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Canon G9 X vs Sony A5100

The Canon PowerShot G9 X and the Sony Alpha A5100 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in October 2015 and August 2014. The G9X is a fixed lens compact, while the A5100 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an one-inch (G9X) and an APS-C (A5100) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Headline Specifications
Canon G9 X   Sony A5100
Canon G9 X Sony A5100
Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
28-84mm f/2.0-4.9 Sony E mount lenses
20 MP, 1" Sensor 24 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/60p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 125-12800 ISO 100-25600
No viewfinder, LCD framing No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0" LCD, 1040k dots 3.0" LCD, 922k dots
Fixed touchscreen Tilting touchscreen
6 shutter flaps per second 6 shutter flaps per second
220 shots per battery charge400 shots per battery charge
98 x 58 x 31 mm, 209 g 110 x 63 x 36 mm, 283 g

Body comparison: Canon G9 X vs Sony A5100

The physical size and weight of the Canon G9 X and the Sony A5100 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The G9X can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the A5100 is also available in two color-versions, but different ones (black, white).

Compare Canon G9 X and Sony A5100
Compare G9X versus A5100 top
Compare G9X or A5100 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A5100 is notably larger (22 percent) than the Canon G9 X. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G9X nor the A5100 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G9X has a lens built in, whereas the A5100 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 A5100 and their specifications in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the G9X gets 220 shots out of its NB-13L battery, while the A5100 can take 400 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack. The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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 G9 X» 3.9 in 2.3 in 1.2 in 7.4 oz 220 n Oct 2015 529- i Canon G9 X
 
Sony A5100« 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 10.0 oz 400 n Aug 2014 549 i i Sony A5100
 
Canon G9 X Mark II« » 3.9 in 2.3 in 1.2 in 7.3 oz 235 n Jan 2017 529 i i Canon G9 X Mark II
 
Canon G7 X Mark II« » 4.2 in 2.4 in 1.7 in 11.3 oz 265 n Feb 2016 699 i i Canon G7 X Mark II
 
Canon M10« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 10.6 oz 255 n Oct 2015 499- i Canon M10
 
Canon G7 X« » 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.6 in 10.7 oz 210 n Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
 
Nikon 1 J4« » 3.9 in 2.4 in 1.1 in 8.2 oz 300 n Apr 2014 549- i Nikon 1 J4
 
Panasonic FZ1000« » 5.4 in 3.9 in 5.2 in 29.3 oz 360 n Jun 2014 899- i Panasonic FZ1000
 
Sony RX100 V« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 220 n Oct 2016 999 i i Sony RX100 V
 
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 A5000« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 420 n Jan 2014 449- i Sony A5000
 
Sony A6000« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.8 in 12.1 oz 360 n Feb 2014 599- i Sony A6000
 
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 NEX-3N« » 4.3 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 480 n Feb 2013 499- i Sony NEX-3N
 
Sony RX100« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.4 in 8.5 oz 330 n Jun 2012 649- i Sony RX100

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. The G9X was launched at a lower price than the A5100, despite having a lens built in. 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Canon G9 X vs Sony A5100

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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon G9 X features an one-inch sensor and the Sony A5100 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the A5100 is 216 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.7 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon G9 X and Sony A5100 sensor measures

With 24MP, the A5100 offers a higher resolution than the G9X (20MP), but the A5100 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 2.41μm for the G9X) due to its larger sensor. However, the G9X is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 1 month) than the A5100, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The A5100 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during video recording.

The Canon PowerShot G9 X has a native sensitivity range from ISO 125 to ISO 12800 The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A5100 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).

G9X versus A5100 MP

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 A5100 offers substantially better image quality than the G9X (overall score 17 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.3 bits higher color depth, 0.4 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.4 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.

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 G9 X» 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.512.349563Canon G9 X
 
Sony A5100« APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.7134780Sony A5100
 
Canon G9 X Mark II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.912.552265Canon G9 X Mark II
 
Canon G7 X Mark II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p----Canon G7 X Mark II
 
Canon M10« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365Canon M10
 
Canon G7 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671Canon G7 X
 
Nikon 1 J4« » 1-inch 18.2 5232 34881080/60p20.810.742653Nikon 1 J4
 
Panasonic FZ1000« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.111.751764Panasonic FZ1000
 
Sony RX100 V« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.458670Sony RX100 V
 
Sony RX100 IV« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170Sony RX100 IV
 
Sony A5000« » APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.813.0108979Sony A5000
 
Sony A6000« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782Sony A6000
 
Sony RX100 III« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.412.349567Sony RX100 III
 
Sony NEX-3N« » APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.812.5106774Sony NEX-3N
 
Sony RX100« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.612.439066Sony RX100

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, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).

 

Feature comparison: Canon G9 X vs Sony A5100

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The G9X and the A5100 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon G9 X, the Sony A5100, and comparable cameras.

