Sony RX1 vs ZV-1
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 and the Sony Cyber-shot ZV-1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2012 and May 2020. Both the RX1 and the ZV-1 are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on a full frame (RX1) and an one-inch (ZV-1) sensor. The RX1 has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the ZV-1 provides 20 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
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 ZV-1? 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 RX1 and the Sony ZV-1. 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 ZV-1 is notably smaller (14 percent) than the Sony RX1. Moreover, the ZV-1 is substantially lighter (39 percent) than the RX1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the RX1 nor the ZV-1 are weather-sealed.
The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, 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 want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Sony RX1||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Sep 2012||2,799|
|2.||Sony ZV-1||105 mm||60 mm||44 mm||294 g||260||n||May 2020||799|
|3.||Canon G5 X Mark II||111 mm||61 mm||46 mm||340 g||230||n||Jul 2019||899|
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark III||105 mm||61 mm||41 mm||304 g||235||n||Jul 2019||749|
|5.||Leica X Vario||133 mm||73 mm||95 mm||680 g||450||n||Jun 2013||2,850|
|6.||Nikon D5300||125 mm||98 mm||76 mm||480 g||600||n||Oct 2013||799|
|7.||Sony RX100 VII||102 mm||58 mm||43 mm||302 g||260||n||Jul 2019||1,199|
|8.||Sony RX1R II||113 mm||65 mm||72 mm||507 g||220||n||Oct 2015||3,299|
|9.||Sony RX100 III||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||290 g||320||n||May 2014||799|
|10.||Sony A7||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||474 g||340||Y||Oct 2013||1,699|
|11.||Sony A7R||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||465 g||340||Y||Oct 2013||2,299|
|12.||Sony A3000||128 mm||91 mm||85 mm||411 g||470||n||Aug 2013||329|
|13.||Sony RX1R||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Jun 2013||2,799|
|14.||Sony RX100 II||102 mm||58 mm||38 mm||281 g||350||n||Jun 2013||749|
|15.||Sony RX100||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||240 g||330||n||Jun 2012||649|
|16.||Sony NEX-7||120 mm||67 mm||43 mm||400 g||430||n||Aug 2011||1,349|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 ZV-1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 71 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.
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 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 ZV-1 an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the ZV-1 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.
With 24MP, the RX1 offers a higher resolution than the ZV-1 (20MP), but the RX1 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.96μm versus 2.41μm for the ZV-1) due to its larger sensor. However, the ZV-1 is a much more recent model (by 7 years and 8 months) than the RX1, 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 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 ZV-1 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 ZV-1 are ISO 125 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"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
| DXO |
|1.||Sony RX1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.1||14.3||2534||93|
|3.||Canon G5 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|5.||Leica X Vario||APS-C||16.1||4928||3272||1080/30p||23.4||12.7||1320||78|
|7.||Sony RX100 VII||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||21.8||12.4||418||63|
|8.||Sony RX1R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||1080/60p||25.8||13.9||3204||97|
|9.||Sony RX100 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67|
|10.||Sony A7||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||14.2||2248||90|
|11.||Sony A7R||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.6||14.1||2746||95|
|13.||Sony RX1R||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||13.6||2537||91|
|14.||Sony RX100 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.5||12.4||483||67|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the ZV-1 provides a better video resolution than the RX1. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the RX1 is limited to 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The RX1 and the ZV-1 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 ZV-1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|3.||Canon G5 X Mark II||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||30||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark III||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||30||Y||Y|
|5.||Leica X Vario||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|7.||Sony RX100 VII||2359||n||3.0||921||tilting||Y||1/2000s||90.0||Y||Y|
|8.||Sony RX1R II||2360||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.0||n||n|
|9.||Sony RX100 III||1440||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|14.||Sony RX100 II||optional||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The RX1 has one, while the ZV-1 does not. While the built-in flash of the RX1 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The ZV-1 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the RX1 does not have a selfie-screen.
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, the ZV-1 is one of those camera that have an additional 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).
The Sony ZV-1 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The ZV-1 is equipped with a zoom lens, while the RX1 comes with a built-in prime. The ZV-1 has a 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 optic and the RX1 offers a 35mm f/2.0 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the ZV-1 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 ZV-1 offers the faster maximum aperture.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the RX1 and the ZV-1 write their files to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The ZV-1 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the RX1 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 Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 and Sony Cyber-shot ZV-1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|3.||Canon G5 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark III||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|5.||Leica X Vario||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Sony RX100 VII||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|8.||Sony RX1R II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Sony RX100 III||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|14.||Sony RX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the ZV-1 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the RX1 does not provide wifi capability.
The ZV-1 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the RX1 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the RX1 was succeeded 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.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Sony RX1 or the Sony ZV-1 – 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.
Arguments in favor of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 20MP) with a 10% higher linear resolution.
- More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 922k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2012).
Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot ZV-1:
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (24 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- 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 (105x60mm vs 113x65mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 188g or 39 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- 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.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (71 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 7 years and 8 months of technical progress since the RX1 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the ZV-1 is the clear winner of the contest (18 : 6 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 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 RX1 and the Sony ZV-1 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 remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the RX1 or the ZV-1. 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 (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.
|1.||Sony RX1||5/5||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799|
|2.||Sony ZV-1||4/5||..||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||May 2020||799|
|3.||Canon G5 X Mark II||4/5||+||82/100||..||4/5||Jul 2019||899|
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark III||..||+ +||81/100||4/5||..||Jul 2019||749|
|5.||Leica X Vario||3/5||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jun 2013||2,850|
|6.||Nikon D5300||4/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||799|
|7.||Sony RX100 VII||4.5/5||..||..||4/5||5/5||Jul 2019||1,199|
|8.||Sony RX1R II||5/5||..||82/100||..||4.5/5||Oct 2015||3,299|
|9.||Sony RX100 III||5/5||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||799|
|10.||Sony A7||5/5||+ +||80/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,699|
|11.||Sony A7R||5/5||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||2,299|
|12.||Sony A3000||3/5||+||..||4/5||4/5||Aug 2013||329|
|13.||Sony RX1R||5/5||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||2,799|
|14.||Sony RX100 II||5/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||749|
|15.||Sony RX100||5/5||+ +||78/100||4/5||5/5||Jun 2012||649|
|16.||Sony NEX-7||5/5||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2011||1,349|
|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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date 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? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Sony RX1 vs Sony ZV-1
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 RX1||Sony ZV-1|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||35mm f/2.0||24-70mm f/1.8-2.8|
|Launch Date||September 2012||May 2020|
|Launch Price||USD 2,799||USD 799|
|Sensor Specs||Sony RX1||Sony ZV-1|
|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|
|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||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||125 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 102,400 ISO||80 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||BIONZ X||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||93||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||25.1||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||14.3||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||2534||..|
|Screen Specs||Sony RX1||Sony ZV-1|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||no viewfinder|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1229k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Sony RX1||Sony ZV-1|
|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||5 shutter flaps/s||24 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/32000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board 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 RX1||Sony ZV-1|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Sony RX1||Sony ZV-1|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||270 shots per charge||260 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
113 x 65 x 70 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 2.8 in)
105 x 60 x 44 mm
(4.1 x 2.4 x 1.7 in)
|Camera Weight||482 g (17.0 oz)||294 g (10.4 oz)|
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