Panasonic LX15 vs Sony A7
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15 (called Panasonic LX10 in some regions) and the Sony Alpha A7 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2016 and October 2013. The LX15 is a fixed lens compact, while the A7 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an one-inch (LX15) and a full frame (A7) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 20 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 LX15||Sony A7|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|24-72mm f/1.4-2.8||Sony E mount lenses|
|20 MP, 1" Sensor||24 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|4K/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO 125-12,800 (80 - 25,600)||ISO 100-25,600 (50 - 51,200)|
|No viewfinder, LCD framing||Electronic viewfinder (2400k dots)|
|3.0 LCD, 1040k dots||3.0 LCD, 1230k dots|
|Tilting touchscreen||Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|10 shutter flaps per second||5 shutter flaps per second|
|In-body stabilization||Lens stabilization only|
|not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|260 shots per battery charge||340 shots per battery charge|
|106 x 60 x 42 mm, 310 g||127 x 94 x 48 mm, 474 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15 and the Sony Alpha A7? 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.
The physical size and weight of the Panasonic LX15 and the Sony A7 are illustrated 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The LX15 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the A7 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A7 is considerably larger (88 percent) than the Panasonic LX15. It is noteworthy in this context that the A7 is splash and dust-proof, while the LX15 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the LX15 has a lens built in, whereas the A7 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 and their specifications in the Sony FE Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the LX15 gets 260 shots out of its DMW-BLH7 battery, while the A7 can take 340 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 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.
|Panasonic LX15||106 mm||60 mm||42 mm||310 g||260||n||Sep 2016||699|
|Sony A7||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||474 g||340||Y||Oct 2013||1,699|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||106 mm||61 mm||42 mm||319 g||265||n||Feb 2016||699|
|Canon G5 X||112 mm||76 mm||44 mm||353 g||210||n||Oct 2015||799|
|Fujifilm X70||113 mm||64 mm||44 mm||340 g||330||n||Jan 2016||799|
|Nikon D610||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Oct 2013||1,999|
|Panasonic TZ200||111 mm||65 mm||45 mm||340 g||370||n||Feb 2018||799|
|Panasonic TZ90||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|Panasonic FZ2000||138 mm||102 mm||135 mm||915 g||350||n||Sep 2016||1,199|
|Panasonic GX80||122 mm||71 mm||44 mm||426 g||290||n||Apr 2016||799|
|Panasonic TZ100||111 mm||65 mm||44 mm||312 g||300||n||Jan 2016||699|
|Panasonic LX7||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Jul 2012||499|
|Samsung NX1||139 mm||102 mm||66 mm||550 g||500||Y||Sep 2014||1,499|
|Sony RX100 V||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||299 g||220||n||Oct 2016||999|
|Sony A7 II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||599 g||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999|
|Sony A7S||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||489 g||380||Y||Apr 2014||2,499|
|Sony A7R||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||465 g||340||Y||Oct 2013||2,299|
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 obviously take relative prices into account. 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 LX15 was launched at a lower price than the A7, 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 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Panasonic LX15 features an one-inch sensor and the Sony A7 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A7 is 638 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.7 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2. The LX15 has the particularity of featuring a switch that allows to toggle between multiple aspect ratios, while maintaining the same field of view and full image resolution.
With 24MP, the A7 offers a higher resolution than the LX15 (20MP), but the A7 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.97μm versus 2.41μm for the LX15) due to its larger sensor. However, the LX15 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 11 months) than the A7, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A7 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A7 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 LX15 are 27.4 x 18.2 inches or 69.5 x 46.3 cm for good quality, 21.9 x 14.6 inches or 55.6 x 37.1 cm for very good quality, and 18.2 x 12.2 inches or 46.3 x 30.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The A7 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 125 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 80-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A7 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||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||14.2||2248||90|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Canon G5 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Nikon D610||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.4||2925||94|
|Panasonic GX80||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||22.9||12.6||662||71|
|Sony RX100 V||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.4||586||70|
|Sony A7 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90|
|Sony A7S||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||1080/60p||23.9||13.2||3702||87|
|Sony A7R||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.6||14.1||2746||95|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the LX15 provides a higher video resolution than the A7. 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. For example, the A7 has an electronic viewfinder (2400k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the LX15 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Panasonic LX15 and Sony A7 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|Canon G5 X||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
|Sony RX100 V||2359||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y|
|Sony A7 II||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The LX15 has one, while the A7 does not. While the built-in flash of the LX15 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The LX15 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the A7 does not have a selfie-screen.
