Nikon B500 vs Panasonic FT7
The Nikon Coolpix B500 and the Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7 (labelled Panasonic TS7 in some countries) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2016 and May 2018. Both the B500 and the FT7 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 20.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon Coolpix B500 and the Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon B500 and the Panasonic FT7 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The B500 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the FT7 is available in three color-versions (black, blue, orange).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon B500 and the Panasonic FT7 are of equal size. However, the FT7 is substantially lighter (41 percent) than the B500. It is noteworthy in this context that the FT7 is splash and dust-proof, while the B500 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing. More than that, the FT7 is water-proof up to 31m and can, thus, be used for underwater photography.
The power pack in the FT7 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Nikon B500||114 mm||78 mm||95 mm||541 g||600||n||Jan 2016||299|
|2.||Panasonic FT7||117 mm||76 mm||37 mm||319 g||300||Y||May 2018||449|
|3.||Canon SX740||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||265||n||Jul 2018||399|
|4.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|5.||Fujifilm XF10||113 mm||64 mm||41 mm||279 g||330||n||Jul 2018||499|
|6.||Nikon B600||122 mm||82 mm||99 mm||500 g||280||n||Jan 2019||349|
|7.||Nikon A1000||114 mm||72 mm||41 mm||330 g||250||n||Jan 2019||429|
|8.||Nikon P1000||146 mm||119 mm||181 mm||1415 g||250||n||Jul 2018||999|
|9.||Nikon W300||112 mm||66 mm||29 mm||231 g||280||Y||May 2017||389|
|10.||Nikon B700||125 mm||85 mm||107 mm||565 g||350||n||Feb 2016||499|
|11.||Nikon P900||140 mm||103 mm||137 mm||899 g||360||n||Mar 2015||599|
|12.||Nikon L840||113 mm||78 mm||96 mm||538 g||590||n||Feb 2015||299|
|13.||Panasonic TZ95||112 mm||69 mm||42 mm||327 g||380||n||Feb 2019||449|
|14.||Panasonic TZ90||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|15.||Panasonic FZ80||130 mm||94 mm||119 mm||616 g||330||n||Jan 2017||399|
|16.||Sony HX80||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||390||n||Mar 2016||349|
|17.||Sony H200||123 mm||83 mm||87 mm||530 g||240||n||Jan 2013||249|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The B500 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 33 percent) than the FT7, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature a 1/2.3-inch sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 5.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the smaller-sensor digicams that favor affordability and compact design. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around BSI-CMOS sensors.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the FT7 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 15.9 MP of the B500. This megapixels advantage translates into a 13 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the FT7 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.18μm versus 1.33μm for the B500). However, it should be noted that the FT7 is much more recent (by 2 years and 3 months) than the B500, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the B500 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Panasonic FT7 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the FT7 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon B500 are 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon Coolpix B500 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-6400.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the FT7 provides a better video resolution than the B500. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Nikon is limited to 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the FT7 has an electronic viewfinder (1170k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the B500 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon B500 and Panasonic FT7 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Nikon B500||none||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.4/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Panasonic FT7||1170||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/1300s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon SX740||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon SX730||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||5.9/s||Y||Y|
|5.||Fujifilm XF10||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Nikon B600||none||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.4/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Nikon A1000||1166||n||3.0 / 1036||tilting||Y||1/4000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|8.||Nikon P1000||2359||n||3.2 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|9.||Nikon W300||none||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Nikon B700||921||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||Y|
|11.||Nikon P900||921||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|12.||Nikon L840||none||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.4/s||Y||Y|
|13.||Panasonic TZ95||2330||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|14.||Panasonic TZ90||1166||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Panasonic FZ80||1166||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony HX80||638||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony H200||none||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/1500s||0.8/s||Y||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the FT7 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
Both the B500 and the FT7 have zoom lenses built in. The B500 has a 22.5-900mm f/3.0-6.5 optic and the FT7 offers a 28-128mm f/3.3-5.9 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Nikon provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the Panasonic. The B500 offers the faster maximum aperture.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the B500 and the FT7 write their files to SDXC cards. The FT7 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the B500 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon Coolpix B500 and Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Nikon B500||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|2.||Panasonic FT7||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Canon SX740||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon SX730||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|5.||Fujifilm XF10||-||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|6.||Nikon B600||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|7.||Nikon A1000||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|8.||Nikon P1000||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|9.||Nikon W300||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|10.||Nikon B700||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|11.||Nikon P900||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Nikon L840||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|13.||Panasonic TZ95||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|14.||Panasonic TZ90||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|15.||Panasonic FZ80||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|16.||Sony HX80||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony H200||-||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
The FT7 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Panasonic. In contrast, the B500 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the B500 was succeeded by the Nikon B600. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Panasonic websites.
