Panasonic TZ90 vs Sony RX10 IV
The Panasonic Lumix DC-TZ90 (called Panasonic ZS70 in some regions) and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in April 2017 and September 2017. Both the TZ90 and the RX10 IV are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on a 1/2.3-inch (TZ90) and an one-inch (RX10 IV) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 20.2 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 20 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Panasonic Lumix DC-TZ90 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Panasonic TZ90 and the Sony RX10 IV. 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.
The TZ90 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the RX10 IV 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 RX10 IV is considerably larger (67 percent) than the Panasonic TZ90. Moreover, the RX10 IV is substantially heavier (240 percent) than the TZ90. It is noteworthy in this context that the RX10 IV is splash and dust-proof, while the TZ90 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
Concerning battery life, the TZ90 gets 380 shots out of its DMW-BLG10 battery, while the RX10 IV can take 400 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 table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Panasonic TZ90||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|2.||Sony RX10 IV||133 mm||94 mm||145 mm||1095 g||400||Y||Sep 2017||1,699|
|3.||Canon SX740||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||265||n||Jul 2018||399|
|4.||Canon M100||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||302 g||295||n||Aug 2017||499|
|5.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|6.||Canon SX720||110 mm||64 mm||36 mm||270 g||250||n||Feb 2016||379|
|7.||Fujifilm XF10||113 mm||64 mm||41 mm||279 g||330||n||Jul 2018||499|
|8.||Panasonic TZ95||112 mm||69 mm||42 mm||327 g||380||n||Feb 2019||449|
|9.||Panasonic FT7||117 mm||76 mm||37 mm||319 g||300||Y||May 2018||449|
|10.||Panasonic LX100 II||115 mm||66 mm||65 mm||392 g||300||n||Aug 2018||999|
|11.||Panasonic FZ82||130 mm||94 mm||119 mm||616 g||330||n||Jan 2017||399|
|12.||Panasonic LX5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Jul 2010||499|
|13.||Sony RX100 VI||102 mm||58 mm||43 mm||301 g||240||n||Jun 2018||1,199|
|14.||Sony RX10 III||133 mm||94 mm||127 mm||1051 g||420||Y||Mar 2016||1,499|
|15.||Sony RX100 V||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||299 g||220||n||Oct 2016||999|
|16.||Sony RX10 II||129 mm||88 mm||102 mm||813 g||400||Y||Jun 2015||1,299|
|17.||Sony RX10||129 mm||88 mm||102 mm||813 g||420||Y||Oct 2013||1,299|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 TZ90 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 74 percent) than the RX10 IV, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.
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. 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 TZ90 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Sony RX10 IV an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the RX10 IV is 314 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 2.7. The sensor in the TZ90 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the RX10 IV offers a 3:2 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Panasonic TZ90 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 20 MP of the Sony RX10 IV. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.18μm versus 2.41μm for the RX10 IV). Moreover, it should be noted that the RX10 IV is a somewhat more recent model (by 4 months) than the TZ90, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the TZ90 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The RX10 IV has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Panasonic Lumix DC-TZ90 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 80-6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 64-25600.
For many 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
|2.||Sony RX10 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|10.||Panasonic LX100 II||Four Thirds||16.8||4736||3552||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|13.||Sony RX100 VI||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|14.||Sony RX10 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||23.1||12.6||472||70|
|15.||Sony RX100 V||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.4||586||70|
|16.||Sony RX10 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||23.0||12.6||531||70|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The two cameras under review are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the RX10 IV offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the TZ90 (2359k vs 1166k dots). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Panasonic TZ90 and Sony RX10 IV in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|2.||Sony RX10 IV||2359||Y||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y|
|10.||Panasonic LX100 II||2764||n||3.0||1240||fixed||Y||1/4000s||11.0||n||Y|
|13.||Sony RX100 VI||2359||n||3.0||1229||tilting||Y||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y|
|14.||Sony RX10 III||2359||Y||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||14.0||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony RX100 V||2359||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony RX10 II||2359||Y||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/3200s||14.0||Y||Y|
One feature that is present on the RX10 IV, but is missing on the TZ90 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.The TZ90 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 RX10 IV 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, both cameras under consideration feature an 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).
