Nikon P950 vs Panasonic ZS100
The Nikon Coolpix P950 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 (labelled Panasonic TZ100 in some countries) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2020 and January 2016. Both the P950 and the ZS100 are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on a 1/2.3-inch (P950) and an one-inch (ZS100) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 20 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 DMC-ZS100? 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 ZS100. 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The ZS100 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the P950 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 ZS100 is considerably smaller (53 percent) than the Nikon P950. Moreover, the ZS100 is substantially lighter (69 percent) than the P950. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the P950 nor the ZS100 are weather-sealed.
Concerning battery life, the P950 gets 290 shots out of its EN-EL20a battery, while the ZS100 can take 300 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLG10 power pack. The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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 ZS100||111 mm||65 mm||44 mm||312 g||300||n||Jan 2016||699|
|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 ZS200||111 mm||65 mm||45 mm||340 g||370||n||Feb 2018||799|
|12.||Panasonic LX10||106 mm||60 mm||42 mm||310 g||260||n||Sep 2016||699|
|13.||Sony HX99||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||449|
|14.||Sony HX95||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||429|
|15.||Sony RX100 V||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||299 g||220||n||Oct 2016||999|
|16.||Sony RX100 III||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||290 g||320||n||May 2014||799|
|17.||Sony RX100 II||102 mm||58 mm||38 mm||281 g||350||n||Jun 2013||749|
|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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The ZS100 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 13 percent) than the P950, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.
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 P950 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Panasonic ZS100 an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the ZS100 is 314 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 2.7. The sensor in the P950 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the ZS100 offers a 3:2 aspect.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
With 20MP, the ZS100 offers a higher resolution than the P950 (15.9MP), but the ZS100 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 2.41μm versus 1.33μm for the P950) due to its larger sensor. However, the P950 is a much more recent model (by 4 years) than the ZS100, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the P950 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Panasonic ZS100 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the ZS100 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.4 x 18.2 inches or 69.5 x 46.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.9 x 14.6 inches or 55.6 x 37.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.2 inches or 46.3 x 30.9 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 DMC-ZS100 are ISO 125 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-25600.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|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||..||..||..||..|
|15.||Sony RX100 V||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.4||586||70|
|16.||Sony RX100 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67|
|17.||Sony RX100 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.5||12.4||483||67|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, 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 ZS100 (2359k vs 1166k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon P950, the Panasonic ZS100, 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|
|15.||Sony RX100 V||2359||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony RX100 III||1440||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony RX100 II||optional||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The ZS100 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 ZS100 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 ZS100 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 ZS100 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.
Both the P950 and the ZS100 have zoom lenses built in. The P950 has a 24-2000mm f/2.8-6.5 optic and the ZS100 offers a 25-250mm f/2.8-5.9 (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 Panasonic. Both cameras offer the same maximum aperture.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the P950 and the ZS100 write their files to SDXC cards. The ZS100 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 DMC-ZS100 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|
|15.||Sony RX100 V||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony RX100 III||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony RX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the P950 has a hotshoe, while the ZS100 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
The P950 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. In contrast, the ZS100 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the ZS100 was succeeded by the Panasonic ZS200. 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 how do things add up? Is the Nikon P950 better than the Panasonic ZS100 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon Coolpix P950:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- 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.
- 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.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More modern: Reflects 4 years of technical progress since the ZS100 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 15.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 14%.
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- 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.
- 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 compact: Is smaller (111x65mm vs 140x110mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 693g or 69 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (13 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in January 2016).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the ZS100 emerges as the winner of the match-up (15 : 12 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 P950 and the Panasonic ZS100 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 ZS100 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 adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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 ZS100||4.5/5||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2016||699|
|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 ZS200||..||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2018||799|
|12.||Panasonic LX10||..||+ +||81/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||699|
|13.||Sony HX99||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||449|
|14.||Sony HX95||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 2018||429|
|15.||Sony RX100 V||4.5/5||+ +||83/100||4/5||4.5/5||Oct 2016||999|
|16.||Sony RX100 III||5/5||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||799|
|17.||Sony RX100 II||5/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||749|
|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. 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? 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 P950 vs Panasonic ZS100
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 ZS100|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||24-2000mm f/2.8-6.5||25-250mm f/2.8-5.9|
|Launch Date||January 2020||January 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 799||USD 699|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon P950||Panasonic ZS100|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||1" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||13.2 x 8.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||116.16 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||15.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.9 Megapixels||20 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||5472 x 3648 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.33 μm||2.41 μm|
|Pixel Density||56.73 MP/cm2||17.18 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||125 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 12,800 ISO||80 - 25,600 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||70|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||22.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||12.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||559|
|Screen Specs||Nikon P950||Panasonic ZS100|
|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 ZS100|
|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||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||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon P950||Panasonic ZS100|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|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 ZS100|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||290 shots per charge||300 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)
111 x 65 x 44 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.7 in)
|Camera Weight||1005 g (35.5 oz)||312 g (11.0 oz)|
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