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Canon G1 X vs Sony NEX-F3

The Canon PowerShot G1 X and the Sony Alpha NEX-F3 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2012 and May 2012. The G1X is a fixed lens compact, while the NEX-F3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an 1.5-inch (G1X) and an APS-C (NEX-F3) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 14.2 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 16 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon G1 X versus Sony NEX-F3
Canon G1 X Sony NEX-F3
Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
28-112mm f/2.8-5.8 Sony E mount lenses
14.2 MP, 1.5" Sensor 16 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/24p Video 1080/60i Video
ISO 100-12,800 ISO 100-16,000
Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
3.0 LCD, 922k dots 3.0 LCD, 920k dots
no rear screen Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
1.9 shutter flaps per second 5.5 shutter flaps per second
250 shots per battery charge470 shots per battery charge
117 x 81 x 65 mm, 534 g 117 x 67 x 42 mm, 314 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot G1 X and the Sony Alpha NEX-F3? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon G1 X and the Sony NEX-F3. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The NEX-F3 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, white), while the G1X is only available in black.

Size Canon G1 X vs Sony NEX-F3
Compare G1X versus NEX-F3 top
Comparison G1X or NEX-F3 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony NEX-F3 is notably smaller (17 percent) than the Canon G1 X. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G1X nor the NEX-F3 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G1X has a lens built in, whereas the NEX-F3 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the NEX-F3 and their specifications in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the G1X gets 250 shots out of its NB-10L battery, while the NEX-F3 can take 470 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon G1 X 4.6 in 3.2 in 2.6 in 18.8 oz 250 n Jan 2012 799i
 
Sony NEX-F3 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 11.1 oz 470 n May 2012 599i
 
Canon G1 X Mark II 4.6 in 2.9 in 2.6 in 19.5 oz 240 n Feb 2014 799i
 
Canon G16 4.3 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.6 oz 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
 
Canon S120 3.9 in 2.3 in 1.1 in 7.7 oz 230 n Aug 2013 449i
 
Canon SX50 4.8 in 3.4 in 4.2 in 21.0 oz 315 n Sep 2012 429i
 
Canon T4i 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.3 oz 440 n Jun 2012 849i
 
Canon T3 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 17.5 oz 700 n Feb 2011 449i
 
Canon T1i 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.3 oz 400 n Mar 2009 799i
 
Canon XSi 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.5 oz 500 n Jan 2008 799i
 
Leica V-LUX 4 4.9 in 3.4 in 4.3 in 20.7 oz 540 n Sep 2012 949i
 
Leica V-LUX 3 4.9 in 3.2 in 3.7 in 19.0 oz 410 n Dec 2011 949i
 
Sony A5100 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 10.0 oz 400 n Aug 2014 549 i
 
Sony NEX-3N 4.3 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 480 n Feb 2013 499i
 
Sony NEX-5N 4.4 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 9.5 oz 460 n Aug 2011 699i
 
Sony NEX-3 4.6 in 2.4 in 1.3 in 10.5 oz 330 n May 2010 599i
 
Sony NEX-5 4.4 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 10.1 oz 330 n May 2010 699i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. 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.

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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 generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon G1 X features an 1.5-inch sensor and the Sony NEX-F3 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the NEX-F3 is 39 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.85 and 1.5. The sensor in the G1X has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the NEX-F3 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Canon G1 X and Sony NEX-F3 sensor measures

With 16MP, the NEX-F3 offers a higher resolution than the G1X (14.2MP), but the NEX-F3 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.78μm versus 4.30μm for the G1X) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the NEX-F3 is a somewhat more recent model (by 4 months) than the G1X, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The resolution advantage of the Sony NEX-F3 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the NEX-F3 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.4 x 41.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.6 x 13.1 inches or 49.9 x 33.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.6 x 27.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon G1 X are 21.8 x 16.3 inches or 55.3 x 41.5 cm for good quality, 17.4 x 13.1 inches or 44.2 x 33.2 cm for very good quality, and 14.5 x 10.9 inches or 36.8 x 27.6 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon PowerShot G1 X has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha NEX-F3 are ISO 100 to ISO 16000 (no boost).

G1X versus NEX-F3 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. Of the two cameras under consideration, the NEX-F3 offers substantially better image quality than the G1X (overall score 13 points higher). The advantage is based on 1 bits higher color depth, 1.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.8 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Canon G1 X 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.864460
 
Sony NEX-F3 APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.712.3111473
 
Canon G1 X Mark II 1.5-inch 13.0 4160 31201080/30p21.510.858158
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
 
Canon S120 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.311.924656
 
Canon SX50 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.217947
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
 
Canon T3 APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
 
Canon XSi APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261
 
Leica V-LUX 4 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p........
 
Leica V-LUX 3 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p........
 
