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Nikon D3000 vs Panasonic L1

The Nikon D3000 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in July 2009 and February 2006. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (D3000) and a Four Thirds (L1) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 10 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.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D3000 versus Panasonic L1
Nikon D3000 Panasonic L1
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
10 MP, APS-C Sensor 7.4 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200) ISO 100-1,600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 230k dots 2.5 LCD, 207k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
500 shots per battery charge750 shots per battery charge
126 x 97 x 64 mm, 536 g 146 x 87 x 64 mm, 606 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D3000 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.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon D3000 and the Panasonic L1. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Nikon D3000 vs Panasonic L1
Compare D3000 versus L1 top
Comparison D3000 or L1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic L1 is somewhat larger (4 percent) than the Nikon D3000. Moreover, the L1 is markedly heavier (13 percent) than the D3000. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D3000 nor the L1 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Nikon Lens Catalog (D3000) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (L1).

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

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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 D3000 126 mm 97 mm 64 mm 536 g 500 n Jul 2009 599 i
2.
 
Panasonic L1 146 mm 87 mm 64 mm 606 g 750 n Feb 2006 999 i
3.
 
Canon XT 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899 i
4.
 
Fujifilm X100 126 mm 75 mm 54 mm 445 g 300 n Sep 2010 1,199 i
5.
 
Leica Digilux 3 146 mm 87 mm 77 mm 606 g 750 n Sep 2006 1,499 i
6.
 
Nikon D3200 125 mm 96 mm 77 mm 505 g 540 n Apr 2012 599 i
7.
 
Nikon D3100 124 mm 96 mm 75 mm 505 g 550 n Aug 2010 599 i
8.
 
Nikon D5000 127 mm 104 mm 80 mm 590 g 510 n Apr 2009 749 i
9.
 
Nikon D60 126 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 500 n Jan 2008 629 i
10.
 
Nikon D90 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 703 g 850 n Aug 2008 1,299 i
11.
 
Nikon D40X 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 520 n Mar 2007 729 i
12.
 
Nikon D40 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499 i
13.
 
Olympus E-450 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 440 g 500 n Mar 2009 499 i
14.
 
Olympus E-420 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 440 g 500 n Mar 2008 599 i
15.
 
Olympus E-330 140 mm 87 mm 72 mm 637 g 750 n Jan 2006 999 i
16.
 
Olympus E-300 147 mm 85 mm 64 mm 624 g 750 n Sep 2004 799 i
17.
 
Panasonic L10 135 mm 96 mm 78 mm 556 g 450 n Aug 2007 599 i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 D3000 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 40 percent) than the L1, 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.

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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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D3000 features an APS-C sensor and the Panasonic L1 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the L1 is 40 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 2.0. The sensor in the D3000 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the L1 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Nikon D3000 and Panasonic L1 sensor measures

With 10MP, the D3000 offers a higher resolution than the L1 (7.4MP), but the D3000 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.11μm versus 5.51μm for the L1) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the D3000 is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 5 months) than the L1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The resolution advantage of the Nikon D3000 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D3000 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 19.4 x 13 inches or 49.2 x 32.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 15.5 x 10.4 inches or 39.3 x 26.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 12.9 x 8.6 inches or 32.8 x 21.9 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 D3000 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

D3000 versus L1 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 D3000 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.1563 62
2.
 
Panasonic L1 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none...... ..
3.
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.8637 60
4.
 
Fujifilm X100 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/30p22.912.41001 73
5.
 
Leica Digilux 3 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none...... ..
6.
 
Nikon D3200 APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/30p24.113.21131 81
7.
 
Nikon D3100 APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.3919 67
8.
 
Nikon D5000 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.5868 72
9.
 
Nikon D60 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.511.4562 65
10.
 
Nikon D90 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.5977 73
11.
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.4516 63
12.
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.0561 56
13.
 
Olympus E-450 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.510.5512 56
14.
 
Olympus E-420 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.510.4527 56
15.
 
Olympus E-330 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none...... ..
16.
 
Olympus E-300 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none...... ..
17.
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.8429 55
The L1 offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The D3000 lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The D3000 and the L1 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (95%), but the viewfinder of the D3000 has a higher magnification than the one of the L1 (0.53x vs 0.47x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D3000, the Panasonic L1, and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Nikon D3000optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
2.
 
Panasonic L1optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
3.
 
Canon XToptical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
4.
 
Fujifilm X1001440 n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
5.
 
