Canon G3 X vs Sony A7 II
The Canon PowerShot G3 X and the Sony Alpha A7 II are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in June 2015 and November 2014. The G3X is a fixed lens compact, while the A7 II is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an one-inch (G3X) and a full frame (A7 II) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Canon G3 X||Sony A7 II|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|24-600mm f/2.8-5.6||Sony E mount lenses|
|20 MP, 1" Sensor||24 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|1080/60p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO 125-12800 (125-25600)||ISO 100-25600 (50-51200)|
|Viewfinder optional||Electronic viewfinder (2400k dots)|
|3.2" LCD, 1620k dots||3.0" LCD, 1230k dots|
|Tilting touchscreen||Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|5.9 shutter flaps per second||5 shutter flaps per second|
|Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|300 shots per battery charge||350 shots per battery charge|
|123 x 77 x 105 mm, 733 g||127 x 96 x 60 mm, 599 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot G3 X and the Sony Alpha A7 II? 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.
The physical size and weight of the Canon G3 X and the Sony A7 II are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A7 II is notably larger (29 percent) than the Canon G3 X. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G3X has a lens built in, whereas the A7 II 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 A7 II and their specifications in the Sony FE Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the G3X gets 300 shots out of its NB-10L battery, while the A7 II can take 350 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack. The power pack in the A7 II can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
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.
|Canon G3 X»||4.8 in||3.0 in||4.1 in||25.9 oz||300||Y||Jun 2015||999||Canon G3 X|
|Sony A7 II«||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||21.1 oz||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999||Sony A7 II|
|Canon 80D« »||5.5 in||4.1 in||3.1 in||25.8 oz||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199||Canon 80D|
|Canon G9 X« »||3.9 in||2.3 in||1.2 in||7.4 oz||220||n||Oct 2015||529||Canon G9 X|
|Canon G7 X« »||4.1 in||2.4 in||1.6 in||10.7 oz||210||n||Sep 2014||699||Canon G7 X|
|Canon 70D« »||5.5 in||4.1 in||3.1 in||26.6 oz||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199||Canon 70D|
|Panasonic FZ1000« »||5.4 in||3.9 in||5.2 in||29.3 oz||360||n||Jun 2014||899||Panasonic FZ1000|
|Sony A9 II« »||5.1 in||3.8 in||3.0 in||23.9 oz||690||Y||Oct 2019||4,499||Sony A9 II|
|Sony A7 III« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.9 in||22.9 oz||610||Y||Feb 2018||1,999||Sony A7 III|
|Sony RX10 III« »||5.2 in||3.7 in||5.0 in||37.1 oz||420||Y||Mar 2016||1,499||Sony RX10 III|
|Sony RX100 V« »||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.6 in||10.5 oz||220||n||Oct 2016||999||Sony RX100 V|
|Sony A7R II« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||22.0 oz||290||Y||Jun 2015||3,199||Sony A7R II|
|Sony RX10 II« »||5.1 in||3.5 in||4.0 in||28.7 oz||400||Y||Jun 2015||1,299||Sony RX10 II|
|Sony RX100 IV« »||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.6 in||10.5 oz||280||n||Jun 2015||999||Sony RX100 IV|
|Sony A7« »||5.0 in||3.7 in||1.9 in||16.7 oz||340||Y||Oct 2013||1,699||Sony A7|
|Sony A7R« »||5.0 in||3.7 in||1.9 in||16.4 oz||340||Y||Oct 2013||2,299||Sony A7R|
|Sony RX10« »||5.1 in||3.5 in||4.0 in||28.7 oz||420||Y||Oct 2013||1,299||Sony RX10|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
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 G3X was launched at a lower price than the A7 II, despite having a lens built in. 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.
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 G3 X features an one-inch sensor and the Sony A7 II a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A7 II is 638 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.7 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 24MP, the A7 II offers a higher resolution than the G3X (20MP), but the A7 II nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.97μm versus 2.41μm for the G3X) due to its larger sensor. However, the G3X is a somewhat more recent model (by 6 months) than the A7 II, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A7 II implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A7 II for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inch or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inch or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inch or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon G3 X are 27.4 x 18.2 inch or 69.5 x 46.3 cm for good quality, 21.9 x 14.6 inch or 55.6 x 37.1 cm for very good quality, and 18.2 x 12.2 inch or 46.3 x 30.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The A7 II has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon PowerShot G3 X has a native sensitivity range from ISO 125 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 125-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A7 II are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-51200.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 A7 II offers substantially better image quality than the G3X (overall score 27 points higher). The advantage is based on 3.5 bits higher color depth, 1.3 EV in additional dynamic range, and 2.2 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.
