Panasonic GX1 vs Olympus E-P3 - Part 1 – Basics and High ISO
Over the next few days I am going to be posting a series of “comparison” tests pitting the new Panasonic GX1 against the Olympus E-P3. I have both here side by side and all of you know I LOVE the Olympus E-P3 but I also know it has an aging sensor and the GX1 has the latest and greatest from Panasonic inside that should be giving better everything. But HIGH ISO is not the be all end all for many of us, including me because quite frankly, I rarely shoot in higher ISO’s. BUT many of you do so this 1st test will put the two cameras against each other in the high ISO department as this has been the most requested comparison between these two cameras.
ISO performance doest tell the whole story. Olympus PEN cameras are much loved for their out of camera color and JPEG quality and the E-P3 is the best of the PEN’s to date so this should be interesting to see how it stacks up against the GX1. The pricing is the same at $799 each with kit lens. The Panasonic is smaller and thinner than the meaty and solid E-P3, but the GX1 feels pretty good with the included rubbery grip. Still, I prefer the slightly larger E-P3 in my hand.
The E-P3 has a 12Mp sensor. The same sensor used in the E-P2 and E-P1. The GX-1 has a new 16MP sensor from Panasonic that has gotten rave reviews already as it is in the Panasonic G3. The LCD on the E-P3 is, in my opinion, better. It is higher resolution and an OLED display. It looks really good. The E-P3 also has in body IS, the Panasonic relies on the lenses. Many will prefer the Panasonic menu system, while others may prefer the Olympus as it has come a long way since the E-P1 days. I also prefer the scroll thumb wheel on the E-P3 over the cheaper feeling dial of the GX1. I am looking forward to this comparison to see which one will deliver the more pleasing images.
To read my full Olympus E-P3 review you can click HERE. My GX1 review will be posted soon. Even with all of these upcoming comparisons, one thing is for sure. Either of these cameras are capable of taking fantastic images.
Over the next few days and next week I will post the rest of the comparisons. So check back to see the results.
Part 2: Out of camera JPEGS and Color. White balance, ISO up to 800, and more.
Part 3: Sharpness and Detail/RAW performance – 16MP vs 12MP
Part 4: – Auto focus speed/accuracy and overall usability
Part 5: – Video Performance and final conclusion between these two cameras.
For today I am taking a look at the HIGH ISO performance of these cameras. Take a look below and check it out.
Click the images for the full size image from RAW. No adjustments were done. This was strictly a NOISE/HIGH ISO test, not sharpness.
First up the GX1 at ISO 1600 from RAW – No Noise Reduction at all – Click image for full size file
The same image with the E-P3 – ISO 1600, From RAW, no NR and yes, same lens was used for both
The GX1 is cleaner, and did better with the Auto White Balance. Here are the crops if you do not want to download the full files
Now let’s move on the ISO 3200…
First is the full GX1 16MP file at ISO 3200 - Indoor, low light. – Click the image for full size
Below is the full size file from the Olympus E-P3 at ISO 3200 – For BOTH files Noise Reduction was OFF, as in NO NR at all during the RAW conversion. This is so we can see how each sensor is really performing in regards to noise.
and some crops. 1st from each of the files above
1st the GX1, then the E-P3 and then the GX-1 resized to 12MP to match the GX1. Clearly the GX1 is giving better high ISO performance, which makes sense since the sensor is newer.
ISO 6400 comparison
GX1 – 6400 – from RAW – NO NR
E-P3 – ISO 6400 – NO NR – From RAW
and the crops
So there you go. It is clear that the GX1 easily beats the E-P3 when it comes to HIGH ISO. It also appears that the auto WB did better with the GX1 here as well. If you shoot in low light and high ISO, the GX1 will give you the best performance in regards to noise.