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Panasonic TZ100 versus Sony RX100 III

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ100 (called Panasonic ZS100 in some regions) and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2016 and May 2014. Both the TZ100 and the RX100 III are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with an one-inch sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 20 megapixel.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Panasonic TZ100 and the Sony RX100 III are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. 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. 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 – the TZ100 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Panasonic TZ100 vs Sony RX100 III front
TZ100 versus RX100 III top view
TZ100 and RX100 III rear side
Body view (TZ100 on the left)

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony RX100 III is notably smaller (18 percent) than the Panasonic TZ100. Moreover, the RX100 III is markedly lighter (7 percent) than the TZ100. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the TZ100 nor the RX100 III are weather-sealed.

Concerning battery life, the TZ100 gets 300 shots out of its DMW-BLG10 battery, while the RX100 III can take 320 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 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 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 TZ100 (⇒ rgt) 111 mm 65 mm 44 mm 312 g 300 no 2016 699discont. check
Sony RX100 III (⇒ lft) 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 290 g 320 no 2014 799discont. check
Canon G7 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) 106 mm 61 mm 42 mm 319 g 265 no 2016 699 latest check
Canon M3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 111 mm 68 mm 44 mm 366 g 250 no 2015 679discont. check
Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 112 mm 76 mm 44 mm 353 g 210 no 2015 799 latest check
Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 103 mm 60 mm 40 mm 304 g 210 no 2014 699discont. check
Panasonic TZ200 (⇒ lft | rgt) 111 mm 65 mm 45 mm 340 g 370 no 2018 799 latest check
Panasonic LX15 (⇒ lft | rgt) 106 mm 60 mm 42 mm 310 g 260 no 2016 699 latest check
Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt) 137 mm 99 mm 131 mm 831 g 360 no 2014 899discont. check
Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt) 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 299 g 220 no 2016 999 latest check
Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 298 g 280 no 2015 999discont. check
Sony RX100 II (⇒ lft | rgt) 102 mm 58 mm 38 mm 281 g 350 no 2013 749discont. check

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The TZ100 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 13 percent) than the RX100 III, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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 size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an one-inch sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.75. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Panasonic TZ100 and Sony RX100 III sensor measures
Sensor size

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 20 megapixel. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the TZ100 and the RX100 III have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the TZ100 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 7 months) than the RX100 III, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

TZ100 versus RX100 III MP
Sensor resolution

For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 TZ100 (⇒ rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p 22.8 12.5 559 70
Sony RX100 III (⇒ lft) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p 22.4 12.3 495 67
Canon G7 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p - - - -
Canon M3 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/30p 22.8 11.8 1169 72
Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p - - - -
Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p 23.0 12.7 556 71
Panasonic TZ200 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p .. .. .. ..
Panasonic LX15 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p .. .. .. ..
Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p 22.1 11.7 517 64
Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p 22.8 12.4 586 70
Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p 22.8 12.6 591 70
Sony RX100 II (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p 22.5 12.4 483 67

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 TZ100 provides a higher video resolution than the RX100 III. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Sony is limited to 1080/60p.

Feature comparison

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 RX100 III offers a higher resolution than the one in the TZ100 (1440k vs 1166k dots). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Panasonic TZ100 and Sony RX100 III 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 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 TZ100 (⇒ rgt) 1166 no 3.0 1040 fixed YES 2000 10.0 YES YES
Sony RX100 III (⇒ lft) 1440 no 3.0 1229 tilting no 2000 10.0 YES YES
Canon G7 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 2000 8.0 7 YES
Canon M3 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 4.2 5 no
Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1040 swivel YES 2000 5.9 7 YES
Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 2000 6.5 7 YES
Panasonic TZ200 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2330 no 3.0 1240 fixed YES 2000 10.0 6.8 YES
Panasonic LX15 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 10.0 12.1 YES
Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2359 no 3.0 921 swivel no 4000 12.0 13.5 YES
Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt) 2359 no 3.0 1229 tilting no 2000 24.0 10.2 YES
Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) 2359 no 3.0 1228 tilting no 2000 16.0 10.2 YES
Sony RX100 II (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1229 tilting no 2000 10.0 15 YES

Both the TZ100 and the RX100 III have zoom lenses build in. The TZ100 has a 25-250mm f/2.8-5.9 optic and the RX100 III offers a 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Sony provides a wider angle of view at the short end than the Panasonic, but less tele-photo reach at the long end. The RX100 III offers the faster maximum aperture.

Both the TZ100 and the RX100 III have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The RX100 III was replaced by the Sony RX100 IV, while the TZ100 was followed by the Panasonic TZ200.

Summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Panasonic TZ100 and the Panasonic TZ100? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


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Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ100:

  • 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 tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (13 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 7 months after the RX100 III).

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Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III:

  • More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (1440k vs 1166k dots).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 1040k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/1.8 vs f/2.8).
  • Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
  • More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 111x65mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in May 2014).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the RX100 III emerges as the winner of the match-up (7 : 5 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.

TZ100 05:07 RX100 III

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the TZ100 and the RX100 III in practical situations. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites. The detailed reviews can be accessed, respectively, on the websites of 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 TZ100 (⇒ rgt) HiRec 82/100 Gold 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2016 699discont. check
Sony RX100 III (⇒ lft) HiRec 82/100 Gold 4.5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2014 799discont. check
Canon G7 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 81/100 Silver 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
Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 78/100 Silver 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2015 799 latest check
Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 77/100 Silver 4.5/5 3.5/5 4.5/5 2014 699discont. check
Panasonic TZ200 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec .. 4.5/5 .. 4.5/5 2018 799 latest check
Panasonic LX15 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 81/100 Silver 4/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2016 699 latest check
Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 82/100 Gold 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2014 899discont. check
Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 83/100 Silver 4/5 5/5 4.5/5 2016 999 latest check
Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 85/100 Gold 4/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2015 999discont. check
Sony RX100 II (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 79/100 Silver 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2013 749discont. 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. 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 comparisons

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 add information on that model to the database.

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