Gear

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III vs Panasonic Lumix FZ2000

Anyone interested in the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III may well be tempted by the Panasonic Lumix FZ2000, given that it appears to offer much the same for a more tempting price. But is one specced to a much higher standard than the other? Let’s find out.

Design and ergonomics

While both cameras are designed with the same basic idea in mind, there are differences. Perhaps the most obvious is that the RX10 III has a useful top-plate LCD to show exposure and shooting options, while the FZ2000 makes physical dials the priority.

Panasonic Lumix FZ2000
Panasonic Lumix FZ2000
Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III
Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III

 

Both cameras are equipped with 3in displays, although the RX10 III’s has a 1.228million-dot resolution, next to the FZ2000’s 1.04million-dot resolution. Perhaps more importantly, while Sony’s screen can be tilted upwards and downwards, Panasonic has opted for a vari-angle design, which allows it to be adjusted to a greater range of positions.

Panasonic Lumix FZ2000

Panasonic Lumix FZ2000

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III

One difference that won’t be obvious from the images is that the FZ2000 is designed with a touch-sensitive LCD, while the RX10 III is not. With this you can key menu options, set the focus point, zoom into images and much more.

In terms of direct control, the FZ2000 arguably has the upper hand. Not only does it feature many more direct functions, but it also has a broader range of customisable buttons. The RX10 III can have more controls altered than its three custom buttons suggest, but Panasonic is still more generous here, particularly when you take its touch-sensitive Fn buttons into consideration.

Image Quality

Both cameras make use of 20MP 1in sensors with a back-illuminated construction, but they are not quite the same. The sensor inside the RX10 III, for example, has a stacked construction and a DRAM chip, which Sony claims helps to reduce processing speeds among other advantages.

While the FZ2000 is kitted out with a lens equivalent to 24-480mm (in 35mm terms), the RX10 III beats it with a 24-600mm-equivalent optic. The RX10 III’s lens is also a little faster, with a maximum aperture of f/2.4-4 versus the FZ2000’s f/2.8-4.5.

Panasonic Lumix FZ2000

Panasonic Lumix FZ2000

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III

Both lenses make use of nine aperture blades for pleasing bokeh and both bodies also have built-in image stabilisation, a feature that’s very much necessary when you consider their ambitious lenses.

Video Quality

Each camera is capable of recording 4K footage in the 4K UHD format, and each comes with much of the supporting functionality we would expect to see here, such as focus peaking and zebra patterning, together with a mic input and headphone socket. The FZ2000 does, however, also offer a DCI 4K option.

While the FZ2000 comes with Cinelike Gamma D and V profiles as standard, to get the V-Log option working you have to pay an additional fee. The RX10 III, however, arrives with two S-Log modes as standard.

Panasonic Lumix FZ2000

Panasonic Lumix FZ2000

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III

Both cameras can shoot at 120fps in Full HD for slow-motion results, although the RX10 III doesn’t stop there. It offers progressively faster frame rates up to 960fps at reduced resolutions.

The FZ2000, however, has the upper hand with regards to outputting footage through its HDMI port, with 10bit 4:2:2 output versus the RX10 III’s 8bit 4:2:2.

Special Features

Interestingly, while Sony quietly dropped the ND filter that previously featured inside the RX10 II, Panasonic went in the other direction and furnished the FZ2000 with a variable ND filter and a control to enable this directly on the side of the body. With this, you can apply filtration over three levels, or alternatively leave it to an Auto setting.

Panasonic Lumix FZ2000

Panasonic Lumix FZ2000

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III

Both cameras make use of a 2.36million-dot OLED viewfinder, although the FZ2000’s 0.74x magnification is slightly larger than the 0.70x offered on the RX10 III. With its 420-shot battery life, however, the RX10 III trounces the FZ2000’s 350 frames.

Wi-Fi is present on both models, although only the RX10 III offers NFC too. NFC was offered on the previous FZ1000, although Panasonic appears to be dropping this from more recent Lumix models.

Panasonic Lumix FZ2000

Panasonic Lumix FZ2000

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III

When set to burst shooting, the FZ2000 can fire at a 12fps, although the RX10 III beats this slightly with a 14fps option.

Each model goes on to offer a range of clever functions that we’ve seen on previous models. On the FZ2000 these include the Post Focus feature that lets you decide on the point of focus after capture, as well as a Focus Stacking option.

The RX10 III, meanwhile, offers a useful Gamma Display Assist option, which lets you record using S-Log2 while giving you a more lifelike feed to work with so you can check focus more accurately.

Conclusion

Both cameras offer something very similar to one another, but each has its strengths in different areas. So, which to go for really depends on your priorities.

The RX10 III manages a longer and brighter lens, a higher-resolution LCD screen and faster bust rate, together with better battery life and a broader range of slow-motion video options. The inclusion of Log modes as standard is also very welcome when you consider that Panasonic charges for its V-Log option.

That said, the FZ2000 is still quite a bit cheaper to begin with, and has many advantages of its own. These include touchscreen operation, a slightly more generous viewfinder magnification, the option of DCI 4K recording and an ND filter that videographers can call upon quite simply through the dedicated physical control.

In terms of value for money the FZ2000 comes out on top, but if you’re prepared to sacrifice a little zoom range you may want to also consider the still-available RX10 II, which is just a little pricier than the FZ2000.