Sony A7S II vs RX10 III
The Sony Alpha 7S II and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 III are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2015 and March 2016. The A7S II is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the RX10 III is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a full frame (A7S II) and an one-inch (RX10 III) sensor. The A7S II has a resolution of 12 megapixels, whereas the RX10 III provides 20 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Sony A7S II||Sony RX10 III|
|Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Sony E mount lenses||24-600mm f/2.4-4.0|
|12 MP, Full Frame Sensor||20 MP, 1" Sensor|
|4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO 100-102400 (50-409600)||ISO 100-12800 (64-25600)|
|Electronic viewfinder (2400k dots)||Electronic viewfinder (2359k dots)|
|3.0" LCD, 1229k dots||3.0" LCD, 1229k dots|
|Tilting screen (no touchscreen)||Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|5 shutter flaps per second||14 shutter flaps per second|
|In-body stabilization||Lens-based stabilization|
|Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|370 shots per battery charge||420 shots per battery charge|
|127 x 96 x 60 mm, 627 g||133 x 94 x 127 mm, 1051 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Sony Alpha 7S II and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 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 A7S II and the Sony RX10 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 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 RX10 III is somewhat larger (3 percent) than the Sony A7S II. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX10 III has a lens built in, whereas the A7S II 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 A7S II and their specifications in the Sony FE Lens Catalog.
The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Sony A7S II»||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||22.1 oz||370||Y||Sep 2015||2,999||Sony A7S II|
|Sony RX10 III«||5.2 in||3.7 in||5.0 in||37.1 oz||420||Y||Mar 2016||1,499||Sony RX10 III|
|Sony A7R IV« »||5.1 in||3.8 in||3.1 in||23.5 oz||670||Y||Jul 2019||3,499||Sony A7R IV|
|Sony A7 III« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.9 in||22.9 oz||610||Y||Feb 2018||1,999||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A7R III« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.9 in||22.9 oz||650||Y||Oct 2017||3,199||Sony A7R III|
|Sony A9« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.5 in||23.7 oz||650||Y||Apr 2017||4,499||Sony A9|
|Sony RX10 IV« »||5.2 in||3.7 in||5.7 in||38.6 oz||400||Y||Sep 2017||1,699||Sony RX10 IV|
|Sony RX0« »||2.3 in||1.6 in||1.2 in||3.9 oz||240||Y||Aug 2017||699||Sony RX0|
|Sony A99 II« »||5.6 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||29.9 oz||490||Y||Sep 2016||3,199||Sony A99 II|
|Sony RX100 V« »||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.6 in||10.5 oz||220||n||Oct 2016||999||Sony RX100 V|
|Sony A7R II« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||22.0 oz||290||Y||Jun 2015||3,199||Sony A7R II|
|Sony RX10 II« »||5.1 in||3.5 in||4.0 in||28.7 oz||400||Y||Jun 2015||1,299||Sony RX10 II|
|Sony A7 II« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||21.1 oz||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A7S« »||5.0 in||3.7 in||1.9 in||17.2 oz||380||Y||Apr 2014||2,499||Sony A7S|
|Sony RX10« »||5.1 in||3.5 in||4.0 in||28.7 oz||420||Y||Oct 2013||1,299||Sony RX10|
|Sony A99« »||5.8 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||28.6 oz||500||Y||Sep 2012||2,799||Sony A99|
|Sony A900« »||6.1 in||4.6 in||3.2 in||31.6 oz||880||Y||Sep 2008||2,999||Sony A900|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 RX10 III was launched at a lower price than the A7S II, despite having a lens built in. 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 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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Sony A7S II features a full frame sensor and the Sony RX10 III an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the RX10 III is 86 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 2.7. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the RX10 III offers a higher resolution of 20 megapixels, compared with 12 MP of the A7S II. 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 8.40μm for the A7S II). However, it should be noted that the RX10 III is a somewhat more recent model (by 6 months) than the A7S II, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage.
