Panasonic FT7 vs Sony A900
The Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7 (called Panasonic TS7 in some regions) and the Sony Alpha A900 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in May 2018 and September 2008. The FT7 is a fixed lens compact, while the A900 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (FT7) and a full frame (A900) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 20.2 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24.4 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7 and the Sony Alpha A900? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Panasonic FT7 and the Sony A900 is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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.
The FT7 can be obtained in three different colors (black, blue, orange), while the A900 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 A900 is considerably larger (105 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 A900 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
Concerning battery life, the FT7 gets 300 shots out of its DMW-BCM13 battery, while the A900 can take 880 images on a single charge of its NP-FM500H power pack. The power pack in the FT7 can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.
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, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Panasonic FT7||117 mm||76 mm||37 mm||319 g||300||Y||May 2018||449|
|2.||Sony A900||156 mm||117 mm||82 mm||895 g||880||Y||Sep 2008||2,999|
|3.||Canon SX740||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||265||n||Jul 2018||399|
|4.||Canon G1 X Mark III||115 mm||78 mm||51 mm||399 g||200||Y||Oct 2017||1,299|
|5.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|6.||Canon 5D Mark II||152 mm||114 mm||75 mm||850 g||850||Y||Sep 2008||3,499|
|7.||Fujifilm X-A5||117 mm||68 mm||40 mm||361 g||450||n||Jan 2018||399|
|8.||Fujifilm XF10||113 mm||64 mm||41 mm||279 g||330||n||Jul 2018||499|
|9.||Nikon W300||112 mm||66 mm||29 mm||231 g||280||Y||May 2017||389|
|10.||Panasonic S1||149 mm||110 mm||97 mm||1017 g||400||Y||Feb 2019||2,499|
|11.||Panasonic TZ95||112 mm||69 mm||42 mm||327 g||380||n||Feb 2019||449|
|12.||Panasonic TZ90||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|13.||Panasonic FZ82||130 mm||94 mm||119 mm||616 g||330||n||Jan 2017||399|
|14.||Ricoh WG-6||118 mm||66 mm||33 mm||246 g||340||Y||Feb 2019||399|
|15.||Sony A99 II||143 mm||104 mm||76 mm||849 g||490||Y||Sep 2016||3,199|
|16.||Sony A99||147 mm||111 mm||78 mm||812 g||500||Y||Sep 2012||2,799|
|17.||Sony A850||156 mm||117 mm||82 mm||895 g||880||Y||Aug 2009||1,999|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
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 A900, despite having a lens built in. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. 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.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Panasonic FT7 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Sony A900 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A900 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 A900 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 24.4MP, the A900 offers a higher resolution than the FT7 (20.2MP), but the A900 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 1.18μm for the FT7) due to its larger sensor. However, the FT7 is a much more recent model (by 9 years and 8 months) than the A900, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A900 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A900 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30.2 x 20.2 inches or 76.8 x 51.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24.2 x 16.1 inches or 61.4 x 41 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20.2 x 13.4 inches or 51.2 x 34.1 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 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 A900 are ISO 200 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-6400.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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.
| DXO |
|2.||Sony A900||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.7||12.3||1431||79|
|4.||Canon G1 X Mark III||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|6.||Canon 5D Mark II||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||1080/30p||23.7||11.9||1815||79|
|10.||Panasonic S1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/60p||25.2||14.5||3333||95|
|15.||Sony A99 II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||25.4||13.4||2317||92|
|16.||Sony A99||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||14.0||1555||89|
|17.||Sony A850||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.8||12.2||1415||79|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The FT7 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the A900 does not. The highest resolution format that the FT7 can use is 4K/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the FT7 has an electronic viewfinder (1170k dots), while the A900 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), but the viewfinder of the A900 has a higher magnification than the one of the FT7 (0.74x vs 0.45x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Panasonic FT7 and Sony A900 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|4.||Canon G1 X Mark III||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||9.0||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon 5D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.9||n||n|
|15.||Sony A99 II||2400||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||n||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The FT7 has one, while the A900 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, the FT7 is one of those camera that have an additional 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 FT7 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A900 uses Compact Flash or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A900 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the FT7 only has one slot.
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 A900 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|4.||Canon G1 X Mark III||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon 5D Mark II||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Sony A99 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
It is notable that the FT7 offers wifi support, while the A900 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Sony A900 (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 A900 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the A900 was succeeded by the Sony A99. 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 conclusions can be drawn? Is the Panasonic FT7 better than the Sony A900 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7:
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 4K/30p movies.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 922k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 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 built-in lens, while the A900 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (117x76mm vs 156x117mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the A900).
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- 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.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 9 years and 8 months of technical progress since the A900 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A900:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24.4 vs 20.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 12%.
- 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.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.74x vs 0.45x).
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/1300s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (880 versus 300) out of a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- 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.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2008).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A900 comes out slightly ahead of the FT7 (15 : 14 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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 A900 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the FT7 or the A900. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.
|1.||Panasonic FT7||..||+||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||May 2018||449|
|2.||Sony A900||..||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2008||2,999|
|3.||Canon SX740||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2018||399|
|4.||Canon G1 X Mark III||5/5||+||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2017||1,299|
|5.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|6.||Canon 5D Mark II||4/5||91/100||79/100||4/5||..||Sep 2008||3,499|
|7.||Fujifilm X-A5||..||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2018||399|
|8.||Fujifilm XF10||..||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2018||499|
|9.||Nikon W300||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||May 2017||389|
|10.||Panasonic S1||4.5/5||+ +||88/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2019||2,499|
|11.||Panasonic TZ95||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||..||Feb 2019||449|
|12.||Panasonic TZ90||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|13.||Panasonic FZ82||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||399|
|14.||Ricoh WG-6||..||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2019||399|
|15.||Sony A99 II||..||..||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||3,199|
|16.||Sony A99||5/5||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799|
|17.||Sony A850||3/5||..||75/100||..||4.5/5||Aug 2009||1,999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
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Specifications: Panasonic FT7 vs Sony A900
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 A900|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||28-128mm f/3.3-5.9||Sony A mount lenses|
|Launch Date||May 2018||September 2008|
|Launch Price||USD 449||USD 2,999|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic FT7||Sony A900|
|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||24.4 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3888 pixels||6048 x 4032 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.18 μm||5.94 μm|
|Pixel Density||71.80 MP/cm2||2.83 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 3,200 ISO||200 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||80 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||79|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||23.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||12.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||1431|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic FT7||Sony A900|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1170k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic FT7||Sony A900|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||no E-Shutter|
|Image Stabilization||Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||CF or MS cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Panasonic FT7||Sony A900|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Panasonic FT7||Sony A900|
|Environmental Sealing||Waterproof body (31m)||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||300 shots per charge||880 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
117 x 76 x 37 mm
(4.6 x 3.0 x 1.5 in)
156 x 117 x 82 mm
(6.1 x 4.6 x 3.2 in)
|Camera Weight||319 g (11.3 oz)||895 g (31.6 oz)|
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