Nikon D4S vs Sony RX100 VII
The Nikon D4S and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2014 and July 2019. The D4S is a DSLR, while the RX100 VII is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a full frame (D4S) and an one-inch (RX100 VII) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 16.2 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 D4S and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII? 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 D4S and the Sony RX100 VII 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 width, height and depth measures 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 VII is considerably smaller (76 percent) than the Nikon D4S. It is worth mentioning in this context that the D4S is splash and dust resistant, while the RX100 VII does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX100 VII has a lens built in, whereas the D4S 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 D4S and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the D4S gets 3020 shots out of its EN-EL18a battery, while the RX100 VII can take 260 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the D4S has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power. The power pack in the RX100 VII can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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.
|Nikon D4S||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.6 in||47.6 oz||3020||Y||Feb 2014||6,499|
|Sony RX100 VII||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.7 in||10.7 oz||260||n||Jul 2019||1,199|
|Canon 1D X||6.2 in||6.6 in||3.3 in||54.7 oz||1120||Y||Oct 2011||6,799|
|Leica C-LUX||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.8 in||12.0 oz||370||n||Jun 2018||1,049|
|Nikon D6||6.3 in||6.4 in||3.6 in||44.8 oz||3580||Y||Feb 2020||6,499|
|Nikon D5||6.3 in||6.3 in||3.6 in||49.9 oz||3780||Y||Jan 2016||6,499|
|Nikon D750||5.6 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||26.5 oz||1230||Y||Sep 2014||2,299|
|Nikon D810||5.7 in||4.8 in||3.2 in||34.6 oz||1200||Y||Jun 2014||3,299|
|Nikon Df||5.7 in||4.3 in||2.6 in||26.8 oz||1400||Y||Nov 2013||2,749|
|Nikon D4||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.6 in||47.3 oz||2600||Y||Jan 2012||5,999|
|Nikon D3S||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.5 in||43.7 oz||4200||Y||Oct 2009||5,199|
|Nikon D3X||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.5 in||44.4 oz||4400||Y||Dec 2008||7,999|
|Nikon D3||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.5 in||45.9 oz||4300||Y||Aug 2007||4,999|
|Sony ZV-1||4.1 in||2.4 in||1.7 in||10.4 oz||260||n||May 2020||799|
|Sony RX100 VI||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.7 in||10.6 oz||240||n||Jun 2018||1,199|
|Sony RX100 V||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.6 in||10.5 oz||220||n||Oct 2016||999|
|Sony RX100 IV||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.6 in||10.5 oz||280||n||Jun 2015||999|
|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 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. The RX100 VII was launched at a lower price than the D4S, despite having a lens built in. 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 imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 D4S features a full frame sensor and the Sony RX100 VII an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the RX100 VII is 87 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 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 VII offers a higher resolution of 20 megapixels, compared with 16.2 MP of the D4S. 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 7.29μm for the D4S). However, it should be noted that the RX100 VII is much more recent (by 5 years and 4 months) than the D4S, 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 VII implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the RX100 VII 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 D4S are 24.6 x 16.4 inches or 62.6 x 41.7 cm for good quality, 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.3 cm for very good quality, and 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.8 cm for excellent quality prints.
The RX100 VII has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Nikon D4S has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 50-409600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII are ISO 125 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 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"). Of the two cameras under review, the D4S provides substantially higher image quality than the RX100 VII, with an overall score that is 26 points higher. This advantage is based on 2.6 bits higher color depth, 0.9 EV in additional dynamic range, and 2.9 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.
