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Panasonic GX85 versus Panasonic ZS100

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 (called Panasonic GX80 in some regions) and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 (labelled Panasonic TZ100 in some countries) are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in April 2016 and January 2016. The GX85 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the ZS100 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (GX85) and an one-inch (ZS100) sensor. The GX85 has a resolution of 15.8 megapixel, whereas the ZS100 provides 20 MP. 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 GX85 vs Panasonic ZS100

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Panasonic GX85 and the Panasonic ZS100. 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the GX85 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Panasonic GX85 vs Panasonic ZS100
Compare GX85 versus ZS100 top
Compare GX85 and ZS100 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic ZS100 is notably smaller (17 percent) than the Panasonic GX85. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the GX85 nor the ZS100 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the ZS100 has a lens build in, whereas the GX85 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can find an overview of optics for the GX85 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras 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)
Camera
Model
Panasonic GX85» 4.8 in 2.8 in 1.7 in 15.0 oz 290 n Apr 2016 799 i i Panasonic GX85
Panasonic ZS100« 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 11.0 oz 300 n Jan 2016 699- i Panasonic ZS100
Canon M3« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.7 in 12.9 oz 250 n Feb 2015 679- i Canon M3
Canon G5 X« » 4.4 in 3.0 in 1.7 in 12.5 oz 210 n Oct 2015 799 i i Canon G5 X
Olympus E-M10 II« » 4.7 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 13.8 oz 320 n Aug 2015 799- i Olympus E-M10 II
Olympus E-M5 II« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 1.8 in 16.5 oz 310 Y Feb 2015 1,099 i i Olympus E-M5 II
Olympus E-M10« » 4.7 in 3.2 in 1.8 in 14.0 oz 320 n Jan 2014 699- i Olympus E-M10
Panasonic ZS200« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.8 in 12.0 oz 370 n Feb 2018 799 i i Panasonic ZS200
Panasonic GX9« » 4.9 in 2.8 in 1.9 in 14.4 oz 260 n Feb 2018 849 i i Panasonic GX9
Panasonic G85« » 5.0 in 3.5 in 2.9 in 17.8 oz 330 Y Sep 2016 899 i i Panasonic G85
Panasonic LX10« » 4.2 in 2.4 in 1.7 in 10.9 oz 260 n Sep 2016 699 i i Panasonic LX10
Panasonic G7« » 4.9 in 3.4 in 3.0 in 14.5 oz 350 n May 2015 649- i Panasonic G7
Panasonic GM5« » 3.9 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 7.4 oz 220 n Sep 2014 749- i Panasonic GM5
Panasonic GM1« » 3.9 in 2.2 in 1.2 in 7.2 oz 230 n Oct 2013 749- i Panasonic GM1
Panasonic GX7« » 4.8 in 2.8 in 2.2 in 14.2 oz 350 n Aug 2013 999- i Panasonic GX7
Sony RX100 IV« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 280 n Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 ZS100 was launched at a lower price than the GX85, despite having a lens build 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Panasonic GX85 vs Panasonic ZS100

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Panasonic GX85 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Panasonic ZS100 an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the ZS100 is 48 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 2.7. The sensor in the GX85 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the ZS100 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Panasonic GX85 and Panasonic ZS100 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the ZS100 offers a higher resolution of 20 megapixel, compared with 15.8 MP of the GX85. This megapixel advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 2.41μm versus 3.77μm for the GX85). Moreover, it should be noted that the GX85 is a somewhat more recent model (by 2 months) than the ZS100, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the GX85 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

GX85 versus ZS100 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar image quality. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Panasonic GX85» Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p22.912.666271Panasonic GX85
Panasonic ZS100« 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.555970Panasonic ZS100
Canon M3« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.811.8116972Canon M3
Canon G5 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p----Canon G5 X
Olympus E-M10 II« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.112.584273Olympus E-M10 II
Olympus E-M5 II« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.012.584273Olympus E-M5 II
Olympus E-M10« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388472Olympus E-M10
Panasonic ZS200« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----Panasonic ZS200
Panasonic GX9« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p----Panasonic GX9
Panasonic G85« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p22.812.565671Panasonic G85
Panasonic LX10« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----Panasonic LX10
Panasonic G7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p----Panasonic G7
Panasonic GM5« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.111.772166Panasonic GM5
Panasonic GM1« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i22.311.766066Panasonic GM1
Panasonic GX7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.612.271870Panasonic GX7
Sony RX100 IV« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170Sony RX100 IV

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 (4K/30p).

