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Panasonic G7 versus Nikon D5500

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 and the Nikon D5500 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in May 2015 and January 2015. The G7 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the D5500 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (G7) and an APS-C (D5500) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 15.8 megapixel, whereas the Nikon provides 24 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Panasonic G7 vs Nikon D5500

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Panasonic G7 and the Nikon D5500 is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the G7 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Panasonic G7 vs Nikon D5500
Compare G7 versus D5500 top
Compare G7 and D5500 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D5500 is notably larger (12 percent) than the Panasonic G7. Moreover, the D5500 is slightly heavier (2 percent) than the G7. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G7 nor the D5500 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can find an overview of optics for the two cameras in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (G7) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D5500). Mirrorless cameras, such as the Panasonic G7, have moreover the advantage that they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance and can thus use many lenses from other systems via adapters.

Concerning battery life, the G7 gets 350 shots out of its DMW-BLC12 battery, while the D5500 can take 820 images on a single charge of its EN-EL14a power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Panasonic G7» 4.9 in 3.4 in 3.0 in 14.5 oz 350 n May 2015 649- i Panasonic G7
Nikon D5500« 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 14.8 oz 820 n Jan 2015 899- i Nikon D5500
Canon M5« » 4.6 in 3.5 in 2.4 in 15.1 oz 295 n Sep 2016 979 i i Canon M5
Nikon D5600« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 16.4 oz 970 n Nov 2016 699 i i Nikon D5600
Nikon D3400« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.7 oz 1200 n Aug 2016 499- i Nikon D3400
Nikon D3300« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.2 oz 700 n Jan 2014 499- i Nikon D3300
Nikon D5300« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 16.9 oz 600 n Oct 2013 799- i Nikon D5300
Olympus E-PL7« » 4.5 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 12.6 oz 350 n Aug 2014 599- i Olympus E-PL7
Panasonic GF7« » 4.2 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 9.4 oz 230 n Jan 2015 499- i Panasonic GF7
Panasonic GM5« » 3.9 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 7.4 oz 220 n Sep 2014 749- i Panasonic GM5
Panasonic G6« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 13.8 oz 340 n Apr 2013 599- i Panasonic G6
Panasonic GM1« » 3.9 in 2.2 in 1.2 in 7.2 oz 230 n Oct 2013 749- i Panasonic GM1
Panasonic G5« » 4.7 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 14.0 oz 320 n Jul 2012 599- i Panasonic G5
Panasonic G3« » 4.5 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 11.9 oz 270 n May 2011 599- i Panasonic G3
Panasonic G2« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 15.1 oz 360 n Mar 2010 599- i Panasonic G2
Panasonic GH2« » 4.9 in 3.5 in 3.0 in 15.6 oz 330 n Sep 2010 1,499- i Panasonic GH2
Panasonic GF1« » 4.7 in 2.8 in 1.4 in 13.6 oz 380 n Sep 2009 749- i Panasonic GF1

The camera’s price is obviously a critical decision-making factor. 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 G7 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 28 percent) than the D5500, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Panasonic G7 vs Nikon D5500

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 Panasonic G7 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Nikon D5500 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D5500 is 63 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 1.5. The sensor in the G7 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the D5500 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.

Panasonic G7 and Nikon D5500 sensor measures

With 24MP, the D5500 offers a higher resolution than the G7 (15.8MP), but the D5500 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 3.77μm for the G7) due to its larger sensor. However, the G7 is a somewhat more recent model (by 4 months) than the D5500, and its sensor might 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 D5500 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

G7 versus D5500 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Panasonic G7» Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p----Panasonic G7
Nikon D5500« APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0143884Nikon D5500
Canon M5« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.412.4126277Canon M5
Nikon D5600« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0130684Nikon D5600
Nikon D3400« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286Nikon D3400
Nikon D3300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582Nikon D3300
Nikon D5300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.9133883Nikon D5300
Olympus E-PL7« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.712.487372Olympus E-PL7
Panasonic GF7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p----Panasonic GF7
Panasonic GM5« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.111.772166Panasonic GM5
Panasonic G6« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961Panasonic G6
Panasonic GM1« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i22.311.766066Panasonic GM1
Panasonic G5« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p----Panasonic G5
Panasonic G3« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756Panasonic G3
Panasonic G2« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353Panasonic G2
Panasonic GH2« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i21.211.365560Panasonic GH2
Panasonic GF1« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.351354Panasonic GF1

