Sony RX100 II versus Panasonic ZS100
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 (labelled Panasonic TZ100 in some countries) are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in June 2013 and January 2016. Both the RX100 II and the ZS100 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with an one-inch sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 20 megapixel.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Sony RX100 II and the Panasonic ZS100 is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the RX100 II – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).
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 larger (22 percent) than the Sony RX100 II. Moreover, the ZS100 is markedly heavier (11 percent) than the RX100 II. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the RX100 II nor the ZS100 are weather-sealed.
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
|Sony RX100 II (⇒ rgt)||102 mm||58 mm||38 mm||281 g||350||no||2013||749||discont.||check|
|Panasonic ZS100 (⇒ lft)||111 mm||65 mm||44 mm||312 g||300||no||2016||699||discont.||check|
|Canon M3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||111 mm||68 mm||44 mm||366 g||250||no||2015||679||discont.||check|
|Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||112 mm||76 mm||44 mm||353 g||210||no||2015||799||latest||check|
|Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||no||2014||699||discont.||check|
|Canon T5i (⇒ lft | rgt)||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||580 g||440||no||2013||649||discont.||check|
|Panasonic ZS200 (⇒ lft | rgt)||111 mm||65 mm||45 mm||340 g||370||no||2018||799||latest||check|
|Panasonic LX10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||106 mm||60 mm||42 mm||310 g||260||no||2016||699||latest||check|
|Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||831 g||360||no||2014||899||discont.||check|
|Ricoh GR (⇒ lft | rgt)||117 mm||61 mm||35 mm||245 g||290||no||2013||799||discont.||check|
|Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt)||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||299 g||220||no||2016||999||latest||check|
|Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt)||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||no||2015||999||discont.||check|
|Sony RX100 III (⇒ lft | rgt)||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||290 g||320||no||2014||799||discont.||check|
|Sony A5100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||283 g||400||no||2014||549||latest||check|
|Sony A5000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||269 g||420||no||2014||449||discont.||check|
|Sony RX100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||240 g||330||no||2012||649||discont.||check|
The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The ZS100 was somewhat cheaper (by 7 percent) than the RX100 II at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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 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. 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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras 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 megapixel. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the RX100 II and the ZS100 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the ZS100 is much more recent (by 2 years and 6 months) than the RX100 II, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time.
For most 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 image quality. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Sony RX100 II (⇒ rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.5||12.4||483||67|
|Panasonic ZS100 (⇒ lft)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.5||559||70|
|Canon M3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/30p||22.8||11.8||1169||72|
|Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||-||-||-||-|
|Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|Canon T5i (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.7||11.2||681||61|
|Panasonic ZS200 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Panasonic LX10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.1||11.7||517||64|
|Ricoh GR (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||13.5||972||78|
|Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.4||586||70|
|Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
|Sony RX100 III (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67|
|Sony A5100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.8||12.7||1347||80|
|Sony A5000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||19.8||5456||3632||1080/60i||23.8||13.0||1089||79|
|Sony RX100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.6||12.4||390||66|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the ZS100 provides a better video resolution than the RX100 II. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Sony is limited to 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range 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 RX100 II relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Sony RX100 II and Panasonic ZS100 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.
|Sony RX100 II (⇒ rgt)||no||no||3.0||1229||tilting||no||2000||10.0||15||YES|
|Panasonic ZS100 (⇒ lft)||1166||no||3.0||1040||fixed||YES||2000||10.0||YES||YES|
|Canon M3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1040||tilting||YES||4000||4.2||5||no|
|Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||2360||no||3.0||1040||swivel||YES||2000||5.9||7||YES|
|Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1040||tilting||YES||2000||6.5||7||YES|
|Canon T5i (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||1040||swivel||YES||4000||5.0||13||no|
|Panasonic ZS200 (⇒ lft | rgt)||2330||no||3.0||1240||fixed||YES||2000||10.0||6.8||YES|
|Panasonic LX10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1040||tilting||YES||4000||10.0||12.1||YES|
|Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||2359||no||3.0||921||swivel||no||4000||12.0||13.5||YES|
|Ricoh GR (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1230||fixed||no||4000||4.0||5.4||no|
|Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt)||2359||no||3.0||1229||tilting||no||2000||24.0||10.2||YES|
|Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt)||2359||no||3.0||1228||tilting||no||2000||16.0||10.2||YES|
|Sony RX100 III (⇒ lft | rgt)||1440||no||3.0||1229||tilting||no||2000||10.0||YES||YES|
|Sony A5100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||922||tilting||YES||4000||6.0||4||no|
|Sony A5000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||461||tilting||no||4000||3.5||4||no|
|Sony RX100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1229||fixed||no||2000||10.0||YES||YES|
Both the RX100 II and the ZS100 have zoom lenses build in. The RX100 II has a 28-100mm f/1.8-4.9 optic and the ZS100 offers a 25-250mm f/2.8-5.9 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Panasonic provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the Sony. The RX100 II offers the faster maximum aperture.
Both the RX100 II and the ZS100 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The RX100 II was replaced by the Sony RX100 III, while the ZS100 was followed by the Panasonic ZS200.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Sony RX100 II better than the Panasonic ZS100 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II:
- 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.
- Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/1.8 vs f/2.8).
- More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 111x65mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 31g or 10 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (350 versus 300) on a single battery charge.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in June 2013).
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100:
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- 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.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 6 months of technical progress since the RX100 II launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX100 II comes out slightly ahead of the ZS100 (7 : 6 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.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the RX100 II or the ZS100 handle or perform in practice. 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 adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites. You can find the full text of the reviews, respectively, at cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.
|Sony RX100 II (⇒ rgt)||HiRec||79/100 Silver||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2013||749||discont.||check|
|Panasonic ZS100 (⇒ lft)||HiRec||82/100 Gold||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||2016||699||discont.||check|
|Canon M3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||reviewed||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||2015||679||discont.||check|
|Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||78/100 Silver||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||2015||799||latest||check|
|Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||77/100 Silver||4.5/5||3.5/5||4.5/5||2014||699||discont.||check|
|Canon T5i (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||76/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2013||649||discont.||check|
|Panasonic ZS200 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||..||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||2018||799||latest||check|
|Panasonic LX10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||81/100 Silver||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2016||699||latest||check|
|Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||82/100 Gold||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2014||899||discont.||check|
|Ricoh GR (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||79/100 Gold||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2013||799||discont.||check|
|Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||83/100 Silver||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||2016||999||latest||check|
|Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||85/100 Gold||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2015||999||discont.||check|
|Sony RX100 III (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||82/100 Gold||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||2014||799||discont.||check|
|Sony A5100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||-||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||2014||549||latest||check|
|Sony A5000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||-||4.5/5||reviewed||4.5/5||2014||449||discont.||check|
|Sony RX100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||78/100 Silver||4/5||5/5||5/5||2012||649||discont.||check|
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.
If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please send me an email, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.
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