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Nikon D100 vs Panasonic LX5

The Nikon D100 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2002 and July 2010. The D100 is a DSLR, while the LX5 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (D100) and a 1/1.7-inch (LX5) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 6 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 10 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D100
versus
Panasonic LX5
Nikon D100   Panasonic LX5
Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
Nikon F mount lenses 24-90mm f/2.0-3.3
6 MP – APS-C sensor 10 MP – 1/1.7" sensor
no Video 720/60p Video
ISO 200-800 (200 - 1,600) ISO 80-3,200 (80 - 12,800)
Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
1.8" LCD – 118k dots 1.8" LCD – 460k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 2.5 shutter flaps per second
370 shots per battery charge400 shots per battery charge
144 x 116 x 81 mm, 780 g 110 x 65 x 43 mm, 271 g
Nikon D100:
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Panasonic LX5:
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D100 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5? 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.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Nikon D100 and the Panasonic LX5 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The LX5 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the D100 is only available in black.

Size Nikon D100 vs Panasonic LX5
Compare D100 versus LX5 top
Comparison D100 or LX5 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic LX5 is considerably smaller (57 percent) than the Nikon D100. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D100 nor the LX5 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the LX5 has a lens built in, whereas the D100 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 D100 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the D100 gets 370 shots out of its EN-EL3 battery, while the LX5 can take 400 images on a single charge of its DMW-BCJ13 power pack.

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.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon D100 144 mm 116 mm 81 mm 780 g 370 n Feb 2002 1,999i
2.
 
Panasonic LX5 110 mm 65 mm 43 mm 271 g 400 n Jul 2010 499i
3.
 
Canon 10D 150 mm 107 mm 75 mm 850 g 500 n Feb 2003 1,999i
4.
 
Fujifilm X10 117 mm 70 mm 57 mm 350 g 270 n Sep 2011 599i
5.
 
Nikon D90 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 703 g 850 n Aug 2008 1,299i
6.
 
Nikon D300 147 mm 114 mm 74 mm 925 g 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799i
7.
 
Nikon D40 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499i
8.
 
Nikon D80 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999i
9.
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749i
10.
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899i
11.
 
Nikon D200 147 mm 113 mm 74 mm 920 g 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699i
12.
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999i
13.
 
Nikon D1X 157 mm 153 mm 85 mm 1100 g 1200 Y Feb 2001 5,999i
14.
 
Olympus XZ-1 111 mm 65 mm 42 mm 275 g 320 n Jan 2011 499i
15.
 
Panasonic LX7 111 mm 68 mm 46 mm 298 g 330 n Jul 2012 499i
16.
 
Panasonic FZ150 124 mm 82 mm 92 mm 528 g 410 n Aug 2011 499i
17.
 
Panasonic GF3 108 mm 67 mm 32 mm 264 g 300 n Jun 2011 549i
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The LX5 was launched at a lower price than the D100, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels 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 D100 features an APS-C sensor and the Panasonic LX5 a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The sensor area in the LX5 is 88 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 4.4. The sensor in the D100 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the LX5 offers a 4:3 aspect. The LX5 has the particularity of featuring a switch that allows to toggle between multiple aspect ratios, while maintaining the same field of view and full image resolution.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CCD (Charged Coupled Device) sensors.

Nikon D100 and Panasonic LX5 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the LX5 offers a higher resolution of 10 megapixels, compared with 6 MP of the D100. 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 2.14μm versus 7.85μm for the D100). However, it should be noted that the LX5 is much more recent (by 8 years and 4 months) than the D100, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.

The resolution advantage of the Panasonic LX5 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the LX5 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D100 are 15 x 10 inches or 38.2 x 25.4 cm for good quality, 12 x 8 inches or 30.6 x 20.3 cm for very good quality, and 10 x 6.7 inches or 25.5 x 16.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Nikon D100 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 800, which can be extended to ISO 200-1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-12800.

D100 versus LX5 MP

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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Nikon D100 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.49.939448
2.
 
Panasonic LX5 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p19.610.813241
3.
 
Canon 10D APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.110.957157
4.
 
Fujifilm X10 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.511.324550
5.
 
Nikon D90 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773
6.
 
Nikon D300 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.112.067967
7.
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156
8.
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
9.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
10.
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
11.
 
Nikon D200 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.558364
12.
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
13.
 
Nikon D1X APS-C 5.9 3008 1960none........
14.
 
Olympus XZ-1 1/1.7 10.1 3664 2752720/30p18.810.411734
15.
 
Panasonic LX7 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p20.711.714750
16.
 
Panasonic FZ150 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.410.913240
17.
 
Panasonic GF3 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i20.610.045849
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. The LX5 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D100 does not. The highest resolution format that the LX5 can use is 720/60p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the D100 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the LX5 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the LX5 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the DMW-LVF1. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon D100 and Panasonic LX5 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Nikon D100optical Y1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
2.
 
Panasonic LX5optional n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y Y
3.
 
Canon 10Doptical Y1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
4.
 
Fujifilm X10optical n2.8 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 10.0/s Y Y
5.
 
