Nikon D5100 vs Panasonic L10
The Nikon D5100 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC- L10 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in April 2011 and August 2007. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (D5100) and a Four Thirds (L10) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 16.1 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 10 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Nikon D5100||Panasonic L10|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Nikon F mount lenses||Four Thirds lenses|
|16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor||10 MP, Four Thirds Sensor|
|1080/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO 100-6400 (100-25600)||ISO 100-1600|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|3.0" LCD, 921k dots||2.5" LCD, 207k dots|
|Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)||Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|4 shutter flaps per second||3 shutter flaps per second|
|660 shots per battery charge||450 shots per battery charge|
|128 x 97 x 79 mm, 560 g||135 x 96 x 78 mm, 556 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D5100 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC- L10? 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 D5100 and the Panasonic L10 are illustrated 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 L10 is somewhat larger (4 percent) than the Nikon D5100. However, the L10 is slightly lighter (1 percent) than the D5100. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D5100 nor the L10 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 (D5100) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (L10).
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Nikon D5100»||5.0 in||3.8 in||3.1 in||19.8 oz||660||n||Apr 2011||749||Nikon D5100|
|Panasonic L10«||5.3 in||3.8 in||3.1 in||19.6 oz||450||n||Aug 2007||599||Panasonic L10|
|Canon T2i« »||5.1 in||3.9 in||2.4 in||18.7 oz||440||n||Feb 2010||699||Canon T2i|
|Nikon D5600« »||4.9 in||3.8 in||2.8 in||16.4 oz||970||n||Nov 2016||699||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D5300« »||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||16.9 oz||600||n||Oct 2013||799||Nikon D5300|
|Nikon D3200« »||4.9 in||3.8 in||3.0 in||17.8 oz||540||n||Apr 2012||599||Nikon D3200|
|Nikon D5200« »||5.1 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||19.6 oz||500||n||Nov 2012||749||Nikon D5200|
|Nikon D7000« »||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||27.5 oz||1050||Y||Sep 2010||1,499||Nikon D7000|
|Nikon D3100« »||4.9 in||3.8 in||3.0 in||17.8 oz||550||n||Aug 2010||599||Nikon D3100|
|Nikon D5000« »||5.0 in||4.1 in||3.1 in||20.8 oz||510||n||Apr 2009||749||Nikon D5000|
|Olympus E-420« »||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.5 oz||500||n||Mar 2008||599||Olympus E-420|
|Olympus E-520« »||5.4 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||18.9 oz||750||n||May 2008||699||Olympus E-520|
|Olympus E-410« »||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.3 oz||500||n||Mar 2007||699||Olympus E-410|
|Panasonic G10« »||4.9 in||3.3 in||2.9 in||13.7 oz||380||n||Mar 2010||499||Panasonic G10|
|Panasonic L1« »||5.7 in||3.4 in||2.5 in||21.4 oz||750||n||Feb 2006||999||Panasonic L1|
|Sony NEX-5R« »||4.4 in||2.3 in||1.5 in||9.7 oz||330||n||Aug 2012||749||Sony NEX-5R|
|Sony NEX-5N« »||4.4 in||2.3 in||1.5 in||9.5 oz||460||n||Aug 2011||699||Sony NEX-5N|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The L10 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 20 percent) than the D5100, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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 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 L10 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the L10 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 D5100 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the L10 offers a 4:3 aspect.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
With 16.1MP, the D5100 offers a higher resolution than the L10 (10MP), but the D5100 nevertheless has marginally larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.80μm versus 4.74μm for the L10) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the D5100 is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 7 months) than the L10, 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 D5100 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D5100 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.6 x 16.3 inch or 62.6 x 41.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.7 x 13.1 inch or 50.1 x 33.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.4 x 10.9 inch or 41.7 x 27.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic L10 are 18.2 x 13.7 inch or 46.3 x 34.7 cm for good quality, 14.6 x 10.9 inch or 37.1 x 27.8 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.1 inch or 30.9 x 23.2 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- L10 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 D5100 provides substantially higher image quality than the L10, with an overall score that is 25 points higher. This advantage is based on 2.2 bits higher color depth, 2.8 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.5 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.
|Nikon D5100||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.5||13.6||1183||80||Nikon D5100|
|Panasonic L10||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.3||10.8||429||55||Panasonic L10|
|Canon T2i||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.1||11.5||784||66||Canon T2i|
|Nikon D5600||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||14.0||1306||84||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D5300||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.0||13.9||1338||83||Nikon D5300|
|Nikon D3200||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/30p||24.1||13.2||1131||81||Nikon D3200|
|Nikon D5200||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60i||24.2||13.9||1284||84||Nikon D5200|
|Nikon D7000||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||10800/24p||23.5||13.9||1167||80||Nikon D7000|
|Nikon D3100||APS-C||14.2||4608||3072||1080/24p||22.5||11.3||919||67||Nikon D3100|
|Nikon D5000||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||720/24p||22.7||12.5||868||72||Nikon D5000|
|Olympus E-420||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.4||527||56||Olympus E-420|
|Olympus E-520||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.4||10.4||548||55||Olympus E-520|
|Olympus E-410||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.1||10.0||494||51||Olympus E-410|
|Panasonic G10||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52||Panasonic G10|
|Panasonic L1||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..||Panasonic L1|
|Sony NEX-5R||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60i||23.7||13.1||910||78||Sony NEX-5R|
|Sony NEX-5N||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60i||23.6||12.7||1079||77||Sony NEX-5N|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The D5100 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the L10 does not. The highest resolution format that the D5100 can use is 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The D5100 and the L10 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 D5100 has a higher magnification than the one of the L10 (0.51x vs 0.46x), 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 D5100, the Panasonic L10, and comparable cameras.
