Panasonic ZS100 vs Sony RX10 III
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 (called Panasonic TZ100 in some regions) and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 III are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2016 and March 2016. Both the ZS100 and the RX10 III are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with an one-inch sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 20 megapixels.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Panasonic ZS100||Sony RX10 III|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|25-250mm f/2.8-5.9||24-600mm f/2.4-4.0|
|20 MP, 1" Sensor||20 MP, 1" Sensor|
|4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO 125-12800 (80-25600)||ISO 100-12800 (64-25600)|
|Electronic viewfinder (1166k dots)||Electronic viewfinder (2359k dots)|
|3.0" LCD, 1040k dots||3.0" LCD, 1229k dots|
|Fixed touchscreen||Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|10 shutter flaps per second||14 shutter flaps per second|
|In-body stabilization||Lens-based stabilization|
|Not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|300 shots per battery charge||420 shots per battery charge|
|111 x 65 x 44 mm, 312 g||133 x 94 x 127 mm, 1051 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 III? 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 RX10 III. 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The ZS100 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the RX10 III 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 III is considerably larger (73 percent) than the Panasonic ZS100. Moreover, the RX10 III is substantially heavier (237 percent) than the ZS100. It is noteworthy in this context that the RX10 III is splash and dust-proof, while the ZS100 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
Concerning battery life, the ZS100 gets 300 shots out of its DMW-BLG10 battery, while the RX10 III can take 420 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 adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Panasonic ZS100»||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||11.0 oz||300||n||Jan 2016||699||Panasonic ZS100|
|Sony RX10 III«||5.2 in||3.7 in||5.0 in||37.1 oz||420||Y||Mar 2016||1,499||Sony RX10 III|
|Canon G7 X Mark II« »||4.2 in||2.4 in||1.7 in||11.3 oz||265||n||Feb 2016||699||Canon G7 X Mark II|
|Canon G5 X« »||4.4 in||3.0 in||1.7 in||12.5 oz||210||n||Oct 2015||799||Canon G5 X|
|Canon M3« »||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.7 in||12.9 oz||250||n||Feb 2015||679||Canon M3|
|Canon G7 X« »||4.1 in||2.4 in||1.6 in||10.7 oz||210||n||Sep 2014||699||Canon G7 X|
|Panasonic ZS200« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.8 in||12.0 oz||370||n||Feb 2018||799||Panasonic ZS200|
|Panasonic LX10« »||4.2 in||2.4 in||1.7 in||10.9 oz||260||n||Sep 2016||699||Panasonic LX10|
|Sony RX10 IV« »||5.2 in||3.7 in||5.7 in||38.6 oz||400||Y||Sep 2017||1,699||Sony RX10 IV|
|Sony RX0« »||2.3 in||1.6 in||1.2 in||3.9 oz||240||Y||Aug 2017||699||Sony RX0|
|Sony RX100 V« »||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.6 in||10.5 oz||220||n||Oct 2016||999||Sony RX100 V|
|Sony RX10 II« »||5.1 in||3.5 in||4.0 in||28.7 oz||400||Y||Jun 2015||1,299||Sony RX10 II|
|Sony RX100 IV« »||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.6 in||10.5 oz||280||n||Jun 2015||999||Sony RX100 IV|
|Sony RX100 III« »||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.6 in||10.2 oz||320||n||May 2014||799||Sony RX100 III|
|Sony RX10« »||5.1 in||3.5 in||4.0 in||28.7 oz||420||Y||Oct 2013||1,299||Sony RX10|
|Sony RX100 II« »||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.5 in||9.9 oz||350||n||Jun 2013||749||Sony RX100 II|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The ZS100 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 53 percent) than the RX10 III, 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.
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 2.7. 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.
The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 20 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the ZS100 and the RX10 III have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. Moreover, the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation.
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 Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 III 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 Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Panasonic ZS100||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.5||559||70||Panasonic ZS100|
|Sony RX10 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||23.1||12.6||472||70||Sony RX10 III|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Canon G7 X Mark II|
|Canon G5 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Canon G5 X|
|Canon M3||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/30p||22.8||11.8||1169||72||Canon M3|
|Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71||Canon G7 X|
|Panasonic ZS200||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Panasonic ZS200|
|Panasonic LX10||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Panasonic LX10|
|Sony RX10 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Sony RX10 IV|
|Sony RX0||1-inch||15.4||4800||3200||1080/60p||22.4||12.4||548||68||Sony RX0|
|Sony RX100 V||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.4||586||70||Sony RX100 V|
|Sony RX10 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||23.0||12.6||531||70||Sony RX10 II|
|Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70||Sony RX100 IV|
|Sony RX100 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67||Sony RX100 III|
|Sony RX10||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.9||12.6||474||69||Sony RX10|
|Sony RX100 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.5||12.4||483||67||Sony RX100 II|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).
