Panasonic ZS80 vs Sony A7S III
The Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS80 (called Panasonic TZ95 in some regions) and the Sony Alpha 7S III are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2019 and July 2020. The ZS80 is a fixed lens compact, while the A7S III is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (ZS80) and a full frame (A7S III) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 20.2 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 12 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-ZS80 and the Sony Alpha 7S 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Panasonic ZS80 and the Sony A7S III is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The ZS80 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the A7S 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 A7S III is considerably larger (59 percent) than the Panasonic ZS80. It is noteworthy in this context that the A7S III is splash and dust-proof, while the ZS80 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the ZS80 has a lens built in, whereas the A7S III is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the A7S III and their specifications in the Sony FE Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the ZS80 gets 380 shots out of its DMW-BLG10 battery, while the A7S III can take 600 images on a single charge of its NP-FZ100 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. 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 ZS80||112 mm||69 mm||42 mm||327 g||380||n||Feb 2019||449|
|2.||Sony A7S III||127 mm||97 mm||81 mm||699 g||600||Y||Jul 2020||3,499|
|3.||Canon SX740||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||265||n||Jul 2018||399|
|4.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|5.||Fujifilm XF10||113 mm||64 mm||41 mm||279 g||330||n||Jul 2018||499|
|6.||Nikon A1000||114 mm||72 mm||41 mm||330 g||250||n||Jan 2019||429|
|7.||Panasonic LX100 II||115 mm||66 mm||65 mm||392 g||300||n||Aug 2018||999|
|8.||Panasonic TS7||117 mm||76 mm||37 mm||319 g||300||Y||May 2018||449|
|9.||Panasonic ZS70||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|10.||Sony A7R IV||129 mm||96 mm||78 mm||665 g||670||Y||Jul 2019||3,499|
|11.||Sony HX99||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||449|
|12.||Sony HX95||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||429|
|13.||Sony WX800||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||233 g||370||n||Oct 2018||399|
|14.||Sony A7R III||127 mm||96 mm||74 mm||650 g||650||Y||Oct 2017||3,199|
|15.||Sony A9||127 mm||96 mm||63 mm||673 g||650||Y||Apr 2017||4,499|
|16.||Sony A7R II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||625 g||290||Y||Jun 2015||3,199|
|17.||Sony A7S II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||627 g||370||Y||Sep 2015||2,999|
|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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The ZS80 was launched at a lower price than the A7S III, despite having a lens built in. 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 imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. 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 ZS80 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Sony A7S III a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A7S III is 2925 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.0. The sensor in the ZS80 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the A7S III offers a 3:2 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Panasonic ZS80 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 12 MP of the Sony A7S III. 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 8.40μm for the A7S III). Moreover, it should be noted that the A7S III is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 5 months) than the ZS80, 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 ZS80 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Panasonic ZS80 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the ZS80 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Sony A7S III are 21.2 x 14.2 inches or 53.8 x 36 cm for good quality, 17 x 11.3 inches or 43.1 x 28.8 cm for very good quality, and 14.1 x 9.4 inches or 35.9 x 24 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS80 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 Alpha 7S III are ISO 80 to ISO 102400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 40-409600.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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. 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 A7S III||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/120p||23.7||13.9||2520||86|
|7.||Panasonic LX100 II||Four Thirds||16.8||4736||3552||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|10.||Sony A7R IV||Full Frame||60.2||9504||6336||4K/30p||26.0||14.8||3344||99|
|14.||Sony A7R III||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||14.7||3523||100|
|15.||Sony A9||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.9||13.3||3517||92|
|16.||Sony A7R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||13.9||3434||98|
|17.||Sony A7S II||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/30p||23.6||13.3||2993||85|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the A7S III provides a faster frame rate than the ZS80. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/120p, while the Panasonic is limited to 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 A7S III offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the ZS80 (9440k vs 2330k dots). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Panasonic ZS80 and Sony A7S III in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|2.||Sony A7S III||9440||n||3.0||1440||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|7.||Panasonic LX100 II||2764||n||3.0||1240||fixed||Y||1/4000s||11.0||n||Y|
|10.||Sony A7R IV||5760||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|14.||Sony A7R III||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|16.||Sony A7R II||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
|17.||Sony A7S II||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The ZS80 has one, while the A7S III does not. While the built-in flash of the ZS80 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.
