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Nikon D3400 vs Sony RX1

The Nikon D3400 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2016 and September 2012. The D3400 is a DSLR, while the RX1 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (D3400) and a full frame (RX1) sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 24 megapixels.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D3400
versus
Sony RX1
Nikon D3400   Sony RX1
Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
Nikon F mount lenses 35mm f/2.0
24 MP, APS-C Sensor 24 MP, Full Frame Sensor
1080/60p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-25,600 ISO 100-25,600 (50 - 102,400)
Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
3.0 LCD, 921k dots 3.0 LCD, 1229k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
1200 shots per battery charge270 shots per battery charge
124 x 98 x 76 mm, 445 g 113 x 65 x 70 mm, 482 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D3400 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1? 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.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Nikon D3400 and the Sony RX1 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The D3400 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the RX1 is only available in black.

Size Nikon D3400 vs Sony RX1
Compare D3400 versus RX1 top
Comparison D3400 or RX1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony RX1 is considerably smaller (40 percent) than the Nikon D3400. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D3400 nor the RX1 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX1 has a lens built in, whereas the D3400 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 D3400 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the D3400 gets 1200 shots out of its EN-EL14a battery, while the RX1 can take 270 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack. The power pack in the RX1 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. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon D3400 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 445 g 1200 n Aug 2016 499i
2.
 
Sony RX1 113 mm 65 mm 70 mm 482 g 270 n Sep 2012 2,799i
3.
 
Canon SL2 122 mm 93 mm 70 mm 453 g 650 n Jun 2017 549i
4.
 
Nikon D3500 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 415 g 1550 n Aug 2018 429 i
5.
 
Nikon D5600 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 465 g 970 n Nov 2016 699 i
6.
 
Nikon D500 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 860 g 1240 Y Jan 2016 1,999 i
7.
 
Nikon D5500 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 470 g 820 n Jan 2015 899i
8.
 
Nikon D7200 136 mm 107 mm 76 mm 765 g 1110 Y Mar 2015 1,199i
9.
 
Nikon D3300 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 430 g 700 n Jan 2014 499i
10.
 
Nikon D5300 125 mm 98 mm 76 mm 480 g 600 n Oct 2013 799i
11.
 
Nikon D3200 125 mm 96 mm 77 mm 505 g 540 n Apr 2012 599i
12.
 
Nikon D5200 129 mm 98 mm 78 mm 555 g 500 n Nov 2012 749i
13.
 
Sony RX1R II 113 mm 65 mm 72 mm 507 g 220 n Oct 2015 3,299 i
14.
 
Sony A3000 128 mm 91 mm 85 mm 411 g 470 n Aug 2013 329i
15.
 
Sony RX1R 113 mm 65 mm 70 mm 482 g 270 n Jun 2013 2,799i
16.
 
Sony NEX-7 120 mm 67 mm 43 mm 400 g 430 n Aug 2011 1,349i
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 retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. 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.

Sensor comparison

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. 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 D3400 features an APS-C sensor and the Sony RX1 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the RX1 is 132 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.

Nikon D3400 and Sony RX1 sensor measures

Even though the RX1 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 24 megapixels. This implies that the RX1 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 5.96μm versus 3.91μm for the D3400), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the D3400 is much more recent (by 3 years and 11 months) than the RX1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the D3400 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The Nikon D3400 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-102400.

D3400 versus RX1 MP

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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the RX1 has a markedly higher DXO score than the D3400 (overall score 7 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.3 bits higher color depth, 0.4 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.1 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.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Nikon D3400 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286
2.
 
Sony RX1 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.114.3253493
3.
 
Canon SL2 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.4104179
4.
 
Nikon D3500 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.4185183
5.
 
Nikon D5600 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0130684
6.
 
Nikon D500 APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.014.0132483
7.
 
Nikon D5500 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0143884
8.
 
Nikon D7200 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.514.6133387
9.
 
Nikon D3300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582
10.
 
Nikon D5300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.9133883
11.
 
Nikon D3200 APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/30p24.113.2113181
12.
 
Nikon D5200 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.213.9128484
13.
 
Sony RX1R II Full Frame 42.2 7952 53041080/60p25.813.9320497
14.
 
Sony A3000 APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.712.8106878
15.
 
Sony RX1R Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.013.6253791
16.
 
Sony NEX-7 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.113.4101681
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. 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

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D3400 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the RX1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the RX1 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the FDA-EV1MK. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D3400 and Sony RX1 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Nikon D3400optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
2.
 
Sony RX1optional n3.0 / 1229 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
3.
 
Canon SL2optical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
4.
 
Nikon D3500optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
5.
 
Nikon D5600optical n3.2 / 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
6.
 
Nikon D500optical Y3.2 / 2359 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n n
7.
 
Nikon D5500optical n3.2 / 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
8.
 
