Nikon D850 vs Panasonic G1
The Nikon D850 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in July 2017 and September 2008. The D850 is a DSLR, while the G1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a full frame (D850) and a Four Thirds (G1) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 45.4 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 12 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Nikon D850||Panasonic G1|
|Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Nikon F mount lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|45.4 MP, Full Frame Sensor||12 MP, Four Thirds Sensor|
|4K/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO 64-25,600 (32 - 102,400)||ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200)|
|Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)|
|3.2 LCD, 2359k dots||3.0 LCD, 460k dots|
|Tilting touchscreen||Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|9 shutter flaps per second||3 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|1840 shots per battery charge||410 shots per battery charge|
|146 x 124 x 79 mm, 1005 g||124 x 84 x 45 mm, 360 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D850 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1? 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 D850 and the Panasonic G1 are illustrated 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 size 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 G1 is considerably smaller (42 percent) than the Nikon D850. Moreover, the G1 is substantially lighter (64 percent) than the D850. It is worth mentioning in this context that the D850 is splash and dust resistant, while the G1 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 (D850) and the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (G1). Mirrorless cameras, such as the G1, have moreover the advantage that they can use many lenses from other systems via adapters, as they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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 D850||5.7 in||4.9 in||3.1 in||35.5 oz||1840||Y||Jul 2017||3,299|
|Panasonic G1||4.9 in||3.3 in||1.8 in||12.7 oz||410||n||Sep 2008||599|
|Canon 5DS||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||32.8 oz||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Canon 5DS R||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||32.8 oz||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Nikon D5||6.3 in||6.3 in||3.6 in||49.9 oz||3780||Y||Jan 2016||6,499|
|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 D600||5.6 in||4.4 in||3.2 in||30.0 oz||900||Y||Sep 2012||2,099|
|Nikon D800||5.7 in||4.8 in||3.2 in||35.3 oz||900||Y||Feb 2012||2,999|
|Nikon D800E||5.7 in||4.8 in||3.2 in||35.3 oz||900||Y||Feb 2012||3,299|
|Olympus E-410||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.3 oz||500||n||Mar 2007||699|
|Panasonic G10||4.9 in||3.3 in||2.9 in||13.7 oz||380||n||Mar 2010||499|
|Panasonic G2||4.9 in||3.3 in||2.9 in||15.1 oz||360||n||Mar 2010||599|
|Panasonic GH1||4.9 in||3.5 in||1.8 in||13.6 oz||300||n||Mar 2009||899|
|Panasonic L10||5.3 in||3.8 in||3.1 in||19.6 oz||450||n||Aug 2007||599|
|Sony A99 II||5.6 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||29.9 oz||490||Y||Sep 2016||3,199|
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 retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The G1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 82 percent) than the D850, 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. 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 D850 features a full frame sensor and the Panasonic G1 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the G1 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 D850 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the G1 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 45.4MP, the D850 offers a higher resolution than the G1 (12MP), but the D850 nevertheless has marginally larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.35μm versus 4.33μm for the G1) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the D850 is a much more recent model (by 8 years and 10 months) than the G1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the D850 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon D850 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D850 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 41.3 x 27.5 inches or 104.9 x 69.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 33 x 22 inches or 83.9 x 55.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 27.5 x 18.3 inches or 69.9 x 46.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic G1 are 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon D850 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 64 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 32-102400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-3200.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 D850 provides substantially higher image quality than the G1, with an overall score that is 47 points higher. This advantage is based on 5.3 bits higher color depth, 4.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 2.5 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 D850||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/30p||26.4||14.8||2660||100|
|Panasonic G1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||none||21.1||10.3||463||53|
|Canon 5DS||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.7||12.4||2381||87|
|Canon 5DS R||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.6||12.4||2308||86|
|Nikon D5||Full Frame||20.7||5588||3712||4K/30p||25.1||12.3||2343||88|
|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 D600||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.2||2980||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-410||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.1||10.0||494||51|
|Panasonic G10||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52|
|Panasonic G2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53|
|Panasonic GH1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/24p||21.6||11.6||772||64|
|Panasonic L10||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.3||10.8||429||55|
|Sony A99 II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||25.4||13.4||2317||92|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The D850 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the G1 does not. The highest resolution format that the D850 can use is 4K/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the G1 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), while the D850 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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), but the viewfinder of the D850 has a higher magnification than the one of the G1 (0.75x vs 0.70x), 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 D850 and Panasonic G1 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Canon 5DS R||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|Sony A99 II||2400||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||n||Y|
One feature that is present on the D850, but is missing on the G1 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 G1 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the D850 does not have a selfie-screen.
