Panasonic FZ300 vs Sony A68
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 (called Panasonic FZ330 in some regions) and the Sony Alpha SLT-A68 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in July 2015 and November 2015. The FZ300 is a fixed lens compact, while the A68 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (FZ300) and an APS-C (A68) 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-FZ300 and the Sony Alpha SLT-A68? 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 physical size and weight of the Panasonic FZ300 and the Sony A68 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. 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 measures 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 A68 is notably larger (22 percent) than the Panasonic FZ300. It is worth mentioning in this context that the FZ300 is splash and dust resistant, while the A68 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the FZ300 has a lens built in, whereas the A68 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
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, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Panasonic FZ300||132 mm||92 mm||117 mm||691 g||380||Y||Jul 2015||599|
|2.||Sony A68||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||610 g||540||n||Nov 2015||699|
|3.||Canon G3 X||123 mm||77 mm||105 mm||733 g||300||Y||Jun 2015||999|
|4.||Canon SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549|
|5.||Canon SX1||128 mm||88 mm||88 mm||615 g||..||n||Sep 2008||599|
|6.||Fujifilm X30||119 mm||72 mm||60 mm||423 g||470||n||Aug 2014||599|
|7.||Kodak AZ901||139 mm||104 mm||119 mm||777 g||400||n||Jan 2016||499|
|8.||Panasonic FZ200||125 mm||87 mm||110 mm||588 g||540||n||Jul 2012||599|
|9.||Panasonic FZ150||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||528 g||410||n||Aug 2011||499|
|10.||Panasonic FZ100||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||540 g||410||n||Jul 2010||499|
|11.||Panasonic LX5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Jul 2010||499|
|12.||Pentax K-S1||121 mm||93 mm||70 mm||558 g||410||n||Aug 2014||749|
|13.||Sony A77 II||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||647 g||480||Y||May 2014||1,199|
|14.||Sony A6000||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599|
|15.||Sony HX400V||130 mm||93 mm||103 mm||660 g||300||n||Feb 2014||499|
|16.||Sony A58||129 mm||95 mm||78 mm||492 g||690||n||Feb 2013||599|
|17.||Sony A77||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||732 g||470||Y||Aug 2011||1,399|
|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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The FZ300 was launched at a lower price than the A68, 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 size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Panasonic FZ300 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Sony A68 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the A68 is 1211 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.5. The sensor in the FZ300 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the A68 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 24MP, the A68 offers a higher resolution than the FZ300 (12MP), but the A68 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 1.53μm for the FZ300) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the A68 is a somewhat more recent model (by 3 months) than the FZ300, and its sensor might 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 FZ300 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A68 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A68 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 FZ300 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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha SLT-A68 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the A68 offers substantially better image quality than the FZ300 (overall score 41 points higher). The advantage is based on 4.8 bits higher color depth, 2.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 2.9 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 |
|3.||Canon G3 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.4||12.3||521||63|
|13.||Sony A77 II||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
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, but the FZ300 provides a higher video resolution than the A68. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Sony is limited to 1080/60i.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The FZ300 and the A68 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 1440k dots. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic FZ300, the Sony A68, and comparable cameras.
|3.||Canon G3 X||optional||n||3.2||1620||tilting||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
|13.||Sony A77 II||2359||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||Y||Y|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The FZ300 has a touchscreen, while the A68 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The FZ300 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 A68 does not have a selfie-screen.
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 FZ300 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 Panasonic FZ300 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 FZ300 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A68 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
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-FZ300 and Sony Alpha SLT-A68 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|3.||Canon G3 X||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|13.||Sony A77 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the FZ300 offers wifi support, while the A68 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
The FZ300 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Panasonic. In contrast, the A68 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the A68 from Sony. 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 FZ300 better than the Sony A68 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60i).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.57x).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 460k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12 vs 8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the A68 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (132x92mm vs 143x104mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- 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 heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in July 2015).
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha SLT-A68:
- 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 (41 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (4.8 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2.5 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (2.9 stops ISO advantage).
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (540 versus 380) out of a single battery charge.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (3 months) more recently.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the FZ300 is the clear winner of the match-up (17 : 10 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 FZ300 and the Sony A68 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the FZ300 and the A68 in practical situations. 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 ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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 FZ300||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2015||599|
|2.||Sony A68||3/5||..||..||4/5||4/5||Nov 2015||699|
|3.||Canon G3 X||3.5/5||+||..||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2015||999|
|4.||Canon SX60||3/5||+ +||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549|
|5.||Canon SX1||..||+ +||+||..||3.5/5||Sep 2008||599|
|6.||Fujifilm X30||4/5||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2014||599|
|7.||Kodak AZ901||..||..||..||3.5/5||3/5||Jan 2016||499|
|8.||Panasonic FZ200||3/5||+ +||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||599|
|9.||Panasonic FZ150||3/5||+ +||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||499|
|10.||Panasonic FZ100||..||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|11.||Panasonic LX5||4/5||+||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|12.||Pentax K-S1||4/5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2014||749|
|13.||Sony A77 II||4/5||..||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||1,199|
|14.||Sony A6000||5/5||+||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599|
|15.||Sony HX400V||4/5||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2014||499|
|16.||Sony A58||3/5||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||599|
|17.||Sony A77||5/5||91/100||81/100||..||5/5||Aug 2011||1,399|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
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Specifications: Panasonic FZ300 vs Sony A68
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 FZ300||Sony A68|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||25-600mm f/2.8||Sony A mount lenses|
|Launch Date||July 2015||November 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 699|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic FZ300||Sony A68|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4000 x 3000 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.53 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||42.74 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||Venus||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||38||79|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||19.3||24.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.0||13.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||97||701|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic FZ300||Sony A68|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots||1440k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||2.7inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic FZ300||Sony A68|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||12 shutter flaps/s||8 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||no E-Shutter|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Panasonic FZ300||Sony A68|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Panasonic FZ300||Sony A68|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||380 shots per charge||540 shots per charge|
132 x 92 x 117 mm
(5.2 x 3.6 x 4.6 in)
143 x 104 x 81 mm
(5.6 x 4.1 x 3.2 in)
|Camera Weight||691 g (24.4 oz)||610 g (21.5 oz)|
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