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Panasonic LX5 versus Panasonic GF3

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in July 2010 and June 2011. The LX5 is a fixed lens compact, while the GF3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (LX5) and a Four Thirds (GF3) sensor. The LX5 has a resolution of 10 megapixel, whereas the GF3 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 LX5 vs Panasonic GF3

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Panasonic LX5 and the Panasonic GF3. 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 size dimensions 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 side – the LX5 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Panasonic LX5 vs Panasonic GF3
Compare LX5 versus GF3 top
Compare LX5 and GF3 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GF3 is somewhat larger (1 percent) than the Panasonic LX5. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the LX5 nor the GF3 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the LX5 has a lens build in, whereas the GF3 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can find an overview of optics for the GF3 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the LX5 gets 400 shots out of its DMW-BCJ13 battery, while the GF3 can take 300 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLE9 power pack.

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.

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)
Camera
Model
Panasonic LX5» 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 9.6 oz 400 n Jul 2010 499- i Panasonic LX5
Panasonic GF3« 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 9.3 oz 300 n Jun 2011 549- i Panasonic GF3
Canon G12« » 4.4 in 3.0 in 1.9 in 14.1 oz 370 n Sep 2010 499- i Canon G12
Fujifilm X10« » 4.6 in 2.8 in 2.2 in 12.3 oz 270 n Sep 2011 599- i Fujifilm X10
Leica D-LUX 5« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 9.6 oz 400 n Sep 2010 699- i Leica D-LUX 5
Panasonic ZS70« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 11.4 oz 380 n Apr 2017 449 i i Panasonic ZS70
Panasonic FZ300« » 5.2 in 3.6 in 4.6 in 24.4 oz 380 Y Jul 2015 599 i i Panasonic FZ300
Panasonic FZ200« » 4.9 in 3.4 in 4.3 in 20.7 oz 540 n Jul 2012 599- i Panasonic FZ200
Panasonic GF5« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 9.4 oz 360 n Apr 2012 499- i Panasonic GF5
Panasonic LX7« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.8 in 10.5 oz 330 n Jul 2012 499- i Panasonic LX7
Panasonic FZ150« » 4.9 in 3.2 in 3.6 in 18.6 oz 410 n Aug 2011 499- i Panasonic FZ150
Panasonic G3« » 4.5 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 11.9 oz 270 n May 2011 599- i Panasonic G3
Panasonic G10« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 13.7 oz 380 n Mar 2010 499- i Panasonic G10
Panasonic G2« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 15.1 oz 360 n Mar 2010 599- i Panasonic G2
Panasonic GF2« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 10.9 oz 300 n Nov 2010 549- i Panasonic GF2

Any camera purchase 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 LX5 was launched at a lower price than the GF3, despite having a lens build in. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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 LX5 vs Panasonic GF3

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 LX5 features a 1/1.7-inch sensor and the Panasonic GF3 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the GF3 is 389 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.4 and 2.0. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Panasonic LX5 and Panasonic GF3 sensor measures

With 12MP, the GF3 offers a higher resolution than the LX5 (10MP), but the GF3 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.33μm versus 2.14μm for the LX5) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the GF3 is a somewhat more recent model (by 10 months) than the LX5, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

LX5 versus GF3 MP

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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the GF3 has a markedly higher DXO score than the LX5 (overall score 8 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 1 bits higher color depth, 0.8 EV of lower dynamic range, and 1.8 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
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Panasonic LX5» 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p19.610.813241Panasonic LX5
Panasonic GF3« Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i20.610.045849Panasonic GF3
Canon G12« » 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/24p20.411.216147Canon G12
Fujifilm X10« » 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.511.324550Fujifilm X10
Leica D-LUX 5« » 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p----Leica D-LUX 5
Panasonic ZS70« » 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p19.110.610636Panasonic ZS70
Panasonic FZ300« » 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30004K/30p19.311.09738Panasonic FZ300
Panasonic FZ200« » 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.110.811437Panasonic FZ200
Panasonic GF5« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.411.661861Panasonic GF5
Panasonic LX7« » 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p20.711.714750Panasonic LX7
Panasonic FZ150« » 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.410.913240Panasonic FZ150
Panasonic G3« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756Panasonic G3
Panasonic G10« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152Panasonic G10
Panasonic G2« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353Panasonic G2
Panasonic GF2« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.210.350654Panasonic GF2

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 GF3 provides a better video resolution than the LX5. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the LX5 is limited to 720/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Panasonic LX5 vs Panasonic GF3

