Panasonic ZS100 vs Pentax Q
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 (called Panasonic TZ100 in some regions) and the Pentax Q are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2016 and June 2011. The ZS100 is a fixed lens compact, while the Pentax Q is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an one-inch (ZS100) and a 1/2.3-inch (Pentax Q) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 20 megapixels, whereas the Pentax provides 12 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Panasonic ZS100||Pentax Q|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|25-250mm f/2.8-5.9||Pentax Q mount lenses|
|20 MP, 1" Sensor||12 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor|
|4K/30p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO 125-12,800 (80 - 25,600)||ISO 125-6,400|
|Electronic viewfinder (1166k dots)||Viewfinder optional|
|3.0 LCD, 1040k dots||3.0 LCD, 460k dots|
|Fixed touchscreen||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|10 shutter flaps per second||1.5 shutter flaps per second|
|In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|300 shots per battery charge||230 shots per battery charge|
|111 x 65 x 44 mm, 312 g||98 x 57 x 31 mm, 180 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 and the Pentax Q? 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 ZS100 and the Pentax Q. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The ZS100 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the Pentax Q is also available in two color-versions, but different ones (black, white).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax Q is notably smaller (23 percent) than the Panasonic ZS100. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the ZS100 nor the Pentax Q are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the ZS100 has a lens built in, whereas the Pentax Q is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
The power pack in the ZS100 can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.
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.
|Panasonic ZS100||111 mm||65 mm||44 mm||312 g||300||n||Jan 2016||699|
|Pentax Q||98 mm||57 mm||31 mm||180 g||230||n||Jun 2011||649|
|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|
|Canon M3||111 mm||68 mm||44 mm||366 g||250||n||Feb 2015||679|
|Canon G7 X||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||n||Sep 2014||699|
|Olympus XZ-2||113 mm||65 mm||48 mm||346 g||340||n||Sep 2012||599|
|Olympus E-PL2||114 mm||72 mm||42 mm||362 g||280||n||Jan 2011||599|
|Olympus E-PL3||110 mm||64 mm||37 mm||313 g||300||n||Jun 2011||599|
|Olympus E-PL1||115 mm||72 mm||42 mm||334 g||290||n||Feb 2010||599|
|Olympus E-620||130 mm||94 mm||60 mm||521 g||500||n||Feb 2009||699|
|Panasonic ZS200||111 mm||65 mm||45 mm||340 g||370||n||Feb 2018||799|
|Panasonic LX10||106 mm||60 mm||42 mm||310 g||260||n||Sep 2016||699|
|Sony RX100 V||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||299 g||220||n||Oct 2016||999|
|Sony RX100 IV||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||n||Jun 2015||999|
|Sony RX100 III||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||290 g||320||n||May 2014||799|
|Sony RX100 II||102 mm||58 mm||38 mm||281 g||350||n||Jun 2013||749|
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.
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. 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 size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Panasonic ZS100 features an one-inch sensor and the Pentax Q a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the Pentax Q is 76 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.7 and 5.6. The sensor in the ZS100 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the Pentax Q offers a 4:3 aspect.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
With 20MP, the ZS100 offers a higher resolution than the Pentax Q (12MP), but the ZS100 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 2.41μm versus 1.53μm for the Pentax Q) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the ZS100 is a much more recent model (by 4 years and 6 months) than the Pentax Q, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Panasonic ZS100 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the ZS100 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.4 x 18.2 inches or 69.5 x 46.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.9 x 14.6 inches or 55.6 x 37.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.2 inches or 46.3 x 30.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Pentax Q are 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 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 Pentax Q are ISO 125 to ISO 6400 (no boost).