| DXO |
|Nikon D4S||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/60p||24.4||13.3||3074||89|
|Sony RX100 VII||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||21.8||12.4||418||63|
|Canon 1D X||Full Frame||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||23.8||11.8||2786||82|
|Nikon D6||Full Frame||20.7||5568||3712||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Nikon D5||Full Frame||20.7||5588||3712||4K/30p||25.1||12.3||2343||88|
|Nikon D750||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/60p||24.8||14.5||2956||93|
|Nikon D810||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.7||14.8||2853||97|
|Nikon Df||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||none||24.6||13.1||3279||89|
|Nikon D4||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/30p||24.7||13.1||2965||89|
|Nikon D3S||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||720/24p||23.5||12.0||3253||82|
|Nikon D3X||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||24.7||13.7||1992||88|
|Nikon D3||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2290||81|
|Sony RX100 VI||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Sony RX100 V||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.4||586||70|
|Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the RX100 VII provides a better video resolution than the D4S. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Nikon is limited to 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the RX100 VII has an electronic viewfinder (2359k dots), while the D4S 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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), but the viewfinder of the D4S has a higher magnification than the one of the RX100 VII (0.70x vs 0.59x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D4S and Sony RX100 VII in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Sony RX100 VII||2359||n||3.0||921||tilting||Y||1/2000s||90.0||Y||Y|
|Canon 1D X||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||14.0||n||n|
|Sony RX100 VI||2359||n||3.0||1229||tilting||Y||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y|
|Sony RX100 V||2359||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y|
|Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0||1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y|
One feature that is present on the D4S, but is missing on the RX100 VII is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.The RX100 VII 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 D4S 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 RX100 VII 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 Nikon D4S and the Sony RX100 VII both have an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The D4S writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or XQD cards, while the RX100 VII uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The D4S features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the RX100 VII only has one slot.
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 D4S and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|Sony RX100 VII||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|Canon 1D X||Y||mono||-||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Sony RX100 VI||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|Sony RX100 V||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the D4S has a hotshoe, while the RX100 VII does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D4S (unlike the RX100 VII) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The RX100 VII is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the D4S has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D4S was succeeded by the Nikon D5. 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? Is the Nikon D4S better than the Sony RX100 VII or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D4S:
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (26 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (2.6 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.9 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (2.9 stops ISO advantage).
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.59x).
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (3020 versus 260) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2014).
Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 16.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 11%.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (90 vs 11 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the D4S requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 160x157mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the D4S).
- 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.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 5 years and 4 months of technical progress since the D4S launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the RX100 VII emerges as the winner of the match-up (20 : 18 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 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D4S and the Sony RX100 VII 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the D4S and the RX100 VII 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 why hands-on reviews by experts are important. 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.
|Nikon D4S||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||6,499|
|Sony RX100 VII||..||..||4/5||..||5/5||Jul 2019||1,199|
|Canon 1D X||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2011||6,799|
|Leica C-LUX||..||..||4.5/5||..||4/5||Jun 2018||1,049|
|Nikon D6||..||..||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Feb 2020||6,499|
|Nikon D5||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||6,499|
|Nikon D750||+ +||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||2,299|
|Nikon D810||..||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||3,299|
|Nikon Df||..||81/100||4/5||4/5||4/5||Nov 2013||2,749|
|Nikon D4||..||..||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Jan 2012||5,999|
|Nikon D3S||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Oct 2009||5,199|
|Nikon D3X||..||86/100||4/5||5/5||5/5||Dec 2008||7,999|
|Nikon D3||..||+ +||5/5||o||4.5/5||Aug 2007||4,999|
|Sony ZV-1||..||85/100||4/5||..||4.5/5||May 2020||799|
|Sony RX100 VI||+ +||83/100||4/5||..||4.5/5||Jun 2018||1,199|
|Sony RX100 V||+ +||83/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2016||999|
|Sony RX100 IV||+ +||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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, 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 are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Nikon D4S vs Sony RX100 VII
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 D4S||Sony RX100 VII|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||24-200mm f/2.8-4.5|
|Launch Date||February 2014||July 2019|
|Launch Price||USD 6,499||USD 1,199|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D4S||Sony RX100 VII|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||1" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 23.9 mm||13.2 x 8.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||860.4 mm2||116.16 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.2 mm||15.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16.2 Megapixels||20 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4928 x 3280 pixels||5472 x 3648 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||7.29 μm||2.41 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.88 MP/cm2||17.18 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||125 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 409,600 ISO||80 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 4||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||89||63|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.4||21.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.3||12.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||3074||418|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D4S||Sony RX100 VII|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2359k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D4S||Sony RX100 VII|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000s||1/2000s|
|Continuous Shooting||11 shutter flaps/s||90 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/32000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or XQD cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D4S||Sony RX100 VII|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Nikon D4S||Sony RX100 VII|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||3020 shots per charge||260 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
160 x 157 x 91 mm
(6.3 x 6.2 x 3.6 in)
102 x 58 x 43 mm
(4.0 x 2.3 x 1.7 in)
|Camera Weight||1350 g (47.6 oz)||302 g (10.7 oz)|
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