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Canon G3 X versus Sony RX10 II

The Canon PowerShot G3 X and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 II are two digital cameras that were officially introduced in June 2015. Both the G3X and the RX10 II are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with an one-inch sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 20 megapixel. 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 G3 X vs Sony RX10 II

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon G3 X and the Sony RX10 II. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button 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 G3X – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Canon G3 X vs Sony RX10 II
Compare G3X versus RX10 II top
Compare G3X and RX10 II rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony RX10 II is notably larger (20 percent) than the Canon G3 X. Moreover, the RX10 II is markedly heavier (11 percent) than the G3X. 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.

Concerning battery life, the G3X gets 300 shots out of its NB-10L battery, while the RX10 II can take 400 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons 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)
Canon G3 X» 4.8 in 3.0 in 4.1 in 25.9 oz 300 Y Jun 2015 999 i i
Sony RX10 II« 5.1 in 3.5 in 4.0 in 28.7 oz 400 Y Jun 2015 1,299- i
Canon 80D« » 5.5 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 25.8 oz 960 Y Feb 2016 1,199 i i
Canon G9 X« » 3.9 in 2.3 in 1.2 in 7.4 oz 220 n Oct 2015 529- i
Canon T6s« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.9 oz 440 n Feb 2015 849- i
Canon 7D II« » 5.9 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 32.1 oz 670 Y Sep 2014 1,799 i i
Canon G7 X« » 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.6 in 10.7 oz 210 n Sep 2014 699- i
Canon 70D« » 5.5 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 26.6 oz 920 Y Jul 2013 1,199- i
Panasonic FZ1000« » 5.4 in 3.9 in 5.2 in 29.3 oz 360 n Jun 2014 899- i
Sony RX10 III« » 5.2 in 3.7 in 5.0 in 37.1 oz 420 Y Mar 2016 1,499- i
Sony RX100 IV« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 280 n Jun 2015 999- i
Sony RX10« » 5.1 in 3.5 in 4.0 in 28.7 oz 420 Y Oct 2013 1,299- i

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The G3X was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 23 percent) than the RX10 II, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Canon G3 X vs Sony RX10 II

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an one-inch sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.7. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon G3 X and Sony RX10 II sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 20 megapixel. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the G3X and the RX10 II have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. Moreover, the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation.

G3X versus RX10 II MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most 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 RX10 II has a markedly higher DXO score than the G3X (overall score 7 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 1.6 bits higher color depth, 0.3 EV in additional dynamic range, and -0 stops in additional 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 Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Canon G3 X» 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.412.352163
Sony RX10 II« 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p23.012.653170
Canon 80D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.2113579
Canon G9 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.512.349563
Canon T6s« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
Canon 7D II« » APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.411.8108270
Canon G7 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671
Canon 70D« » APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p22.511.692668
Panasonic FZ1000« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.111.751764
Sony RX10 III« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p23.112.647270
Sony RX100 IV« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170
Sony RX10« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.912.647469

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the RX10 II provides a better video resolution than the G3X. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Canon G3 X vs Sony RX10 II

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the RX10 II has an electronic viewfinder (2359k 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. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon G3 X and Sony RX10 II along with similar information for a selection of comparators. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera 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
Canon G3 X»- n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 2000 5.9 Y Y
Sony RX10 II«2359 Y 3.0 1229 tilting n 3200 14.0 Y Y
Canon 80D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 7.0 Y n
Canon G9 X« »- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 2000 6.0 Y Y
Canon T6s« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Canon 7D II« »optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 8000 10.0 Y n
Canon G7 X« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 2000 6.5 Y Y
Canon 70D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 7.0 Y n
Panasonic FZ1000« »2359 n 3.0 921 swivel n 4000 12.0 Y Y
Sony RX10 III« »2359 Y 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 14.0 Y Y
Sony RX100 IV« »2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 2000 16.0 Y Y
Sony RX10« »1440 Y 3.0 1229 tilting n 3200 10.0 Y Y

Both the G3X and the RX10 II have zoom lenses build in. The G3X has a 24-600mm f/2.8-5.6 optic and the RX10 II offers a 24-200mm f/2.8-2.8 (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. Both cameras offer the same maximum aperture.

The G3X is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the RX10 II has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the RX10 II was succeeded by the Sony RX10 III.

Review summary: Canon G3 X vs Sony RX10 II

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon G3 X or the Sony RX10 II – has the upper hand? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of 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 1229k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • More compact: Is smaller (123x77mm vs 129x88mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 80g or 10 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (23 percent cheaper at launch).

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Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 II:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (7 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.6 bits more color depth).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • Easier setting verification: Has a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (3200/sec vs 2000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (14 vs 5.9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (400 versus 300) out of a single battery charge.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX10 II comes out slightly ahead of the G3X (8 : 7 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.

G3X 07:08 RX10 II

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 handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the G3X or the RX10 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 expert reviews are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Canon G3 X»Rec-4.5/53.5/54/5 Jun 2015 999 i i
Sony RX10 II«HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Jun 2015 1,299- i
Canon 80D« »HiRec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 1,199 i i
Canon G9 X« »HiRec-4.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 529- i
Canon T6s« »Rec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 849- i
Canon 7D II« »Rec84/1004/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 1,799 i i
Canon G7 X« »HiRec77/1004.5/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699- i
Canon 70D« »HiRec83/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jul 2013 1,199- i
Panasonic FZ1000« »HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 899- i
Sony RX10 III« »Rec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2016 1,499- i
Sony RX100 IV« »HiRec85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999- i
Sony RX10« »Rec80/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,299- i

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when refering 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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

 

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. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please contact me, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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