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 review, the ZS100 provides substantially higher image quality than the Pentax Q, with an overall score that is 23 points higher. This advantage is based on 2.6 bits higher color depth, 1.4 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.6 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Canon G5 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|Olympus E-PL2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.2||573||55|
|Olympus E-PL3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.9||10.3||499||52|
|Olympus E-PL1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.1||487||54|
|Olympus E-620||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.3||536||55|
|Sony RX100 V||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.4||586||70|
|Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
|Sony RX100 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67|
|Sony RX100 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.5||12.4||483||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 ZS100 provides a higher video resolution than the Pentax Q. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Pentax is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the ZS100 has an electronic viewfinder (1166k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the Pentax Q relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the Pentax Q can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the O-VF1. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Panasonic ZS100 and Pentax Q in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|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|
|Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5||Y||Y|
|Sony RX100 V||2359||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y|
|Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0||1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y|
|Sony RX100 III||1440||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|Sony RX100 II||optional||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 ZS100 has a touchscreen, while the Pentax Q has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
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 ZS100 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 ZS100 and the Pentax Q both have 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.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the ZS100 and the Pentax Q write their files to SDXC cards. The ZS100 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the Pentax Q 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 DMC-ZS100 and Pentax Q 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||-|
|Canon G7 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Sony RX100 V||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Sony RX100 III||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Sony RX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the ZS100 offers wifi support, while the Pentax Q does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the ZS100 and the Pentax Q have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The Pentax Q was replaced by the Pentax Q10, while the ZS100 was followed by the Panasonic ZS200. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Panasonic and Pentax websites.
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Panasonic ZS100 or the Pentax Q – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (20 vs 12MP) with a 32% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (23 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (2.6 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.4 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.6 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/30p).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 460k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the Pentax Q requires a separate lens.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (300 versus 230) on a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 6 months of technical progress since the Pentax Q launch.
Reasons to prefer the Pentax Q:
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- More compact: Is smaller (98x57mm vs 111x65mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in June 2011).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the ZS100 is the clear winner of the match-up (16 : 4 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 ZS100 and the Pentax Q place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the ZS100 or the Pentax Q. 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 expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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 ZS100||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2016||699|
|Pentax Q||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jun 2011||649|
|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|
|Canon M3||o||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679|
|Canon G7 X||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||3.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699|
|Olympus XZ-2||+||..||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||599|
|Olympus E-PL2||83/100||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||599|
|Olympus E-PL3||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||..||4/5||Jun 2011||599|
|Olympus E-PL1||86/100||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||599|
|Olympus E-620||88/100||72/100||4.5/5||o||5/5||Feb 2009||699|
|Panasonic ZS200||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Feb 2018||799|
|Panasonic LX10||+ +||81/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||699|
|Sony RX100 V||+ +||83/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2016||999|
|Sony RX100 IV||+ +||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999|
|Sony RX100 III||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||799|
|Sony RX100 II||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||749|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted 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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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 are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 90D vs Panasonic ZS100
- Canon G5 X Mark II vs Pentax Q
- Canon M50 vs Panasonic ZS100
- Canon XTi vs Panasonic ZS100
- Contax N Digital vs Panasonic ZS100
- Leica SL vs Panasonic ZS100
- Nikon D800 vs Panasonic ZS100
- Panasonic FZ2000 vs Pentax Q
- Panasonic S1 vs Panasonic ZS100
- Panasonic ZS100 vs Pentax K-1 II
- Pentax Q vs Sony A58
- Pentax Q vs Sony A77 II
Specifications: Panasonic ZS100 vs Pentax Q
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 ZS100||Pentax Q|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||25-250mm f/2.8-5.9||Pentax Q mount lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2016||June 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 699||USD 649|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic ZS100||Pentax Q|
|Sensor Format||1" Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||13.2 x 8.8 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||116.16 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||15.9 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5472 x 3648 pixels||4000 x 3000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.41 μm||1.53 μm|
|Pixel Density||17.18 MP/cm2||42.74 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||125 - 12,800 ISO||125 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||80 - 25,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||70||47|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.8||20.2|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.5||11.1|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||559||189|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic ZS100||Pentax Q|
|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||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic ZS100||Pentax Q|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||1.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||no E-Shutter|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Panasonic ZS100||Pentax Q|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Panasonic ZS100||Pentax Q|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||300 shots per charge||230 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
111 x 65 x 44 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.7 in)
98 x 57 x 31 mm
(3.9 x 2.2 x 1.2 in)
|Camera Weight||312 g (11.0 oz)||180 g (6.3 oz)|
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