Sony A5000 vs RX100 III
The Sony Alpha A5000 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2014 and May 2014. The A5000 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the RX100 III is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (A5000) and an one-inch (RX100 III) sensor. The A5000 has a resolution of 19.8 megapixels, whereas the RX100 III provides 20 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Sony A5000||Sony RX100 III|
|Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Sony E mount lenses||24-70mm f/1.8-2.8|
|19.8 MP, APS-C Sensor||20 MP, 1" Sensor|
|1080/60i Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO 100-16000||ISO 100-12800 (80-25600)|
|No viewfinder, LCD framing||Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)|
|3.0" LCD, 461k dots||3.0" LCD, 1229k dots|
|Tilting screen (no touchscreen)||Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|3.5 shutter flaps per second||10 shutter flaps per second|
|420 shots per battery charge||320 shots per battery charge|
|110 x 63 x 36 mm, 269 g||102 x 58 x 41 mm, 290 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Sony Alpha A5000 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III? 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 physical size and weight of the Sony A5000 and the Sony RX100 III are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The A5000 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, white), while the RX100 III 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 RX100 III is notably smaller (15 percent) than the Sony A5000. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the A5000 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 built in, whereas the A5000 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 A5000 and their specifications in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the A5000 gets 420 shots out of its NP-FW50 battery, while the RX100 III can take 320 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, 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.
|Sony A5000»||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||269 g||420||n||Jan 2014||449||Sony A5000|
|Sony RX100 III«||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||290 g||320||n||May 2014||799||Sony RX100 III|
|Canon G5 X« »||112 mm||76 mm||44 mm||353 g||210||n||Oct 2015||799||Canon G5 X|
|Canon M10« »||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||301 g||255||n||Oct 2015||499||Canon M10|
|Canon G7 X« »||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||n||Sep 2014||699||Canon G7 X|
|Nikon 1 J5« »||98 mm||60 mm||32 mm||231 g||250||n||Apr 2015||399||Nikon 1 J5|
|Panasonic FZ1000« »||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||831 g||360||n||Jun 2014||899||Panasonic FZ1000|
|Sony RX100 IV« »||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||n||Jun 2015||999||Sony RX100 IV|
|Sony HX90V« »||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||360||n||Apr 2015||429||Sony HX90V|
|Sony A5100« »||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||283 g||400||n||Aug 2014||549||Sony A5100|
|Sony A6000« »||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599||Sony A6000|
|Sony A3000« »||128 mm||91 mm||85 mm||411 g||470||n||Aug 2013||329||Sony A3000|
|Sony NEX-3N« »||110 mm||62 mm||35 mm||269 g||480||n||Feb 2013||499||Sony NEX-3N|
|Sony RX100 II« »||102 mm||58 mm||38 mm||281 g||350||n||Jun 2013||749||Sony RX100 II|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. 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.
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. 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 Sony A5000 features an APS-C sensor and the Sony RX100 III an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the RX100 III is 68 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 2.7. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the RX100 III offers a slightly higher resolution of 20 megapixels, compared with 19.8 MP of the A5000. 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 2.41μm versus 4.25μm for the A5000). However, it should be noted that the RX100 III is a somewhat more recent model (by 4 months) than the A5000, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage.
The Sony Alpha A5000 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 16000. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-25600.
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"). Of the two cameras under review, the A5000 provides substantially higher image quality than the RX100 III, with an overall score that is 12 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.4 bits higher color depth, 0.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.1 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Sony A5000||APS-C||19.8||5456||3632||1080/60i||23.8||13.0||1089||79||Sony A5000|
|Sony RX100 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67||Sony RX100 III|
|Canon G5 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Canon G5 X|
|Canon M10||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.2||11.4||753||65||Canon M10|
|Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71||Canon G7 X|
|Nikon 1 J5||1-inch||20.7||5568||3712||4K/15p||21.1||12.0||479||65||Nikon 1 J5|
|Panasonic FZ1000||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.1||11.7||517||64||Panasonic FZ1000|
|Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70||Sony RX100 IV|
|Sony HX90V||1/2.3||18.0||4896||3672||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Sony HX90V|
|Sony A5100||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.8||12.7||1347||80||Sony A5100|
|Sony A6000||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||13.1||1347||82||Sony A6000|
|Sony A3000||APS-C||19.8||5456||3632||1080/60i||23.7||12.8||1068||78||Sony A3000|
|Sony NEX-3N||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60i||22.8||12.5||1067||74||Sony NEX-3N|
|Sony RX100 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.5||12.4||483||67||Sony RX100 II|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the RX100 III provides a faster frame rate than the A5000. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the A5000 is limited to 1080/60i.
