEX-C3) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 15.8 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 16 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Panasonic GM1||Sony NEX-C3|
|Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Micro Four Thirds lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|15.8 MP, Four Thirds Sensor||16 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|1080/60i Video||720/30p Video|
|ISO 200-25,600||ISO 100-12,800|
|No viewfinder, LCD framing||Viewfinder optional|
|3.0 LCD, 1036k dots||3.0 LCD, 920k dots|
|Fixed touchscreen||Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|5 shutter flaps per second||5.5 shutter flaps per second|
|230 shots per battery charge||400 shots per battery charge|
|99 x 55 x 30 mm, 204 g||110 x 60 x 33 mm, 225 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 and the Sony Alpha NEX-C3? 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 GM1 and the Sony NEX-C3 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.
The GM1 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, red), while the NEX-C3 is also available in three color-versions, but different ones (black, silver, pink).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony NEX-C3 is notably larger (21 percent) than the Panasonic GM1. Moreover, the NEX-C3 is markedly heavier (10 percent) than the GM1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the GM1 nor the NEX-C3 are weather-sealed.
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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (GM1) and the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog (NEX-C3). 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 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, 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||99 mm||55 mm||30 mm||204 g||230||n||Oct 2013||749|
|Sony NEX-C3||110 mm||60 mm||33 mm||225 g||400||n||Jun 2011||599|
|Canon G1 X Mark II||116 mm||74 mm||66 mm||553 g||240||n||Feb 2014||799|
|Olympus E-M10||119 mm||82 mm||46 mm||396 g||320||n||Jan 2014||699|
|Panasonic G7||125 mm||86 mm||77 mm||410 g||350||n||May 2015||649|
|Panasonic FZ1000||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||831 g||360||n||Jun 2014||899|
|Panasonic GH4||133 mm||93 mm||84 mm||560 g||500||Y||Feb 2014||1,499|
|Panasonic GM5||99 mm||60 mm||36 mm||211 g||220||n||Sep 2014||749|
|Panasonic G6||122 mm||85 mm||71 mm||390 g||340||n||Apr 2013||599|
|Panasonic GX1||116 mm||68 mm||39 mm||318 g||320||n||Nov 2011||699|
|Panasonic GH2||124 mm||90 mm||76 mm||442 g||330||n||Sep 2010||899|
|Ricoh GR||117 mm||61 mm||35 mm||245 g||290||n||Apr 2013||799|
|Sony NEX-3N||110 mm||62 mm||35 mm||269 g||480||n||Feb 2013||499|
|Sony NEX-F3||117 mm||67 mm||42 mm||314 g||470||n||May 2012||599|
|Sony NEX-5N||111 mm||59 mm||38 mm||269 g||460||n||Aug 2011||699|
|Sony NEX-3||117 mm||62 mm||33 mm||297 g||330||n||May 2010||599|
|Sony NEX-5||111 mm||59 mm||38 mm||287 g||330||n||May 2010||699|
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.
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The NEX-C3 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 20 percent) than the GM1, 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.
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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its 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 NEX-C3 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the NEX-C3 is 62 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 1.5. The sensor in the GM1 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the NEX-C3 offers a 3:2 aspect.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
With 16MP, the NEX-C3 offers a higher resolution than the GM1 (15.8MP), but the NEX-C3 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.78μm versus 3.77μm for the GM1) due to its larger sensor. However, the GM1 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 4 months) than the NEX-C3, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
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 Alpha NEX-C3 are ISO 100 to ISO 12800 (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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the NEX-C3 has a markedly higher DXO score than the GM1 (overall score 7 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.4 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.7 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.
|Panasonic GM1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||22.3||11.7||660||66|
|Canon G1 X Mark II||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|Olympus E-M10||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||884||72|
|Panasonic G7||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|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 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. 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 NEX-C3. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60i, while the Sony is limited to 720/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The GM1 and the NEX-C3 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. That said, the NEX-C3 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the FDA-SV1. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Panasonic GM1 and Sony NEX-C3 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Canon G1 X Mark II||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||5.2||Y||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The GM1 has one, while the NEX-C3 does not. While the built-in flash of the GM1 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The NEX-C3 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the GM1 does not have a selfie-screen.
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 NEX-C3 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 NEX-C3 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 Alpha NEX-C3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Canon G1 X Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the GM1 offers wifi support, while the NEX-C3 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the GM1 and the NEX-C3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The GM1 was replaced by the Panasonic GM5, while the NEX-C3 does not have a direct successor. 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 how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Panasonic GM1 and the Sony NEX-C3? 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-GM1:
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60i vs 720/30p).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1036k vs 920k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- 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 compact: Is smaller (99x55mm vs 110x60mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 4 months of technical progress since the NEX-C3 launch.
Advantages of the Sony Alpha NEX-C3:
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (7 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.7 stops ISO advantage).
- More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- 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 1/500s) to freeze action.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (400 versus 230) out of a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (20 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in June 2011).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the match-up finishes in a tie (10 points each). 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 GM1 and the Sony NEX-C3 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the GM1 or the NEX-C3. 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 where reviews by experts come in. 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 NEX-C3||+ +||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||599|
|Canon G1 X Mark II||+||77/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||799|
|Olympus E-M10||..||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2014||699|
|Panasonic G7||+ +||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2015||649|
|Panasonic FZ1000||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||899|
|Panasonic GH4||+ +||85/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||1,499|
|Panasonic GM5||+||77/100||5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||749|
|Panasonic G6||+ +||..||5/5||..||4.5/5||Apr 2013||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 NEX-3N||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||499|
|Sony NEX-F3||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2012||599|
|Sony NEX-5N||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||699|
|Sony NEX-3||..||70/100||4.5/5||5/5||4/5||May 2010||599|
|Sony NEX-5||+ +||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||May 2010||699|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated 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, 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 80D vs Sony NEX-C3
- Canon T2i vs Panasonic GM1
- Hasselblad X1D vs Sony NEX-C3
- Leica TL2 vs Sony NEX-C3
- Nikon D4 vs Panasonic GM1
- Nikon P900 vs Panasonic GM1
- Panasonic FT7 vs Panasonic GM1
- Panasonic G10 vs Panasonic GM1
- Panasonic G6 vs Panasonic GM1
- Panasonic GH5 vs Panasonic GM1
- Panasonic L1 vs Sony NEX-C3
- Panasonic S1 vs Sony NEX-C3
Specifications: Panasonic GM1 vs Sony NEX-C3
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 NEX-C3|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||October 2013||June 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 749||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic GM1||Sony NEX-C3|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||23.4 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||365.04 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||28.1 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.8 Megapixels||16 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4592 x 3448 pixels||4912 x 3264 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.77 μm||4.78 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.04 MP/cm2||4.39 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||720/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||125 - 25,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||Venus IX||BIONZ|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||66||73|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.3||22.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.7||12.2|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||660||1083|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic GM1||Sony NEX-C3|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1036k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic GM1||Sony NEX-C3|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||5.5 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||no On-Board 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 NEX-C3|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Panasonic GM1||Sony NEX-C3|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||230 shots per charge||400 shots per charge|
99 x 55 x 30 mm
(3.9 x 2.2 x 1.2 in)
110 x 60 x 33 mm
(4.3 x 2.4 x 1.3 in)
|Camera Weight||204 g (7.2 oz)||225 g (7.9 oz)|
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