Ricoh GR vs Sony HX99
The Ricoh GR and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in April 2013 and August 2018. Both the GR and the HX99 are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on an APS-C (GR) and a 1/2.3-inch (HX99) sensor. The Ricoh has a resolution of 16.1 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 18 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 Ricoh GR and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99? 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 Ricoh GR and the Sony HX99. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions 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 HX99 is notably smaller (17 percent) than the Ricoh GR. Moreover, the HX99 is slightly lighter (1 percent) than the GR. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the GR nor the HX99 are weather-sealed.
Concerning battery life, the GR gets 290 shots out of its DB65 battery, while the HX99 can take 370 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack. The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, 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 want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Ricoh GR||117 mm||61 mm||35 mm||245 g||290||n||Apr 2013||799|
|2.||Sony HX99||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||449|
|3.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|4.||Leica X Vario||133 mm||73 mm||95 mm||680 g||450||n||Jun 2013||2,850|
|5.||Nikon Coolpix A||111 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||230||n||Mar 2013||1,099|
|6.||Panasonic GM5||99 mm||60 mm||36 mm||211 g||220||n||Sep 2014||749|
|7.||Panasonic GM1||99 mm||55 mm||30 mm||204 g||230||n||Oct 2013||749|
|8.||Ricoh GR II||117 mm||63 mm||35 mm||251 g||320||n||Jun 2015||699|
|9.||Sony HX95||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||429|
|10.||Sony WX800||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||233 g||370||n||Oct 2018||399|
|11.||Sony HX90V||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||360||n||Apr 2015||429|
|12.||Sony HX400V||130 mm||93 mm||103 mm||660 g||300||n||Feb 2014||499|
|13.||Sony RX100 III||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||290 g||320||n||May 2014||799|
|14.||Sony NEX-5T||111 mm||59 mm||39 mm||276 g||330||n||Aug 2013||699|
|15.||Sony RX100 II||102 mm||58 mm||38 mm||281 g||350||n||Jun 2013||749|
|16.||Sony NEX-5R||111 mm||59 mm||39 mm||276 g||330||n||Aug 2012||749|
|17.||Sony NEX-5||111 mm||59 mm||38 mm||287 g||330||n||May 2010||699|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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. The HX99 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 44 percent) than the GR, which puts it into a different market segment. 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 size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels 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 tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Ricoh GR features an APS-C sensor and the Sony HX99 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the HX99 is 92 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 5.6. The sensor in the GR has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the HX99 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the HX99 offers a higher resolution of 18 megapixels, compared with 16.1 MP of the GR. 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 1.25μm versus 4.79μm for the GR). However, it should be noted that the HX99 is much more recent (by 5 years and 4 months) than the GR, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.
The Ricoh GR has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-6400.
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"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|4.||Leica X Vario||APS-C||16.1||4928||3272||1080/30p||23.4||12.7||1320||78|
|5.||Nikon Coolpix A||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.4||13.8||1164||80|
|6.||Panasonic GM5||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||22.1||11.7||721||66|
|7.||Panasonic GM1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||22.3||11.7||660||66|
|8.||Ricoh GR II||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||13.7||1078||80|
|13.||Sony RX100 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67|
|15.||Sony RX100 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.5||12.4||483||67|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the HX99 provides a better video resolution than the GR. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Ricoh is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the HX99 has an electronic viewfinder (638k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the GR relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the GR can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the GV-1. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Ricoh GR and Sony HX99 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Ricoh GR||optional||n||3.0 / 1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
|2.||Sony HX99||638||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon SX730||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||5.9||Y||Y|
|4.||Leica X Vario||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|5.||Nikon Coolpix A||optional||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/2000s||4.0||Y||n|
|6.||Panasonic GM5||1166||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||Y||1/500s||5.8||n||n|
|7.||Panasonic GM1||none||n||3.0 / 1036||fixed||Y||1/500s||5.0||Y||n|
|8.||Ricoh GR II||optional||n||3.0 / 1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
|9.||Sony HX95||638||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|10.||Sony WX800||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|11.||Sony HX90V||638||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|12.||Sony HX400V||210||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|13.||Sony RX100 III||1440||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|14.||Sony NEX-5T||optional||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||10.0||n||n|
|15.||Sony RX100 II||optional||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony NEX-5R||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||Y||1/4000s||10.0||n||n|
|17.||Sony NEX-5||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.0||n||n|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The HX99 has a touchscreen, while the GR has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The HX99 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the GR does not have a selfie-screen.
