Olympus XZ-1 vs Sony RX10
The Olympus XZ-1 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2011 and October 2013. Both the XZ-1 and the RX10 are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on a 1/1.7-inch (XZ-1) and an one-inch (RX10) sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 10.1 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 Olympus XZ-1 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10? 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 Olympus XZ-1 and the Sony RX10. 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The XZ-1 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the RX10 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 RX10 is considerably larger (57 percent) than the Olympus XZ-1. Moreover, the RX10 is substantially heavier (196 percent) than the XZ-1. It is noteworthy in this context that the RX10 is splash and dust-proof, while the XZ-1 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The power pack in the RX10 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. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Olympus XZ-1||111 mm||65 mm||42 mm||275 g||320||n||Jan 2011||499|
|2.||Sony RX10||129 mm||88 mm||102 mm||813 g||420||Y||Oct 2013||1,299|
|3.||Canon G3 X||123 mm||77 mm||105 mm||733 g||300||Y||Jun 2015||999|
|4.||Canon 70D||139 mm||104 mm||79 mm||755 g||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199|
|5.||Nikon D7100||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||950||Y||Feb 2013||1,199|
|6.||Olympus TG-5||113 mm||66 mm||32 mm||250 g||340||Y||May 2017||449|
|7.||Olympus E-PM2||110 mm||64 mm||34 mm||269 g||360||n||Sep 2012||499|
|8.||Olympus XZ-2||113 mm||65 mm||48 mm||346 g||340||n||Sep 2012||599|
|9.||Olympus E-PL3||110 mm||64 mm||37 mm||313 g||300||n||Jun 2011||599|
|10.||Olympus E-PM1||110 mm||64 mm||34 mm||265 g||330||n||Jun 2011||499|
|11.||Olympus E-PL1||115 mm||72 mm||42 mm||334 g||290||n||Feb 2010||599|
|12.||Panasonic FZ1000||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||831 g||360||n||Jun 2014||899|
|13.||Panasonic FZ200||125 mm||87 mm||110 mm||588 g||540||n||Jul 2012||599|
|14.||Panasonic LX7||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Jul 2012||499|
|15.||Panasonic FZ150||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||528 g||410||n||Aug 2011||499|
|16.||Panasonic LX5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Jul 2010||499|
|17.||Sony RX10 II||129 mm||88 mm||102 mm||813 g||400||Y||Jun 2015||1,299|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 XZ-1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 62 percent) than the RX10, which puts it into a different market segment. 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 sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Olympus XZ-1 features a 1/1.7-inch sensor and the Sony RX10 an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the RX10 is 152 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.4 and 2.7. The sensor in the XZ-1 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the RX10 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 20MP, the RX10 offers a higher resolution than the XZ-1 (10.1MP), but the RX10 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 2.41μm versus 2.13μm for the XZ-1) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the RX10 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 9 months) than the XZ-1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Sony RX10 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the RX10 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 Olympus XZ-1 are 18.3 x 13.8 inches or 46.5 x 35 cm for good quality, 14.7 x 11 inches or 37.2 x 28 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.2 inches or 31 x 23.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Olympus XZ-1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 are ISO 125 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-25600.
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. Of the two cameras under consideration, the RX10 offers substantially better image quality than the XZ-1 (overall score 35 points higher). The advantage is based on 4.1 bits higher color depth, 2.2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 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.
| DXO |
|3.||Canon G3 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.4||12.3||521||63|
|7.||Olympus E-PM2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.2||932||72|
|9.||Olympus E-PL3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.9||10.3||499||52|
|10.||Olympus E-PM1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||21.0||10.3||499||52|
|11.||Olympus E-PL1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.1||487||54|
|17.||Sony RX10 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||23.0||12.6||531||70|
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, but the RX10 provides a better video resolution than the XZ-1. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Olympus is limited to 720/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the RX10 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the XZ-1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the XZ-1 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-2. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Olympus XZ-1 and Sony RX10 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|3.||Canon G3 X||optional||n||3.2||1620||tilting||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony RX10 II||2359||Y||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/3200s||14.0||Y||Y|
One feature that is present on the RX10, but is missing on the XZ-1 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 Olympus XZ-1 has 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.
