Panasonic Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500 vs Sony RX10 III quality
To compare real-life performance, I shot this scene with the Panasonic Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500 and the Sony RX10 III within a few moments of each other, using their best quality JPEG settings and at their base sensitivity settings. For this test the cameras were mounted on a tripod and image stabilisation was disabled. Both cameras were set to their 24mm equivalent maximum wide angle focal length.
I’d previously determined that best results were achieved at f4, so both cameras were set to Aperture priority mode and f4 selected. The Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500 was set to its base 125 ISO sensitivity setting and it metered an exposure of 1/320. Also set to f4 and at its base 100 ISO sensitivity setting the Sony RX10 III selected an exposure of 1/400 – the same as the FZ2000 / FZ2500 given the different ISO sensitivity settings.
Both of these cameras share a 20 Megapixel resolution producing 3:2 images measuring 5472 x x3648 pixels so the crops areas and image detail are the same size. As usual the crops below are taken from the areas marked in red below.
It’s difficult not to view the crops from the Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500 in light of those from the Sony RX10 III alongside but, for this first set of crops at least, lets go down the left column and assess the quality of the Lumix crops. The first one is not at all bad, considering it’s from right on the left edge of the frame. It’s a bit soft and a little blurred, plus there’s some colour fringing, but there’s plenty of detail. The second crop, from near the top of the frame in the middle is better, but it still looks a little on the soft side. The third crop, which is taken from more or less the middle of the frame is the best one and the Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500 has made a great job of resolving all the fine detail in the roof tiles, the brickwork in the chimney and the trees. The fourth crop from the extreme right edge of the frame looks very similar in quality to the first one from the other edge and we’re back to the slightly soft detail.
Now let’s compare the Sony RX10 III crops in the right column. Like the Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500, the first crop from the RX10 III is a little blurry and also suffers a little from colour fringing. Likewise, the second crop shows a big improvement, more of an improvement than the FZ2000 / FZ2500 in fact. This crop from the RX10 III is punchier and the edges are crisper, and the fine detail clearer. The same is true of crop number three from the middle of the frame and even in the final crop from the right edge, the Sony RX10 III has an edge over the Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500. It’s difficult to say whether these differences are down to processing or superior performance from the Sony RX10 III’s lens and sensor. Whatever the reason, I think it’s fair to say that at this focal length, the Sony JPEGs are clearly better.
Scroll down to see more quality comparisons with the lens zoomed in. Or to find out how they compare at higher sensitivities.
For this next test I zoomed both cameras in to roughly 200mm equivalent. At this focal length the Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500 stops down to f4.5 but the RX10 III can maintain f4. So for this comparison I closed both lenses to f4.5. As before the crops below are taken from the areas marked in red above.
At this 200mm equivalent focal length, there’s a clear difference straight off between the Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500 and the Sony RX10 III. In the first crop from the left edge of the frame the RX10 III on the right is a lot cleaner and crisper and in fact the difference is so marked I think what we’re seeing is more than simply superior processing from the Sony model. There’s a level of detail in the stonework in the RX10 III crop that just isn’t there in the FZ2000 / FZ2500 crop. The same is true of all the crops at this focal length, across the frame the Sony RX10 III produces crisper cleaner crops with more detail than those from the Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500.
Scroll down to see how they fair when zoomed to the FZ2000 / FZ2500’s maximum 480mm equivalent focal length. Or head for my Panasonic Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500 noise results, skip to my Panasonic Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500 sample images, or head straight to my verdict.
Panasonic Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500 quality at 480mm equivalent
For this final comparison I zoomed the Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500 to its maximum 480mm equivalent focal length and zoomed the Sony RX10 III to match it. This is still a little way short of the Sony RX10 III’s maximum 600mm equivalent focal length. As before the crops are from the areas marked in red above. And as before, the RX10 III does better across the frame, with all four crops showing sharper edges and better detail. Whichever way you look at it, it’s a pretty emphatic win for the Sony RX10 III. Next head for my Panasonic Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500 noise results, skip to my Panasonic Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500 sample images, or head straight to my verdict.
Panasonic Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500 vs Sony RX10 III noise results
To compare noise levels under real-life conditions, I shot this scene with the Panasonic Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500 and the Sony RX10 III within a few moments of each other at each of their ISO settings. The cameras were set to their best quality JPEG modes and mounted on a tripod and stabilisation was disabled. I disabled DRO on the RX10 III as it can affect the noise characteristics of images shot in low light.
Both cameras were set to their 24mm equivalent maximum wide angle focal length. I’d previously determined that best results were achieved at f4, so both cameras we’re set to Aperture priority mode and f4 selected. At its base 125 ISO sensitivity setitng the Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500 selected an exposure of 0.5s and set to its 125 ISO base sensitivity the RX10 II chose 0.6s, the same exposure as the Lumix given the different ISO setting.
Both cameras have an extended ISO sensitivity range that can be activated from the menu. The Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500 extends down to 80 ISO and has an additional 25600 ISO setting at the top. The RX10 III provides 64 and 80 ISO at the low end of the range. For the sake of completeness, and because it’s interesting to see the comparisons, I’ve included these additional settings in the table below, but bear in mind the important comparison is between the base ISO settings – 125 ISO for the Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500 and 100 ISO for the RX10 III.
Casting an eye down the left column of crops I think it’s fair to say that the Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500 puts in a pretty good noise performance for a 1 inch sensor. At the lower ISO settings and at the base 125 ISO there’s very little if any noise texture visible. As you move up the sensitivity scale of course the noise increases but it’s managed well with the result that up to 400 ISO you’d have to be pixel peeping these 100 percent crops to spot the difference. The noise is visible at 400 ISO, but the detail is natural-looking with no sign of clumping or smoothing.
Likewise at 800 and 1600 ISO, despite the increase in noise the crops maintain a natural look, but 3200 ISO is a bit of a watermark, and there’s a little bit of clumpiness now. It’s worth pointing out that at smaller sizes 3200 ISO looks pretty respectable, beyond that it’s a real battle between the noise and image detail. Again though, worth pointing out that up to 12800 ISO you can get away with it at smaller sizes.
Compared with the crops from the Sony RX10 III, it’s too close to call. I’ve stared at these crops for a while and I can’t spot much of a difference at any of the sensitivity settings.