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Sony RX100 II vs RX100 III

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in June 2013 and May 2014. Both the RX100 II and the RX100 III are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with an one-inch sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 20 megapixels.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Sony RX100 II   Sony RX100 III
Sony RX100 II Sony RX100 III
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
28-100mm f/1.8-4.9 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8
20 MP, 1" Sensor 20 MP, 1" Sensor
1080/60p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-12800 (100-25600) ISO 100-12800 (80-25600)
Viewfinder optional Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)
3.0" LCD, 1229k dots 3.0" LCD, 1229k dots
Tilting screen (no touchscreen) Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
10 shutter flaps per second 10 shutter flaps per second
350 shots per battery charge320 shots per battery charge
102 x 58 x 38 mm, 281 g 102 x 58 x 41 mm, 290 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Sony RX100 II vs RX100 III

The physical size and weight of the Sony RX100 II and the Sony RX100 III are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Sony RX100 II vs Sony RX100 III
Compare RX100 II versus RX100 III top
Comparison RX100 II or RX100 III rear

In this particular case, the Sony RX100 II and the Sony RX100 III have exactly the same width and height, and, thus, have identically-sized bodies. However, the RX100 III is slightly heavier (3 percent) than the RX100 II. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the RX100 II nor the RX100 III are weather-sealed.

The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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
 
Sony RX100 III« 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.2 oz 320 n May 2014 799- i Sony RX100 III
 
Canon G5 X« » 4.4 in 3.0 in 1.7 in 12.5 oz 210 n Oct 2015 799 i i Canon G5 X
 
Canon G7 X« » 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.6 in 10.7 oz 210 n Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
 
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 A5000« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 420 n Jan 2014 449- i Sony A5000
 
Sony A5100« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 10.0 oz 400 n Aug 2014 549 i i Sony A5100
 
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
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 somewhat cheaper (by 6 percent) than the RX100 III at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Sony RX100 II vs RX100 III

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 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 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 RX100 II and Sony RX100 III sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 20 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the RX100 II and the RX100 III have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the RX100 III is a somewhat more recent model (by 10 months) than the RX100 II, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-25600.

RX100 II versus RX100 III MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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. The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. 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
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
 
Sony RX100 III« 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.412.349567Sony RX100 III
 
Canon G5 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p----Canon G5 X
 
Canon G7 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671Canon G7 X
 
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 A5000« » APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.813.0108979Sony A5000
 
Sony A5100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.7134780Sony A5100
 
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 are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. 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 RX100 II vs RX100 III

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the RX100 III has an electronic viewfinder (1440k 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Sony RX100 II, the Sony RX100 III, and comparable cameras.

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)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Sony RX100 II»- n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y Sony RX100 II
 
Sony RX100 III«1440 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y Sony RX100 III
 
Canon G5 X« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y Canon G5 X
 
Canon G7 X« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 6.5 Y Y Canon G7 X
 
Panasonic FZ1000« »2359 n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y Panasonic FZ1000
 
Ricoh GR« »- n 3.0 1230 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Ricoh GR
 
Sony RX100 V« »2359 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/2000s 24.0 Y Y Sony RX100 V
 
Sony RX100 IV« »2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 1/2000s 16.0 Y Y Sony RX100 IV
 
Sony A5000« »- n 3.0 461 tilting n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n Sony A5000
 
Sony A5100« »- n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n Sony A5100
 
Sony NEX-5R« »- n 3.0 920 tilting Y 1/4000s 10.0 n n Sony NEX-5R
 
Sony RX100« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y Sony RX100
The RX100 III has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the RX100 II does not have a selfie-screen.

Both the RX100 II and the RX100 III have zoom lenses built in. The RX100 II has a 28-100mm f/1.8-4.9 optic and the RX100 III offers a 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the RX100 III provides a wider angle of view at the short end than the RX100 II, but less tele-photo reach at the long end. Both cameras offer the same maximum aperture.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the RX100 II and the RX100 III write their files to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The RX100 III supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the RX100 II cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.

