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Panasonic GX850 versus Canon SL2

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX850 (called Panasonic GX800 in some regions) and the Canon EOS Rebel SL2 (labelled Canon 200D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2017 and June 2017. The GX850 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the SL2 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (GX850) and an APS-C (SL2) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 15.8 megapixel, whereas the Canon provides 24 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 GX850 vs Canon SL2

The physical size and weight of the Panasonic GX850 and the Canon SL2 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear 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 side – the GX850 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Panasonic GX850 vs Canon SL2
Compare GX850 versus SL2 top
Compare GX850 and SL2 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon SL2 is considerably larger (63 percent) than the Panasonic GX850. Moreover, the SL2 is substantially heavier (68 percent) than the GX850. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the GX850 nor the SL2 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 find an overview of optics for the two cameras in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (GX850) and the Canon EF Lens Catalog (SL2). Mirrorless cameras, such as the Panasonic GX850, have moreover the advantage that they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance and can thus use many lenses from other systems via adapters.

Concerning battery life, the GX850 gets 210 shots out of its DMW-BLH7 battery, while the SL2 can take 650 images on a single charge of its LP-E17 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 GX850» 4.2 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 9.5 oz 210 n Jan 2017 549 i i
Canon SL2« 4.8 in 3.7 in 2.8 in 16.0 oz 650 n Jun 2017 549 i i
Canon T7« » 5.1 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 16.8 oz 500 n Feb 2018 449 i i
Canon G9 X Mark II« » 3.9 in 2.3 in 1.2 in 7.3 oz 235 n Jan 2017 529 i i
Canon T7i« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 18.8 oz 600 n Feb 2017 749 i i
Canon M5« » 4.6 in 3.5 in 2.4 in 15.1 oz 295 n Sep 2016 979 i i
Nikon D3400« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.7 oz 1200 n Aug 2016 499 i i
Panasonic G7« » 4.9 in 3.4 in 3.0 in 14.5 oz 350 n May 2015 649- i
Panasonic GF7« » 4.2 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 9.4 oz 230 n Jan 2015 499- i
Panasonic GF6« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 11.4 oz 340 n Apr 2013 499- i
Panasonic G6« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 13.8 oz 340 n Apr 2013 599- i
Panasonic GF5« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 9.4 oz 360 n Apr 2012 499- i
Panasonic G5« » 4.7 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 14.0 oz 320 n Jul 2012 599- i
Panasonic GF3« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 9.3 oz 300 n Jun 2011 549- i
Panasonic G3« » 4.5 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 11.9 oz 270 n May 2011 599- i
Panasonic GX1« » 4.6 in 2.7 in 1.5 in 11.2 oz 320 n Nov 2011 949- i
Panasonic GF2« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 10.9 oz 300 n Nov 2010 549- 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 two cameras under review were launched at the same price and fall into the same 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 GX850 vs Canon SL2

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 GX850 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Canon SL2 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the SL2 is 48 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 1.6. The sensor in the GX850 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the SL2 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Panasonic GX850 and Canon SL2 sensor measures

With 24MP, the SL2 offers a higher resolution than the GX850 (15.8MP), but the SL2 has marginally smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.72μm versus 3.77μm for the GX850). Yet, the SL2 is a somewhat more recent model (by 5 months) than the GX850, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the GX850 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

GX850 versus SL2 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 SL2 has a markedly higher DXO score than the GX850 (overall score 6 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.4 bits higher color depth, 0.1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.8 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Panasonic GX850» Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p23.213.358673
Canon SL2« APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.4104179
Canon T7« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p----
Canon G9 X Mark II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.912.552265
Canon T7i« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----
Canon M5« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.412.4126277
Nikon D3400« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286
Panasonic G7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p----
Panasonic GF7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p----
Panasonic GF6« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i20.710.662254
Panasonic G6« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961
Panasonic GF5« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.411.661861
Panasonic G5« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p----
Panasonic GF3« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i20.610.045849
Panasonic G3« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756
Panasonic GX1« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p20.810.670355
Panasonic GF2« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.210.350654

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the GX850 provides a higher video resolution than the SL2. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Panasonic GX850 vs Canon SL2

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the SL2 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the GX850 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic GX850, the Canon SL2, and comparable cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

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 GX850»- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 500 10.0 Y n
Canon SL2«optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Canon T7« »optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n
Canon G9 X Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 2000 8.2 Y Y
Canon T7i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 6.0 Y n
Canon M5« »2360 n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 4000 9.0 Y n
Nikon D3400« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n
Panasonic G7« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n
Panasonic GF7« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 500 5.8 Y n
Panasonic GF6« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.2 Y n
Panasonic G6« »1440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n
Panasonic GF5« »- n 3.0 920 fixed Y 4000 4.0 Y n
Panasonic G5« »1440 n 3.0 920 swivel Y 4000 6.0 Y n
Panasonic GF3« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 4000 3.2 Y n
Panasonic G3« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 4000 4.0 Y n
Panasonic GX1« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 4000 4.2 Y n
Panasonic GF2« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 4000 2.6 Y n

Both the GX850 and the SL2 are current models that good online retailers will have in stock. You can check the latest prices, for example, at amazon. The GX850 replaced the earlier Panasonic GF7, while the SL2 followed on from the Canon SL1.

Review summary: Panasonic GX850 vs Canon SL2

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Panasonic GX850 and the Canon SL2? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX850:

  • 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 1080/60p).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (107x65mm vs 122x93mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 184g or 41 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2017).

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Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS Rebel SL2:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 15.8MP), which boosts linear resolution by 26%.
  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (6 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.8 stops ISO advantage).
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (4000/sec vs 500/sec) to freeze action.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (650 versus 210) out of a single battery charge.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (5 months) more recently.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SL2 emerges as the winner of the match-up (9 : 7 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.

GX850 07:09 SL2

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the GX850 and the SL2 in practical situations. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews 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 GX850»Rec76/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2017 549 i i
Canon SL2«HiRec78/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549 i i
Canon T7« »rev-3.5/5-3.5/5 Feb 2018 449 i i
Canon G9 X Mark II« »-75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2017 529 i i
Canon T7i« »-80/1004.5/54/54/5 Feb 2017 749 i i
Canon M5« »Rec82/1004/54.5/54/5 Sep 2016 979 i i
Nikon D3400« »Rec76/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499 i i
Panasonic G7« »HiRec80/1005/54.5/54.5/5 May 2015 649- i
Panasonic GF7« »Rec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2015 499- i
Panasonic GF6« »HiRec-4.5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 499- i
Panasonic G6« »HiRec-5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 599- i
Panasonic GF5« »--4.5/54/54.5/5 Apr 2012 499- i
Panasonic G5« »HiRec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jul 2012 599- i
Panasonic GF3« »82/10071/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Jun 2011 549- i
Panasonic G3« »HiRec75/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2011 599- i
Panasonic GX1« »Rec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2011 949- i
Panasonic GF2« »82/10070/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2010 549- i

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when refering to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, 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 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. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please send me an email, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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