Sony NEX-7 vs RX100 III
The Sony Alpha NEX-7 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2011 and May 2014. The NEX-7 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the RX100 III is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (NEX-7) and an one-inch (RX100 III) sensor. The NEX-7 has a resolution of 24 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 NEX-7||Sony RX100 III|
|Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Sony E mount lenses||24-70mm f/1.8-2.8|
|24 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)|
|Electronic viewfinder (2359k dots)||Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)|
|3.0 LCD, 921k dots||3.0 LCD, 1229k dots|
|Tilting screen (no touchscreen)||Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|10 shutter flaps per second||10 shutter flaps per second|
|430 shots per battery charge||320 shots per battery charge|
|120 x 67 x 43 mm, 400 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 NEX-7 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Sony NEX-7 and the Sony RX100 III. 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 RX100 III is notably smaller (26 percent) than the Sony NEX-7. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the NEX-7 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 NEX-7 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 NEX-7 and their specifications in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the NEX-7 gets 430 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 power pack in the RX100 III can be charged via the USB port, 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 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 NEX-7||120 mm||67 mm||43 mm||400 g||430||n||Aug 2011||1,349|
|Sony RX100 III||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||290 g||320||n||May 2014||799|
|Canon G5 X||112 mm||76 mm||44 mm||353 g||210||n||Oct 2015||799|
|Canon G7 X||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||n||Sep 2014||699|
|Panasonic FZ1000||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||831 g||360||n||Jun 2014||899|
|Sony A6400||120 mm||67 mm||50 mm||403 g||410||n||Jan 2019||899|
|Sony A6300||120 mm||67 mm||49 mm||404 g||400||Y||Feb 2016||999|
|Sony A6500||120 mm||67 mm||53 mm||453 g||350||Y||Oct 2016||1,399|
|Sony RX100 IV||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||n||Jun 2015||999|
|Sony A5000||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||269 g||420||n||Jan 2014||449|
|Sony A5100||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||283 g||400||n||Aug 2014||549|
|Sony A6000||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599|
|Sony A3000||128 mm||91 mm||85 mm||411 g||470||n||Aug 2013||329|
|Sony RX1R||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Jun 2013||2,799|
|Sony RX100 II||102 mm||58 mm||38 mm||281 g||350||n||Jun 2013||749|
|Sony NEX-6||120 mm||67 mm||43 mm||345 g||360||n||Sep 2012||999|
|Sony RX1||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Sep 2012||2,799|
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 naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The RX100 III was launched at a lower price than the NEX-7, 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.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and 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.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Sony NEX-7 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.
With 24MP, the NEX-7 offers a higher resolution than the RX100 III (20MP), but the NEX-7 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.90μm versus 2.41μm for the RX100 III) due to its larger sensor. However, the RX100 III is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 8 months) than the NEX-7, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Sony NEX-7 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the NEX-7 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Sony RX100 III are 27.4 x 18.2 inches or 69.5 x 46.3 cm for good quality, 21.9 x 14.6 inches or 55.6 x 37.1 cm for very good quality, and 18.2 x 12.2 inches or 46.3 x 30.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Sony Alpha NEX-7 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 NEX-7 provides substantially higher image quality than the RX100 III, with an overall score that is 14 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.7 bits higher color depth, 1.1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1 stops in additional 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 RX100 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67|
|Canon G5 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
|Sony RX1R||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||13.6||2537||91|
|Sony RX100 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.5||12.4||483||67|
|Sony RX1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.1||14.3||2534||93|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the RX100 III provides a faster frame rate than the NEX-7. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the NEX-7 is limited to 1080/60i.
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 NEX-7 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the RX100 III (2359k vs 1440k dots). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Sony NEX-7 and Sony RX100 III in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Sony RX100 III||1440||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|Canon G5 X||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
|Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5||Y||Y|
|Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0||1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y|
|Sony RX100 II||optional||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the NEX-7 and the RX100 III write their files to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The RX100 III supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the NEX-7 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
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 NEX-7 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Sony RX100 III||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Canon G5 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Canon G7 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Sony RX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the NEX-7 has a hotshoe, while the RX100 III does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Both the NEX-7 and the RX100 III have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The RX100 III was replaced by the Sony RX100 IV, while the NEX-7 does not have a direct successor. 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 conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Sony NEX-7 or the Sony RX100 III – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Sony Alpha NEX-7:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 20MP) with a 10% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (14 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.7 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.1 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1 stops ISO advantage).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (2359k vs 1440k dots).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.73x vs 0.22x).
- 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 (430 versus 320) on a single battery charge.
- 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 August 2011).
Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III:
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/60i).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 921k dots).
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the NEX-7 necessitates an extra lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 120x67mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the NEX-7).
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- 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.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 8 months of technical progress since the NEX-7 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the NEX-7 comes out slightly ahead of the RX100 III (13 : 12 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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 NEX-7 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 comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the NEX-7 and the RX100 III in practical situations. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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.
|Sony NEX-7||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Aug 2011||1,349|
|Sony RX100 III||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||799|
|Canon G5 X||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||799|
|Canon G7 X||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||3.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699|
|Panasonic FZ1000||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||899|
|Sony A6400||+||85/100||4.5/5||..||4/5||Jan 2019||899|
|Sony A6300||+||85/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2016||999|
|Sony A6500||+ +||85/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2016||1,399|
|Sony RX100 IV||+ +||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999|
|Sony A5000||+||..||4.5/5||o||4.5/5||Jan 2014||449|
|Sony A5100||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2014||549|
|Sony A6000||+||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599|
|Sony A3000||+||..||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2013||329|
|Sony RX1R||..||..||4/5||o||4.5/5||Jun 2013||2,799|
|Sony RX100 II||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||749|
|Sony NEX-6||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||999|
|Sony RX1||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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. 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 use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 5D Mark II vs Sony RX100 III
- Canon G15 vs Sony RX100 III
- Canon G9 X vs Sony NEX-7
- Leica X Typ 113 vs Sony RX100 III
- Nikon B700 vs Sony NEX-7
- Nikon D70 vs Sony RX100 III
- Olympus E-500 vs Sony NEX-7
- Panasonic L10 vs Sony RX100 III
- Panasonic LF1 vs Sony NEX-7
- Panasonic TZ90 vs Sony NEX-7
- Pentax Q vs Sony NEX-7
- Sony NEX-3N vs Sony NEX-7
Specifications: Sony NEX-7 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 NEX-7||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||August 2011||May 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 1,349||USD 799|
|Sensor Specs||Sony NEX-7||Sony RX100 III|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.4 x 15.6 mm||13.2 x 8.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||365.04 mm2||116.16 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.1 mm||15.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||20 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||5472 x 3648 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.90 μm||2.41 μm|
|Pixel Density||6.57 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||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||81||67|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.1||22.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.4||12.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1016||495|
|Screen Specs||Sony NEX-7||Sony RX100 III|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2359k dots||1440k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Sony NEX-7||Sony RX100 III|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/2000s|
|Continuous Shooting||10 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||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Sony NEX-7||Sony RX100 III|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Sony NEX-7||Sony RX100 III|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||430 shots per charge||320 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
120 x 67 x 43 mm
(4.7 x 2.6 x 1.7 in)
102 x 58 x 41 mm
(4.0 x 2.3 x 1.6 in)
|Camera Weight||400 g (14.1 oz)||290 g (10.2 oz)|
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