Canon T3i vs Sony RX100 III
The Canon EOS Rebel T3i (called Canon 600D in some regions) and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2011 and May 2014. The T3i is a DSLR, while the RX100 III is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (T3i) and an one-inch (RX100 III) 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.
|Canon T3i||Sony RX100 III|
|Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Canon EF mount lenses||24-70mm f/1.8-2.8|
|17.9 MP, APS-C Sensor||20 MP, 1" Sensor|
|1080/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO 100-6,400 (100 - 12,800)||ISO 100-12,800 (80 - 25,600)|
|Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)|
|3.0 LCD, 1040k dots||3.0 LCD, 1229k dots|
|Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)||Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|3.7 shutter flaps per second||10 shutter flaps per second|
|440 shots per battery charge||320 shots per battery charge|
|133 x 100 x 80 mm, 570 g||102 x 58 x 41 mm, 290 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS Rebel T3i and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III? 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.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon T3i and the Sony RX100 III. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
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 considerably smaller (56 percent) than the Canon T3i. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the T3i nor the RX100 III are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX100 III has a lens built in, whereas the T3i 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 T3i and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the T3i gets 440 shots out of its LP-E8 battery, while the RX100 III can take 320 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack. The power pack in the RX100 III 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, 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.
|Canon T3i||133 mm||100 mm||80 mm||570 g||440||n||Feb 2011||599|
|Sony RX100 III||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||290 g||320||n||May 2014||799|
|Canon SL2||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||453 g||650||n||Jun 2017||549|
|Canon G5 X||112 mm||76 mm||44 mm||353 g||210||n||Oct 2015||799|
|Canon T6s||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|Canon G7 X||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||n||Sep 2014||699|
|Canon T5||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||480 g||500||n||Feb 2014||449|
|Canon SL1||117 mm||91 mm||69 mm||407 g||380||n||Mar 2013||549|
|Canon T5i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||580 g||440||n||Mar 2013||649|
|Canon M||109 mm||66 mm||32 mm||298 g||230||n||Jul 2012||599|
|Canon T4i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849|
|Canon T3||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449|
|Canon T2i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||530 g||440||n||Feb 2010||699|
|Canon T1i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|Panasonic FZ1000||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||831 g||360||n||Jun 2014||899|
|Sony RX100 IV||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||n||Jun 2015||999|
|Sony RX100 II||102 mm||58 mm||38 mm||281 g||350||n||Jun 2013||749|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. 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.
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 tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon T3i features an APS-C sensor and the Sony RX100 III an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the RX100 III 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 III offers a higher resolution of 20 megapixels, compared with 17.9 MP of the T3i. 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 T3i). However, it should be noted that the RX100 III is much more recent (by 3 years and 3 months) than the T3i, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
The resolution advantage of the Sony RX100 III implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the RX100 III 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 T3i 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 EOS Rebel T3i has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-25600.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Sony RX100 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67|
|Canon G5 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
|Sony RX100 II||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 can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the RX100 III provides a faster frame rate than the T3i. 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 variety of features. For example, the RX100 III has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), while the T3i has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The viewfinder in the RX100 III offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the T3i (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. On the other hand, the viewfinder of the T3i has a higher magnification (0.53x vs 0.22x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon T3i, the Sony RX100 III, and comparable cameras.
|Sony RX100 III||1440||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|Canon G5 X||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
|Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5||Y||Y|
|Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0||1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y|
|Sony RX100 II||optional||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
The T3i writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the RX100 III uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The RX100 III supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the T3i 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 Rebel T3i and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Sony RX100 III||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Canon G5 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Canon G7 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Sony RX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the T3i has a hotshoe, while the RX100 III does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Both the T3i and the RX100 III have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The T3i was replaced by the Canon T4i, while the RX100 III was followed by the Sony RX100 IV. 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 how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon T3i or the Sony RX100 III – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS Rebel T3i:
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.7 stops ISO advantage).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.53x vs 0.22x).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (440 versus 320) on a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2011).
Arguments in favor of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III:
- 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 (0.8 EV of extra DR).
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 1040k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 3.7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the T3i requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 133x100mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the T3i).
- 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 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.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 3 months of technical progress since the T3i launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX100 III is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 10 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 before making a camera decision. 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 T3i and the Sony RX100 III place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR 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 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 T3i and the RX100 III 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.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.
|Canon T3i||o||77/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||599|
|Sony RX100 III||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||799|
|Canon SL2||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549|
|Canon G5 X||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||799|
|Canon T6s||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|Canon G7 X||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||3.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699|
|Canon T5||+||..||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||449|
|Canon SL1||+||78/100||4/5||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549|
|Canon T5i||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2013||649|
|Canon M||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599|
|Canon T4i||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849|
|Canon T3||80/100||69/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449|
|Canon T2i||+ +||77/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699|
|Canon T1i||+ +||74/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|Panasonic FZ1000||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||899|
|Sony RX100 IV||+ +||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999|
|Sony RX100 II||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||749|
|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 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 1D Mark III vs Canon T3i
- Canon 1Ds vs Canon T3i
- Canon 77D vs Sony RX100 III
- Canon D30 vs Canon T3i
- Canon SX70 vs Canon T3i
- Canon T3 vs Canon T3i
- Canon T3i vs Nikon 1 V2
- Canon T3i vs Nikon D60
- Canon XT vs Sony RX100 III
- Fujifilm X20 vs Sony RX100 III
- Olympus E-PL2 vs Sony RX100 III
- Sony RX100 III vs Zeiss ZX1
Specifications: Canon T3i vs Sony RX100 III
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 T3i||Sony RX100 III|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||24-70mm f/1.8-2.8|
|Launch Date||February 2011||May 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 799|
|Sensor Specs||Canon T3i||Sony RX100 III|
|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 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 12,800 ISO||80 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||65||67|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.1||22.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.5||12.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||793||495|
|Screen Specs||Canon T3i||Sony RX100 III|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon T3i||Sony RX100 III|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/2000s|
|Continuous Shooting||3.7 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|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||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon T3i||Sony RX100 III|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|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 T3i||Sony RX100 III|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||440 shots per charge||320 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
133 x 100 x 80 mm
(5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1 in)
102 x 58 x 41 mm
(4.0 x 2.3 x 1.6 in)
|Camera Weight||570 g (20.1 oz)||290 g (10.2 oz)|
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