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Canon G1 X versus Sony RX100 II

The Canon PowerShot G1 X and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2012 and June 2013. Both the G1X and the RX100 II are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on an 1.5-inch (G1X) and an one-inch (RX100 II) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 14.2 megapixel, whereas the Sony provides 20 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Canon G1 X vs Sony RX100 II

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon G1 X and the Sony RX100 II. 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the G1X – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Canon G1 X vs Sony RX100 II
Compare G1X versus RX100 II top
Compare G1X and RX100 II rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony RX100 II is considerably smaller (38 percent) than the Canon G1 X. Moreover, the RX100 II is substantially lighter (47 percent) than the G1X. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G1X nor the RX100 II are weather-sealed.

Concerning battery life, the G1X gets 250 shots out of its NB-10L battery, while the RX100 II can take 350 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon G1 X» 4.6 in 3.2 in 2.6 in 18.8 oz 250 n Jan 2012 799- i Canon G1 X
Sony RX100 II« 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 9.9 oz 350 n Jun 2013 749- i Sony RX100 II
Canon G1 X Mark II« » 4.6 in 2.9 in 2.6 in 19.5 oz 240 n Feb 2014 799 i i Canon G1 X Mark II
Canon G7 X« » 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.6 in 10.7 oz 210 n Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
Canon G16« » 4.3 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.6 oz 360 n Aug 2013 549 i i Canon G16
Canon T5i« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.5 oz 440 n Mar 2013 649- i Canon T5i
Canon SX50« » 4.8 in 3.4 in 4.2 in 21.0 oz 315 n Sep 2012 429- i Canon SX50
Canon T4i« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.3 oz 440 n Jun 2012 849- i Canon T4i
Canon T3« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 17.5 oz 700 n Feb 2011 449- i Canon T3
Canon T1i« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.3 oz 400 n Mar 2009 799- i Canon T1i
Canon XSi« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.5 oz 500 n Jan 2008 799- i Canon XSi
Leica V-LUX 4« » 4.9 in 3.4 in 4.3 in 20.7 oz 540 n Sep 2012 949- i Leica V-LUX 4
Leica V-LUX 3« » 4.9 in 3.2 in 3.7 in 19.0 oz 410 n Dec 2011 949- i Leica V-LUX 3
Panasonic FZ1000« » 5.4 in 3.9 in 5.2 in 29.3 oz 360 n Jun 2014 899- i Panasonic FZ1000
Sony RX100 IV« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 280 n Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV
Sony RX100 III« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.2 oz 320 n May 2014 799- i Sony RX100 III
Sony RX100« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.4 in 8.5 oz 330 n Jun 2012 649- i Sony RX100

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The RX100 II was somewhat cheaper (by 6 percent) than the G1X at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Canon G1 X vs Sony RX100 II

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.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon G1 X features an 1.5-inch sensor and the Sony RX100 II an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the RX100 II is 56 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.85 and 2.7. The sensor in the G1X has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the RX100 II offers a 3:2 aspect.

Canon G1 X and Sony RX100 II sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the RX100 II offers a higher resolution of 20 megapixel, compared with 14.2 MP of the G1X. This megapixel advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 2.41μm versus 4.30μm for the G1X). However, it should be noted that the RX100 II is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 5 months) than the G1X, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage.

G1X versus RX100 II MP

For many 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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the RX100 II has a markedly higher DXO score than the G1X (overall score 7 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.8 bits higher color depth, 1.6 EV in additional dynamic range, 0.4 stops of reduced low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Canon G1 X» 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.864460Canon G1 X
Sony RX100 II« 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.512.448367Sony RX100 II
Canon G1 X Mark II« » 1.5-inch 13.0 4160 31201080/30p21.510.858158Canon G1 X Mark II
Canon G7 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671Canon G7 X
Canon G16« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054Canon G16
Canon T5i« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161Canon T5i
Canon SX50« » 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.217947Canon SX50
Canon T4i« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262Canon T4i
Canon T3« » APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562Canon T3
Canon T1i« » APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363Canon T1i
Canon XSi« » APS-C 12.2 4272 2848-21.910.869261Canon XSi
Leica V-LUX 4« » 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p----Leica V-LUX 4
Leica V-LUX 3« » 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p----Leica V-LUX 3
Panasonic FZ1000« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.111.751764Panasonic FZ1000
Sony RX100 IV« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170Sony RX100 IV
Sony RX100 III« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.412.349567Sony RX100 III
Sony RX100« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.612.439066Sony RX100

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the RX100 II provides a faster frame rate than the G1X. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/24p.

