Panasonic FZ150 vs Sony A7
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 and the Sony Alpha A7 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2011 and October 2013. The FZ150 is a fixed lens compact, while the A7 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (FZ150) and a full frame (A7) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 12 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 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 DMC-FZ150 and the Sony Alpha A7? 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 FZ150 and the Sony A7. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A7 is notably larger (17 percent) than the Panasonic FZ150. It is noteworthy in this context that the A7 is splash and dust-proof, while the FZ150 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the FZ150 has a lens built in, whereas the A7 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 A7 and their specifications in the Sony FE Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the FZ150 gets 410 shots out of its DMW-BMB9 battery, while the A7 can take 340 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack. The power pack in the A7 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Panasonic FZ150||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||528 g||410||n||Aug 2011||499|
|2.||Sony A7||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||474 g||340||Y||Oct 2013||1,699|
|3.||Canon SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549|
|4.||Canon SX50||123 mm||87 mm||106 mm||595 g||315||n||Sep 2012||429|
|5.||Canon SX40||123 mm||92 mm||108 mm||600 g||380||n||Sep 2011||429|
|6.||Canon SX30||123 mm||92 mm||108 mm||601 g||370||n||Sep 2010||429|
|7.||Leica V-LUX 4||125 mm||87 mm||110 mm||588 g||540||n||Sep 2012||949|
|8.||Panasonic ZS70||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|9.||Panasonic FZ200||125 mm||87 mm||110 mm||588 g||540||n||Jul 2012||599|
|10.||Panasonic LX7||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Jul 2012||499|
|11.||Panasonic FZ100||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||540 g||410||n||Jul 2010||499|
|12.||Panasonic LX5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Jul 2010||499|
|13.||Sony A7 II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||599 g||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999|
|14.||Sony A7S||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||489 g||380||Y||Apr 2014||2,499|
|15.||Sony A7R||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||465 g||340||Y||Oct 2013||2,299|
|16.||Sony RX1R||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Jun 2013||2,799|
|17.||Sony RX1||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Sep 2012||2,799|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The FZ150 was launched at a lower price than the A7, 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 imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the 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 FZ150 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Sony A7 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A7 is 2957 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 FZ150 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the A7 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 24MP, the A7 offers a higher resolution than the FZ150 (12MP), but the A7 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.97μm versus 1.53μm for the FZ150) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the A7 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 1 month) than the FZ150, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the FZ150 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A7 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A7 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic FZ150 are 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm for excellent quality prints.
The A7 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 100-6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A7 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-51200.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the A7 offers substantially better image quality than the FZ150 (overall score 50 points higher). The advantage is based on 5.4 bits higher color depth, 3.3 EV in additional dynamic range, and 4.1 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.
| DXO |
|2.||Sony A7||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||14.2||2248||90|
|7.||Leica V-LUX 4||1/2.3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|13.||Sony A7 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90|
|14.||Sony A7S||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||1080/60p||23.9||13.2||3702||87|
|15.||Sony A7R||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.6||14.1||2746||95|
|16.||Sony RX1R||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||13.6||2537||91|
|17.||Sony RX1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.1||14.3||2534||93|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The two cameras under review are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the A7 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the FZ150 (2400k vs 202k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic FZ150, the Sony A7, and comparable cameras.
|7.||Leica V-LUX 4||1312||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|13.||Sony A7 II||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The FZ150 has one, while the A7 does not. While the built-in flash of the FZ150 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The FZ150 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the A7 does not have a selfie-screen.
The FZ150 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A7 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A7 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the FZ150 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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 DMC-FZ150 and Sony Alpha A7 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|7.||Leica V-LUX 4||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Sony A7 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the A7 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the FZ150 does not provide wifi capability.
Both the FZ150 and the A7 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The FZ150 was replaced by the Panasonic FZ200, while the A7 was followed by the Sony A7 II. 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 the Panasonic FZ150 better than the Sony A7 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the A7 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (124x82mm vs 127x94mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (410 versus 340) on a single battery charge.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- 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 heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2011).
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A7:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 44%.
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (50 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (5.4 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (3.3 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (4.1 stops ISO advantage).
- 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 (2400k vs 202k dots).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1230k vs 460k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 1 month of technical progress since the FZ150 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A7 is the clear winner of the contest (19 : 11 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 FZ150 and the Sony A7 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the FZ150 or the A7 perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
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 FZ150||3/5||+ +||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||499|
|2.||Sony A7||5/5||+ +||80/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,699|
|3.||Canon SX60||3/5||+ +||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549|
|4.||Canon SX50||3/5||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||429|
|5.||Canon SX40||..||+||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2011||429|
|6.||Canon SX30||3/5||+ +||..||3.5/5||4/5||Sep 2010||429|
|7.||Leica V-LUX 4||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2012||949|
|8.||Panasonic ZS70||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|9.||Panasonic FZ200||3/5||+ +||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||599|
|10.||Panasonic LX7||3/5||+ +||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||499|
|11.||Panasonic FZ100||..||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|12.||Panasonic LX5||4/5||+||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|13.||Sony A7 II||5/5||+||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Nov 2014||1,999|
|14.||Sony A7S||4/5||..||86/100||4.5/5||5/5||Apr 2014||2,499|
|15.||Sony A7R||5/5||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||2,299|
|16.||Sony RX1R||5/5||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||2,799|
|17.||Sony RX1||5/5||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Panasonic FZ150 vs Sony A7
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 FZ150||Sony A7|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||25-600mm f/2.8-5.2||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2011||October 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 499||USD 1,699|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic FZ150||Sony A7|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||35.8 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||855.62 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||43 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4000 x 3000 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.53 μm||5.97 μm|
|Pixel Density||42.74 MP/cm2||2.80 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 6,400 ISO||50 - 51,200 ISO|
|Image Processor||Venus FHD||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||40||90|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||19.4||24.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.9||14.2|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||132||2248|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic FZ150||Sony A7|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||202k dots||2400k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||460k dots||1230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic FZ150||Sony A7|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||12 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Panasonic FZ150||Sony A7|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Panasonic FZ150||Sony A7|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||410 shots per charge||340 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
124 x 82 x 92 mm
(4.9 x 3.2 x 3.6 in)
127 x 94 x 48 mm
(5.0 x 3.7 x 1.9 in)
|Camera Weight||528 g (18.6 oz)||474 g (16.7 oz)|
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