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The Panasonic Lumix G3 Vs. The Panasonic Lumix G2

Updated on December 17, 2015
The new Panasonic Lumix G3
The new Panasonic Lumix G3
The Panasonic Lumix G2
The Panasonic Lumix G2

I know a little something about the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 camera. For the past 9 months I used one to build a microstock portfolio on Dreamstime that includes over 800 royalty free images and earned me enough money to pay for the camera.

I've since "upgraded" to the Lumix DMC-G3 basically for its larger sensor. In the world of professional photography there is a constant march towards larger and larger megapixel sensor that can produce seemingly billboard sized images. The newest offerings from Cannon and Nikon approach the 21 megapixel mark and even the 32 megapixel mark. So photographers seeking to sell their photos have to keep up with megapixel counts but they don't have live on the bleeding edge.

Dreamstime's cut off is only 3 megapixels but the average size of new photos being submitted is around 12 megapixels which is the size of the sensor in the Panasonic Lumix G2. The G3 steps it up a notch with a new 16 megapixel sensor. This is what attracted me the G3 and since I already have a selection of Panasonic Micro Four Thirds lenes I just wanted the new body with its upgraded sensor.

In the world of Microstock Photography its hard to justify staying on the bleeding edge of the latest offerings from Cannon and Nikon. With my mid-range, sub-1000 camera, I was able to pay for the camera within 9 months of uploading images on to Dreamstime and to sell off my G2 while it still had value.

Right now or soon the G2, new or used will start becoming a very affordable camera so one might wonder if its worth "upgrading" to the G3 or buying a used or discounted G2. Its all a matter of what use the camera will be to the user and if the feature set fits their use because the G3 is not a straight forward upgrade to the G2. Some features have improved while other have been taken away.

I'm not going to do an intensive review of every single feature of these cameras. I'll just give you the overview of what I think are the most important differences.

G3 Vs G2 in a nutshell

Manual settings
Reliance on the touch LCD
Initial price
Microphone jack
Build quality
Metal - button feel cheaper
View finder sensor

What is a G3 or G2 anyway?

Both of these cameras are from the Micro Four Thirds family of mirrorless digital cameras. This format is a partnership between Olympus and Panasonic. Micro Four Thirds cameras take away the bulky mirror and view finder and replace it with a view finder that reads data off the sensor. The result is some very compact cameras and very compact lens. The lens come in traditional sizes such as 20mm but the focal length equivalent is double because the lens is much closer to the sensor. For example a 20mm is equivalent to a 40mm. The sensor size is larger than a point and shoot camera but smaller than a DSLR. The G3 does away with some buttons and dials thus shrinking even smaller than the G2.

Differences between the G3 and G2

The G line from Panasonic features a flip out touch screen in which many of the functions of the camera including focal point, exposure settings and even shutter activation can be done. Now a major difference between the G3 and the G2 is that the G3 moves some of the buttons and dials that were on the body of the camera, to the touch screen. It also has less options on the remaining dials. It also takes away the automatic LVF/LCD sensor and replaces it with a button which allows the view finder to be smaller. Some reviewers have complained about losing this sensor for studio work I found the G2 would switch back and forth annoyingly when every the camera strap got in the way or my hand went up to use the touch screen shutters. So I won't miss it.

Another thing missing on the G3 is the port for an external microphone. But they have added stereo for the built in microphone. I use my camera mostly for stills so this is no big deal to me.

The G3 is coming out at about $100 less than the G2 when it was released. So one might think that Panasonic is aiming lower with this camera when you consider the simplified buttons and dial layout. But I think it does have some more advanced features to keep someone like who is upgrading happy. The smaller size and weight is nice, the simplified exposure dial is actually fine because it retains the settings I actually used and most importantly it has an updated sensor.

It also now has a iA+ setting which gives one more control of the Intelligent Automatic or beginner setting. Also the Auto Focus has been greatly improved. The autofocus is now close to instant.

One downside to the new smaller sized G3 is the battery. The battery had to shrink so you won't go as long before you have to stop to recharge the battery.

First Looks at the G3

Summary of G3 Advantages

  • Higher resolution movies
  • Lower noise at high ISO
  • Significantly higher true resolutionMuch smaller
  • Less shutter lag
  • Better image quality
  • Much thinner
  • More dynamic range
  • Lighter
  • Slightly cheaper

Summary of G2 Advantages

  • Has an external mic jack
  • Significantly longer battery life
  • Significantly less startup delay
  • Better color depth
  • Slightly larger sensor


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    • usefull info profile image

      usefull info 5 years ago from indonesia

      great review :D

    • TrahnTheMan profile image

      TrahnTheMan 5 years ago from Asia, Oceania & between

      Thanks for the review peanutroaster. Have you had a chance to shoot much video with the G3, and if so how would compare it with the G2? Are these cameras CMOS?