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Panasonic LX15 versus Nikon D90

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15 (called Panasonic LX10 in some regions) and the Nikon D90 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2016 and August 2008. The LX15 is a fixed lens compact, while the D90 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an one-inch (LX15) and an APS-C (D90) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 20 megapixel, whereas the Nikon provides 12.2 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 LX15 vs Nikon D90

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Panasonic LX15 and the Nikon D90. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. 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 LX15 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Panasonic LX15 vs Nikon D90
Compare LX15 versus D90 top
Compare LX15 and D90 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D90 is considerably larger (114 percent) than the Panasonic LX15. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the LX15 nor the D90 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the LX15 has a lens build in, whereas the D90 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can find an overview of optics for the D90 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the LX15 gets 260 shots out of its DMW-BLH7 battery, while the D90 can take 850 images on a single charge of its EN-EL3e power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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 LX15» 4.2 in 2.4 in 1.7 in 10.9 oz 260 n Sep 2016 699 i i Panasonic LX15
Nikon D90« 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 24.8 oz 850 n Aug 2008 1,299- i Nikon D90
Canon G7 X Mark II« » 4.2 in 2.4 in 1.7 in 11.3 oz 265 n Feb 2016 699 i i Canon G7 X Mark II
Canon G5 X« » 4.4 in 3.0 in 1.7 in 12.5 oz 210 n Oct 2015 799 i i Canon G5 X
Canon 40D« » 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.9 in 29.0 oz 750 n Aug 2007 1,299- i Canon 40D
Fujifilm X70« » 4.4 in 2.5 in 1.7 in 12.0 oz 330 n Jan 2016 799- i Fujifilm X70
Nikon D7000« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 27.5 oz 1050 Y Sep 2010 1,499- i Nikon D7000
Nikon D300S« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 3.2 in 33.1 oz 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799- i Nikon D300S
Nikon D5000« » 5.0 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 20.8 oz 510 n Apr 2009 749- i Nikon D5000
Nikon D80« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 23.6 oz 600 n Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
Panasonic TZ200« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.8 in 12.0 oz 370 n Feb 2018 799 i i Panasonic TZ200
Panasonic TZ90« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 11.4 oz 380 n Apr 2017 449 i i Panasonic TZ90
Panasonic FZ2000« » 5.4 in 4.0 in 5.3 in 32.3 oz 350 n Sep 2016 1,199 i i Panasonic FZ2000
Panasonic GX80« » 4.8 in 2.8 in 1.7 in 15.0 oz 290 n Apr 2016 799 i i Panasonic GX80
Panasonic TZ100« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 11.0 oz 300 n Jan 2016 699- i Panasonic TZ100
Panasonic LX7« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.8 in 10.5 oz 330 n Jul 2012 499- i Panasonic LX7
Sony RX100 V« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 220 n Oct 2016 999 i i Sony RX100 V

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 LX15 was launched at a lower price than the D90, despite having a lens build in. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Panasonic LX15 vs Nikon D90

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Panasonic LX15 features an one-inch sensor and the Nikon D90 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D90 is 222 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.7 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2. The LX15 has the particularity of featuring a switch that allows to toggle between different aspect ratios, while maintaining the same field of view and full image resolution.

Panasonic LX15 and Nikon D90 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Panasonic LX15 offers a higher resolution of 20 megapixel, compared with 12.2 MP of the Nikon D90. This megapixel advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 2.41μm versus 5.53μm for the D90). However, it should be noted that the LX15 is much more recent (by 8 years) than the D90, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.

LX15 versus D90 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 LX15» 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----Panasonic LX15
Nikon D90« APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773Nikon D90
Canon G7 X Mark II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p----Canon G7 X Mark II
Canon G5 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p----Canon G5 X
Canon 40D« » APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-22.111.370364Canon 40D
Fujifilm X70« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p----Fujifilm X70
Nikon D7000« » APS-C 16.1 4928 326410800/24p23.513.9116780Nikon D7000
Nikon D300S« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770Nikon D300S
Nikon D5000« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872Nikon D5000
Nikon D80« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.111.252461Nikon D80
Panasonic TZ200« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----Panasonic TZ200
Panasonic TZ90« » 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p19.110.610636Panasonic TZ90
Panasonic FZ2000« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----Panasonic FZ2000
Panasonic GX80« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p22.912.666271Panasonic GX80
Panasonic TZ100« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.555970Panasonic TZ100
Panasonic LX7« » 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p20.711.714750Panasonic LX7
Sony RX100 V« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.458670Sony RX100 V

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the LX15 provides a higher video resolution than the D90. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Nikon is limited to 720/24p.