Leica Digilux 3optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
6.
 
Nikon D3200optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
7.
 
Nikon D3100optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
8.
 
Nikon D5000optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
9.
 
Nikon D60optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
10.
 
Nikon D90optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 Y n
11.
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
12.
 
Nikon D40optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
13.
 
Olympus E-450optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
14.
 
Olympus E-420optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
15.
 
Olympus E-330optical n 2.5 215 tilting n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
16.
 
Olympus E-300optical n 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
17.
 
Panasonic L10optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the D3000 and the L1 write their files to SDHC cards.

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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 D3000 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 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
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Nikon D3000Y-----2.0---
2.
 
Panasonic L1Y-----2.0---
3.
 
Canon XTY-----2.0---
4.
 
Fujifilm X100Ystereo---mini2.0---
5.
 
Leica Digilux 3Ystereomono---2.0---
6.
 
Nikon D3200YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
7.
 
Nikon D3100Ymonomono--mini2.0---
8.
 
Nikon D5000Ymonomono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Nikon D60Y-----2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D90Ymonomono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D40XY-----2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D40Y-----2.0---
13.
 
Olympus E-450Y-----2.0---
14.
 
Olympus E-420Y-----2.0---
15.
 
Olympus E-330Y-----2.0---
16.
 
Olympus E-300Y-----2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic L10Y-----2.0---

Both the D3000 and the L1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The L1 was replaced by the Panasonic L10, while the D3000 was followed by the Nikon D3100. 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 conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D3000 and the Panasonic L1? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D3000:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (10 vs 7.4MP) with a 19% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging sensor.
  • Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.53x vs 0.47x).
  • 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 (230k vs 207k dots).
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 70g or 12 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (40 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 5 months of technical progress since the L1 launch.

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Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1:

  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (750 versus 500) out of a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2006).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D3000 is the clear winner of the match-up (11 : 2 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 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.

D3000 11:02 L1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D3000 and the Panasonic L1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D3000 or the L1 perform in practice. 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.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts 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], 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 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon D3000..+72/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599 i
2.
 
Panasonic L1..85/100+..3.5/5 Feb 2006 999 i
3.
 
Canon XT..80/100+ +o.. Feb 2005 899 i
4.
 
Fujifilm X1003/5..75/1004/55/5 Sep 2010 1,199 i
5.
 
Leica Digilux 3.......... Sep 2006 1,499 i
6.
 
Nikon D32005/5+ +73/1004.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 599 i
7.
 
Nikon D31005/5+ +72/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599 i
8.
 
Nikon D5000..+ +75/1004/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749 i
9.
 
Nikon D60..80/100+ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 629 i
10.
 
Nikon D90..+ ++ +4/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299 i
11.
 
Nikon D40X..79/100+ +4/54/5 Mar 2007 729 i
12.
 
Nikon D40..81/100+ +o4.5/5 Nov 2006 499 i
13.
 
Olympus E-450......4/54/5 Mar 2009 499 i
14.
 
Olympus E-420..85/100+ +4/54.5/5 Mar 2008 599 i
15.
 
Olympus E-330....+o.. Jan 2006 999 i
16.
 
Olympus E-300....+o4.5/5 Sep 2004 799 i
17.
 
Panasonic L10..85/100+3.5/54/5 Aug 2007 599 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Nikon D3000:
Check Ebay offers
Panasonic L1:
Check Ebay offers

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. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Nikon D3000 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 Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon D3000 Panasonic L1
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date July 2009 February 2006
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 999
    Sensor Specs Nikon D3000 Panasonic L1
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.6 x 15.8 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 372.88 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 10 Megapixels 7.4 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3872 x 2592 pixels 3136 x 2352 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.11 μm 5.51 μm
    Pixel Density 2.69 MP/cm2 3.28 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 3,200 ISO no Enhancement
    Image Processor EXPEED Venus
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 62 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.3 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.1 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 563 ..
    Screen Specs Nikon D3000 Panasonic L1
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x 0.47x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 207k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D3000 Panasonic L1
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D3000 Panasonic L1
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Nikon D3000 Panasonic L1
    Battery Type EN-EL9a CGR-S602
    Battery Life (CIPA)500 shots per charge750 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 126 x 97 x 64 mm
    (5.0 x 3.8 x 2.5 in)
    146 x 87 x 64 mm
    (5.7 x 3.4 x 2.5 in)
    Camera Weight 536 g (18.9 oz) 606 g (21.4 oz)

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