The resolution advantage of the Sony RX10 III implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the RX10 III for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.4 x 18.2 inch or 69.5 x 46.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.9 x 14.6 inch or 55.6 x 37.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.2 inch or 46.3 x 30.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Sony A7S II are 21.2 x 14.2 inch or 53.8 x 36 cm for good quality, 17 x 11.3 inch or 43.1 x 28.8 cm for very good quality, and 14.1 x 9.4 inch or 35.9 x 24 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Sony Alpha 7S II has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 102400, which can be extended to ISO 50-409600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 III are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 64-25600.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 review, the A7S II provides substantially higher image quality than the RX10 III, with an overall score that is 15 points higher. This advantage is based on 0.5 bits higher color depth, 0.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 2.7 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 A7S II||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/30p||23.6||13.3||2993||85||Sony A7S II|
|Sony RX10 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||23.1||12.6||472||70||Sony RX10 III|
|Sony A7R IV||Full Frame||60.2||9504||6336||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Sony A7R IV|
|Sony A7 III||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.7||3730||96||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A7R III||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||14.7||3523||100||Sony A7R III|
|Sony A9||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.9||13.3||3517||92||Sony A9|
|Sony RX10 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Sony RX10 IV|
|Sony RX0||1-inch||15.4||4800||3200||1080/60p||22.4||12.4||548||68||Sony RX0|
|Sony A99 II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||25.4||13.4||2317||92||Sony A99 II|
|Sony RX100 V||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.4||586||70||Sony RX100 V|
|Sony A7R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||13.9||3434||98||Sony A7R II|
|Sony RX10 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||23.0||12.6||531||70||Sony RX10 II|
|Sony A7 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A7S||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||1080/60p||23.9||13.2||3702||87||Sony A7S|
|Sony RX10||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.9||12.6||474||69||Sony RX10|
|Sony A99||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||14.0||1555||89||Sony A99|
|Sony A900||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.7||12.3||1431||79||Sony A900|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under consideration are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the A7S II offers a slightly higher resolution than the one in the RX10 III (2400k vs 2359k dots). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Sony A7S II and Sony RX10 III in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Sony A7S II||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y||Sony A7S II|
|Sony RX10 III||2359||Y||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||14.0||Y||Y||Sony RX10 III|
|Sony A7R IV||5760||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y||Sony A7R IV|
|Sony A7 III||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A7R III||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y||Sony A7R III|
|Sony A9||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||20.0||n||Y||Sony A9|
|Sony RX10 IV||2359||Y||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y||Sony RX10 IV|
|Sony RX0||none||n||1.5||230||fixed||n||..||5.5||n||n||Sony RX0|
|Sony A99 II||2400||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||n||Y||Sony A99 II|
|Sony RX100 V||2359||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y||Sony RX100 V|
|Sony A7R II||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y||Sony A7R II|
|Sony RX10 II||2359||Y||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/3200s||14.0||Y||Y||Sony RX10 II|
|Sony A7 II||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A7S||2400||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n||Sony A7S|
|Sony RX10||1440||Y||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/3200s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony RX10|
|Sony A99||2359||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||6.0||n||Y||Sony A99|
|Sony A900||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y||Sony A900|
One feature that is present on the RX10 III, but is missing on the A7S II is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, both cameras under consideration feature an electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the A7S II and the RX10 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 7S II and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 III and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Sony A7S II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7S II|
|Sony RX10 III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX10 III|
|Sony A7R IV||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y||Sony A7R IV|
|Sony A7 III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A7R III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y||Sony A7R III|
|Sony A9||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony A9|
|Sony RX10 IV||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX10 IV|
|Sony RX0||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Sony RX0|
|Sony A99 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony A99 II|
|Sony RX100 V||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX100 V|
|Sony A7R II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7R II|
|Sony RX10 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX10 II|
|Sony A7 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A7S||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7S|
|Sony RX10||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX10|
|Sony A99||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A99|
|Sony A900||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A900|
Both the A7S II and the RX10 III are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The A7S II replaced the earlier Sony A7S, while the RX10 III followed on from the Sony RX10 II. 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 what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Sony A7S II and the Sony RX10 III? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Sony Alpha 7S II:
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (15 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- 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 (2.7 stops ISO advantage).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.78x vs 0.70x).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- 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 2015).
Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 III:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 29%.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (14 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the A7S II necessitates an extra lens.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (420 versus 370) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (6 months) more recently.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX10 III comes out slightly ahead of the A7S II (8 : 7 points). 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 A7S II and the Sony RX10 III place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best Superzoom 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the A7S II or the RX10 III. 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 why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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.
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, 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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 5DS vs Sony A7S II
- Canon G9 X Mark II vs Sony A7S II
- Canon T100 vs Sony RX10 III
- Canon T5i vs Sony RX10 III
- Leica D-LUX 7 vs Sony A7S II
- Leica TL vs Sony A7S II
- Nikon 1 J4 vs Sony A7S II
- Nikon D750 vs Sony RX10 III
- Panasonic G85 vs Sony A7S II
- Sony A58 vs Sony A7S II
- Sony A6500 vs Sony A7S II
- Sony A7S II vs Sony RX100 IV
Specifications: Sony A7S II vs Sony RX10 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 A7S II||Sony RX10 III|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Sony E mount lenses||24-600mm f/2.4-4.0|
|Launch Date||September 2015||March 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 2999||USD 1499|
|Sensor Specs||Sony A7S II||Sony RX10 III|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||1" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||35.6 x 23.8 mm||13.2 x 8.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||847.28 mm2||116.16 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||42.8 mm||15.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12 Megapixels||20 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4240 x 2832 pixels||5472 x 3648 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||8.40 μm||2.41 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.42 MP/cm2||17.18 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-102400 ISO||100-12800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50-409600 ISO||64-25600 ISO|
|Image Processor||BIONZ X||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||85||70|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.6||23.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.3||12.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||2993||472|
|Screen Specs||Sony A7S II||Sony RX10 III|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2400k dots||2359k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||1229k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Sony A7S II||Sony RX10 III|
|Autofocus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000/s||1/2000/s|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||14 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||YES||up to 1/32000s|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||Lens-based stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board 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 A7S II||Sony RX10 III|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Sony A7S II||Sony RX10 III|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||370 shots per charge||420 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
127 x 96 x 60 mm
(5.0 x 3.8 x 2.4 in)
133 x 94 x 127 mm
(5.2 x 3.7 x 5.0 in)
|Camera Weight||627 g (22.1 oz)||1051 g (37.1 oz)|
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