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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 (called Panasonic TZ100 in some regions) are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, 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 sensor. The GX85 has a resolution of 15.8 megapixel, whereas the ZS100 provides 20 MP.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Panasonic GX85 and the Panasonic ZS100 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth 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).

Panasonic GX85 vs Panasonic ZS100 front
GX85 versus ZS100 top view
GX85 and ZS100 rear side
Body view (GX85 on the left)

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. Cameras intended for semi-professional or professional use tend to be a bit bulkier in order to give them the necessary ruggedness. 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 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 comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
Camera Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(y/n)
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Panasonic GX85 (⇒ rgt) 122 mm 71 mm 44 mm 426 g 290 no 2016 799 latest check
Panasonic ZS100 (⇒ lft) 111 mm 65 mm 44 mm 312 g 300 no 2016 699 latest check
Canon M3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 111 mm 68 mm 44 mm 366 g 250 no 2015 679discont. check
Leica Q Typ 116 (⇒ lft | rgt) 130 mm 80 mm 93 mm 640 g .. no 2015 4,249 latest check
Olympus E-M10 III (⇒ lft | rgt) 122 mm 84 mm 50 mm 410 g 330 no 2017 649 latest check
Olympus PEN-F (⇒ lft | rgt) 125 mm 72 mm 37 mm 427 g 330 no 2016 1,199 latest check
Olympus E-M10 II (⇒ lft | rgt) 120 mm 83 mm 47 mm 390 g 320 no 2015 799discont. check
Olympus E-M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 119 mm 82 mm 46 mm 396 g 320 no 2014 699discont. check
Panasonic GH5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 139 mm 98 mm 87 mm 725 g 410 YES 2017 1,999 latest check
Panasonic G85 (⇒ lft | rgt) 128 mm 89 mm 74 mm 505 g 330 YES 2016 899 latest check
Panasonic LX10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 106 mm 60 mm 42 mm 310 g 260 no 2016 699 latest check
Panasonic GM5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 99 mm 60 mm 36 mm 211 g 220 no 2014 749discont. check
Panasonic GM1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 99 mm 55 mm 30 mm 204 g 230 no 2013 749discont. check
Panasonic GX7 (⇒ lft | rgt) 123 mm 71 mm 55 mm 402 g 350 no 2013 999discont. check
Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 298 g 280 no 2015 999discont. check

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. 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

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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to 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 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
Sensor size

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
Sensor resolution

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most 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"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar image quality. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(Megapixel)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Panasonic GX85 (⇒ rgt) Four Thirds 15.8 4592 3448 4K/30p 22.9 12.6 662 71
Panasonic ZS100 (⇒ lft) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p 22.8 12.5 559 70
Canon M3 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/30p 22.8 11.8 1169 72
Leica Q Typ 116 (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 24.3 12.7 2221 85
Olympus E-M10 III (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 4K/30p .. .. .. ..
Olympus PEN-F (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 20.2 5184 3888 1080/60p 23.1 12.4 894 74
Olympus E-M10 II (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 1080/60p 23.1 12.5 842 73
Olympus E-M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 1080/30p 22.8 12.3 884 72
Panasonic GH5 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 20.2 5184 3888 4K/60p 23.9 13.0 807 77
Panasonic G85 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.8 4592 3448 4K/30p 22.8 12.5 656 71
Panasonic LX10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p .. .. .. ..
Panasonic GM5 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.8 4592 3448 1080/60p 22.1 11.7 721 66
Panasonic GM1 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.8 4592 3448 1080/60i 22.3 11.7 660 66
Panasonic GX7 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.8 4592 3448 1080/60p 22.6 12.2 718 70
Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p 22.8 12.6 591 70

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. 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

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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic GX85, the Panasonic ZS100, and comparable cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(Y/n)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(Y/n)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(GN)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Panasonic GX85 (⇒ rgt) 2765 no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 8.0 6 YES
Panasonic ZS100 (⇒ lft) 1166 no 3.0 1040 fixed YES 2000 10.0 YES YES
Canon M3 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 4.2 5 no
Leica Q Typ 116 (⇒ lft | rgt) 3680 no 3.0 1040 fixed YES 2000 10.0 no no
Olympus E-M10 III (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 8.6 5.8 YES
Olympus PEN-F (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1037 swivel YES 8000 10.0 no YES
Olympus E-M10 II (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 8.0 5.8 YES
Olympus E-M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1440 no 3.0 1037 tilting YES 4000 8.0 5.8 YES
Panasonic GH5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 3680 no 3.2 1620 swivel YES 8000 12.0 no YES
Panasonic G85 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1040 swivel YES 4000 9.0 6.2 YES
Panasonic LX10 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 10.0 12.1 YES
Panasonic GM5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1166 no 3.0 921 fixed YES 500 5.8 no no
Panasonic GM1 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1036 fixed YES 500 5.0 4 no
Panasonic GX7 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2760 no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 8000 5.0 7 YES
Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) 2359 no 3.0 1228 tilting no 2000 16.0 10.2 no

Both the GX85 and the ZS100 are current models that good online retailers will have in stock. You can check the latest prices, for example, at amazon. The ZS100 replaced the earlier Panasonic ZS50, while the GX85 followed on from the Panasonic GX7.

Summary

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Panasonic GX85 or the Panasonic ZS100 – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • More detailed viewfinder: Has a 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 a 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).

Reasons to prefer 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 April 2016).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the ZS100 emerges as the winner of the match-up (8 : 6 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points.

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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the GX85 or the ZS100. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites. You can find the full text of the reviews, respectively, at cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.

Review scores
Camera camera
labs
dp
review
ephoto
zine
imaging
resource
photography
blog
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Panasonic GX85 (⇒ rgt) HiRec 82/100 Silver 5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2016 799 latest check
Panasonic ZS100 (⇒ lft) HiRec 82/100 Gold 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2016 699 latest check
Canon M3 (⇒ lft | rgt) reviewed 75/100 4.5/5 4.5/5 4/5 2015 679discont. check
Leica Q Typ 116 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 80/100 Silver 4.5/5 - 4.5/5 2015 4,249 latest check
Olympus E-M10 III (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 80/100 4.5/5 .. 4.5/5 2017 649 latest check
Olympus PEN-F (⇒ lft | rgt) - 82/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2016 1,199 latest check
Olympus E-M10 II (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 80/100 Silver 5/5 5/5 5/5 2015 799discont. check
Olympus E-M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 80/100 Gold 5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2014 699discont. check
Panasonic GH5 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 85/100 Gold 4.5/5 5/5 5/5 2017 1,999 latest check
Panasonic G85 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 84/100 Gold 5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2016 899 latest check
Panasonic LX10 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 81/100 Silver 4/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2016 699 latest check
Panasonic GM5 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 77/100 Silver 5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2014 749discont. check
Panasonic GM1 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 78/100 Gold 5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2013 749discont. check
Panasonic GX7 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 79/100 Silver 5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2013 999discont. check
Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 85/100 Gold 4/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2015 999discont. check

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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, 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 comparisons

In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please contact me, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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