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Panasonic GM5 versus Sony RX10 II

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 II are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2014 and June 2015. The GM5 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the RX10 II is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (GM5) and an one-inch (RX10 II) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 15.8 megapixel, whereas the Sony provides 20 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Panasonic GM5 vs Sony RX10 II

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Panasonic GM5 and the Sony RX10 II. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the GM5 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Panasonic GM5 vs Sony RX10 II
Compare GM5 versus RX10 II top
Compare GM5 and RX10 II rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony RX10 II is considerably larger (91 percent) than the Panasonic GM5. It is noteworthy in this context that the RX10 II is splash and dust-proof, while the GM5 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX10 II has a lens build in, whereas the GM5 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can find an overview of optics for the GM5 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the GM5 gets 220 shots out of its DMW-BLH7 battery, while the RX10 II can take 400 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Panasonic GM5» 3.9 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 7.4 oz 220 n Sep 2014 749- i Panasonic GM5
Sony RX10 II« 5.1 in 3.5 in 4.0 in 28.7 oz 400 Y Jun 2015 1,299- i Sony RX10 II
Canon 80D« » 5.5 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 25.8 oz 960 Y Feb 2016 1,199 i i Canon 80D
Canon G3 X« » 4.8 in 3.0 in 4.1 in 25.9 oz 300 Y Jun 2015 999 i i Canon G3 X
Canon G1 X Mark II« » 4.6 in 2.9 in 2.6 in 19.5 oz 240 n Feb 2014 799 i i Canon G1 X Mark II
Olympus E-M10 II« » 4.7 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 13.8 oz 320 n Aug 2015 799- i Olympus E-M10 II
Olympus E-M10« » 4.7 in 3.2 in 1.8 in 14.0 oz 320 n Jan 2014 699- i Olympus E-M10
Panasonic G7« » 4.9 in 3.4 in 3.0 in 14.5 oz 350 n May 2015 649- i Panasonic G7
Panasonic FZ1000« » 5.4 in 3.9 in 5.2 in 29.3 oz 360 n Jun 2014 899- i Panasonic FZ1000
Panasonic GH4« » 5.2 in 3.7 in 3.3 in 19.8 oz 500 Y Feb 2014 1,499- i Panasonic GH4
Panasonic G6« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 13.8 oz 340 n Apr 2013 599- i Panasonic G6
Panasonic GM1« » 3.9 in 2.2 in 1.2 in 7.2 oz 230 n Oct 2013 749- i Panasonic GM1
Ricoh GR II« » 4.6 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 8.9 oz 320 n Jun 2015 699- i Ricoh GR II
Ricoh GR« » 4.6 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 8.6 oz 290 n Apr 2013 799- i Ricoh GR
Sony RX10 III« » 5.2 in 3.7 in 5.0 in 37.1 oz 420 Y Mar 2016 1,499- i Sony RX10 III
Sony RX100 IV« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 280 n Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV
Sony RX10« » 5.1 in 3.5 in 4.0 in 28.7 oz 420 Y Oct 2013 1,299- i Sony RX10

Any camera purchase 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. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Panasonic GM5 vs Sony RX10 II

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Panasonic GM5 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Sony RX10 II an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the RX10 II 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 GM5 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the RX10 II offers a 3:2 aspect.

Panasonic GM5 and Sony RX10 II sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the RX10 II offers a higher resolution of 20 megapixel, compared with 15.8 MP of the GM5. This megapixel 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 3.77μm for the GM5). However, it should be noted that the RX10 II is a somewhat more recent model (by 8 months) than the GM5, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage.

GM5 versus RX10 II MP

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 RX10 II has a markedly higher DXO score than the GM5 (overall score 4 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.9 bits higher color depth, 0.9 EV in additional dynamic range, 0.4 stops of reduced low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Panasonic GM5» Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.111.772166Panasonic GM5
Sony RX10 II« 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p23.012.653170Sony RX10 II
Canon 80D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.2113579Canon 80D
Canon G3 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.412.352163Canon G3 X
Canon G1 X Mark II« » 1.5-inch 13.0 4160 31201080/30p21.510.858158Canon G1 X Mark II
Olympus E-M10 II« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.112.584273Olympus E-M10 II
Olympus E-M10« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388472Olympus E-M10
Panasonic G7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p----Panasonic G7
Panasonic FZ1000« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.111.751764Panasonic FZ1000
Panasonic GH4« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p23.212.879174Panasonic GH4
Panasonic G6« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961Panasonic G6
Panasonic GM1« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i22.311.766066Panasonic GM1
Ricoh GR II« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.613.7107880Ricoh GR II
Ricoh GR« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.613.597278Ricoh GR
Sony RX10 III« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p23.112.647270Sony RX10 III
Sony RX100 IV« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170Sony RX100 IV
Sony RX10« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.912.647469Sony RX10

