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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.

Body comparison

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).

Sony RX100 II vs Panasonic ZS100 front
RX100 II versus ZS100 top view
RX100 II and ZS100 rear side
Body view (RX100 II 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 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.

Concerning battery life, the RX100 II gets 350 shots out of its NP-BX1 battery, while the ZS100 can take 300 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLG10 power pack.

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 RX100 II (⇒ rgt) 102 mm 58 mm 38 mm 281 g 350 no 2013 749discont. check
Panasonic ZS100 (⇒ lft) 111 mm 65 mm 44 mm 312 g 300 no 2016 699discont. check
Canon M3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 111 mm 68 mm 44 mm 366 g 250 no 2015 679discont. 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 699discont. check
Canon T5i (⇒ lft | rgt) 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 580 g 440 no 2013 649discont. 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 899discont. check
Ricoh GR (⇒ lft | rgt) 117 mm 61 mm 35 mm 245 g 290 no 2013 799discont. 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 999discont. check
Sony RX100 III (⇒ lft | rgt) 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 290 g 320 no 2014 799discont. 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 449discont. check
Sony RX100 (⇒ lft | rgt) 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 240 g 330 no 2012 649discont. 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.

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. 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.

Sony RX100 II and Panasonic ZS100 sensor measures
Sensor size

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.

RX100 II versus ZS100 MP
Sensor resolution

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.

Sensor Characteristics
Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(Megapixel)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
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.

Feature comparison

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.

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 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.

Summary

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.


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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).

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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.

RX100 II 07:06 ZS100

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.

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 RX100 II (⇒ rgt) HiRec 79/100 Silver 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2013 749discont. check
Panasonic ZS100 (⇒ lft) HiRec 82/100 Gold 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2016 699discont. check
Canon M3 (⇒ lft | rgt) reviewed 75/100 4.5/5 4.5/5 4/5 2015 679discont. 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 699discont. check
Canon T5i (⇒ lft | rgt) - 76/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2013 649discont. 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 899discont. check
Ricoh GR (⇒ lft | rgt) - 79/100 Gold 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2013 799discont. 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 999discont. check
Sony RX100 III (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 82/100 Gold 4.5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2014 799discont. 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 449discont. check
Sony RX100 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 78/100 Silver 4/5 5/5 5/5 2012 649discont. 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.

Other comparisons

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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