Nikon Z50 vs Panasonic TZ90
The Nikon Z50 and the Panasonic Lumix DC-TZ90 (labelled Panasonic ZS70 in some countries) are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in October 2019 and April 2017. The Z50 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the TZ90 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (Z50) and a 1/2.3-inch (TZ90) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 20.7 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 20.2 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-TZ90? 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 physical size and weight of the Nikon Z50 and the Panasonic TZ90 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. 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.
The TZ90 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the Z50 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 TZ90 is considerably smaller (37 percent) than the Nikon Z50. It is worth mentioning in this context that the Z50 is splash and dust resistant, while the TZ90 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the TZ90 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 table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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 Z50||127 mm||94 mm||60 mm||450 g||320||Y||Oct 2019||859|
|2.||Panasonic TZ90||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|3.||Canon M50||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||390 g||235||n||Feb 2018||779|
|4.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|5.||Fujifilm X-T30||118 mm||83 mm||47 mm||383 g||380||n||Feb 2019||899|
|6.||Fujifilm XF10||113 mm||64 mm||41 mm||279 g||330||n||Jul 2018||499|
|7.||Fujifilm X-T3||133 mm||93 mm||59 mm||539 g||390||Y||Sep 2018||1,499|
|8.||Nikon D3500||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||365 g||1550||n||Aug 2018||429|
|9.||Nikon D5500||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||420 g||820||n||Jan 2015||899|
|10.||Nikon D5300||125 mm||98 mm||76 mm||480 g||600||n||Oct 2013||799|
|11.||Panasonic TZ95||112 mm||69 mm||42 mm||327 g||380||n||Feb 2019||449|
|12.||Panasonic G95||130 mm||94 mm||77 mm||536 g||290||Y||Apr 2019||999|
|13.||Panasonic FT7||117 mm||76 mm||37 mm||319 g||300||Y||May 2018||449|
|14.||Panasonic LX5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Jul 2010||499|
|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 obviously take relative prices into account. 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 TZ90 was launched at a lower price than the Z50, 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 imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to 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 Z50 features an APS-C sensor and the Panasonic TZ90 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the TZ90 is 92 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 5.6. The sensor in the Z50 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the TZ90 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 20.7MP, the Z50 offers a slightly higher resolution than the TZ90 (20.2MP), but the Z50 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.22μm versus 1.18μm for the TZ90) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the Z50 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 5 months) than the TZ90, and its sensor will 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 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-TZ90 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-6400.
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 |
|12.||Panasonic G95||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. 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).
Beyond 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 Z50 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the TZ90 (2360k vs 1166k dots). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon Z50 and Panasonic TZ90 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
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 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 Z50 and the TZ90 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 TZ90 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-TZ90 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
It is notable that the Z50 has a hotshoe, while the TZ90 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
The Z50 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. In contrast, the TZ90 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the TZ90 was succeeded by the Panasonic TZ95. 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 Z50 or the Panasonic TZ90 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon Z50:
- 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.
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (2360k vs 1166k dots).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.68x vs 0.46x).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- 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 flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- 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.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 5 months of technical progress since the TZ90 launch.
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DC-TZ90:
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the Z50 necessitates an extra lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (112x67mm 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).
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (380 versus 320) out of a single battery charge.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in April 2017).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the Z50 is the clear winner of the match-up (17 : 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 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 Z50 and the Panasonic TZ90 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best Superzoom 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 remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the Z50 or the TZ90 perform in practice. 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 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 TZ90||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|3.||Canon M50||..||+||79/100||..||3.5/5||Feb 2018||779|
|4.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|5.||Fujifilm X-T30||5/5||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2019||899|
|6.||Fujifilm XF10||..||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2018||499|
|7.||Fujifilm X-T3||5/5||+ +||88/100||5/5||5/5||Sep 2018||1,499|
|8.||Nikon D3500||..||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||429|
|9.||Nikon D5500||5/5||+||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||899|
|10.||Nikon D5300||4/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||799|
|11.||Panasonic TZ95||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||..||Feb 2019||449|
|12.||Panasonic G95||4.5/5||+||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2019||999|
|13.||Panasonic FT7||..||+||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||May 2018||449|
|14.||Panasonic LX5||4/5||+||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|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.|
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. 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? 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.
Specifications: Nikon Z50 vs Panasonic TZ90
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 TZ90|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||24-720mm f/3.3-6.4|
|Launch Date||October 2019||April 2017|
|Launch Price||USD 859||USD 449|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon Z50||Panasonic TZ90|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.7 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||368.95 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20.7 Megapixels||20.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5568 x 3712 pixels||5184 x 3888 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.22 μm||1.18 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.60 MP/cm2||71.80 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 51,200 ISO||80 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 204,800 ISO||80 - 6,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 6||Venus|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||36|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||19.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||10.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||106|
|Screen Specs||Nikon Z50||Panasonic TZ90|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2360k dots||1166k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon Z50||Panasonic TZ90|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/2000s|
|Continuous Shooting||11 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/4000s||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||UHS-II||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon Z50||Panasonic TZ90|
|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 Z50||Panasonic TZ90|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||320 shots per charge||380 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)
112 x 67 x 41 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.6 in)
|Camera Weight||450 g (15.9 oz)||322 g (11.4 oz)|
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