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Which one is better ... Nikon Coolpix P500 or Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100?

by Abdi

Which one is better ... Nikon Coolpix P500 or Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100?


As is true in many cases when comparing similar cameras from two different manufacturers one model will seem to have the edge on a certain specifications while the other one will be better on another feature or specification.

In the case of the Nikon Coolpix P500 vs. the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100 when you compare specifications of the two cameras head to head it would appear that the Nikon wins the battle.

Both cameras use basically the same size CMOS image sensors. The Lumix has a higher megapixel sensor, 14.1 megapixel compared to 12 megapixel on the Nikon. However we know that more megapixels crammed into the same size sensor is not always a good thing. Understanding the "megapixel myth" syndrome is important to avoid placing too much emphasis on a higher megapixel count when considering two different digital cameras with the same sized image sensors. Because the Nikon actually has fewer megapixels, one might expect it to have the edge in overall image quality especially at higher ISO settings, and when comparing pictures taken with both cameras under controlled settings that does appear to be true. As far as image quality I would give a slight edge to the Nikon, but I recommend anyone considering these two cameras to do the comparison themselves.

The 36X zoom of the Nikon P500 gives a much larger focal range than the 24X zoom on the Panasonic FZ100. In fact the Nikon beats the Panasonic at both ends of the zoom spectrum. Since one of the primary reasons most people buy a super-zoom camera is for the large focal range, the Nikon’s 22.5 to 810 mm, 35mm equivalent zoom lens certainly gives the Nikon the advantage in this category. However the Panasonic’s lens is slightly faster with an aperture range of f2.8 to f5.2 compared to the f3.4 to f5.7 for the Nikon.

Another important specification to compare is the ISO range of the two cameras. Again we see that both are very equally matched. The Lumix FZ100 is able to shoot at lower ISO of 100 while the Nikon stops at 160 ISO. But then the Nikon has the edge on the higher ISO side with a true 3200 ISO compared with only 1600 ISO on the FZ100. Since having the ability to shoot at higher ISO’s is very important when photographing in low light settings I would say that the Nikon P500 has the definite edge in this specification.

Continuing with our comparison of specifications between the two cameras we come to the resolution of the LCD display. Having a high resolution display is important and the Nikon’s display has almost double the resolution of the Panasonics display.

One area that the Panasonic Lumix FZ100 certainly has a large advantage in is battery life. The FZ100’s battery is rated at 410 pictures per charge compared with only 220 for the Nikon P500.

When we compare the specifications of both cameras we see that they are indeed very close in many areas but overall the Nikon Coolpix P500 would seem to clear winner. In large part because of its much more powerful zoom lens and better ISO range. Both cameras are capable of taking good quality pictures and you will find many examples online of high quality photos taken with either camera.

As it does in so many cases, choosing the right camera really comes down to personal preference. While both the Nikon Coolpix P500 and Panasonic Lumix FZ100 are high quality and very capable super-zoom cameras my choice for a super-zoom camera would still be the Sony DSC-HX100V.


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