Panasonic G1 vs Sony RX100 III
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2008 and May 2014. The G1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the RX100 III is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (G1) and an one-inch (RX100 III) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 12 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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Panasonic G1 and the Sony RX100 III is provided 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.
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 (43 percent) than the Panasonic G1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G1 nor the RX100 III are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX100 III has a lens built in, whereas the G1 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 G1 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the G1 gets 410 shots out of its DMW-BLB13 battery, while the RX100 III can take 320 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack. The power pack in the RX100 III 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.
|1.||Panasonic G1||124 mm||84 mm||45 mm||360 g||410||n||Sep 2008||599|
|2.||Sony RX100 III||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||290 g||320||n||May 2014||799|
|3.||Canon G7 X||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||n||Sep 2014||699|
|4.||Olympus E-410||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Mar 2007||699|
|5.||Panasonic GF6||111 mm||65 mm||38 mm||323 g||340||n||Apr 2013||499|
|6.||Panasonic GF5||108 mm||67 mm||37 mm||267 g||360||n||Apr 2012||499|
|7.||Panasonic GF3||108 mm||67 mm||32 mm||264 g||300||n||Jun 2011||549|
|8.||Panasonic G10||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||388 g||380||n||Mar 2010||499|
|9.||Panasonic G2||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||428 g||360||n||Mar 2010||599|
|10.||Panasonic GF2||113 mm||68 mm||33 mm||310 g||300||n||Nov 2010||549|
|11.||Panasonic GF1||119 mm||71 mm||36 mm||385 g||380||n||Sep 2009||749|
|12.||Panasonic GH1||124 mm||90 mm||45 mm||385 g||300||n||Mar 2009||899|
|13.||Panasonic L10||135 mm||96 mm||78 mm||556 g||450||n||Aug 2007||599|
|14.||Sony RX100 VII||102 mm||58 mm||43 mm||302 g||260||n||Jul 2019||1,199|
|15.||Sony RX100 IV||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||n||Jun 2015||999|
|16.||Sony RX100 II||102 mm||58 mm||38 mm||281 g||350||n||Jun 2013||749|
|17.||Sony RX100||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||240 g||330||n||Jun 2012||649|
|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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. 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.
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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the 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 Panasonic G1 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Sony RX100 III an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the RX100 III is 48 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 2.7. The sensor in the G1 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the RX100 III offers a 3:2 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the RX100 III offers a higher resolution of 20 megapixels, compared with 12 MP of the G1. 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 4.33μm for the G1). However, it should be noted that the RX100 III is much more recent (by 5 years and 8 months) than the G1, 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 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 Panasonic G1 are 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. 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.
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 RX100 III offers substantially better image quality than the G1 (overall score 14 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.3 bits higher color depth, 2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.1 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.
|1.||Panasonic G1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||none||21.1||10.3||463||53|
|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|
|4.||Olympus E-410||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.1||10.0||494||51|
|5.||Panasonic GF6||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||20.7||10.6||622||54|
|6.||Panasonic GF5||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.4||11.6||618||61|
|7.||Panasonic GF3||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||20.6||10.0||458||49|
|8.||Panasonic G10||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52|
|9.||Panasonic G2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53|
|10.||Panasonic GF2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.2||10.3||506||54|
|11.||Panasonic GF1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||513||54|
|12.||Panasonic GH1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/24p||21.6||11.6||772||64|
|13.||Panasonic L10||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.3||10.8||429||55|
|14.||Sony RX100 VII||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||21.8||12.4||418||63|
|15.||Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
|16.||Sony RX100 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.5||12.4||483||67|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The RX100 III indeed provides for movie recording, while the G1 does not. The highest resolution format that the RX100 III can use is 1080/60p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The G1 and the RX100 III are similar in the sense that both feature an electronic viewfinder, which is helpful when framing images in bright sunlight. Moreover, their viewfinders offer an identical resolution of 1440k dots. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic G1, the Sony RX100 III, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Panasonic G1||1440||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|2.||Sony RX100 III||1440||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5||Y||Y|
|4.||Olympus E-410||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|5.||Panasonic GF6||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.2||Y||n|
|6.||Panasonic GF5||none||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
|7.||Panasonic GF3||none||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||3.2||Y||n|
|8.||Panasonic G10||202||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.6||Y||n|
|9.||Panasonic G2||1440||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||Y||1/4000s||2.6||Y||n|
|10.||Panasonic GF2||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||2.6||Y||n|
|11.||Panasonic GF1||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|12.||Panasonic GH1||1440||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|13.||Panasonic L10||optical||n||2.5 / 207||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|14.||Sony RX100 VII||2359||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||Y||1/2000s||90.0||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0 / 1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony RX100 II||optional||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony RX100||none||n||3.0 / 1229||fixed||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
The G1 writes its imaging data to SDHC 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 G1 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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 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.||Panasonic G1||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Sony RX100 III||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Canon G7 X||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Olympus E-410||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Panasonic GF6||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Panasonic GF5||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Panasonic GF3||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Panasonic G10||Y||mono / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Panasonic G2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Panasonic GF2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Panasonic GF1||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Panasonic GH1||Y||stereo / -||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Panasonic L10||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Sony RX100 VII||-||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony RX100 II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony RX100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the G1 has a hotshoe, while the RX100 III does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Both the G1 and the RX100 III have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The G1 was replaced by the Panasonic G2, while the RX100 III was followed by the Sony RX100 IV. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Panasonic and Sony websites.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Panasonic G1 better than the Sony RX100 III or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1:
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.59x).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (410 versus 320) on a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2008).
Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 32%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (14 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.3 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2 EV of extra DR).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 460k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the G1 necessitates an extra lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 124x84mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the G1).
- 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 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 5 years and 8 months of technical progress since the G1 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX100 III is the clear winner of the contest (16 : 7 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 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 Panasonic G1 and the Sony RX100 III place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens 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 G1 and the RX100 III 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 (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.||Panasonic G1||..||+ +||..||70/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2008||599|
|2.||Sony RX100 III||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||799|
|3.||Canon G7 X||4/5||+ +||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699|
|4.||Olympus E-410||..||86/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||699|
|5.||Panasonic GF6||..||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||499|
|6.||Panasonic GF5||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||499|
|7.||Panasonic GF3||3/5||82/100||..||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||549|
|8.||Panasonic G10||3/5||..||..||70/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2010||499|
|9.||Panasonic G2||..||..||..||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2010||599|
|10.||Panasonic GF2||3/5||82/100||..||70/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2010||549|
|11.||Panasonic GF1||..||85/100||..||69/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||749|
|12.||Panasonic GH1||..||+ +||..||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||899|
|13.||Panasonic L10||..||85/100||..||+||3.5/5||4/5||Aug 2007||599|
|14.||Sony RX100 VII||4.5/5||..||4/5||..||4/5||5/5||Jul 2019||1,199|
|15.||Sony RX100 IV||4.5/5||+ +||..||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999|
|16.||Sony RX100 II||5/5||+ +||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||749|
|17.||Sony RX100||5/5||+ +||..||78/100||4/5||5/5||Jun 2012||649|
|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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 10D vs Sony RX100 III
- Canon 1D X Mark II vs Panasonic G1
- Canon G15 vs Sony RX100 III
- Canon T4i vs Sony RX100 III
- Canon T7i vs Sony RX100 III
- Fujifilm X-A2 vs Panasonic G1
- Olympus E-620 vs Sony RX100 III
- Olympus E-M1 vs Panasonic G1
- Olympus E-PM1 vs Panasonic G1
- Panasonic G1 vs Panasonic LX10
- Sony A9 vs Sony RX100 III
Specifications: Panasonic G1 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||Panasonic G1||Sony RX100 III|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses||24-70mm f/1.8-2.8|
|Launch Date||September 2008||May 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 799|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic G1||Sony RX100 III|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||1" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||13.2 x 8.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||116.16 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||15.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12 Megapixels||20 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4000 x 3000 pixels||5472 x 3648 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.33 μm||2.41 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.34 MP/cm2||17.18 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 3,200 ISO||80 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||Venus HD||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||53||67|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.1||22.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.3||12.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||463||495|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic G1||Sony RX100 III|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots||1440k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||460k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic G1||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||3 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Panasonic G1||Sony RX100 III|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Panasonic G1||Sony RX100 III|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||410 shots per charge||320 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
124 x 84 x 45 mm
(4.9 x 3.3 x 1.8 in)
102 x 58 x 41 mm
(4.0 x 2.3 x 1.6 in)
|Camera Weight||360 g (12.7 oz)||290 g (10.2 oz)|
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