So how do things add up? Is the Nikon B500 better than the Panasonic FT7 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Nikon Coolpix B500:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/1300s) to freeze action.
- Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/3.0 vs f/3.3).
- Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
- More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (600 versus 300) on a single battery charge.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (33 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in January 2016).
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20.2 vs 15.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 13%.
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60i).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 921k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 7.4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 222g or 41 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Water-proof: Is rugged and sealed and can thus be used for underwater photography (up to 31m).
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 3 months of technical progress since the B500 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the FT7 emerges as the winner of the match-up (13 : 11 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon B500 and the Panasonic FT7 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best Travel-Zoom Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the B500 and the FT7 in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Nikon B500||..||+||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2016||299|
|2.||Panasonic FT7||..||+||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||May 2018||449|
|3.||Canon SX740||..||+||3.5/5||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2018||399|
|4.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|5.||Fujifilm XF10||..||..||4/5||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2018||499|
|6.||Nikon B600||..||+||..||..||3.5/5||3/5||Jan 2019||349|
|7.||Nikon A1000||..||+ +||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||3/5||Jan 2019||429|
|8.||Nikon P1000||..||+||3.5/5||73/100||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jul 2018||999|
|9.||Nikon W300||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||May 2017||389|
|10.||Nikon B700||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2016||499|
|11.||Nikon P900||..||..||..||77/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2015||599|
|12.||Nikon L840||..||+ +||..||..||3.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||299|
|13.||Panasonic TZ95||..||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||..||Feb 2019||449|
|14.||Panasonic TZ90||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|15.||Panasonic FZ80||..||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||399|
|16.||Sony HX80||..||..||..||..||..||..||Mar 2016||349|
|17.||Sony H200||..||..||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jan 2013||249|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 1D Mark IV vs Panasonic FT7
- Canon 1D X Mark III vs Nikon B500
- Canon 7D vs Panasonic FT7
- Fujifilm X100T vs Nikon B500
- Leica CL vs Nikon B500
- Leica S3 vs Panasonic FT7
- Nikon B500 vs Nikon D40X
- Nikon B500 vs Nikon D7000
- Nikon B500 vs Nikon D7500
- Nikon D2Xs vs Panasonic FT7
- Nikon D300S vs Panasonic FT7
- Nikon D3300 vs Panasonic FT7
Specifications: Nikon B500 vs Panasonic FT7
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Nikon B500||Panasonic FT7|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||22.5-900mm f/3.0-6.5||28-128mm f/3.3-5.9|
|Launch Date||January 2016||May 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 299||USD 449|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon B500||Panasonic FT7|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.9 Megapixels||20.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||5184 x 3888 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.33 μm||1.18 μm|
|Pixel Density||56.73 MP/cm2||71.80 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 6,400 ISO||80 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||80 - 6,400 ISO|
|Screen Specs||Nikon B500||Panasonic FT7|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1170k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon B500||Panasonic FT7|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||7.4 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/16000s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon B500||Panasonic FT7|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Nikon B500||Panasonic FT7|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Waterproof body (31m)|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||600 shots per charge||300 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
114 x 78 x 95 mm
(4.5 x 3.1 x 3.7 in)
117 x 76 x 37 mm
(4.6 x 3.0 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||541 g (19.1 oz)||319 g (11.3 oz)|
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