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Panasonic Lumix GH3 vs Olympus OM-D E-M5 Comparison

Panasonic Lumix GH3 vs Olympus OM-D E-M5 Comparison - A brief hands-on comparison of the Panasonic Lumix GH3 and Olympus OM-D E-M5 with sample photos - two high end Micro Four Thirds mirrorless cameras, both weather sealed.

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Category : Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera
Product : Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3
Price : £749
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Panasonic Lumix Gh3 Vs Olympus Om D E M5 (2)

We have a brief look at the new Panasonic Lumix GH3, and compare it to the Olympus OM-D E-M5, both Micro Four Thirds cameras, both with a 16 megapixel sensor, and both with a weather sealed SLR styled body, although one with more retro styling. The sensor in the GH3 is strongly rumoured to be the same 16 megapixel Sony sensor as used in the Olympus OM-D E-M5, so it will be interesting to see how the two cameras perform.

Panasonic Lumix GH3 Olympus OM-D E-M5
16 megapixel sensor 16 megapixel sensor
3 inch OLED 614k dot screen 3 inch OLED 610k dot screen
Swivelling / Rotating to face front Tilting up and down
6fps continuous shooting 9fps continuous shooting
Full HD, 72mbps, AVCHD, MOV, MP4 Full HD, Options
Stereo mics, mic socket, headphone socket Stereo mics, accessory port for microphone etc
ISO range (extended to 125 + 25600) ISO range (Lowest ISO200)
1.744 million dot EVF 1.44 million dot EVF
HDR shooting, Multi-exposure Multi-exposure
Wi-Fi built in N/A
£1200 - £1549 body only £999 body only

Panasonic Lumix Gh3 Vs Olympus Om D E M5 (7)

Size difference: The GH3 is larger than the GH2 it replaces, and features weather sealing like the OM-D. The size difference is quite noticeable, with the GH3 having a larger grip with a more DSLR styled look and design.

  Panasonic Lumix GH3 Olympus OM-D E-M5
Width 132.9mm 121mm
Height 93.4mm 89.6mm
Depth 82mm 41.9mm
Weight 550g 373g


Panasonic Lumix Gh3 Vs Olympus Om D E M5 (4)

EVF and screen differences - both cameras feature a 3 inch OLED touch screen, with VGA equivalent resolution (610k dots on the Olympus, 614k dots on the Panasonic). They both feature an EVF (electronic viewfinder), with the Olympus featuring a 1.44 million dot resolution viewfinder made by Epson, while the Panasonic features a 1.74 million dot OLED viewfinder.

Panasonic Lumix Gh3 With Leica 25mm (1)

The Panasonic Lumix GH3 features 5 physical function buttons that can be customised, as well as two "soft" function buttons that can be setup on the touch screen. In addition to this, the GH3 has theee other buttons behind the shutter to set WB, ISO, Exposure, and a built in pop-up flash (something the E-M5 lacks). The GH3 has a front and rear control wheel as well as a scroll wheel on the back. The Olympus OM-D E-M5 has two function buttons, as well as customisable 4-way directional buttons on the back. Additional function buttons can be added with the optional battery grip.

Panasonic Lumix Gh3 Vs Olympus Om D E M5 (3)

The Panasonic Lumix GH3 offers 6fps continuous shooting at full resolution, while the Olympus OM-D E-M5 offers 9fps continuous shooting at full resolution. The Olympus OM-D E-M5 features an in-body 5-axis image stabilisation system that moves the sensor - this means it benefits any lens attached to the camera, and is effective in video recording even with 3rd party lenses attached with an adapter (with the latest firmware). The Panasonic Lumix GH3 instead, relies on in-lens image stabilisation, which is currently only in Panasonic Lumix lenses.

Panasonic Lumix Gh3 Vs Olympus Om D E M5 (5)
Battery life difference: The Panasonic Lumix GH3 offers a battery life rating of 540 shots, while the Olympus OM-D E-M5 offers 330 shots. Both have an optional battery grip available to increase battery life, although the OM-D is a two part grip so you can add just the first part for an improved handgrip, without adding too much to the weight and size of the camera.

Panasonic Lumix Gh3 With Leica 25mm (6)

Sample photos - Due to the short time we had with the Panasonic Lumix GH3, we are posting a none scientific comparison. Also due to the GH3 being pre-production and the poor weather conditions, the cameras were using different lenses for some of the shots. However, we feel it still provides an interesting comparison in that it shows the different colours the cameras produce, and have since published updated comparisons, in the studio, and in outdoor shoots. As the camera is a pre-production model, we have re-sized the Panasonic Lumix GH3 images to 5 megapixels.

