Canon M vs Sony RX100 II
The Canon EOS M and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in July 2012 and June 2013. The Canon M is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the RX100 II is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (Canon M) and an one-inch (RX100 II) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 17.9 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 20 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS M and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon M and the Sony RX100 II is provided 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.
The Canon M can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the RX100 II is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony RX100 II is notably smaller (18 percent) than the Canon M. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the Canon M nor the RX100 II are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX100 II has a lens built in, whereas the Canon M is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
Concerning battery life, the Canon M gets 230 shots out of its LP-E12 battery, while the RX100 II can take 350 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack. The power pack in the RX100 II can be charged via the USB port, 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, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Canon M||109 mm||66 mm||32 mm||298 g||230||n||Jul 2012||599|
|2.||Sony RX100 II||102 mm||58 mm||38 mm||281 g||350||n||Jun 2013||749|
|3.||Canon M100||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||302 g||295||n||Aug 2017||499|
|4.||Canon M10||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||301 g||255||n||Oct 2015||499|
|5.||Canon G7 X||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||n||Sep 2014||699|
|6.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|7.||Canon SL1||117 mm||91 mm||69 mm||407 g||380||n||Mar 2013||549|
|8.||Canon T5i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||580 g||440||n||Mar 2013||649|
|9.||Canon T3i||133 mm||100 mm||80 mm||570 g||440||n||Feb 2011||599|
|10.||Panasonic GF6||111 mm||65 mm||38 mm||323 g||340||n||Apr 2013||499|
|11.||Panasonic G3||115 mm||84 mm||47 mm||336 g||270||n||May 2011||599|
|12.||Sony ZV-1||105 mm||60 mm||44 mm||294 g||260||n||May 2020||799|
|13.||Sony RX100 VII||102 mm||58 mm||43 mm||302 g||260||n||Jul 2019||1,199|
|14.||Sony RX100 III||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||290 g||320||n||May 2014||799|
|15.||Sony NEX-3N||110 mm||62 mm||35 mm||269 g||480||n||Feb 2013||499|
|16.||Sony RX100||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||240 g||330||n||Jun 2012||649|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. 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.
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.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon M features an APS-C sensor and the Sony RX100 II an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the RX100 II is 65 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 2.7. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the RX100 II offers a higher resolution of 20 megapixels, compared with 17.9 MP of the Canon M. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 2.41μm versus 4.31μm for the Canon M). However, it should be noted that the RX100 II is a somewhat more recent model (by 11 months) than the Canon M, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage.
The resolution advantage of the Sony RX100 II implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the RX100 II for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.4 x 18.2 inches or 69.5 x 46.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.9 x 14.6 inches or 55.6 x 37.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.2 inches or 46.3 x 30.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon M are 25.9 x 17.3 inches or 65.8 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 20.7 x 13.8 inches or 52.7 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 17.3 x 11.5 inches or 43.9 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon M has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS M has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II offers exactly the same ISO settings.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|2.||Sony RX100 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.5||12.4||483||67|
|5.||Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|10.||Panasonic GF6||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||20.7||10.6||622||54|
|11.||Panasonic G3||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||21.0||10.6||667||56|
|13.||Sony RX100 VII||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||21.8||12.4||418||63|
|14.||Sony RX100 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
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, but the RX100 II provides a faster frame rate than the Canon M. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The Canon M and the RX100 II 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. That said, the RX100 II can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the FDA-EV1MK. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon M, the Sony RX100 II, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Canon M||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.3||n||n|
|2.||Sony RX100 II||optional||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon M100||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.1||Y||n|
|4.||Canon M10||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.6||Y||n|
|5.||Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon G16||optical||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.2||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon SL1||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.9||Y||n|
|8.||Canon T5i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|9.||Canon T3i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.7||Y||n|
|10.||Panasonic GF6||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.2||Y||n|
|11.||Panasonic G3||1440||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||Y||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
|12.||Sony ZV-1||none||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||Y||1/2000s||24.0||n||Y|
|13.||Sony RX100 VII||2359||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||Y||1/2000s||90.0||Y||Y|
|14.||Sony RX100 III||1440||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony NEX-3N||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
|16.||Sony RX100||none||n||3.0 / 1229||fixed||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The Canon M has a touchscreen, while the RX100 II has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
The Canon M writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the RX100 II uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The Canon M supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the RX100 II cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
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 EOS M and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon M||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Sony RX100 II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Canon M100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon M10||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon G7 X||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Canon G16||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|7.||Canon SL1||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon T5i||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Canon T3i||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Panasonic GF6||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|11.||Panasonic G3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Sony ZV-1||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|13.||Sony RX100 VII||-||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|14.||Sony RX100 III||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|15.||Sony NEX-3N||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Sony RX100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the Canon M has a microphone port, which is missing on the RX100 II. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
Both the Canon M and the RX100 II have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The Canon M was replaced by the Canon EOS M3, while the RX100 II was followed by the Sony RX100 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 there a clear favorite between the Canon M and the Sony RX100 II? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS M:
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.8 stops ISO advantage).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in July 2012).
