Panasonic LX15 vs TZ100 (LX10 vs ZS100)

As an amateur camera user, I was looking for a mid range camera with video recording and a decent zoom option.  The RX100M5 was out of my price range and did not have all of the features I was after.  Two cameras stood out, the Panasonic Lumix LX15 (LX10 in some markets) and the Panasonic Lumix TZ100 (ZS100 in some markets).

Both cameras have a similar specification (discussed later on) and are housed in a similar body.  The end result for everyday shooting may look similar but there are a few features that make all of the difference in choosing either camera.  I will go through what made me buy the Panasonic Lumix TZ100 over the Panasonic Lumix LX15.

When purchasing a camera, you have to ask yourself several questions relating to the requirements and usage scenarios for the camera.

  • Do I need a portable camera or large DSLR camera?
  • What resolution do I need for images?
  • What resolution do I need for video?
  • Will I need a long zoom lens or interchangeable lens?
  • How much battery life will I need for everyday use?
  • Do I need a tilting screen?

Of course, there are many other questions but these are the first ones I thought of when looking for a camera.

Do I need a portable camera?

I am not used to carrying around a large camera, when I look to buy a portable device, I will spend a little more if I can get something small and portable.  A DSLR is nice but not practical for my needs.  A portable camera is handy for keeping strapped to my wrist for quick shooting plus I can store it in my pocket or backpack pocket without much hassle.

TZ100LX15
Length64.5mm60mm
Width110.5mm105.5mm
Height44.3mm42mm
Weight310g310g

Both cameras are very similar in size, the TZ100 is surprisingly larger but the weight is the same.  I don’t think the difference in size will be noticeable enough to favour one over the other.

 

What resolution do I need for images?

The main job of a camera is to take photos and do it well.  Not surprisingly, this feature is identical on both 20.1 megapixels.

What resolution do I need for videos?

My primary need for the camera was to record videos on family outings as well as indoors at events.  Whilst I don’t need full 4K at the moment, this was a consideration to future proof the camera for a few years at least as inevitably I will upgrade my hardware to 4K.

TZ100LX15
AVCHDAVCHD
FHD/28M/50PFHD/28M/60P
FHD/17M/50iFHD/17M/60i
FHD/24M/25PFHD/24M/30P
FHD/24M/24PFHD/24M/24P
MP4MP4
4K/100M/25P4K/100M/30P
4K/100M/24P4K/100M/24P
FHD/28M/50PFHD/28M/60P
FHD/20m/25PFHD/20m/30P
HD/10M/25pHD/10M/30P
VGA/4M/25p

The LX15 looks the better camera with these specifications but the TZ100 can be “unlocked” to allow 30P and 60P frames rather than the default 25P and 50P, plus the 4K recording time can be increased to 29:59 minutes rather than the measly 15 minutes.  This requires a button and on/off combination and you will get a yellow warning sign every time you turn the camera off but it is worth it.  The guide I followed is here read through it but only do it if you are comfortable doing it.

Will I need a long zoom lens or interchangeable lens?

This was a major deciding factor for me between the two cameras.  I really wanted a bit more optical zoom to capture a good image from distance.  The paltry zoom on my iPhone is only 2x which has never been good enough, the smart zoom is too noisy to produce a good image.

The LX15 offers 3x optical zoom whereas the TZ100 offers a very good 10x optical zoom – not quite the 30x of the TZ80 but that camera has a smaller sensor and is not as good overall as these two to be considered.

As mentioned earlier, I don’t want to lug around a large DSLR plus lenses, although nice for quality, not practical for the everyday user or traveller.

How much battery life will I need for everyday use?

This is another important factor to consider, not only the battery life but also the cost of extra batteries.

  • TZ100 1025mAH 7.2V
  • LX15 680mAH 7.2V

The capacity of the batteries are quite different and the battery usage is also very difficult to gauge as every user is different.  If you always use the flash, wifi and zoom a lot then the battery will drain more quickly.

Because of the increased battery capacity, the battery for the TZ100 takes 190mins to charge whereas the LX15 battery takes 130mins to fully charge.

The LX15 official battery model is DMW-BLH7PP which can be purchased on Amazon here.

The TZ100 official battery model is DMW-BLG10E which can be purchased on Amazon here.

The official batteries cost more than the OEM copies but if you are spending a few hundred pounds on a piece of electrical equipment, why not use good quality batteries to power it.

Something I dislike with both models is the inability to charge via USB whilst using as USB powerpack is readily available and high capacity, if you are on the go you should be able to just plug the micro USB cable into the camera and charge but not for these.  Charging is only possible when the camera is switched off.

(Click for larger image on Amazon)

There is an option that I recently discovered for my TZ100, this battery shell fits into the battery compartment and the dummy battery is powered via USB.  This device can be purchased here.  This goes against my previous assertion to use only original batteries but there is no other option!  I have only used it once for a timelapse video to test it, it worked fine but an obvious flaw is that the battery compartment must remain open.

Do I need a tilting screen?

I was considering the LX15 primarily for the 180 degrees tilting screen for vlogging.  I don’t vlog and will probably never vlog but this was a consideration.  The LX15 has a selfie mode in the menu with a timer which is a nice feature.  The Panasonic LX15 is an ideal vlogging camera because of the 180 degrees flip out screen,

Other features

The two cameras have several features in common including:

  • 4K photo
  • Post focus
  • 1″ MOS sensor
  • Optical image stabilisation
  • 3″ touch screen monitor (1,040,000 dots)
  • Pop up flash
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-I UHS speed class 3
  • Micro HDMI type d
  • USB 2.0 micro-b

A function that I do not use that much but do intend to is slow motion (slo-mo) video recording or high speed video.  The TZ100 can do 100FPS but the LX15 offers an impressive 120FPS which is better for video editing.

TZ100LX15
1″ MOS sensor1″ MOS sensor
10 x Zoom3 x Zoom
F=9.1mm to 91mm (35mm equiv 25 to 250mm)F=8.8mm to 26.4mm (35mm equiv 24 to 72mm)
Max wide F2.8 to F8Max wide F1.4 to F11
Max tele F5.9 to F8Max tele F2.8 to F11
Focus rangeFocus range
AFAF
50cm (max wide)30cm (max wide)
70CM max tele30CM max tele
AF Macro/MF/Intelligent Auto/Motion PictureAF Macro/MF/Intelligent Auto/Motion Picture
5cm Max wide3cm Max wide
70cm Max tele30cm Max tele