 

Feature comparison: Panasonic GX85 vs Panasonic ZS100

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The two cameras under consideration are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the GX85 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the ZS100 (2765k vs 1166k dots). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Panasonic GX85 and Panasonic ZS100 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
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
Camera
Model
Panasonic GX85»2765 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y Panasonic GX85
Panasonic ZS100«1166 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 2000 10.0 Y Y Panasonic ZS100
Canon M3« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.2 Y n Canon M3
Canon G5 X« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 2000 5.9 Y Y Canon G5 X
Olympus E-M10 II« »2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y Olympus E-M10 II
Olympus E-M5 II« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 10.0 n Y Olympus E-M5 II
Olympus E-M10« »1440 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y Olympus E-M10
Panasonic ZS200« »2330 n 3.0 1240 fixed Y 2000 10.0 Y Y Panasonic ZS200
Panasonic GX9« »2760 n 3.0 1240 tilting Y 4000 9.0 Y Y Panasonic GX9
Panasonic G85« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 9.0 Y Y Panasonic G85
Panasonic LX10« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 10.0 Y Y Panasonic LX10
Panasonic G7« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n Panasonic G7
Panasonic GM5« »1166 n 3.0 921 fixed Y 500 5.8 n n Panasonic GM5
Panasonic GM1« »- n 3.0 1036 fixed Y 500 5.0 Y n Panasonic GM1
Panasonic GX7« »2760 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 8000 5.0 Y Y Panasonic GX7
Sony RX100 IV« »2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 2000 16.0 Y Y Sony RX100 IV

The reported shutter speed and shutter burst refer to the use of the mechanical shutter. In addition, both cameras feature an electronic shutter, which makes silent shooting and higher burst speeds possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (flickering).

The GX85 is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the ZS100 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the ZS100 was succeeded by the Panasonic ZS200.

Review summary: Panasonic GX85 vs Panasonic ZS100

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Panasonic GX85 or the Panasonic ZS100 – has the upper hand? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (2765k vs 1166k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (4000/sec vs 2000/sec) to freeze action.
  • More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 2 months after the ZS100).


Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 15.8MP), which boosts linear resolution by 15%.
  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the GX85 necessitates an extra lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (111x65mm vs 122x71mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens build in (unlike the GX85).
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a build-in lens.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2016).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the ZS100 emerges as the winner of the match-up (8 : 6 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.

GX85 06:08 ZS100

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the GX85 or the ZS100 handle or 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 table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Panasonic GX85»HiRec82/1005/54.5/55/5 Apr 2016 799 i i Panasonic GX85
Panasonic ZS100«HiRec82/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2016 699- i Panasonic ZS100
Canon M3« »rev75/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2015 679- i Canon M3
Canon G5 X« »HiRec78/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 799 i i Canon G5 X
Olympus E-M10 II« »HiRec80/1005/55/55/5 Aug 2015 799- i Olympus E-M10 II
Olympus E-M5 II« »HiRec81/1005/54.5/55/5 Feb 2015 1,099 i i Olympus E-M5 II
Olympus E-M10« »-80/1005/54.5/55/5 Jan 2014 699- i Olympus E-M10
Panasonic ZS200« »HiRec81/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Feb 2018 799 i i Panasonic ZS200
Panasonic GX9« »Rec-4.5/5-4.5/5 Feb 2018 849 i i Panasonic GX9
Panasonic G85« »HiRec84/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 899 i i Panasonic G85
Panasonic LX10« »HiRec81/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 699 i i Panasonic LX10
Panasonic G7« »HiRec80/1005/54.5/54.5/5 May 2015 649- i Panasonic G7
Panasonic GM5« »Rec77/1005/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 749- i Panasonic GM5
Panasonic GM1« »Rec78/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 749- i Panasonic GM1
Panasonic GX7« »Rec79/1005/54.5/55/5 Aug 2013 999- i Panasonic GX7
Sony RX100 IV« »HiRec85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV

The review scores listed above should be treated 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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

 

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 your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If the camera you are interested in is not available, please contact me, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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