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Panasonic GX80 versus Nikon D5500

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX80 (called Panasonic GX85 in some regions) and the Nikon D5500 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in April 2016 and January 2015. The GX80 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the D5500 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (GX80) 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 GX80 vs Nikon D5500

The physical size and weight of the Panasonic GX80 and the Nikon D5500 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures 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 – the GX80 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Panasonic GX80 vs Nikon D5500
Compare GX80 versus D5500 top
Compare GX80 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 (39 percent) than the Panasonic GX80. However, the D5500 is slightly lighter (1 percent) than the GX80. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the GX80 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 (GX80) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D5500). Mirrorless cameras, such as the Panasonic GX80, 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 GX80 gets 290 shots out of its DMW-BLG10 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 want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons 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)
Panasonic GX80» 4.8 in 2.8 in 1.7 in 15.0 oz 290 n Apr 2016 799 i i
Nikon D5500« 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 14.8 oz 820 n Jan 2015 899- i
Nikon D3400« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.7 oz 1200 n Aug 2016 499 i i
Nikon D5600« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 16.4 oz 970 n Nov 2016 699 i i
Nikon D3300« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.2 oz 700 n Jan 2014 499- i
Nikon D5300« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 16.9 oz 600 n Oct 2013 799- i
Nikon D3200« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 3.0 in 17.8 oz 540 n Apr 2012 599- i
Olympus E-M10 II« » 4.7 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 13.8 oz 320 n Aug 2015 799- i
Olympus E-M5 II« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 1.8 in 16.5 oz 310 Y Feb 2015 1,099 i i
Olympus E-M10« » 4.7 in 3.2 in 1.8 in 14.0 oz 320 n Jan 2014 699- i
Panasonic GX9« » 4.9 in 2.8 in 1.9 in 14.4 oz 260 n Feb 2018 849 i i
Panasonic G80« » 5.0 in 3.5 in 2.9 in 17.8 oz 330 Y Sep 2016 899 i i
Panasonic G7« » 4.9 in 3.4 in 3.0 in 14.5 oz 350 n May 2015 649- i
Panasonic GX8« » 5.2 in 3.1 in 2.5 in 17.2 oz 330 Y Jul 2015 1,199- i
Panasonic GM5« » 3.9 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 7.4 oz 220 n Sep 2014 749- i
Panasonic GM1« » 3.9 in 2.2 in 1.2 in 7.2 oz 230 n Oct 2013 749- i
Panasonic GX7« » 4.8 in 2.8 in 2.2 in 14.2 oz 350 n Aug 2013 999- i

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The GX80 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 11 percent) than the D5500, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Panasonic GX80 vs Nikon D5500

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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Panasonic GX80 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 GX80 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the D5500 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Panasonic GX80 and Nikon D5500 sensor measures

With 24MP, the D5500 offers a higher resolution than the GX80 (15.8MP), but the D5500 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 3.77μm for the GX80) due to its larger sensor. However, the GX80 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 2 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 neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.

GX80 versus D5500 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. 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. Of the two cameras under consideration, the D5500 offers substantially better image quality than the GX80 (overall score 13 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.2 bits higher color depth, 1.4 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.1 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Panasonic GX80» Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p22.912.666271
Nikon D5500« APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0143884
Nikon D3400« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286
Nikon D5600« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0130684
Nikon D3300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582
Nikon D5300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.9133883
Nikon D3200« » APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/30p24.113.2113181
Olympus E-M10 II« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.112.584273
Olympus E-M5 II« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.012.584273
Olympus E-M10« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388472
Panasonic GX9« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p----
Panasonic G80« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p22.812.565671
Panasonic G7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p----
Panasonic GX8« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.512.680675
Panasonic GM5« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.111.772166
Panasonic GM1« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i22.311.766066
Panasonic GX7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.612.271870

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 GX80 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 GX80 vs Nikon D5500

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the GX80 has an electronic viewfinder (2765k 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic GX80, the Nikon D5500, and comparable cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

Core Features
  Camera 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
Panasonic GX80»2765 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y
Nikon D5500«optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D3400« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D5600« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D3300« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D5300« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel n 4000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D3200« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 4.0 Y n
Olympus E-M10 II« »2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y
Olympus E-M5 II« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 10.0 n Y
Olympus E-M10« »1440 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y
Panasonic GX9« »2760 n 3.0 1240 tilting Y 4000 9.0 Y Y
Panasonic G80« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 9.0 Y Y
Panasonic G7« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n
Panasonic GX8« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 10.0 n Y
Panasonic GM5« »1166 n 3.0 921 fixed Y 500 5.8 n n
Panasonic GM1« »- n 3.0 1036 fixed Y 500 5.0 Y n
Panasonic GX7« »2760 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 8000 5.0 Y Y

The GX80 is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the D5500 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D5500 was succeeded by the Nikon D5600.

Review summary: Panasonic GX80 vs Nikon D5500

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Panasonic GX80 or the Nikon D5500 – has the upper hand? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX80:

  • 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 (8 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (122x71mm 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.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization build-in.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (11 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 2 months after the D5500).

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D5500:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 15.8MP), which boosts linear resolution by 26%.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (13 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.2 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.4 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.1 stops ISO advantage).
  • 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.
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (820 versus 290) out of a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2015).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D5500 emerges as the winner of the match-up (10 : 8 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.

GX80 08:10 D5500

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the GX80 and the D5500 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 why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Panasonic GX80»HiRec82/1005/54.5/55/5 Apr 2016 799 i i
Nikon D5500«Rec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jan 2015 899- i
Nikon D3400« »Rec76/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499 i i
Nikon D5600« »-79/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Nov 2016 699 i i
Nikon D3300« »Rec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499- i
Nikon D5300« »HiRec79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799- i
Nikon D3200« »HiRec73/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 599- i
Olympus E-M10 II« »HiRec80/1005/55/55/5 Aug 2015 799- i
Olympus E-M5 II« »HiRec81/1005/54.5/55/5 Feb 2015 1,099 i i
Olympus E-M10« »-80/1005/54.5/55/5 Jan 2014 699- i
Panasonic GX9« »Rec-4.5/5-4.5/5 Feb 2018 849 i i
Panasonic G80« »HiRec84/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 899 i i
Panasonic G7« »HiRec80/1005/54.5/54.5/5 May 2015 649- i
Panasonic GX8« »Rec82/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2015 1,199- i
Panasonic GM5« »Rec77/1005/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 749- i
Panasonic GM1« »Rec78/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 749- i
Panasonic GX7« »Rec79/1005/54.5/55/5 Aug 2013 999- i

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, 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, kindly get in touch, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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