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 ZS80 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A7S III uses CFexpress or SDXC cards. The A7S III features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the ZS80 only has one slot. The A7S III supports UHS-II cards (on both slots), while the ZS80 can use UHS-I 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-ZS80 and Sony Alpha 7S III and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|2.||Sony A7S III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||full||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|7.||Panasonic LX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|10.||Sony A7R IV||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|14.||Sony A7R III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony A7R II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony A7S II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the A7S III has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The ZS80 does not feature such a mic input.
Both the ZS80 and the A7S III are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The ZS80 replaced the earlier Panasonic ZS70, while the A7S III followed on from the Sony A7S II. 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? Which of the two cameras – the Panasonic ZS80 or the Sony A7S III – 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.
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS80:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (20.2 vs 12MP) with a 27% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the A7S III requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (112x69mm vs 127x97mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the A7S III).
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2019).
Advantages of the Sony Alpha 7S III:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (4K/120p versus 4K/30p).
- 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 (9440k vs 2330k dots).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.91x vs 0.53x).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1440k vs 1040k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (600 versus 380) 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.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.2 vs 2.0).
- More solid recording: Has a full-sized HDMI port for a sturdy connection to an external recorder.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 5 months) more recently.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A7S III is the clear winner of the contest (22 : 8 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 ZS80 and the Sony A7S III 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 the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the ZS80 and the A7S 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 why expert reviews 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 ZS80||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||..||Feb 2019||449|
|2.||Sony A7S III||..||+ +||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2020||3,499|
|3.||Canon SX740||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2018||399|
|4.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|5.||Fujifilm XF10||..||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2018||499|
|6.||Nikon A1000||..||+ +||..||3.5/5||3/5||Jan 2019||429|
|7.||Panasonic LX100 II||4.5/5||+||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||999|
|8.||Panasonic TS7||..||+||..||..||3.5/5||May 2018||449|
|9.||Panasonic ZS70||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|10.||Sony A7R IV||5/5||+||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2019||3,499|
|11.||Sony HX99||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||449|
|12.||Sony HX95||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 2018||429|
|13.||Sony WX800||..||..||..||..||..||Oct 2018||399|
|14.||Sony A7R III||..||+ +||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2017||3,199|
|15.||Sony A9||5/5||+ +||89/100||5/5||5/5||Apr 2017||4,499|
|16.||Sony A7R II||5/5||+ +||90/100||5/5||5/5||Jun 2015||3,199|
|17.||Sony A7S II||5/5||+||..||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2015||2,999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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 your choice using the following search menu. 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 ZS80 vs Sony A7S 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 ZS80||Sony A7S III|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||24-720mm f/3.3-6.4||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2019||July 2020|
|Launch Price||USD 449||USD 3,499|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic ZS80||Sony A7S III|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||35.6 x 23.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||847.28 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||42.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20.2 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3888 pixels||4240 x 2832 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.18 μm||8.40 μm|
|Pixel Density||71.80 MP/cm2||1.42 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||4K/120p Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 3,200 ISO||80 - 102,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||80 - 6,400 ISO||40 - 409,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||Venus||BIONZ XR|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||86|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||23.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||13.9|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||2520|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic ZS80||Sony A7S III|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2330k dots||9440k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1440k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic ZS80||Sony A7S III|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||YES|
|Image Stabilization||Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||CFexpress or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||Dual UHS-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Panasonic ZS80||Sony A7S III|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.2|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||full HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Panasonic ZS80||Sony A7S III|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||380 shots per charge||600 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
112 x 69 x 42 mm
(4.4 x 2.7 x 1.7 in)
127 x 97 x 81 mm
(5.0 x 3.8 x 3.2 in)
|Camera Weight||327 g (11.5 oz)||699 g (24.7 oz)|
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