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Nikon D80 vs Panasonic LX5

The Nikon D80 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2006 and July 2010. The D80 is a DSLR, while the LX5 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (D80) and a 1/1.7-inch (LX5) sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 10 megapixels.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D80 VS Panasonic LX5
Nikon D80 Panasonic LX5
Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
Nikon F mount lenses 24-90mm f/2.0-3.3
10 MP, APS-C Sensor 10 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor
no Video 720/60p Video
ISO 100-1600 (100-3200) ISO 80-3200 (80-12800)
Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
2.5" LCD, 230k dots 3.0" LCD, 460k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 2.5 shutter flaps per second
600 shots per battery charge400 shots per battery charge
132 x 103 x 77 mm, 668 g 110 x 65 x 43 mm, 271 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D80 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5? 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.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D80 and the Panasonic LX5 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The LX5 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the D80 is only available in black.

Size Nikon D80 vs Panasonic LX5
Compare D80 versus LX5 top
Comparison D80 or LX5 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic LX5 is considerably smaller (47 percent) than the Nikon D80. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D80 nor the LX5 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the LX5 has a lens built in, whereas the D80 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 D80 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the D80 gets 600 shots out of its EN-EL3e battery, while the LX5 can take 400 images on a single charge of its DMW-BCJ13 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D80» 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 23.6 oz 600 n Aug 2006 999iNikon D80
 
Panasonic LX5« 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 9.6 oz 400 n Jul 2010 499iPanasonic LX5
 
Fujifilm X10« » 4.6 in 2.8 in 2.2 in 12.3 oz 270 n Sep 2011 599iFujifilm X10
 
Nikon D3000« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 18.9 oz 500 n Jul 2009 599iNikon D3000
 
Nikon D5000« » 5.0 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 20.8 oz 510 n Apr 2009 749iNikon D5000
 
Nikon D60« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 500 n Jan 2008 629iNikon D60
 
Nikon D90« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 24.8 oz 850 n Aug 2008 1,299iNikon D90
 
Nikon D40X« » 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 520 n Mar 2007 729iNikon D40X
 
Nikon D300« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 2.9 in 32.6 oz 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799iNikon D300
 
Nikon D2Xs« » 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699iNikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D50« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.0 in 21.9 oz 400 n Apr 2005 749iNikon D50
 
Nikon D70s« » 5.5 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 24.0 oz 500 n Apr 2005 899iNikon D70s
 
Nikon D70« » 5.5 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 24.0 oz 400 n Jan 2004 999iNikon D70
 
Olympus XZ-1« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 9.7 oz 320 n Jan 2011 499iOlympus XZ-1
 
Panasonic LX7« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.8 in 10.5 oz 330 n Jul 2012 499iPanasonic LX7
 
Panasonic FZ150« » 4.9 in 3.2 in 3.6 in 18.6 oz 410 n Aug 2011 499iPanasonic FZ150
 
Panasonic GF3« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 9.3 oz 300 n Jun 2011 549iPanasonic GF3
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as 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. The LX5 was launched at a lower price than the D80, despite having a lens built in. 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.

 

Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 D80 features an APS-C sensor and the Panasonic LX5 a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The sensor area in the LX5 is 88 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 4.4. The sensor in the D80 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the LX5 offers a 4:3 aspect. The LX5 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.

In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CCD sensors.

Nikon D80 and Panasonic LX5 sensor measures

Even though the D80 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 10 megapixels. This implies that the D80 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 6.11μm versus 2.14μm for the LX5), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the LX5 is much more recent (by 3 years and 11 months) than the D80, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.

The Nikon D80 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-12800.

D80 versus LX5 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under review, the D80 provides substantially higher image quality than the LX5, with an overall score that is 20 points higher. This advantage is based on 2.5 bits higher color depth, 0.4 EV in additional dynamic range, and 2 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461Nikon D80
 
Panasonic LX5 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p19.610.813241Panasonic LX5
 
Fujifilm X10 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.511.324550Fujifilm X10
 
Nikon D3000 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.156362Nikon D3000
 
Nikon D5000 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D60 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.511.456265Nikon D60
 
Nikon D90 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773Nikon D90
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.451663Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D300 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.112.067967Nikon D300
 
Nikon D2Xs APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.210.948959Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055Nikon D50
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950Nikon D70s
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950Nikon D70
 
Olympus XZ-1 1/1.7 10.1 3664 2752720/30p18.810.411734Olympus XZ-1
 
Panasonic LX7 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p20.711.714750Panasonic LX7
 
Panasonic FZ150 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.410.913240Panasonic FZ150
 
Panasonic GF3 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i20.610.045849Panasonic GF3

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The LX5 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D80 does not. The highest resolution format that the LX5 can use is 720/60p.

 

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D80 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the LX5 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the LX5 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the DMW-LVF1. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D80 and Panasonic LX5 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D80optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D80
 
Panasonic LX5optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y Y Panasonic LX5
 
Fujifilm X10optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y Fujifilm X10
 
Nikon D3000optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D3000
 
Nikon D5000optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D60optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D60
 
Nikon D90optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 Y n Nikon D90
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D300optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n Nikon D300
 
Nikon D2Xsoptical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D50optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Nikon D50
 
Nikon D70soptical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D70s
 
Nikon D70optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D70
 
Olympus XZ-1optional n 3.0 614 fixed n 1/2000s 2.0 Y Y Olympus XZ-1
 
Panasonic LX7optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y Panasonic LX7
 
Panasonic FZ150202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0 Y Y Panasonic FZ150
 
Panasonic GF3none n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 3.2 Y n Panasonic GF3

The D80 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the LX5 uses SDXC cards.

