Panasonic G5 vs Sony RX1
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in July 2012 and September 2012. The G5 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the RX1 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (G5) and a full frame (RX1) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Panasonic G5||Sony RX1|
|Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Micro Four Thirds lenses||35mm f/2.0|
|15.9 MP, Four Thirds Sensor||24 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|1080/60p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO 160-12800||ISO 100-25600 (50-102400)|
|Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)||Viewfinder optional|
|3.0" LCD, 920k dots||3.0" LCD, 1229k dots|
|Swivel touchscreen||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|6 shutter flaps per second||5 shutter flaps per second|
|320 shots per battery charge||270 shots per battery charge|
|120 x 83 x 71 mm, 396 g||113 x 65 x 70 mm, 482 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 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.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Panasonic G5 and the Sony RX1. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The G5 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the RX1 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 RX1 is notably smaller (26 percent) than the Panasonic G5. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G5 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 G5 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 G5 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the G5 gets 320 shots out of its DMW-BLC12 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 adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Panasonic G5»||4.7 in||3.3 in||2.8 in||14.0 oz||320||n||Jul 2012||599||Panasonic G5|
|Sony RX1«||4.4 in||2.6 in||2.8 in||17.0 oz||270||n||Sep 2012||2,799||Sony RX1|
|Nikon D5300« »||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||16.9 oz||600||n||Oct 2013||799||Nikon D5300|
|Olympus E-PL6« »||4.4 in||2.5 in||1.5 in||11.5 oz||360||n||May 2013||599||Olympus E-PL6|
|Olympus E-PL5« »||4.4 in||2.5 in||1.5 in||11.5 oz||360||n||Sep 2012||599||Olympus E-PL5|
|Panasonic G7« »||4.9 in||3.4 in||3.0 in||14.5 oz||350||n||May 2015||649||Panasonic G7|
|Panasonic G6« »||4.8 in||3.3 in||2.8 in||13.8 oz||340||n||Apr 2013||599||Panasonic G6|
|Panasonic GF6« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.5 in||11.4 oz||340||n||Apr 2013||499||Panasonic GF6|
|Panasonic GF5« »||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.5 in||9.4 oz||360||n||Apr 2012||499||Panasonic GF5|
|Panasonic G3« »||4.5 in||3.3 in||1.9 in||11.9 oz||270||n||May 2011||599||Panasonic G3|
|Panasonic GF3« »||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||9.3 oz||300||n||Jun 2011||549||Panasonic GF3|
|Panasonic GX1« »||4.6 in||2.7 in||1.5 in||11.2 oz||320||n||Nov 2011||699||Panasonic GX1|
|Panasonic G10« »||4.9 in||3.3 in||2.9 in||13.7 oz||380||n||Mar 2010||499||Panasonic G10|
|Sony RX1R II« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||2.8 in||17.9 oz||220||n||Oct 2015||3,299||Sony RX1R II|
|Sony A3000« »||5.0 in||3.6 in||3.3 in||14.5 oz||470||n||Aug 2013||329||Sony A3000|
|Sony RX1R« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||2.8 in||17.0 oz||270||n||Jun 2013||2,799||Sony RX1R|
|Sony NEX-7« »||4.7 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||14.1 oz||430||n||Aug 2011||1,349||Sony NEX-7|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. 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.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Panasonic G5 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Sony RX1 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the RX1 is 279 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 1.0. The sensor in the G5 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the RX1 offers a 3:2 aspect.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
With 24MP, the RX1 offers a higher resolution than the G5 (15.9MP), but the RX1 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.96μm versus 3.76μm for the G5) due to its larger sensor. It is noteworthy in this context that the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation.
