Nikon B500 vs Sony RX100 III
The Nikon Coolpix B500 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2016 and May 2014. Both the B500 and the RX100 III are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on a 1/2.3-inch (B500) and an one-inch (RX100 III) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 15.9 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 Nikon Coolpix B500 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 physical size and weight of the Nikon B500 and the Sony RX100 III are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. 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 B500 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), 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 considerably smaller (33 percent) than the Nikon B500. Moreover, the RX100 III is substantially lighter (46 percent) than the B500. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the B500 nor the RX100 III are weather-sealed.
The power pack in the RX100 III can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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 B500||114 mm||78 mm||95 mm||541 g||600||n||Jan 2016||299||ebay.com|
|2.||Sony RX100 III||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||290 g||320||n||May 2014||799||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon G7 X||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||n||Sep 2014||699||ebay.com|
|4.||Nikon B600||122 mm||82 mm||99 mm||500 g||280||n||Jan 2019||349||amazon.com|
|5.||Nikon A1000||114 mm||72 mm||41 mm||330 g||250||n||Jan 2019||429||amazon.com|
|6.||Nikon P1000||146 mm||119 mm||181 mm||1415 g||250||n||Jul 2018||999||amazon.com|
|7.||Nikon W300||112 mm||66 mm||29 mm||231 g||280||Y||May 2017||389||amazon.com|
|8.||Nikon B700||125 mm||85 mm||107 mm||565 g||350||n||Feb 2016||499||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon P900||140 mm||103 mm||137 mm||899 g||360||n||Mar 2015||599||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon L840||113 mm||78 mm||96 mm||538 g||590||n||Feb 2015||299||ebay.com|
|11.||Panasonic FZ80||130 mm||94 mm||119 mm||616 g||330||n||Jan 2017||399||amazon.com|
|12.||Sony RX100 VII||102 mm||58 mm||43 mm||302 g||260||n||Jul 2019||1,199||amazon.com|
|13.||Sony HX80||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||390||n||Mar 2016||349||ebay.com|
|14.||Sony RX100 IV||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||n||Jun 2015||999||ebay.com|
|15.||Sony RX100 II||102 mm||58 mm||38 mm||281 g||350||n||Jun 2013||749||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony H200||123 mm||83 mm||87 mm||530 g||240||n||Jan 2013||249||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony RX100||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||240 g||330||n||Jun 2012||649||ebay.com|
|Note: 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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The B500 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 63 percent) than the RX100 III, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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 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. 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.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon B500 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Sony RX100 III an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the RX100 III is 314 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 2.7. The sensor in the B500 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the RX100 III offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 20MP, the RX100 III offers a higher resolution than the B500 (15.9MP), but the RX100 III nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 2.41μm versus 1.33μm for the B500) due to its larger sensor. However, the B500 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 8 months) than the RX100 III, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the B500 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 B500 are 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon Coolpix B500 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 6400. 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.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with BSI-CMOS (Backside Illuminated Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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. 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 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67|
|3.||Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|12.||Sony RX100 VII||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||21.8||12.4||418||63|
|14.||Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
|15.||Sony RX100 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.5||12.4||483||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 also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the RX100 III provides a faster frame rate than the B500. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Nikon is limited to 1080/60i.
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 B500 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon B500 and Sony RX100 III in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Nikon B500||none||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.4/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Sony RX100 III||1440||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Nikon B600||none||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.4/s||Y||Y|
|5.||Nikon A1000||1166||n||3.0 / 1036||tilting||Y||1/4000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Nikon P1000||2359||n||3.2 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Nikon W300||none||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|8.||Nikon B700||921||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||Y|
|9.||Nikon P900||921||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Nikon L840||none||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.4/s||Y||Y|
|11.||Panasonic FZ80||1166||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|12.||Sony RX100 VII||2359||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||Y||1/2000s||90.0/s||Y||Y|
|13.||Sony HX80||638||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|14.||Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0 / 1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony RX100 II||optional||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony H200||none||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/1500s||0.8/s||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony RX100||none||n||3.0 / 1229||fixed||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
Both the B500 and the RX100 III have zoom lenses built in. The B500 has a 22.5-900mm f/3.0-6.5 optic and the RX100 III offers a 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Nikon provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the Sony. The RX100 III offers the faster maximum aperture.
