Nikon D5000 vs Panasonic GF6
The Nikon D5000 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in April 2009 and April 2013. The D5000 is a DSLR, while the GF6 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (D5000) and a Four Thirds (GF6) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 12.2 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 D5000||Panasonic GF6|
|Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Nikon F mount lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor||15.8 MP, Four Thirds Sensor|
|720/24p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO 200-3,200 (200 - 6,400)||ISO 160-12,800 (160 - 25,600)|
|Optical viewfinder||No viewfinder, LCD framing|
|2.7 LCD, 230k dots||3.0 LCD, 1040k dots|
|Fully flexible screen (no touchscreen)||Tilting touchscreen|
|4 shutter flaps per second||4.2 shutter flaps per second|
|510 shots per battery charge||340 shots per battery charge|
|127 x 104 x 80 mm, 590 g||111 x 65 x 38 mm, 323 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D5000 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon D5000 and the Panasonic GF6. 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 GF6 can be obtained in four different colors (black, brown, red, white), while the D5000 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 GF6 is considerably smaller (45 percent) than the Nikon D5000. Moreover, the GF6 is substantially lighter (45 percent) than the D5000. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D5000 nor the GF6 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 (D5000) and the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (GF6). Mirrorless cameras, such as the GF6, 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 D5000||5.0 in||4.1 in||3.1 in||20.8 oz||510||n||Apr 2009||749|
|Panasonic GF6||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.5 in||11.4 oz||340||n||Apr 2013||499|
|Canon XSi||5.1 in||3.9 in||2.4 in||18.5 oz||500||n||Jan 2008||799|
|Nikon D5600||4.9 in||3.8 in||2.8 in||16.4 oz||970||n||Nov 2016||699|
|Nikon D5200||5.1 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||19.6 oz||500||n||Nov 2012||749|
|Nikon D5100||5.0 in||3.8 in||3.1 in||19.8 oz||660||n||Apr 2011||749|
|Nikon D3100||4.9 in||3.8 in||3.0 in||17.8 oz||550||n||Aug 2010||599|
|Nikon D3000||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.5 in||18.9 oz||500||n||Jul 2009||599|
|Nikon D60||5.0 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||18.4 oz||500||n||Jan 2008||629|
|Nikon D90||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||24.8 oz||850||n||Aug 2008||1,299|
|Nikon D40X||4.9 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||18.4 oz||520||n||Mar 2007||729|
|Nikon D80||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||23.6 oz||600||n||Aug 2006||999|
|Panasonic GF7||4.2 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||9.4 oz||230||n||Jan 2015||499|
|Panasonic G6||4.8 in||3.3 in||2.8 in||13.8 oz||340||n||Apr 2013||599|
|Panasonic GF5||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.5 in||9.4 oz||360||n||Apr 2012||499|
|Panasonic G3||4.5 in||3.3 in||1.9 in||11.9 oz||270||n||May 2011||599|
|Panasonic G1||4.9 in||3.3 in||1.8 in||12.7 oz||410||n||Sep 2008||599|
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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The GF6 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 33 percent) than the D5000, 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.
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. 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 D5000 features an APS-C sensor and the Panasonic GF6 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the GF6 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 D5000 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the GF6 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the GF6 offers a higher resolution of 15.8 megapixels, compared with 12.2 MP of the D5000. 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 3.77μm versus 5.53μm for the D5000). However, it should be noted that the GF6 is much more recent (by 3 years and 11 months) than the D5000, 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 GF6 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the GF6 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23 x 17.2 inches or 58.3 x 43.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.7 x 35 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.3 x 11.5 inches or 38.9 x 29.2 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D5000 are 21.4 x 14.2 inches or 54.5 x 36.2 cm for good quality, 17.2 x 11.4 inches or 43.6 x 28.9 cm for very good quality, and 14.3 x 9.5 inches or 36.3 x 24.1 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon D5000 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 200-6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6 are ISO 160 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 160-25600.
