Sony A9 versus Sony RX1R II
The Sony Alpha A9 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in April 2017 and October 2015. The A9 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the RX1R II is a fixed lens compact. Both cameras are equipped with a full frame sensor. The A9 has a resolution of 24 megapixel, whereas the RX1R II provides 42.2 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: Sony A9 vs Sony RX1R II
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Sony A9 and the Sony RX1R II is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the A9 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony RX1R II is considerably smaller (40 percent) than the Sony A9. It is worth mentioning in this context that the A9 is splash and dust resistant, while the RX1R II does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX1R II has a lens build in, whereas the A9 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 A9 and their specifications in the Sony FE Lens Catalog.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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|
|Sony A9»||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.5 in||23.7 oz||650||Y||Apr 2017||4,499|
|Sony RX1R II«||4.4 in||2.6 in||2.8 in||17.9 oz||220||n||Oct 2015||3,299|
|Canon 5DS« »||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||32.8 oz||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Leica Q Typ 116« »||5.1 in||3.1 in||3.7 in||22.6 oz||300||n||Jun 2015||4,249|
|Olympus E-M1 II« »||5.3 in||3.6 in||2.6 in||20.2 oz||440||Y||Sep 2016||1,999|
|Panasonic GH5« »||5.5 in||3.9 in||3.4 in||25.6 oz||410||Y||Jan 2017||1,999|
|Sony A7 III« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.9 in||22.9 oz||610||Y||Feb 2018||1,999|
|Sony A7R III« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.9 in||22.9 oz||650||Y||Oct 2017||3,199|
|Sony A6500« »||4.7 in||2.6 in||2.1 in||16.0 oz||350||Y||Oct 2016||1,399|
|Sony A7R II« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||22.0 oz||290||Y||Jun 2015||3,199||-|
|Sony A7S II« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||22.1 oz||370||Y||Sep 2015||2,999|
|Sony RX100 IV« »||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.6 in||10.5 oz||280||n||Jun 2015||999||-|
|Sony A7 II« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||21.1 oz||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999||-|
|Sony RX1R« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||2.8 in||17.0 oz||270||n||Jun 2013||2,799||-|
|Sony A99« »||5.8 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||28.6 oz||500||Y||Sep 2012||2,799||-|
|Sony RX1« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||2.8 in||17.0 oz||270||n||Sep 2012||2,799||-|
|Sony A77« »||5.6 in||4.1 in||3.2 in||25.8 oz||470||Y||Aug 2011||1,999||-|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The RX1R II was launched at a lower price than the A9, despite having a lens build 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.
Sensor comparison: Sony A9 vs Sony RX1R II
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. 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.
Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the RX1R II is 1 percent bigger. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 42.2MP, the RX1R II offers a higher resolution than the A9 (24MP), but the RX1R II has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.50μm versus 5.94μm for the A9). It is noteworthy in this context that the A9 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 6 months) than the RX1R II, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the RX1R II has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. Of the two cameras under consideration, the RX1R II has a markedly higher DXO score than the A9 (overall score 5 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.9 bits higher color depth, 0.6 EV in additional dynamic range, 0.1 stops of reduced 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.
|Sony A9»||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.9||13.3||3517||92|
|Sony RX1R II«||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||1080/60p||25.8||13.9||3204||97|
|Canon 5DS« »||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/60p||24.7||12.4||2381||87|
|Leica Q Typ 116« »||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.7||2221||85|
|Olympus E-M1 II« »||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||23.7||12.8||1312||80|
|Panasonic GH5« »||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/60p||23.9||13.0||807||77|
|Sony A7 III« »||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.7||3730||96|
|Sony A7R III« »||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||14.7||3523||100|
|Sony A6500« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.5||13.7||1405||85|
|Sony A7R II« »||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||13.9||3434||98|
|Sony A7S II« »||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/30p||23.6||13.3||2993||85|
|Sony RX100 IV« »||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
|Sony A7 II« »||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90|
|Sony RX1R« »||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||13.6||2537||91|
|Sony A99« »||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||14.0||1555||89|
|Sony RX1« »||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.1||14.3||2534||93|
|Sony A77« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.0||13.2||801||78|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the A9 provides a higher video resolution than the RX1R II. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the RX1R II is limited to 1080/60p.
