Nikon Z50 vs Panasonic LX100 II
The Nikon Z50 and the Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in October 2019 and August 2018. The Z50 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the LX100 II is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (Z50) and a Four Thirds (LX100 II) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 20.7 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 16.8 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 Z50 and the Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II? 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 Z50 and the Panasonic LX100 II. 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.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic LX100 II is considerably smaller (36 percent) than the Nikon Z50. It is worth mentioning in this context that the Z50 is splash and dust resistant, while the LX100 II does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the LX100 II has a lens built in, whereas the Z50 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
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 Z50||127 mm||94 mm||60 mm||450 g||320||Y||Oct 2019||859|
|2.||Panasonic LX100 II||115 mm||66 mm||65 mm||392 g||300||n||Aug 2018||999|
|3.||Canon M50||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||390 g||235||n||Feb 2018||779|
|4.||Leica D-LUX 7||115 mm||66 mm||65 mm||392 g||300||n||Nov 2018||1,195|
|5.||Leica C-LUX||113 mm||67 mm||46 mm||340 g||370||n||Jun 2018||1,049|
|6.||Nikon D6||160 mm||163 mm||92 mm||1270 g||3580||Y||Feb 2020||6,499|
|7.||Nikon D5500||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||420 g||820||n||Jan 2015||899|
|8.||Nikon 1 V3||111 mm||65 mm||33 mm||381 g||310||n||Mar 2014||799|
|9.||Nikon D5300||125 mm||98 mm||76 mm||480 g||600||n||Oct 2013||799|
|10.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||136 mm||97 mm||131 mm||810 g||350||n||Feb 2019||899|
|11.||Panasonic G90||130 mm||94 mm||77 mm||536 g||290||Y||Apr 2019||999|
|12.||Panasonic TZ90||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|13.||Panasonic LX100||115 mm||66 mm||55 mm||393 g||300||n||Sep 2014||899|
|14.||Sigma fp||113 mm||70 mm||45 mm||422 g||280||Y||Jul 2019||1,899|
|15.||Sony A6400||120 mm||67 mm||50 mm||403 g||410||Y||Jan 2019||899|
|16.||Sony A6100||120 mm||67 mm||59 mm||396 g||420||n||Aug 2019||749|
|17.||Sony A6300||120 mm||67 mm||49 mm||404 g||400||Y||Feb 2016||999|
|Notes: 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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon Z50 features an APS-C sensor and the Panasonic LX100 II a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the LX100 II is 50 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 2.2. The sensor in the Z50 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the LX100 II offers a 4:3 aspect. The LX100 II has the particularity of featuring a switch that allows to toggle between multiple aspect ratios, while maintaining the same field of view and full image resolution.
With 20.7MP, the Z50 offers a higher resolution than the LX100 II (16.8MP), but the Z50 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.22μm versus 3.32μm for the LX100 II) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the Z50 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 1 month) than the LX100 II, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its 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 Nikon Z50 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the Z50 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.8 x 18.6 inches or 70.7 x 47.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 22.3 x 14.8 inches or 56.6 x 37.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.6 x 12.4 inches or 47.1 x 31.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic LX100 II are 23.7 x 17.8 inches or 60.1 x 45.1 cm for good quality, 18.9 x 14.2 inches or 48.1 x 36.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.8 x 11.8 inches or 40.1 x 30.1 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Z50 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Nikon Z50 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 51200, which can be extended to ISO 100-204800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II 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 determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|2.||Panasonic LX100 II||Four Thirds||16.8||4736||3552||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|4.||Leica D-LUX 7||Four Thirds||16.8||4736||3552||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|6.||Nikon D6||Full Frame||20.7||5568||3712||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|8.||Nikon 1 V3||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||384||52|
|10.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|11.||Panasonic G90||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|13.||Panasonic LX100||Four Thirds||12.7||4112||3088||4K/30p||22.3||12.5||553||67|
|14.||Sigma fp||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. 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 variety of features. The two cameras under review are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the LX100 II offers a higher resolution than the one in the Z50 (2764k vs 2360k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon Z50, the Panasonic LX100 II, and comparable cameras.
