Nikon D5100 vs Panasonic FZ1000
The Nikon D5100 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in April 2011 and June 2014. The D5100 is a DSLR, while the FZ1000 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (D5100) and an one-inch (FZ1000) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 16.1 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 20 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D5100 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000? 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 D5100 and the Panasonic FZ1000 is provided 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.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic FZ1000 is notably larger (9 percent) than the Nikon D5100. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D5100 nor the FZ1000 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the FZ1000 has a lens built in, whereas the D5100 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 D5100 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Nikon D5100||128 mm||97 mm||79 mm||560 g||660||n||Apr 2011||749|
|2.||Panasonic FZ1000||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||831 g||360||n||Jun 2014||899|
|3.||Canon G3 X||123 mm||77 mm||105 mm||733 g||300||Y||Jun 2015||999|
|4.||Canon T2i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||530 g||440||n||Feb 2010||699|
|5.||Nikon D5600||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||465 g||970||n||Nov 2016||699|
|6.||Nikon D5300||125 mm||98 mm||76 mm||480 g||600||n||Oct 2013||799|
|7.||Nikon D3200||125 mm||96 mm||77 mm||505 g||540||n||Apr 2012||599|
|8.||Nikon D5200||129 mm||98 mm||78 mm||555 g||500||n||Nov 2012||749|
|9.||Nikon D7000||132 mm||105 mm||77 mm||780 g||1050||Y||Sep 2010||1,499|
|10.||Nikon D3100||124 mm||96 mm||75 mm||505 g||550||n||Aug 2010||599|
|11.||Nikon D5000||127 mm||104 mm||80 mm||590 g||510||n||Apr 2009||749|
|12.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||136 mm||97 mm||131 mm||810 g||350||n||Feb 2019||899|
|13.||Sony RX100 IV||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||n||Jun 2015||999|
|14.||Sony RX100 III||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||290 g||320||n||May 2014||799|
|15.||Sony RX100 II||102 mm||58 mm||38 mm||281 g||350||n||Jun 2013||749|
|16.||Sony NEX-5R||111 mm||59 mm||39 mm||276 g||330||n||Aug 2012||749|
|17.||Sony NEX-5N||111 mm||59 mm||38 mm||269 g||460||n||Aug 2011||699|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
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. 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 imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 D5100 features an APS-C sensor and the Panasonic FZ1000 an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the FZ1000 is 69 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 2.7. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the FZ1000 offers a higher resolution of 20 megapixels, compared with 16.1 MP of the D5100. 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 2.41μm versus 4.80μm for the D5100). However, it should be noted that the FZ1000 is much more recent (by 3 years and 2 months) than the D5100, 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 FZ1000 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the FZ1000 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.4 x 18.2 inches or 69.5 x 46.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.9 x 14.6 inches or 55.6 x 37.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.2 inches or 46.3 x 30.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D5100 are 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.6 x 41.5 cm for good quality, 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.2 cm for very good quality, and 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.6 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon D5100 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 are ISO 125 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-25600.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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. Of the two cameras under review, the D5100 provides substantially higher image quality than the FZ1000, with an overall score that is 16 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.4 bits higher color depth, 1.9 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.2 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.
| DXO |
|3.||Canon G3 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.4||12.3||521||63|
|12.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|13.||Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
|14.||Sony RX100 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67|
|15.||Sony RX100 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.5||12.4||483||67|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the FZ1000 provides a better video resolution than the D5100. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Nikon is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the FZ1000 has an electronic viewfinder (2359k dots), while the D5100 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 FZ1000 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the D5100 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the FZ1000 has a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.51x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D5100 and Panasonic FZ1000 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|3.||Canon G3 X||optional||n||3.2||1620||tilting||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
|12.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||2360||n||3.0||1240||swivel||Y||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|13.||Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0||1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y|
|14.||Sony RX100 III||1440||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony RX100 II||optional||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
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 FZ1000 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 D5100 and the Panasonic FZ1000 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.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the D5100 and the FZ1000 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 D5100 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|3.||Canon G3 X||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|13.||Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|14.||Sony RX100 III||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|15.||Sony RX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the FZ1000 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the D5100 does not provide wifi capability.
Both the D5100 and the FZ1000 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D5100 was replaced by the Nikon D5200, while the FZ1000 was followed by the Panasonic FZ2500. 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? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D5100 or the Panasonic FZ1000 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D5100:
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (16 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.4 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 (1.2 stops ISO advantage).
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (660 versus 360) on a single battery charge.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in April 2011).
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 16.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 11%.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/30p).
- 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 0.51x).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the D5100 requires a separate lens.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- 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.
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 2 months of technical progress since the D5100 launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the FZ1000 is the clear winner of the contest (12 : 8 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D5100 and the Panasonic FZ1000 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Superzoom 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 D5100 and the FZ1000 in practical situations. 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 why expert reviews 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.
|1.||Nikon D5100||5/5||+ +||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2011||749|
|2.||Panasonic FZ1000||4/5||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||899|
|3.||Canon G3 X||3.5/5||+||..||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2015||999|
|4.||Canon T2i||..||+ +||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699|
|5.||Nikon D5600||4/5||..||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2016||699|
|6.||Nikon D5300||4/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||799|
|7.||Nikon D3200||5/5||+ +||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||599|
|8.||Nikon D5200||4/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2012||749|
|9.||Nikon D7000||4/5||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,499|
|10.||Nikon D3100||5/5||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||599|
|11.||Nikon D5000||..||+ +||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2009||749|
|12.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||..||..||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2019||899|
|13.||Sony RX100 IV||4.5/5||+ +||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999|
|14.||Sony RX100 III||5/5||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||799|
|15.||Sony RX100 II||5/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||749|
|16.||Sony NEX-5R||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2012||749|
|17.||Sony NEX-5N||3/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||699|
|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 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? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Nikon D5100 vs Panasonic FZ1000
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 D5100||Panasonic FZ1000|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||25-400mm f/2.8-4.0|
|Launch Date||April 2011||June 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 749||USD 899|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D5100||Panasonic FZ1000|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.6 x 15.7 mm||13.2 x 8.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||370.52 mm2||116.16 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||15.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16.1 Megapixels||20 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4928 x 3264 pixels||5472 x 3648 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.80 μm||2.41 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.34 MP/cm2||17.18 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||125 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 25,600 ISO||80 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 2||Venus|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||80||64|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.5||22.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.6||11.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1183||517|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D5100||Panasonic FZ1000|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2359k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D5100||Panasonic FZ1000|
|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||4 shutter flaps/s||12 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/16000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|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 D5100||Panasonic FZ1000|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Nikon D5100||Panasonic FZ1000|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||660 shots per charge||360 shots per charge|
128 x 97 x 79 mm
(5.0 x 3.8 x 3.1 in)
137 x 99 x 131 mm
(5.4 x 3.9 x 5.2 in)
|Camera Weight||560 g (19.8 oz)||831 g (29.3 oz)|
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