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Sony RX100 II versus Panasonic G9

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II and the Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in June 2013 and November 2017. The RX100 II is a fixed lens compact, while the G9 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an one-inch (RX100 II) and a Four Thirds (G9) sensor. The Sony has a resolution of 20 megapixel, whereas the Panasonic provides 20.2 MP. 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 RX100 II vs Panasonic G9

The physical size and weight of the Sony RX100 II and the Panasonic G9 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the RX100 II – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Sony RX100 II vs Panasonic G9
Compare RX100 II versus G9 top
Compare RX100 II and G9 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic G9 is considerably larger (125 percent) than the Sony RX100 II. It is noteworthy in this context that the G9 is splash and dust-proof, while the RX100 II does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX100 II has a lens build in, whereas the G9 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can find an overview of optics for the G9 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the RX100 II gets 350 shots out of its NP-BX1 battery, while the G9 can take 400 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLF19 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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)
Camera
Model
Sony RX100 II» 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 9.9 oz 350 n Jun 2013 749- i Sony RX100 II
Panasonic G9« 5.4 in 3.8 in 3.6 in 23.2 oz 400 Y Nov 2017 1,699 i i Panasonic G9
Canon G7 X« » 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.6 in 10.7 oz 210 n Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
Fujifilm X-H1« » 5.5 in 3.8 in 3.4 in 23.7 oz 310 Y Feb 2018 1,899 i i Fujifilm X-H1
Olympus E-M1 II« » 5.3 in 3.6 in 2.6 in 20.2 oz 440 Y Sep 2016 1,999 i i Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic GH5s« » 5.5 in 3.9 in 3.4 in 23.3 oz 440 Y Jan 2018 2,499 i i Panasonic GH5s
Panasonic GH5« » 5.5 in 3.9 in 3.4 in 25.6 oz 410 Y Jan 2017 1,999 i i Panasonic GH5
Panasonic G85« » 5.0 in 3.5 in 2.9 in 17.8 oz 330 Y Sep 2016 899 i i Panasonic G85
Panasonic FZ1000« » 5.4 in 3.9 in 5.2 in 29.3 oz 360 n Jun 2014 899- i Panasonic FZ1000
Ricoh GR« » 4.6 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 8.6 oz 290 n Apr 2013 799- i Ricoh GR
Sony RX100 V« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 220 n Oct 2016 999 i i Sony RX100 V
Sony RX100 IV« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 280 n Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV
Sony RX100 III« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.2 oz 320 n May 2014 799- i Sony RX100 III
Sony A5100« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 10.0 oz 400 n Aug 2014 549 i i Sony A5100
Sony A5000« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 420 n Jan 2014 449- i Sony A5000
Sony NEX-5R« » 4.4 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 9.7 oz 330 n Aug 2012 749- i Sony NEX-5R
Sony RX100« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.4 in 8.5 oz 330 n Jun 2012 649- i Sony RX100

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The RX100 II was launched at a lower price than the G9, despite having a lens build in. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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 RX100 II vs Panasonic G9

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Sony RX100 II features an one-inch sensor and the Panasonic G9 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the G9 is 94 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.7 and 2.0. The sensor in the RX100 II has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the G9 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Sony RX100 II and Panasonic G9 sensor measures

With 20.2MP, the G9 offers a higher resolution than the RX100 II (20MP), but the G9 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.34μm versus 2.41μm for the RX100 II) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the G9 is a much more recent model (by 4 years and 4 months) than the RX100 II, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the G9 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

Unlike the RX100 II, the G9 has the capacity to capture high quality composite images (80.6MP) by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).

RX100 II versus G9 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Sony RX100 II» 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.512.448367Sony RX100 II
Panasonic G9« Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p----Panasonic G9
Canon G7 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671Canon G7 X
Fujifilm X-H1« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p----Fujifilm X-H1
Olympus E-M1 II« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.712.8131280Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic GH5s« » Four Thirds 9.9 3680 27004K/60p----Panasonic GH5s
Panasonic GH5« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p23.913.080777Panasonic GH5
Panasonic G85« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p22.812.565671Panasonic G85
Panasonic FZ1000« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.111.751764Panasonic FZ1000
Ricoh GR« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.613.597278Ricoh GR
Sony RX100 V« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.458670Sony RX100 V
Sony RX100 IV« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170Sony RX100 IV
Sony RX100 III« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.412.349567Sony RX100 III
Sony A5100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.7134780Sony A5100
Sony A5000« » APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.813.0108979Sony A5000
Sony NEX-5R« » APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.713.191078Sony NEX-5R
Sony RX100« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.612.439066Sony RX100

