Olympus XZ-2 vs Sony A7R III
The Olympus XZ-2 and the Sony Alpha A7R III are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2012 and October 2017. The XZ-2 is a fixed lens compact, while the A7R III is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (XZ-2) and a full frame (A7R III) sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 11.8 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 42.2 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-2 and the Sony Alpha A7R 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 Olympus XZ-2 and the Sony A7R III. 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 A7R III is considerably larger (66 percent) than the Olympus XZ-2. It is noteworthy in this context that the A7R III is splash and dust-proof, while the XZ-2 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the XZ-2 has a lens built in, whereas the A7R III 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 A7R III and their specifications in the Sony FE Lens Catalog.
The power pack in the A7R 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. 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-2||113 mm||65 mm||48 mm||346 g||340||n||Sep 2012||599|
|2.||Sony A7R III||127 mm||96 mm||74 mm||650 g||650||Y||Oct 2017||3,199|
|3.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|4.||Canon G15||107 mm||76 mm||40 mm||352 g||350||n||Sep 2012||499|
|5.||Fujifilm X10||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||350 g||270||n||Sep 2011||599|
|6.||Olympus Stylus 1||116 mm||87 mm||57 mm||402 g||410||n||Oct 2013||699|
|7.||Olympus E-P3||122 mm||69 mm||34 mm||369 g||330||n||Jun 2011||799|
|8.||Olympus E-PL2||114 mm||72 mm||42 mm||362 g||280||n||Jan 2011||599|
|9.||Olympus E-PL3||110 mm||64 mm||37 mm||313 g||300||n||Jun 2011||599|
|10.||Olympus XZ-1||111 mm||65 mm||42 mm||275 g||320||n||Jan 2011||499|
|11.||Panasonic LX7||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Jul 2012||499|
|12.||Pentax MX-1||122 mm||61 mm||51 mm||391 g||290||n||Jan 2013||499|
|13.||Sony A7 III||127 mm||96 mm||74 mm||650 g||610||Y||Feb 2018||1,999|
|14.||Sony A9||127 mm||96 mm||63 mm||673 g||650||Y||Apr 2017||4,499|
|15.||Sony A99 II||143 mm||104 mm||76 mm||849 g||490||Y||Sep 2016||3,199|
|16.||Sony A7R II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||625 g||290||Y||Jun 2015||3,199|
|17.||Sony A7S II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||627 g||370||Y||Sep 2015||2,999|
|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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The XZ-2 was launched at a lower price than the A7R III, 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 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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Olympus XZ-2 features a 1/1.7-inch sensor and the Sony A7R III a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A7R III is 1905 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.4 and 1.0. The sensor in the XZ-2 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the A7R III offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 42.2MP, the A7R III offers a higher resolution than the XZ-2 (11.8MP), but the A7R III nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.52μm versus 1.91μm for the XZ-2) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the A7R III is a much more recent model (by 5 years and 1 month) than the XZ-2, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the A7R III has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A7R III implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A7R III for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 39.8 x 26.5 inches or 101 x 67.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 31.8 x 21.2 inches or 80.8 x 53.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 26.5 x 17.7 inches or 67.3 x 44.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus XZ-2 are 19.8 x 14.9 inches or 50.4 x 37.8 cm for good quality, 15.9 x 11.9 inches or 40.3 x 30.2 cm for very good quality, and 13.2 x 9.9 inches or 33.6 x 25.2 cm for excellent quality prints.
The A7R III has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
Unlike the XZ-2, the A7R III has the capacity to capture high quality composite images by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).
