Panasonic ZS100 vs Sony A68
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 (called Panasonic TZ100 in some regions) and the Sony Alpha SLT-A68 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2016 and November 2015. The ZS100 is a fixed lens compact, while the A68 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an one-inch (ZS100) and an APS-C (A68) 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.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 and the Sony Alpha SLT-A68? 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 Sony A68. 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 ZS100 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the A68 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 A68 is considerably larger (106 percent) than the Panasonic ZS100. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the ZS100 nor the A68 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 A68 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
Concerning battery life, the ZS100 gets 300 shots out of its DMW-BLG10 battery, while the A68 can take 540 images on a single charge of its NP-FM500H power pack. 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. 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 ZS100||111 mm||65 mm||44 mm||312 g||300||n||Jan 2016||699|
|2.||Sony A68||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||610 g||540||n||Nov 2015||699|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark II||106 mm||61 mm||42 mm||319 g||265||n||Feb 2016||699|
|4.||Canon G5 X||112 mm||76 mm||44 mm||353 g||210||n||Oct 2015||799|
|5.||Canon M3||111 mm||68 mm||44 mm||366 g||250||n||Feb 2015||679|
|6.||Canon G7 X||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||n||Sep 2014||699|
|7.||Panasonic ZS200||111 mm||65 mm||45 mm||340 g||370||n||Feb 2018||799|
|8.||Panasonic LX10||106 mm||60 mm||42 mm||310 g||260||n||Sep 2016||699|
|9.||Pentax K-S1||121 mm||93 mm||70 mm||558 g||410||n||Aug 2014||749|
|10.||Sony RX100 V||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||299 g||220||n||Oct 2016||999|
|11.||Sony RX100 IV||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||n||Jun 2015||999|
|12.||Sony A77 II||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||647 g||480||Y||May 2014||1,199|
|13.||Sony A6000||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599|
|14.||Sony RX100 III||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||290 g||320||n||May 2014||799|
|15.||Sony A58||129 mm||95 mm||78 mm||492 g||690||n||Feb 2013||599|
|16.||Sony RX100 II||102 mm||58 mm||38 mm||281 g||350||n||Jun 2013||749|
|17.||Sony A77||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||732 g||470||Y||Aug 2011||1,399|
|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. 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 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. 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Panasonic ZS100 features an one-inch sensor and the Sony A68 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the A68 is 216 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.7 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
With 24MP, the A68 offers a higher resolution than the ZS100 (20MP), but the A68 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 2.41μm for the ZS100) due to its larger sensor. It is noteworthy in this context that the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A68 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A68 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 ZS100 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 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 Sony Alpha SLT-A68 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 A68 has a markedly higher DXO score than the ZS100 (overall score 9 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 1.3 bits higher color depth, 1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.3 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.
| DXO |
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|4.||Canon G5 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|6.||Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|10.||Sony RX100 V||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.4||586||70|
|11.||Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
|12.||Sony A77 II||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|14.||Sony RX100 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67|
|16.||Sony RX100 II||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 can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the ZS100 provides a higher video resolution than the A68. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Sony is limited to 1080/60i.
Apart from 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 A68 offers a higher resolution than the one in the ZS100 (1440k vs 1166k dots). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Panasonic ZS100 and Sony A68 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G5 X||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5||Y||Y|
|10.||Sony RX100 V||2359||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y|
|11.||Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0||1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y|
|12.||Sony A77 II||2359||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|14.||Sony RX100 III||1440||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|16.||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 A68 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 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 ZS100 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A68 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-ZS100 and Sony Alpha SLT-A68 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon G5 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Canon G7 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Sony RX100 V||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|11.||Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Sony A77 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|14.||Sony RX100 III||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony RX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the ZS100 offers wifi support, while the A68 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the ZS100 and the A68 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The ZS100 was replaced by the Panasonic ZS200, while the A68 does not have a direct successor. 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 ZS100 or the Sony A68 – 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-ZS100:
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60i).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review 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 8 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: Comes with a built-in lens, while the A68 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (111x65mm vs 143x104mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the A68).
- 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.
Advantages of the Sony Alpha SLT-A68:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 20MP), which boosts linear resolution by 10%.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (9 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.3 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.3 stops ISO advantage).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (1440k vs 1166k dots).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.57x vs 0.46x).
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (540 versus 300) out of a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A68 emerges as the winner of the match-up (14 : 12 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 ZS100 and the Sony A68 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best DSLR 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 ZS100 or the A68. 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 expert reviews are important. 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 ZS100||4.5/5||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2016||699|
|2.||Sony A68||3/5||..||..||4/5||4/5||Nov 2015||699|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark II||4.5/5||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||699|
|4.||Canon G5 X||5/5||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||799|
|5.||Canon M3||4/5||o||75/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679|
|6.||Canon G7 X||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699|
|7.||Panasonic ZS200||..||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2018||799|
|8.||Panasonic LX10||..||+ +||81/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||699|
|9.||Pentax K-S1||4/5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2014||749|
|10.||Sony RX100 V||4.5/5||+ +||83/100||4/5||4.5/5||Oct 2016||999|
|11.||Sony RX100 IV||4.5/5||+ +||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999|
|12.||Sony A77 II||4/5||..||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||1,199|
|13.||Sony A6000||5/5||+||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599|
|14.||Sony RX100 III||5/5||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||799|
|15.||Sony A58||3/5||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||599|
|16.||Sony RX100 II||5/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||749|
|17.||Sony A77||5/5||91/100||81/100||..||5/5||Aug 2011||1,399|
|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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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 camera comparisons
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Specifications: Panasonic ZS100 vs Sony A68
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||Sony A68|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||25-250mm f/2.8-5.9||Sony A mount lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2016||November 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 699||USD 699|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic ZS100||Sony A68|
|Sensor Format||1" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||13.2 x 8.8 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||116.16 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||15.9 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5472 x 3648 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.41 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||17.18 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||125 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||80 - 25,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||Venus||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||70||79|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.8||24.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.5||13.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||559||701|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic ZS100||Sony A68|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1166k dots||1440k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||2.7inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic ZS100||Sony A68|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||8 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||In-body stabilization|
|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 ZS100||Sony A68|
|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|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Panasonic ZS100||Sony A68|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||300 shots per charge||540 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)
143 x 104 x 81 mm
(5.6 x 4.1 x 3.2 in)
|Camera Weight||312 g (11.0 oz)||610 g (21.5 oz)|
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