Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 vs. Sony Alpha DSLR-A390

Comparison

Lumix DMC-G1 image
vs.
Alpha DSLR-A390 image

 

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 Sony Alpha DSLR-A390
Megapixels
12.10 14.20
Max. resolution
4000 x 3000 4592 x 3056
Price
Amazon, B&H Photo, Adorama Amazon, B&H Photo, Adorama

Sensor

Sensor type
Live MOS CCD
Sensor size
Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm) 23.5 x 15.7 mm
Sensor resolution
4011 x 3016  4616 x 3077 
Diagonal
21.64 mm  28.26 mm 
Surface area
224.90 mm²  368.95 mm² 
Sensor size comparison
Sensor size is generally a good indicator of the quality of the camera. Sensors can vary greatly in size. As a general rule, the bigger the sensor, the better the image quality.

Bigger sensors are more effective, because they have more surface area to capture light. An important factor when comparing digital cameras is also camera generation. Generally, newer sensors will outperform the older.

Learn more about sensor sizes »
Actual sensor sizes:
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1
vs.
Sony Alpha DSLR-A390
 
Surface area:
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1
Sony Alpha DSLR-A390
Difference: 144.05 mm² (64%)
Sony Alpha DSLR-A390 has approx. 64% more surface area than Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1.
Note: You are comparing cameras of different generations. There is a 2 year gap between Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 (2008) and Sony Alpha DSLR-A390 (2010). All things being equal, newer sensor generations generally outperform the older.
Pixel pitch
4.31 µm  5.09 µm 
Pixel pitch tells you the distance from the center of one pixel (photosite) to the center of the next. It tells you how close the pixels are to each other.

The bigger the pixel pitch, the further apart they are and the bigger each pixel is. Bigger pixels tend to have better signal to noise ratio and greater dynamic range.
Pixel pitch
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1
Sony Alpha DSLR-A390
Difference: 0.78 µm (18%)
Pixel pitch of Sony Alpha DSLR-A390 is approx. 18% higher than pixel pitch of Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1.
Pixel area
18.58 µm²  25.91 µm² 
Pixel or photosite area affects how much light per pixel can be gathered. The larger it is the more light can be collected by a single pixel.

Larger pixels have the potential to collect more photons, resulting in greater dynamic range, while smaller pixels provide higher resolutions (more detail) for a given sensor size.
Relative pixel sizes:
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1
vs.
Sony Alpha DSLR-A390
Pixel area difference: 7.33 µm² (39%)
A pixel on Sony Alpha DSLR-A390 sensor is approx. 39% bigger than a pixel on Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1.
Pixel density
5.38 MP/cm²  3.86 MP/cm² 
Pixel density tells you how many million pixels fit or would fit in one square cm of the sensor.

Higher pixel density means smaller pixels and lower pixel density means larger pixels.
Pixel density
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1
Sony Alpha DSLR-A390
Difference: 1.52 MP/cm² (39%)
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 has approx. 39% higher pixel density than Sony Alpha DSLR-A390.
To learn about the accuracy of these numbers, click here.

Other specifications

Crop factor
1.53 
Total megapixels
13.10 14.90
Effective megapixels
12.10 14.20
Optical zoom
n/a n/a
Digital zoom
Yes No
Iso
Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
Auto focus
Yes Yes
Manual focus
Yes Yes
Normal focus range
n/a n/a
Macro focus range
n/a n/a
Focal length (35mm equiv.)
n/a n/a
Aperture priority
Yes Yes
Aperture
n/a n/a
Aperture (35mm equiv.)
n/a  n/a 
Metering
Centre weighted, Intelligent Multiple, Spot Multi, Center-weighted, Spot
Exposure compensation
-3EV - +3EV with 1/3EV steps ±2 EV (at 1/3 EV steps)
Shutter priority
Yes Yes
Min. shutter speed
Bulb+60 sec 30 sec
Max. shutter speed
1/4000 sec 1/4000 sec
Flash modes
Anti red-eye, Auto, Fill in, Off, Slow flash Auto, On, Off, Red-Eye, Slow Sync, Rear Curtain
Built-in flash
Yes Yes
External flash
Yes Yes
Viewfinder
Electronic Optical (pentamirror)
White balance presets
7 6
LCD display
Yes Yes
LCD size
3" 2.7"
LCD resolution
460,000 230,400
Min. image resolution
1920 x 1080 2288 x 1280
Selftimer
Yes Yes
Storage types
MultiMedia, SDHC, Secure Digital SD/ SDHC, Memory Stick Pro Duo
USB
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec) USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Batteries
Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery & charger Lithium-Ion NP-FH50 rechargeable battery & charger
Weight
385g 549g
Dimensions
124x83.6x45.2 mm 128x97x86 mm
Year
2008 2010



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Diagonal

Diagonal is calculated by the use of Pythagorean theorem:
Diagonal =  w² + h²
where w = sensor width and h = sensor height

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 diagonal

w = 17.30 mm
h = 13.00 mm
Diagonal =  17.30² + 13.00²   = 21.64 mm

Sony Alpha DSLR-A390 diagonal

w = 23.50 mm
h = 15.70 mm
Diagonal =  23.50² + 15.70²   = 28.26 mm


Surface area

Surface area is calculated by multiplying the width and the height of a sensor.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 surface area