The Olympus XZ-2 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A7R III are ISO 100 to ISO 32000, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-102400.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 A7R III offers substantially better image quality than the XZ-2 (overall score 51 points higher). The advantage is based on 5.6 bits higher color depth, 3.4 EV in additional dynamic range, and 4 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 |
|2.||Sony A7R III||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||14.7||3523||100|
|6.||Olympus Stylus 1||1/1.7||11.8||3968||2976||1080/30p||20.7||11.6||179||51|
|7.||Olympus E-P3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.8||10.1||536||51|
|8.||Olympus E-PL2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.2||573||55|
|9.||Olympus E-PL3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.9||10.3||499||52|
|13.||Sony A7 III||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.7||3730||96|
|14.||Sony A9||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.9||13.3||3517||92|
|15.||Sony A99 II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||25.4||13.4||2317||92|
|16.||Sony A7R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||13.9||3434||98|
|17.||Sony A7S II||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/30p||23.6||13.3||2993||85|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the A7R III provides a better video resolution than the XZ-2. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Olympus is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the A7R III has an electronic viewfinder (3686k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the XZ-2 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the XZ-2 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-2. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Olympus XZ-2 and Sony A7R III in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|2.||Sony A7R III||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|6.||Olympus Stylus 1||1440||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||7.0||Y||Y|
|13.||Sony A7 III||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|15.||Sony A99 II||2400||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||n||Y|
|16.||Sony A7R II||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
|17.||Sony A7S II||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The XZ-2 has one, while the A7R III does not. While the built-in flash of the XZ-2 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
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 A7R III 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 Olympus XZ-2 and the Sony A7R III 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 XZ-2 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A7R III uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A7R III features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the XZ-2 only has one slot. The A7R III supports UHS-II cards on its first slot and UHS-I on its second one, while the XZ-2 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-2 and Sony Alpha A7R III and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|2.||Sony A7R III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|6.||Olympus Stylus 1||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|13.||Sony A7 III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony A99 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony A7R II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony A7S II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the A7R III offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the XZ-2 does not provide wifi capability.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Sony A7R III (unlike the XZ-2) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the XZ-2 and the A7R III have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The A7R III was replaced by the Sony A7R IV, while the XZ-2 does not have a direct successor. 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 is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Olympus XZ-2 or the Sony A7R III – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Olympus XZ-2:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the A7R III requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (113x65mm vs 127x96mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the A7R III).
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2012).
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A7R III:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (42.2 vs 11.8MP), which boosts linear resolution by 93%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (51 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (5.6 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (3.4 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (4 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/30p).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- 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.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1440k vs 920k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (650 versus 340) 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.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.1 vs 2.0).
- 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.
- 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.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports Ultra High Speed (UHS-II and UHS-I) SDXC cards.
- More modern: Reflects 5 years and 1 month of technical progress since the XZ-2 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A7R III is the clear winner of the contest (28 : 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus XZ-2 and the Sony A7R III place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the XZ-2 or the A7R III. 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 why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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-2||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||599|
|2.||Sony A7R III||..||+ +||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2017||3,199|
|3.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|4.||Canon G15||4/5||+||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|5.||Fujifilm X10||..||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2011||599|
|6.||Olympus Stylus 1||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||699|
|7.||Olympus E-P3||..||83/100||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2011||799|
|8.||Olympus E-PL2||3/5||83/100||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||599|
|9.||Olympus E-PL3||3/5||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||599|
|10.||Olympus XZ-1||4/5||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||499|
|11.||Panasonic LX7||3/5||+ +||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||499|
|12.||Pentax MX-1||3/5||..||74/100||4/5||4/5||Jan 2013||499|
|13.||Sony A7 III||..||+ +||89/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2018||1,999|
|14.||Sony A9||5/5||+ +||89/100||5/5||5/5||Apr 2017||4,499|
|15.||Sony A99 II||..||..||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||3,199|
|16.||Sony A7R II||5/5||+ +||90/100||5/5||5/5||Jun 2015||3,199|
|17.||Sony A7S II||5/5||+||..||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2015||2,999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
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: Olympus XZ-2 vs Sony A7R 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||Olympus XZ-2||Sony A7R III|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||28-112mm f/1.8-2.5||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2012||October 2017|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 3,199|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus XZ-2||Sony A7R III|
|Sensor Format||1/1.7" Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||7.6 x 5.7 mm||35.9 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||43.32 mm2||861.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||9.5 mm||43.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||11.8 Megapixels||42.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3968 x 2976 pixels||7952 x 5304 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.91 μm||4.52 μm|
|Pixel Density||27.26 MP/cm2||4.90 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 32,000 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||50 - 102,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||TruePic VI||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||49||100|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||20.4||26.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.3||14.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||216||3523|
|Screen Specs||Olympus XZ-2||Sony A7R III|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||3686k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||1440k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus XZ-2||Sony A7R III|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||YES|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||no||Single UHS-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus XZ-2||Sony A7R III|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.1|
|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|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Olympus XZ-2||Sony A7R III|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||340 shots per charge||650 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
113 x 65 x 48 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.9 in)
127 x 96 x 74 mm
(5.0 x 3.8 x 2.9 in)
|Camera Weight||346 g (12.2 oz)||650 g (22.9 oz)|
Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.