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Panasonic GX800 versus Sony RX100 III

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX800 (called Panasonic GX850 in some regions) and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2017 and May 2014. The GX800 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the RX100 III is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (GX800) and an one-inch (RX100 III) 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 GX800 vs Sony RX100 III

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Panasonic GX800 and the Sony RX100 III. 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. 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 side – the GX800 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Panasonic GX800 vs Sony RX100 III
Compare GX800 versus RX100 III top
Compare GX800 and RX100 III rear

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 notably smaller (15 percent) than the Panasonic GX800. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the GX800 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 build in, whereas the GX800 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 GX800 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the GX800 gets 210 shots out of its DMW-BLH7 battery, while the RX100 III can take 320 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 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 GX800» 4.2 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 9.5 oz 210 n Jan 2017 549 i i Panasonic GX800
Sony RX100 III« 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.2 oz 320 n May 2014 799- i Sony RX100 III
Canon M100« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 10.7 oz 295 n Aug 2017 499 i i Canon M100
Canon G5 X« » 4.4 in 3.0 in 1.7 in 12.5 oz 210 n Oct 2015 799 i i Canon G5 X
Canon M10« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 10.6 oz 255 n Oct 2015 499- i Canon M10
Canon G7 X« » 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.6 in 10.7 oz 210 n Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
Panasonic GX80« » 4.8 in 2.8 in 1.7 in 15.0 oz 290 n Apr 2016 799 i i Panasonic GX80
Panasonic G7« » 4.9 in 3.4 in 3.0 in 14.5 oz 350 n May 2015 649- i Panasonic G7
Panasonic GF7« » 4.2 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 9.4 oz 230 n Jan 2015 499- i Panasonic GF7
Panasonic GM5« » 3.9 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 7.4 oz 220 n Sep 2014 749- i Panasonic GM5
Panasonic G6« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 13.8 oz 340 n Apr 2013 599- i Panasonic G6
Panasonic GF6« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 11.4 oz 340 n Apr 2013 499- i Panasonic GF6
Panasonic GM1« » 3.9 in 2.2 in 1.2 in 7.2 oz 230 n Oct 2013 749- i Panasonic GM1
Panasonic GF5« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 9.4 oz 360 n Apr 2012 499- i Panasonic GF5
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 RX100 II« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 9.9 oz 350 n Jun 2013 749- i Sony RX100 II
Sony RX100« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.4 in 8.5 oz 330 n Jun 2012 649- i Sony RX100

The camera’s price is obviously a critical decision-making factor. The listed launch 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Panasonic GX800 vs Sony RX100 III

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 GX800 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 GX800 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the RX100 III offers a 3:2 aspect.

Panasonic GX800 and Sony RX100 III sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the RX100 III offers a higher resolution of 20 megapixel, compared with 15.8 MP of the GX800. 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 GX800). Moreover, it should be noted that the GX800 is much more recent (by 2 years and 7 months) than the RX100 III, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the GX800 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

GX800 versus RX100 III MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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"). Of the two cameras under review, the GX800 has a notably higher overall DXO score than the RX100 III (overall score 6 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.8 bits higher color depth, 1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.2 stops in additional 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 GX800» Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p23.213.358673Panasonic GX800
Sony RX100 III« 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.412.349567Sony RX100 III
Canon M100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278Canon M100
Canon G5 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p----Canon G5 X
Canon M10« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365Canon M10
Canon G7 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671Canon G7 X
Panasonic GX80« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p22.912.666271Panasonic GX80
Panasonic G7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p----Panasonic G7
Panasonic GF7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p----Panasonic GF7
Panasonic GM5« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.111.772166Panasonic GM5
Panasonic G6« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961Panasonic G6
Panasonic GF6« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i20.710.662254Panasonic GF6
Panasonic GM1« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i22.311.766066Panasonic GM1
Panasonic GF5« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.411.661861Panasonic GF5
Sony RX100 IV« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170Sony RX100 IV
Sony RX100 II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.512.448367Sony RX100 II
Sony RX100« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.612.439066Sony RX100

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the GX800 provides a higher video resolution than the RX100 III. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Sony is limited to 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Panasonic GX800 vs Sony RX100 III

