Panasonic FT7 vs Sony A7R III
The Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7 (called Panasonic TS7 in some regions) and the Sony Alpha A7R III are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in May 2018 and October 2017. The FT7 is a fixed lens compact, while the A7R III is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (FT7) and a full frame (A7R III) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 20.2 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 42.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Panasonic FT7||Sony A7R III|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|28-128mm f/3.3-5.9||Sony E mount lenses|
|20.2 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor||42.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO 80-3,200 (80 - 6,400)||ISO 100-32,000 (50 - 102,400)|
|Electronic viewfinder (1170k dots)||Electronic viewfinder (3686k dots)|
|3.0 LCD, 1040k dots||3.0 LCD, 1440k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Tilting touchscreen|
|10 shutter flaps per second||10 shutter flaps per second|
|Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Waterproof body (nom)||Weathersealed body|
|300 shots per battery charge||650 shots per battery charge|
|117 x 76 x 37 mm, 319 g||127 x 96 x 74 mm, 650 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7 and the Sony Alpha A7R III? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Panasonic FT7 and the Sony A7R III. 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The FT7 can be obtained in three different colors (black, blue, orange), while the A7R III is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A7R III is notably larger (37 percent) than the Panasonic FT7. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments. More than that, the FT7 is water-proof up to 31m and can, thus, be used for underwater photography.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the FT7 has a lens built in, whereas the A7R III is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the A7R III and their specifications in the Sony FE Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the FT7 gets 300 shots out of its DMW-BCM13 battery, while the A7R III can take 650 images on a single charge of its NP-FZ100 power pack. The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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.
|Panasonic FT7||4.6 in||3.0 in||1.5 in||11.3 oz||300||Y||May 2018||449|
|Sony A7R III||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.9 in||22.9 oz||650||Y||Oct 2017||3,199|
|Canon SX740||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.6 in||10.5 oz||265||n||Jul 2018||399|
|Canon G1 X Mark III||4.5 in||3.1 in||2.0 in||14.1 oz||200||Y||Oct 2017||1,299|
|Canon SX730||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.6 in||10.6 oz||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|Fujifilm X-A5||4.6 in||2.7 in||1.6 in||12.7 oz||450||n||Jan 2018||399|
|Fujifilm XF10||4.4 in||2.5 in||1.6 in||9.8 oz||330||n||Jul 2018||499|
|Nikon Z7||5.3 in||4.0 in||2.6 in||23.8 oz||330||Y||Aug 2018||3,399|
|Nikon W300||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.1 in||8.1 oz||280||Y||May 2017||389|
|Panasonic TZ95||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.7 in||11.5 oz||380||n||Feb 2019||449|
|Panasonic TZ90||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.6 in||11.4 oz||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|Panasonic FZ82||5.1 in||3.7 in||4.7 in||21.7 oz||330||n||Jan 2017||399|
|Ricoh WG-6||4.6 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||8.7 oz||340||Y||Feb 2019||399|
|Sony A9||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.5 in||23.7 oz||650||Y||Apr 2017||4,499|
|Sony A99 II||5.6 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||29.9 oz||490||Y||Sep 2016||3,199|
|Sony A7R II||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||22.0 oz||290||Y||Jun 2015||3,199|
|Sony A7S II||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||22.1 oz||370||Y||Sep 2015||2,999|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The FT7 was launched at a lower price than the A7R III, despite having a lens built 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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Panasonic FT7 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Sony A7R III a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A7R III is 2979 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.0. The sensor in the FT7 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the A7R III offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 42.2MP, the A7R III offers a higher resolution than the FT7 (20.2MP), but the A7R III nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.52μm versus 1.18μm for the FT7) due to its larger sensor. However, the FT7 is a somewhat more recent model (by 6 months) than the A7R III, 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 the A7R III has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A7R III implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A7R III for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 39.8 x 26.5 inches or 101 x 67.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 31.8 x 21.2 inches or 80.8 x 53.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 26.5 x 17.7 inches or 67.3 x 44.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic FT7 are 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm for good quality, 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm for very good quality, and 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The A7R III has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
Unlike the FT7, the A7R III has the capacity to capture high quality composite images by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).
The Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 80-6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A7R III are ISO 100 to ISO 32000, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-102400.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Sony A7R III||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||14.7||3523||100|
|Canon G1 X Mark III||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Nikon Z7||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/30p||26.3||14.6||2668||99|
|Sony A9||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.9||13.3||3517||92|
|Sony A99 II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||25.4||13.4||2317||92|
|Sony A7R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||13.9||3434||98|
|Sony A7S II||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/30p||23.6||13.3||2993||85|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under review are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the A7R III offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the FT7 (3686k vs 1170k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic FT7, the Sony A7R III, and comparable cameras.
|Sony A7R III||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|Canon G1 X Mark III||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||9.0||Y||Y|
|Sony A99 II||2400||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||n||Y|
|Sony A7R II||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
|Sony A7S II||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The FT7 has one, while the A7R III does not. While the built-in flash of the FT7 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, both cameras under consideration feature an electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Sony A7R III has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The FT7 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A7R III uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A7R III features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the FT7 only has one slot. The A7R III supports UHS-II cards (on its first slot), while the FT7 can use UHS-I cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7 and Sony Alpha A7R III and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Sony A7R III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|Canon G1 X Mark III||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|Sony A99 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|Sony A7R II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Sony A7S II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the A7R III has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The FT7 does not feature such a mic input.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Sony A7R III (unlike the FT7) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The FT7 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Panasonic. In contrast, the A7R III has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the A7R III was succeeded by the Sony A7R IV. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Panasonic and Sony websites.
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Panasonic FT7 and the Sony A7R III? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the A7R III requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (117x76mm vs 127x96mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the A7R III).
- Water-proof: Is rugged and sealed and can thus be used for underwater photography (up to 31m).
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 6 months after the A7R III).
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A7R III:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (42.2 vs 20.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 48%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (3686k vs 1170k dots).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.78x vs 0.45x).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1440k vs 1040k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/1300s) to freeze action.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (650 versus 300) out of a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.1 vs 2.0).
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in October 2017).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A7R III is the clear winner of the contest (27 : 8 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. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Panasonic FT7 and the Sony A7R III place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the FT7 or the A7R III perform in practice. 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 table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|Panasonic FT7||+||..||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||May 2018||449|
|Sony A7R III||+ +||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Oct 2017||3,199|
|Canon SX740||+||..||4/5||..||4/5||Jul 2018||399|
|Canon G1 X Mark III||+||79/100||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Oct 2017||1,299|
|Canon SX730||+||..||4/5||..||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|Fujifilm X-A5||+||..||4/5||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2018||399|
|Fujifilm XF10||..||75/100||4/5||..||4.5/5||Jul 2018||499|
|Nikon Z7||+||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2018||3,399|
|Nikon W300||+||..||4/5||..||4/5||May 2017||389|
|Panasonic TZ95||+ +||..||4.5/5||..||..||Feb 2019||449|
|Panasonic TZ90||+ +||..||4/5||..||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|Panasonic FZ82||+ +||..||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Jan 2017||399|
|Ricoh WG-6||..||..||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||Feb 2019||399|
|Sony A9||+ +||89/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Apr 2017||4,499|
|Sony A99 II||..||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||3,199|
|Sony A7R II||+ +||90/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Jun 2015||3,199|
|Sony A7S II||+||..||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Sep 2015||2,999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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 are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 1000D vs Sony A7R III
- Canon 1D C vs Panasonic FT7
- Canon 200D vs Panasonic FT7
- Canon 350D vs Sony A7R III
- Canon 6D vs Panasonic FT7
- Canon G9 X Mark II vs Panasonic FT7
- Canon SX530 vs Sony A7R III
- Fujifilm X-T10 vs Sony A7R III
- Fujifilm XP130 vs Panasonic FT7
- Olympus E-400 vs Sony A7R III
- Sony A7 vs Sony A7R III
- Sony A7R III vs Sony A7S II
Specifications: Panasonic FT7 vs Sony A7R III
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Panasonic FT7||Sony A7R III|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||28-128mm f/3.3-5.9||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||May 2018||October 2017|
|Launch Price||USD 449||USD 3,199|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic FT7||Sony A7R III|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||35.9 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||861.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||43.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20.2 Megapixels||42.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3888 pixels||7952 x 5304 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.18 μm||4.52 μm|
|Pixel Density||71.80 MP/cm2||4.90 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 32,000 ISO|
|ISO Boost||80 - 6,400 ISO||50 - 102,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||Venus||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||100|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||26.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||14.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||3523|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic FT7||Sony A7R III|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1170k dots||3686k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1440k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic FT7||Sony A7R III|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/1300s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||YES|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||Single UHS-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Panasonic FT7||Sony A7R III|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.1|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Panasonic FT7||Sony A7R III|
|Environmental Sealing||Waterproof body (31m)||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||300 shots per charge||650 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
117 x 76 x 37 mm
(4.6 x 3.0 x 1.5 in)
127 x 96 x 74 mm
(5.0 x 3.8 x 2.9 in)
|Camera Weight||319 g (11.3 oz)||650 g (22.9 oz)|
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