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 G7 provides a higher video resolution than the D5500. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Nikon is limited to 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Panasonic G7 vs Nikon D5500

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the G7 has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), while the D5500 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Panasonic G7 and Nikon D5500 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Panasonic G7»2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n Panasonic G7
Nikon D5500«optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Nikon D5500
Canon M5« »2360 n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 4000 9.0 Y n Canon M5
Nikon D5600« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Nikon D5600
Nikon D3400« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n Nikon D3400
Nikon D3300« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n Nikon D3300
Nikon D5300« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel n 4000 5.0 Y n Nikon D5300
Olympus E-PL7« »- n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 4000 8.0 n Y Olympus E-PL7
Panasonic GF7« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 500 5.8 Y n Panasonic GF7
Panasonic GM5« »1166 n 3.0 921 fixed Y 500 5.8 n n Panasonic GM5
Panasonic G6« »1440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n Panasonic G6
Panasonic GM1« »- n 3.0 1036 fixed Y 500 5.0 Y n Panasonic GM1
Panasonic G5« »1440 n 3.0 920 swivel Y 4000 6.0 Y n Panasonic G5
Panasonic G3« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 4000 4.0 Y n Panasonic G3
Panasonic G2« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 4000 2.6 Y n Panasonic G2
Panasonic GH2« »1534 n 3.0 460 swivel n 4000 3.0 Y n Panasonic GH2
Panasonic GF1« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Panasonic GF1

The reported shutter speed and shutter burst refer to the use of the mechanical shutter. In addition, the G7 features an electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (flickering).

Both the G7 and the D5500 write their imaging data to SDXC cards.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Panasonic G7»YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Panasonic G7
Nikon D5500«YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--Nikon D5500
Canon M5« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon M5
Nikon D5600« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYNikon D5600
Nikon D3400« »Ymonomono--mini2.0Y-YNikon D3400
Nikon D3300« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D3300
Nikon D5300« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--Nikon D5300
Olympus E-PL7« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Olympus E-PL7
Panasonic GF7« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Panasonic GF7
Panasonic GM5« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic GM5
Panasonic G6« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Panasonic G6
Panasonic GM1« »-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic GM1
Panasonic G5« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic G5
Panasonic G3« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic G3
Panasonic G2« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic G2
Panasonic GH2« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic GH2
Panasonic GF1« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Panasonic GF1

Both the G7 and the D5500 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D5500 was replaced by the Nikon D5600, while the G7 was followed by the Panasonic G85.

Review summary: Panasonic G7 vs Nikon D5500

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Panasonic G7 and the Nikon D5500? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • More compact: Is smaller (125x86mm vs 124x97mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (28 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 4 months after the D5500).

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon D5500:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 15.8MP), which boosts linear resolution by 26%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better low-light imaging: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for better high-ISO images.
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (820 versus 350) out of a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2015).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G7 emerges as the winner of the contest (9 : 7 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision.

G7 09:07 D5500

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 G7 or the D5500 handle or 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 where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Panasonic G7»HiRec80/1005/54.5/54.5/5 May 2015 649- i Panasonic G7
Nikon D5500«Rec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jan 2015 899- i Nikon D5500
Canon M5« »Rec82/1004/54.5/54/5 Sep 2016 979 i i Canon M5
Nikon D5600« »-79/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Nov 2016 699 i i Nikon D5600
Nikon D3400« »Rec76/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499- i Nikon D3400
Nikon D3300« »Rec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499- i Nikon D3300
Nikon D5300« »HiRec79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799- i Nikon D5300
Olympus E-PL7« »Rec-5/54.5/54/5 Aug 2014 599- i Olympus E-PL7
Panasonic GF7« »Rec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2015 499- i Panasonic GF7
Panasonic GM5« »Rec77/1005/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 749- i Panasonic GM5
Panasonic G6« »HiRec-5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 599- i Panasonic G6
Panasonic GM1« »Rec78/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 749- i Panasonic GM1
Panasonic G5« »HiRec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jul 2012 599- i Panasonic G5
Panasonic G3« »HiRec75/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2011 599- i Panasonic G3
Panasonic G2« »-72/1004/54/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599- i Panasonic G2
Panasonic GH2« »HiRec79/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Sep 2010 1,499- i Panasonic GH2
Panasonic GF1« »85/10069/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2009 749- i Panasonic GF1

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

 

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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please contact me, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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