Nikon B500 vs Panasonic L1
The Nikon Coolpix B500 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2016 and February 2006. The B500 is a fixed lens compact, while the L1 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (B500) and a Four Thirds (L1) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 7.4 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 DMC-L1? 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 physical size and weight of the Nikon B500 and the Panasonic L1 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The B500 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the L1 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic L1 is considerably larger (43 percent) than the Nikon B500. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the B500 nor the L1 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 L1 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 L1 and their specifications in the Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Nikon B500||114 mm||78 mm||95 mm||541 g||600||n||Jan 2016||299||ebay.com|
|2.||Panasonic L1||146 mm||87 mm||64 mm||606 g||750||n||Feb 2006||999||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 350D||127 mm||94 mm||64 mm||540 g||400||n||Feb 2005||899||ebay.com|
|4.||Fujifilm X100F||127 mm||75 mm||52 mm||469 g||390||n||Jan 2017||1,299||ebay.com|
|5.||Fujifilm X70||113 mm||64 mm||44 mm||340 g||330||n||Jan 2016||799||ebay.com|
|6.||Leica Digilux 3||146 mm||87 mm||77 mm||606 g||750||n||Sep 2006||1,499||ebay.com|
|7.||Nikon B600||122 mm||82 mm||99 mm||500 g||280||n||Jan 2019||349||amazon.com|
|8.||Nikon D5600||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||465 g||970||n||Nov 2016||699||amazon.com|
|9.||Nikon B700||125 mm||85 mm||107 mm||565 g||350||n||Feb 2016||499||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon P900||140 mm||103 mm||137 mm||899 g||360||n||Mar 2015||599||ebay.com|
|11.||Nikon L840||113 mm||78 mm||96 mm||538 g||590||n||Feb 2015||299||ebay.com|
|12.||Olympus E-330||140 mm||87 mm||72 mm||637 g||750||n||Jan 2006||999||ebay.com|
|13.||Olympus E-300||147 mm||85 mm||64 mm||624 g||750||n||Sep 2004||799||ebay.com|
|14.||Panasonic FZ82||130 mm||94 mm||119 mm||616 g||330||n||Jan 2017||399||amazon.com|
|15.||Panasonic L10||135 mm||96 mm||78 mm||556 g||450||n||Aug 2007||599||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony HX80||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||390||n||Mar 2016||349||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony H200||123 mm||83 mm||87 mm||530 g||240||n||Jan 2013||249||ebay.com|
|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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The B500 was launched at a lower price than the L1, despite having a lens built in. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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 imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to 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 L1 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the L1 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 7.4 MP of the Panasonic L1. 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 5.51μm for the L1). However, it should be noted that the B500 is much more recent (by 9 years and 10 months) than the L1, 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 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic L1 are 15.7 x 11.8 inches or 39.8 x 29.9 cm for good quality, 12.5 x 9.4 inches or 31.9 x 23.9 cm for very good quality, and 10.5 x 7.8 inches or 26.6 x 19.9 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-L1 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
In terms of underlying technology, the B500 is build around a BSI-CMOS sensor, while the L1 uses a CMOS imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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.
|2.||Panasonic L1||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||20.8||10.4||80||52|
|6.||Leica Digilux 3||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||21.0||10.6||127||53|
|12.||Olympus E-330||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||20.8||10.4||73||52|
|13.||Olympus E-300||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||20.4||10.1||-40||48|
|15.||Panasonic L10||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.3||10.8||429||55|
|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 also of capturing video footage. The B500 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the L1 does not. The highest resolution format that the B500 can use is 1080/60i.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the L1 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the B500 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon B500 and Panasonic L1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Nikon B500||none||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.4/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Panasonic L1||optical||n||2.5 / 207||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|3.||Canon 350D||optical||n||1.8 / 115||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Fujifilm X100F||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Fujifilm X70||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Leica Digilux 3||optical||n||2.5 / 207||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Nikon B600||none||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.4/s||Y||Y|
|8.||Nikon D5600||optical||n||3.2 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|9.||Nikon B700||921||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Nikon P900||921||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|11.||Nikon L840||none||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.4/s||Y||Y|
|12.||Olympus E-330||optical||n||2.5 / 215||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Olympus E-300||optical||n||1.8 / 134||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|14.||Panasonic FZ82||1166||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Panasonic L10||optical||n||2.5 / 207||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|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 B500 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the L1 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-L1 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 L1||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon 350D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Fujifilm X100F||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|5.||Fujifilm X70||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|6.||Leica Digilux 3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Nikon B600||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|8.||Nikon D5600||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|9.||Nikon B700||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|10.||Nikon P900||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|11.||Nikon L840||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Olympus E-330||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Olympus E-300||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Panasonic FZ82||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|15.||Panasonic L10||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Sony HX80||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony H200||-||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the B500 offers wifi support, while the L1 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the B500 and the L1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The L1 was replaced by the Panasonic L10, while the B500 was followed by the Nikon B600. Further information on the features and operation of the B500 and L1 can be found, respectively, in the Nikon B500 Manual (free pdf) or the online Panasonic L1 Manual.
