Nikon D810 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2

  • Full frame
  • 36 megapixels
  • Nikon F
  • 55
    Overall
  • 36
    Imaging
  • 59
    Features
  • 69
    Size
  • 0
    Price
  • Four Thirds
  • 16 megapixels
  • Micro Four Thirds
  • 43
    Overall
  • 16
    Imaging
  • 44
    Features
  • 73
    Size
  • 0
    Price

Nikon D810 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2: a Complete Review and Comparison

Are you looking for the best camera to suit your needs? Due to a wide range of options, making a wise and weighted decision can be rather challenging. Which specs to keep in mind? What are the key pros and cons of each model? This comparison should give some helpful hints!

In this review, we are going to make a detailed comparison of two cameras that fall into different categories. While the first model we are looking at, Nikon D810 belongs to a Semi-Pro DSLR category, the other model, Nikon D810 is a Semi-Pro Mirrorless camera. Nikon D810 is equipped with a 36.0 MP CMOS sensor, while Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 comes with a 16.0 MP CMOS sensor.

Both cameras we are going to look at in our overview fall into two different categories - DSLR and MirrorLess. Keeping in mind all the distinctive features of each category, it will be hard to make a detailed comparison of these two models. However, we will do our best to make this review as unbiased and detailed as possible.

To get started, let’s take a look at some of the key features of Nikon D810 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 and, after this, we can go on to our detailed comparison of these models.

Nikon D810 Key Features:

  • 36.0 MP Full frame CMOS sensor
  • ISO 64 - 12800 (Expands to 32 - 51200)
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • 3.2″ Fixed Type Screen
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 5.0 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Video: 1920 x 1080 (60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, 24p), 1280 x 720 (60p, 50p)
  • Built-in Wireless: Yes
  • Dimensions: 146 x 123 x 82 mm
  • Weight: 980 g
  • Environmental Sealing: Yes
  • Built-in GPS: Yes
  • Replaced Nikon D800. Compare
  • Replaced by Nikon D850. Compare

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 Key Features:

  • 16.0 MP Four Thirds CMOS sensor
  • ISO 160 - 12800
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • 3″ Fully Articulated Screen
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 3.0 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Video: 1920 x 1080 (24, 30, 60fps) 1280 x 720 (60, 30 fps), 848 x 480 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30fps), 320 x 240 (30fps)
  • Built-in Wireless: No
  • Dimensions: 124 x 90 x 76 mm
  • Weight: 442 g
  • Environmental Sealing: No
  • Built-in GPS: No
  • Replaced Panasonic GH1.
  • Replaced by Panasonic GH3.

Nikon D810 was substituted by Nikon D850. Be sure to check out some of our other overviews that may also interest you:
Nikon D810 vs. D850
Nikon D850 vs. Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2

Nikon D810 substituted Nikon D800. Be sure to check out some of our other overviews that may also interest you:
Nikon D810 vs. D800
Nikon D800 vs. Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2

Why is Nikon D810 a better choice than Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2

Wireless Connectivity Optional vs No Better connectivity
Timelapse Recording Yes vs No Creative shooting
Storage Slots 2 vs 1 Extra storage slot
Sensor Resolution 36.0 MP vs 16.0 MP 55.6% more pixels
Sensor Area 861.6 mm2 vs 224.9 mm2 73.9% larger pixel area
Continuous Shooting 5 fps vs 3 fps 2 fps faster
Max Shutter Speed 1/8000 vs 1/4000 Faster shutter speed
Number Of Focus Points 51 vs 23 28 more focus points
Screen Size 3.2″ vs 3″ 0.2" larger screen
Screen Resolution 1,229k dots vs 460k dots 62.6% higher resolution screen
Battery Life 1200 shots vs 330 shots 870 more frames with a single charge
Environmental Sealing Yes vs No Shoot at tough conditions
Headphone Port Yes vs No Has headphone port
Dxo Color Depth 25.7 vs 21.2 Better color depth
Dxo Dynamic Range 14.8 vs 11.3 Better dynamic range
Dxo Low Light Iso 2853 vs 655 Better High ISO performance

What are the key reasons to pick Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 over Nikon D810

Flash Range 15.6 vs 12 3.6 better flash range
Screen Type Fully Articulated vs Fixed Type Flexible shooting positions
Touch Screen Yes vs No Easy control of camera functions
Weight 442 g vs 980 g 538 g lighter
Viewfinder Magnification 0.71 vs 0.7 0.01 better magnification

Key PROs of Nikon D810 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2

Screen Size 3.2″ | 3″ Large display
Viewfinder Optical (pentaprism) | Electronic Better framing and control
Raw Support Yes | Yes Better image quality
AutoFocus Face Detection Yes | Yes Very handy for portraits
Microphone Port Yes | Yes High quality audio recording option
Bracketing Yes | Yes Useful for tough lighting conditions and HDR
Built-In Flash Yes | Yes External flash available
Flash Sync Port Yes | Yes Port for Flash Sync

Key CONs of Nikon D810 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2

Continuous Shooting 5.0 fps | 3.0 fps Low continuous shooting
Image Stabilization No | No No image stabilization

Nikon D810 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2: Comparing Two Models By Physical Characteristics

Before heading straight to the technical characteristics of each model, let’s start with comparing their physical specs. Let’s start with looking at the physical difference of the two products. Below are images that clearly show the sizes of Nikon D810 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 from the front view.

