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Sony RX1 vs RX100

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2012 and June 2012. Both the RX1 and the RX100 are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on a full frame (RX1) and an one-inch (RX100) sensor. The RX1 has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the RX100 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 RX1 versus Sony RX100
Sony RX1 Sony RX100
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
35mm f/2.0 28-100mm f/1.8-4.9
24 MP, Full Frame Sensor 20 MP, 1" Sensor
1080/60p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-25,600 (50 - 102,400) ISO 100-6,400 (100 - 25,600)
Viewfinder optional No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 1229k dots 3.0 LCD, 1229k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 10 shutter flaps per second
270 shots per battery charge330 shots per battery charge
113 x 65 x 70 mm, 482 g 102 x 58 x 36 mm, 240 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100? 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 RX1 and the Sony RX100 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Sony RX1 vs Sony RX100
Compare RX1 versus RX100 top
Comparison RX1 or RX100 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony RX100 is notably smaller (19 percent) than the Sony RX1. Moreover, the RX100 is substantially lighter (50 percent) than the RX1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the RX1 nor the RX100 are weather-sealed.

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 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 RX1 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.0 oz 270 n Sep 2012 2,799i
 
Sony RX100 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.4 in 8.5 oz 330 n Jun 2012 649i
 
Canon G9 X Mark II 3.9 in 2.3 in 1.2 in 7.3 oz 235 n Jan 2017 529 i
 
Canon G9 X 3.9 in 2.3 in 1.2 in 7.4 oz 220 n Oct 2015 529i
 
Leica X Vario 5.2 in 2.9 in 3.7 in 24.0 oz 450 n Jun 2013 2,850i
 
Nikon D5300 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 16.9 oz 600 n Oct 2013 799i
 
Sony RX1R II 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.9 oz 220 n Oct 2015 3,299 i
 
Sony RX100 III 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.2 oz 320 n May 2014 799i
 
Sony A7 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.7 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 1,699i
 
Sony A7R 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.4 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 2,299i
 
Sony A3000 5.0 in 3.6 in 3.3 in 14.5 oz 470 n Aug 2013 329i
 
Sony RX1R 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.0 oz 270 n Jun 2013 2,799i
 
Sony RX10 5.1 in 3.5 in 4.0 in 28.7 oz 420 Y Oct 2013 1,299i
 
Sony RX100 II 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 9.9 oz 350 n Jun 2013 749i
 
Sony NEX-7 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 14.1 oz 430 n Aug 2011 1,349i
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 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 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 77 percent) than the RX1, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.

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. 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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Sony RX1 features a full frame sensor and the Sony RX100 an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the RX100 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.

Sony RX1 and Sony RX100 sensor measures

With 24MP, the RX1 offers a higher resolution than the RX100 (20MP), but the RX1 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.96μm versus 2.41μm for the RX100) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the RX1 is a somewhat more recent model (by 3 months) than the RX100, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The resolution advantage of the Sony RX1 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the RX1 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 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 Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 50-102400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.

RX1 versus RX100 MP

For many 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 review, the RX1 provides substantially higher image quality than the RX100, with an overall score that is 27 points higher. This advantage is based on 2.5 bits higher color depth, 1.9 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.

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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 RX1 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.114.3253493
 
Sony RX100 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.612.439066
 
Canon G9 X Mark II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.912.552265
 
Canon G9 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.512.349563
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
 
Nikon D5300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.9133883
 
Sony RX1R II Full Frame 42.2 7952 53041080/60p25.813.9320497
 
Sony RX100 III 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.412.349567
 
Sony A7 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.814.2224890
 
Sony A7R Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.614.1274695
 
Sony A3000 APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.712.8106878
 
Sony RX1R Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.013.6253791
 
Sony RX10 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.912.647469
 
Sony RX100 II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.512.448367
 
Sony NEX-7 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.113.4101681

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 (1080/60p).

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The RX1 and the RX100 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. That said, the RX1 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the FDA-EV1MK. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Sony RX1 and Sony RX100 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 RX1optional n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Sony RX100none n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
 
Canon G9 X Mark IInone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 8.2 Y Y
 
Canon G9 Xnone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 6.0 Y Y
 
Leica X Variooptional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D5300optical n 3.2 1037 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Sony RX1R II2360 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
 
Sony RX100 III1440 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
 
Sony A72400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
 
Sony A7R2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 4.0 n n
 
Sony A3000202 n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Sony RX1Roptional n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Sony RX101440 Y 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/3200s 10.0 Y Y
 
Sony RX100 IIoptional n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
 
Sony NEX-72359 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 10.0 Y n

The RX100 is equipped with a zoom lens, while the RX1 comes with a built-in prime. The RX100 has a 28-100mm f/1.8-4.9 optic and the RX1 offers a 35mm f/2.0 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the RX100 provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the RX1. The RX100 offers the faster maximum aperture.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the RX1 and the RX100 write their files to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards.

