Nikon B500 vs Panasonic GH1
The Nikon Coolpix B500 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2016 and March 2009. The B500 is a fixed lens compact, while the GH1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (B500) and a Four Thirds (GH1) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 12 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Nikon B500||Panasonic GH1|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|22.5-900mm f/3-6.5||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor||12 MP, Four Thirds Sensor|
|1080/60i Video||1080/24p Video|
|ISO 80-6400||ISO 100-1600 (100-3200)|
|No viewfinder, LCD framing||Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)|
|3.0" LCD, 921k dots||3.0" LCD, 460k dots|
|Tilting screen (no touchscreen)||Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|7.4 shutter flaps per second||3 shutter flaps per second|
|600 shots per battery charge||300 shots per battery charge|
|114 x 78 x 95 mm, 541 g||124 x 90 x 45 mm, 385 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon Coolpix B500 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1? 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.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon B500 and the Panasonic GH1. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
Both cameras are available in two different colors (black, red).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GH1 is notably larger (26 percent) than the Nikon B500. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the B500 nor the GH1 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the B500 has a lens built in, whereas the GH1 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the GH1 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Nikon B500»||4.5 in||3.1 in||3.7 in||19.1 oz||600||n||Jan 2016||299||Nikon B500|
|Panasonic GH1«||4.9 in||3.5 in||1.8 in||13.6 oz||300||n||Mar 2009||899||Panasonic GH1|
|Nikon B600« »||4.8 in||3.2 in||3.9 in||17.6 oz||280||n||Jan 2019||349||Nikon B600|
|Nikon A1000« »||4.5 in||2.8 in||1.6 in||11.6 oz||250||n||Jan 2019||429||Nikon A1000|
|Nikon P1000« »||5.7 in||4.7 in||7.1 in||49.9 oz||250||n||Jul 2018||999||Nikon P1000|
|Nikon W300« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.1 in||8.1 oz||280||Y||May 2017||389||Nikon W300|
|Nikon B700« »||4.9 in||3.3 in||4.2 in||19.9 oz||350||n||Feb 2016||499||Nikon B700|
|Nikon P900« »||5.5 in||4.1 in||5.4 in||31.7 oz||360||n||Mar 2015||599||Nikon P900|
|Nikon L840« »||4.4 in||3.1 in||3.8 in||19.0 oz||590||n||Feb 2015||299||Nikon L840|
|Panasonic FZ80« »||5.1 in||3.7 in||4.7 in||21.7 oz||330||n||Jan 2017||399||Panasonic FZ80|
|Panasonic LX100« »||4.5 in||2.6 in||2.2 in||13.9 oz||300||n||Sep 2014||899||Panasonic LX100|
|Panasonic G10« »||4.9 in||3.3 in||2.9 in||13.7 oz||380||n||Mar 2010||499||Panasonic G10|
|Panasonic G2« »||4.9 in||3.3 in||2.9 in||15.1 oz||360||n||Mar 2010||599||Panasonic G2|
|Panasonic GH2« »||4.9 in||3.5 in||3.0 in||15.6 oz||330||n||Sep 2010||899||Panasonic GH2|
|Panasonic G1« »||4.9 in||3.3 in||1.8 in||12.7 oz||410||n||Sep 2008||599||Panasonic G1|
|Sony HX80« »||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.4 in||8.6 oz||390||n||Mar 2016||349||Sony HX80|
|Sony H200« »||4.8 in||3.3 in||3.4 in||18.7 oz||240||n||Jan 2013||249||Sony H200|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as 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 lower price than the GH1, despite having a lens built in. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon B500 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Panasonic GH1 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the GH1 is 704 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 2.0. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Nikon B500 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixels, compared with 12 MP of the Panasonic GH1. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.33μm versus 4.33μm for the GH1). However, it should be noted that the B500 is much more recent (by 6 years and 10 months) than the GH1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. 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 Nikon B500 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the B500 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23 x 17.3 inch or 58.5 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 18.4 x 13.8 inch or 46.8 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.4 x 11.5 inch or 39 x 29.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic GH1 are 20 x 15 inch or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inch or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inch or 33.9 x 25.4 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 DMC-GH1 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-3200.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Nikon B500||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||..||..||..||..||Nikon B500|
|Panasonic GH1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/24p||21.6||11.6||772||64||Panasonic GH1|
|Nikon B600||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Nikon B600|
|Nikon A1000||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Nikon A1000|
|Nikon P1000||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Nikon P1000|
|Nikon W300||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Nikon W300|
|Nikon B700||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Nikon B700|
|Nikon P900||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Nikon P900|
|Nikon L840||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||..||..||..||..||Nikon L840|
|Panasonic FZ80||1/2.3||18.0||4896||3672||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Panasonic FZ80|
|Panasonic LX100||Four Thirds||12.7||4112||3088||4K/30p||22.3||12.5||553||67||Panasonic LX100|
|Panasonic G10||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52||Panasonic G10|
|Panasonic G2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53||Panasonic G2|
|Panasonic GH2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||21.2||11.3||655||60||Panasonic GH2|
|Panasonic G1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||none||21.1||10.3||463||53||Panasonic G1|
|Sony HX80||1/2.3||18.0||4896||3672||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Sony HX80|
|Sony H200||1/2.3||15.2||5184||2930||720/30p||..||..||..||..||Sony H200|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the B500 provides a higher frame rate than the GH1. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60i, while the Panasonic is limited to 1080/24p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the GH1 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k 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 GH1 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Nikon B500||none||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.4||Y||Y||Nikon B500|