 

Feature comparison: Canon G1 X vs Sony RX100 II

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 RX100 II relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the RX100 II can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the FDA-EV1MK. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon G1 X and Sony RX100 II along with similar information for a selection of comparators. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or in the dpreview camera hub.

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)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Canon G1 X»optical n 3.0 922 Swivel n 4000 1.9 Y Y Canon G1 X
Sony RX100 II«- n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 10.0 Y Y Sony RX100 II
Canon G1 X Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 5.2 Y Y Canon G1 X Mark II
Canon G7 X« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 2000 6.5 Y Y Canon G7 X
Canon G16« »optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 4000 2.2 Y Y Canon G16
Canon T5i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon T5i
Canon SX50« »202 n 3.0 461 swivel n 2000 2.2 Y Y Canon SX50
Canon T4i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon T4i
Canon T3« »optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon T3
Canon T1i« »optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 3.4 Y n Canon T1i
Canon XSi« »optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y n Canon XSi
Leica V-LUX 4« »1312 n 3.0 460 swivel n 4000 12.0 Y Y Leica V-LUX 4
Leica V-LUX 3« »202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 2000 12.0 Y Y Leica V-LUX 3
Panasonic FZ1000« »2359 n 3.0 921 swivel n 4000 12.0 Y Y Panasonic FZ1000
Sony RX100 IV« »2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 2000 16.0 Y Y Sony RX100 IV
Sony RX100 III« »1440 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 10.0 Y Y Sony RX100 III
Sony RX100« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 2000 10.0 Y Y Sony RX100

Both the G1X and the RX100 II have zoom lenses build in. The G1X has a 28-112mm f/2.8-5.8 optic and the RX100 II offers a 28-100mm f/1.8-4.9 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Canon and Sony provide the same view at the wide-angle end, but the Sony has less tele-photo reach at the long end. The RX100 II offers the faster maximum aperture.

The G1X writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the RX100 II uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Canon G1 X»Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon G1 X
Sony RX100 II«Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony RX100 II
Canon G1 X Mark II« »Ystereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon G1 X Mark II
Canon G7 X« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon G7 X
Canon G16« »Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--Canon G16
Canon T5i« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Canon T5i
Canon SX50« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon SX50
Canon T4i« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Canon T4i
Canon T3« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon T3
Canon T1i« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Canon T1i
Canon XSi« »Y----mini2.0---Canon XSi
Leica V-LUX 4« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Leica V-LUX 4
Leica V-LUX 3« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Leica V-LUX 3
Panasonic FZ1000« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-Panasonic FZ1000
Sony RX100 IV« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony RX100 IV
Sony RX100 III« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony RX100 III
Sony RX100« »-stereomono--micro2.0---Sony RX100

Both the G1X and the RX100 II have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The G1X was replaced by the Canon G1X Mark II, while the RX100 II was followed by the Sony RX100 III.

Review summary: Canon G1 X vs Sony RX100 II

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon G1 X and the Sony RX100 II? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Advantages of the Canon PowerShot G1 X:

  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (4000/sec vs 2000/sec) to freeze action.
  • More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2012).

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Arguments in favor of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 14.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 21%.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (7 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.6 EV of extra DR).
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/24p).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 922k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 1.9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/1.8 vs f/2.8).
  • More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 117x81mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 253g or 47 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (350 versus 250) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi build in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 5 months) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the RX100 II is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 5 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision.

G1X 05:13 RX100 II

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the G1X and the RX100 II in practical situations. 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. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon G1 X»Rec76/1004/54/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799- i Canon G1 X
Sony RX100 II«HiRec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jun 2013 749- i Sony RX100 II
Canon G1 X Mark II« »Rec77/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 799 i i Canon G1 X Mark II
Canon G7 X« »HiRec77/1004.5/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
Canon G16« »Rec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i i Canon G16
Canon T5i« »-76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649- i Canon T5i
Canon SX50« »HiRec72/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Sep 2012 429- i Canon SX50
Canon T4i« »HiRec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849- i Canon T4i
Canon T3« »80/10069/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449- i Canon T3
Canon T1i« »HiRec74/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799- i Canon T1i
Canon XSi« »HiRecHiRec4/55/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799- i Canon XSi
Leica V-LUX 4« »----- Sep 2012 949- i Leica V-LUX 4
Leica V-LUX 3« »----- Dec 2011 949- i Leica V-LUX 3
Panasonic FZ1000« »HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 899- i Panasonic FZ1000
Sony RX100 IV« »HiRec85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV
Sony RX100 III« »HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2014 799- i Sony RX100 III
Sony RX100« »HiRec78/1004/55/55/5 Jun 2012 649- i Sony RX100

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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

 

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 make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If the camera you are interested in is not available, please contact me, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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