Nikon D800 vs Panasonic LX7
The Nikon D800 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2012 and July 2012. The D800 is a DSLR, while the LX7 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a full frame (D800) and a 1/1.7-inch (LX7) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 36.2 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 D800||Panasonic LX7|
|Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Nikon F mount lenses||24-90mm f/1.4-2.3|
|36.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor||10 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor|
|1080/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO 100-6,400 (50 - 25,600)||ISO 80-6,400 (80 - 12,800)|
|Optical viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|3.2 LCD, 921k dots||3.0 LCD, 920k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|4 shutter flaps per second||11 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|900 shots per battery charge||330 shots per battery charge|
|146 x 123 x 82 mm, 1000 g||111 x 68 x 46 mm, 298 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D800 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7? 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 D800 and the Panasonic LX7 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The LX7 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the D800 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 LX7 is considerably smaller (58 percent) than the Nikon D800. It is worth mentioning in this context that the D800 is splash and dust resistant, while the LX7 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the LX7 has a lens built in, whereas the D800 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 D800 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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 D800||5.7 in||4.8 in||3.2 in||35.3 oz||900||Y||Feb 2012||2,999|
|Panasonic LX7||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.8 in||10.5 oz||330||n||Jul 2012||499|
|Canon 5D Mark IV||5.9 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||31.4 oz||900||Y||Aug 2016||3,499|
|Canon G16||4.3 in||3.0 in||1.6 in||12.6 oz||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|Canon 5D Mark III||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||33.5 oz||950||Y||Mar 2012||3,499|
|Fujifilm X10||4.6 in||2.8 in||2.2 in||12.3 oz||270||n||Sep 2011||599|
|Nikon D850||5.7 in||4.9 in||3.1 in||35.5 oz||1840||Y||Jul 2017||3,299|
|Nikon D810||5.7 in||4.8 in||3.2 in||34.6 oz||1200||Y||Jun 2014||3,299|
|Nikon Df||5.7 in||4.3 in||2.6 in||26.8 oz||1400||Y||Nov 2013||2,749|
|Nikon D610||5.6 in||4.4 in||3.2 in||30.0 oz||900||Y||Oct 2013||1,999|
|Nikon D4||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.6 in||47.3 oz||2600||Y||Jan 2012||5,999|
|Nikon D600||5.6 in||4.4 in||3.2 in||30.0 oz||900||Y||Sep 2012||2,099|
|Nikon D800E||5.7 in||4.8 in||3.2 in||35.3 oz||900||Y||Feb 2012||3,299|
|Nikon D700||5.8 in||4.8 in||3.0 in||37.9 oz||1000||Y||Jul 2008||2,999|
|Panasonic GF5||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.5 in||9.4 oz||360||n||Apr 2012||499|
|Panasonic GF3||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||9.3 oz||300||n||Jun 2011||549|
|Panasonic LX5||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||9.6 oz||400||n||Jul 2010||499|
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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The LX7 was launched at a lower price than the D800, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 D800 features a full frame sensor and the Panasonic LX7 a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The sensor area in the LX7 is 95 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 4.65. The sensor in the D800 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the LX7 offers a 4:3 aspect. The LX7 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.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
With 36.2MP, the D800 offers a higher resolution than the LX7 (10MP), but the D800 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.88μm versus 2.05μm for the LX7) due to its larger sensor. However, the LX7 is a somewhat more recent model (by 5 months) than the D800, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon D800 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D800 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 36.8 x 24.6 inches or 93.5 x 62.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 29.4 x 19.6 inches or 74.8 x 49.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 24.5 x 16.4 inches or 62.3 x 41.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic LX7 are 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm for good quality, 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon D800 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-LX7 are ISO 80 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-12800.