Read our full review of the Panasonic Lumix GH3.

Panasonic Lumix GH3 (Pre-production - 5mp) Olympus OM-D E-M5
PP | 1/125 sec | f/2.8 | 35.0 mm | ISO 200
PP | 1/125 sec | f/2.8 | 35.0 mm | ISO 200 (12-35)
1/80 sec | f/5.6 | 35.0 mm | ISO 400
1/80 sec | f/5.6 | 35.0 mm | ISO 400 (14-45)
PP | 1/160 sec | f/3.2 | 35.0 mm | ISO 200
PP | 1/160 sec | f/3.2 | 35.0 mm | ISO 200 (12-35)
1/80 sec | f/5.6 | 35.0 mm | ISO 400
1/80 sec | f/5.6 | 35.0 mm | ISO 400 (14-45)
PP | 1/160 sec | f/3.5 | 21.0 mm | ISO 200
PP | 1/160 sec | f/3.5 | 21.0 mm | ISO 200 (12-35)
1/80 sec | f/5.0 | 21.0 mm | ISO 200
1/80 sec | f/5.0 | 21.0 mm | ISO 200 (14-45)
PP | 1/60 sec | f/2.8 | 12.0 mm | ISO 1000
PP | 1/60 sec | f/2.8 | 12.0 mm | ISO 1000 (12-35)
1/60 sec | f/3.2 | 12.0 mm | ISO 1250
1/60 sec | f/3.2 | 12.0 mm | ISO 1250 (12-35)

Full HD Sample videos: Starting with the Panasonic Lumix GH3 with the 12-35mm f/2.8 lens using Optical Image Stabilisation. When we have the full production camera available we plan to post more videos.


Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Panasonic 14-45mm lens (not optimised for video), optical IS switched off, in-body IS used, -1EV. Both videos were hand-held and here it looks like the in-built image stabilisation has done a good job keeping the frame steady.


For more sample photos, have a look at the Pansonic Lumix GH3 sample photos, and for more on the Olympus OM-D E-M5 read our full review.

Comparison Table

Olympus OM-D E-M5Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3
ManufacturerOlympusPanasonic
Image Sensor
CCD pixels16.1Mp (Megapixels)16.05Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)46084608
Pixels (H)34563456
Sensor TypeLive MOS SensorLive MOS Sensor
Sensor SizeMicro / Four ThirdsMicro / Four Thirds
Sensor Size (width)17.3mm17.3mm
Sensor Size (height)13mm13mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in3in
Screen resolution610k dots614,000 dots
Touch ScreenYesYes
Focusing
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Touch AF
  • Spot
  • Multi
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Multi
  • Spot
  • Touch AF
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest60sec60sec
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
Metering
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
  • Centre-weighted - Average
ISO sensitivity200 - 25600125 - 25600
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Shade
  • Flash
  • Underwater
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Bracket
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Incandescent
  • Flash
  • Cloudy
  • Shade
Exposure Comp+/-3+/-5
Viewfinder
Viewfinder Resolution1.44million dots1,744K dots OLED
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting9fps6fps
Video
Movie modeYesYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080
  • 1280x720 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
  • 1920x1080
  • 1280x720 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS3060p, 50p, 50i, 25p, 24p
Stereo SoundYesYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYesYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYesNo
Interface
HDMIYesYes
USBUSB 2USB 2
Storage
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLithium IonLi-ion Battery Pack
CIPA Rating330540
Box Contents
Box ContentsBody, Flash FL-LM2, Li-ion battery BLN-1, Li-ion battery charger BCN-1, USB/Video Multi cable, Shoulder strap, OLYMPUS Viewer 2/ib CD-ROM, Instruction manual, Warranty cardBody, / Body Cap, / LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm / F2.8 ASPH. / POWER O.I.S. (H-HS12035), / Lens Cap, / Lens Hood, / Lens Rear Cap, / Battery Charger (AC Cable included), / Battery Pack, / USB Connection Cable, / Shoulder Strap, / CD-ROM
Dimensions
Weight373g550g
Width121mm132.9mm
Height89.6mm93.4mm
Depth41.9mm82mm
View Full DetailsView Full Details


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Photographs taken using the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3

shoreline 11shoreline 11Conversation in the ParkCalm SeasPatterns and WaterGeared upAlonea change in the weatherCan you feel the Noise?shoreline 10SecretsOslo Snapper 2Oslo Snapper 1estate lifeThe voyeur?
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Comments