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the RX100 III has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the GX800 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic GX800, the Sony RX100 III, and comparable cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or 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 GX800»- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 500 10.0 Y n Panasonic GX800
Sony RX100 III«1440 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 10.0 Y Y Sony RX100 III
Canon M100« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 6.1 Y n Canon M100
Canon G5 X« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 2000 5.9 Y Y Canon G5 X
Canon M10« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.6 Y n Canon M10
Canon G7 X« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 2000 6.5 Y Y Canon G7 X
Panasonic GX80« »2765 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y Panasonic GX80
Panasonic G7« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n Panasonic G7
Panasonic GF7« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 500 5.8 Y n Panasonic GF7
Panasonic GM5« »1166 n 3.0 921 fixed Y 500 5.8 n n Panasonic GM5
Panasonic G6« »1440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n Panasonic G6
Panasonic GF6« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.2 Y n Panasonic GF6
Panasonic GM1« »- n 3.0 1036 fixed Y 500 5.0 Y n Panasonic GM1
Panasonic GF5« »- n 3.0 920 fixed Y 4000 4.0 Y n Panasonic GF5
Sony RX100 IV« »2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 2000 16.0 Y Y Sony RX100 IV
Sony RX100 II« »- n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 10.0 Y Y Sony RX100 II
Sony RX100« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 2000 10.0 Y Y Sony RX100

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The GX800 has a touchscreen, while the RX100 III has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The reported shutter speed and shutter burst refer to the use of the mechanical shutter. In addition, the GX800 features an electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (flickering).

The GX800 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the RX100 III uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Panasonic GX800»-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic GX800
Sony RX100 III«-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony RX100 III
Canon M100« »-stereomono--mini2.0YYYCanon M100
Canon G5 X« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-Canon G5 X
Canon M10« »-stereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon M10
Canon G7 X« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon G7 X
Panasonic GX80« »Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Panasonic GX80
Panasonic G7« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Panasonic G7
Panasonic GF7« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Panasonic GF7
Panasonic GM5« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic GM5
Panasonic G6« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Panasonic G6
Panasonic GF6« »-stereomono--mini2.0YY-Panasonic GF6
Panasonic GM1« »-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic GM1
Panasonic GF5« »-stereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic GF5
Sony RX100 IV« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony RX100 IV
Sony RX100 II« »Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony RX100 II
Sony RX100« »-stereomono--micro2.0---Sony RX100

The GX800 is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the RX100 III has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the RX100 III was succeeded by the Sony RX100 IV.

Review summary: Panasonic GX800 vs Sony RX100 III

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Panasonic GX800 and the Sony RX100 III? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX800:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (6 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1 EV of extra DR).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
  • 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 modern: Reflects 2 years and 7 months of technical progress since the RX100 III launch.

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Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 15.8MP), which boosts linear resolution by 15%.
  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 1040k dots).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (2000/sec vs 500/sec) to freeze action.
  • Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the GX800 necessitates an extra lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 107x65mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (320 versus 210) out of a single battery charge.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in May 2014).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX100 III emerges as the winner of the match-up (11 : 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.

GX800 08:11 RX100 III

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the GX800 or the RX100 III. 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 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 GX800»Rec76/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2017 549 i i Panasonic GX800
Sony RX100 III«HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2014 799- i Sony RX100 III
Canon M100« »Rec-4/5-3.5/5 Aug 2017 499 i i Canon M100
Canon G5 X« »HiRec78/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 799 i i Canon G5 X
Canon M10« »---rev4/5 Oct 2015 499- i Canon M10
Canon G7 X« »HiRec77/1004.5/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
Panasonic GX80« »HiRec82/1005/54.5/55/5 Apr 2016 799 i i Panasonic GX80
Panasonic G7« »HiRec80/1005/54.5/54.5/5 May 2015 649- i Panasonic G7
Panasonic GF7« »Rec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2015 499- i Panasonic GF7
Panasonic GM5« »Rec77/1005/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 749- i Panasonic GM5
Panasonic G6« »HiRec-5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 599- i Panasonic G6
Panasonic GF6« »HiRec-4.5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 499- i Panasonic GF6
Panasonic GM1« »Rec78/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 749- i Panasonic GM1
Panasonic GF5« »--4.5/54/54.5/5 Apr 2012 499- i Panasonic GF5
Sony RX100 IV« »HiRec85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV
Sony RX100 II« »HiRec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jun 2013 749- i Sony RX100 II
Sony RX100« »HiRec78/1004/55/55/5 Jun 2012 649- i Sony RX100

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

 

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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. 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, kindly get in touch, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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