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Panasonic GX800 versus Panasonic GH2

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX800 (called Panasonic GX850 in some regions) and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2017 and September 2010. Both the GX800 and the GH2 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The GX800 has a resolution of 15.8 megapixel, whereas the GH2 provides 15.9 MP.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Panasonic GX800 and the Panasonic GH2 is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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 GX800 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Panasonic GX800 vs Panasonic GH2 front
GX800 versus GH2 top view
GX800 and GH2 rear side
Body view (GX800 on the left)

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GH2 is considerably larger (60 percent) than the Panasonic GX800. Moreover, the GH2 is substantially heavier (64 percent) than the GX800. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the GX800 nor the GH2 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. 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 comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
Camera Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(y/n)
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Panasonic GX800 (⇒ rgt) 107 mm 65 mm 33 mm 269 g 210 no 2017 549 latest check
Panasonic GH2 (⇒ lft) 124 mm 90 mm 76 mm 442 g 330 no 2010 1,499discont. check
Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt) 122 mm 85 mm 71 mm 390 g 340 no 2013 599discont. check
Panasonic GH3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 133 mm 93 mm 82 mm 550 g 540 YES 2012 1,299discont. check
Panasonic G3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 115 mm 84 mm 47 mm 336 g .. no 2011 599discont. check
Panasonic GX1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 116 mm 68 mm 39 mm 318 g .. no 2011 949discont. check
Panasonic GH1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 124 mm 90 mm 45 mm 385 g .. no 2009 1,499discont. check

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The GX800 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 63 percent) than the GH2, 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

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 are more costly to manufacture and tent 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 GX800 and Panasonic GH2 sensor measures
Sensor size
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Sensor size

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the GH2 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixel, compared with 15.8 MP of the GX800. This megapixel advantage translates into a 0 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the GH2 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 GX800). Moreover, it should be noted, that the GX800 is much more recent (by 6 years and 3 months) than the GH2, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of individual pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the GX800 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

GX800 versus GH2 MP
Sensor resolution
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Sensor resolution

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 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
(Megapixel)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Panasonic GX800 (⇒ rgt) Four Thirds 15.8 4592 3448 4K/30p .. .. .. ..
Panasonic GH2 (⇒ lft) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 1080/60i 21.2 11.3 655 60
Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 1080/60p 21.3 11.5 639 61
Panasonic GH3 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 1080/60p 22.7 12.4 812 71
Panasonic G3 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.8 4592 3448 1080/60i 21 10.6 667 56
Panasonic GX1 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.8 4592 3448 1080/60p 20.8 10.6 703 55
Panasonic GH1 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000 1080/24p 21.6 11.6 772 64

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the GX800 provides a higher video resolution than the GH2. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the GH2 is limited to 1080/60i.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the GH2 has an electronic viewfinder (1534k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the GX800 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Panasonic GX800 and Panasonic GH2 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. 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
(Y/n)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(Y/n)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(GN)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Panasonic GX800 (⇒ rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 500 10.0 4 no
Panasonic GH2 (⇒ lft) 1534 no 3.0 460 swivel no 4000 3.0 15.6 no
Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1440 no 3.0 1036 swivel YES 4000 7.0 10.5 no
Panasonic GH3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1746 no 3.0 614 swivel YES 4000 6.0 12 no
Panasonic G3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1440 no 3.0 460 swivel YES 4000 4.0 11 no
Panasonic GX1 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 460 fixed YES 4000 4.2 7.6 no
Panasonic GH1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1440 no 3.0 460 swivel no 4000 3.0 10.5 no

The GX800 is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the GH2 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on ebay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the GH2 was succeeded by the Panasonic GH3.

Summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Panasonic GX800 and the Panasonic GX800? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX800:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60i).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 460k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (107x65mm vs 124x90mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 173g or 39 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (63 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 6 years and 3 months of technical progress since the GH2 launch.

Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Faster shutter: Has a higher mechanical shutter speed (4000/sec vs 500/sec) to freeze action.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (330 versus 210) out of a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2010).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GX800 emerges as the winner of the contest (9 : 6 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.

GX800 09:06 GH2

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 GX800 or the GH2 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites. The detailed reviews can be accessed, respectively, on the websites of cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.

Review scores
Camera camera
labs
dp
review
ephoto
zine
imaging
resource
photography
blog
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Panasonic GX800 (⇒ rgt) Rec 76/100 4.5/5 - 4.5/5 2017 549 latest check
Panasonic GH2 (⇒ lft) 86/100 HiRec 79/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2010 1,499discont. check
Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec - 5/5 - 4.5/5 2013 599discont. check
Panasonic GH3 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 79/100 Gold 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2012 1,299discont. check
Panasonic G3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 88/100 HiRec 75/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2011 599discont. check
Panasonic GX1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 85/100 Rec 77/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2011 949discont. check
Panasonic GH1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 89/100 HiRec 72/100 HiRec 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2009 1,499discont. check

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Other comparisons

In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please contact me, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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