Width = 17.30 mm
Height = 13.00 mm

Surface area = 17.30 × 13.00 = 224.90 mm²

Sony Alpha DSLR-A390 surface area

Width = 23.50 mm
Height = 15.70 mm

Surface area = 23.50 × 15.70 = 368.95 mm²


Pixel pitch

Pixel pitch is the distance from the center of one pixel to the center of the next measured in micrometers (µm). It can be calculated with the following formula:
Pixel pitch =   sensor width in mm  × 1000
sensor resolution width in pixels

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 pixel pitch

Sensor width = 17.30 mm
Sensor resolution width = 4011 pixels
Pixel pitch =   17.30  × 1000  = 4.31 µm
4011

Sony Alpha DSLR-A390 pixel pitch

Sensor width = 23.50 mm
Sensor resolution width = 4616 pixels
Pixel pitch =   23.50  × 1000  = 5.09 µm
4616


Pixel area

The area of one pixel can be calculated by simply squaring the pixel pitch:
Pixel area = pixel pitch²

You could also divide sensor surface area with effective megapixels:
Pixel area =   sensor surface area in mm²
effective megapixels

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 pixel area

Pixel pitch = 4.31 µm

Pixel area = 4.31² = 18.58 µm²

Sony Alpha DSLR-A390 pixel area

Pixel pitch = 5.09 µm

Pixel area = 5.09² = 25.91 µm²


Pixel density

Pixel density can be calculated with the following formula:
Pixel density =  ( sensor resolution width in pixels )² / 1000000
sensor width in cm

You could also use this formula:
Pixel density =   effective megapixels × 1000000  / 10000
sensor surface area in mm²

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 pixel density

Sensor resolution width = 4011 pixels
Sensor width = 1.73 cm

Pixel density = (4011 / 1.73)² / 1000000 = 5.38 MP/cm²

Sony Alpha DSLR-A390 pixel density

Sensor resolution width = 4616 pixels
Sensor width = 2.35 cm

Pixel density = (4616 / 2.35)² / 1000000 = 3.86 MP/cm²


Sensor resolution

Sensor resolution is calculated from sensor size and effective megapixels. It's slightly higher than maximum (not interpolated) image resolution which is usually stated on camera specifications. Sensor resolution is used in pixel pitch, pixel area, and pixel density formula. For sake of simplicity, we're going to calculate it in 3 stages.

1. First we need to find the ratio between horizontal and vertical length by dividing the former with the latter (aspect ratio). It's usually 1.33 (4:3) or 1.5 (3:2), but not always. 22.8 × 15.5 sensor for example has a ratio of 1.47.

2. With the ratio (r) known we can calculate the X from the formula below, where X is a vertical number of pixels:
(X × r) × X = effective megapixels × 1000000    →   
X =  effective megapixels × 1000000
r
3. To get sensor resolution we then multiply X with the corresponding ratio:

Resolution horizontal: X × r
Resolution vertical: X

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 sensor resolution

Sensor width = 17.30 mm
Sensor height = 13.00 mm
Effective megapixels = 12.10
r = 17.30/13.00 = 1.33
X =  12.10 × 1000000  = 3016
1.33
Resolution horizontal: X × r = 3016 × 1.33 = 4011
Resolution vertical: X = 3016

Sensor resolution = 4011 x 3016

Sony Alpha DSLR-A390 sensor resolution

Sensor width = 23.50 mm
Sensor height = 15.70 mm
Effective megapixels = 14.20
r = 23.50/15.70 = 1.5
X =  14.20 × 1000000  = 3077
1.5
Resolution horizontal: X × r = 3077 × 1.5 = 4616
Resolution vertical: X = 3077

Sensor resolution = 4616 x 3077


Crop factor

Crop factor or focal length multiplier is calculated by dividing the diagonal of 35 mm film (43.27 mm) with the diagonal of the sensor.
Crop factor =   43.27 mm
sensor diagonal in mm


Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 crop factor

Sensor diagonal in mm = 21.64 mm
Crop factor =   43.27  = 2
21.64

Sony Alpha DSLR-A390 crop factor

Sensor diagonal in mm = 28.26 mm
Crop factor =   43.27  = 1.53
28.26

35 mm equivalent aperture

Equivalent aperture (in 135 film terms) is calculated by multiplying lens aperture with crop factor (a.k.a. focal length multiplier).

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 equivalent aperture

Aperture is a lens characteristic, so it's calculated only for fixed lens cameras. If you want to know the equivalent aperture for Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1, take the aperture of the lens you're using and multiply it with crop factor.

Crop factor for Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 is 2

Sony Alpha DSLR-A390 equivalent aperture

Aperture is a lens characteristic, so it's calculated only for fixed lens cameras. If you want to know the equivalent aperture for Sony Alpha DSLR-A390, take the aperture of the lens you're using and multiply it with crop factor.

Crop factor for Sony Alpha DSLR-A390 is 1.53


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