10 Oct 2012 5:33PM
I've just looked at the colour differences in the photos above and noticed that the settings are completely different. Whilst I take on board that it is different lenses, should the ISO settings not be the same to have a fair comparison? I'm new to photography, so I might have got this wrong

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10 Oct 2012 8:58PM
Afawkes comments are correct, the value of the comparison shots are NIL. THE REVIEWER's shots of the flowers just don't make sense. In one he shoots wide open and gets a nicely blurred background and in the other he shoots at a higher ISO and at a smaller aperture and ends up with a cluttered image. Why? And the flower image size is also different, why? Was he shooting from a different spot? This review is just not up to your generally high standards. If I was more of a conspiracy nut I might think the reviewer was trying to favor one camera a bit over another, but probably not.

Jerry
joshwa e2
3 600 United Kingdom
11 Oct 2012 11:10AM
Hi, we had a short amount of time with the GH3, in rainy wet weather outdoors, making it not the ideal weather for changing lenses, and we plan on putting together a proper comparison review when we have production versions. As the GH3 was pre-production, it would not be entirely fair to provide a detailed verdict on the camera, and that's why it has been left out.
Fluke 6 59 Wales
11 Oct 2012 12:36PM
Focus issues with the OMD on video make it look weak.
duratorque 11 413 United Kingdom
11 Oct 2012 1:52PM
Both video are very poor due to bad lighting. No way for Panasonic to lunch a new camera.
11 Oct 2012 4:00PM
If Joshua was pressed for time and had to deal with adverse weather then say so in the review rather then give your readers a crappy partial review. Maybe you should have not compared the cameras at all and just give an update on one or the other. It just is not fair to your readers not to be upfront about the limitations and short cuts you were " forced" to take.

Your website is one that I USED to suggest to my photo students to use when trying to evaluate a camera, but in good faith I can no longer do that if you produce such junk. Let me know when you go back to a more honest evaluations.

Jerry
joshwa e2
3 600 United Kingdom
11 Oct 2012 5:48PM
Article updated.
Milva 1
12 Oct 2012 1:11AM
The colours are so different and the Olympus colours are so much more attractive.
9 Jan 2013 12:11AM
I have both Cameras and Ironically they are around the same price when slightly discounted. In the US I have not seen GH3 Kits with lenses yet. I am going to use the 14-140 for now as I read it was a good all around lens for video and pictures. But both cameras do look good on stills with the edge going to OMD in my opinion but then again I haven't shot enough with the GH3 so this could change, with the overall edge going to video on the Panasonic. Both Cameras are very fun to shoot with. I agree with Jscheneir if your going to do a review pick do with similar lighting and better lenses in my opinion and lighting is everything when it comes to Photography! Wink

Milva: I can say the same on the GH3 depending what is shot, these cameras are so close in many ways with the nod going to video on the GH3.

Fluke: I haven' seen the focusing issues with my OM-D but then again I am shooting with a different lens.
9 Jan 2013 1:17AM
If I was giving a course on how to slant an article I would use this article as an example. If you are trying to be fair then whenever you show one camera in a large version then you show the other camera that same way. And just like taking a picture of a full size person, if you place that person (in this case the G3) closer to the camera lens then again, just like shooting people, that person (the G3 again) will look a lot bigger. Yes, the G3 is bigger, perhaps for some a whole lot bigger.

You totally ignored the diffeence in the dials, what each one was capable of and designed to offer to the photographer. In my world, one you update an article or anything that others will read and say youhve updated that material, then you owe it to everyone to clearly identify what it was you updated. It is nice to say, "i updted the article", but what was it that you updated. Certainly NOT the flower comparison. How in the world did you think that was a fair comparison to make?

When my photo classes start in February i will use this article to illustrate the problems of relying on previews or reviews to get a fair evaluation.

Jerry S.
joshwa e2
3 600 United Kingdom
9 Jan 2013 10:01AM
Hi PhotoOp, Jschneir,

Since this article we have posted further photo and video comparisons, in the studio and in low light:
http://www.ephotozine.com/article/olympus-om-d-e-m5-vs-panasonic-lumix-gh3-20497

As well as stills photography comparisons, using identical settings / lenses etc:
http://www.ephotozine.com/article/olympus-om-d-e-m5-vs-panasonic-lumix-gh3-part-3-20502

As well as our full review of the Panasonic Lumix GH3:
http://www.ephotozine.com/article/panasonic-lumix-dmc-gh3-review-20489

Best Regards,

Josh

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