The resolution advantage of the Sony RX1 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the RX1 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inch or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inch or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inch or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic G5 are 23 x 17.3 inch or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inch or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inch or 39 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 160 to ISO 12800. 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.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Panasonic G5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Panasonic G5|
|Sony RX1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.1||14.3||2534||93||Sony RX1|
|Nikon D5300||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.0||13.9||1338||83||Nikon D5300|
|Olympus E-PL6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Olympus E-PL6|
|Olympus E-PL5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||889||72||Olympus E-PL5|
|Panasonic G7||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Panasonic G7|
|Panasonic G6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61||Panasonic G6|
|Panasonic GF6||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||20.7||10.6||622||54||Panasonic GF6|
|Panasonic GF5||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.4||11.6||618||61||Panasonic GF5|
|Panasonic G3||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||21.0||10.6||667||56||Panasonic G3|
|Panasonic GF3||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||20.6||10.0||458||49||Panasonic GF3|
|Panasonic GX1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||20.8||10.6||703||55||Panasonic GX1|
|Panasonic G10||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52||Panasonic G10|
|Sony RX1R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||1080/60p||25.8||13.9||3204||97||Sony RX1R II|
|Sony A3000||APS-C||19.8||5456||3632||1080/60i||23.7||12.8||1068||78||Sony A3000|
|Sony RX1R||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||13.6||2537||91||Sony RX1R|
|Sony NEX-7||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60i||24.1||13.4||1016||81||Sony NEX-7|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the G5 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), which can be very helpful 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 Panasonic G5 and Sony RX1 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Panasonic G5||1440||n||3.0||920||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Panasonic G5|
|Sony RX1||optional||n||3.0||1229||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Sony RX1|
|Nikon D5300||optical||n||3.2||1037||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D5300|
|Olympus E-PL6||optional||n||3.0||460||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y||Olympus E-PL6|
|Olympus E-PL5||optional||n||3.0||460||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y||Olympus E-PL5|
|Panasonic G7||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||7.0||Y||n||Panasonic G7|
|Panasonic G6||1440||n||3.0||1036||swivel||Y||1/4000s||7.0||Y||n||Panasonic G6|
|Panasonic GF6||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.2||Y||n||Panasonic GF6|
|Panasonic GF5||none||n||3.0||920||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Panasonic GF5|
|Panasonic G3||1440||n||3.0||460||swivel||Y||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Panasonic G3|
|Panasonic GF3||none||n||3.0||460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||3.2||Y||n||Panasonic GF3|
|Panasonic GX1||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.2||Y||n||Panasonic GX1|
|Panasonic G10||202||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.6||Y||n||Panasonic G10|
|Sony RX1R II||2360||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.0||n||n||Sony RX1R II|
|Sony A3000||202||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Sony A3000|
|Sony RX1R||optional||n||3.0||1229||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Sony RX1R|
|Sony NEX-7||2359||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||n||Sony NEX-7|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The G5 has a touchscreen, while the RX1 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The G5 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the RX1 does not have a selfie-screen.
The G5 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the RX1 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The G5 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.
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-G5 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Panasonic G5||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic G5|
|Sony RX1||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony RX1|
|Nikon D5300||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D5300|
|Olympus E-PL6||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PL6|
|Olympus E-PL5||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PL5|
|Panasonic G7||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Panasonic G7|
|Panasonic G6||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Panasonic G6|
|Panasonic GF6||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Panasonic GF6|
|Panasonic GF5||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic GF5|
|Panasonic G3||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic G3|
|Panasonic GF3||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic GF3|
|Panasonic GX1||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic GX1|
|Panasonic G10||Y||mono||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic G10|
|Sony RX1R II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX1R II|
|Sony A3000||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A3000|
|Sony RX1R||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony RX1R|
|Sony NEX-7||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-7|
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 G5 does not feature such a mic input.
Both the G5 and the RX1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The G5 was replaced by the Panasonic G6, while the RX1 was followed by the Sony RX1R. 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 conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Panasonic G5 or the Sony RX1 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5:
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (320 versus 270) on a single battery charge.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 15.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 25%.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 920k dots).
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the G5 necessitates an extra lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (113x65mm vs 120x83mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX1 comes out slightly ahead of the G5 (9 : 8 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 wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro 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 G5 and the Sony RX1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best Prime Lens Compact 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 G5 and the RX1 in practical situations. 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 (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.
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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.
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 use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 1D Mark IV vs Panasonic G5
- Canon 1Ds vs Panasonic G5
- Canon 650D vs Panasonic G5
- Canon G5 X Mark II vs Panasonic G5
- Canon T5 vs Sony RX1
- Fujifilm GFX 50R vs Panasonic G5
- Leica S-E Typ 006 vs Sony RX1
- Leica X1 vs Sony RX1
- Panasonic LX5 vs Sony RX1
- Panasonic S1R vs Sony RX1
- Pentax KP vs Sony RX1
- Sony RX0 vs Sony RX1
Specifications: Panasonic G5 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 Model||Panasonic G5||Sony RX1|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses||35mm f/2.0|
|Launch Date||July 2012||September 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 2799|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic G5||Sony RX1|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||35.8 x 23.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||852.04 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||43 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.9 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.76 μm||5.96 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.08 MP/cm2||2.82 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||160-12800 ISO||100-25600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||50-102400 ISO|
|Image Processor||Venus VII FHD||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||93|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||25.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||14.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||2534|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic G5||Sony RX1|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic G5||Sony RX1|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||No Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000/s||1/4000/s|
|Continuous Shooting||6 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|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||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Panasonic G5||Sony RX1|
|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|
|Body Specs||Panasonic G5||Sony RX1|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||320 shots per charge||270 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
120 x 83 x 71 mm
(4.7 x 3.3 x 2.8 in)
113 x 65 x 70 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 2.8 in)
|Camera Weight||396 g (14.0 oz)||482 g (17.0 oz)|
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