Nikon 1 J4 vs Sony RX100 III
The Nikon 1 J4 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in April 2014 and May 2014. The J4 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the RX100 III is a fixed lens compact. Both cameras are equipped with an one-inch sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 18.2 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 Nikon 1 J4 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 Nikon 1 J4 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The J4 can be obtained in four different colors (black, silver, orange, white), while the RX100 III 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 III is somewhat smaller (1 percent) than the Nikon 1 J4. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the J4 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 J4 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
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, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Nikon 1 J4||100 mm||60 mm||29 mm||232 g||300||n||Apr 2014||549|
|2.||Sony RX100 III||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||290 g||320||n||May 2014||799|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||206 g||235||n||Jan 2017||529|
|4.||Canon G9 X||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||209 g||220||n||Oct 2015||529|
|5.||Canon G7 X||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||n||Sep 2014||699|
|6.||Canon SL1||117 mm||91 mm||69 mm||407 g||380||n||Mar 2013||549|
|7.||Nikon P900||140 mm||103 mm||137 mm||899 g||360||n||Mar 2015||599|
|8.||Nikon 1 J5||98 mm||60 mm||32 mm||231 g||250||n||Apr 2015||399|
|9.||Nikon 1 V3||111 mm||65 mm||33 mm||381 g||310||n||Mar 2014||799|
|10.||Nikon 1 V2||109 mm||82 mm||46 mm||278 g||310||n||Oct 2012||799|
|11.||Panasonic GF7||107 mm||65 mm||33 mm||266 g||230||n||Jan 2015||499|
|12.||Panasonic FZ1000||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||831 g||360||n||Jun 2014||899|
|13.||Panasonic G6||122 mm||85 mm||71 mm||390 g||340||n||Apr 2013||599|
|14.||Sony RX100 VII||102 mm||58 mm||43 mm||302 g||260||n||Jul 2019||1,199|
|15.||Sony RX100 IV||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||n||Jun 2015||999|
|16.||Sony RX100 II||102 mm||58 mm||38 mm||281 g||350||n||Jun 2013||749|
|17.||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.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. 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 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.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the RX100 III offers a higher resolution of 20 megapixels, compared with 18.2 MP of the J4. This megapixels advantage translates into a 5 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the RX100 III has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 2.41μm versus 2.52μm for the J4). It is noteworthy in this context that the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the J4 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
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 Nikon 1 J4 are 26.2 x 17.4 inches or 66.4 x 44.3 cm for good quality, 20.9 x 14 inches or 53.2 x 35.4 cm for very good quality, and 17.4 x 11.6 inches or 44.3 x 29.5 cm for excellent quality prints.
The J4 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Nikon 1 J4 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 160 to ISO 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.
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 offers substantially better image quality than the J4 (overall score 14 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.6 bits higher color depth, 1.6 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.2 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Nikon 1 J4||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||426||53|
|2.||Sony RX100 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.9||12.5||522||65|
|4.||Canon G9 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.5||12.3||495||63|
|5.||Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|8.||Nikon 1 J5||1-inch||20.7||5568||3712||4K/15p||21.1||12.0||479||65|
|9.||Nikon 1 V3||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||384||52|
|10.||Nikon 1 V2||1-inch||14.2||4608||3072||1080/60p||20.2||10.8||403||50|
|11.||Panasonic GF7||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|13.||Panasonic G6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61|
|14.||Sony RX100 VII||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||21.8||12.4||418||63|
|15.||Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
|16.||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 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).
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), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the J4 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon 1 J4, the Sony RX100 III, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Nikon 1 J4||none||n||3.0 / 1037||Fixed||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|2.||Sony RX100 III||1440||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||8.2||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G9 X||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon SL1||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.9||Y||n|
|7.||Nikon P900||921||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||7.0||Y||Y|
|8.||Nikon 1 J5||none||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|9.||Nikon 1 V3||optional||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|10.||Nikon 1 V2||1440||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||15.0||Y||n|
|11.||Panasonic GF7||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/500s||5.8||Y||n|
|12.||Panasonic FZ1000||2359||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|13.||Panasonic G6||1440||n||3.0 / 1036||swivel||Y||1/4000s||7.0||Y||n|
|14.||Sony RX100 VII||2359||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||Y||1/2000s||90.0||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0 / 1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony RX100 II||optional||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|17.||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 J4 has a touchscreen, while the RX100 III has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The RX100 III 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 J4 does not have a selfie-screen.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the J4 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The J4 writes its imaging data to micro SDXC cards, while the RX100 III 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.
