Nikon D500 vs Panasonic LX100 II
The Nikon D500 and the Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II are two enthusiast cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2016 and August 2018. The D500 is a DSLR, while the LX100 II is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (D500) and a Four Thirds (LX100 II) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 20.7 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 16.8 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Nikon D500||Panasonic LX100 II|
|Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Nikon F mount lenses||24-75mm f/1.7-2.8|
|20.7 MP, APS-C Sensor||16.8 MP, Four Thirds Sensor|
|4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO 100-51,200 (50 - 1,640,000)||ISO 200-25,600|
|Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder (2764k dots)|
|3.2 LCD, 2359k dots||3.0 LCD, 1240k dots|
|Tilting touchscreen||Fixed touchscreen|
|10 shutter flaps per second||11 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|1240 shots per battery charge||300 shots per battery charge|
|147 x 115 x 81 mm, 860 g||115 x 66 x 65 mm, 392 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D500 and the Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D500 and the Panasonic LX100 II is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic LX100 II is considerably smaller (55 percent) than the Nikon D500. It is worth mentioning in this context that the D500 is splash and dust resistant, while the LX100 II does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the LX100 II has a lens built in, whereas the D500 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 D500 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the D500 gets 1240 shots out of its EN-EL15 battery, while the LX100 II can take 300 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLG10 power pack. The power pack in the LX100 II can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
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 D500||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||860 g||1240||Y||Jan 2016||1,999|
|Panasonic LX100 II||115 mm||66 mm||65 mm||392 g||300||n||Aug 2018||999|
|Canon 6D Mark II||144 mm||111 mm||75 mm||765 g||1200||Y||Jun 2017||1,999|
|Canon 80D||139 mm||105 mm||79 mm||730 g||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199|
|Leica D-LUX 7||115 mm||66 mm||65 mm||392 g||300||n||Nov 2018||1,195|
|Leica C-LUX||113 mm||67 mm||46 mm||340 g||370||n||Jun 2018||1,049|
|Nikon D7500||136 mm||104 mm||73 mm||720 g||950||Y||Apr 2017||1,299|
|Nikon D7200||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||1110||Y||Mar 2015||1,199|
|Nikon D750||141 mm||113 mm||78 mm||750 g||1230||Y||Sep 2014||2,299|
|Nikon D7100||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||950||Y||Feb 2013||1,199|
|Nikon D610||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Oct 2013||1,999|
|Nikon D600||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Sep 2012||2,099|
|Nikon D300S||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||938 g||950||Y||Jul 2009||1,799|
|Panasonic FZ1000 II||136 mm||97 mm||131 mm||810 g||350||n||Feb 2019||899|
|Panasonic GH5||139 mm||98 mm||87 mm||725 g||410||Y||Jan 2017||1,999|
|Panasonic TZ90||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|Panasonic LX100||115 mm||66 mm||55 mm||393 g||300||n||Sep 2014||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.
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 LX100 II was launched at a lower price than the D500, 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 size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to 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 D500 features an APS-C sensor and the Panasonic LX100 II a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the LX100 II 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 D500 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the LX100 II offers a 4:3 aspect. The LX100 II 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 CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
With 20.7MP, the D500 offers a higher resolution than the LX100 II (16.8MP), but the D500 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.22μm versus 3.66μm for the LX100 II) due to its larger sensor. However, the LX100 II is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 7 months) than the D500, and its sensor will 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 D500 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D500 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.8 x 18.6 inches or 70.7 x 47.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 22.3 x 14.8 inches or 56.6 x 37.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.6 x 12.4 inches or 47.1 x 31.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic LX100 II are 23.7 x 17.8 inches or 60.1 x 45.1 cm for good quality, 18.9 x 14.2 inches or 48.1 x 36.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.8 x 11.8 inches or 40.1 x 30.1 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon D500 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 51200, which can be extended to ISO 50-1640000. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II 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 assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Panasonic LX100 II||Four Thirds||16.8||4736||3552||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Canon 6D Mark II||Full Frame||26.0||6240||4160||1080/60p||24.4||11.9||2862||85|
|Leica D-LUX 7||Four Thirds||16.8||4736||3552||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Nikon D750||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/60p||24.8||14.5||2956||93|
|Nikon D610||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.4||2925||94|
|Nikon D600||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.2||2980||94|
|Panasonic FZ1000 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Panasonic GH5||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/60p||23.9||13.0||807||77|
|Panasonic LX100||Four Thirds||12.7||4112||3088||4K/30p||22.3||12.5||553||67|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the LX100 II has an electronic viewfinder (2764k dots), while the D500 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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), but the viewfinder of the LX100 II has a higher magnification than the one of the D500 (0.70x vs 0.67x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon D500 and Panasonic LX100 II along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Panasonic LX100 II||2764||n||3.0||1240||fixed||Y||1/4000s||11.0||n||Y|
|Canon 6D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.5||n||n|
|Leica D-LUX 7||2764||n||3.0||1240||fixed||Y||1/4000s||11.0||n||Y|
|Panasonic FZ1000 II||2360||n||3.0||1240||swivel||Y||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y|
One feature that is present on the D500, but is missing on the LX100 II 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 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 LX100 II 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 Nikon D500 and the Panasonic LX100 II both have 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.
