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Sony RX10 III versus Sony RX10 II

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 III and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 II are two enthusiast cameras that were announced, respectively, in March 2016 and June 2015. Both the RX10 III and the RX10 II are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with an one-inch sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 20 megapixel.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Sony RX10 III and the Sony RX10 II 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 toggle the display 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 side – the RX10 III – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Sony RX10 III vs Sony RX10 II front
RX10 III versus RX10 II top view
RX10 III and RX10 II rear side
Body view (RX10 III on the left)

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony RX10 II is somewhat smaller (9 percent) than the Sony RX10 III. Moreover, the RX10 II is markedly lighter (23 percent) than the RX10 III. 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.

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 comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
Camera Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(y/n)
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Sony RX10 III (⇒ rgt) 133 mm 94 mm 127 mm 1051 g 420 YES 2016 1,499discont. check
Sony RX10 II (⇒ lft) 129 mm 88 mm 102 mm 813 g 400 YES 2015 1,299discont. check
Canon G1 X Mark III (⇒ lft | rgt) 115 mm 78 mm 51 mm 399 g 200 YES 2017 1,299 latest check
Canon 80D (⇒ lft | rgt) 139 mm 105 mm 79 mm 730 g 960 YES 2016 1,199 latest check
Canon G3 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 123 mm 77 mm 105 mm 733 g 300 YES 2015 999 latest check
Nikon D500 (⇒ lft | rgt) 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 860 g 1240 YES 2016 1,999 latest check
Sony RX10 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) 133 mm 94 mm 145 mm 1095 g 400 YES 2017 1,699 latest check
Sony A6300 (⇒ lft | rgt) 120 mm 67 mm 49 mm 404 g 400 YES 2016 999discont. check
Sony A6500 (⇒ lft | rgt) 120 mm 67 mm 53 mm 453 g 350 YES 2016 1,399 latest check
Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt) 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 299 g 220 no 2016 999 latest check
Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 298 g 280 no 2015 999discont. check
Sony RX10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 129 mm 88 mm 102 mm 813 g 420 YES 2013 1,299discont. check

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The RX10 II was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 13 percent) than the RX10 III, 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

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 are more costly to manufacture and tent to lead to bigger and heavier cameras 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 III and Sony RX10 II sensor measures
Sensor size

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 III and the RX10 II have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the RX10 III is a somewhat more recent model (by 9 months) than the RX10 II, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

RX10 III versus RX10 II MP
Sensor resolution

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar image quality. 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
(Megapixel)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Sony RX10 III (⇒ rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p 23.1 12.6 472 70
Sony RX10 II (⇒ lft) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p 23.0 12.6 531 70
Canon G1 X Mark III (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p .. .. .. ..
Canon 80D (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 23.6 13.2 1135 79
Canon G3 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p 21.4 12.3 521 63
Nikon D500 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 20.7 5568 3712 4K/30p 24.0 14.0 1324 83
Sony RX10 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p .. .. .. ..
Sony A6300 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 4K/30p 24.4 13.7 1437 85
Sony A6500 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 4K/30p 24.5 13.7 1405 85
Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p 22.8 12.4 586 70
Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p 22.8 12.6 591 70
Sony RX10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p 22.9 12.6 474 69

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The RX10 III and the RX10 II are similar in the sense that both feature an electronic viewfinder, which is helpful when framing images in bright sunlight. Moreover, their viewfinders offer an identical resolution of 2359k dots. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Sony RX10 III, the Sony RX10 II, and comparable cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

Core Features
Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(Y/n)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(Y/n)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(GN)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Sony RX10 III (⇒ rgt) 2359 YES 3.0 1229 tilting no 2000 14.0 10.8 YES
Sony RX10 II (⇒ lft) 2359 YES 3.0 1229 tilting no 3200 14.0 10.2 YES
Canon G1 X Mark III (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1040 swivel YES 2000 9.0 9 YES
Canon 80D (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.0 1040 swivel YES 8000 7.0 12 no
Canon G3 X (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.2 1620 tilting YES 2000 5.9 6.8 YES
Nikon D500 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.2 2359 tilting YES 8000 10.0 no no
Sony RX10 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) 2359 YES 3.0 1440 tilting YES 2000 24.0 10.8 YES
Sony A6300 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2300 no 3.0 922 tilting no 4000 11.0 6 no
Sony A6500 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2300 no 3.0 922 tilting YES 4000 11.0 6 YES
Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt) 2359 no 3.0 1229 tilting no 2000 24.0 10.2 YES
Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) 2359 no 3.0 1228 tilting no 2000 16.0 10.2 YES
Sony RX10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1440 YES 3.0 1229 tilting no 3200 10.0 10.2 YES

Both the RX10 III and the RX10 II have zoom lenses build in. The RX10 III has a 24-600mm f/2.4-4.0 optic and the RX10 II offers a 24-200mm f/2.8-2.8 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the RX10 III and RX10 II provide the same view at the wide-angle end, but the RX10 II has less tele-photo reach at the long end. The RX10 III offers the faster maximum aperture.

Both the RX10 III and the RX10 II have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The RX10 II was replaced by the Sony RX10 III, while the RX10 III was followed by the Sony RX10 IV.

Summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Sony RX10 III or the Sony RX10 II – has the upper hand? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


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

  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.4 vs f/2.8).
  • More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 9 months after the RX10 II).

Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 II:

  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (3200/sec vs 2000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 238g or 23 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (13 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in June 2015).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the RX10 II comes out slightly ahead of the RX10 III (4 : 3 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features.

RX10 III 03:04 RX10 II

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the RX10 III or the RX10 II handle or perform in practice. 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 following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites. You can find the full text of the reviews, respectively, at cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.

Review scores
Camera camera
labs
dp
review
ephoto
zine
imaging
resource
photography
blog
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Sony RX10 III (⇒ rgt) Rec 84/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2016 1,499discont. check
Sony RX10 II (⇒ lft) HiRec 82/100 Gold 4.5/5 4.5/5 4/5 2015 1,299discont. check
Canon G1 X Mark III (⇒ lft | rgt) .. 79/100 4.5/5 .. 4.5/5 2017 1,299 latest check
Canon 80D (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 84/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2016 1,199 latest check
Canon G3 X (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec - 4.5/5 3.5/5 4/5 2015 999 latest check
Nikon D500 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 91/100 Gold 4.5/5 5/5 5/5 2016 1,999 latest check
Sony RX10 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 84/100 Gold 4.5/5 .. 5/5 2017 1,699 latest check
Sony A6300 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 85/100 Gold 5/5 5/5 5/5 2016 999discont. check
Sony A6500 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 85/100 Silver 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2016 1,399 latest check
Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 83/100 Silver 4/5 5/5 4.5/5 2016 999 latest check
Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 85/100 Gold 4/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2015 999discont. check
Sony RX10 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 80/100 Gold 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2013 1,299discont. check

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Other comparisons

In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please contact me, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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