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The LX5 and the GF3 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 LX5 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the DMW-LVF1. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Panasonic LX5 and Panasonic GF3 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
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
Camera
Model
Panasonic LX5»- n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y Y Panasonic LX5
Panasonic GF3«- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 4000 3.2 Y n Panasonic GF3
Canon G12« »optical n 2.8 461 swivel n 4000 1.1 Y Y Canon G12
Fujifilm X10« »optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 4000 10.0 Y Y Fujifilm X10
Leica D-LUX 5« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y Y Leica D-LUX 5
Panasonic ZS70« »1166 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 2000 10.0 Y Y Panasonic ZS70
Panasonic FZ300« »1440 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 12.0 Y Y Panasonic FZ300
Panasonic FZ200« »1312 n 3.0 460 swivel n 4000 12.0 Y Y Panasonic FZ200
Panasonic GF5« »- n 3.0 920 fixed Y 4000 4.0 Y n Panasonic GF5
Panasonic LX7« »- n 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 11.0 Y Y Panasonic LX7
Panasonic FZ150« »202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 2000 12.0 Y Y Panasonic FZ150
Panasonic G3« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 4000 4.0 Y n Panasonic G3
Panasonic G10« »202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 2.6 Y n Panasonic G10
Panasonic G2« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 4000 2.6 Y n Panasonic G2
Panasonic GF2« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 4000 2.6 Y n Panasonic GF2

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The GF3 has a touchscreen, while the LX5 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

Both the LX5 and the GF3 write their imaging data to SDXC cards.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Panasonic LX5»Ymonomono--mini2.0---Panasonic LX5
Panasonic GF3«-stereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic GF3
Canon G12« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon G12
Fujifilm X10« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Fujifilm X10
Leica D-LUX 5« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Leica D-LUX 5
Panasonic ZS70« »-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic ZS70
Panasonic FZ300« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--Panasonic FZ300
Panasonic FZ200« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Panasonic FZ200
Panasonic GF5« »-stereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic GF5
Panasonic LX7« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic LX7
Panasonic FZ150« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Panasonic FZ150
Panasonic G3« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic G3
Panasonic G10« »Ymono---mini2.0---Panasonic G10
Panasonic G2« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic G2
Panasonic GF2« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic GF2

Both the LX5 and the GF3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The LX5 was replaced by the Panasonic LX7, while the GF3 was followed by the Panasonic GF5.

Review summary: Panasonic LX5 vs Panasonic GF3

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Panasonic LX5 better than the Panasonic GF3 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5:

  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.8 EV of extra DR).
  • More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens build-in, whereas the GF3 requires a separate lens.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (400 versus 300) on a single battery charge.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization build-in.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a build-in lens.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in July 2010).


Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (12 vs 10MP), which boosts linear resolution by 10%.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (8 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.8 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60i vs 720/60p).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.2 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (10 months) more recently.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the match-up finishes in a tie (8 points each). 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.

LX5 08:08 GF3

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the LX5 or the GF3 handle or 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 rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Panasonic LX5»Rec73/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2010 499- i Panasonic LX5
Panasonic GF3«82/10071/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Jun 2011 549- i Panasonic GF3
Canon G12« »Rec73/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2010 499- i Canon G12
Fujifilm X10« »-76/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2011 599- i Fujifilm X10
Leica D-LUX 5« »--4.5/5-4/5 Sep 2010 699- i Leica D-LUX 5
Panasonic ZS70« »HiRec-4/5-4/5 Apr 2017 449 i i Panasonic ZS70
Panasonic FZ300« »HiRec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jul 2015 599 i i Panasonic FZ300
Panasonic FZ200« »HiRec80/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jul 2012 599- i Panasonic FZ200
Panasonic GF5« »--4.5/54/54.5/5 Apr 2012 499- i Panasonic GF5
Panasonic LX7« »HiRec75/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2012 499- i Panasonic LX7
Panasonic FZ150« »HiRec76/1004/55/54.5/5 Aug 2011 499- i Panasonic FZ150
Panasonic G3« »HiRec75/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2011 599- i Panasonic G3
Panasonic G10« »-70/1004/5-4/5 Mar 2010 499- i Panasonic G10
Panasonic G2« »-72/1004/54/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599- i Panasonic G2
Panasonic GF2« »82/10070/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2010 549- i Panasonic GF2

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. 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. 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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