Both the TZ90 and the RX10 IV have zoom lenses built in. The TZ90 has a 24-720mm f/3.3-6.4 optic and the RX10 IV offers a 24-600mm f/2.4-4.0 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Panasonic and Sony provide the same view at the wide-angle end, but the Sony has less tele-photo reach at the long end. The RX10 IV offers the faster maximum aperture.
The TZ90 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the RX10 IV 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 DC-TZ90 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|2.||Sony RX10 IV||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Panasonic LX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|13.||Sony RX100 VI||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|14.||Sony RX10 III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|15.||Sony RX100 V||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony RX10 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the RX10 IV has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The TZ90 does not feature such a mic input.
The RX10 IV is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the TZ90 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the TZ90 was succeeded by the Panasonic TZ95. 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 what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Panasonic TZ90 and the Sony RX10 IV? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DC-TZ90:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
- More compact: Is smaller (112x67mm vs 133x94mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 773g or 71 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (74 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in April 2017).
Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- 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.
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (2359k vs 1166k dots).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.46x).
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1440k vs 1040k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (24 vs 10 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.4 vs f/3.3).
- 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 modern: Was introduced somewhat (4 months) more recently.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX10 IV is the clear winner of the contest (18 : 7 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 TZ90 and the Sony RX10 IV place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the TZ90 and the RX10 IV in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.
|1.||Panasonic TZ90||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|2.||Sony RX10 IV||5/5||+||84/100||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2017||1,699|
|3.||Canon SX740||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2018||399|
|4.||Canon M100||3/5||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499|
|5.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|6.||Canon SX720||..||+||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||379|
|7.||Fujifilm XF10||..||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2018||499|
|8.||Panasonic TZ95||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||..||Feb 2019||449|
|9.||Panasonic FT7||..||+||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||May 2018||449|
|10.||Panasonic LX100 II||4.5/5||+||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||999|
|11.||Panasonic FZ82||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||399|
|12.||Panasonic LX5||4/5||+||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|13.||Sony RX100 VI||4.5/5||+ +||83/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2018||1,199|
|14.||Sony RX10 III||5/5||+||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2016||1,499|
|15.||Sony RX100 V||4.5/5||+ +||83/100||4/5||4.5/5||Oct 2016||999|
|16.||Sony RX10 II||5/5||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2015||1,299|
|17.||Sony RX10||5/5||+||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,299|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
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Specifications: Panasonic TZ90 vs Sony RX10 IV
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 TZ90||Sony RX10 IV|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||24-720mm f/3.3-6.4||24-600mm f/2.4-4.0|
|Launch Date||April 2017||September 2017|
|Launch Price||USD 449||USD 1,699|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic TZ90||Sony RX10 IV|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||1" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||13.2 x 8.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||116.16 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||15.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20.2 Megapixels||20 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3888 pixels||5472 x 3648 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.18 μm||2.41 μm|
|Pixel Density||71.80 MP/cm2||17.18 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||80 - 6,400 ISO||64 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||Venus||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||36||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||19.1||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.6||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||106||..|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic TZ90||Sony RX10 IV|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1166k dots||2359k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1440k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic TZ90||Sony RX10 IV|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000s||1/2000s|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||24 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||up to 1/32000s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in 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 TZ90||Sony RX10 IV|
|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 TZ90||Sony RX10 IV|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||380 shots per charge||400 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
112 x 67 x 41 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.6 in)
133 x 94 x 145 mm
(5.2 x 3.7 x 5.7 in)
|Camera Weight||322 g (11.4 oz)||1095 g (38.6 oz)|
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