Sony A5100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.7134780
 
Sony NEX-3N APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.812.5106774
 
Sony NEX-5N APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.612.7107977
 
Sony NEX-3 APS-C 14.0 4592 3056720/30p22.112.083068
 
Sony NEX-5 APS-C 14.0 4592 30561080/60i22.212.279669

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 NEX-F3 provides a faster frame rate than the G1X. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the Canon is limited to 1080/24p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the G1X has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the NEX-F3 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the NEX-F3 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the FDA-EV1S. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon G1 X and Sony NEX-F3 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
 
Canon G1 Xoptical n 3.0 922 Swivel n 1/4000s 1.9 Y Y
 
Sony NEX-F3optional n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5 Y n
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIoptional n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 5.2 Y Y
 
Canon G16optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
 
Canon S120none n 3.0 922 fixed Y 1/2000s 12.1 Y Y
 
Canon SX50202 n 3.0 461 swivel n 1/2000s 2.2 Y Y
 
Canon T4ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon T3optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon T1ioptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n
 
Canon XSioptical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
 
Leica V-LUX 41312 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
 
Leica V-LUX 3202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0 Y Y
 
Sony A5100none n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
 
Sony NEX-3Noptional n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Sony NEX-5Noptional n 3.0 920 tilting Y 1/4000s 10.0 n n
 
Sony NEX-3optional n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 7.0 n n
 
Sony NEX-5optional n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 7.0 n n
Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.

The G1X writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the NEX-F3 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards.

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Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon PowerShot G1 X and Sony Alpha NEX-F3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Canon G1 XYstereomono--mini2.0---
 
Sony NEX-F3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIYstereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon G16Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
 
Canon S120-stereomono--mini2.0Y--
 
Canon SX50Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon T4iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon T3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon T1iYmonomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon XSiY----mini2.0---
 
Leica V-LUX 4YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Leica V-LUX 3Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Sony A5100-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Sony NEX-3N-stereomono--micro2.0---
 
Sony NEX-5NYstereomono--mini2.0---
 
Sony NEX-3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Sony NEX-5Ystereomono--mini2.0---

Both the G1X and the NEX-F3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The G1X was replaced by the Canon G1X Mark II, while the NEX-F3 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Sony websites.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon G1 X or the Sony NEX-F3 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot G1 X:

  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the NEX-F3 requires a separate lens.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2012).

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Advantages of the Sony Alpha NEX-F3:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (16 vs 14.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 8%.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (13 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.5 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.8 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60i versus 1080/24p).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.5 vs 1.9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • More compact: Is smaller (117x67mm vs 117x81mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (470 versus 250) out of a single battery charge.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (4 months) more recently.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the NEX-F3 is the clear winner of the contest (10 : 4 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

G1X 04:10 NEX-F3

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon G1 X and the Sony NEX-F3 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the G1X or the NEX-F3. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon G1 X+76/1004/54/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799i
 
Sony NEX-F3..74/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 May 2012 599i
 
Canon G1 X Mark II+77/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 799i
 
Canon G16+..4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
 
Canon S120+ +..4.5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2013 449i
 
Canon SX50+ +72/1004.5/5..4.5/5 Sep 2012 429i
 
Canon T4i+ +77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849i
 
Canon T380/10069/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
 
Canon T1i+ +74/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799i
 
Canon XSi+ ++ +4/55/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799i
 
Leica V-LUX 4.......... Sep 2012 949i
 
Leica V-LUX 3.......... Dec 2011 949i
 
Sony A5100+..4.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 i
 
Sony NEX-3N....4.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2013 499i
 
Sony NEX-5N+ +79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2011 699i
 
Sony NEX-3..70/1004.5/55/54/5 May 2010 599i
 
Sony NEX-5+ +71/1004.5/54/54/5 May 2010 699i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon G1 X:
Check Ebay offers
Sony NEX-F3:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon G1 X vs Sony NEX-F3

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon G1 X Sony NEX-F3
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens 28-112mm f/2.8-5.8 Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date January 2012 May 2012
    Launch Price USD 799 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Canon G1 X Sony NEX-F3
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format 1.5" Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 18.7 x 14.0 mm 23.4 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 261.8 mm2 365.04 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 23.4 mm 28.1 mm
    Crop Factor 1.85x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 14.2 Megapixels 16 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4352 x 3264 pixels 4912 x 3264 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.30 μm 4.78 μm
    Pixel Density 5.43 MP/cm2 4.39 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/24p Video 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,800 ISO 100 - 16,000 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 5 BIONZ
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 60 73
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.7 22.7
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.8 12.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 644 1114
    Screen Specs Canon G1 X Sony NEX-F3
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Field of View 74%
    Viewfinder Magnification
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 922k dots 920k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Canon G1 X Sony NEX-F3
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 1.9 shutter flaps/s 5.5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon G1 X Sony NEX-F3
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon G1 X Sony NEX-F3
    Battery Type NB-10L NP-FW50
    Battery Life (CIPA)250 shots per charge470 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 117 x 81 x 65 mm
    (4.6 x 3.2 x 2.6 in)
    117 x 67 x 42 mm
    (4.6 x 2.6 x 1.7 in)
    Camera Weight 534 g (18.8 oz) 314 g (11.1 oz)

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