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Sony RX1 versus Sony RX100

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, 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 megapixel, whereas the RX100 provides 20 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 RX1 vs Sony RX100

The physical size and weight of the Sony RX1 and the Sony RX100 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth measures 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 RX1 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Sony RX1 vs Sony RX100
Compare RX1 versus RX100 top
Compare RX1 and 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 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
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Sony RX1» 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.0 oz 270 n Sep 2012 2,799- i
Sony RX100« 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.4 in 8.5 oz 330 n Jun 2012 649- i
Leica X Vario« » 5.2 in 2.9 in 3.7 in 24.0 oz 450 n Jun 2013 2,850 i i
Nikon D5300« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 16.9 oz 600 n Oct 2013 799- i
Sony RX1R II« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.9 oz 220 n Oct 2015 3,299 i i
Sony RX100 III« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.2 oz 320 n May 2014 799- i
Sony A5100« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 10.0 oz 400 n Aug 2014 549 i i
Sony A3000« » 5.0 in 3.6 in 3.3 in 14.5 oz 470 n Aug 2013 329- i
Sony A7« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.7 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 1,699- i
Sony A7R« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.4 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 2,299- i
Sony RX100 II« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 9.9 oz 350 n Jun 2013 749- i
Sony RX1R« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.0 oz 270 n Jun 2013 2,799- i
Sony NEX-5R« » 4.4 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 9.7 oz 330 n Aug 2012 749- i
Sony NEX-5N« » 4.4 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 9.5 oz 460 n Aug 2011 699- i
Sony NEX-7« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 14.1 oz 430 n Aug 2011 1,349- i

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 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Sony RX1 vs Sony RX100

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 tend to be more expensive and 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.

RX1 versus RX100 MP

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 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera 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
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 A5100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.7134780
Sony A3000« » APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.712.8106878
Sony A7« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.814.2224890
Sony A7R« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.614.1274695
Sony RX100 II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.512.448367
Sony RX1R« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.013.6253791
Sony NEX-5R« » APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.713.191078
Sony NEX-5N« » APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.612.7107977
Sony NEX-7« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.113.4101681

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, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).

 

Feature comparison: Sony RX1 vs Sony RX100

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety 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. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Sony RX1 and Sony RX100 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Sony RX1»- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n
Sony RX100«- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 2000 10.0 Y Y
Leica X Vario« »- n 3.0 920 fixed n 2000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D5300« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel n 4000 5.0 Y n
Sony RX1R II« »2360 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 4000 5.0 n n
Sony RX100 III« »1440 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 10.0 Y Y
Sony A5100« »- n 3.0 922 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n
Sony A3000« »202 n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n
Sony A7« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 5.0 n n
Sony A7R« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 4.0 n n
Sony RX100 II« »- n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 10.0 Y Y
Sony RX1R« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n
Sony NEX-5R« »- n 3.0 920 tilting Y 4000 10.0 n n
Sony NEX-5N« »- n 3.0 920 tilting Y 4000 10.0 n n
Sony NEX-7« »2359 n 3.0 921 tilting n 4000 10.0 Y n

The RX100 is equipped with a zoom lens, while the RX1 comes with a build-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.

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.

Review summary: Sony RX1 vs Sony RX100

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Sony RX1 or the Sony RX100 – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


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).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (4000/sec vs 2000/sec) to freeze action.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 3 months after the RX100).


Advantages 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 build-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 count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the RX100 emerges as the winner of the match-up (9 : 7 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.

RX1 07:09 RX100

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the RX1 and the RX100 in practical situations. 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 expert reviews are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Sony RX1»-79/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799- i
Sony RX100«HiRec78/1004/55/55/5 Jun 2012 649- i
Leica X Vario« »--4/54/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850 i i
Nikon D5300« »HiRec79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799- i
Sony RX1R II« »-82/100-rev4.5/5 Oct 2015 3,299 i i
Sony RX100 III« »HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2014 799- i
Sony A5100« »Rec-4.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 i i
Sony A3000« »Rec-4/54.5/54/5 Aug 2013 329- i
Sony A7« »HiRec80/1005/54.5/55/5 Oct 2013 1,699- i
Sony A7R« »HiRec82/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2013 2,299- i
Sony RX100 II« »HiRec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jun 2013 749- i
Sony RX1R« »--4/5rev4.5/5 Jun 2013 2,799- i
Sony NEX-5R« »--4.5/5-4.5/5 Aug 2012 749- i
Sony NEX-5N« »HiRec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2011 699- i
Sony NEX-7« »HiRec81/1004.5/55/55/5 Aug 2011 1,349- i

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. 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.

 

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 your choice using the following search menu. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please contact me, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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