|2.||Panasonic LX100 II||2764||n||3.0||1240||fixed||Y||1/4000s||11.0||n||Y|
|4.||Leica D-LUX 7||2764||n||3.0||1240||fixed||Y||1/4000s||11.0||n||Y|
|8.||Nikon 1 V3||optional||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|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 Z50 has one, while the LX100 II does not. While the built-in flash of the Z50 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The Z50 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 LX100 II 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, both cameras under consideration feature an 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 Z50 and the Panasonic LX100 II 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 Z50 and the LX100 II write their files to SDXC cards. The Z50 supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the LX100 II can use UHS-I cards (up to 104 MB/s).
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 Z50 and Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|2.||Panasonic LX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Leica D-LUX 7||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|8.||Nikon 1 V3||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|10.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
It is notable that the Z50 has a microphone port, which is missing on the LX100 II. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
Both the Z50 and the LX100 II are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The LX100 II replaced the earlier Panasonic LX100, while the Z50 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 there a clear favorite between the Nikon Z50 and the Panasonic LX100 II? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon Z50:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (20.7 vs 16.8MP) with a 13% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging 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 live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 1 month after the LX100 II).
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II:
- Flexible image proportions: Has a multi-aspect sensor that allows for alternative image shapes.
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (2764k vs 2360k dots).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.68x).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1240k vs 1040k dots).
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the Z50 necessitates an extra lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (115x66mm vs 127x94mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the Z50).
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2018).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the Z50 is the clear winner of the match-up (15 : 9 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 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 Z50 and the Panasonic LX100 II place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best Travel-Zoom 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 remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the Z50 or the LX100 II. 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 Z50||5/5||..||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2019||859|
|2.||Panasonic LX100 II||4.5/5||+||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||999|
|3.||Canon M50||..||+||79/100||..||3.5/5||Feb 2018||779|
|4.||Leica D-LUX 7||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||Nov 2018||1,195|
|5.||Leica C-LUX||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2018||1,049|
|6.||Nikon D6||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2020||6,499|
|7.||Nikon D5500||5/5||+||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||899|
|8.||Nikon 1 V3||3/5||..||76/100||4.5/5||4/5||Mar 2014||799|
|9.||Nikon D5300||4/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||799|
|10.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||..||..||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2019||899|
|11.||Panasonic G90||4.5/5||+||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2019||999|
|12.||Panasonic TZ90||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|13.||Panasonic LX100||5/5||+ +||85/100||5/5||5/5||Sep 2014||899|
|14.||Sigma fp||4/5||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2019||1,899|
|15.||Sony A6400||4/5||+||85/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jan 2019||899|
|16.||Sony A6100||..||..||82/100||4/5||5/5||Aug 2019||749|
|17.||Sony A6300||4.5/5||+||85/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2016||999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, 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 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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Nikon Z50 vs Panasonic LX100 II
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 Z50||Panasonic LX100 II|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||24-75mm f/1.7-2.8|
|Launch Date||October 2019||August 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 859||USD 999|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon Z50||Panasonic LX100 II|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.7 mm||15.7 x 11.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||368.95 mm2||185.26 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||19.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20.7 Megapixels||16.8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5568 x 3712 pixels||4736 x 3552 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.22 μm||3.32 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.60 MP/cm2||9.08 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 51,200 ISO||200 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 204,800 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 6||Venus|
|Screen Specs||Nikon Z50||Panasonic LX100 II|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2360k dots||2764k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1240k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon Z50||Panasonic LX100 II|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||11 shutter flaps/s||11 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/4000s||up to 1/16000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-II||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon Z50||Panasonic LX100 II|
|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||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Nikon Z50||Panasonic LX100 II|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||320 shots per charge||300 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
127 x 94 x 60 mm
(5.0 x 3.7 x 2.4 in)
115 x 66 x 65 mm
(4.5 x 2.6 x 2.6 in)
|Camera Weight||450 g (15.9 oz)||392 g (13.8 oz)|
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