The Nikon D850 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 D850 writes its imaging data to SDHC or XQD cards, while the G1 uses SDHC cards. The D850 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the G1 only has one slot. The D850 supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the G1 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 D850 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Canon 5DS R||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|Sony A99 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
It is notable that the D850 offers wifi support, while the G1 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D850 (unlike the G1) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The D850 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. In contrast, the G1 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the G1 was succeeded by the Panasonic G2. 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 D850 or the Panasonic G1 – 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.
Advantages of the Nikon D850:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (45.4 vs 12MP) with a 98% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (47 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (5.3 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (4.5 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (2.5 stops ISO advantage).
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 4K/30p movies.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.75x vs 0.70x).
- 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.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2359k vs 460k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (9 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 (1840 versus 410) 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).
- 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.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- 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: Supports Ultra High Speed (UHS-II) SDXC cards.
- More modern: Reflects 8 years and 10 months of technical progress since the G1 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- More compact: Is smaller (124x84mm vs 146x124mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 645g or 64 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (82 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2008).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D850 is the clear winner of the match-up (26 : 10 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 D850 and the Panasonic G1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens 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 remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D850 or the G1. 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 expert reviews are important. 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 D850||+ +||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jul 2017||3,299|
|Panasonic G1||+ +||70/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2008||599|
|Canon 5DS||+||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Canon 5DS R||+||83/100||5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Nikon D5||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||6,499|
|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 D600||+ +||87/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099|
|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-410||86/100||+ +||4/5||o||4.5/5||Mar 2007||699|
|Panasonic G10||..||70/100||4/5||..||4/5||Mar 2010||499|
|Panasonic G2||..||72/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2010||599|
|Panasonic GH1||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||899|
|Panasonic L10||85/100||+||3.5/5||o||4/5||Aug 2007||599|
|Sony A99 II||..||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||3,199|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted 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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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 are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon SX510 vs Nikon D850
- Canon T5 vs Panasonic G1
- Contax N Digital vs Panasonic G1
- Leica TL vs Nikon D850
- Nikon D5500 vs Nikon D850
- Nikon D850 vs Nikon W150
- Nikon D850 vs Panasonic GH1
- Nikon D850 vs Panasonic GX8
- Nikon D850 vs Panasonic LX10
- Nikon D850 vs Sony RX10 IV
- Nikon P1000 vs Panasonic G1
- Panasonic G1 vs Sony RX100 II
Specifications: Nikon D850 vs Panasonic G1
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 D850||Panasonic G1|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||July 2017||September 2008|
|Launch Price||USD 3,299||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D850||Panasonic G1|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||35.9 x 23.9 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||858.01 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.1 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||45.4 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||8256 x 5504 pixels||4000 x 3000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.35 μm||4.33 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.30 MP/cm2||5.34 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||64 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 1,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||32 - 102,400 ISO||100 - 3,200 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 5||Venus HD|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||100||53|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||26.4||21.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||14.8||10.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||2660||463|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D850||Panasonic G1|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||2359k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Swivel screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D850||Panasonic G1|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||9 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC or XQD cards||SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-II||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D850||Panasonic G1|
|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||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Nikon D850||Panasonic G1|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1840 shots per charge||410 shots per charge|
146 x 124 x 79 mm
(5.7 x 4.9 x 3.1 in)
124 x 84 x 45 mm
(4.9 x 3.3 x 1.8 in)
|Camera Weight||1005 g (35.5 oz)||360 g (12.7 oz)|
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