The new Panasonic Lumix G3 tested and available for comparison on DxOMark

Thursday May 26 2011

Camera Review

Announced 2 weeks ago, the successor to the Panasonic G2 has already been tested and briefly reviewed on DxOMark. The Panasonic G3 is more than a simple revamp of its predecessor; this new model represents a leap forward for the G Series with:

  • A new 16 Mpix sensor
  • A new autofocus system
  • A touch screen and an electronic view finder
  • A very attractive price tag when compared with the launch price of the G2

When speaking about the G3’s sensor in their press release, Panasonic proclaimed it was much better than its predecessor at high ISO settings. With that said, let’s check out the DxOMark results.

Panasonic G3: the sensor review

Here are the full Panasonic Lumic DMC G3 DxOMark results.
It is worth noting that Micro Four Thirds sensors are smaller than APS-C or Full Frame sensors. Their smaller size means less light is captured; it will be quite challenging for sensor manufacturers of this format to achieve a score equal or superior to that of APS-C sensors.

In spite of this physical challenge, the Panasonic G3 has some impressive improvements to be reported:

Low-Light ISO Score: 1/3 Stop Better, High ISO setting: more than 1 Stop better!

See here the comparison with the previous G Models: Panasonic G1 vs Panasonic G2 vs Panasonic G3
In comparison with the previous G1 and G2, measurements indeed show a noticeable improvement for high ISO:

  •  The Lowlight ISO Score, which indicates the maximum ISO you can use while keeping a decent Image quality (See Low-Light ISO Score definition) is 1/3 Stop better.
  • 1 Stop of difference is measured for every aspect (SNR18%, Dynamic Range, Color Sensitivity) at ISO 3200
  • The dynamic range could be its most impressive improvement: close to 2 Stops between the 2 generations of sensors at ISO 6400.

Compared to GH2 and GH1

When it comes to photonic noise and color sensitivity the G3 has similar behaviors to the GH1 and GH2. Nevertheless on dark noise management, especially at Low ISO the GH-series cameras have the upper hand: Dynamic Range measurements for the GH1 and GH2 are 1 Stop better at low ISO.
See the full comparison here: Panasonic G3 vs Panasonic GH1 vs Panasonic GH2

Panasonic Lumix DMC G3 vs Olympus PEN EP2:

If the previous G2 was a bit behind the Olympus PEN EP2, the G3 changes the game score and ends up with a tie. The Panasonic G3 not only has exactly the same Overall Score when compared with the Olympus PEN EP2 but it also takes the lead on the Low-Light ISO score.
The more noticeable figures are:

  •  The Panasonic G3 has a very good dynamic range for High ISO settings; more than 1 Stop better than the PEN EP2
  • The Panasonic G3 has a slight advantage on SNR 18% and tonal range measurements but this advantage is not on the color sensitivity measurement which could indicate that its spectral response is less selective.

 See the full comparison here: Panasonic G3 vs Olympus PEN EP2

 Panasonic Lumix DMC G3 vs Sony NEX 3 vs Sony NEX 5:

 Last but not least, the Sony NEX sensor (which is an APS/C) remains higher ranked in every aspect.
 See the comparison here: Panasonic Lumix DMC G3 vs Sony NEX 3 vs Sony NEX 5

Panasonic Lumix DMC G3 vs Canon S90 vs Canon G12: Compact or Hybrid?

If you are looking for a compact camera for traveling with a light bag, and you are considering a high-end bridge such as the Canon Powershot G12 or S90, you should take a look to this comparison.
The micro 4/3 camera provides a significantly better image quality on every aspect and in every lighting condition.
See the whole comparison here : Panasonic G3 vs Canon Powershot S95 vs Canon Powershot G12

Other interesting comparisons:

Panasonic G3 vs Olympus PEN EPL2
Panasonic G3 vs Nikon CoolPix P7000 vs Samsung EX1
Panasonic G3 vs Samsung NX11