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Sony RX10 II versus Canon G3 X

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 II and the Canon PowerShot G3 X are two digital cameras that were officially introduced in June 2015. Both the RX10 II and the G3X are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with an one-inch sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 20 megapixel. 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 RX10 II vs Canon G3 X

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Sony RX10 II and the Canon G3 X is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the RX10 II – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Sony RX10 II vs Canon G3 X
Compare RX10 II versus G3X top
Compare RX10 II and G3X rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon G3 X is notably smaller (17 percent) than the Sony RX10 II. Moreover, the G3X is markedly lighter (10 percent) than the RX10 II. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

Concerning battery life, the RX10 II gets 400 shots out of its NP-FW50 battery, while the G3X can take 300 images on a single charge of its NB-10L power pack.

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 RX10 II» 5.1 in 3.5 in 4.0 in 28.7 oz 400 Y Jun 2015 1,299- i
Canon G3 X« 4.8 in 3.0 in 4.1 in 25.9 oz 300 Y Jun 2015 999 i i
Canon 80D« » 5.5 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 25.8 oz 960 Y Feb 2016 1,199 i i
Canon 7D II« » 5.9 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 32.1 oz 670 Y Sep 2014 1,799 i i
Canon 70D« » 5.5 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 26.6 oz 920 Y Jul 2013 1,199- i
Panasonic FZ2500« » 5.4 in 4.0 in 5.3 in 32.3 oz 350 n Sep 2016 1,199 i i
Panasonic FZ1000« » 5.4 in 3.9 in 5.2 in 29.3 oz 360 n Jun 2014 899- i
Sony A6300« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.9 in 14.3 oz 400 Y Feb 2016 999- i
Sony A6500« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 2.1 in 16.0 oz 350 Y Oct 2016 1,399 i i
Sony RX10 III« » 5.2 in 3.7 in 5.0 in 37.1 oz 420 Y Mar 2016 1,499- i
Sony RX100 V« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 220 n Oct 2016 999 i i
Sony RX100 IV« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 280 n Jun 2015 999- i
Sony RX100 III« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.2 oz 320 n May 2014 799- i
Sony RX10« » 5.1 in 3.5 in 4.0 in 28.7 oz 420 Y Oct 2013 1,299- 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 G3X was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 23 percent) than the RX10 II, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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 RX10 II vs Canon G3 X

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an one-inch sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.7. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Sony RX10 II and Canon G3 X sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 20 megapixel. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the RX10 II and the G3X have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. Moreover, the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation.

RX10 II versus G3X MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under review, the RX10 II has a notably higher overall DXO score than the G3X (overall score 7 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 1.6 bits higher color depth, 0.3 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0 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.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Sony RX10 II» 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p23.012.653170
Canon G3 X« 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.412.352163
Canon 80D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.2113579
Canon 7D II« » APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.411.8108270
Canon 70D« » APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p22.511.692668
Panasonic FZ2500« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----
Panasonic FZ1000« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.111.751764
Sony A6300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.413.7143785
Sony A6500« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.513.7140585
Sony RX10 III« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p23.112.647270
Sony RX100 V« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.458670
Sony RX100 IV« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170
Sony RX100 III« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.412.349567
Sony RX10« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.912.647469

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the RX10 II provides a higher video resolution than the G3X. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Sony RX10 II vs Canon G3 X

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the RX10 II has an electronic viewfinder (2359k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the G3X relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Sony RX10 II and Canon G3 X along with similar information for a selection of comparators. 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 RX10 II»2359 Y 3.0 1229 tilting n 3200 14.0 Y Y
Canon G3 X«- n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 2000 5.9 Y Y
Canon 80D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 7.0 Y n
Canon 7D II« »optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 8000 10.0 Y n
Canon 70D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 7.0 Y n
Panasonic FZ2500« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 12.0 Y Y
Panasonic FZ1000« »2359 n 3.0 921 swivel n 4000 12.0 Y Y
Sony A6300« »2300 n 3.0 922 tilting n 4000 11.0 Y n
Sony A6500« »2300 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 4000 11.0 Y Y
Sony RX10 III« »2359 Y 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 14.0 Y Y
Sony RX100 V« »2359 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 24.0 Y Y
Sony RX100 IV« »2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 2000 16.0 Y Y
Sony RX100 III« »1440 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 10.0 Y Y
Sony RX10« »1440 Y 3.0 1229 tilting n 3200 10.0 Y Y

Both the RX10 II and the G3X have zoom lenses build in. The RX10 II has a 24-200mm f/2.8-2.8 optic and the G3X offers a 24-600mm f/2.8-5.6 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Sony and Canon provide the same view at the wide-angle end, but the Canon has more tele-photo reach at the long end. Both cameras offer the same maximum aperture.

The G3X is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the RX10 II has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the RX10 II was succeeded by the Sony RX10 III.

Review summary: Sony RX10 II vs Canon G3 X

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Sony RX10 II better than the Canon G3 X or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Arguments in favor of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 II:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (7 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.6 bits more color depth).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • Easier setting verification: Has an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (3200/sec vs 2000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (14 vs 5.9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (400 versus 300) on a single battery charge.

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Advantages of the Canon PowerShot G3 X:

  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1620k vs 1229k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • More compact: Is smaller (123x77mm vs 129x88mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (23 percent cheaper at launch).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the RX10 II emerges as the winner of the contest (8 : 6 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.

RX10 II 08:06 G3X

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the RX10 II or the G3X. 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 following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews 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 RX10 II»HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Jun 2015 1,299- i
Canon G3 X«Rec-4.5/53.5/54/5 Jun 2015 999 i i
Canon 80D« »HiRec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 1,199 i i
Canon 7D II« »Rec84/1004/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 1,799 i i
Canon 70D« »HiRec83/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jul 2013 1,199- i
Panasonic FZ2500« »Rec82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Sep 2016 1,199 i i
Panasonic FZ1000« »HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 899- i
Sony A6300« »Rec85/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2016 999- i
Sony A6500« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Oct 2016 1,399 i i
Sony RX10 III« »Rec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2016 1,499- i
Sony RX100 V« »HiRec83/1004/55/54.5/5 Oct 2016 999 i i
Sony RX100 IV« »HiRec85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999- i
Sony RX100 III« »HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2014 799- i
Sony RX10« »Rec80/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,299- i

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. 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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please contact me, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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