Nikon D810
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2
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Now, let’s go on and see how the reviewed models are different or similar by the top view.

Nikon D810
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2
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After looking at these images, you should get a clear idea of each model’s dimensions and how they are different from each other. However, we are not going to stop there. The next characteristic worth looking at is the weight. Of course, not every photographer is concerned about the weight, for example, it wouldn't be a decisive point for those who shoot in a studio. However, it is still an important factor because if you happen to go on a long photo session or just love having the camera with you wherever you go, you want to be sure that the chosen model isn't too heavy.

Speaking of weight, Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 is a lighter option of these two, as it weights 538g less than the Nikon D810. This difference, in fact, can become a significant disadvantage for the photographers, who prefer to have their cameras with them wherever they go.

Comparing Nikon D810 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 by the type of Sensor and Resolution

Sensor is, without a doubt, the most significant element of every digital camera. Its type, size, and resolution are the factors that define the quality of future shots. Thus, it is barely possible to pick a suitable camera without looking at these specs.

Are Nikon D810 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 any different in terms of sensor type?

In fact, that's exactly what makes these two models really different. Thus, it is a good point to consider if your are choosing between these two cameras. Nikon D810 features a 36.0 MP Full frame sized CMOS sensor . Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2, in its turn, comes with a 16.0 MP Four Thirds sized CMOS sensor and Venus Engine FHD processor , which makes it significantly different from the first model.

Take a look below to find the comparison of Nikon D810 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 by the size of their sensors.

Nikon D810
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2
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One more distinctive feature of compared models is the sensor size. Nikon D810 has a sensor area 0.3x bigger compared to Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2. What does it mean? This basically means that if you these cameras them with the same aperture and focal length, the first model will give you more control in terms of the blurry background and depth of field.

For Which Fields Of Photography Are Nikon D810 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 Suitable?

If you are interested in photography or has made a career in this field, you should know that different types of shooting actually require different camera characteristics. While one model can produce outstanding portraits, at the same time, it can be terrible for shooting landscapes, and so on. Thus, before you purchase a specific camera, it is vital to decide, which type of shooting you do most often and consider an option that suits it the most.

This section of our comparison is devoted to the performance of Nikon D810 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 in different fields of photography. Here we are going to look at the five main areas and evaluate how well each of the reviewed models performs in them. This will help you choose an option that suits your needs the most depending on your interest in one or several of these fields.

Photography Type Nikon D810 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2
Portrait Photography
94%
13%
Street Photography
89%
91%
Sports Photography
93%
78%
Daily Photography
39%
84%
Landscape Photography
99%
69%

Nikon D810 for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.9 x 24 mm) sensor
  • High resolution sensor (36 MP)
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Face Detection Focusing

Disadvantages:

  • You might not like Nikon skintone
  • No Image Stabilization

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • Face Detection Focusing

Disadvantages:

  • Small Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm) sensor
  • No Image Stabilization

Nikon D810 for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Large Full frame(35.9 x 24 mm) sensor
  • Big battery life (1200 shots)

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (146 x 123 x 82 mm)
  • No Image Stabilization

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Fully Articulated Screen
  • Large Four Thirds(17.3 x 13 mm) sensor

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (124 x 90 x 76 mm)
  • No Image Stabilization

Nikon D810 for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Environmental Sealing
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Big Number of autofocus Points (51)
  • Nice Low Light ISO (2853)
  • Big size (146 x 123 x 82 mm)

Disadvantages:

  • Slow Continuous Shooting (5.0 fps)
  • Small Number of CrossFocus Points (15)
  • Bad Max Native ISO (12800)

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Big size (124 x 90 x 76 mm)

Disadvantages:

  • Slow Continuous Shooting (3.0 fps)
  • No Environmental Sealing
  • Slow Max Shutter Speed (1/4000s)
  • Smal Number of autofocus Points (23)
  • Bad Low Light ISO (655)
  • Small battery life (330 shots)

Nikon D810 for Daily Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.9 x 24 mm) sensor
  • Built-in Flash
  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Wireless Connectivity
  • Video is available

Disadvantages:

  • Big weight (980 g)
  • Big size (146 x 123 x 82 mm)

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 for Daily Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in Flash
  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Video is available

Disadvantages:

  • Small Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm) sensor
  • Big weight (442 g)
  • Big size (124 x 90 x 76 mm)

Nikon D810 for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.9 x 24 mm) sensor
  • High resolution sensor (36 MP)
  • Good Dynamic Range (14.8)
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Live View
  • RAW Support
  • Nice Low Light ISO (2853)

Disadvantages:

  • Bad Max Native ISO (12800)

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Good Dynamic Range (11.3)
  • Live View
  • RAW Support

Disadvantages:

  • Small Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm) sensor
  • Low resolution sensor (16 MP)
  • No Environmental Sealing
  • Bad Low Light ISO (655)

Comparison of Nikon D810 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2: Final Verdict

Hopefully, our detailed overview of these models has helped you consider all the main specs, pros and cons of each cameras. Maybe, after reading this comparison, some of you have already decided which option to opt for depending on your needs and preferences. However, if you are still wondering which option is a better choice, Nikon D810 or Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2, below you can see what scores each of them received in five different aspects. To wrap up, we have used our unique Decision Algorithm that assesses different camera models upon 63 different factors including their price, and, if possible, DxO Mark scores. This algorithm allows us to make our verdict more consistent and objective.

