Panasonic TZ90 vs Sony RX100 II
The Panasonic Lumix DC-TZ90 (called Panasonic ZS70 in some regions) and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in April 2017 and June 2013. Both the TZ90 and the RX100 II are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on a 1/2.3-inch (TZ90) and an one-inch (RX100 II) 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-RX100 II? 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 RX100 II. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The TZ90 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the RX100 II 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 RX100 II is notably smaller (21 percent) than the Panasonic TZ90. Moreover, the RX100 II is markedly lighter (13 percent) than the TZ90. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the TZ90 nor the RX100 II are weather-sealed.
Concerning battery life, the TZ90 gets 380 shots out of its DMW-BLG10 battery, while the RX100 II can take 350 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack. The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Panasonic TZ90||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|2.||Sony RX100 II||102 mm||58 mm||38 mm||281 g||350||n||Jun 2013||749|
|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.||Canon G7 X||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||n||Sep 2014||699|
|8.||Fujifilm XF10||113 mm||64 mm||41 mm||279 g||330||n||Jul 2018||499|
|9.||Panasonic TZ95||112 mm||69 mm||42 mm||327 g||380||n||Feb 2019||449|
|10.||Panasonic FT7||117 mm||76 mm||37 mm||319 g||300||Y||May 2018||449|
|11.||Panasonic LX100 II||115 mm||66 mm||65 mm||392 g||300||n||Aug 2018||999|
|12.||Panasonic FZ82||130 mm||94 mm||119 mm||616 g||330||n||Jan 2017||399|
|13.||Panasonic LX5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Jul 2010||499|
|14.||Sony ZV-1||105 mm||60 mm||44 mm||294 g||260||n||May 2020||799|
|15.||Sony RX100 VII||102 mm||58 mm||43 mm||302 g||260||n||Jul 2019||1,199|
|16.||Sony RX100 III||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||290 g||320||n||May 2014||799|
|17.||Sony RX100||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||240 g||330||n||Jun 2012||649|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The TZ90 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 40 percent) than the RX100 II, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.
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 RX100 II an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the RX100 II 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 RX100 II 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 RX100 II. 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 RX100 II). However, it should be noted that the TZ90 is much more recent (by 3 years and 9 months) than the RX100 II, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. 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 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-RX100 II are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
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. Of the two cameras under consideration, the RX100 II offers substantially better image quality than the TZ90 (overall score 31 points higher). The advantage is based on 3.4 bits higher color depth, 1.8 EV in additional dynamic range, and 2.2 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.
| DXO |
|2.||Sony RX100 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.5||12.4||483||67|
|7.||Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|11.||Panasonic LX100 II||Four Thirds||16.8||4736||3552||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|15.||Sony RX100 VII||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||21.8||12.4||418||63|
|16.||Sony RX100 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the TZ90 provides a higher video resolution than the RX100 II. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Sony is limited to 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the TZ90 has an electronic viewfinder (1166k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the RX100 II relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the RX100 II can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the FDA-EV1MK. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Panasonic TZ90 and Sony RX100 II in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|2.||Sony RX100 II||optional||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5||Y||Y|
|11.||Panasonic LX100 II||2764||n||3.0||1240||fixed||Y||1/4000s||11.0||n||Y|
|15.||Sony RX100 VII||2359||n||3.0||921||tilting||Y||1/2000s||90.0||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony RX100 III||1440||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The TZ90 has a touchscreen, while the RX100 II has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.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 RX100 II 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 TZ90 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).
Both the TZ90 and the RX100 II have zoom lenses built in. The TZ90 has a 24-720mm f/3.3-6.4 optic and the RX100 II offers a 28-100mm f/1.8-4.9 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Panasonic provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the Sony. The RX100 II offers the faster maximum aperture.
The TZ90 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the RX100 II uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The TZ90 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the RX100 II cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
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-RX100 II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|2.||Sony RX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|7.||Canon G7 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|11.||Panasonic LX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|15.||Sony RX100 VII||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony RX100 III||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the RX100 II has a hotshoe, which makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun. The TZ90 does not feature such an accessory-socket.
Both the TZ90 and the RX100 II have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The RX100 II was replaced by the Sony RX100 III, while the TZ90 was followed 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 how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Panasonic TZ90 and the Sony RX100 II? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DC-TZ90:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- 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.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
- More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (40 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 9 months of technical progress since the RX100 II launch.
Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (31 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (3.4 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.8 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (2.2 stops ISO advantage).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 1040k dots).
- Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/1.8 vs f/3.3).
- More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 112x67mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 41g or 13 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- 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 June 2013).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX100 II comes out slightly ahead of the TZ90 (12 : 11 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 RX100 II place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best Travel-Zoom 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the TZ90 or the RX100 II 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 where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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 RX100 II||5/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||749|
|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.||Canon G7 X||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699|
|8.||Fujifilm XF10||..||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2018||499|
|9.||Panasonic TZ95||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||..||Feb 2019||449|
|10.||Panasonic FT7||..||+||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||May 2018||449|
|11.||Panasonic LX100 II||4.5/5||+||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||999|
|12.||Panasonic FZ82||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||399|
|13.||Panasonic LX5||4/5||+||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|14.||Sony ZV-1||4/5||..||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||May 2020||799|
|15.||Sony RX100 VII||4.5/5||..||..||4/5||5/5||Jul 2019||1,199|
|16.||Sony RX100 III||5/5||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||799|
|17.||Sony RX100||5/5||+ +||78/100||4/5||5/5||Jun 2012||649|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Panasonic TZ90 vs Sony RX100 II
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 RX100 II|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||24-720mm f/3.3-6.4||28-100mm f/1.8-4.9|
|Launch Date||April 2017||June 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 449||USD 749|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic TZ90||Sony RX100 II|
|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||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||80 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||Venus||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||36||67|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||19.1||22.5|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.6||12.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||106||483|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic TZ90||Sony RX100 II|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1166k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic TZ90||Sony RX100 II|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000s||1/2000s|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||no E-Shutter|
|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||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Panasonic TZ90||Sony RX100 II|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Panasonic TZ90||Sony RX100 II|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||380 shots per charge||350 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)
102 x 58 x 38 mm
(4.0 x 2.3 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||322 g (11.4 oz)||281 g (9.9 oz)|
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