The Ricoh GR has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The HX99 is equipped with a zoom lens, while the GR comes with a built-in prime. The HX99 has a 24-720mm f/3.5-6.4 optic and the GR offers a 28mm f/2.8 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Sony provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the Ricoh. The GR offers the faster maximum aperture.
The GR writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the HX99 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
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 Ricoh GR and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Ricoh GR||Y||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Sony HX99||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon SX730||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|4.||Leica X Vario||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Nikon Coolpix A||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Panasonic GM5||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|7.||Panasonic GM1||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|8.||Ricoh GR II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Sony HX95||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|10.||Sony WX800||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|11.||Sony HX90V||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Sony HX400V||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|13.||Sony RX100 III||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|14.||Sony NEX-5T||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|15.||Sony RX100 II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony NEX-5R||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|17.||Sony NEX-5||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the GR has a hotshoe, while the HX99 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
The HX99 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the GR has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the GR was succeeded by the Ricoh GR II. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Ricoh and Sony websites.
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Ricoh GR and the Sony HX99? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Ricoh GR:
- 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.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1230k vs 922k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.8 vs f/3.5).
- 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 April 2013).
Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99:
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/30p).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
- More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 117x61mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (370 versus 290) out of a single battery charge.
- 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.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (44 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 5 years and 4 months of technical progress since the GR launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the HX99 is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 10 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. 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 Ricoh GR and the Sony HX99 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Prime Lens Compact Camera and Best Superzoom 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 remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the GR or the HX99 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 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.||Ricoh GR||5/5||..||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||799|
|2.||Sony HX99||..||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||449|
|3.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|4.||Leica X Vario||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jun 2013||2,850|
|5.||Nikon Coolpix A||4/5||+||..||75/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||1,099|
|6.||Panasonic GM5||3.5/5||+||..||77/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||749|
|7.||Panasonic GM1||3/5||+||..||78/100||5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||749|
|8.||Ricoh GR II||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||699|
|9.||Sony HX95||..||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 2018||429|
|10.||Sony WX800||..||..||..||..||..||..||Oct 2018||399|
|11.||Sony HX90V||4/5||+ +||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||429|
|12.||Sony HX400V||4/5||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2014||499|
|13.||Sony RX100 III||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||799|
|14.||Sony NEX-5T||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||699|
|15.||Sony RX100 II||5/5||+ +||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||749|
|16.||Sony NEX-5R||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2012||749|
|17.||Sony NEX-5||3/5||+ +||..||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||May 2010||699|
|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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Ricoh GR vs Sony HX99
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||Ricoh GR||Sony HX99|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||28mm f/2.8||24-720mm f/3.5-6.4|
|Launch Date||April 2013||August 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 799||USD 449|
|Sensor Specs||Ricoh GR||Sony HX99|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.7 x 15.6 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||369.72 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16.1 Megapixels||18 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4928 x 3264 pixels||4896 x 3672 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.79 μm||1.25 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.35 MP/cm2||64.04 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||80 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||80 - 6,400 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||78||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.6||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.5||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||972||..|
|Screen Specs||Ricoh GR||Sony HX99|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||638k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1230k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Ricoh GR||Sony HX99|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||4 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Ricoh GR||Sony HX99|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Ricoh GR||Sony HX99|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||290 shots per charge||370 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
117 x 61 x 35 mm
(4.6 x 2.4 x 1.4 in)
102 x 58 x 36 mm
(4.0 x 2.3 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||245 g (8.6 oz)||242 g (8.5 oz)|
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