|Nikon D5100||optical||n||3.0||921||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Nikon D5100|
|Panasonic L10||optical||n||2.5||207||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Panasonic L10|
|Canon T2i||optical||n||3.0||1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.7||Y||n||Canon T2i|
|Nikon D5600||optical||n||3.2||1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D5300||optical||n||3.2||1037||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D5300|
|Nikon D3200||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Nikon D3200|
|Nikon D5200||optical||n||3.0||921||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D5200|
|Nikon D7000||optical||Y||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D7000|
|Nikon D3100||optical||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D3100|
|Nikon D5000||optical||n||2.7||230||full-flex||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Nikon D5000|
|Olympus E-420||optical||n||2.7||215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n||Olympus E-420|
|Olympus E-520||optical||n||2.7||215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||Y||Olympus E-520|
|Olympus E-410||optical||n||2.5||215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Olympus E-410|
|Panasonic G10||202||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.6||Y||n||Panasonic G10|
|Panasonic L1||optical||n||2.5||207||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Panasonic L1|
|Sony NEX-5R||optional||n||3.0||920||tilting||Y||1/4000s||10.0||n||n||Sony NEX-5R|
|Sony NEX-5N||optional||n||3.0||920||tilting||Y||1/4000s||10.0||n||n||Sony NEX-5N|
The Nikon D5100 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 D5100 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the L10 uses SDHC cards. The D5100 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the L10 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 D5100 and Panasonic Lumix DMC- L10 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Nikon D5100||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D5100|
|Panasonic L10||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic L10|
|Canon T2i||Y||stereo||none||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon T2i|
|Nikon D5600||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D5300||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D5300|
|Nikon D3200||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3200|
|Nikon D5200||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D5200|
|Nikon D7000||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D7000|
|Nikon D3100||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3100|
|Nikon D5000||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D5000|
|Olympus E-420||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-420|
|Olympus E-520||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-520|
|Olympus E-410||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-410|
|Panasonic G10||Y||mono||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic G10|
|Panasonic L1||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic L1|
|Sony NEX-5R||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Sony NEX-5R|
|Sony NEX-5N||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-5N|
Both the D5100 and the L10 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D5100 was replaced by the Nikon D5200, while the L10 does not have a direct successor. 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 D5100 and the Panasonic L10? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D5100:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (16.1 vs 10MP) with a 30% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (25 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (2.2 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (2.8 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.5 stops ISO advantage).
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.51x vs 0.46x).
- 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 (921k vs 207k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (660 versus 450) on a single battery charge.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 7 months of technical progress since the L10 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC- L10:
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (20 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 2007).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D5100 is the clear winner of the match-up (14 : 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D5100 and the Panasonic L10 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the D5100 and the L10 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 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.
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. 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 would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, 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 800D vs Panasonic L10
- Canon 90D vs Nikon D5100
- Leica C-LUX vs Nikon D5100
- Leica M Typ 262 vs Nikon D5100
- Leica T vs Nikon D5100
- Nikon D3000 vs Panasonic L10
- Nikon D5100 vs Panasonic G9
- Nikon D5100 vs Sony A68
- Nikon D5100 vs Sony A7R
- Nikon D750 vs Panasonic L10
- Panasonic L10 vs Sony A7 III
- Panasonic L10 vs Sony RX1R II
Specifications: Nikon D5100 vs Panasonic L10
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 L10|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||April 2011||August 2007|
|Launch Price||USD 749||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D5100||Panasonic L10|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.6 x 15.7 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||370.52 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16.1 Megapixels||10 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4928 x 3264 pixels||3648 x 2736 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.80 μm||4.74 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.34 MP/cm2||4.44 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100-6400 ISO||100-1600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100-25600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 2||Venus|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||80||55|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.5||21.3|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.6||10.8|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1183||429|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D5100||Panasonic L10|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||2.5 inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||207k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D5100||Panasonic L10|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||4 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D5100||Panasonic L10|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Nikon D5100||Panasonic L10|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||660 shots per charge||450 shots per charge|
128 x 97 x 79 mm
(5.0 x 3.8 x 3.1 in)
135 x 96 x 78 mm
(5.3 x 3.8 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||560 g (19.8 oz)||556 g (19.6 oz)|
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