Nikon D90optical Y3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5/s Y n
6.
 
Nikon D300optical Y3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0/s Y n
7.
 
Nikon D40optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
8.
 
Nikon D80optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
9.
 
Nikon D50optical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
10.
 
Nikon D70soptical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0/s Y n
11.
 
Nikon D200optical Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0/s Y n
12.
 
Nikon D70optical n1.8 / 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0/s Y n
13.
 
Nikon D1Xoptical Y2.0 / 120 fixed n 1/16000s 3.0/s n n
14.
 
Olympus XZ-1optional n3.0 / 614 fixed n 1/2000s 2.0/s Y Y
15.
 
Panasonic LX7optional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0/s Y Y
16.
 
Panasonic FZ150202 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0/s Y Y
17.
 
Panasonic GF3none n3.0 / 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 3.2/s Y n
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

One feature that is present on the D100, but is missing on the LX5 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.

The D100 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the LX5 uses SDXC cards.

Connectivity comparison

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 D100 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Nikon D100Y- / ----1.1---
2.
 
Panasonic LX5Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon 10DY- / ----1.1---
4.
 
Fujifilm X10Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
5.
 
Nikon D90Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Nikon D300Y- / ---mini2.0---
7.
 
Nikon D40Y- / ----2.0---
8.
 
Nikon D80Y- / ----2.0---
9.
 
Nikon D50Y- / ----2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D70sY- / ----2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D200Y- / ----2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D70Y- / ----1.0---
13.
 
Nikon D1XY- / ----FW---
14.
 
Olympus XZ-1Ymono / ---mini2.0---
15.
 
Panasonic LX7Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic FZ150Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic GF3-stereo / mono--mini2.0---

Both the D100 and the LX5 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D100 was replaced by the Nikon D200, while the LX5 was followed by the Panasonic LX7. 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.

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Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D100 or the Panasonic LX5 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Nikon D100:

  • 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.
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2002).

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Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (10 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 26%.
  • Flexible image proportions: Has a multi-aspect sensor that allows for alternative image shapes.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 720/60p video.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k vs 118k dots).
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the D100 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (110x65mm vs 144x116mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the D100).
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (2.0 vs 1.1).
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 8 years and 4 months of technical progress since the D100 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the LX5 emerges as the winner of the match-up (12 : 9 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 wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

D100 09:12 LX5

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D100 and the Panasonic LX5 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR 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 remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D100 or the LX5. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon D100......+ +o.. Feb 2002 1,999i
2.
 
Panasonic LX54/5+..73/1004.5/54.5/5 Jul 2010 499i
3.
 
Canon 10D......+ +.... Feb 2003 1,999i
4.
 
Fujifilm X10......76/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2011 599i
5.
 
Nikon D90..+ +..+ +4/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299i
6.
 
Nikon D300..+ +..+ +5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799i
7.
 
Nikon D40..81/100..+ +o4.5/5 Nov 2006 499i
8.
 
Nikon D80..+..+ +o4.5/5 Aug 2006 999i
9.
 
Nikon D50..78/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749i
10.
 
Nikon D70s..........5/5 Apr 2005 899i
11.
 
Nikon D200..+ +..+ +o.. Nov 2005 1,699i
12.
 
Nikon D70......+ +.... Jan 2004 999i
13.
 
Nikon D1X......+ +.... Feb 2001 5,999i
14.
 
Olympus XZ-14/5....74/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2011 499i
15.
 
Panasonic LX73/5+ +..75/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2012 499i
16.
 
Panasonic FZ1503/5+ +..76/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2011 499i
17.
 
Panasonic GF33/582/100..71/1004.5/54/5 Jun 2011 549i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Nikon D100:
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Panasonic LX5:
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Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Nikon D100 vs Panasonic LX5

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon D100 Panasonic LX5
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses 24-90mm f/2.0-3.3
    Launch Date February 2002 July 2010
    Launch Price USD 1,999 USD 499
    Sensor Specs Nikon D100 Panasonic LX5
    Sensor Technology CCD CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor 1/1.7" Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 7.85 x 5.89 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 46.2365 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 9.8 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 4.4x
    Sensor Resolution 6 Megapixels 10 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3008 x 2000 pixels 3648 x 2736 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.85 μm 2.14 μm
    Pixel Density 1.63 MP/cm2 21.59 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 720/60p Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 800 ISO 80 - 3,200 ISO
    ISO Boost 200 - 1,600 ISO 80 - 12,800 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 41
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 19.6
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 10.8
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 132
    Screen Specs Nikon D100 Panasonic LX5
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 1.8inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 118k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D100 Panasonic LX5
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 2.5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D100 Panasonic LX5
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 1.1 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Nikon D100 Panasonic LX5
    Battery Type EN-EL3 DMW-BCJ13
    Battery Life (CIPA)370 shots per charge400 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 144 x 116 x 81 mm
    (5.7 x 4.6 x 3.2 in)
    110 x 65 x 43 mm
    (4.3 x 2.6 x 1.7 in)
    Camera Weight 780 g (27.5 oz) 271 g (9.6 oz)
    Nikon D100:
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    Panasonic LX5:
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