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Panasonic LX100 versus Sony A6500

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 and the Sony Alpha A6500 are two enthusiast cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2014 and October 2016. The LX100 is a fixed lens compact, while the A6500 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (LX100) and an APS-C (A6500) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 12.7 megapixel, whereas the Sony provides 24 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 LX100 vs Sony A6500

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Panasonic LX100 and the Sony A6500. 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. You can also use the toggle button to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the LX100 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Panasonic LX100 vs Sony A6500
Compare LX100 versus A6500 top
Compare LX100 and A6500 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A6500 is notably larger (6 percent) than the Panasonic LX100. It is noteworthy in this context that the A6500 is splash and dust-proof, while the LX100 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the LX100 has a lens build in, whereas the A6500 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 A6500 and their specifications in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the LX100 gets 300 shots out of its DMW-BLG10 battery, while the A6500 can take 350 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack.

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.

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)
Panasonic LX100» 4.5 in 2.6 in 2.2 in 13.9 oz 300 n Sep 2014 899 i i
Sony A6500« 4.7 in 2.6 in 2.1 in 16.0 oz 350 Y Oct 2016 1,399 i i
Canon G5 X« » 4.4 in 3.0 in 1.7 in 12.5 oz 210 n Oct 2015 799 i i
Canon G1 X Mark II« » 4.6 in 2.9 in 2.6 in 19.5 oz 240 n Feb 2014 799 i i
Canon G1 X« » 4.6 in 3.2 in 2.6 in 18.8 oz 250 n Jan 2012 799- i
Fujifilm X30« » 4.7 in 2.8 in 2.4 in 14.9 oz 470 n Aug 2014 599 i i
Olympus PEN-F« » 4.9 in 2.8 in 1.5 in 15.1 oz 330 n Jan 2016 1,199 i i
Panasonic GX8« » 5.2 in 3.1 in 2.5 in 17.2 oz 330 Y Jul 2015 1,199- i
Panasonic FZ1000« » 5.4 in 3.9 in 5.2 in 29.3 oz 360 n Jun 2014 899- i
Panasonic GM5« » 3.9 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 7.4 oz 220 n Sep 2014 749- i
Panasonic GM1« » 3.9 in 2.2 in 1.2 in 7.2 oz 230 n Oct 2013 749- i
Sony A9« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 23.7 oz 650 Y Apr 2017 4,499 i i
Sony A6300« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.9 in 14.3 oz 400 Y Feb 2016 999- i
Sony RX100 IV« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 280 n Jun 2015 999- i
Sony RX100 III« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.2 oz 320 n May 2014 799- i
Sony A7« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.7 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 1,699- i
Sony RX100 II« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 9.9 oz 350 n Jun 2013 749- i

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The LX100 was launched at a lower price than the A6500, 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 LX100 vs Sony A6500

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. 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 LX100 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Sony A6500 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the A6500 is 63 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 1.5. The sensor in the LX100 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the A6500 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Panasonic LX100 and Sony A6500 sensor measures

With 24MP, the A6500 offers a higher resolution than the LX100 (12.7MP), but the A6500 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 4.21μm for the LX100). Yet, the A6500 is a much more recent model (by 2 years) than the LX100, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

LX100 versus A6500 MP

For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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. Of the two cameras under consideration, the A6500 offers substantially better image quality than the LX100 (overall score 18 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.2 bits higher color depth, 1.2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.3 stops in additional low light sensitivity. 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 Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Panasonic LX100» Four Thirds 12.7 4112 30884K/30p22.312.555367
Sony A6500« APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.513.7140585
Canon G5 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p----
Canon G1 X Mark II« » 1.5-inch 13.0 4160 31201080/30p21.510.858158
Canon G1 X« » 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.864460
Fujifilm X30« » 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p----
Olympus PEN-F« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38881080/60p23.112.489474
Panasonic GX8« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.512.680675
Panasonic FZ1000« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.111.751764
Panasonic GM5« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.111.772166
Panasonic GM1« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i22.311.766066
Sony A9« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.913.3351792
Sony A6300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.413.7143785
Sony RX100 IV« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170
Sony RX100 III« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.412.349567
Sony A7« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.814.2224890
Sony RX100 II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.512.448367

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. 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).

 

Feature comparison: Panasonic LX100 vs Sony A6500

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 LX100 offers a higher resolution than the one in the A6500 (2764k vs 2300k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic LX100, the Sony A6500, 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
(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
Panasonic LX100»2764 n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 11.0 n Y
Sony A6500«2300 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 4000 11.0 Y Y
Canon G5 X« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 2000 5.9 Y Y
Canon G1 X Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 5.2 Y Y
Canon G1 X« »optical n 3.0 922 Swivel n 4000 1.9 Y Y
Fujifilm X30« »2360 n 3.0 920 tilting n 4000 12.0 Y Y
Olympus PEN-F« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 10.0 n Y
Panasonic GX8« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 10.0 n Y
Panasonic FZ1000« »2359 n 3.0 921 swivel n 4000 12.0 Y Y
Panasonic GM5« »1166 n 3.0 921 fixed Y 500 5.8 n n
Panasonic GM1« »- n 3.0 1036 fixed Y 500 5.0 Y n
Sony A9« »3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 8000 20.0 n Y
Sony A6300« »2300 n 3.0 922 tilting n 4000 11.0 Y n
Sony RX100 IV« »2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 2000 16.0 Y Y
Sony RX100 III« »1440 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 10.0 Y Y
Sony A7« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 5.0 n n
Sony RX100 II« »- n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 10.0 Y Y

Both the LX100 and the A6500 are current models that good online retailers will have in stock. You can check the latest prices, for example, at amazon. The A6500 replaced the earlier Sony A6300, while the LX100 does not have a direct predecessor.

Review summary: Panasonic LX100 vs Sony A6500

So how do things add up? Is the Panasonic LX100 better than the Sony A6500 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100:

  • More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (2764k vs 2300k dots).
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens build-in, whereas the A6500 requires a separate lens.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a build-in lens (unlike the A6500).
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a build-in lens.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2014).

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Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A6500:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 12.7MP), which boosts linear resolution by 40%.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (18 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.2 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.2 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.3 stops ISO advantage).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (350 versus 300) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years of technical progress since the LX100 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A6500 is the clear winner of the contest (12 : 5 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera.

LX100 05:12 A6500

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 LX100 or the A6500 handle or perform in practice. 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 following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Panasonic LX100»HiRec85/1005/54/55/5 Sep 2014 899 i i
Sony A6500«HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Oct 2016 1,399 i i
Canon G5 X« »HiRec78/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 799 i i
Canon G1 X Mark II« »Rec77/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 799 i i
Canon G1 X« »Rec76/1004/54/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799- i
Fujifilm X30« »-76/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Aug 2014 599 i i
Olympus PEN-F« »-82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jan 2016 1,199 i i
Panasonic GX8« »Rec82/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2015 1,199- i
Panasonic FZ1000« »HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 899- i
Panasonic GM5« »Rec77/1005/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 749- i
Panasonic GM1« »Rec78/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 749- i
Sony A9« »HiRec89/1005/55/55/5 Apr 2017 4,499 i i
Sony A6300« »Rec85/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2016 999- i
Sony RX100 IV« »HiRec85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999- i
Sony RX100 III« »HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2014 799- i
Sony A7« »HiRec80/1005/54.5/55/5 Oct 2013 1,699- i
Sony RX100 II« »HiRec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jun 2013 749- i

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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If the camera you are interested in is not available, please contact me, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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