|Panasonic GH1||1440||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Panasonic GH1|
|Nikon B600||none||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.4||Y||Y||Nikon B600|
|Nikon A1000||1166||n||3.0||1036||tilting||Y||1/4000s||7.0||Y||Y||Nikon A1000|
|Nikon P1000||2359||n||3.2||921||swivel||n||1/4000s||7.0||Y||Y||Nikon P1000|
|Nikon W300||none||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.0||Y||Y||Nikon W300|
|Nikon B700||921||n||3.0||921||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||Y||Nikon B700|
|Nikon P900||921||n||3.0||921||swivel||n||1/4000s||7.0||Y||Y||Nikon P900|
|Nikon L840||none||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.4||Y||Y||Nikon L840|
|Panasonic FZ80||1166||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Panasonic FZ80|
|Panasonic LX100||2764||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0||n||Y||Panasonic LX100|
|Panasonic G10||202||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.6||Y||n||Panasonic G10|
|Panasonic G2||1440||n||3.0||460||swivel||Y||1/4000s||2.6||Y||n||Panasonic G2|
|Panasonic GH2||1534||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Panasonic GH2|
|Panasonic G1||1440||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Panasonic G1|
|Sony HX80||638||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony HX80|
|Sony H200||none||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/1500s||0.8||Y||Y||Sony H200|
The B500 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the GH1 uses SDHC 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 DMC-GH1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Nikon B500||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Nikon B500|
|Panasonic GH1||Y||stereo||none||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic GH1|
|Nikon B600||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Nikon B600|
|Nikon A1000||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Nikon A1000|
|Nikon P1000||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Nikon P1000|
|Nikon W300||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Nikon W300|
|Nikon B700||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Nikon B700|
|Nikon P900||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Nikon P900|
|Nikon L840||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Nikon L840|
|Panasonic FZ80||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Panasonic FZ80|
|Panasonic LX100||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Panasonic LX100|
|Panasonic G10||Y||mono||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic G10|
|Panasonic G2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic G2|
|Panasonic GH2||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic GH2|
|Panasonic G1||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic G1|
|Sony HX80||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony HX80|
|Sony H200||-||mono||mono||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Sony H200|
It is notable that the B500 offers wifi support, while the GH1 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the B500 and the GH1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The GH1 was replaced by the Panasonic GH2, while the B500 was followed 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 what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Nikon B500 better than the Panasonic GH1 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon Coolpix B500:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (15.9 vs 12MP) with a 15% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60i versus 1080/24p).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 460k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7.4 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the GH1 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (114x78mm vs 124x90mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (600 versus 300) on a single battery charge.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- 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 at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 6 years and 10 months of technical progress since the GH1 launch.
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in March 2009).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the B500 emerges as the winner of the contest (14 : 12 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 GH1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens 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 GH1 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 300D vs Nikon B500
- Canon G1 X vs Nikon B500
- Canon G12 vs Panasonic GH1
- Canon G15 vs Nikon B500
- Canon G15 vs Panasonic GH1
- Canon SX720 vs Panasonic GH1
- Leica M Typ 262 vs Panasonic GH1
- Leica X1 vs Panasonic GH1
- Nikon B500 vs Nikon Coolpix A
- Nikon B500 vs Panasonic FZ2000
- Panasonic GH1 vs Sony RX10 III
- Panasonic GH1 vs Sony RX100 VI
Specifications: Nikon B500 vs Panasonic GH1
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 GH1|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||22.5-900mm f/3-6.5||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2016||March 2009|
|Launch Price||USD 299||USD 899|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon B500||Panasonic GH1|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.9 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||4000 x 3000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.33 μm||4.33 μm|
|Pixel Density||56.73 MP/cm2||5.34 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||1080/24p Video|
|ISO Setting||80-6400 ISO||100-1600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100-3200 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||64|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||21.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||11.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||772|
|Screen Specs||Nikon B500||Panasonic GH1|
|Viewfinder Type||No viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon B500||Panasonic GH1|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||7.4 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon B500||Panasonic GH1|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Nikon B500||Panasonic GH1|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||600 shots per charge||300 shots per charge|
114 x 78 x 95 mm
(4.5 x 3.1 x 3.7 in)
124 x 90 x 45 mm
(4.9 x 3.5 x 1.8 in)
|Camera Weight||541 g (19.1 oz)||385 g (13.6 oz)|
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