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Canon G3 X versus Sony RX10 III

The Canon PowerShot G3 X and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 III are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in June 2015 and March 2016. Both the G3X and the RX10 III are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with an one-inch sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 20 megapixel.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Canon G3 X and the Sony RX10 III are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth 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 side – the G3X – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Canon G3 X vs Sony RX10 III front
G3X versus RX10 III top view
G3X and RX10 III rear side
Body view (G3X on the left)

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony RX10 III is notably larger (32 percent) than the Canon G3 X. Moreover, the RX10 III is substantially heavier (43 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.

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 comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
Camera Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(y/n)
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Canon G3 X (⇒ rgt) 123 mm 77 mm 105 mm 733 g 300 YES 2015 999 latest check
Sony RX10 III (⇒ lft) 133 mm 94 mm 127 mm 1051 g 420 YES 2016 1,499discont. check
Canon 80D (⇒ lft | rgt) 139 mm 105 mm 79 mm 730 g 960 YES 2016 1,199 latest check
Canon G9 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 98 mm 58 mm 31 mm 209 g 220 no 2015 529discont. check
Canon 7D II (⇒ lft | rgt) 149 mm 112 mm 78 mm 910 g 670 YES 2014 1,799 latest check
Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 103 mm 60 mm 40 mm 304 g 210 no 2014 699discont. check
Canon 70D (⇒ lft | rgt) 139 mm 104 mm 79 mm 755 g 920 YES 2013 1,199discont. check
Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt) 137 mm 99 mm 131 mm 831 g 360 no 2014 899discont. check
Sony RX10 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) 133 mm 94 mm 145 mm 1095 g 400 YES 2017 1,699 latest check
Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt) 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 299 g 220 no 2016 999 latest check
Sony RX10 II (⇒ lft | rgt) 129 mm 88 mm 102 mm 813 g 400 YES 2015 1,299discont. check
Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 298 g 280 no 2015 999discont. check
Sony RX10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 129 mm 88 mm 102 mm 813 g 420 YES 2013 1,299discont. check

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The G3X was launched at a markedly lower price (by 33 percent) than the RX10 III, which puts it into a different market segment. 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

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 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 III sensor measures
Sensor size

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 III have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the RX10 III is a somewhat more recent model (by 9 months) than the G3X, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

G3X versus RX10 III MP
Sensor resolution

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the RX10 III 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 1.7 bits higher color depth, 0.3 EV in additional dynamic range, 0.1 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 Sensor
Class
Resolution
(Megapixel)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Canon G3 X (⇒ rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p 21.4 12.3 521 63
Sony RX10 III (⇒ lft) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p 23.1 12.6 472 70
Canon 80D (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 23.6 13.2 1135 79
Canon G9 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p 21.5 12.3 495 63
Canon 7D II (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p 22.4 11.8 1082 70
Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p 23.0 12.7 556 71
Canon 70D (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 20.0 5472 3648 1080/30p 22.5 11.6 926 68
Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p 22.1 11.7 517 64
Sony RX10 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p .. .. .. ..
Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p 22.8 12.4 586 70
Sony RX10 II (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p 23.0 12.6 531 70
Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p 22.8 12.6 591 70
Sony RX10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p 22.9 12.6 474 69

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the RX10 III 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

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the RX10 III 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon G3 X, the Sony RX10 III, and comparable cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(Y/n)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(Y/n)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(GN)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Canon G3 X (⇒ rgt) no no 3.2 1620 tilting YES 2000 5.9 6.8 YES
Sony RX10 III (⇒ lft) 2359 YES 3.0 1229 tilting no 2000 14.0 10.8 YES
Canon 80D (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.0 1040 swivel YES 8000 7.0 12 no
Canon G9 X (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 fixed YES 2000 6.0 6 YES
Canon 7D II (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.0 1040 fixed no 8000 10.0 11 no
Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 2000 6.5 7 YES
Canon 70D (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.0 1040 swivel YES 8000 7.0 12 no
Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2359 no 3.0 921 swivel no 4000 12.0 13.5 YES
Sony RX10 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) 2359 YES 3.0 1440 tilting YES 2000 24.0 10.8 YES
Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt) 2359 no 3.0 1229 tilting no 2000 24.0 10.2 YES
Sony RX10 II (⇒ lft | rgt) 2359 YES 3.0 1229 tilting no 3200 14.0 10.2 YES
Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) 2359 no 3.0 1228 tilting no 2000 16.0 10.2 YES
Sony RX10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1440 YES 3.0 1229 tilting no 3200 10.0 10.2 YES

Both the G3X and the RX10 III have zoom lenses build in. The G3X has a 24-600mm f/2.8-5.6 optic and the RX10 III offers a 24-600mm f/2.4-4.0 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). The RX10 III offers the faster maximum aperture.

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

Summary

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon G3 X or the Sony RX10 III – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


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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 compact: Is smaller (123x77mm vs 133x94mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 318g or 30 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (33 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in June 2015).

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Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 III:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (7 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.7 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 burst: Shoots at higher frequency (14 vs 5.9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.4 vs f/2.8).
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (420 versus 300) out of a single battery charge.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (9 months) more recently.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX10 III emerges as the winner of the match-up (9 : 7 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.

G3X 07:09 RX10 III

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the G3X or the RX10 III. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites. You can find the full text of the reviews, respectively, at cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.

Review scores
Camera camera
labs
dp
review
ephoto
zine
imaging
resource
photography
blog
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Canon G3 X (⇒ rgt) Rec - 4.5/5 3.5/5 4/5 2015 999 latest check
Sony RX10 III (⇒ lft) Rec 84/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2016 1,499discont. check
Canon 80D (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 84/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2016 1,199 latest check
Canon G9 X (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec - 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2015 529discont. check
Canon 7D II (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 84/100 Silver 4/5 5/5 4.5/5 2014 1,799 latest check
Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 77/100 Silver 4.5/5 3.5/5 4.5/5 2014 699discont. check
Canon 70D (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 83/100 Gold 4.5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2013 1,199discont. check
Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 82/100 Gold 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2014 899discont. check
Sony RX10 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 84/100 Gold 4.5/5 .. 5/5 2017 1,699 latest check
Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 83/100 Silver 4/5 5/5 4.5/5 2016 999 latest check
Sony RX10 II (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 82/100 Gold 4.5/5 4.5/5 4/5 2015 1,299discont. check
Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 85/100 Gold 4/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2015 999discont. check
Sony RX10 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 80/100 Gold 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2013 1,299discont. check

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Other comparisons

If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make your choice using the following search menu. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please contact me, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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