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 RX10 III offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the ZS100 (2359k vs 1166k dots). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Panasonic ZS100 and Sony RX10 III along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Panasonic ZS100||1166||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Panasonic ZS100|
|Sony RX10 III||2359||Y||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||14.0||Y||Y||Sony RX10 III|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0||Y||Y||Canon G7 X Mark II|
|Canon G5 X||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y||Canon G5 X|
|Canon M3||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.2||Y||n||Canon M3|
|Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5||Y||Y||Canon G7 X|
|Panasonic ZS200||2330||n||3.0||1240||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Panasonic ZS200|
|Panasonic LX10||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||10.0||Y||Y||Panasonic LX10|
|Sony RX10 IV||2359||Y||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y||Sony RX10 IV|
|Sony RX0||none||n||1.5||230||fixed||n||..||5.5||n||n||Sony RX0|
|Sony RX100 V||2359||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y||Sony RX100 V|
|Sony RX10 II||2359||Y||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/3200s||14.0||Y||Y||Sony RX10 II|
|Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0||1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y||Sony RX100 IV|
|Sony RX100 III||1440||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony RX100 III|
|Sony RX10||1440||Y||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/3200s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony RX10|
|Sony RX100 II||optional||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony RX100 II|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The ZS100 has a touchscreen, while the RX10 III 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, 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).
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.
Both the ZS100 and the RX10 III have zoom lenses built in. The ZS100 has a 25-250mm f/2.8-5.9 optic and the RX10 III offers a 24-600mm f/2.4-4.0 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Sony provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the Panasonic. The RX10 III offers the faster maximum aperture.
The ZS100 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the RX10 III 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 Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 III and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Panasonic ZS100||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Panasonic ZS100|
|Sony RX10 III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX10 III|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon G7 X Mark II|
|Canon G5 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon G5 X|
|Canon M3||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon M3|
|Canon G7 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon G7 X|
|Panasonic ZS200||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Panasonic ZS200|
|Panasonic LX10||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Panasonic LX10|
|Sony RX10 IV||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX10 IV|
|Sony RX0||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Sony RX0|
|Sony RX100 V||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX100 V|
|Sony RX10 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX10 II|
|Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX100 IV|
|Sony RX100 III||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX100 III|
|Sony RX10||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX10|
|Sony RX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX100 II|
It is notable that the RX10 III has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The ZS100 does not feature such a mic input.
The RX10 III is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the ZS100 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the ZS100 was succeeded 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 Sony websites.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Panasonic ZS100 and the Sony RX10 III? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100:
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (111x65mm vs 133x94mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 739g or 70 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (53 percent cheaper at launch).
Arguments in favor of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 III:
- 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 (1229k vs 1040k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (14 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/2.8).
- 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.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (420 versus 300) out of a single battery charge.
- 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.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the RX10 III is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 5 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports 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 RX10 III 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 ZS100 and the RX10 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 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.
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 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 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.
- Canon G7 X Mark III vs Sony RX10 III
- Canon M3 vs Panasonic ZS100
- Canon T100 vs Sony RX10 III
- Canon XC10 vs Panasonic ZS100
- Hasselblad X1D II vs Panasonic ZS100
- Leica V-LUX 2 vs Sony RX10 III
- Nikon D3 vs Sony RX10 III
- Nikon D40X vs Sony RX10 III
- Nikon W300 vs Panasonic ZS100
- Panasonic ZS100 vs Panasonic ZS200
- Panasonic ZS100 vs Sony A68
- Sony A900 vs Sony RX10 III
Specifications: Panasonic ZS100 vs Sony RX10 III
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 RX10 III|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||25-250mm f/2.8-5.9||24-600mm f/2.4-4.0|
|Launch Date||January 2016||March 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 699||USD 1499|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic ZS100||Sony RX10 III|
|Sensor Format||1" Sensor||1" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||13.2 x 8.8 mm||13.2 x 8.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||116.16 mm2||116.16 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||15.9 mm||15.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20 Megapixels||20 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5472 x 3648 pixels||5472 x 3648 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.41 μm||2.41 μm|
|Pixel Density||17.18 MP/cm2||17.18 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||125-12800 ISO||100-12800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||80-25600 ISO||64-25600 ISO|
|Image Processor||Venus||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||70||70|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.8||23.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.5||12.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||559||472|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic ZS100||Sony RX10 III|
|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||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic ZS100||Sony RX10 III|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000/s||1/2000/s|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||14 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||up to 1/32000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||Lens-based 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 RX10 III|
|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 ZS100||Sony RX10 III|
|Environmental Sealing||Not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||300 shots per charge||420 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
111 x 65 x 44 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.7 in)
133 x 94 x 127 mm
(5.2 x 3.7 x 5.0 in)
|Camera Weight||312 g (11.0 oz)||1051 g (37.1 oz)|
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