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. Of the two cameras under review, the D800 provides substantially higher image quality than the LX7, with an overall score that is 45 points higher. This advantage is based on 4.6 bits higher color depth, 2.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 4.3 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.
|Nikon D800||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/30p||25.3||14.4||2853||95|
|Canon 5D Mark IV||Full Frame||30.1||6720||4480||4K/30p||24.8||13.6||2995||91|
|Canon 5D Mark III||Full Frame||22.1||5760||3840||1080/30p||24.0||11.7||2293||81|
|Nikon D850||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/30p||26.4||14.8||2660||100|
|Nikon D810||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.7||14.8||2853||97|
|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 D4||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/30p||24.7||13.1||2965||89|
|Nikon D600||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.2||2980||94|
|Nikon D800E||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/30p||25.6||14.3||2979||96|
|Nikon D700||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2303||80|
|Panasonic GF5||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.4||11.6||618||61|
|Panasonic GF3||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||20.6||10.0||458||49|
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 LX7 provides a faster frame rate than the D800. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Nikon is limited to 1080/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D800 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the LX7 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the LX7 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the DMW-LVF2. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D800 and Panasonic LX7 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Canon 5D Mark IV||optical||Y||3.2||1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||7.0||n||n|
|Canon 5D Mark III||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||n||n|
One feature that is present on the D800, but is missing on the LX7 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 D800 and the Panasonic LX7 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.
The D800 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SDXC cards, while the LX7 uses SDXC cards. The D800 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the LX7 only has one slot. The D800 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the LX7 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 D800 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Canon 5D Mark IV||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||-|
|Canon 5D Mark III||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the D800 has a microphone port, which is missing on the LX7. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D800 (unlike the LX7) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the D800 and the LX7 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D800 was replaced by the Nikon D810, while the LX7 was followed by the Panasonic LX10. 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 there a clear favorite between the Nikon D800 and the Panasonic LX7? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Nikon D800:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (36.2 vs 10MP) with a 94% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (45 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (4.6 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (2.7 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (4.3 stops ISO advantage).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (900 versus 330) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- 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 heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2012).
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7:
- Flexible image proportions: Has a multi-aspect sensor that allows for alternative image shapes.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the D800 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (111x68mm vs 146x123mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the D800).
- 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: Was introduced somewhat (5 months) more recently.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D800 is the clear winner of the match-up (19 : 9 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 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 D800 and the Panasonic LX7 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 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 D800 and the LX7 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 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 D800||+ +||82/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||2,999|
|Panasonic LX7||+ +||75/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||499|
|Canon 5D Mark IV||+ +||87/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||3,499|
|Canon G16||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|Canon 5D Mark III||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2012||3,499|
|Fujifilm X10||..||76/100||4/5||3.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2011||599|
|Nikon D850||+ +||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jul 2017||3,299|
|Nikon D810||..||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||3,299|
|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 D4||..||..||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Jan 2012||5,999|
|Nikon D600||+ +||87/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099|
|Nikon D800E||..||84/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||3,299|
|Nikon D700||89/100||+ +||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2008||2,999|
|Panasonic GF5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||499|
|Panasonic GF3||82/100||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||549|
|Panasonic LX5||+||73/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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 1D X Mark II vs Panasonic LX7
- Canon G1 X vs Nikon D800
- Canon G12 vs Panasonic LX7
- Canon SX520 vs Nikon D800
- Canon XC10 vs Panasonic LX7
- Fujifilm X-Pro2 vs Nikon D800
- Fujifilm XF10 vs Nikon D800
- Nikon D300 vs Nikon D800
- Nikon D800 vs Sony NEX-3
- Nikon D800 vs Sony NEX-F3
- Panasonic LX7 vs Sony H400
- Panasonic LX7 vs Sony RX100 III
Specifications: Nikon D800 vs Panasonic LX7
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 D800||Panasonic LX7|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||24-90mm f/1.4-2.3|
|Launch Date||February 2012||July 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 2,999||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D800||Panasonic LX7|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||1/1.7" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||35.9 x 24.0 mm||7.44 x 5.58 mm|
|Sensor Area||861.6 mm2||41.5152 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.2 mm||9.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||36.2 Megapixels||10 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||7360 x 4912 pixels||3648 x 2736 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.88 μm||2.05 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.20 MP/cm2||24.04 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||80 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 25,600 ISO||80 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 3||Venus|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||95||50|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||25.3||20.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||14.4||11.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||2853||147|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D800||Panasonic LX7|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D800||Panasonic LX7|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||4 shutter flaps/s||11 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D800||Panasonic LX7|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 3.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini 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 D800||Panasonic LX7|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||900 shots per charge||330 shots per charge|
146 x 123 x 82 mm
(5.7 x 4.8 x 3.2 in)
111 x 68 x 46 mm
(4.4 x 2.7 x 1.8 in)
|Camera Weight||1000 g (35.3 oz)||298 g (10.5 oz)|
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