You have read the reviews ... so now read what owners think of their camera.
Here is a comparison of specifications:
Notice the Red Stars ... they represent what owners have to say about their camera.
Right under the stars you will find a link called "Read Owner's Opinions".
Click that link and see why owners voted the way they did.
It sounds like the reviews call the Panasonic a better camera but I can get the Nikon for about $60 less. I'm not so worried about having a huge zoom. I just want a versatile camera that allows me to adjust shutter speed and aperture, without spending a ton of money. Any experience out there?