Arguments in favor of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 17.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 6%.
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.2 EV of extra DR).
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
- More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
- 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 4.3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the Canon M necessitates an extra lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 109x66mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the Canon M).
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (350 versus 230) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (11 months) more recently.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX100 II is the clear winner of the contest (17 : 8 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision 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 M and the Sony RX100 II place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best Travel-Zoom 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 Canon M or the RX100 II. 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 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 (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.
|1.||Canon M||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599|
|2.||Sony RX100 II||5/5||+ +||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||749|
|3.||Canon M100||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499|
|4.||Canon M10||..||..||..||..||..||4/5||Oct 2015||499|
|5.||Canon G7 X||4/5||+ +||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699|
|6.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|7.||Canon SL1||4/5||+||..||78/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549|
|8.||Canon T5i||..||..||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2013||649|
|9.||Canon T3i||3/5||o||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||599|
|10.||Panasonic GF6||..||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||499|
|11.||Panasonic G3||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2011||599|
|12.||Sony ZV-1||4/5||..||4.5/5||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||May 2020||799|
|13.||Sony RX100 VII||4.5/5||..||4/5||..||4/5||5/5||Jul 2019||1,199|
|14.||Sony RX100 III||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||799|
|15.||Sony NEX-3N||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||499|
|16.||Sony RX100||5/5||+ +||..||78/100||4/5||5/5||Jun 2012||649|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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.
- Canon 600D vs Canon M
- Canon M vs Canon SL1
- Canon M vs Nikon B600
- Canon M vs Panasonic G10
- Canon M vs Panasonic GH1
- Canon M vs Sony NEX-5
- Fujifilm X100T vs Sony RX100 II
- Nikon Z7 vs Sony RX100 II
- Panasonic FZ150 vs Sony RX100 II
- Panasonic G7 vs Sony RX100 II
- Samsung NX30 vs Sony RX100 II
- Sony RX100 II vs Sony RX100 V
Specifications: Canon M vs Sony RX100 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 M||Sony RX100 II|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF-M mount lenses||28-100mm f/1.8-4.9|
|Launch Date||July 2012||June 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 749|
|Sensor Specs||Canon M||Sony RX100 II|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||13.2 x 8.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||116.16 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||15.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||17.9 Megapixels||20 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3456 pixels||5472 x 3648 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.31 μm||2.41 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.39 MP/cm2||17.18 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC V||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||65||67|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.1||22.5|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.2||12.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||827||483|
|Screen Specs||Canon M||Sony RX100 II|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon M||Sony RX100 II|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/2000s|
|Continuous Shooting||4.3 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon M||Sony RX100 II|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon M||Sony RX100 II|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||230 shots per charge||350 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
109 x 66 x 32 mm
(4.3 x 2.6 x 1.3 in)
102 x 58 x 38 mm
(4.0 x 2.3 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||298 g (10.5 oz)||281 g (9.9 oz)|
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