Panasonic FZ80 vs GH4
The Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80 (called Panasonic FZ82 in some regions) and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2017 and February 2014. The FZ80 is a fixed lens compact, while the GH4 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (FZ80) and a Four Thirds (GH4) sensor. The FZ80 has a resolution of 18 megapixels, whereas the GH4 provides 15.9 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-FZ80 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4? 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 FZ80 and the Panasonic GH4 is provided 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 Panasonic GH4 is somewhat larger (1 percent) than the Panasonic FZ80. It is noteworthy in this context that the GH4 is splash and dust-proof, while the FZ80 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the FZ80 has a lens built in, whereas the GH4 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 GH4 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the FZ80 gets 330 shots out of its DMW-BMB9 battery, while the GH4 can take 500 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLF19 power pack. The power pack in the FZ80 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. 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 FZ80||5.1 in||3.7 in||4.7 in||21.7 oz||330||n||Jan 2017||399|
|2.||Panasonic GH4||5.2 in||3.7 in||3.3 in||19.8 oz||500||Y||Feb 2014||1,499|
|3.||Canon SX740||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.6 in||10.5 oz||265||n||Jul 2018||399|
|4.||Canon SX70||5.0 in||3.6 in||4.6 in||21.4 oz||325||n||Sep 2018||549|
|5.||Canon SX730||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.6 in||10.6 oz||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|6.||Olympus E-M5 II||4.9 in||3.3 in||1.8 in||16.5 oz||310||Y||Feb 2015||1,099|
|7.||Olympus E-M1||5.1 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||17.5 oz||350||Y||Sep 2013||1,399|
|8.||Panasonic ZS80||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.7 in||11.5 oz||380||n||Feb 2019||449|
|9.||Panasonic TS7||4.6 in||3.0 in||1.5 in||11.3 oz||300||Y||May 2018||449|
|10.||Panasonic GH5||5.5 in||3.9 in||3.4 in||25.6 oz||410||Y||Jan 2017||1,999|
|11.||Panasonic ZS70||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.6 in||11.4 oz||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|12.||Panasonic G6||4.8 in||3.3 in||2.8 in||13.8 oz||340||n||Apr 2013||599|
|13.||Panasonic GH3||5.2 in||3.7 in||3.2 in||19.4 oz||540||Y||Sep 2012||1,299|
|14.||Sony HX99||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.4 in||8.5 oz||370||n||Aug 2018||449|
|15.||Sony HX95||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.4 in||8.5 oz||370||n||Aug 2018||429|
|16.||Sony WX800||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.4 in||8.2 oz||370||n||Oct 2018||399|
|17.||Sony HX350||5.1 in||3.7 in||4.1 in||23.0 oz||300||n||Dec 2016||449|
|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 FZ80 was launched at a lower price than the GH4, 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. 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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Panasonic FZ80 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Panasonic GH4 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the GH4 is 704 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 2.0. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Panasonic FZ80 offers a higher resolution of 18 megapixels, compared with 15.9 MP of the Panasonic GH4. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.25μm versus 3.76μm for the GH4). However, it should be noted that the FZ80 is much more recent (by 2 years and 10 months) than the GH4, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the FZ80 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Panasonic FZ80 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the FZ80 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.5 x 18.4 inches or 62.2 x 46.6 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.6 x 14.7 inches or 49.7 x 37.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.3 x 12.2 inches or 41.5 x 31.1 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic GH4 are 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80 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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 are ISO 200 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
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.
| DXO |
|2.||Panasonic GH4||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||23.2||12.8||791||74|
|6.||Olympus E-M5 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.0||12.5||842||73|
|7.||Olympus E-M1||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||23.0||12.7||757||73|
|10.||Panasonic GH5||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/60p||23.9||13.0||807||77|
|12.||Panasonic G6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61|
|13.||Panasonic GH3||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||22.7||12.4||812||71|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. 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).
Beyond 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 GH4 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the FZ80 (2359k vs 1166k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic FZ80, the Panasonic GH4, and comparable cameras.
|6.||Olympus E-M5 II||2360||n||3.0||1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
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 Panasonic GH4 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.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the FZ80 and the GH4 write their files to SDXC 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 DC-FZ80 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|6.||Olympus E-M5 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
It is notable that the GH4 has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The FZ80 does not feature such a mic input.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Panasonic GH4 (unlike the FZ80) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The FZ80 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Panasonic. In contrast, the GH4 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the GH4 was succeeded by the Panasonic GH5. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Panasonic website.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Panasonic FZ80 better than the Panasonic GH4 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (18 vs 15.9MP) with a 6% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the GH4 requires a separate lens.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 10 months of technical progress since the GH4 launch.
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- 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 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 (2359k vs 1166k dots).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.67x vs 0.46x).
- 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 shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12 vs 10 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- 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 (500 versus 330) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2014).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GH4 is the clear winner of the contest (20 : 7 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 FZ80 and the Panasonic GH4 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 comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the FZ80 or the GH4 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 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 FZ80||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||399|
|2.||Panasonic GH4||5/5||+ +||85/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||1,499|
|3.||Canon SX740||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2018||399|
|4.||Canon SX70||..||+ +||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Sep 2018||549|
|5.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|6.||Olympus E-M5 II||5/5||+ +||81/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2015||1,099|
|7.||Olympus E-M1||5/5||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||1,399|
|8.||Panasonic ZS80||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||..||Feb 2019||449|
|9.||Panasonic TS7||..||+||..||..||3.5/5||May 2018||449|
|10.||Panasonic GH5||4.5/5||+ +||85/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2017||1,999|
|11.||Panasonic ZS70||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|12.||Panasonic G6||4/5||+ +||..||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||599|
|13.||Panasonic GH3||5/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||1,299|
|14.||Sony HX99||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||449|
|15.||Sony HX95||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 2018||429|
|16.||Sony WX800||..||..||..||..||..||Oct 2018||399|
|17.||Sony HX350||..||..||..||..||4/5||Dec 2016||449|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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 FZ80 vs Panasonic GH4
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 FZ80||Panasonic GH4|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||20-1200mm f/2.8-5.9||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2017||February 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 399||USD 1,499|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic FZ80||Panasonic GH4|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||18 Megapixels||15.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4896 x 3672 pixels||4608 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.25 μm||3.76 μm|
|Pixel Density||64.04 MP/cm2||7.08 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 3,200 ISO||200 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||80 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||Venus||Venus IX|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||74|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||23.2|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||12.8|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||791|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic FZ80||Panasonic GH4|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1166k dots||2359k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1036k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic FZ80||Panasonic GH4|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||12 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||up to 1/8000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Panasonic FZ80||Panasonic GH4|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|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|
|Body Specs||Panasonic FZ80||Panasonic GH4|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||330 shots per charge||500 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
130 x 94 x 119 mm
(5.1 x 3.7 x 4.7 in)
133 x 93 x 84 mm
(5.2 x 3.7 x 3.3 in)
|Camera Weight||616 g (21.7 oz)||560 g (19.8 oz)|
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