The D500 writes its imaging data to SDHC or XQD cards, while the LX100 II uses SDXC cards. The D500 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the LX100 II only has one slot. The D500 supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the LX100 II can use UHS-I cards (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 D500 and Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Panasonic LX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|Canon 6D Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|Leica D-LUX 7||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|Panasonic FZ1000 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
It is notable that the D500 has a microphone port, which is missing on the LX100 II. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D500 (unlike the LX100 II) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the D500 and the LX100 II are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The D500 replaced the earlier Nikon D300S, while the LX100 II followed on from the Panasonic LX100. 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 how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D500 and the Panasonic LX100 II? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D500:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (20.7 vs 16.8MP) with a 13% higher linear resolution.
- 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.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2359k vs 1240k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1240 versus 300) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in January 2016).
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II:
- Flexible image proportions: Has a multi-aspect sensor that allows for alternative image shapes.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.67x).
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the D500 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (115x66mm vs 147x115mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the D500).
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 7 months of technical progress since the D500 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D500 is the clear winner of the match-up (22 : 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 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D500 and the Panasonic LX100 II 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 comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D500 or the LX100 II 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.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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 D500||+ +||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||1,999|
|Panasonic LX100 II||+||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||999|
|Canon 6D Mark II||+||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||Jun 2017||1,999|
|Canon 80D||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||1,199|
|Leica D-LUX 7||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||Nov 2018||1,195|
|Leica C-LUX||..||..||4.5/5||..||4/5||Jun 2018||1,049|
|Nikon D7500||+ +||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2017||1,299|
|Nikon D7200||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2015||1,199|
|Nikon D750||+ +||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||2,299|
|Nikon D7100||+ +||85/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||1,199|
|Nikon D610||+ +||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,999|
|Nikon D600||+ +||87/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099|
|Nikon D300S||+ +||82/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||1,799|
|Panasonic FZ1000 II||..||83/100||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Feb 2019||899|
|Panasonic GH5||+ +||85/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jan 2017||1,999|
|Panasonic TZ90||+ +||..||4/5||..||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|Panasonic LX100||+ +||85/100||5/5||4/5||5/5||Sep 2014||899|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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 use the search menu below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 2000D vs Nikon D500
- Canon T7i vs Panasonic LX100 II
- Leica Digilux 3 vs Nikon D500
- Leica X1 vs Nikon D500
- Nikon D100 vs Nikon D500
- Nikon D500 vs Olympus E-PL7
- Nikon D500 vs Pentax K-1
- Nikon D500 vs Sony HX90V
- Nikon D600 vs Panasonic LX100 II
- Olympus E-450 vs Panasonic LX100 II
- Panasonic G5 vs Panasonic LX100 II
- Panasonic GH2 vs Panasonic LX100 II
Specifications: Nikon D500 vs Panasonic LX100 II
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 D500||Panasonic LX100 II|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||24-75mm f/1.7-2.8|
|Launch Date||January 2016||August 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 1,999||USD 999|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D500||Panasonic LX100 II|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.7 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||368.95 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20.7 Megapixels||16.8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5568 x 3712 pixels||4736 x 3552 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.22 μm||3.66 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.60 MP/cm2||7.48 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 51,200 ISO||200 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 1,640,000 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 5||Venus|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||83||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.0||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||14.0||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1324||..|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D500||Panasonic LX100 II|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2764k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||2359k dots||1240k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D500||Panasonic LX100 II|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||11 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/16000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC or XQD cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-II||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D500||Panasonic LX100 II|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 3.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Nikon D500||Panasonic LX100 II|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1240 shots per charge||300 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
147 x 115 x 81 mm
(5.8 x 4.5 x 3.2 in)
115 x 66 x 65 mm
(4.5 x 2.6 x 2.6 in)
|Camera Weight||860 g (30.3 oz)||392 g (13.8 oz)|
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