Panasonic LX3 vs Panasonic GF1

by Enche Tjin on September 25, 2009

Panasonic GF1 sparks a lot of interests from DSLR camera users to compact camera users. It is sure a bit confusing because GF1 is half compact and half DSLR cameras.

Comparison table

Panasonic LX3 Panasonic GF1
Image sensor 1/1.7″ (Area: 43mm2) 4/3 (Area: 225mm2)
Size 4.3 x 2.3 x 1.1 in. (109 x 60 x 27 mm) 4.7 x 2.8 x 1.4 in.
(119 x 71 x 36 mm)
Weight 257g / 9.1 oz 285g / 10.1 oz
Acceptable image ISO 400 ISO 1600
Lens Leica 24-60mm f/2-2.8 interchangeable
Viewfinder optional, fixed optional tilting live viewfinder 201k dots .5 magnification
Price $500 $899 with 14-45mm lens / 25mm f/1.4 lens

Panasonic GF1 has a better image quality especially in low light condition due to the large sensor. You can also change lenses with GF1. However, GF1 is not pocket-able especially when you mount it with 14-45 zoom kit lens. Because the larger sensor, you will able to create shallow depth of field easier.

White GF1 hands on - image from engadget.com

White GF1 hands on - image from engadget.com

On the other hand, Panasonic LX3 camera is pocket-able (only if you have a large pocket like cargo pants pocket or jacket pocket). LX3 also has a solid and bright zoom lens (Leica 24-60mm f/2-2.8) , but no option for telephoto zoom lens. finally, LX3 price is almost half cheaper than GF1. Great if you are in limited budget.

Panasonic Lumix LX3 hands on

Panasonic Lumix LX3 hands on

Some people might ask if  GF1 bundle worth the price? I think that It does not worth the price right now. Because with $800, you might able to get a excellent beginner DSLR with a decent kit lens. Also, Panasonic G1, which has hi-res electronic view finder, only cost around $635, while GF1 without viewfinder cost more expensive. To be fair, GF1 has movie recording capability and 35% smaller in volume. Although Panasonic engineers have works very  hard to trim things down, but still GF1 is too large to be acknowledge as compact camera. The GF1 price might be drop a bit after several months of release.

If budget is not a problem, then you need to decide whether to get higher image quality or portability.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

xepe71 September 28, 2009 at 11:07 am

So happy with my LX3, I would reccomend it to anyone looking for any advanced ameteur looking for wide angle and pocketable camera. As per your post, I do not believe that GF1 has been designed to be pocketable (only “compact”). I can imagine a future GF2, 3 or 4 to be comparable to a M6. Anyway, even if this is not the definiteve high qiality compact camera, I feel we’re going the right direction!

Ken Porter September 29, 2009 at 11:56 am

I like the LX-3 but will be selling mine because it lacks ONE feature. The RAW files are not compatible with Apple’s Aperture program, therefore I cannot incorporate it into my digital workflow. Two years on and Panasonic still hasn’t fixed this issue. Same goes for the Leica version. However, if you only shoot in JPEG, this is a very nice camera.

John Driggers September 30, 2009 at 10:37 am

Ken:

There is NOTHING that Panasonic can do to make the camera raw files work in Aperture, it’s an Apple issue. It’s unfair to blame Panasonic because Apple won’t support the camera.

I chose to dump Aperture and switch to Lightroom, which supports just about every raw format.

JD

Rob D October 4, 2009 at 12:04 pm

Hi

I might be missing something here or I may be the only one courageous enough to put my head above the parapet but I am baffled as to what benefit movie recording has to a photographer who is serious about his/her art form of making images. I understand the saleability to photojournalists and tourists but that is it.

Isn’t it?

Thanks.

RD

Mark T October 8, 2009 at 12:23 am

Re movie mode…

well, I am a journalist, and the ability to present your work in multimedia is very important these days.

And this is the sort of camera that is appealing for reportage. If you are a pure stills artist, I can imagine you may be happy with a larger camera. A journalist can really use something pocketable.

HD video is now essential. Canon really missed the HD boat with their G11.

Steven November 2, 2009 at 3:46 am

I wonder about HD. Unless you are viewing the playback on an HDTV, does it really make a difference? The new iMac res is apparently beyond hi-def, but on the majority of screens, would you really notice the difference between VGA and HD? Just curious….everybody seems to see HD as essential nowadays. When I view YouTube stuff formatted in HD, it seems to take forever to fully download, and I’m viewing it on a MacBook Pro.

Malcolm Lewis January 12, 2010 at 7:23 pm

I had the same question. Bought both cameras and took some comp shots. The GF1 IQ comes shining through once you compare side by side:

Discussion:
http://www.flickr.com/groups/dmc-gf1/discuss/72157623071136287/

Comp shots:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/malcolmandcarollewis/sets/72157623198356038/

Benjamin Han May 24, 2010 at 9:13 am

John Driggers:

actually, apple added raw support for lx3 now in Aperture 3

Phoenix July 12, 2010 at 7:46 pm

I’ve got to admit to being in a quandary about these cameras. It’s hard enough comparing ‘like with like’ with the LX3 and Canon S900, but trying to decide if the step up to the GF1 is worth it is seriously confusing me. There’s way too many variables.

A GF1 with 20mm pancake seems just as pocketable as a LX3 afaics, and immediately felt better in my hand. I only have small hands, but the LX feels fiddly.

But part of the appeal of a pocket camera is immediacy – catching the moment. If that 20mm is limiting, then the whole point is lost – suddenly you’re carrying round extra lenses, fiddling with changing them; the shot’s lost and so’s the fun.

And then there’s those extra lenses… I hear the standard zoom’s Ok, but the star in the useful (and quality) stakes is the 7-14mm. It’s a beauty. But jeez, it’s a thousand pounds! So a basic two lens kit with viewfinder (but no telephoto capability, remember) is now over One Thousand Eight Hundred pounds!! At least you’ll have space in your pockets for the camera…

Oh, but if I buy a converter I can fit my Leica M series lenses – oh joy! The man in the shop handed me the black metal ring and told me – without laughing – that it cost £150. “Oh that’s the cheap one, sir. The Panasonic one’s £200″. Come on… I had a similar one milled for me to fit a Zeiss T* to my Canon DSLR for under a tenner. So, anyway, I put a 50mm on the front and got lovely depth of field (much nicer than the LX3)… and that’s all. It was damn near impossible to focus accurately with the rear screen.

So I come back to the idea that – even though photography is my job – the point of a compact is that it mostly *is* a point and shoot. In which case, grab the LX3 for a fraction of the real price of a GF1 system, and be happy.

Jon October 14, 2010 at 9:01 am

People are comparing the GF1 to the LX3? Really?

What is the point? They are two totally different animals. One is a fancy compact, the other is a ‘proper’ interchangeable lens system camera with a much larger sensor.

The GF1 is more capable, who’d have thought it??

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