Nikon D3400 vs Panasonic GX85
The Nikon D3400 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 (labelled Panasonic GX80 in some countries) are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2016 and April 2016. The D3400 is a DSLR, while the GX85 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (D3400) and a Four Thirds (GX85) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 15.8 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Nikon D3400||Panasonic GX85|
|Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Nikon F mount lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|24 MP, APS-C Sensor||15.8 MP, Four Thirds Sensor|
|1080/60p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO 100-25,600||ISO 200-25,600|
|Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder (2765k dots)|
|3.0 LCD, 921k dots||3.0 LCD, 1040k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Tilting touchscreen|
|5 shutter flaps per second||8 shutter flaps per second|
|Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|1200 shots per battery charge||290 shots per battery charge|
|124 x 98 x 76 mm, 445 g||122 x 71 x 44 mm, 426 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D3400 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85? 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 D3400 and the Panasonic GX85 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The D3400 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the GX85 is also available in two color-versions, but different ones (black, silver).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GX85 is notably smaller (29 percent) than the Nikon D3400. Moreover, the GX85 is slightly lighter (4 percent) than the D3400. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D3400 nor the GX85 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 (D3400) and the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (GX85). Mirrorless cameras, such as the GX85, have moreover the advantage that they can use many lenses from other systems via adapters, as they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Nikon D3400||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||445 g||1200||n||Aug 2016||499|
|Panasonic GX85||122 mm||71 mm||44 mm||426 g||290||n||Apr 2016||799|
|Canon 77D||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||540 g||600||n||Feb 2017||899|
|Canon 200D||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||453 g||650||n||Jun 2017||549|
|Canon M100||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||302 g||295||n||Aug 2017||499|
|Nikon D3500||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||365 g||1550||n||Aug 2018||429|
|Nikon D7500||136 mm||104 mm||73 mm||720 g||950||Y||Apr 2017||1,299|
|Nikon D5600||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||465 g||970||n||Nov 2016||699|
|Nikon D5500||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||420 g||820||n||Jan 2015||899|
|Nikon D3300||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||430 g||700||n||Jan 2014||499|
|Nikon D5300||125 mm||98 mm||76 mm||480 g||600||n||Oct 2013||799|
|Nikon D3200||125 mm||96 mm||77 mm||505 g||540||n||Apr 2012||599|
|Olympus E-M10 II||120 mm||83 mm||47 mm||390 g||320||n||Aug 2015||649|
|Panasonic GX9||124 mm||72 mm||47 mm||407 g||260||n||Feb 2018||849|
|Panasonic G85||128 mm||89 mm||74 mm||505 g||330||Y||Sep 2016||899|
|Panasonic GX7||123 mm||71 mm||55 mm||402 g||350||n||Aug 2013||999|
|Panasonic GH2||124 mm||90 mm||76 mm||442 g||330||n||Sep 2010||899|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
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 D3400 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 38 percent) than the GX85, 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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D3400 features an APS-C sensor and the Panasonic GX85 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the GX85 is 39 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 D3400 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the GX85 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
With 24MP, the D3400 offers a higher resolution than the GX85 (15.8MP), but the D3400 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 3.77μm for the GX85) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the D3400 is a somewhat more recent model (by 4 months) than the GX85, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon D3400 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D3400 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic GX85 are 23 x 17.2 inches or 58.3 x 43.8 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.7 x 35 cm for very good quality, and 15.3 x 11.5 inches or 38.9 x 29.2 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon D3400 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 are ISO 200 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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"). Of the two cameras under review, the D3400 provides substantially higher image quality than the GX85, with an overall score that is 15 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.9 bits higher color depth, 1.3 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.8 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Panasonic GX85||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||22.9||12.6||662||71|
|Olympus E-M10 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.1||12.5||842||73|
|Panasonic GX9||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Panasonic G85||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||22.8||12.5||656||71|
|Panasonic GX7||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||22.6||12.2||718||70|
|Panasonic GH2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||21.2||11.3||655||60|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the GX85 provides a better video resolution than the D3400. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Nikon is limited to 1080/60p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the GX85 has an electronic viewfinder (2765k dots), while the D3400 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The viewfinder in the GX85 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the D3400 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the GX85 has a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.57x), 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 D3400, the Panasonic GX85, and comparable cameras.
|Olympus E-M10 II||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The GX85 has a touchscreen, while the D3400 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
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 GX85 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).
The Panasonic GX85 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the D3400 and the GX85 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
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 D3400 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Olympus E-M10 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
It is notable that the GX85 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the D3400 does not provide wifi capability.
The GX85 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Panasonic. In contrast, the D3400 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D3400 was succeeded by the Nikon D3500. 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 is the bottom line? Is the Nikon D3400 better than the Panasonic GX85 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D3400:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 15.8MP) with a 26% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (15 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.9 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.3 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.8 stops ISO advantage).
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1200 versus 290) on a single battery charge.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (38 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 4 months after the GX85).
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85:
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.57x).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 921k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (122x71mm vs 124x98mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in April 2016).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GX85 is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 10 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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 D3400 and the Panasonic GX85 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the D3400 and the GX85 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.
|Nikon D3400||+||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||499|
|Panasonic GX85||+ +||82/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Apr 2016||799|
|Canon 77D||..||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||899|
|Canon 200D||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549|
|Canon M100||+||..||4/5||..||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499|
|Nikon D3500||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||429|
|Nikon D7500||+ +||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2017||1,299|
|Nikon D5600||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2016||699|
|Nikon D5500||+||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||899|
|Nikon D3300||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||499|
|Nikon D5300||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||799|
|Nikon D3200||+ +||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||599|
|Olympus E-M10 II||+ +||80/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Aug 2015||649|
|Panasonic GX9||+||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2018||849|
|Panasonic G85||+ +||84/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||899|
|Panasonic GX7||+||79/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2013||999|
|Panasonic GH2||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2010||899|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, 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.
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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 80D vs Nikon D3400
- Canon XS vs Panasonic GX85
- Fujifilm X70 vs Panasonic GX85
- Leica D-LUX 5 vs Panasonic GX85
- Leica D-LUX Typ 109 vs Nikon D3400
- Nikon D3400 vs Panasonic FZ1000
- Nikon D3400 vs Panasonic G1
- Nikon D3400 vs Panasonic GH1
- Nikon D3400 vs Panasonic TZ100
- Nikon D3400 vs Sony RX100 VI
- Olympus E-M5 vs Panasonic GX85
- Panasonic GX85 vs Sony HX80
Specifications: Nikon D3400 vs Panasonic GX85
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 D3400||Panasonic GX85|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2016||April 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 499||USD 799|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D3400||Panasonic GX85|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.6 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||366.6 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.2 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||15.8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||4592 x 3448 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.91 μm||3.77 μm|
|Pixel Density||6.55 MP/cm2||7.04 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||200 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 4||Venus|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||86||71|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.8||22.9|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.9||12.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1192||662|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D3400||Panasonic GX85|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2765k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D3400||Panasonic GX85|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||8 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/16000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D3400||Panasonic GX85|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Nikon D3400||Panasonic GX85|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1200 shots per charge||290 shots per charge|
124 x 98 x 76 mm
(4.9 x 3.9 x 3.0 in)
122 x 71 x 44 mm
(4.8 x 2.8 x 1.7 in)
|Camera Weight||445 g (15.7 oz)||426 g (15.0 oz)|
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