Nikon P900 vs Panasonic GX850
The Nikon Coolpix P900 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX850 (labelled Panasonic GX800 in some countries) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in March 2015 and January 2017. The P900 is a fixed lens compact, while the GX850 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (P900) and a Four Thirds (GX850) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 15.8 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 P900 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX850? 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 P900 and the Panasonic GX850. 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The GX850 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, red), while the P900 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 GX850 is considerably smaller (52 percent) than the Nikon P900. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the P900 nor the GX850 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the P900 has a lens built in, whereas the GX850 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 GX850 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the P900 gets 360 shots out of its EN-EL23 battery, while the GX850 can take 210 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLH7 power pack. The power pack in the P900 can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.
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, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Nikon P900||140 mm||103 mm||137 mm||899 g||360||n||Mar 2015||599|
|2.||Panasonic GX850||107 mm||65 mm||33 mm||269 g||210||n||Jan 2017||549|
|3.||Canon SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549|
|4.||Kodak AZ901||139 mm||104 mm||119 mm||777 g||400||n||Jan 2016||499|
|5.||Nikon P950||140 mm||110 mm||150 mm||1005 g||290||n||Jan 2020||799|
|6.||Nikon P1000||146 mm||119 mm||181 mm||1415 g||250||n||Jul 2018||999|
|7.||Nikon B700||125 mm||85 mm||107 mm||565 g||350||n||Feb 2016||499|
|8.||Nikon B500||114 mm||78 mm||95 mm||541 g||600||n||Jan 2016||299|
|9.||Nikon L840||113 mm||78 mm||96 mm||538 g||590||n||Feb 2015||299|
|10.||Panasonic GF7||107 mm||65 mm||33 mm||266 g||230||n||Jan 2015||499|
|11.||Panasonic G6||122 mm||85 mm||71 mm||390 g||340||n||Apr 2013||599|
|12.||Panasonic G5||120 mm||83 mm||71 mm||396 g||320||n||Jul 2012||599|
|13.||Panasonic G3||115 mm||84 mm||47 mm||336 g||270||n||May 2011||599|
|14.||Panasonic GX1||116 mm||68 mm||39 mm||318 g||320||n||Nov 2011||699|
|15.||Panasonic FZ100||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||540 g||410||n||Jul 2010||499|
|16.||Ricoh GR II||117 mm||63 mm||35 mm||251 g||320||n||Jun 2015||699|
|17.||Sony HX400V||130 mm||93 mm||103 mm||660 g||300||n||Feb 2014||499|
|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 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. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon P900 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Panasonic GX850 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the GX850 is 704 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 2.0. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Nikon P900 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixels, compared with 15.8 MP of the Panasonic GX850. 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 3.77μm for the GX850). Moreover, it should be noted that the GX850 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 10 months) than the P900, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.
The Nikon Coolpix P900 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX850 are ISO 200 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|2.||Panasonic GX850||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||23.2||13.3||586||73|
|10.||Panasonic GF7||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|11.||Panasonic G6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61|
|12.||Panasonic G5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|13.||Panasonic G3||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||21.0||10.6||667||56|
|14.||Panasonic GX1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||20.8||10.6||703||55|
|16.||Ricoh GR II||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||13.7||1078||80|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the GX850 provides a better video resolution than the P900. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Nikon is limited to 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the P900 has an electronic viewfinder (921k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the GX850 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon P900 and Panasonic GX850 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Nikon P900||921||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||7.0||Y||Y|
|2.||Panasonic GX850||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/500s||10.0||Y||n|
|3.||Canon SX60||922||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/2000s||6.4||Y||Y|
|4.||Kodak AZ901||202||n||3.0 / 920||swivel||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||Y|
|5.||Nikon P950||2359||n||3.2 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||7.0||Y||Y|
|6.||Nikon P1000||2359||n||3.2 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||7.0||Y||Y|
|7.||Nikon B700||921||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||Y|
|8.||Nikon B500||none||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.4||Y||Y|
|9.||Nikon L840||none||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.4||Y||Y|
|10.||Panasonic GF7||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/500s||5.8||Y||n|
|11.||Panasonic G6||1440||n||3.0 / 1036||swivel||Y||1/4000s||7.0||Y||n|
|12.||Panasonic G5||1440||n||3.0 / 920||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|13.||Panasonic G3||1440||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||Y||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
|14.||Panasonic GX1||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.2||Y||n|
|15.||Panasonic FZ100||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||11.0||Y||Y|
|16.||Ricoh GR II||optional||n||3.0 / 1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
|17.||Sony HX400V||210||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||Y|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The GX850 has a touchscreen, while the P900 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the GX850 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Nikon P900 and the Panasonic GX850 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.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the P900 and the GX850 write their files to SDXC cards. The GX850 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the P900 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 Coolpix P900 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX850 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Nikon P900||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|2.||Panasonic GX850||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Canon SX60||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Kodak AZ901||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|5.||Nikon P950||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|6.||Nikon P1000||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|7.||Nikon B700||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|8.||Nikon B500||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|9.||Nikon L840||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Panasonic GF7||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|11.||Panasonic G6||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Panasonic G5||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Panasonic G3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Panasonic GX1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Panasonic FZ100||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Ricoh GR II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony HX400V||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the P900 has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.
