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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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Panasonic GX80 and the Nikon D5500. 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. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the GX80 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare 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 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, 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)
Camera
Model
Panasonic GX80» 4.8 in 2.8 in 1.7 in 15.0 oz 290 n Apr 2016 799 i i Panasonic GX80
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-M10 III« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 2.0 in 14.5 oz 330 n Aug 2017 649 i i Olympus E-M10 III
Olympus PEN-F« » 4.9 in 2.8 in 1.5 in 15.1 oz 330 n Jan 2016 1,199 i i Olympus PEN-F
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-M5 II
Olympus E-M10 II« » 4.7 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 13.8 oz 320 n Aug 2015 799- i Olympus E-M10 II
Olympus E-M10« » 4.7 in 3.2 in 1.8 in 14.0 oz 320 n Jan 2014 699- i Olympus E-M10
Panasonic GX9« » 4.9 in 2.8 in 1.9 in 14.4 oz 260 n Feb 2018 849 i i Panasonic GX9
Panasonic G80« » 5.0 in 3.5 in 2.9 in 17.8 oz 330 Y Sep 2016 899 i i Panasonic G80
Panasonic TZ100« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 11.0 oz 300 n Jan 2016 699- i Panasonic TZ100
Panasonic G7« » 4.9 in 3.4 in 3.0 in 14.5 oz 350 n May 2015 649- i Panasonic G7
Panasonic GX7« » 4.8 in 2.8 in 2.2 in 14.2 oz 350 n Aug 2013 999- i Panasonic GX7

The camera’s price is obviously a critical decision-making factor. 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. 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Panasonic GX80 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. 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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras 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.

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

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

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"). 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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 GX80» Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p22.912.666271Panasonic GX80
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-M10 III« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p----Olympus E-M10 III
Olympus PEN-F« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38881080/60p23.112.489474Olympus PEN-F
Olympus E-M5 II« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.012.584273Olympus E-M5 II
Olympus E-M10 II« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.112.584273Olympus E-M10 II
Olympus E-M10« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388472Olympus E-M10
Panasonic GX9« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p----Panasonic GX9
Panasonic G80« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p22.812.565671Panasonic G80
Panasonic TZ100« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.555970Panasonic TZ100
Panasonic G7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p----Panasonic G7
Panasonic GX7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.612.271870Panasonic GX7

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for 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

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety 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. 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 GX80»2765 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y Panasonic GX80
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-M10 III« »2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.6 Y Y Olympus E-M10 III
Olympus PEN-F« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 10.0 n Y Olympus PEN-F
Olympus E-M5 II« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 10.0 n Y Olympus E-M5 II
Olympus E-M10 II« »2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y Olympus E-M10 II
Olympus E-M10« »1440 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y Olympus E-M10
Panasonic GX9« »2760 n 3.0 1240 tilting Y 4000 9.0 Y Y Panasonic GX9
Panasonic G80« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 9.0 Y Y Panasonic G80
Panasonic TZ100« »1166 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 2000 10.0 Y Y Panasonic TZ100
Panasonic G7« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n Panasonic G7
Panasonic GX7« »2760 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 8000 5.0 Y Y Panasonic GX7

One feature that differentiates the GX80 and the D5500 is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The GX80 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the D5500 has to rely on optical image stabilization in OIS-equipped lenses to achieve the same effect.

The reported shutter speed and shutter burst refer to the use of the mechanical shutter. In addition, the GX80 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 GX80 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 GX80»Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Panasonic GX80
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-M10 III« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Olympus E-M10 III
Olympus PEN-F« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Olympus PEN-F
Olympus E-M5 II« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Olympus E-M5 II
Olympus E-M10 II« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Olympus E-M10 II
Olympus E-M10« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Olympus E-M10
Panasonic GX9« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y-YPanasonic GX9
Panasonic G80« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Panasonic G80
Panasonic TZ100« »-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic TZ100
Panasonic G7« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Panasonic G7
Panasonic GX7« »Ystereomono--mini2.0YY-Panasonic GX7

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 what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Panasonic GX80 and the Nikon D5500? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Arguments in favor of 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.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • More compact: Is smaller (122x71mm vs 124x97mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization build-in.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • 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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Reasons to prefer 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).
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • 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 comes out slightly ahead of the GX80 (11 : 10 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 10:11 D5500

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 handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the GX80 or the D5500. 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 where reviews by experts come in. 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
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Panasonic GX80»HiRec82/1005/54.5/55/5 Apr 2016 799 i i Panasonic GX80
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-M10 III« »Rec80/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Aug 2017 649 i i Olympus E-M10 III
Olympus PEN-F« »-82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jan 2016 1,199 i i Olympus PEN-F
Olympus E-M5 II« »HiRec81/1005/54.5/55/5 Feb 2015 1,099 i i Olympus E-M5 II
Olympus E-M10 II« »HiRec80/1005/55/55/5 Aug 2015 799- i Olympus E-M10 II
Olympus E-M10« »-80/1005/54.5/55/5 Jan 2014 699- i Olympus E-M10
Panasonic GX9« »Rec84/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Feb 2018 849 i i Panasonic GX9
Panasonic G80« »HiRec84/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 899 i i Panasonic G80
Panasonic TZ100« »HiRec82/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2016 699- i Panasonic TZ100
Panasonic G7« »HiRec80/1005/54.5/54.5/5 May 2015 649- i Panasonic G7
Panasonic GX7« »Rec79/1005/54.5/55/5 Aug 2013 999- i Panasonic GX7

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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date 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? 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. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, kindly get in touch, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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