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Sony RX10 versus Canon G3 X

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 and the Canon PowerShot G3 X are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in October 2013 and June 2015. Both the RX10 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 vs Canon G3 X

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Sony RX10 and the Canon G3 X is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size 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 side – the RX10 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Sony RX10 vs Canon G3 X
Compare RX10 versus G3X top
Compare RX10 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. Moreover, the G3X is markedly lighter (10 percent) than the RX10. 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 gets 420 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» 5.1 in 3.5 in 4.0 in 28.7 oz 420 Y Oct 2013 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
Nikon D7100« » 5.4 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 27.0 oz 950 Y Feb 2013 1,199- i
Panasonic FZ1000« » 5.4 in 3.9 in 5.2 in 29.3 oz 360 n Jun 2014 899- i
Pentax K-3« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 28.2 oz 560 Y Oct 2013 1,299- i
Sony RX10 III« » 5.2 in 3.7 in 5.0 in 37.1 oz 420 Y Mar 2016 1,499- i
Sony RX10 II« » 5.1 in 3.5 in 4.0 in 28.7 oz 400 Y Jun 2015 1,299- 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 RX100 II« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 9.9 oz 350 n Jun 2013 749- i
Sony RX100« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.4 in 8.5 oz 330 n Jun 2012 649- 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, 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 vs Canon G3 X

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have 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 tend 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 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 and the G3X have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the G3X is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 8 months) than the RX10, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

RX10 versus G3X 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 RX10 has a notably higher overall DXO score than the G3X (overall score 6 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 1.5 bits higher color depth, 0.3 EV in additional dynamic range, 0.1 stops of reduced low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Sony RX10» 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.912.647469
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
Nikon D7100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.213.7125683
Panasonic FZ1000« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.111.751764
Pentax K-3« » APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i23.713.4121680
Sony RX10 III« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p23.112.647270
Sony RX10 II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p23.012.653170
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 RX100 II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.512.448367
Sony RX100« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.612.439066

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

 

Feature comparison: Sony RX10 vs Canon G3 X

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the RX10 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k 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 and Canon G3 X along with similar information for a selection of comparators. 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
(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»1440 Y 3.0 1229 tilting n 3200 10.0 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
Nikon D7100« »optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n
Panasonic FZ1000« »2359 n 3.0 921 swivel n 4000 12.0 Y Y
Pentax K-3« »optical Y 3.2 1037 fixed n 8000 8.3 Y Y
Sony RX10 III« »2359 Y 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 14.0 Y Y
Sony RX10 II« »2359 Y 3.0 1229 tilting n 3200 14.0 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 RX100 II« »- n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 10.0 Y Y
Sony RX100« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 2000 10.0 Y Y

Both the RX10 and the G3X have zoom lenses build in. The RX10 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 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the RX10 was succeeded by the Sony RX10 II.

Review summary: Sony RX10 vs Canon G3 X

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Sony RX10 or the Canon G3 X – has the upper hand? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (6 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.5 bits more color depth).
  • 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 (10 vs 5.9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (420 versus 300) on a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in October 2013).

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Arguments in favor 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).
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 8 months) more recently.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX10 comes out slightly ahead of the G3X (8 : 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.

RX10 08:07 G3X

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the RX10 and the G3X in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased. 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»Rec80/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 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
Nikon D7100« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2013 1,199- i
Panasonic FZ1000« »HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 899- i
Pentax K-3« »-83/1005/54.5/55/5 Oct 2013 1,299- i
Sony RX10 III« »Rec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2016 1,499- i
Sony RX10 II« »HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Jun 2015 1,299- 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 RX100 II« »HiRec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jun 2013 749- i
Sony RX100« »HiRec78/1004/55/55/5 Jun 2012 649- i

The review scores listed above should be treated 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 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, kindly get in touch, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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