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Sony A6000 versus Panasonic ZS100

The Sony Alpha A6000 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 (labelled Panasonic TZ100 in some countries) are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2014 and January 2016. The A6000 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the ZS100 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (A6000) and an one-inch sensor. The Sony has a resolution of 24 megapixel, whereas the Panasonic provides 20 MP.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Sony A6000 and the Panasonic ZS100. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the A6000 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Sony A6000 vs Panasonic ZS100 front
A6000 versus ZS100 top view
A6000 and ZS100 rear side
Body view (A6000 on the left)

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic ZS100 is notably smaller (10 percent) than the Sony A6000. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the A6000 nor the ZS100 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the ZS100 has a lens build in, whereas the A6000 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can find an overview of optics for the A6000 and their specifications in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog.

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 comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
Camera Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(y/n)
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Sony A6000 (⇒ rgt) 120 mm 67 mm 45 mm 344 g 360 no 2014 599discont. check
Panasonic ZS100 (⇒ lft) 111 mm 65 mm 44 mm 312 g 300 no 2016 699 latest check
Canon G9 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 98 mm 58 mm 31 mm 209 g 220 no 2015 529discont. check
Canon M3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 111 mm 68 mm 44 mm 366 g 250 no 2015 679discont. check
Canon T6i (⇒ lft | rgt) 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 555 g 440 no 2015 749discont. check
Canon T6s (⇒ lft | rgt) 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 no 2015 849discont. check
Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 103 mm 60 mm 40 mm 304 g 210 no 2014 699discont. check
Leica Q Typ 116 (⇒ lft | rgt) 130 mm 80 mm 93 mm 640 g .. no 2015 4,249 latest check
Nikon D3400 (⇒ lft | rgt) 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 445 g 1200 no 2016 499 latest check
Nikon D3300 (⇒ lft | rgt) 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 430 g 700 no 2014 499discont. check
Panasonic GX85 (⇒ lft | rgt) 122 mm 71 mm 44 mm 426 g 290 no 2016 799 latest check
Panasonic LX10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 106 mm 60 mm 42 mm 310 g 260 no 2016 699 latest check
Sony A6300 (⇒ lft | rgt) 120 mm 67 mm 49 mm 404 g 400 YES 2016 999discont. check
Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 298 g 280 no 2015 999discont. check
Sony RX1R (⇒ lft | rgt) 113 mm 65 mm 70 mm 482 g 270 no 2013 2,799discont. check

The listed 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.

Sensor comparison

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 Sony A6000 features an APS-C sensor and the Panasonic ZS100 an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the ZS100 is 68 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 2.7. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Sony A6000 and Panasonic ZS100 sensor measures
Sensor size
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Sensor size

With 24MP, the A6000 offers a higher resolution than the ZS100 (20MP), but the A6000 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 2.41μm for the ZS100) due to its larger sensor. However, the ZS100 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 10 months) than the A6000, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

A6000 versus ZS100 MP
Sensor resolution
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Sensor resolution

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under review, the A6000 provides substantially higher image quality than the ZS100, with an overall score that is 12 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.3 bits higher color depth, 0.6 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.3 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.

Sensor Characteristics
Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(Megapixel)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Sony A6000 (⇒ rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 24.1 13.1 1347 82
Panasonic ZS100 (⇒ lft) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p 22.8 12.5 559 70
Canon G9 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p 21.5 12.3 495 63
Canon M3 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/30p 22.8 11.8 1169 72
Canon T6i (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 22.7 12.0 919 71
Canon T6s (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/30p 22.6 12.0 915 70
Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p 23.0 12.7 556 71
Leica Q Typ 116 (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 24.3 12.7 2221 85
Nikon D3400 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 24.8 13.9 1192 86
Nikon D3300 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 24.3 12.8 1385 82
Panasonic GX85 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.8 4592 3448 4K/30p 22.9 12.6 662 71
Panasonic LX10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p .. .. .. ..
Sony A6300 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 4K/30p 24.4 13.7 1437 85
Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p 22.8 12.6 591 70
Sony RX1R (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 25.0 13.6 2537 91