The GX850 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Panasonic. In contrast, the P900 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the P900 was succeeded by the Nikon P950. 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 P900 or the Panasonic GX850 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon Coolpix P900:
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/500s) to freeze action.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the GX850 requires a separate lens.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (360 versus 210) on a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in March 2015).
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX850:
- Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced 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.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 921k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- More compact: Is smaller (107x65mm vs 140x103mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 10 months) more recently.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GX850 emerges as the winner of the match-up (13 : 10 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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 P900 and the Panasonic GX850 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens 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 P900 and the GX850 in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
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 (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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 P900||..||..||..||77/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2015||599|
|2.||Panasonic GX850||..||+||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||549|
|3.||Canon SX60||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549|
|4.||Kodak AZ901||..||..||..||..||3.5/5||3/5||Jan 2016||499|
|5.||Nikon P950||..||..||3/5||..||4/5||4/5||Jan 2020||799|
|6.||Nikon P1000||..||+||3.5/5||73/100||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jul 2018||999|
|7.||Nikon B700||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2016||499|
|8.||Nikon B500||..||+||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2016||299|
|9.||Nikon L840||..||+ +||..||..||3.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||299|
|10.||Panasonic GF7||4/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||499|
|11.||Panasonic G6||4/5||+ +||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||599|
|12.||Panasonic G5||3/5||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||599|
|13.||Panasonic G3||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2011||599|
|14.||Panasonic GX1||3/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2011||699|
|15.||Panasonic FZ100||..||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|16.||Ricoh GR II||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||699|
|17.||Sony HX400V||4/5||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2014||499|
|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. 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 Mark II vs Nikon P900
- Canon 1Ds Mark II vs Nikon P900
- Canon SX70 vs Nikon P900
- Canon XT vs Panasonic GX850
- Fujifilm GFX 50R vs Nikon P900
- Leica TL vs Panasonic GX850
- Nikon D300S vs Nikon P900
- Nikon D5000 vs Panasonic GX850
- Nikon P900 vs Olympus TG-6
- Panasonic GH1 vs Panasonic GX850
- Panasonic GX850 vs Panasonic LX7
- Panasonic GX850 vs Panasonic S5
Specifications: Nikon P900 vs Panasonic GX850
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 P900||Panasonic GX850|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||24-2000mm f/2.8-6.5||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||March 2015||January 2017|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 549|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon P900||Panasonic GX850|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.9 Megapixels||15.8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||4592 x 3448 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.33 μm||3.77 μm|
|Pixel Density||56.73 MP/cm2||7.04 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||200 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED C2||Venus|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||73|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||23.2|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||13.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||586|
|Screen Specs||Nikon P900||Panasonic GX850|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||921k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon P900||Panasonic GX850|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/500s|
|Continuous Shooting||7 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/16000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon P900||Panasonic GX850|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Geotagging||GPS built-in||no internal GPS|
|Body Specs||Nikon P900||Panasonic GX850|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||360 shots per charge||210 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
140 x 103 x 137 mm
(5.5 x 4.1 x 5.4 in)
107 x 65 x 33 mm
(4.2 x 2.6 x 1.3 in)
|Camera Weight||899 g (31.7 oz)||269 g (9.5 oz)|
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