|Canon G3 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.4||12.3||521||63||Canon G3 X|
|Sony A7 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90||Sony A7 II|
|Canon 80D||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.6||13.2||1135||79||Canon 80D|
|Canon G9 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.5||12.3||495||63||Canon G9 X|
|Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71||Canon G7 X|
|Canon 70D||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||22.5||11.6||926||68||Canon 70D|
|Panasonic FZ1000||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.1||11.7||517||64||Panasonic FZ1000|
|Sony A9 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.0||3434||93||Sony A9 II|
|Sony A7 III||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.7||3730||96||Sony A7 III|
|Sony RX10 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||23.1||12.6||472||70||Sony RX10 III|
|Sony RX100 V||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.4||586||70||Sony RX100 V|
|Sony A7R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||13.9||3434||98||Sony A7R II|
|Sony RX10 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||23.0||12.6||531||70||Sony RX10 II|
|Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70||Sony RX100 IV|
|Sony A7||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||14.2||2248||90||Sony A7|
|Sony A7R||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.6||14.1||2746||95||Sony A7R|
|Sony RX10||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.9||12.6||474||69||Sony RX10|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A7 II has an electronic viewfinder (2400k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the G3X relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the G3X can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF-DC1. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon G3 X and Sony A7 II in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Canon G3 X||optional||n||3.2||1620||tilting||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y||Canon G3 X|
|Sony A7 II||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y||Sony A7 II|
|Canon 80D||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n||Canon 80D|
|Canon G9 X||none||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||6.0||Y||Y||Canon G9 X|
|Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5||Y||Y||Canon G7 X|
|Canon 70D||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n||Canon 70D|
|Panasonic FZ1000||2359||n||3.0||921||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y||Panasonic FZ1000|
|Sony A9 II||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y||Sony A9 II|
|Sony A7 III||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y||Sony A7 III|
|Sony RX10 III||2359||Y||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||14.0||Y||Y||Sony RX10 III|
|Sony RX100 V||2359||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y||Sony RX100 V|
|Sony A7R II||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y||Sony A7R II|
|Sony RX10 II||2359||Y||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/3200s||14.0||Y||Y||Sony RX10 II|
|Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0||1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y||Sony RX100 IV|
|Sony A7||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n||Sony A7|
|Sony A7R||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||4.0||n||n||Sony A7R|
|Sony RX10||1440||Y||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/3200s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony RX10|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The G3X has one, while the A7 II does not. While the built-in flash of the G3X is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The G3X has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the A7 II does not have a selfie-screen.
The G3X writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A7 II uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
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 G3 X and Sony Alpha A7 II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Canon G3 X||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon G3 X|
|Sony A7 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7 II|
|Canon 80D||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon 80D|
|Canon G9 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon G9 X|
|Canon G7 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon G7 X|
|Canon 70D||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Canon 70D|
|Panasonic FZ1000||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Panasonic FZ1000|
|Sony A9 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y||Sony A9 II|
|Sony A7 III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y||Sony A7 III|
|Sony RX10 III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX10 III|
|Sony RX100 V||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX100 V|
|Sony A7R II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7R II|
|Sony RX10 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX10 II|
|Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX100 IV|
|Sony A7||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7|
|Sony A7R||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7R|
|Sony RX10||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX10|
The G3X is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the A7 II has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the A7 II was succeeded by the Sony A7 III. 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.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon G3 X better than the Sony A7 II or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot G3 X:
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1620k vs 1230k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.9 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the A7 II requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (123x77mm vs 127x96mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 6 months after the A7 II).
Advantages of the Sony Alpha A7 II:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 20MP), which boosts linear resolution by 10%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (27 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (3.5 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.3 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (2.2 stops ISO advantage).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (350 versus 300) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in November 2014).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A7 II comes out slightly ahead of the G3X (11 : 10 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon G3 X and the Sony A7 II place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom 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 G3X or the A7 II. 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 provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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.
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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Canon G3 X vs Sony A7 II
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 Model||Canon G3 X||Sony A7 II|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||24-600mm f/2.8-5.6||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||June 2015||November 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 999||USD 1999|
|Sensor Specs||Canon G3 X||Sony A7 II|
|Sensor Format||1" Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||13.2 x 8.8 mm||35.8 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||116.16 mm2||855.62 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||15.9 mm||43 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5472 x 3648 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.41 μm||5.97 μm|
|Pixel Density||17.18 MP/cm2||2.80 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||125-12800 ISO||100-25600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||125-25600 ISO||50-51200 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||63||90|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.4||24.9|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.3||13.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||521||2449|
|Screen Specs||Canon G3 X||Sony A7 II|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2400k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||1620k dots||1230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon G3 X||Sony A7 II|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000/s||1/8000/s|
|Continuous Shooting||5.9 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Image Stabilization||Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon G3 X||Sony A7 II|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon G3 X||Sony A7 II|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||300 shots per charge||350 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
123 x 77 x 105 mm
(4.8 x 3.0 x 4.1 in)
127 x 96 x 60 mm
(5.0 x 3.8 x 2.4 in)
|Camera Weight||733 g (25.9 oz)||599 g (21.1 oz)|
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