Nikon P950 vs Panasonic FZ80
The Nikon Coolpix P950 and the Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80 (labelled Panasonic FZ82 in some countries) are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2020 and January 2017. Both the P950 and the FZ80 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 18 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 P950 and the Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80? 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 P950 and the Panasonic FZ80. 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.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic FZ80 is notably smaller (21 percent) than the Nikon P950. Moreover, the FZ80 is substantially lighter (39 percent) than the P950. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the P950 nor the FZ80 are weather-sealed.
Concerning battery life, the P950 gets 290 shots out of its EN-EL20a battery, while the FZ80 can take 330 images on a single charge of its DMW-BMB9 power pack. The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, which can be very convenient when travelling.
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 P950||140 mm||110 mm||150 mm||1005 g||290||n||Jan 2020||799|
|2.||Panasonic FZ80||130 mm||94 mm||119 mm||616 g||330||n||Jan 2017||399|
|3.||Canon SX740||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||265||n||Jul 2018||399|
|4.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|5.||Leica V-LUX 2||124 mm||80 mm||95 mm||520 g||410||n||Sep 2010||849|
|6.||Nikon B600||122 mm||82 mm||99 mm||500 g||280||n||Jan 2019||349|
|7.||Nikon A1000||114 mm||72 mm||41 mm||330 g||250||n||Jan 2019||429|
|8.||Nikon P1000||146 mm||119 mm||181 mm||1415 g||250||n||Jul 2018||999|
|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.||Nikon L840||113 mm||78 mm||96 mm||538 g||590||n||Feb 2015||299|
|12.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||136 mm||97 mm||131 mm||810 g||350||n||Feb 2019||899|
|13.||Panasonic TS7||117 mm||76 mm||37 mm||319 g||300||Y||May 2018||449|
|14.||Panasonic ZS70||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|15.||Sony HX99||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||449|
|16.||Sony HX95||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||429|
|17.||Sony HX350||130 mm||93 mm||103 mm||652 g||300||n||Dec 2016||449|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 FZ80 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 50 percent) than the P950, 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 size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature a 1/2.3-inch sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 5.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the smaller-sensor digicams that favor affordability and compact design. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the FZ80 offers a higher resolution of 18 megapixels, compared with 15.9 MP of the P950. This megapixels advantage translates into a 6 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the FZ80 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.25μm versus 1.33μm for the P950). Moreover, it should be noted, that the P950 is much more recent (by 3 years) than the FZ80, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of individual pixels. 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 resolution advantage of the Panasonic FZ80 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the FZ80 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.5 x 18.4 inches or 62.2 x 46.6 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.6 x 14.7 inches or 49.7 x 37.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.3 x 12.2 inches or 41.5 x 31.1 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon P950 are 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon Coolpix P950 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 DC-FZ80 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-6400.
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"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|5.||Leica V-LUX 2||1/2.3||14.0||4320||3240||1080/60i||..||..||..||..|
|12.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under consideration are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the P950 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the FZ80 (2359k vs 1166k dots). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon P950 and Panasonic FZ80 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|5.||Leica V-LUX 2||202||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/2000s||11.0||Y||Y|
|12.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||2360||n||3.0||1240||swivel||Y||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The FZ80 has a touchscreen, while the P950 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The P950 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the FZ80 does not have a selfie-screen.
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 FZ80 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 P950 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 P950 and the FZ80 have zoom lenses built in. The P950 has a 24-2000mm f/2.8-6.5 optic and the FZ80 offers a 20-1200mm f/2.8-5.9 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Panasonic provides a wider angle of view at the short end than the Nikon, but less tele-photo reach at the long end. Both cameras offer the same maximum aperture.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the P950 and the FZ80 write their files to SDXC cards. The FZ80 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the P950 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 P950 and Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|5.||Leica V-LUX 2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
It is notable that the P950 has a microphone port, which is missing on the FZ80. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
Both the P950 and the FZ80 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The FZ80 replaced the earlier Panasonic FZ70, while the P950 followed on from the Nikon P900. 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? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon P950 and the Panasonic FZ80? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon Coolpix P950:
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (2359k vs 1166k dots).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- 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.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More modern: Reflects 3 years of technical progress since the FZ80 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (18 vs 15.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 6%.
- 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.
- Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
- More compact: Is smaller (130x94mm vs 140x110mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 389g or 39 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (330 versus 290) out of a single battery charge.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (50 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in January 2017).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the FZ80 emerges as the winner of the match-up (12 : 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 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 P950 and the Panasonic FZ80 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the P950 or the FZ80 perform in practice. 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 why hands-on reviews by experts 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 P950||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jan 2020||799|
|2.||Panasonic FZ80||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||399|
|3.||Canon SX740||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2018||399|
|4.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|5.||Leica V-LUX 2||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2010||849|
|6.||Nikon B600||..||+||..||3.5/5||3/5||Jan 2019||349|
|7.||Nikon A1000||..||+ +||..||3.5/5||3/5||Jan 2019||429|
|8.||Nikon P1000||..||+||73/100||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jul 2018||999|
|9.||Nikon B500||..||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2016||299|
|10.||Nikon P900||..||..||77/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2015||599|
|11.||Nikon L840||..||+ +||..||3.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||299|
|12.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||..||..||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2019||899|
|13.||Panasonic TS7||..||+||..||..||3.5/5||May 2018||449|
|14.||Panasonic ZS70||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|15.||Sony HX99||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||449|
|16.||Sony HX95||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 2018||429|
|17.||Sony HX350||..||..||..||..||4/5||Dec 2016||449|
|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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date 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 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.
Specifications: Nikon P950 vs Panasonic FZ80
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 P950||Panasonic FZ80|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||24-2000mm f/2.8-6.5||20-1200mm f/2.8-5.9|
|Launch Date||January 2020||January 2017|
|Launch Price||USD 799||USD 399|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon P950||Panasonic FZ80|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.9 Megapixels||18 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||4896 x 3672 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.33 μm||1.25 μm|
|Pixel Density||56.73 MP/cm2||64.04 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||80 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 12,800 ISO||80 - 6,400 ISO|
|Screen Specs||Nikon P950||Panasonic FZ80|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||90%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2359k dots||1166k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon P950||Panasonic FZ80|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/2000s|
|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||no Intervalometer|
|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 P950||Panasonic FZ80|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Nikon P950||Panasonic FZ80|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||290 shots per charge||330 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
140 x 110 x 150 mm
(5.5 x 4.3 x 5.9 in)
130 x 94 x 119 mm
(5.1 x 3.7 x 4.7 in)
|Camera Weight||1005 g (35.5 oz)||616 g (21.7 oz)|
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