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"). Of the two cameras under review, the D5000 provides substantially higher image quality than the GF6, with an overall score that is 18 points higher. This advantage is based on 2 bits higher color depth, 1.9 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.5 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Panasonic GF6||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||20.7||10.6||622||54|
|Panasonic GF7||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Panasonic G6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61|
|Panasonic GF5||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.4||11.6||618||61|
|Panasonic G3||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||21.0||10.6||667||56|
|Panasonic G1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||none||21.1||10.3||463||53|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the GF6 provides a better video resolution than the D5000. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the Nikon is limited to 720/24p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the D5000 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the GF6 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D5000, the Panasonic GF6, and comparable cameras.
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The GF6 has a touchscreen, while the D5000 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.
The Nikon D5000 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.
The D5000 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the GF6 uses SDXC cards. The GF6 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the D5000 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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 D5000 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
It is notable that the D5000 has a hotshoe, while the GF6 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Both the D5000 and the GF6 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D5000 was replaced by the Nikon D5100, while the GF6 was followed by the Panasonic GF7. 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 there a clear favorite between the Nikon D5000 and the Panasonic GF6? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D5000:
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (18 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (2 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.9 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.5 stops ISO advantage).
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More flexible LCD: Has a full-flex screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (510 versus 340) on a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in April 2009).
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (15.8 vs 12.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 12%.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60i vs 720/24p).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 230k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- More compact: Is smaller (111x65mm vs 127x104mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 267g or 45 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- 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.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (33 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 11 months of technical progress since the D5000 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GF6 emerges as the winner of the match-up (13 : 10 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 D5000 and the Panasonic GF6 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 remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D5000 or the GF6. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
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 (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 D5000||+ +||75/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2009||749|
|Panasonic GF6||+ +||..||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Apr 2013||499|
|Canon XSi||+ +||+ +||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799|
|Nikon D5600||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2016||699|
|Nikon D5200||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2012||749|
|Nikon D5100||+ +||76/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2011||749|
|Nikon D3100||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||599|
|Nikon D3000||+||72/100||4/5||3.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||599|
|Nikon D60||80/100||+ +||4/5||o||4.5/5||Jan 2008||629|
|Nikon D90||+ +||+ +||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|Nikon D40X||79/100||+ +||4/5||o||4/5||Mar 2007||729|
|Nikon D80||+||+ +||o||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999|
|Panasonic GF7||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||499|
|Panasonic G6||+ +||..||5/5||..||4.5/5||Apr 2013||599|
|Panasonic GF5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||499|
|Panasonic G3||+ +||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||May 2011||599|
|Panasonic G1||+ +||70/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2008||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, 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 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.
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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 1200D vs Nikon D5000
- Canon SX510 vs Panasonic GF6
- Canon XT vs Panasonic GF6
- Nikon D2Xs vs Panasonic GF6
- Nikon D5000 vs Olympus XZ-2
- Nikon D5000 vs Panasonic GX850
- Nikon D5000 vs Sony RX100 IV
- Nikon D7200 vs Panasonic GF6
- Panasonic G7 vs Panasonic GF6
- Panasonic GF6 vs Panasonic ZS100
- Panasonic GF6 vs Pentax K-5
- Panasonic GF6 vs Sony A77
Specifications: Nikon D5000 vs Panasonic GF6
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 D5000||Panasonic GF6|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||April 2009||April 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 749||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D5000||Panasonic GF6|
|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|
|Sensor Resolution||12.2 Megapixels||15.8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4288 x 2848 pixels||4592 x 3448 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.53 μm||3.77 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.28 MP/cm2||7.04 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||720/24p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 3,200 ISO||160 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||200 - 6,400 ISO||160 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED||Venus FHD|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||72||54|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.7||20.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.5||10.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||868||622|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D5000||Panasonic GF6|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.7inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fully flexible screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D5000||Panasonic GF6|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||4 shutter flaps/s||4.2 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D5000||Panasonic GF6|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Nikon D5000||Panasonic GF6|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||510 shots per charge||340 shots per charge|
127 x 104 x 80 mm
(5.0 x 4.1 x 3.1 in)
111 x 65 x 38 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||590 g (20.8 oz)||323 g (11.4 oz)|
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