What is our final verdict? Based on our comparison and the final scores of Nikon D810 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 here is what we can say in conclusion:

According all the factors that we considered in the process of comparing these two cameras, Nikon D810 deserves a higher Total Score than the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2. Thus, if you are choosing between these options, we would recommend you to choose the first model over the other one.

Nikon D810 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 Table Of Technical Specs

For better understanding of each model’s technical characteristics, find the detailed comparison below:

Nikon D810 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2
General
Brand Nikon Panasonic
Model D810 Lumix DMC-GH2
Announced Jun 26, 2014 Mar 23, 2011
Body Type Mid-size SLR SLR-style mirrorless
Sensor
Sensor Type CMOS CMOS
Sensor Size Full frame Four Thirds
Sensor Dimensions 35.9 x 24 mm 17.3 x 13 mm
Sensor Area 861.60 mm2 224.90 mm2
Sensor Resolution 36.0 MP 16.0 MP
Max Image Resolution 7360 x 4912 4608 x 3456
Max Native ISO 12,800 12,800
Max Boosted ISO 51,200 n/a
Min Native ISO 64 160
RAW Support Yes Yes
Lens
Manual Focus Yes Yes
Lens Mount Nikon F Micro Four Thirds
Number of Lenses 287 94
Focal Length Multiplier 1x 2x
Macro Focus Range
AutoFocus
AF Touch No No
AF Continuous Yes Yes
AF Single Yes Yes
AF Tracking Yes Yes
AF Selective Yes Yes
AF Center No No
AF Multi Area Yes Yes
AF Live View Yes Yes
AF Face Detection Yes Yes
AF Contrast Detection No Yes
AF Phase Detection Yes No
Number of Focus Points 51 23
Number of Cross Focus Points 15 n/a
Screen
Screen Type Fixed Type Fully Articulated
Screen Size 3.2″ 3″
Screen Resolution 1,229k dots 460k dots
Live View Yes Yes
Touch Screen No Yes
ViewFinder
ViewFinder Optical (pentaprism) Electronic
ViewFinder Resolution 0k dots 0k dots
ViewFinder Coverage 100% 100%
ViewFinder Magnification 0.7 0.71
Photography Features
Min Shutter Speed 30 s 60 s
Max Shutter Speed 1/8000 s 1/4000 s
Continuous Shooting 5.0 fps 3.0 fps
Shutter Priority Yes Yes
Aperture Priority Yes Yes
Manual Exposure Mode Yes Yes
Exposure Compensation Yes Yes
Custom White Balance Yes Yes
Image Stabilization No No
Built-in Flash Yes Yes
Flash Range 12 15.6
Flash Modes Front-curtain sync, slow sync, rear-curtain sync, redeye reduction, redeye reduction w/slow sync, slow rear-curtain sync Auto, Red-Eye, Slow Sync
External Flash Yes Yes
AE Bracketing Yes Yes
WB Bracketing Yes Yes
Exposure Modes
Multi-Segment Yes Yes
Average Yes No
Spot Yes Yes
Partial No No
AF-Area No No
Center Weighted Yes Yes
DxO Sensor Scores
DxO Sensor Score 97 60
DxO Color Depth 25.7 21.2
DxO Dynamic Range 14.8 11.3
DxO Low Light ISO 2853 655
Video Features
Video Resolutions 1920 x 1080 (60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, 24p), 1280 x 720 (60p, 50p) 1920 x 1080 (24, 30, 60fps) 1280 x 720 (60, 30 fps), 848 x 480 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30fps), 320 x 240 (30fps)
Max Video Resolution 1920 x 1080 1920 x 1080
Video Formats MPEG-4, H.264 AVCHD, Motion JPEG
Microphone Port Yes Yes
Headphone Port Yes No
Connectivity
Wireless Connectivity Yes No
HDMI Yes Yes
USB USB 3.0 USB 2.0
Physical
Environmental Sealing Yes No
Water Proof No No
Dust Proof No No
Shock Proof No No
Crush Proof No No
Freeze Proof No No
Weight 980 g 442 g
Physical Dimensions 146 x 123 x 82 mm 124 x 90 x 76 mm
Battery Life 1200 shots 330 shots
Battery Type Battery Pack Battery Pack
Battery Model EN-EL15 n/a
Other Features
Self Timer Yes Yes
Timelapse Recording Yes No
GPS Optional
Storage Type SD/SDHC/SDXC, CompactFlash (UDMA compliant) SD/SDHC/SDXC
Storage Slots 2 1

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