The B500 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 B500 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 Nikon Coolpix B500 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 B500||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|2.||Sony RX100 III||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Canon G7 X||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Nikon B600||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|5.||Nikon A1000||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|6.||Nikon P1000||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|7.||Nikon W300||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|8.||Nikon B700||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|9.||Nikon P900||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Nikon L840||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|11.||Panasonic FZ80||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|12.||Sony RX100 VII||-||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|13.||Sony HX80||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|14.||Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|15.||Sony RX100 II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony H200||-||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony RX100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
Both the B500 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 B500 was followed by the Nikon B600. Further information on the features and operation of the B500 and RX100 III can be found, respectively, in the Nikon B500 Manual (free pdf) or the online Sony RX100 III Manual.
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon B500 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.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon Coolpix B500:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
- More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (600 versus 320) on a single battery charge.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (63 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 8 months after the RX100 III).
Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 15.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 14%.
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/60i).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 921k dots).
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 7.4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/1.8 vs f/3.0).
- More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 114x78mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 251g or 46 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- 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 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 (17 : 8 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 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 B500 and the Sony RX100 III place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the B500 and the RX100 III in practical situations. 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 B500||..||+||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2016||299||ebay.com|
|2.||Sony RX100 III||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||799||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon G7 X||4/5||+ +||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699||ebay.com|
|4.||Nikon B600||..||+||..||..||3.5/5||3/5||Jan 2019||349||amazon.com|
|5.||Nikon A1000||..||+ +||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||3/5||Jan 2019||429||amazon.com|
|6.||Nikon P1000||..||+||3.5/5||73/100||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jul 2018||999||amazon.com|
|7.||Nikon W300||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||May 2017||389||amazon.com|
|8.||Nikon B700||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2016||499||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon P900||..||..||..||77/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2015||599||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon L840||..||+ +||..||..||3.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||299||ebay.com|
|11.||Panasonic FZ80||..||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||399||amazon.com|
|12.||Sony RX100 VII||4.5/5||..||4/5||..||4/5||5/5||Jul 2019||1,199||amazon.com|
|13.||Sony HX80||..||..||..||..||..||..||Mar 2016||349||ebay.com|
|14.||Sony RX100 IV||4.5/5||+ +||..||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999||ebay.com|
|15.||Sony RX100 II||5/5||+ +||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||749||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony H200||..||..||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jan 2013||249||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony RX100||5/5||+ +||..||78/100||4/5||5/5||Jun 2012||649||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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. 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? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. 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 90D vs Sony RX100 III
- Canon G7 X vs Sony RX100 III
- Canon SL2 vs Nikon B500
- Canon XSi vs Sony RX100 III
- Canon XT vs Nikon B500
- Fujifilm X-T20 vs Sony RX100 III
- Leica M10-P vs Sony RX100 III
- Leica V-LUX 4 vs Sony RX100 III
- Nikon 1 V3 vs Nikon B500
- Nikon B500 vs Panasonic GH3
- Nikon B500 vs Pentax K-1
- Nikon B500 vs Sony A9 II
Specifications: Nikon B500 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 B500||Sony RX100 III|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||22.5-900mm f/3.0-6.5||24-70mm f/1.8-2.8|
|Launch Date||January 2016||May 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 299||USD 799|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon B500||Sony RX100 III|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||1" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||13.2 x 8.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||116.16 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||15.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.9 Megapixels||20 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||5472 x 3648 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.33 μm||2.41 μm|
|Pixel Density||56.73 MP/cm2||17.18 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||80 - 25,600 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||67|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||22.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||12.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||495|
|Screen Specs||Nikon B500||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||921k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon B500||Sony RX100 III|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/2000s|
|Continuous Shooting||7.4 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon B500||Sony RX100 III|
|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|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Nikon B500||Sony RX100 III|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||600 shots per charge||320 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
114 x 78 x 95 mm
(4.5 x 3.1 x 3.7 in)
102 x 58 x 41 mm
(4.0 x 2.3 x 1.6 in)
|Camera Weight||541 g (19.1 oz)||290 g (10.2 oz)|
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