Panasonic FZ80 vs Sony A7 II
The Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80 (called Panasonic FZ82 in some regions) and the Sony Alpha A7 II are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2017 and November 2014. The FZ80 is a fixed lens compact, while the A7 II is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (FZ80) and a full frame (A7 II) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 18 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.
|Panasonic FZ80||Sony A7 II|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|20-1200mm f/2.8-5.9||Sony E mount lenses|
|18 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor||24 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|4K/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO 80-3,200 (80 - 6,400)||ISO 100-25,600 (50 - 51,200)|
|Electronic viewfinder (1166k dots)||Electronic viewfinder (2400k dots)|
|3.0 LCD, 1040k dots||3.0 LCD, 1230k dots|
|Fixed touchscreen||Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|10 shutter flaps per second||5 shutter flaps per second|
|Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|330 shots per battery charge||350 shots per battery charge|
|130 x 94 x 119 mm, 616 g||127 x 96 x 60 mm, 599 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80 and the Sony Alpha A7 II? 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 Sony A7 II is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear 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 FZ80 and the Sony A7 II are of equal size. It is noteworthy in this context that the A7 II 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 A7 II 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 II and their specifications in the Sony FE Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the FZ80 gets 330 shots out of its DMW-BMB9 battery, while the A7 II can take 350 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack. The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, 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. 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.
|Panasonic FZ80||130 mm||94 mm||119 mm||616 g||330||n||Jan 2017||399|
|Sony A7 II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||599 g||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999|
|Canon SX740||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||265||n||Jul 2018||399|
|Canon SX70||127 mm||91 mm||117 mm||608 g||325||n||Sep 2018||549|
|Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|Panasonic ZS80||112 mm||69 mm||42 mm||327 g||380||n||Feb 2019||449|
|Panasonic TS7||117 mm||76 mm||37 mm||319 g||300||Y||May 2018||449|
|Panasonic ZS70||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|Sony A7 III||127 mm||96 mm||74 mm||650 g||610||Y||Feb 2018||1,999|
|Sony HX99||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||449|
|Sony HX95||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||429|
|Sony WX800||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||233 g||370||n||Oct 2018||399|
|Sony A9||127 mm||96 mm||63 mm||673 g||650||Y||Apr 2017||4,499|
|Sony HX350||130 mm||93 mm||103 mm||652 g||300||n||Dec 2016||449|
|Sony A7R II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||625 g||290||Y||Jun 2015||3,199|
|Sony A7S II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||627 g||370||Y||Sep 2015||2,999|
|Sony A7||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||474 g||340||Y||Oct 2013||1,699|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The FZ80 was launched at a lower price than the A7 II, 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.
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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Panasonic FZ80 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Sony A7 II a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A7 II 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 FZ80 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the A7 II offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 24MP, the A7 II offers a higher resolution than the FZ80 (18MP), but the A7 II nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.97μm versus 1.25μm for the FZ80) due to its larger sensor. However, the FZ80 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 1 month) than the A7 II, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. 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 Sony A7 II implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A7 II 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 FZ80 are 24.5 x 18.4 inches or 62.2 x 46.6 cm for good quality, 19.6 x 14.7 inches or 49.7 x 37.3 cm for very good quality, and 16.3 x 12.2 inches or 41.5 x 31.1 cm for excellent quality prints.
The A7 II has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
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 Sony Alpha A7 II 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 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Sony A7 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90|
|Sony A7 III||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.7||3730||96|
|Sony A9||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.9||13.3||3517||92|
|Sony A7R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||13.9||3434||98|
|Sony A7S II||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/30p||23.6||13.3||2993||85|
|Sony A7||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||14.2||2248||90|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the FZ80 provides a higher video resolution than the A7 II. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Sony is limited to 1080/60p.
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 A7 II offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the FZ80 (2400k vs 1166k dots). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Panasonic FZ80 and Sony A7 II in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Sony A7 II||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
|Sony A7 III||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|Sony A7R II||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
|Sony A7S II||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The FZ80 has one, while the A7 II does not. While the built-in flash of the FZ80 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 FZ80 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 FZ80 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A7 II 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 DC-FZ80 and Sony Alpha A7 II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Sony A7 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Sony A7 III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|Sony A7R II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Sony A7S II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the A7 II 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.
The FZ80 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Panasonic. In contrast, the A7 II has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the A7 II was succeeded by the Sony A7 III. 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 FZ80 better than the Sony A7 II or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80:
- 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 1080/60p).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- 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: Has a lens built-in, whereas the A7 II requires a separate lens.
- 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 modern: Reflects 2 years and 1 month of technical progress since the A7 II launch.
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A7 II:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 18MP), which boosts linear resolution by 18%.
- 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 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 1166k dots).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.71x vs 0.46x).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1230k vs 1040k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- 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.
- 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.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in November 2014).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A7 II is the clear winner of the contest (18 : 9 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 wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro 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 Sony A7 II 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the FZ80 and the A7 II 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 table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.
|Panasonic FZ80||+ +||..||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Jan 2017||399|
|Sony A7 II||+||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Nov 2014||1,999|
|Canon SX740||+||..||4/5||..||4/5||Jul 2018||399|
|Canon SX70||+ +||..||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||Sep 2018||549|
|Canon SX730||+||..||4/5||..||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|Panasonic ZS80||+ +||..||4.5/5||..||..||Feb 2019||449|
|Panasonic TS7||+||..||..||..||3.5/5||May 2018||449|
|Panasonic ZS70||+ +||..||4/5||..||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|Sony A7 III||+ +||89/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2018||1,999|
|Sony HX99||..||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||Aug 2018||449|
|Sony HX95||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 2018||429|
|Sony WX800||..||..||..||..||..||Oct 2018||399|
|Sony A9||+ +||89/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Apr 2017||4,499|
|Sony HX350||..||..||..||..||4/5||Dec 2016||449|
|Sony A7R II||+ +||90/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Jun 2015||3,199|
|Sony A7S II||+||..||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Sep 2015||2,999|
|Sony A7||+ +||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,699|
|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. 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. 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 use the search menu 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.
- Canon 30D vs Panasonic FZ80
- Canon 5DS R vs Panasonic FZ80
- Canon XS vs Panasonic FZ80
- Leica Q2 vs Panasonic FZ80
- Leica TL2 vs Sony A7 II
- Nikon B500 vs Panasonic FZ80
- Nikon D70s vs Panasonic FZ80
- Nikon W150 vs Sony A7 II
- Olympus E-P5 vs Sony A7 II
- Panasonic FZ80 vs Pentax Q
- Sony A6500 vs Sony A7 II
- Sony A68 vs Sony A7 II
Specifications: Panasonic FZ80 vs Sony A7 II
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||Sony A7 II|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||20-1200mm f/2.8-5.9||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2017||November 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 399||USD 1,999|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic FZ80||Sony A7 II|
|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||18 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4896 x 3672 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.25 μm||5.97 μm|
|Pixel Density||64.04 MP/cm2||2.80 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||80 - 6,400 ISO||50 - 51,200 ISO|
|Image Processor||Venus||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||90|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||24.9|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||13.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||2449|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic FZ80||Sony A7 II|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1166k dots||2400k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic FZ80||Sony A7 II|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000s||1/8000s|
|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||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Panasonic FZ80||Sony A7 II|
|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||Sony A7 II|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||330 shots per charge||350 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
130 x 94 x 119 mm
(5.1 x 3.7 x 4.7 in)
127 x 96 x 60 mm
(5.0 x 3.8 x 2.4 in)
|Camera Weight||616 g (21.7 oz)||599 g (21.1 oz)|
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