Feature comparison: Sony A9 vs Sony RX1R II
Apart from 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 A9 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the RX1R II (3686k vs 2360k dots). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Sony A9 and Sony RX1R II along with similar information for a selection of comparators. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.
|Sony RX1R II«||2360||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||4000||5.0||n||n|
|Canon 5DS« »||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||8000||5.0||n||n|
|Leica Q Typ 116« »||3680||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||2000||10.0||n||n|
|Olympus E-M1 II« »||2360||n||3.0||1037||swivel||Y||8000||18.0||n||Y|
|Panasonic GH5« »||3680||n||3.2||1620||swivel||Y||8000||12.0||n||Y|
|Sony A7 III« »||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||8000||10.0||n||Y|
|Sony A7R III« »||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||8000||10.0||n||Y|
|Sony A6500« »||2300||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||4000||11.0||Y||Y|
|Sony A7R II« »||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||8000||5.0||n||Y|
|Sony A7S II« »||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||8000||5.0||n||Y|
|Sony RX100 IV« »||2359||n||3.0||1228||tilting||n||2000||16.0||Y||Y|
|Sony A7 II« »||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||8000||5.0||n||Y|
|Sony RX1R« »||-||n||3.0||1229||fixed||n||4000||5.0||Y||n|
|Sony A99« »||2359||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||8000||6.0||n||Y|
|Sony RX1« »||-||n||3.0||1229||fixed||n||4000||5.0||Y||n|
|Sony A77« »||2359||Y||3.0||921||full-flex||n||8000||12.0||Y||Y|
Both the A9 and the RX1R II are current models that good online retailers will have in stock. You can check the latest prices, for example, at amazon. The RX1R II replaced the earlier Sony RX1R, while the A9 does not have a direct predecessor.
Review summary: Sony A9 vs Sony RX1R II
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Sony A9 or the Sony RX1R II – has the upper hand? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Sony Alpha A9:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (3686k vs 2360k dots).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1440k vs 1229k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (20 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (650 versus 220) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization build-in.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 6 months after the RX1R II).
Arguments in favor of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (42.2 vs 24MP), which boosts linear resolution by 33%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (5 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.6 EV of extra DR).
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the A9 necessitates an extra lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (113x65mm vs 127x96mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens build in (unlike the A9).
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a build-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in October 2015).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A9 emerges as the winner of the contest (12 : 9 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.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the A9 or the RX1R II handle or 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 expert reviews are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.
|Sony A9»||HiRec||89/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Apr 2017||4,499|
|Sony RX1R II«||-||82/100||-||rev||4.5/5||Oct 2015||3,299|
|Canon 5DS« »||Rec||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Leica Q Typ 116« »||-||80/100||4.5/5||-||4.5/5||Jun 2015||4,249|
|Olympus E-M1 II« »||HiRec||85/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||1,999|
|Panasonic GH5« »||HiRec||85/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jan 2017||1,999|
|Sony A7 III« »||HiRec||89/100||5/5||-||5/5||Feb 2018||1,999|
|Sony A7R III« »||HiRec||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Oct 2017||3,199|
|Sony A6500« »||HiRec||85/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2016||1,399|
|Sony A7R II« »||HiRec||90/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Jun 2015||3,199||-|
|Sony A7S II« »||Rec||-||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Sep 2015||2,999|
|Sony RX100 IV« »||HiRec||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999||-|
|Sony A7 II« »||Rec||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Nov 2014||1,999||-|
|Sony RX1R« »||-||-||4/5||rev||4.5/5||Jun 2013||2,799||-|
|Sony A99« »||-||84/100||4.5/5||rev||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799||-|
|Sony RX1« »||-||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799||-|
|Sony A77« »||91/100||81/100||-||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2011||1,999||-|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when refering 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
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