Nikon P950 vs Panasonic GH5s
The Nikon Coolpix P950 and the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5s are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2020 and January 2018. The P950 is a fixed lens compact, while the GH5s is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (P950) and a Four Thirds (GH5s) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 9.9 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-GH5s? 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 GH5s. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures 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 GH5s is notably smaller (12 percent) than the Nikon P950. It is noteworthy in this context that the GH5s is splash and dust-proof, while the P950 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the P950 has a lens built in, whereas the GH5s 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 GH5s and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the P950 gets 290 shots out of its EN-EL20a battery, while the GH5s can take 440 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLF19 power pack. The power pack in the P950 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. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Nikon P950||140 mm||110 mm||150 mm||1005 g||290||n||Jan 2020||799|
|2.||Panasonic GH5s||139 mm||98 mm||87 mm||660 g||440||Y||Jan 2018||2,499|
|3.||Leica V-LUX 2||124 mm||80 mm||95 mm||520 g||410||n||Sep 2010||849|
|4.||Nikon B600||122 mm||82 mm||99 mm||500 g||280||n||Jan 2019||349|
|5.||Nikon A1000||114 mm||72 mm||41 mm||330 g||250||n||Jan 2019||429|
|6.||Nikon P1000||146 mm||119 mm||181 mm||1415 g||250||n||Jul 2018||999|
|7.||Nikon B500||114 mm||78 mm||95 mm||541 g||600||n||Jan 2016||299|
|8.||Nikon P900||140 mm||103 mm||137 mm||899 g||360||n||Mar 2015||599|
|9.||Nikon L840||113 mm||78 mm||96 mm||538 g||590||n||Feb 2015||299|
|10.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||136 mm||97 mm||131 mm||810 g||350||n||Feb 2019||899|
|11.||Panasonic GH5||139 mm||98 mm||87 mm||725 g||410||Y||Jan 2017||1,999|
|12.||Panasonic FZ300||132 mm||92 mm||117 mm||691 g||380||Y||Jul 2015||599|
|13.||Panasonic GH4||133 mm||93 mm||84 mm||560 g||500||Y||Feb 2014||1,499|
|14.||Panasonic GH3||133 mm||93 mm||82 mm||550 g||540||Y||Sep 2012||1,299|
|15.||Panasonic G2||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||428 g||360||n||Mar 2010||599|
|16.||Sony HX99||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||449|
|17.||Sony HX95||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||429|
|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. The P950 was launched at a lower price than the GH5s, 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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon P950 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Panasonic GH5s a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the GH5s 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 P950 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixels, compared with 9.9 MP of the Panasonic GH5s. 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 4.77μm for the GH5s). However, it should be noted that the P950 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 11 months) than the GH5s, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage. 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 Nikon P950 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the P950 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 Panasonic GH5s are 18.4 x 13.5 inches or 46.7 x 34.3 cm for good quality, 14.7 x 10.8 inches or 37.4 x 27.4 cm for very good quality, and 12.3 x 9 inches or 31.2 x 22.9 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-GH5s are ISO 160 to ISO 51200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-204800.
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 |
|2.||Panasonic GH5s||Four Thirds||9.9||3680||2700||4K/60p||..||..||..||..|
|3.||Leica V-LUX 2||1/2.3||14.0||4320||3240||1080/60i||..||..||..||..|
|10.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|11.||Panasonic GH5||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/60p||23.9||13.0||807||77|
|13.||Panasonic GH4||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||23.2||12.8||791||74|
|14.||Panasonic GH3||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||22.7||12.4||812||71|
|15.||Panasonic G2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53|
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, but the GH5s provides a faster frame rate than the P950. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/60p, while the Nikon is limited to 4K/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The two cameras under review are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the GH5s offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the P950 (3680k vs 2359k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon P950, the Panasonic GH5s, and comparable cameras.
|3.||Leica V-LUX 2||202||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/2000s||11.0||Y||Y|
|10.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||2360||n||3.0||1240||swivel||Y||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The P950 has one, while the GH5s does not. While the built-in flash of the P950 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.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 GH5s 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 and the Panasonic GH5s 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 P950 and the GH5s write their files to SDXC cards. The GH5s features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the P950 only has one slot. The GH5s supports UHS-II cards (on both slots), 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-GH5s and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|3.||Leica V-LUX 2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Panasonic GH5s (unlike the P950) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the P950 and the GH5s are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The P950 replaced the earlier Nikon P900, while the GH5s does not have a direct predecessor. 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 the Nikon P950 better than the Panasonic GH5s or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon Coolpix P950:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (15.9 vs 9.9MP) with a 26% higher linear resolution.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the GH5s requires a separate lens.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 11 months after the GH5s).
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5s:
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (4K/60p versus 4K/30p).
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (3680k vs 2359k dots).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1620k vs 921k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12 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 (139x98mm vs 140x110mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (440 versus 290) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.1 vs 2.0).
- More solid recording: Has a full-sized HDMI port for a sturdy connection to an external recorder.
- 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 on both slots.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2018).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the GH5s is the clear winner of the contest (22 : 7 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 wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro 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 GH5s 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 comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the P950 and the GH5s 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 table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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 GH5s||..||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2018||2,499|
|3.||Leica V-LUX 2||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2010||849|
|4.||Nikon B600||..||+||..||3.5/5||3/5||Jan 2019||349|
|5.||Nikon A1000||..||+ +||..||3.5/5||3/5||Jan 2019||429|
|6.||Nikon P1000||..||+||73/100||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jul 2018||999|
|7.||Nikon B500||..||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2016||299|
|8.||Nikon P900||..||..||77/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2015||599|
|9.||Nikon L840||..||+ +||..||3.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||299|
|10.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||..||..||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2019||899|
|11.||Panasonic GH5||4.5/5||+ +||85/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2017||1,999|
|12.||Panasonic FZ300||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2015||599|
|13.||Panasonic GH4||5/5||+ +||85/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||1,499|
|14.||Panasonic GH3||5/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||1,299|
|15.||Panasonic G2||..||..||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2010||599|
|16.||Sony HX99||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||449|
|17.||Sony HX95||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 2018||429|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Nikon P950 vs Panasonic GH5s
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 GH5s|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||24-2000mm f/2.8-6.5||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2020||January 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 799||USD 2,499|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon P950||Panasonic GH5s|
|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||9.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||3680 x 2700 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.33 μm||4.77 μm|
|Pixel Density||56.73 MP/cm2||4.42 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||4K/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||160 - 51,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 12,800 ISO||80 - 204,800 ISO|
|Screen Specs||Nikon P950||Panasonic GH5s|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||90%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2359k dots||3680k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||1620k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Swivel screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon P950||Panasonic GH5s|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||7 shutter flaps/s||12 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||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||no||Dual UHS-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon P950||Panasonic GH5s|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.1|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||full HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Nikon P950||Panasonic GH5s|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||290 shots per charge||440 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
140 x 110 x 150 mm
(5.5 x 4.3 x 5.9 in)
139 x 98 x 87 mm
(5.5 x 3.9 x 3.4 in)
|Camera Weight||1005 g (35.5 oz)||660 g (23.3 oz)|
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