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Sony RX10 III versus Sony RX100 IV

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 III and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in March 2016 and June 2015. Both the RX10 III and the RX100 IV 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 RX100 IV is provided 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 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 – the RX10 III – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Sony RX10 III vs Sony RX100 IV front
RX10 III versus RX100 IV top view
RX10 III and RX100 IV 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 RX100 IV is considerably smaller (53 percent) than the Sony RX10 III. Moreover, the RX100 IV is substantially lighter (72 percent) than the RX10 III. Cameras that are intended for semi-professional or professional use are sometimes a bit bulkier in order to provide them with the necessary ruggedness. It is worth mentioning in this context that the RX10 III is splash and dust resistant, while the RX100 IV does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

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) 5.2 in 3.7 in 5.0 in 37.1 oz 420 YES 2016 1,499discont. check
Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft) 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 280 no 2015 999discont. check
Canon G1 X Mark III (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.5 in 3.1 in 2.0 in 14.1 oz 200 YES 2017 1,299 latest check
Canon G3 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.8 in 3.0 in 4.1 in 25.9 oz 300 YES 2015 999 latest check
Nikon D7500 (⇒ lft | rgt) 5.4 in 4.1 in 2.9 in 25.4 oz 950 YES 2017 1,299 latest check
Panasonic ZS100 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 11.0 oz 300 no 2016 699 latest check
Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt) 5.4 in 3.9 in 5.2 in 29.3 oz 360 no 2014 899discont. check
Sony RX10 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) 5.2 in 3.7 in 5.7 in 38.6 oz 400 YES 2017 1,699 latest check
Sony A6300 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.9 in 14.3 oz 400 YES 2016 999discont. check
Sony A6500 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.7 in 2.6 in 2.1 in 16.0 oz 350 YES 2016 1,399 latest check
Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 220 no 2016 999 latest check
Sony RX10 II (⇒ lft | rgt) 5.1 in 3.5 in 4.0 in 28.7 oz 400 YES 2015 1,299discont. check
Sony RX100 III (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.2 oz 320 no 2014 799discont. check
Sony RX10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 5.1 in 3.5 in 4.0 in 28.7 oz 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 RX100 IV was launched at a markedly lower price (by 33 percent) than the RX10 III, 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

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the 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 RX100 IV 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 RX100 IV 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 RX100 IV, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

RX10 III versus RX100 IV MP
Sensor resolution

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most 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 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 RX100 IV (⇒ lft) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p 22.8 12.6 591 70
Canon G1 X Mark III (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p .. .. .. ..
Canon G3 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p 21.4 12.3 521 63
Nikon D7500 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 20.7 5568 3712 4K/30p 24.8 13.9 1192 86
Panasonic ZS100 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p 22.8 12.5 559 70
Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p 22.1 11.7 517 64
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 RX10 II (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p 23.0 12.6 531 70
Sony RX100 III (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p 22.4 12.3 495 67
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. 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 (4K/30p).

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The RX10 III and the RX100 IV 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Sony RX10 III and Sony RX100 IV in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

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 no
Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft) 2359 no 3.0 1228 tilting no 2000 16.0 10.2 no
Canon G1 X Mark III (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1040 swivel YES 2000 9.0 9 no
Canon G3 X (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.2 1620 tilting YES 2000 5.9 6.8 no
Nikon D7500 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.2 922 tilting YES 8000 8.0 12 no
Panasonic ZS100 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1166 no 3.0 1040 fixed YES 2000 10.0 YES YES
Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2359 no 3.0 921 swivel no 4000 12.0 13.5 no
Sony RX10 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) 2359 YES 3.0 1440 tilting YES 2000 24.0 10.8 no
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 no
Sony RX10 II (⇒ lft | rgt) 2359 YES 3.0 1229 tilting no 3200 14.0 10.2 no
Sony RX100 III (⇒ lft | rgt) 1440 no 3.0 1229 tilting no 2000 10.0 YES no
Sony RX10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1440 YES 3.0 1229 tilting no 3200 10.0 10.2 no

Both the RX10 III and the RX100 IV have zoom lenses build in. The RX10 III has a 24-600mm f/2.4-4.0 optic and the RX100 IV offers a 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the RX10 III and RX100 IV provide the same view at the wide-angle end, but the RX100 IV has less tele-photo reach at the long end. The RX100 IV offers the faster maximum aperture.

Both the RX10 III and the RX100 IV have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The RX100 IV was replaced by the Sony RX100 V, while the RX10 III was followed by the Sony RX10 IV.

Summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Sony RX10 III and the Sony RX10 III? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


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

  • Easier setting verification: Has an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (420 versus 280) on a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 9 months after the RX100 IV).

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

  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.3 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/1.8 vs f/2.4).
  • More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 133x94mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 753g or 72 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (33 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in March 2016).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX100 IV emerges as the winner of the match-up (6 : 4 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 04:06 RX100 IV

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 III or the RX100 IV. 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites. The detailed reviews can be accessed, respectively, on the websites of 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 RX100 IV (⇒ lft) HiRec 85/100 Gold 4/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2015 999discont. check
Canon G1 X Mark III (⇒ lft | rgt) .. .. .. .. .. 2017 1,299 latest check
Canon G3 X (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec - 4.5/5 3.5/5 4/5 2015 999 latest check
Nikon D7500 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 86/100 Silver 5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2017 1,299 latest check
Panasonic ZS100 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 82/100 Gold 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2016 699 latest check
Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 82/100 Gold 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2014 899discont. check
Sony RX10 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 84/100 Gold 4.5/5 .. .. 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 RX10 II (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 82/100 Gold 4.5/5 4.5/5 4/5 2015 1,299discont. check
Sony RX100 III (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 82/100 Gold 4.5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2014 799discont. 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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, 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 comparisons

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. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please contact me, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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