Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 Gordon Laing, June 2011
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 vs Canon EOS Rebel T3i / 600D Real-life resolution (default settings)

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To compare real-life performance I shot the same scene with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 and Canon EOS 600D / T3i within a few moments of each other using their best-quality JPEG settings and base sensitivities.

Both cameras were fitted with their respective kit lenses: the G Vario 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 Mega O.I.S and the EF-S 18-55mm IS II, both set to f5.6, adjusted to deliver the same vertical field of view, and focused using Live View at the highest magnification.

The image opposite was taken with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 at 160 ISO with an exposure of 1/640 and the lens set to 20mm f5.6; the original Large Fine JPEG measured 8.29MB. The crops below are taken from the areas marked with the red squares and presented here at 100%.

  Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 results
1 G3 resolution vs Canon T3i / 600D
2 G3 resolution vs Nikon D5100
3 G3 resolution, RAW vs JPEG
4 G3 high ISO noise vs Canon T3i / 600D
5 G3 high ISO noise vs Nikon D5100
6 G3 Sample images gallery

I shot this scene in the G3's 4:3 aspect ratio which delivers the highest resolution. The Canon EOS Rebel T3i / 600D was set to its native 3:2 aspect ratio and the lenses on both cameras adjusted to deliver the same vertical field of view. As such, I'm only comparing the vertical resolution of each camera here, and by only considering a 4:3 cropped area of the Canon's wider 3:2 frame, it's effectively being treated as a 16 Megapixel camera. Coincidentally this essentially matches the resolution of the Lumix G3 across the same area and shape, so the crops below show the same area; just remember the Canon is recording a wider image with a Megapixel of information on either side.

Looking at all four rows of crops, the most obvious differences are down to their respective processing strategies using their default settings. As we've seen before on models like the Lumix GH2, the Panasonic G3 is taking a fairly laid-back approach for a natural-looking style, compared to the Canon which is delivering a punchier result by default; both are of course adjustable as desired.

Looking at each crop in more detail, the first row showing the mountain ridge looks very soft on the G3 compared to the T3i / 600D. To be fair, the Canon had an advantage here as the cropped area was in the far corner of the G3's 4:3 frame, whereas it was a little further away from the left edge on the Canon's wider frame. If you look right in the corner of Canon frames taken with the kit lens, it also becomes softer than the centre. Take a second look though and you'll notice the Canon crop suffering much more from coloured fringing than the Panasonic. This isn't due to superior optics on the G3, but in-camera reduction of fringing, just like Nikon does on its DSLRs. Canon really has to implement this on future models automatically as once you remove the fringing using software later, the images really do look much better. As it stands though, many of the T3i / 600D's high contrast details in these crops are marred by fringing.

Look closely at the Panasonic G3 crops though and you may notice minor evidence of noise in the shadow areas; certainly nothing to be worried about at their base sensitivities here, but the Canon crops are arguably a little cleaner.

Finally the question of resolved detail. Looking beyond the processing and optical differences, both cameras appear to be resolving roughly the same amount of detail. This is a great result for the new sensor in the Lumix G3 as it's essentially keeping-up with the highest-resolution APS-C DSLR models when the vertical field of view is matched.

Next let's check out the Panasonic G3 vs Nikon D5100 resolution.


Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 (JPEG using in-camera defaults)
with G Vario 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 Mega O.I.S
Canon EOS 600D / T3i (JPEG using in-camera defaults)
with Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS II
f5.6, 160 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 160 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 160 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 160 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO

Lumix G3 results : G3 vs T3i / 600D res / G3 vs D5100 res
/ G3 RAW vs JPEG / G3 vs T3i / 600D Noise / G3 vs D5100 Noise

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