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 LX15 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 Panasonic LX15 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.
The LX15 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A7 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 DMC-LX15 and Sony Alpha A7 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Canon G5 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Sony RX100 V||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Sony A7 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the A7 has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The LX15 does not feature such a mic input.
The LX15 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Panasonic. In contrast, the A7 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the A7 was succeeded by the Sony A7 II. 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 how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Panasonic LX15 or the Sony A7 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15:
- Flexible image proportions: Has a multi-aspect sensor that allows for alternative image shapes.
- 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.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- 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.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the A7 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (106x60mm vs 127x94mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the A7).
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- 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 11 months of technical progress since the A7 launch.
Advantages of the Sony Alpha A7:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 20MP), which boosts linear resolution by 10%.
- 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.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1230k vs 1040k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (340 versus 260) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in October 2013).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A7 emerges as the winner of the match-up (17 : 14 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 when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. 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 LX15 and the Sony A7 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the LX15 or the A7. 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 summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera 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 LX15||+ +||81/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||699|
|Sony A7||+ +||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,699|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||699|
|Canon G5 X||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||799|
|Fujifilm X70||..||76/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2016||799|
|Nikon D610||+ +||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,999|
|Panasonic TZ200||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Feb 2018||799|
|Panasonic TZ90||+ +||..||4/5||..||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|Panasonic FZ2000||+||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2016||1,199|
|Panasonic GX80||+ +||82/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Apr 2016||799|
|Panasonic TZ100||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2016||699|
|Panasonic LX7||+ +||75/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||499|
|Samsung NX1||..||87/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2014||1,499|
|Sony RX100 V||+ +||83/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2016||999|
|Sony A7 II||+||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Nov 2014||1,999|
|Sony A7S||..||86/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Apr 2014||2,499|
|Sony A7R||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||2,299|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, 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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods 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 use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 20D vs Sony A7 II
- Canon 760D vs Panasonic LX15
- Fujifilm X-A5 vs Panasonic LX15
- Fujifilm X100F vs Panasonic LX15
- Fujifilm X100V vs Sony A7 III
- Leica D-LUX 7 vs Panasonic LX15
- Nikon D3000 vs Sony A7 II
- Nikon D5300 vs Panasonic LX15
- Nikon P7800 vs Sony A7
- Panasonic GF2 vs Panasonic LX15
- Sony A5000 vs Sony A7 III
- Sony A6500 vs Sony A7 II
Specifications: Panasonic LX15 vs Sony A7
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 LX15||Sony A7|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||24-72mm f/1.4-2.8||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2016||October 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 699||USD 1,699|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic LX15||Sony A7|
|Sensor Format||1" Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||13.2 x 8.8 mm||35.8 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||116.16 mm2||855.62 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||15.9 mm||43 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5472 x 3648 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.41 μm||5.97 μm|
|Pixel Density||17.18 MP/cm2||2.80 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||125 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||80 - 25,600 ISO||50 - 51,200 ISO|
|Image Processor||Venus||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||90|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||24.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||14.2|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||2248|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic LX15||Sony A7|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2400k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic LX15||Sony A7|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||no E-Shutter|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||Lens stabilization only|
|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 LX15||Sony A7|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|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 LX15||Sony A7|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||260 shots per charge||340 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
106 x 60 x 42 mm
(4.2 x 2.4 x 1.7 in)
127 x 94 x 48 mm
(5.0 x 3.7 x 1.9 in)
|Camera Weight||310 g (10.9 oz)||474 g (16.7 oz)|
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