 

Feature comparison: Panasonic LX15 vs Nikon D90

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D90 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the LX15 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic LX15, the Nikon D90, and comparable cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, 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 LX15»- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 10.0 Y Y Panasonic LX15
Nikon D90«optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 4.5 Y n Nikon D90
Canon G7 X Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 2000 8.0 Y Y Canon G7 X Mark II
Canon G5 X« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 2000 5.9 Y Y Canon G5 X
Canon 40D« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 6.5 Y n Canon 40D
Fujifilm X70« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y n Fujifilm X70
Nikon D7000« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n Nikon D7000
Nikon D300S« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 7.0 Y n Nikon D300S
Nikon D5000« »optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 4000 4.0 Y n Nikon D5000
Nikon D80« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D80
Panasonic TZ200« »2330 n 3.0 1240 fixed Y 2000 10.0 Y Y Panasonic TZ200
Panasonic TZ90« »1166 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 2000 10.0 Y Y Panasonic TZ90
Panasonic FZ2000« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 12.0 Y Y Panasonic FZ2000
Panasonic GX80« »2765 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y Panasonic GX80
Panasonic TZ100« »1166 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 2000 10.0 Y Y Panasonic TZ100
Panasonic LX7« »- n 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 11.0 Y Y Panasonic LX7
Sony RX100 V« »2359 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 24.0 Y Y Sony RX100 V

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The LX15 has a touchscreen, while the D90 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The reported shutter speed and shutter burst refer to the use of the mechanical shutter. In addition, the LX15 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).

The LX15 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D90 uses SDHC 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 LX15»-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic LX15
Nikon D90«Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D90
Canon G7 X Mark II« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon G7 X Mark II
Canon G5 X« »Ystereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon G5 X
Canon 40D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 40D
Fujifilm X70« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Fujifilm X70
Nikon D7000« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D7000
Nikon D300S« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D300S
Nikon D5000« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D5000
Nikon D80« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D80
Panasonic TZ200« »-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic TZ200
Panasonic TZ90« »-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic TZ90
Panasonic FZ2000« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0Y--Panasonic FZ2000
Panasonic GX80« »Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Panasonic GX80
Panasonic TZ100« »-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic TZ100
Panasonic LX7« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic LX7
Sony RX100 V« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony RX100 V

The LX15 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Panasonic. In contrast, the D90 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D90 was succeeded by the Nikon D7000.

Review summary: Panasonic LX15 vs Nikon D90

So what is the bottom line? Is the Panasonic LX15 better than the Nikon D90 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (20 vs 12.2MP) with a 28% higher linear resolution.
  • Flexible image proportions: Has a multi-aspect sensor that allows for alternative image shapes.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 720/24p).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 920k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 4.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with a build-in lens, while the D90 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (106x60mm vs 132x103mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a build-in lens (unlike the D90).
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization build-in.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi build in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a build-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 8 years of technical progress since the D90 launch.

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D90:

  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (850 versus 260) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 2008).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the LX15 is the clear winner of the match-up (15 : 6 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera.

LX15 15:06 D90

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the LX15 or the D90. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. 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 LX15»HiRec81/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 699 i i Panasonic LX15
Nikon D90«HiRecHiRec4/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299- i Nikon D90
Canon G7 X Mark II« »HiRec81/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2016 699 i i Canon G7 X Mark II
Canon G5 X« »HiRec78/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 799 i i Canon G5 X
Canon 40D« »HiRecHiRec4.5/5rev4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299- i Canon 40D
Fujifilm X70« »-76/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2016 799- i Fujifilm X70
Nikon D7000« »-80/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,499- i Nikon D7000
Nikon D300S« »HiRec82/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799- i Nikon D300S
Nikon D5000« »HiRec75/1004/55/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749- i Nikon D5000
Nikon D80« »RecHiRecrev4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
Panasonic TZ200« »HiRec81/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Feb 2018 799 i i Panasonic TZ200
Panasonic TZ90« »HiRec-4/5-4/5 Apr 2017 449 i i Panasonic TZ90
Panasonic FZ2000« »Rec82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Sep 2016 1,199 i i Panasonic FZ2000
Panasonic GX80« »HiRec82/1005/54.5/55/5 Apr 2016 799 i i Panasonic GX80
Panasonic TZ100« »HiRec82/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2016 699- i Panasonic TZ100
Panasonic LX7« »HiRec75/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2012 499- i Panasonic LX7
Sony RX100 V« »HiRec83/1004/55/54.5/5 Oct 2016 999 i i Sony RX100 V

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

 

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 use the search menu below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If the camera you are interested in is not available, please contact me, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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