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Panasonic FZ1000 versus Sony RX100 IV

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in June 2014 and June 2015. Both the FZ1000 and the RX100 IV are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with an one-inch sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 20 megapixel. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Panasonic FZ1000 vs Sony RX100 IV

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Panasonic FZ1000 and the Sony RX100 IV. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the FZ1000 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Panasonic FZ1000 vs Sony RX100 IV
Compare FZ1000 versus RX100 IV top
Compare FZ1000 and RX100 IV rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony RX100 IV is considerably smaller (56 percent) than the Panasonic FZ1000. Moreover, the RX100 IV is substantially lighter (64 percent) than the FZ1000. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the FZ1000 nor the RX100 IV are weather-sealed.

Concerning battery life, the FZ1000 gets 360 shots out of its DMW-BLC12 battery, while the RX100 IV can take 280 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Panasonic FZ1000» 5.4 in 3.9 in 5.2 in 29.3 oz 360 n Jun 2014 899- i
Sony RX100 IV« 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 280 n Jun 2015 999- i
Canon T6i« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 440 n Feb 2015 749- i
Canon T6s« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.9 oz 440 n Feb 2015 849- i
Canon G3 X« » 4.8 in 3.0 in 4.1 in 25.9 oz 300 Y Jun 2015 999 i i
Canon G5 X« » 4.4 in 3.0 in 1.7 in 12.5 oz 210 n Oct 2015 799 i i
Canon G7 X« » 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.6 in 10.7 oz 210 n Sep 2014 699- i
Panasonic FZ2500« » 5.4 in 4.0 in 5.3 in 32.3 oz 350 n Sep 2016 1,199 i i
Panasonic FZ300« » 5.2 in 3.6 in 4.6 in 24.4 oz 380 Y Jul 2015 599 i i
Panasonic LX100« » 4.5 in 2.6 in 2.2 in 13.9 oz 300 n Sep 2014 899 i i
Sony RX100 V« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 220 n Oct 2016 999 i i
Sony A6000« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.8 in 12.1 oz 360 n Feb 2014 599- i
Sony RX100 III« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.2 oz 320 n May 2014 799- i
Sony RX100 II« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 9.9 oz 350 n Jun 2013 749- i

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 FZ1000 was somewhat cheaper (by 10 percent) than the RX100 IV at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Panasonic FZ1000 vs Sony RX100 IV

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an one-inch sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.7. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Panasonic FZ1000 and Sony RX100 IV sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 20 megapixel. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the FZ1000 and the RX100 IV have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the RX100 IV is a somewhat more recent model (by 11 months) than the FZ1000, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

FZ1000 versus RX100 IV MP

For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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. Of the two cameras under consideration, the RX100 IV has a markedly higher DXO score than the FZ1000 (overall score 6 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.7 bits higher color depth, 0.9 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.2 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Panasonic FZ1000» 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.111.751764
Sony RX100 IV« 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170
Canon T6i« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p22.712.091971
Canon T6s« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
Canon G3 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.412.352163
Canon G5 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p----
Canon G7 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671
Panasonic FZ2500« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----
Panasonic FZ300« » 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30004K/30p19.311.09738
Panasonic LX100« » Four Thirds 12.7 4112 30884K/30p22.312.555367
Sony RX100 V« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.458670
Sony A6000« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782
Sony RX100 III« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.412.349567
Sony RX100 II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.512.448367

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).

 

Feature comparison: Panasonic FZ1000 vs Sony RX100 IV

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The FZ1000 and the RX100 IV are similar in the sense that both feature an electronic viewfinder, which is helpful when framing images in bright sunlight. Moreover, their viewfinders offer an identical resolution of 2359k dots. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Panasonic FZ1000 and Sony RX100 IV in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Panasonic FZ1000»2359 n 3.0 921 swivel n 4000 12.0 Y Y
Sony RX100 IV«2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 2000 16.0 Y Y
Canon T6i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Canon T6s« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Canon G3 X« »- n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 2000 5.9 Y Y
Canon G5 X« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 2000 5.9 Y Y
Canon G7 X« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 2000 6.5 Y Y
Panasonic FZ2500« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 12.0 Y Y
Panasonic FZ300« »1440 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 12.0 Y Y
Panasonic LX100« »2764 n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 11.0 n Y
Sony RX100 V« »2359 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 24.0 Y Y
Sony A6000« »1440 n 3.0 922 tilting n 4000 11.0 Y n
Sony RX100 III« »1440 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 10.0 Y Y
Sony RX100 II« »- n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 10.0 Y Y

Both the FZ1000 and the RX100 IV have zoom lenses build in. The FZ1000 has a 25-400mm f/2.8-4.0 optic and the RX100 IV offers a 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Sony provides a wider angle of view at the short end than the Panasonic, but less tele-photo reach at the long end. The RX100 IV offers the faster maximum aperture.

Both the FZ1000 and the RX100 IV have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The FZ1000 was replaced by the Panasonic FZ2500, while the RX100 IV was followed by the Sony RX100 IV.

Review summary: Panasonic FZ1000 vs Sony RX100 IV

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Panasonic FZ1000 better than the Sony RX100 IV or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000:

  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (4000/sec vs 2000/sec) to freeze action.
  • More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (360 versus 280) on a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in June 2014).

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Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (6 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.9 EV of extra DR).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1228k vs 921k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (16 vs 12 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/1.8 vs f/2.8).
  • Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
  • More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 137x99mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 533g or 64 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (11 months) more recently.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX100 IV is the clear winner of the contest (9 : 5 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera.

FZ1000 05:09 RX100 IV

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 FZ1000 or the RX100 IV handle or 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 why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Panasonic FZ1000»HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 899- i
Sony RX100 IV«HiRec85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999- i
Canon T6i« »-75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749- i
Canon T6s« »Rec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 849- i
Canon G3 X« »Rec-4.5/53.5/54/5 Jun 2015 999 i i
Canon G5 X« »HiRec78/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 799 i i
Canon G7 X« »HiRec77/1004.5/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699- i
Panasonic FZ2500« »Rec82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Sep 2016 1,199 i i
Panasonic FZ300« »HiRec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jul 2015 599 i i
Panasonic LX100« »HiRec85/1005/54/55/5 Sep 2014 899 i i
Sony RX100 V« »HiRec83/1004/55/54.5/5 Oct 2016 999 i i
Sony A6000« »Rec80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2014 599- i
Sony RX100 III« »HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2014 799- i
Sony RX100 II« »HiRec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jun 2013 749- i

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when refering to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

 

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, kindly get in touch, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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