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 G9 provides a better video resolution than the RX100 II. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/60p, while the Sony is limited to 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Sony RX100 II vs Panasonic G9

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the G9 has an electronic viewfinder (3680k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the RX100 II relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the RX100 II can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the FDA-EV1MK. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Sony RX100 II and Panasonic G9 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
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
Camera
Model
Sony RX100 II»- n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 10.0 Y Y Sony RX100 II
Panasonic G9«3680 Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 20.0 n Y Panasonic G9
Canon G7 X« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 2000 6.5 Y Y Canon G7 X
Fujifilm X-H1« »3690 Y 3.0 1040 full-flex Y 8000 14.0 n Y Fujifilm X-H1
Olympus E-M1 II« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 18.0 n Y Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic GH5s« »3680 n 3.2 1620 swivel Y 8000 12.0 n n Panasonic GH5s
Panasonic GH5« »3680 n 3.2 1620 swivel Y 8000 12.0 n Y Panasonic GH5
Panasonic G85« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 9.0 Y Y Panasonic G85
Panasonic FZ1000« »2359 n 3.0 921 swivel n 4000 12.0 Y Y Panasonic FZ1000
Ricoh GR« »- n 3.0 1230 fixed n 4000 4.0 Y n Ricoh GR
Sony RX100 V« »2359 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 24.0 Y Y Sony RX100 V
Sony RX100 IV« »2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 2000 16.0 Y Y Sony RX100 IV
Sony RX100 III« »1440 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 10.0 Y Y Sony RX100 III
Sony A5100« »- n 3.0 922 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n Sony A5100
Sony A5000« »- n 3.0 461 tilting n 4000 3.5 Y n Sony A5000
Sony NEX-5R« »- n 3.0 920 tilting Y 4000 10.0 n n Sony NEX-5R
Sony RX100« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 2000 10.0 Y Y Sony RX100

The reported shutter speed and shutter burst refer to the use of the mechanical shutter. In addition, the G9 features an electronic shutter, which makes silent shooting and higher burst speeds possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (flickering).

The G9 is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the RX100 II has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the RX100 II was succeeded by the Sony RX100 III.

Review summary: Sony RX100 II vs Panasonic G9

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Sony RX100 II and the Panasonic G9? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 1040k dots).
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens build-in, whereas the G9 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 137x97mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a build-in lens (unlike the G9).
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a build-in lens.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in June 2013).

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Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DC-G9:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
  • Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/60p vs 1080/60p).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • Easier setting verification: Has a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 2000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (20 vs 10 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (400 versus 350) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years and 4 months of technical progress since the RX100 II launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G9 is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 9 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.

RX100 II 09:15 G9

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 RX100 II or the G9. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Sony RX100 II»HiRec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jun 2013 749- i Sony RX100 II
Panasonic G9«HiRec85/1005/5-5/5 Nov 2017 1,699 i i Panasonic G9
Canon G7 X« »HiRec77/1004.5/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
Fujifilm X-H1« »Rec86/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Feb 2018 1,899 i i Fujifilm X-H1
Olympus E-M1 II« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2016 1,999 i i Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic GH5s« »-84/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Jan 2018 2,499 i i Panasonic GH5s
Panasonic GH5« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2017 1,999 i i Panasonic GH5
Panasonic G85« »HiRec84/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 899 i i Panasonic G85
Panasonic FZ1000« »HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 899- i Panasonic FZ1000
Ricoh GR« »-79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 799- i Ricoh GR
Sony RX100 V« »HiRec83/1004/55/54.5/5 Oct 2016 999 i i Sony RX100 V
Sony RX100 IV« »HiRec85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV
Sony RX100 III« »HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2014 799- i Sony RX100 III
Sony A5100« »Rec-4.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 i i Sony A5100
Sony A5000« »Rec-4.5/5rev4.5/5 Jan 2014 449- i Sony A5000
Sony NEX-5R« »--4.5/5-4.5/5 Aug 2012 749- i Sony NEX-5R
Sony RX100« »HiRec78/1004/55/55/5 Jun 2012 649- i Sony RX100

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

 

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. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If the camera you are interested in is not available, please send me an email, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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