Nikon L840 vs Olympus XZ-1
The Nikon Coolpix L840 and the Olympus XZ-1 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2015 and January 2011. Both the L840 and the XZ-1 are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on a 1/2.3-inch (L840) and a 1/1.7-inch (XZ-1) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 10.1 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon Coolpix L840 and the Olympus XZ-1? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon L840 and the Olympus XZ-1. 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 L840 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the XZ-1 is also available in two color-versions, but different ones (black, white).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus XZ-1 is notably smaller (18 percent) than the Nikon L840. Moreover, the XZ-1 is substantially lighter (49 percent) than the L840. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the L840 nor the XZ-1 are weather-sealed.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Nikon L840||113 mm||78 mm||96 mm||538 g||590||n||Feb 2015||299|
|2.||Olympus XZ-1||111 mm||65 mm||42 mm||275 g||320||n||Jan 2011||499|
|3.||Canon SX530||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||442 g||210||n||Jan 2015||429|
|4.||Canon SX520||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||441 g||210||n||Jul 2014||399|
|5.||Canon SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549|
|6.||Leica X Typ 113||133 mm||73 mm||78 mm||486 g||350||n||Sep 2014||2,295|
|7.||Nikon B600||122 mm||82 mm||99 mm||500 g||280||n||Jan 2019||349|
|8.||Nikon B700||125 mm||85 mm||107 mm||565 g||350||n||Feb 2016||499|
|9.||Nikon B500||114 mm||78 mm||95 mm||541 g||600||n||Jan 2016||299|
|10.||Nikon P900||140 mm||103 mm||137 mm||899 g||360||n||Mar 2015||599|
|11.||Olympus XZ-2||113 mm||65 mm||48 mm||346 g||340||n||Sep 2012||599|
|12.||Olympus E-PL3||110 mm||64 mm||37 mm||313 g||300||n||Jun 2011||599|
|13.||Olympus E-PM1||110 mm||64 mm||34 mm||265 g||330||n||Jun 2011||499|
|14.||Olympus E-PL1||115 mm||72 mm||42 mm||334 g||290||n||Feb 2010||599|
|15.||Panasonic LX5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Jul 2010||499|
|16.||Sony HX80||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||390||n||Mar 2016||349|
|17.||Sony H400||130 mm||95 mm||122 mm||628 g||300||n||Feb 2014||319|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The L840 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 40 percent) than the XZ-1, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
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 L840 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Olympus XZ-1 a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The sensor area in the XZ-1 is 64 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 4.4. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Nikon L840 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixels, compared with 10.1 MP of the Olympus XZ-1. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.33μm versus 2.13μm for the XZ-1). However, it should be noted that the L840 is much more recent (by 4 years and 1 month) than the XZ-1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the L840 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon L840 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the L840 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus XZ-1 are 18.3 x 13.8 inches or 46.5 x 35 cm for good quality, 14.7 x 11 inches or 37.2 x 28 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.2 inches or 31 x 23.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon Coolpix L840 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400. The Olympus XZ-1 offers exactly the same ISO settings.
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"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
|6.||Leica X Typ 113||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|12.||Olympus E-PL3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.9||10.3||499||52|
|13.||Olympus E-PM1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||21.0||10.3||499||52|
|14.||Olympus E-PL1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.1||487||54|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the L840 provides a higher video resolution than the XZ-1. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60i, while the Olympus is limited to 720/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The L840 and the XZ-1 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. That said, the XZ-1 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-2. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon L840 and Olympus XZ-1 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|6.||Leica X Typ 113||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
The Olympus XZ-1 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.
Both the L840 and the XZ-1 have zoom lenses built in. The L840 has a 22.5-855mm f/3.0-6.5 optic and the XZ-1 offers a 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Nikon provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the Olympus. The XZ-1 offers the faster maximum aperture.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the L840 and the XZ-1 write their files to SDXC 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 Coolpix L840 and Olympus XZ-1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|6.||Leica X Typ 113||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the L840 offers wifi support, while the XZ-1 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the L840 and the XZ-1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The XZ-1 was replaced by the Olympus XZ-2, while the L840 was followed by the Nikon B500. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Olympus websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Nikon L840 better than the Olympus XZ-1 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon Coolpix L840:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (15.9 vs 10.1MP) with a 26% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60i vs 720/30p).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 614k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7.4 vs 2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
- More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (590 versus 320) on a single battery charge.
- 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.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (40 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 1 month of technical progress since the XZ-1 launch.
Advantages of the Olympus XZ-1:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/1.8 vs f/3.0).
- More compact: Is smaller (111x65mm vs 113x78mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 263g or 49 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in January 2011).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the L840 is the clear winner of the match-up (14 : 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 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 L840 and the Olympus XZ-1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom 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 L840 and the XZ-1 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 expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.
|1.||Nikon L840||..||+ +||..||3.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||299|
|2.||Olympus XZ-1||4/5||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||499|
|3.||Canon SX530||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Jan 2015||429|
|4.||Canon SX520||..||+||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jul 2014||399|
|5.||Canon SX60||3/5||+ +||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549|
|6.||Leica X Typ 113||3.5/5||..||..||3.5/5||4/5||Sep 2014||2,295|
|7.||Nikon B600||..||+||..||3.5/5||3/5||Jan 2019||349|
|8.||Nikon B700||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2016||499|
|9.||Nikon B500||..||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2016||299|
|10.||Nikon P900||..||..||77/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2015||599|
|11.||Olympus XZ-2||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||599|
|12.||Olympus E-PL3||3/5||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||599|
|13.||Olympus E-PM1||..||86/100||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2011||499|
|14.||Olympus E-PL1||..||86/100||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||599|
|15.||Panasonic LX5||4/5||+||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|16.||Sony HX80||..||..||..||..||..||Mar 2016||349|
|17.||Sony H400||..||o||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2014||319|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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.
Specifications: Nikon L840 vs Olympus XZ-1
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 L840||Olympus XZ-1|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||22.5-855mm f/3.0-6.5||28-112mm f/1.8-2.5|
|Launch Date||February 2015||January 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 299||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon L840||Olympus XZ-1|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||1/1.7" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||7.85 x 5.89 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||46.2365 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||9.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.9 Megapixels||10.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||3664 x 2752 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.33 μm||2.13 μm|
|Pixel Density||56.73 MP/cm2||21.81 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||720/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||34|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||18.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||10.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||117|
|Screen Specs||Nikon L840||Olympus XZ-1|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||614k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon L840||Olympus XZ-1|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||7.4 shutter flaps/s||2 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon L840||Olympus XZ-1|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Body Specs||Nikon L840||Olympus XZ-1|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||590 shots per charge||320 shots per charge|
113 x 78 x 96 mm
(4.4 x 3.1 x 3.8 in)
111 x 65 x 42 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.7 in)
|Camera Weight||538 g (19.0 oz)||275 g (9.7 oz)|
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