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon B500 or the Panasonic L1 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon Coolpix B500:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (15.9 vs 7.4MP) with a 47% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/60i movies.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 207k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7.4 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the L1 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (114x78mm vs 146x87mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the L1).
- 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 9 years and 10 months of technical progress since the L1 launch.
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1:
- 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.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (750 versus 600) out of a single battery charge.
- 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 February 2006).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the B500 is the clear winner of the match-up (16 : 10 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 L1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best DSLR 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 L1 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 where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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||ebay.com|
|2.||Panasonic L1||..||85/100||..||+||..||3.5/5||Feb 2006||999||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 350D||..||80/100||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2005||899||ebay.com|
|4.||Fujifilm X100F||5/5||+||3.9/5||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||1,299||ebay.com|
|5.||Fujifilm X70||4.5/5||..||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2016||799||ebay.com|
|6.||Leica Digilux 3||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2006||1,499||ebay.com|
|7.||Nikon B600||..||+||..||..||3.5/5||3/5||Jan 2019||349||amazon.com|
|8.||Nikon D5600||4/5||..||4/5||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2016||699||amazon.com|
|9.||Nikon B700||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2016||499||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon P900||..||..||..||77/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2015||599||ebay.com|
|11.||Nikon L840||..||+ +||..||..||3.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||299||ebay.com|
|12.||Olympus E-330||..||..||..||+||o||..||Jan 2006||999||ebay.com|
|13.||Olympus E-300||..||..||..||+||o||4.5/5||Sep 2004||799||ebay.com|
|14.||Panasonic FZ82||..||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||399||amazon.com|
|15.||Panasonic L10||..||85/100||..||+||3.5/5||4/5||Aug 2007||599||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony HX80||..||..||..||..||..||..||Mar 2016||349||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony H200||..||..||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jan 2013||249||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. 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 would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 1D Mark III vs Nikon B500
- Canon 20D vs Panasonic L1
- Canon G12 vs Nikon B500
- Canon T3 vs Panasonic L1
- Fujifilm X-A7 vs Panasonic L1
- Nikon B500 vs Nikon D4
- Nikon B500 vs Nikon D800E
- Nikon B500 vs Olympus E-M1 II
- Nikon B500 vs Panasonic FZ1000 II
- Nikon D500 vs Panasonic L1
- Panasonic L1 vs Pentax K-3
- Panasonic L1 vs Sony NEX-3N
Specifications: Nikon B500 vs Panasonic L1
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 L1|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||22.5-900mm f/3.0-6.5||Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2016||February 2006|
|Launch Price||USD 299||USD 999|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon B500||Panasonic L1|
|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||7.4 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||3136 x 2352 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.33 μm||5.51 μm|
|Pixel Density||56.73 MP/cm2||3.28 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 1,600 ISO|
|Screen Specs||Nikon B500||Panasonic L1|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||2.5inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||207k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon B500||Panasonic L1|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||7.4 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDHC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon B500||Panasonic L1|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||no HDMI|
|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 L1|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||600 shots per charge||750 shots per charge|
114 x 78 x 95 mm
(4.5 x 3.1 x 3.7 in)
146 x 87 x 64 mm
(5.7 x 3.4 x 2.5 in)
|Camera Weight||541 g (19.1 oz)||606 g (21.4 oz)|
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