Nikon W300 vs Panasonic G85
The Nikon Coolpix W300 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G85 (labelled Panasonic G80 in some countries) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in May 2017 and September 2016. The W300 is a fixed lens compact, while the G85 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (W300) and a Four Thirds (G85) 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 W300 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G85? 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 W300 and the Panasonic G85. 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 W300 can be obtained in three different colors (black, orange, yellow), while the G85 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 G85 is considerably larger (54 percent) than the Nikon W300. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments. More than that, the W300 is water-proof up to 30m and can, thus, be used for underwater photography.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the W300 has a lens built in, whereas the G85 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 G85 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the W300 gets 280 shots out of its EN-EL12 battery, while the G85 can take 330 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLC12 power pack. The power pack in the W300 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 W300||112 mm||66 mm||29 mm||231 g||280||Y||May 2017||389|
|2.||Panasonic G85||128 mm||89 mm||74 mm||505 g||330||Y||Sep 2016||899|
|3.||Nikon B600||122 mm||82 mm||99 mm||500 g||280||n||Jan 2019||349|
|4.||Nikon A1000||114 mm||72 mm||41 mm||330 g||250||n||Jan 2019||429|
|5.||Nikon P1000||146 mm||119 mm||181 mm||1415 g||250||n||Jul 2018||999|
|6.||Olympus TG-5||113 mm||66 mm||32 mm||250 g||340||Y||May 2017||449|
|7.||Olympus E-M1 II||134 mm||91 mm||67 mm||574 g||440||Y||Sep 2016||1,999|
|8.||Olympus E-M5 II||124 mm||85 mm||45 mm||469 g||310||Y||Feb 2015||1,099|
|9.||Olympus E-P5||122 mm||69 mm||37 mm||420 g||330||n||May 2013||999|
|10.||Panasonic G95||130 mm||94 mm||77 mm||536 g||290||Y||Apr 2019||999|
|11.||Panasonic TS7||117 mm||76 mm||37 mm||319 g||300||Y||May 2018||449|
|12.||Panasonic GX85||122 mm||71 mm||44 mm||426 g||290||n||Apr 2016||799|
|13.||Ricoh WG-60||123 mm||62 mm||30 mm||193 g||300||Y||Oct 2018||279|
|14.||Sony HX99||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||449|
|15.||Sony HX95||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||429|
|16.||Sony WX800||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||233 g||370||n||Oct 2018||399|
|17.||Sony HX80||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||390||n||Mar 2016||349|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 W300 was launched at a lower price than the G85, despite having a lens built in. 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 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon W300 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Panasonic G85 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the G85 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 W300 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixels, compared with 15.8 MP of the Panasonic G85. 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 G85). However, it should be noted that the W300 is a somewhat more recent model (by 8 months) than the G85, 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 the G85 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The Nikon Coolpix W300 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 125 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 125-6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G85 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 G85||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||22.8||12.5||656||71|
|7.||Olympus E-M1 II||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||23.7||12.8||1312||80|
|8.||Olympus E-M5 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.0||12.5||842||73|
|9.||Olympus E-P5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.4||895||72|
|10.||Panasonic G95||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||23.2||13.0||1273||75|
|12.||Panasonic GX85||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||22.9||12.6||662||71|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
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, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the G85 has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the W300 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon W300 and Panasonic G85 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Nikon W300||none||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Panasonic G85||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||9.0/s||Y||Y|
|3.||Nikon B600||none||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.4/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Nikon A1000||1166||n||3.0 / 1036||tilting||Y||1/4000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|5.||Nikon P1000||2359||n||3.2 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Olympus TG-5||none||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/2000s||20.0/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Olympus E-M1 II||2360||n||3.0 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||18.0/s||n||Y|
|8.||Olympus E-M5 II||2360||n||3.0 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||Y|
|9.||Olympus E-P5||optional||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/8000s||9.0/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Panasonic G95||2360||n||3.0 / 1240||swivel||Y||1/4000s||9.0/s||Y||Y|
|11.||Panasonic TS7||1170||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/1300s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|12.||Panasonic GX85||2765||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||Y|
|13.||Ricoh WG-60||none||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||n|
|14.||Sony HX99||638||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony HX95||638||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony WX800||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony HX80||638||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The G85 has a touchscreen, while the W300 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The G85 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the W300 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 G85 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 Panasonic G85 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.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the W300 and the G85 write their files to SDXC cards. The G85 supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the W300 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 W300 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-G85 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Nikon W300||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|2.||Panasonic G85||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Nikon B600||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Nikon A1000||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|5.||Nikon P1000||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|6.||Olympus TG-5||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|7.||Olympus E-M1 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.0||Y||-||-|
|8.||Olympus E-M5 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|9.||Olympus E-P5||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|10.||Panasonic G95||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|11.||Panasonic TS7||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|12.||Panasonic GX85||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|13.||Ricoh WG-60||-||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Sony HX99||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony HX95||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony WX800||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony HX80||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the G85 has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The W300 does not feature such a mic input.
Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the W300 has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.
The W300 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. In contrast, the G85 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the G85 was succeeded by the Panasonic G95. 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 W300 or the Panasonic G85 – 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 W300:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the G85 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (112x66mm vs 128x89mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the G85).
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Water-proof: Is rugged and sealed and can thus be used for underwater photography (up to 30m).
- Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 8 months after the G85).
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G85:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- 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 sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 921k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (9 vs 7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (330 versus 280) out of a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-II standard.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2016).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G85 is the clear winner of the contest (19 : 10 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 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 W300 and the Panasonic G85 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom 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 W300 and the G85 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 W300||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||May 2017||389|
|2.||Panasonic G85||..||+ +||..||84/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||899|
|3.||Nikon B600||..||+||..||..||3.5/5||3/5||Jan 2019||349|
|4.||Nikon A1000||..||+ +||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||3/5||Jan 2019||429|
|5.||Nikon P1000||..||+||3.5/5||73/100||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jul 2018||999|
|6.||Olympus TG-5||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||May 2017||449|
|7.||Olympus E-M1 II||5/5||+ +||5/5||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||1,999|
|8.||Olympus E-M5 II||5/5||+ +||4.5/5||81/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2015||1,099|
|9.||Olympus E-P5||5/5||+ +||..||78/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2013||999|
|10.||Panasonic G95||4.5/5||+||4.5/5||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2019||999|
|11.||Panasonic TS7||..||+||..||..||..||3.5/5||May 2018||449|
|12.||Panasonic GX85||4.5/5||+ +||..||82/100||5/5||5/5||Apr 2016||799|
|13.||Ricoh WG-60||..||..||..||..||..||..||Oct 2018||279|
|14.||Sony HX99||..||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||449|
|15.||Sony HX95||..||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 2018||429|
|16.||Sony WX800||..||..||..||..||..||..||Oct 2018||399|
|17.||Sony HX80||..||..||..||..||..||..||Mar 2016||349|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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 60D vs Nikon W300
- Canon Rebel vs Nikon W300
- Canon T3 vs Nikon W300
- Canon XT vs Panasonic G85
- Fujifilm X-Pro1 vs Panasonic G85
- Fujifilm X-S10 vs Panasonic G85
- Leica Digilux 3 vs Panasonic G85
- Leica X Vario vs Panasonic G85
- Nikon W300 vs Panasonic GX7
- Nikon W300 vs Pentax K-1
- Nikon W300 vs Sony NEX-5R
- Panasonic G85 vs Panasonic LX100 II
Specifications: Nikon W300 vs Panasonic G85
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 W300||Panasonic G85|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||24-120mm f/2.8-4.9||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||May 2017||September 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 389||USD 899|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon W300||Panasonic G85|
|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||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||125 - 1,600 ISO||200 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||125 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||71|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||22.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||12.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||656|
|Screen Specs||Nikon W300||Panasonic G85|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2360k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon W300||Panasonic G85|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||7 shutter flaps/s||9 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/16000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|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-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon W300||Panasonic G85|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Geotagging||GPS built-in||no internal GPS|
|Body Specs||Nikon W300||Panasonic G85|
|Environmental Sealing||Waterproof body (30m)||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||280 shots per charge||330 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
112 x 66 x 29 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.1 in)
128 x 89 x 74 mm
(5.0 x 3.5 x 2.9 in)
|Camera Weight||231 g (8.1 oz)||505 g (17.8 oz)|
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