 

Connectivity comparison

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 D80 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D80Ynonenone--none2.0---Nikon D80
 
Panasonic LX5Ymonomono--mini2.0---Panasonic LX5
 
Fujifilm X10Ystereomono--mini2.0---Fujifilm X10
 
Nikon D3000Ynonenone--none2.0---Nikon D3000
 
Nikon D5000Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D60Ynonenone--none2.0---Nikon D60
 
Nikon D90Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D90
 
Nikon D40XYnonenone--none2.0---Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D300Ynonenone--mini2.0---Nikon D300
 
Nikon D2XsYnonenone--none2.0---Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D50Ynonenone--none2.0---Nikon D50
 
Nikon D70sYnonenone--none2.0---Nikon D70s
 
Nikon D70Ynonenone--none1.0---Nikon D70
 
Olympus XZ-1Ymononone--mini2.0---Olympus XZ-1
 
Panasonic LX7Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic LX7
 
Panasonic FZ150Ystereonone--mini2.0---Panasonic FZ150
 
Panasonic GF3-stereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic GF3

Both the D80 and the LX5 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D80 was replaced by the Nikon D90, while the LX5 was followed by the Panasonic LX7. 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.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Nikon D80 better than the Panasonic LX5 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Nikon D80:

  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (20 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (2.5 bits more color depth).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (2 stops ISO advantage).
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (600 versus 400) on a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2006).

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Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5:

  • Flexible image proportions: Has a multi-aspect sensor that allows for alternative image shapes.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 720/60p video.
  • 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 (460k vs 230k dots).
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the D80 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (110x65mm vs 132x103mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the D80).
  • 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 3 years and 11 months of technical progress since the D80 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the LX5 emerges as the winner of the match-up (10 : 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 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.

D80 08:10 LX5

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D80 and the Panasonic LX5 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 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 D80 and the LX5 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.

Expert reviews

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 (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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cam
era
  labs  
dp
re
  view  
e
photo
  zine  
ima
ging
resource
photo
graphy
  blog  
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D80++ +o4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999iNikon D80
 
Panasonic LX5+73/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2010 499iPanasonic LX5
 
Fujifilm X10..76/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2011 599iFujifilm X10
 
Nikon D3000+72/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599iNikon D3000
 
Nikon D5000+ +75/1004/55/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749iNikon D5000
 
Nikon D6080/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Jan 2008 629iNikon D60
 
Nikon D90+ ++ +4/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299iNikon D90
 
Nikon D40X79/100+ +4/5o4/5 Mar 2007 729iNikon D40X
 
Nikon D300+ ++ +5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799iNikon D300
 
Nikon D2Xs......o.. Jun 2006 4,699iNikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D5078/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Apr 2005 749iNikon D50
 
Nikon D70s......o5/5 Apr 2005 899iNikon D70s
 
Nikon D70..+ +..o.. Jan 2004 999iNikon D70
 
Olympus XZ-1..74/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2011 499iOlympus XZ-1
 
Panasonic LX7+ +75/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2012 499iPanasonic LX7
 
Panasonic FZ150+ +76/1004/55/54.5/5 Aug 2011 499iPanasonic FZ150
 
Panasonic GF382/10071/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Jun 2011 549iPanasonic GF3
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Nikon D80:
Check Ebay offers
Panasonic LX5:
Check Ebay offers

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.

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    Specifications: Nikon D80 vs Panasonic LX5

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon D80 Panasonic LX5
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses 24-90mm f/2.0-3.3
    Launch Date August 2006 July 2010
    Launch Price USD 999 USD 499
    Sensor Specs Nikon D80 Panasonic LX5
    Sensor Technology CCD CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor 1/1.7" Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.6 x 15.8 mm 7.85 x 5.89 mm
    Sensor Area 372.88 mm2 46.2365 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 9.8 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 4.4x
    Sensor Resolution 10 Megapixels 10 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3872 x 2592 pixels 3648 x 2736 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.11 μm 2.14 μm
    Pixel Density 2.69 MP/cm2 21.59 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 720/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100-1600 ISO 80-3200 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-3200 ISO 80-12800 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 61 41
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.1 19.6
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.2 10.8
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 524 132
    Screen Specs Nikon D80 Panasonic LX5
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.62x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D80 Panasonic LX5
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 2.5 shutter flaps/s
    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 no
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D80 Panasonic LX5
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Nikon D80 Panasonic LX5
    Battery Type EN-EL3e DMW-BCJ13
    Battery Life (CIPA)600 shots per charge400 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 132 x 103 x 77 mm
    (5.2 x 4.1 x 3.0 in)
    110 x 65 x 43 mm
    (4.3 x 2.6 x 1.7 in)
    Camera Weight 668 g (23.6 oz) 271 g (9.6 oz)

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