Nikon D7200optical Y3.2 / 1229 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n
9.
 
Nikon D3300optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
10.
 
Nikon D5300optical n3.2 / 1037 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
11.
 
Nikon D3200optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
12.
 
Nikon D5200optical n3.0 / 921 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
13.
 
Sony RX1R II2360 n3.0 / 1229 tilting n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
14.
 
Sony A3000202 n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
15.
 
Sony RX1Roptional n3.0 / 1229 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
16.
 
Sony NEX-72359 n3.0 / 921 tilting n 1/4000s 10.0 Y n

The D3400 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the RX1 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The D3400 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the RX1 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.

Connectivity comparison

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 D3400 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Nikon D3400Ymono / mono--mini2.0--Y
2.
 
Sony RX1Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon SL2Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0YYY
4.
 
Nikon D3500Ymono / mono--mini2.0--Y
5.
 
Nikon D5600Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0YYY
6.
 
Nikon D500Ystereo / monoYYmini3.0YYY
7.
 
Nikon D5500Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0Y--
8.
 
Nikon D7200Ystereo / monoYYmini2.0YY-
9.
 
Nikon D3300Ymono / monoY-mini2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D5300Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0Y--
11.
 
Nikon D3200Ymono / monoY-mini2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D5200Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---
13.
 
Sony RX1R IIYstereo / monoY-micro2.0YY-
14.
 
Sony A3000Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
15.
 
Sony RX1RYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
16.
 
Sony NEX-7Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---

It is notable that the RX1 has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The D3400 does not feature such a mic input.

Both the D3400 and the RX1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The RX1 was replaced by the Sony RX1R, while the D3400 was followed by the Nikon D3500. 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.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D3400 and the Sony RX1? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

ilogo

Advantages of the Nikon D3400:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1200 versus 270) on a single battery charge.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 11 months of technical progress since the RX1 launch.

ilogo

Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (7 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.1 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 921k dots).
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the D3400 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (113x65mm vs 124x98mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2012).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX1 emerges as the winner of the match-up (9 : 7 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

D3400 07:09 RX1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D3400 and the Sony RX1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Prime Lens Compact Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D3400 or the RX1. 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.

Expert reviews

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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon D34004/5+4/576/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499i
2.
 
Sony RX15/5....79/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799i
3.
 
Canon SL24/5+ +4/578/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549i
4.
 
Nikon D3500....4/575/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2018 429 i
5.
 
Nikon D56004/5..4/579/1004.5/54/5 Nov 2016 699 i
6.
 
Nikon D5005/5+ +4.7/591/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2016 1,999 i
7.
 
Nikon D55005/5+..79/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2015 899i
8.
 
Nikon D72004/5+ +..84/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2015 1,199i
9.
 
Nikon D33003/5+..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499i
10.
 
Nikon D53004/5+ +..79/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799i
11.
 
Nikon D32005/5+ +..73/1004.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 599i
12.
 
Nikon D52004/5+ +..79/1004.5/54.5/5 Nov 2012 749i
13.
 
Sony RX1R II5/5....82/100..4.5/5 Oct 2015 3,299 i
14.
 
Sony A30003/5+....4/54/5 Aug 2013 329i
15.
 
Sony RX1R5/5......4/54.5/5 Jun 2013 2,799i
16.
 
Sony NEX-75/5+ +..81/1004.5/55/5 Aug 2011 1,349i
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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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.

Nikon D3400:
Check Ebay offers
Sony RX1:
Check Ebay offers

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.

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    Specifications: Nikon D3400 vs Sony RX1

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon D3400 Sony RX1
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses 35mm f/2.0
    Launch Date August 2016 September 2012
    Launch Price USD 499 USD 2,799
    Sensor Specs Nikon D3400 Sony RX1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.5 x 15.6 mm 35.8 x 23.8 mm
    Sensor Area 366.6 mm2 852.04 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.2 mm 43 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 24 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.91 μm 5.96 μm
    Pixel Density 6.55 MP/cm2 2.82 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 25,600 ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 50 - 102,400 ISO
    Image Processor EXPEED 4 BIONZ X
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 86 93
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 24.8 25.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 13.9 14.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1192 2534
    Screen Specs Nikon D3400 Sony RX1
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.57x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 921k dots 1229k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D3400 Sony RX1
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Built-in 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 Nikon D3400 Sony RX1
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in no Bluetooth
    Body Specs Nikon D3400 Sony RX1
    Battery Type EN-EL14a NP-BX1
    Battery Life (CIPA)1200 shots per charge270 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 124 x 98 x 76 mm
    (4.9 x 3.9 x 3.0 in)
    113 x 65 x 70 mm
    (4.4 x 2.6 x 2.8 in)
    Camera Weight 445 g (15.7 oz) 482 g (17.0 oz)

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