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 Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 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 RX1YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Sony RX100-stereomono--micro2.0---
 
Canon G9 X Mark II-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
 
Canon G9 X-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Leica X VarioYstereomono--mini2.0---
 
Nikon D5300YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
 
Sony RX1R IIYstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-
 
Sony RX100 III-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Sony A7YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-
 
Sony A7RYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-
 
Sony A3000Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Sony RX1RYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Sony RX10YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-
 
Sony RX100 IIYstereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Sony NEX-7YstereomonoY-mini2.0---

It is notable that the RX1 has a hotshoe, while the RX100 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.

Both the RX1 and the RX100 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The RX100 was replaced by the Sony RX100 II, while the RX1 was followed by the Sony RX1R. 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? Which of the two cameras – the Sony RX1 or the Sony RX100 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 20MP) with a 10% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (27 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (2.5 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.9 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (2.7 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 3 months after the RX100).


Arguments in favor of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100:

  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/1.8 vs f/2.0).
  • Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
  • More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 113x65mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 242g or 50 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (330 versus 270) out of a single battery charge.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (77 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in June 2012).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX1 comes out slightly ahead of the RX100 (10 : 9 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

RX1 10:09 RX100

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Sony RX1 and the Sony RX100 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Prime Lens Compact 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the RX1 and the RX100 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.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews 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 RX1..79/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799i
 
Sony RX100+ +78/1004/55/55/5 Jun 2012 649i
 
Canon G9 X Mark II..75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2017 529 i
 
Canon G9 X+ +..4.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 529i
 
Leica X Vario....4/54/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850i
 
Nikon D5300+ +79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799i
 
Sony RX1R II..82/100..o4.5/5 Oct 2015 3,299 i
 
Sony RX100 III+ +82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2014 799i
 
Sony A7+ +80/1005/54.5/55/5 Oct 2013 1,699i
 
Sony A7R+ +82/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2013 2,299i
 
Sony A3000+..4/54.5/54/5 Aug 2013 329i
 
Sony RX1R....4/5o4.5/5 Jun 2013 2,799i
 
Sony RX10+80/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,299i
 
Sony RX100 II+ +79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jun 2013 749i
 
Sony NEX-7+ +81/1004.5/55/55/5 Aug 2011 1,349i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Sony RX1:
Check Ebay offers
Sony RX100:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Sony RX1 vs Sony RX100

    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 RX1 Sony RX100
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 35mm f/2.0 28-100mm f/1.8-4.9
    Launch Date September 2012 June 2012
    Launch Price USD 2,799 USD 649
    Sensor Specs Sony RX1 Sony RX100
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor 1" Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.8 x 23.8 mm 13.2 x 8.8 mm
    Sensor Area 852.04 mm2 116.16 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43 mm 15.9 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 2.7x
    Sensor Resolution 24 Megapixels 20 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 pixels 5472 x 3648 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.96 μm 2.41 μm
    Pixel Density 2.82 MP/cm2 17.18 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 25,600 ISO 100 - 6,400 ISO
    ISO Boost 50 - 102,400 ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO
    Image Processor BIONZ X BIONZ X
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 93 66
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 25.1 22.6
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 14.3 12.4
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 2534 390
    Screen Specs Sony RX1 Sony RX100
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Magnification
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 1229k dots 1229k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Sony RX1 Sony RX100
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000s 1/2000s
    Continuous Shooting 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 no no
    Connectivity Specs Sony RX1 Sony RX100
    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 no Wifi
    Body Specs Sony RX1 Sony RX100
    Battery Type NP-BX1 NP-BX1
    Battery Life (CIPA)270 shots per charge330 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 113 x 65 x 70 mm
    (4.4 x 2.6 x 2.8 in)
    102 x 58 x 36 mm
    (4.0 x 2.3 x 1.4 in)
    Camera Weight 482 g (17.0 oz) 240 g (8.5 oz)

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