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the RX10 II provides a better video resolution than the GM5. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Panasonic is limited to 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Panasonic GM5 vs Sony RX10 II

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under review are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the RX10 II offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the GM5 (2359k vs 1166k dots). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Panasonic GM5 and Sony RX10 II along with similar information for a selection of comparators. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Panasonic GM5»1166 n 3.0 921 fixed Y 500 5.8 n n Panasonic GM5
Sony RX10 II«2359 Y 3.0 1229 tilting n 3200 14.0 Y Y Sony RX10 II
Canon 80D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 7.0 Y n Canon 80D
Canon G3 X« »- n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 2000 5.9 Y Y Canon G3 X
Canon G1 X Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 5.2 Y Y Canon G1 X Mark II
Olympus E-M10 II« »2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y Olympus E-M10 II
Olympus E-M10« »1440 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y Olympus E-M10
Panasonic G7« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n Panasonic G7
Panasonic FZ1000« »2359 n 3.0 921 swivel n 4000 12.0 Y Y Panasonic FZ1000
Panasonic GH4« »2359 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 8000 12.0 Y n Panasonic GH4
Panasonic G6« »1440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n Panasonic G6
Panasonic GM1« »- n 3.0 1036 fixed Y 500 5.0 Y n Panasonic GM1
Ricoh GR II« »- n 3.0 1230 fixed n 4000 4.0 Y n Ricoh GR II
Ricoh GR« »- n 3.0 1230 fixed n 4000 4.0 Y n Ricoh GR
Sony RX10 III« »2359 Y 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 14.0 Y Y Sony RX10 III
Sony RX100 IV« »2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 2000 16.0 Y Y Sony RX100 IV
Sony RX10« »1440 Y 3.0 1229 tilting n 3200 10.0 Y Y Sony RX10

The reported shutter speed and shutter burst refer to the use of the mechanical shutter. In addition, the GM5 features an electronic shutter, which makes silent shooting and higher burst speeds possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (flickering).

Both the GM5 and the RX10 II have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The GM5 was replaced by the .., while the RX10 II was followed by the Sony RX10 III.

Review summary: Panasonic GM5 vs Sony RX10 II

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Panasonic GM5 and the Sony RX10 II? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5:

  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
  • More compact: Is smaller (99x60mm vs 129x88mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2014).

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Arguments in favor of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 II:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 15.8MP), which boosts linear resolution by 15%.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (4 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.9 EV of extra DR).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
  • More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (2359k vs 1166k dots).
  • Easier setting verification: Has a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 921k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (3200/sec vs 500/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (14 vs 5.8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the GM5 necessitates an extra lens.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (400 versus 220) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (8 months) more recently.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX10 II is the clear winner of the contest (16 : 6 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.

GM5 06:16 RX10 II

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the GM5 or the RX10 II handle or perform in practice. 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 following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Panasonic GM5»Rec77/1005/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 749- i Panasonic GM5
Sony RX10 II«HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Jun 2015 1,299- i Sony RX10 II
Canon 80D« »HiRec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 1,199 i i Canon 80D
Canon G3 X« »Rec-4.5/53.5/54/5 Jun 2015 999 i i Canon G3 X
Canon G1 X Mark II« »Rec77/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 799 i i Canon G1 X Mark II
Olympus E-M10 II« »HiRec80/1005/55/55/5 Aug 2015 799- i Olympus E-M10 II
Olympus E-M10« »-80/1005/54.5/55/5 Jan 2014 699- i Olympus E-M10
Panasonic G7« »HiRec80/1005/54.5/54.5/5 May 2015 649- i Panasonic G7
Panasonic FZ1000« »HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 899- i Panasonic FZ1000
Panasonic GH4« »HiRec85/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2014 1,499- i Panasonic GH4
Panasonic G6« »HiRec-5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 599- i Panasonic G6
Panasonic GM1« »Rec78/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 749- i Panasonic GM1
Ricoh GR II« »--4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 699- i Ricoh GR II
Ricoh GR« »-79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 799- i Ricoh GR
Sony RX10 III« »Rec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2016 1,499- i Sony RX10 III
Sony RX100 IV« »HiRec85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV
Sony RX10« »Rec80/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,299- i Sony RX10

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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 would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please send me an email, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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