 

Connectivity comparison: Sony RX100 II vs RX100 III

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Sony RX100 II»Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony RX100 II
 
Sony RX100 III«-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony RX100 III
 
Canon G5 X« »Ystereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon G5 X
 
Canon G7 X« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon G7 X
 
Panasonic FZ1000« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-Panasonic FZ1000
 
Ricoh GR« »Ymonomono--micro2.0---Ricoh GR
 
Sony RX100 V« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony RX100 V
 
Sony RX100 IV« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony RX100 IV
 
Sony A5000« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony A5000
 
Sony A5100« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony A5100
 
Sony NEX-5R« »Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--Sony NEX-5R
 
Sony RX100« »-stereomono--micro2.0---Sony RX100

It is notable that the RX100 II has a hotshoe, while the RX100 III does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.

Both the RX100 II and the RX100 III have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The RX100 II was replaced by the Sony RX100 III, while the RX100 III was followed by the Sony RX100 IV. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Sony website.


Review summary: Sony RX100 II vs RX100 III

So how do things add up? Is the Sony RX100 II better than the Sony RX100 III or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


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

  • More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in June 2013).


Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III:

  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (10 months) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the RX100 III emerges as the winner of the match-up (5 : 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 before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

RX100 II 03:05 RX100 III

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Sony RX100 II and the Sony RX100 III place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the RX100 II and the RX100 III in practical situations. 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.

Expert reviews: Sony RX100 II vs RX100 III

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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»+ +79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jun 2013 749- i Sony RX100 II
 
Sony RX100 III«+ +82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2014 799- i Sony RX100 III
 
Canon G5 X« »+ +78/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 799 i i Canon G5 X
 
Canon G7 X« »+ +77/1004.5/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
 
Panasonic FZ1000« »+ +82/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 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« »+ +83/1004/55/54.5/5 Oct 2016 999 i i Sony RX100 V
 
Sony RX100 IV« »+ +85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV
 
Sony A5000« »+-4.5/5o4.5/5 Jan 2014 449- i Sony A5000
 
Sony A5100« »+-4.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 i i Sony A5100
 
Sony NEX-5R« »--4.5/5-4.5/5 Aug 2012 749- i Sony NEX-5R
 
Sony RX100« »+ +78/1004/55/55/5 Jun 2012 649- i Sony RX100
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Sony RX100 II:
Check Ebay offers
Sony RX100 III:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Sony RX100 II vs Sony RX100 III

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Sony RX100 II Sony RX100 III
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 28-100mm f/1.8-4.9 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8
    Launch Date June 2013 May 2014
    Launch Price USD 749 USD 799
    Sensor Specs Sony RX100 II Sony RX100 III
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS BSI-CMOS
    Sensor Format 1" Sensor 1" Sensor
    Sensor Size 13.2 x 8.8 mm 13.2 x 8.8 mm
    Sensor Area 116.16 mm2 116.16 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 15.9 mm 15.9 mm
    Crop Factor 2.7x 2.7x
    Sensor Resolution 20 Megapixels 20 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5472 x 3648 pixels 5472 x 3648 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 2.41 μm 2.41 μm
    Pixel Density 17.18 MP/cm2 17.18 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100-12800 ISO 100-12800 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-25600 ISO 80-25600 ISO
    Image Processor BIONZ X BIONZ X
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 67 67
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.5 22.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.4 12.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 483 495
    Screen Specs Sony RX100 II Sony RX100 III
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.22x
    Viewfinder Resolution 1440k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 1229k dots 1229k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Sony RX100 II Sony RX100 III
    Autofocus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/2000/s 1/2000/s
    Continuous Shooting 10 shutter flaps/s 10 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium MS or SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Sony RX100 II Sony RX100 III
    External Flash Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in NFC built-in
    Body Specs Sony RX100 II Sony RX100 III
    Battery Type NP-BX1 power pack NP-BX1 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)350 shots per charge320 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 102 x 58 x 38 mm
    (4.0 x 2.3 x 1.5 in)
    102 x 58 x 41 mm
    (4.0 x 2.3 x 1.6 in)
    Camera Weight 281 g (9.9 oz) 290 g (10.2 oz)

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