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the ZS100 provides a better video resolution than the A6000. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Sony is limited to 1080/60p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under consideration are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the A6000 offers a higher resolution than the one in the ZS100 (1440k vs 1166k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Sony A6000, the Panasonic ZS100, and comparable cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(Y/n)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(Y/n)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(GN)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Sony A6000 (⇒ rgt) 1440 no 3.0 922 tilting no 4000 11.0 6 no
Panasonic ZS100 (⇒ lft) 1166 no 3.0 1040 fixed YES 2000 10.0 YES YES
Canon G9 X (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 fixed YES 2000 6.0 6 no
Canon M3 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 4.2 5 no
Canon T6i (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 1040 swivel YES 4000 5.0 12 no
Canon T6s (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.0 1040 swivel YES 4000 5.0 12 no
Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 2000 6.5 7 no
Leica Q Typ 116 (⇒ lft | rgt) 3680 no 3.0 1040 fixed YES 2000 10.0 no no
Nikon D3400 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 921 fixed no 4000 5.0 7 no
Nikon D3300 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 921 fixed no 4000 5.0 12 no
Panasonic GX85 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2765 no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 8.0 6 YES
Panasonic LX10 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 10.0 12.1 YES
Sony A6300 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2300 no 3.0 922 tilting no 4000 11.0 6 no
Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) 2359 no 3.0 1228 tilting no 2000 16.0 10.2 no
Sony RX1R (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1229 fixed no 4000 5.0 6 no

The ZS100 is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the A6000 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on ebay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the A6000 was succeeded by the Sony A6300.

Summary

So what is the bottom line? Is the Sony A6000 better than the Panasonic ZS100 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


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Advantages of the Sony Alpha A6000:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 20MP) with a 10% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (12 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.3 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.6 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.3 stops ISO advantage).
  • More detailed viewfinder: Has a higher resolution electronic viewfinder (1440k vs 1166k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Faster shutter: Has a higher mechanical shutter speed (4000/sec vs 2000/sec) to freeze action.
  • More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (360 versus 300) on a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2014).

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Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100:

  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 922k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the A6000 necessitates an extra lens.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens build in (unlike the A6000).
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 10 months) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A6000 is the clear winner of the match-up (11 : 7 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features.

A6000 11:07 ZS100

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the A6000 or the ZS100. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable. This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites. The detailed reviews can be accessed, respectively, on the websites of cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.

Review scores
Camera camera
labs
dp
review
ephoto
zine
imaging
resource
photography
blog
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Sony A6000 (⇒ rgt) Rec 80/100 Gold 4.5/5 5/5 5/5 2014 599discont. check
Panasonic ZS100 (⇒ lft) HiRec 82/100 Gold 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2016 699 latest check
Canon G9 X (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec - 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2015 529discont. check
Canon M3 (⇒ lft | rgt) reviewed 75/100 4.5/5 4.5/5 4/5 2015 679discont. check
Canon T6i (⇒ lft | rgt) - 75/100 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2015 749discont. check
Canon T6s (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 77/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2015 849discont. check
Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 77/100 Silver 4.5/5 3.5/5 4.5/5 2014 699discont. check
Leica Q Typ 116 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 80/100 Silver 4.5/5 - 4.5/5 2015 4,249 latest check
Nikon D3400 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 76/100 4/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2016 499 latest check
Nikon D3300 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 77/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2014 499discont. check
Panasonic GX85 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 82/100 Silver 5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2016 799 latest check
Panasonic LX10 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 81/100 Silver 4/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2016 699 latest check
Sony A6300 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 85/100 Gold 5/5 5/5 5/5 2016 999discont. check
Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 85/100 Gold 4/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2015 999discont. check
Sony RX1R (⇒ lft | rgt) - - 4/5 reviewed 4.5/5 2013 2,799discont. check

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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 comparisons

If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, 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. If the camera you are interested in is not available, please send me an email, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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