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
Camera
Model
 
Canon G9 X»- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 6.0 Y Y Canon G9 X
 
Sony A5100«- n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n Sony A5100
 
Canon G9 X Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 8.2 Y Y Canon G9 X Mark II
 
Canon G7 X Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 8.0 Y Y Canon G7 X Mark II
 
Canon M10« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.6 Y n Canon M10
 
Canon G7 X« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 6.5 Y Y Canon G7 X
 
Nikon 1 J4« »- n 3.0 1037 Fixed Y 1/4000s 60.0 Y n Nikon 1 J4
 
Panasonic FZ1000« »2359 n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y Panasonic FZ1000
 
Sony RX100 V« »2359 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/2000s 24.0 Y Y Sony RX100 V
 
Sony RX100 IV« »2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 1/2000s 16.0 Y Y Sony RX100 IV
 
Sony A5000« »- n 3.0 461 tilting n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n Sony A5000
 
Sony A6000« »1440 n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/4000s 11.0 Y n Sony A6000
 
Sony RX100 III« »1440 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y Sony RX100 III
 
Sony NEX-3N« »- n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Sony NEX-3N
 
Sony RX100« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y Sony RX100
The A5100 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the G9X does not have a selfie-screen.

The Canon G9 X has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.

The G9X writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A5100 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.

 

Connectivity comparison: Canon G9 X vs Sony A5100

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 G9 X and Sony Alpha A5100 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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 G9 X»-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon G9 X
 
Sony A5100«-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony A5100
 
Canon G9 X Mark II« »-stereomono--micro2.0YYYCanon G9 X Mark II
 
Canon G7 X Mark II« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon G7 X Mark II
 
Canon M10« »-stereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon M10
 
Canon G7 X« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon G7 X
 
Nikon 1 J4« »-stereomono--mini2.0Y--Nikon 1 J4
 
Panasonic FZ1000« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-Panasonic FZ1000
 
Sony RX100 V« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony RX100 V
 
Sony RX100 IV« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony RX100 IV
 
Sony A5000« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony A5000
 
Sony A6000« »Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony A6000
 
Sony RX100 III« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony RX100 III
 
Sony NEX-3N« »-stereomono--micro2.0---Sony NEX-3N
 
Sony RX100« »-stereomono--micro2.0---Sony RX100

The A5100 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the G9X has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the G9X was succeeded by the Canon G9 X Mark II. Further information on the two cameras, as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Sony websites.


Review summary: Canon G9 X vs Sony A5100

So how do things add up? Is the Canon G9 X better than the Sony A5100 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot G9 X:

  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 922k dots).
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the A5100 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (98x58mm vs 110x63mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the A5100).
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 1 month after the A5100).

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Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A5100:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 20MP), which boosts linear resolution by 10%.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (17 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.3 bits more color depth).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.4 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better video autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident movie autofocus.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (400 versus 220) out of a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2014).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A5100 emerges as the winner of the match-up (11 : 8 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.

G9X 08:11 A5100

Do the specifications of the Canon G9 X and the Sony A5100 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.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the G9X and the A5100 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews: Canon G9 X vs Sony A5100

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, photographyblog).

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 G9 X»++-4.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 529- i Canon G9 X
 
Sony A5100«+-4.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 i i Sony A5100
 
Canon G9 X Mark II« »-75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2017 529 i i Canon G9 X Mark II
 
Canon G7 X Mark II« »++81/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2016 699 i i Canon G7 X Mark II
 
Canon M10« »---o4/5 Oct 2015 499- i Canon M10
 
Canon G7 X« »++77/1004.5/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
 
Nikon 1 J4« »--4.5/5-4/5 Apr 2014 549- i Nikon 1 J4
 
Panasonic FZ1000« »++82/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 899- i Panasonic FZ1000
 
Sony RX100 V« »++83/1004/55/54.5/5 Oct 2016 999 i i Sony RX100 V
 
Sony RX100 IV« »++85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV
 
Sony A5000« »+-4.5/5o4.5/5 Jan 2014 449- i Sony A5000
 
Sony A6000« »+80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2014 599- i Sony A6000
 
Sony RX100 III« »++82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2014 799- i Sony RX100 III
 
Sony NEX-3N« »--4.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2013 499- i Sony NEX-3N
 
Sony RX100« »++78/1004/55/55/5 Jun 2012 649- i Sony RX100
Notes: ++) highly recommended; +) recommended; o) reviewed; -) not available.

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 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.

Canon G9 X:
Check Ebay offers
Sony A5100:
Check Amazon price

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.

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    Specifications: Canon G9 X vs Sony A5100

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon G9 X Sony A5100
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens 28-84mm f/2.0-4.9 Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date October 2015 August 2014
    Launch Price USD 529 USD 549
    Sensor Specs Canon G9 X Sony A5100
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format 1" Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 13.2 x 8.8 mm 23.5 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 116.16 mm2 366.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 15.9 mm 28.2 mm
    Crop Factor 2.7x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 20 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5472 x 3648 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 2.41 μm 3.91 μm
    Pixel Density 17.18 MP/cm2 6.55 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
    Image Processor DIGIC 6 BIONZ X
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 63 80
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.5 23.8
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.3 12.7
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 495 1347
    Screen Specs Canon G9 X Sony A5100
    Viewfinder Type No viewfinder No viewfinder
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon G9 X Sony A5100
    Autofocus System Contrast-detect AF On-Sensor Phase-detect
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/2000/s 1/4000/s
    Continuous Shooting 6 shutter flaps/s 6 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inno Intervalometer
    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 UHS-I UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Canon G9 X Sony A5100
    External Flash no Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in NFC built-in
    Body Specs Canon G9 X Sony A5100
    Battery Type NB-13L power pack NP-FW50 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)220 shots per charge400 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 98 x 58 x 31 mm
    (3.9 x 2.3 x 1.2 in)
    110 x 63 x 36 mm
    (4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
    Camera Weight 209 g (7.4 oz) 283 g (10.0 oz)

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