Nikon D600 vs Panasonic L1
The Nikon D600 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2012 and February 2006. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a full frame (D600) and a Four Thirds (L1) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 24.2 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 7.4 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Nikon D600||Panasonic L1|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Nikon F mount lenses||Four Thirds lenses|
|24.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor||7.4 MP, Four Thirds Sensor|
|1080/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO 100-6,400 (50 - 25,600)||ISO 100-1,600|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|3.0 LCD, 921k dots||2.5 LCD, 207k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|5.5 shutter flaps per second||3 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|900 shots per battery charge||750 shots per battery charge|
|141 x 113 x 82 mm, 850 g||146 x 87 x 64 mm, 606 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D600 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1? 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 D600 and the Panasonic L1 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 L1 is notably smaller (20 percent) than the Nikon D600. Moreover, the L1 is markedly lighter (29 percent) than the D600. It is worth mentioning in this context that the D600 is splash and dust resistant, while the L1 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
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 (D600) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (L1).
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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 D600||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Sep 2012||2,099|
|Panasonic L1||146 mm||87 mm||64 mm||606 g||750||n||Feb 2006||999|
|Canon 6D||145 mm||111 mm||71 mm||770 g||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099|
|Canon 350D||127 mm||94 mm||64 mm||540 g||400||n||Feb 2005||899|
|Leica Digilux 3||146 mm||87 mm||77 mm||606 g||750||n||Sep 2006||1,499|
|Nikon D780||144 mm||116 mm||76 mm||840 g||2260||Y||Jan 2020||2,299|
|Nikon D7500||136 mm||104 mm||73 mm||720 g||950||Y||Apr 2017||1,299|
|Nikon D500||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||860 g||1240||Y||Jan 2016||1,999|
|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 Df||144 mm||110 mm||67 mm||760 g||1400||Y||Nov 2013||2,749|
|Nikon D610||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Oct 2013||1,999|
|Nikon D800||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||1000 g||900||Y||Feb 2012||2,999|
|Nikon D800E||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||1000 g||900||Y||Feb 2012||3,299|
|Olympus E-330||140 mm||87 mm||72 mm||637 g||750||n||Jan 2006||999|
|Olympus E-300||147 mm||85 mm||64 mm||624 g||750||n||Sep 2004||799|
|Panasonic L10||135 mm||96 mm||78 mm||556 g||450||n||Aug 2007||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 obviously take relative prices into account. 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 L1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 52 percent) than the D600, 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 imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D600 features a full frame sensor and the Panasonic L1 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the L1 is 74 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 2.0. The sensor in the D600 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the L1 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 24.2MP, the D600 offers a higher resolution than the L1 (7.4MP), but the D600 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.97μm versus 5.51μm for the L1) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the D600 is a much more recent model (by 6 years and 6 months) than the L1, 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 D600 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D600 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30.1 x 20.1 inches or 76.4 x 51 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24.1 x 16.1 inches or 61.1 x 40.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20.1 x 13.4 inches or 50.9 x 34 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic L1 are 15.7 x 11.8 inches or 39.8 x 29.9 cm for good quality, 12.5 x 9.4 inches or 31.9 x 23.9 cm for very good quality, and 10.5 x 7.8 inches or 26.6 x 19.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon D600 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 50-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 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 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Nikon D600||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.2||2980||94|
|Panasonic L1||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..|
|Canon 6D||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82|
|Leica Digilux 3||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..|
|Nikon D780||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Nikon D750||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/60p||24.8||14.5||2956||93|
|Nikon Df||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||none||24.6||13.1||3279||89|
|Nikon D610||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.4||2925||94|
|Nikon D800||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/30p||25.3||14.4||2853||95|
|Nikon D800E||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/30p||25.6||14.3||2979||96|
|Olympus E-330||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..|
|Olympus E-300||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||..||..||..||..|
|Panasonic L10||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.3||10.8||429||55|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The D600 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the L1 does not. The highest resolution format that the D600 can use is 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The D600 and the L1 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 viewfinder in the D600 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the L1 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the D600 has a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.47x), 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 D600, the Panasonic L1, and comparable cameras.
|Leica Digilux 3||optical||n||2.5||207||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
One feature that is present on the D600, but is missing on the L1 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 Nikon D600 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 D600 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the L1 uses SDHC cards. The D600 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the L1 only has one slot. The D600 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the L1 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 D600 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Leica Digilux 3||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
Both the D600 and the L1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The L1 was replaced by the Panasonic L10, while the D600 was followed by the Nikon D610. 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 the Nikon D600 better than the Panasonic L1 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D600:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24.2 vs 7.4MP) with a 85% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
- 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 0.47x).
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- 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 (5.5 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 (900 versus 750) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 6 years and 6 months of technical progress since the L1 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1:
- More compact: Is smaller (146x87mm vs 141x113mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 244g or 29 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (52 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2006).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D600 is the clear winner of the match-up (18 : 4 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 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 D600 and the Panasonic L1 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 comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the D600 and the L1 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 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 D600||+ +||87/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099|
|Panasonic L1||85/100||+||..||o||3.5/5||Feb 2006||999|
|Canon 6D||+ +||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099|
|Canon 350D||80/100||+ +||o||o||..||Feb 2005||899|
|Leica Digilux 3||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2006||1,499|
|Nikon D780||..||87/100||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Jan 2020||2,299|
|Nikon D7500||+ +||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2017||1,299|
|Nikon D500||+ +||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||1,999|
|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 Df||..||81/100||4/5||4/5||4/5||Nov 2013||2,749|
|Nikon D610||+ +||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,999|
|Nikon D800||+ +||82/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||2,999|
|Nikon D800E||..||84/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||3,299|
|Olympus E-330||..||+||o||3.5/5||..||Jan 2006||999|
|Olympus E-300||..||+||o||o||4.5/5||Sep 2004||799|
|Panasonic L10||85/100||+||3.5/5||o||4/5||Aug 2007||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated 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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
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. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 1300D vs Nikon D600
- Canon 650D vs Nikon D600
- Canon M3 vs Panasonic L1
- Canon M50 vs Panasonic L1
- Canon SX730 vs Panasonic L1
- Leica M9 vs Panasonic L1
- Nikon D3000 vs Nikon D600
- Nikon D600 vs Olympus E-330
- Nikon D600 vs Olympus E-PL1
- Nikon D600 vs Panasonic FZ100
- Olympus E-P1 vs Panasonic L1
- Panasonic L1 vs Sony HX350
Specifications: Nikon D600 vs Panasonic L1
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 D600||Panasonic L1|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2012||February 2006|
|Launch Price||USD 2,099||USD 999|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D600||Panasonic L1|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||35.9 x 24.0 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||861.6 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.2 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24.2 Megapixels||7.4 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6016 x 4016 pixels||3136 x 2352 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.97 μm||5.51 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.80 MP/cm2||3.28 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 1,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 25,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 3||Venus|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||94||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||25.1||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||14.2||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||2980||..|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D600||Panasonic L1|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||95%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||2.5inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||207k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D600||Panasonic L1|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5.5 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||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D600||Panasonic L1|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Nikon D600||Panasonic L1|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||900 shots per charge||750 shots per charge|
141 x 113 x 82 mm
(5.6 x 4.4 x 3.2 in)
146 x 87 x 64 mm
(5.7 x 3.4 x 2.5 in)
|Camera Weight||850 g (30.0 oz)||606 g (21.4 oz)|
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