Panasonic GM5 versus Sony RX100 IV
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2014 and June 2015. The GM5 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the RX100 IV is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (GM5) and an one-inch sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 15.8 megapixel, whereas the Sony provides 20 MP.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Panasonic GM5 and the Sony RX100 IV is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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 you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the GM5 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GM5 and the Sony RX100 IVare of equal size. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the GM5 nor the RX100 IV are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX100 IV 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.
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, 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 comparisons there.
|Camera Body Specifications
|Panasonic GM5 (⇒ rgt)||99 mm||60 mm||36 mm||211 g||220||no||2014||749||discont.||check|
|Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft)||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||no||2015||999||discont.||check|
|Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||116 mm||74 mm||66 mm||553 g||240||no||2014||799||latest||check|
|Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||no||2014||699||discont.||check|
|Olympus E-M10 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||120 mm||83 mm||47 mm||390 g||320||no||2015||799||discont.||check|
|Olympus E-M10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||119 mm||82 mm||46 mm||396 g||320||no||2014||699||discont.||check|
|Panasonic G7 (⇒ lft | rgt)||125 mm||86 mm||77 mm||410 g||350||no||2015||649||discont.||check|
|Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||831 g||360||no||2014||899||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GH4 (⇒ lft | rgt)||133 mm||93 mm||84 mm||560 g||500||YES||2014||1,499||discont.||check|
|Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt)||122 mm||85 mm||71 mm||390 g||340||no||2013||599||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GM1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||99 mm||55 mm||30 mm||204 g||230||no||2013||749||discont.||check|
|Ricoh GR II (⇒ lft | rgt)||117 mm||63 mm||35 mm||251 g||320||no||2015||699||discont.||check|
|Ricoh GR (⇒ lft | rgt)||117 mm||61 mm||35 mm||245 g||290||no||2013||799||discont.||check|
|Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt)||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||299 g||220||no||2016||999||latest||check|
|Sony A6000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||no||2014||599||discont.||check|
|Sony RX100 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||102 mm||58 mm||38 mm||281 g||350||no||2013||749||discont.||check|
The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. 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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tent 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 RX100 IV an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the RX100 IV 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 RX100 IV offers a 3:2 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the RX100 IV 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 RX100 IV 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.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the RX100 IV 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 0.7 bits higher color depth, 0.9 EV in additional dynamic range, 0.3 stops of reduced low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Panasonic GM5 (⇒ rgt)||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||22.1||11.7||721||66|
|Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
|Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|Olympus E-M10 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.1||12.5||842||73|
|Olympus E-M10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||884||72|
|Panasonic G7 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||-||-||-||-|
|Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.1||11.7||517||64|
|Panasonic GH4 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||23.2||12.8||791||74|
|Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61|
|Panasonic GM1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||22.3||11.7||660||66|
|Ricoh GR II (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||13.7||1078||80|
|Ricoh GR (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||13.5||972||78|
|Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.4||586||70|
|Sony A6000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||13.1||1347||82|
|Sony RX100 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.5||12.4||483||67|
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, but the RX100 IV provides a better video resolution than the GM5. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Panasonic is limited to 1080/60p.
Beyond 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 RX100 IV offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the GM5 (2359k vs 1166k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic GM5, the Sony RX100 IV, and comparable cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.
|Panasonic GM5 (⇒ rgt)||1166||no||3.0||921||fixed||YES||500||5.8||no||no|
|Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft)||2359||no||3.0||1228||tilting||no||2000||16.0||10.2||YES|
|Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1040||tilting||YES||4000||5.2||6.8||YES|
|Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1040||tilting||YES||2000||6.5||7||YES|
|Olympus E-M10 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||2360||no||3.0||1040||tilting||YES||4000||8.0||5.8||YES|
|Olympus E-M10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1440||no||3.0||1037||tilting||YES||4000||8.0||5.8||YES|
|Panasonic G7 (⇒ lft | rgt)||2360||no||3.0||1040||swivel||YES||4000||7.0||9.3||no|
|Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||2359||no||3.0||921||swivel||no||4000||12.0||13.5||YES|
|Panasonic GH4 (⇒ lft | rgt)||2359||no||3.0||1036||swivel||YES||8000||12.0||17||no|
|Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1440||no||3.0||1036||swivel||YES||4000||7.0||10.5||no|
|Panasonic GM1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1036||fixed||YES||500||5.0||4||no|
|Ricoh GR II (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1230||fixed||no||4000||4.0||3||no|
|Ricoh GR (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1230||fixed||no||4000||4.0||5.4||no|
|Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt)||2359||no||3.0||1229||tilting||no||2000||24.0||10.2||YES|
|Sony A6000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1440||no||3.0||922||tilting||no||4000||11.0||6||no|
|Sony RX100 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1229||tilting||no||2000||10.0||15||YES|
Both the GM5 and the RX100 IV have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The GM5 was replaced by the .., while the RX100 IV was followed by the Sony RX100 V.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Panasonic GM5 or the Sony RX100 IV – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5:
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2014).
Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV:
- 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).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1228k vs 921k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (2000/sec vs 500/sec) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (16 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 (280 versus 220) out of a single battery charge.
- 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 RX100 IV is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 3 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.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the GM5 or the RX100 IV. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable. This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites. You can find the full text of the reviews, respectively, at cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.
|Panasonic GM5 (⇒ rgt)||Rec||77/100 Silver||5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2014||749||discont.||check|
|Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft)||HiRec||85/100 Gold||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2015||999||discont.||check|
|Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||77/100 Silver||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||2014||799||latest||check|
|Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||77/100 Silver||4.5/5||3.5/5||4.5/5||2014||699||discont.||check|
|Olympus E-M10 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||80/100 Silver||5/5||5/5||5/5||2015||799||discont.||check|
|Olympus E-M10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||80/100 Gold||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||2014||699||discont.||check|
|Panasonic G7 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||80/100 Silver||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2015||649||discont.||check|
|Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||82/100 Gold||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2014||899||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GH4 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||85/100 Gold||5/5||5/5||5/5||2014||1,499||discont.||check|
|Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||-||5/5||-||4.5/5||2013||599||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GM1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||78/100 Gold||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2013||749||discont.||check|
|Ricoh GR II (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||-||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2015||699||discont.||check|
|Ricoh GR (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||79/100 Gold||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2013||799||discont.||check|
|Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||83/100 Silver||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||2016||999||latest||check|
|Sony A6000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||80/100 Gold||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||2014||599||discont.||check|
|Sony RX100 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||79/100 Silver||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2013||749||discont.||check|
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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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