Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 Gordon Laing, June 2011
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 vs Nikon D5100 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 Nikon D5100 within a few moments of each other using their best-quality JPEG settings and 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 DX 18-55mm VR, 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 Nikon D5100 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 Nikon's wider 3:2 frame, it's effectively being treated as a 14 Megapixel camera. So the Nikon crops show a slightly larger area. But while this has now effectively become 16 vs 14 Megapixels, remember the Nikon is recording a wider image with a Megapixel of information on either side.

On the previous page we saw how the Lumix G3's default JPEG processing looked relatively laid-back compared to the punchier Canon T3i / 600D, but the D5100 adopts a similarly restrained approach; indeed if anything it's slightly more laid back still.

Again in the first row of crops, the Lumix G3 is looking softer, although again the crop form the D5100 is taken from further from the edge of its frame, so it's not surprising to see it looking sharper. What both cameras have in common though is automatic reduction of chromatic aberrations on JPEGs, so you won't see any nasty coloured fringing on either set of crops here. Shame Canon doesn't adopt the same strategy for its DSLRs to date.

In terms of actual resolved detail, you're effectively looking at 16 vs 14 Megapixels and as you might expect, there's not a great deal in it. Pixel-peepers may notice a fractional benefit to the G3 in some of the finest details, but as far as I'm concerned, it's a draw in terms of real-life detail. Both cameras are recording plenty of it, so as I concluded on the previous page, it's a great result for the new sensor in the G3 to scale-up and match the best of the current APS-C DSLRs in detail.

Before moving onto my G3 high ISO noise comparison, check out the difference shooting in RAW can make in the Lumix G3 RAW vs JPEG page.


Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 (JPEG using in-camera defaults)
with G Vario 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 Mega O.I.S
Nikon D5100 (JPEG using in-camera defaults)
with Nikkor DX 18-55mm VR
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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