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Canon G9 X versus Sony RX100 III

The Canon PowerShot G9 X and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in October 2015 and May 2014. Both the G9X and the RX100 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon G9 X and the Sony RX100 III. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth measures 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 G9X – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Canon G9 X vs Sony RX100 III front
G9X versus RX100 III top view
G9X and RX100 III rear side
Body view (G9X 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 RX100 III is somewhat larger (4 percent) than the Canon G9 X. Moreover, the RX100 III is substantially heavier (39 percent) than the G9X. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G9X nor the RX100 III are weather-sealed.

Concerning battery life, the G9X gets 220 shots out of its NB-13L battery, while the RX100 III can take 320 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 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 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 G9 X (⇒ rgt) 98 mm 58 mm 31 mm 209 g 220 no 2015 529discont. check
Sony RX100 III (⇒ lft) 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 290 g 320 no 2014 799discont. check
Canon G9 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) 98 mm 58 mm 31 mm 206 g 235 no 2017 529 latest check
Canon G7 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) 106 mm 61 mm 42 mm 319 g 265 no 2016 699 latest check
Canon M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 301 g 255 no 2015 499discont. check
Canon M3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 111 mm 68 mm 44 mm 366 g 250 no 2015 679discont. check
Canon G3 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 123 mm 77 mm 105 mm 733 g 300 YES 2015 999 latest check
Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 112 mm 76 mm 44 mm 353 g 210 no 2015 799 latest check
Canon 1200D (⇒ lft | rgt) 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 480 g 500 no 2014 449discont. check
Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 103 mm 60 mm 40 mm 304 g 210 no 2014 699discont. check
Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt) 137 mm 99 mm 131 mm 831 g 360 no 2014 899discont. check
Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 298 g 280 no 2015 999discont. check
Sony RX100 II (⇒ lft | rgt) 102 mm 58 mm 38 mm 281 g 350 no 2013 749discont. check

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The G9X was launched at a markedly lower price (by 34 percent) than the RX100 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 sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras 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 G9 X and Sony RX100 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 G9X and the RX100 III have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the G9X is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 4 months) than the RX100 III, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

G9X versus RX100 III MP
Sensor resolution

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 RX100 III has a markedly higher DXO score than the G9X (overall score 4 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.9 bits higher color depth, 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 G9 X (⇒ rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p 21.5 12.3 495 63
Sony RX100 III (⇒ lft) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p 22.4 12.3 495 67
Canon G9 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p 21.9 12.5 522 65
Canon G7 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p - - - -
Canon M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 17.9 5184 3456 1080/30p 22.2 11.4 753 65
Canon M3 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/30p 22.8 11.8 1169 72
Canon G3 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p 21.4 12.3 521 63
Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p - - - -
Canon 1200D (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 17.9 5184 3456 1080/30p 21.9 11.3 724 63
Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p 23.0 12.7 556 71
Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p 22.1 11.7 517 64
Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p 22.8 12.6 591 70
Sony RX100 II (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p 22.5 12.4 483 67

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).

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the RX100 III has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the G9X 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 G9 X, the Sony RX100 III, and comparable cameras. 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
(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 G9 X (⇒ rgt) no no 3.0 1040 fixed YES 2000 6.0 6 YES
Sony RX100 III (⇒ lft) 1440 no 3.0 1229 tilting no 2000 10.0 YES YES
Canon G9 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 fixed YES 2000 8.2 6 YES
Canon G7 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 2000 8.0 7 YES
Canon M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 4.6 5 no
Canon M3 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 4.2 5 no
Canon G3 X (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.2 1620 tilting YES 2000 5.9 6.8 YES
Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1040 swivel YES 2000 5.9 7 YES
Canon 1200D (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 460 fixed no 4000 3.0 9.2 no
Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 2000 6.5 7 YES
Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2359 no 3.0 921 swivel no 4000 12.0 13.5 YES
Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) 2359 no 3.0 1228 tilting no 2000 16.0 10.2 YES
Sony RX100 II (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1229 tilting no 2000 10.0 15 YES

Both the G9X and the RX100 III have zoom lenses build in. The G9X has a 28-84mm f/2.0-4.9 optic and the RX100 III offers a 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Sony provides a wider angle of view at the short end than the Canon, but less tele-photo reach at the long end. The RX100 III offers the faster maximum aperture.

Both the G9X and the RX100 III have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The RX100 III was replaced by the Sony RX100 IV, while the G9X was followed by the Canon G9 X Mark II.

Summary

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon G9 X or the Sony RX100 III – 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 G9 X:

  • 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.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 81g or 28 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (34 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 4 months after the RX100 III).

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Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (4 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 1040k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/1.8 vs f/2.0).
  • Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (320 versus 220) out of a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in May 2014).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the RX100 III is the clear winner of the contest (9 : 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.

G9X 05:09 RX100 III

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the G9X or the RX100 III handle or perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased. This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites. The detailed reviews can be accessed, respectively, on the websites of 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 G9 X (⇒ rgt) HiRec - 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2015 529discont. check
Sony RX100 III (⇒ lft) HiRec 82/100 Gold 4.5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2014 799discont. check
Canon G9 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) .. 75/100 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2017 529 latest check
Canon G7 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 81/100 Silver 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2016 699 latest check
Canon M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) - - - reviewed 4/5 2015 499discont. check
Canon M3 (⇒ lft | rgt) reviewed 75/100 4.5/5 4.5/5 4/5 2015 679discont. check
Canon G3 X (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec - 4.5/5 3.5/5 4/5 2015 999 latest check
Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 78/100 Silver 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2015 799 latest check
Canon 1200D (⇒ lft | rgt) 4/5 - 4/5 4/5 4.5/5 2014 449discont. check
Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 77/100 Silver 4.5/5 3.5/5 4.5/5 2014 699discont. check
Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 82/100 Gold 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2014 899discont. check
Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 85/100 Gold 4/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2015 999discont. check
Sony RX100 II (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 79/100 Silver 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2013 749discont. check

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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 comparisons

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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