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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.

Headline Specifications
Sony A5000 versus Sony RX100 III
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 100-16,000 ISO 100-12,800 (80 - 25,600)
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 charge320 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.

Body comparison

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.

Size Sony A5000 vs Sony RX100 III
Compare A5000 versus RX100 III top
Comparison A5000 or 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 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.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Sony A5000 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 420 n Jan 2014 449i
 
Sony RX100 III 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.2 oz 320 n May 2014 799i
 
Canon M10 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 10.6 oz 255 n Oct 2015 499i
 
Canon G7 X 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.6 in 10.7 oz 210 n Sep 2014 699i
 
Nikon D3300 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.2 oz 700 n Jan 2014 499i
 
Sony RX100 VII 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.7 in 10.7 oz 260 n Jul 2019 1,199 i
 
Sony RX100 IV 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 280 n Jun 2015 999i
 
Sony A5100 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 10.0 oz 400 n Aug 2014 549 i
 
Sony A6000 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.8 in 12.1 oz 360 n Feb 2014 599i
 
Sony A3000 5.0 in 3.6 in 3.3 in 14.5 oz 470 n Aug 2013 329i
 
Sony NEX-3N 4.3 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 480 n Feb 2013 499i
 
Sony NEX-5T 4.4 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 9.7 oz 330 n Aug 2013 699i
 
Sony RX100 II 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 9.9 oz 350 n Jun 2013 749i
 
Sony RX100 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.4 in 8.5 oz 330 n Jun 2012 649i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

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.

Sensor comparison

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.

Sony A5000 and Sony RX100 III sensor measures

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.

A5000 versus RX100 III MP

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.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Sony A5000 APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.813.0108979
 
Sony RX100 III 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.412.349567
 
Canon M10 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365
 
Canon G7 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671
 
Nikon D3300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582
 
Sony RX100 VII 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p21.812.441863
 
Sony RX100 IV 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170
 
Sony A5100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.7134780
 
Sony A6000 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782
 
Sony A3000 APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.712.8106878
 
Sony NEX-3N APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.812.5106774
 
Sony NEX-5T APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60p23.613.0101578
 
Sony RX100 II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.512.448367
 
Sony RX100 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.612.439066

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.

Feature comparison

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.

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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)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
 
Sony A5000none n 3.0 461 tilting n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
 
Sony RX100 III1440 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
 
Canon M10none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.6 Y n
 
Canon G7 Xnone n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 6.5 Y Y
 
Nikon D3300optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Sony RX100 VII2359 n 3.0 921 tilting Y 1/2000s 90.0 Y Y
 
Sony RX100 IV2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 1/2000s 16.0 Y Y
 
Sony A5100none n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
 
Sony A60001440 n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/4000s 11.0 Y n
 
Sony A3000202 n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Sony NEX-3Noptional n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Sony NEX-5Toptional n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 10.0 n n
 
Sony RX100 IIoptional n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
 
Sony RX100none n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.

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.

Connectivity comparison

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.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Sony A5000-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Sony RX100 III-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon M10-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon G7 X-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Nikon D3300YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Sony RX100 VII-stereomonoY-micro2.0YYY
 
Sony RX100 IV-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Sony A5100-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Sony A6000Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Sony A3000Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Sony NEX-3N-stereomono--micro2.0---
 
Sony NEX-5TYstereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Sony RX100 IIYstereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Sony RX100-stereomono--micro2.0---

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.

Review summary

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.

A5000 08:08 RX100 III

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.

Expert reviews

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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Sony A5000+..4.5/5o4.5/5 Jan 2014 449i
 
Sony RX100 III+ +82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2014 799i
 
Canon M10......o4/5 Oct 2015 499i
 
Canon G7 X+ +77/1004.5/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699i
 
Nikon D3300+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499i
 
Sony RX100 VII....4/5..5/5 Jul 2019 1,199 i
 
Sony RX100 IV+ +85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999i
 
Sony A5100+..4.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 i
 
Sony A6000+80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2014 599i
 
Sony A3000+..4/54.5/54/5 Aug 2013 329i
 
Sony NEX-3N....4.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2013 499i
 
Sony NEX-5T....4.5/5..4.5/5 Aug 2013 699i
 
Sony RX100 II+ +79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jun 2013 749i
 
Sony RX100+ +78/1004/55/55/5 Jun 2012 649i
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. 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.

Sony A5000:
Check Ebay offers
Sony RX100 III:
Check Ebay offers

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.

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    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 Specifications
    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 Technology CMOS BSI-CMOS
    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
    Crop Factor 1.5x 2.7x
    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 - 16,000 ISO 100 - 12,800 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 80 - 25,600 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 Magnification 0.22x
    Viewfinder Resolution 1440k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    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 AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000s 1/2000s
    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 Type NP-FW50 NP-BX1
    Battery Life (CIPA)420 shots per charge320 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 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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