Both the XZ-1 and the RX10 have zoom lenses built in. The XZ-1 has a 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5 optic and the RX10 offers a 24-200mm f/2.8-2.8 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Sony provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the Olympus. The XZ-1 offers the faster maximum aperture.
The XZ-1 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the RX10 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The RX10 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the XZ-1 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 Olympus XZ-1 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|3.||Canon G3 X||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony RX10 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the RX10 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the XZ-1 does not provide wifi capability.
Both the XZ-1 and the RX10 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The XZ-1 was replaced by the Olympus XZ-2, while the RX10 was followed by the Sony RX10 II. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus and Sony websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Olympus XZ-1 and the Sony RX10? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Olympus XZ-1:
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/1.8 vs f/2.8).
- More compact: Is smaller (111x65mm vs 129x88mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 538g or 66 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (62 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in January 2011).
Arguments in favor of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 10.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 44%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (35 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (4.1 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2.2 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (2 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60p vs 720/30p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 614k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/3200s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- 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: Gets more shots (420 versus 320) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- 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 2 years and 9 months of technical progress since the XZ-1 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX10 is the clear winner of the contest (23 : 6 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 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 Olympus XZ-1 and the Sony RX10 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera listing 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 XZ-1 or the RX10. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], 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.||Olympus XZ-1||4/5||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||499|
|2.||Sony RX10||5/5||+||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,299|
|3.||Canon G3 X||3.5/5||+||..||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2015||999|
|4.||Canon 70D||5/5||+ +||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2013||1,199|
|5.||Nikon D7100||5/5||+ +||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||1,199|
|6.||Olympus TG-5||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||May 2017||449|
|7.||Olympus E-PM2||3/5||..||77/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|8.||Olympus XZ-2||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||599|
|9.||Olympus E-PL3||3/5||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||599|
|10.||Olympus E-PM1||..||86/100||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2011||499|
|11.||Olympus E-PL1||..||86/100||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||599|
|12.||Panasonic FZ1000||4/5||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||899|
|13.||Panasonic FZ200||3/5||+ +||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||599|
|14.||Panasonic LX7||3/5||+ +||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||499|
|15.||Panasonic FZ150||3/5||+ +||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||499|
|16.||Panasonic LX5||4/5||+||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|17.||Sony RX10 II||5/5||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2015||1,299|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date 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? 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.
Specifications: Olympus XZ-1 vs Sony RX10
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||Olympus XZ-1||Sony RX10|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||28-112mm f/1.8-2.5||24-200mm f/2.8|
|Launch Date||January 2011||October 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 499||USD 1,299|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus XZ-1||Sony RX10|
|Sensor Format||1/1.7" Sensor||1" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||7.85 x 5.89 mm||13.2 x 8.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||46.2365 mm2||116.16 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||9.8 mm||15.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10.1 Megapixels||20 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3664 x 2752 pixels||5472 x 3648 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.13 μm||2.41 μm|
|Pixel Density||21.81 MP/cm2||17.18 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||720/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||125 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||80 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||TruePic V||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||34||69|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||18.8||22.9|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.4||12.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||117||474|
|Screen Specs||Olympus XZ-1||Sony RX10|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||614k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus XZ-1||Sony RX10|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000s||1/3200s|
|Continuous Shooting||2 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||Lens-based stabilization|
|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||Olympus XZ-1||Sony RX10|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Olympus XZ-1||Sony RX10|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||320 shots per charge||420 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
111 x 65 x 42 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.7 in)
129 x 88 x 102 mm
(5.1 x 3.5 x 4.0 in)
|Camera Weight||275 g (9.7 oz)||813 g (28.7 oz)|
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