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 Nikon 1 J4 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Nikon 1 J4||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|2.||Sony RX100 III||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G9 X||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon G7 X||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Canon SL1||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Nikon P900||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Nikon 1 J5||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Nikon 1 V3||-||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|10.||Nikon 1 V2||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Panasonic GF7||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Panasonic FZ1000||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|13.||Panasonic G6||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|14.||Sony RX100 VII||-||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony RX100 II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony RX100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
Both the J4 and the RX100 III have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The J4 was replaced by the Nikon 1 J5, 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 Nikon and Sony websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon 1 J4 or the Sony RX100 III – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon 1 J4:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- 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.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (60 vs 10 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 18.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 5%.
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (14 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.6 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.6 EV of extra DR).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 1037k dots).
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the J4 necessitates an extra lens.
- 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 device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX100 III is the clear winner of the contest (12 : 7 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 wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro 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 Nikon 1 J4 and the Sony RX100 III 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the J4 or the RX100 III perform in practice. 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 why expert reviews 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.||Nikon 1 J4||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Apr 2014||549|
|2.||Sony RX100 III||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||799|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||4/5||..||4/5||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||529|
|4.||Canon G9 X||3.5/5||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||529|
|5.||Canon G7 X||4/5||+ +||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699|
|6.||Canon SL1||4/5||+||..||78/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549|
|7.||Nikon P900||..||..||..||77/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2015||599|
|8.||Nikon 1 J5||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||399|
|9.||Nikon 1 V3||3/5||..||..||76/100||4.5/5||4/5||Mar 2014||799|
|10.||Nikon 1 V2||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Oct 2012||799|
|11.||Panasonic GF7||4/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||499|
|12.||Panasonic FZ1000||4/5||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||899|
|13.||Panasonic G6||4/5||+ +||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||599|
|14.||Sony RX100 VII||4.5/5||..||4/5||..||4/5||5/5||Jul 2019||1,199|
|15.||Sony RX100 IV||4.5/5||+ +||..||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999|
|16.||Sony RX100 II||5/5||+ +||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||749|
|17.||Sony RX100||5/5||+ +||..||78/100||4/5||5/5||Jun 2012||649|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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 use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 90D vs Sony RX100 III
- Canon SX610 vs Sony RX100 III
- Canon SX710 vs Nikon 1 J4
- Epson R-D1 vs Nikon 1 J4
- Fujifilm X-A5 vs Nikon 1 J4
- Fujifilm X-T2 vs Nikon 1 J4
- Leica SL vs Sony RX100 III
- Nikon 1 J4 vs Sony A6400
- Nikon 1 J4 vs Sony HX350
- Nikon D3400 vs Sony RX100 III
- Olympus E-600 vs Sony RX100 III
- Sony NEX-5 vs Sony RX100 III
Specifications: Nikon 1 J4 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||Nikon 1 J4||Sony RX100 III|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Nikon 1 mount lenses||24-70mm f/1.8-2.8|
|Launch Date||April 2014||May 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 549||USD 799|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon 1 J4||Sony RX100 III|
|Sensor Format||1" Sensor||1" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||13.2 x 8.8 mm||13.2 x 8.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||116.16 mm2||116.16 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||15.9 mm||15.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||18.2 Megapixels||20 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5232 x 3488 pixels||5472 x 3648 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.52 μm||2.41 μm|
|Pixel Density||15.71 MP/cm2||17.18 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||160 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||80 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 4||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||53||67|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||20.8||22.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.7||12.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||426||495|
|Screen Specs||Nikon 1 J4||Sony RX100 III|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1037k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon 1 J4||Sony RX100 III|
|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||60 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||no E-Shutter|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||micro or SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon 1 J4||Sony RX100 III|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Nikon 1 J4||Sony RX100 III|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||300 shots per charge||320 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
100 x 60 x 29 mm
(3.9 x 2.4 x 1.1 in)
102 x 58 x 41 mm
(4.0 x 2.3 x 1.6 in)
|Camera Weight||232 g (8.2 oz)||290 g (10.2 oz)|
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