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 A5000 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Sony A5000 and Sony RX100 III along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Sony A5000||none||n||3.0||461||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n||Sony A5000|
|Sony RX100 III||1440||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony RX100 III|
|Canon G5 X||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y||Canon G5 X|
|Canon M10||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.6||Y||n||Canon M10|
|Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5||Y||Y||Canon G7 X|
|Nikon 1 J5||none||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n||Nikon 1 J5|
|Panasonic FZ1000||2359||n||3.0||921||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y||Panasonic FZ1000|
|Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0||1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y||Sony RX100 IV|
|Sony HX90V||638||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony HX90V|
|Sony A5100||none||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Sony A5100|
|Sony A6000||1440||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n||Sony A6000|
|Sony A3000||202||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Sony A3000|
|Sony NEX-3N||optional||n||3.0||460||tilting||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Sony NEX-3N|
|Sony RX100 II||optional||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony RX100 II|
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the A5000 and the RX100 III write their files to 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 Sony Alpha A5000 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Sony A5000||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A5000|
|Sony RX100 III||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX100 III|
|Canon G5 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon G5 X|
|Canon M10||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon M10|
|Canon G7 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon G7 X|
|Nikon 1 J5||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Nikon 1 J5|
|Panasonic FZ1000||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Panasonic FZ1000|
|Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX100 IV|
|Sony HX90V||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony HX90V|
|Sony A5100||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A5100|
|Sony A6000||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A6000|
|Sony A3000||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A3000|
|Sony NEX-3N||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-3N|
|Sony RX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX100 II|
Both the A5000 and the RX100 III have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The A5000 was replaced by the Sony A5100, while the RX100 III was followed by the Sony RX100 IV. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Sony website.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Sony A5000 and the Sony RX100 III? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A5000:
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (12 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.4 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.7 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.1 stops ISO advantage).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (420 versus 320) on a single battery charge.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2014).
Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III:
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/60i).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 461k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 3.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the A5000 necessitates an extra lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 110x63mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (4 months) more recently.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the match-up finishes in a tie (8 points each). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. 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 Sony A5000 and the Sony RX100 III place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best Travel-Zoom Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the A5000 or the RX100 III 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 (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 were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
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. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon D60 vs Sony A5000
- Canon G9 X Mark II vs Sony A5000
- Canon SX720 vs Sony RX100 III
- Canon T3i vs Sony RX100 III
- Fujifilm X-E3 vs Sony RX100 III
- Olympus E-1 vs Sony A5000
- Olympus E-400 vs Sony A5000
- Olympus E-M10 III vs Sony A5000
- Panasonic TS7 vs Sony RX100 III
- Panasonic ZS70 vs Sony RX100 III
- Sony A5000 vs Sony A77
- Sony A6500 vs Sony RX100 III
Specifications: Sony A5000 vs Sony RX100 III
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||Sony A5000||Sony RX100 III|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Sony E mount lenses||24-70mm f/1.8-2.8|
|Launch Date||January 2014||May 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 449||USD 799|
|Sensor Specs||Sony A5000||Sony RX100 III|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.2 x 15.4 mm||13.2 x 8.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||357.28 mm2||116.16 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||27.8 mm||15.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||19.8 Megapixels||20 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5456 x 3632 pixels||5472 x 3648 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.25 μm||2.41 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.55 MP/cm2||17.18 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-16000 ISO||100-12800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||80-25600 ISO|
|Image Processor||BIONZ X||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||79||67|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.8||22.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.0||12.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1089||495|
|Screen Specs||Sony A5000||Sony RX100 III|
|Viewfinder Type||No viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|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||461k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Sony A5000||Sony RX100 III|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000/s||1/2000/s|
|Continuous Shooting||3.5 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||MS or SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Sony A5000||Sony RX100 III|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Sony A5000||Sony RX100 III|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||420 shots per charge||320 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
110 x 63 x 36 mm
(4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
102 x 58 x 41 mm
(4.0 x 2.3 x 1.6 in)
|Camera Weight||269 g (9.5 oz)||290 g (10.2 oz)|
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