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Sony RX100 II versus Sony RX100 IV

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in June 2013 and June 2015. Both the RX100 II 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. 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 Sony RX100 IV

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Sony RX100 II and the Sony RX100 IV. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. 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 – the RX100 II – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Sony RX100 II vs Sony RX100 IV
Compare RX100 II versus RX100 IV top
Compare RX100 II and RX100 IV rear

In this particular case, the Sony RX100 II and the Sony RX100 IV have exactly the same width and height, and, thus, have identically-sized bodies. However, the RX100 IV is markedly heavier (6 percent) than the RX100 II. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the RX100 II nor the RX100 IV are weather-sealed.

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 RX100 II» 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 9.9 oz 350 n Jun 2013 749- i
Sony RX100 IV« 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 280 n Jun 2015 999- i
Canon G7 X« » 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.6 in 10.7 oz 210 n Sep 2014 699- i
Panasonic FZ1000« » 5.4 in 3.9 in 5.2 in 29.3 oz 360 n Jun 2014 899- i
Ricoh GR« » 4.6 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 8.6 oz 290 n Apr 2013 799- i
Sony RX100 V« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 220 n Oct 2016 999 i i
Sony A6000« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.8 in 12.1 oz 360 n Feb 2014 599- i
Sony RX100 III« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.2 oz 320 n May 2014 799- i
Sony A5100« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 10.0 oz 400 n Aug 2014 549 i i
Sony A5000« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 420 n Jan 2014 449- i
Sony NEX-5R« » 4.4 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 9.7 oz 330 n Aug 2012 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 RX100 II was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 25 percent) than the RX100 IV, 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 RX100 II vs Sony RX100 IV

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 tend to be more expensive and 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 IV 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 RX100 II and the RX100 IV have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the RX100 IV is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 11 months) than the RX100 II, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

RX100 II versus RX100 IV 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 image quality. 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 RX100 II» 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.512.448367
Sony RX100 IV« 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170
Canon G7 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671
Panasonic FZ1000« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.111.751764
Ricoh GR« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.613.597278
Sony RX100 V« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.458670
Sony A6000« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782
Sony RX100 III« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.412.349567
Sony A5100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.7134780
Sony A5000« » APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.813.0108979
Sony NEX-5R« » APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.713.191078
Sony RX100« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.612.439066

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the RX100 IV provides a better video resolution than the RX100 II. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the RX100 II is limited to 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Sony RX100 II vs Sony RX100 IV

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the RX100 IV has an electronic viewfinder (2359k 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. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Sony RX100 II and Sony RX100 IV along with similar information for a selection of comparators. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

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 RX100 II»- n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 10.0 Y Y
Sony RX100 IV«2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 2000 16.0 Y Y
Canon G7 X« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 2000 6.5 Y Y
Panasonic FZ1000« »2359 n 3.0 921 swivel n 4000 12.0 Y Y
Ricoh GR« »- n 3.0 1230 fixed n 4000 4.0 Y n
Sony RX100 V« »2359 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 24.0 Y Y
Sony A6000« »1440 n 3.0 922 tilting n 4000 11.0 Y n
Sony RX100 III« »1440 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 10.0 Y Y
Sony A5100« »- n 3.0 922 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n
Sony A5000« »- n 3.0 461 tilting n 4000 3.5 Y n
Sony NEX-5R« »- n 3.0 920 tilting Y 4000 10.0 n n
Sony RX100« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 2000 10.0 Y Y

Both the RX100 II and the RX100 IV have zoom lenses build in. The RX100 II has a 28-100mm f/1.8-4.9 optic and the RX100 IV offers a 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the RX100 IV 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.

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

Review summary: Sony RX100 II vs Sony RX100 IV

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Sony RX100 II or the Sony RX100 IV – has the upper hand? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


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.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (350 versus 280) on a single battery charge.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (25 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in June 2013).


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

  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (16 vs 10 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 11 months) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the RX100 IV comes out slightly ahead of the RX100 II (5 : 4 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 04:05 RX100 IV

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the RX100 II or the RX100 IV. 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). The detailed reviews can be accessed 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 RX100 II»HiRec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jun 2013 749- i
Sony RX100 IV«HiRec85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999- i
Canon G7 X« »HiRec77/1004.5/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699- i
Panasonic FZ1000« »HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 899- i
Ricoh GR« »-79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 799- i
Sony RX100 V« »HiRec83/1004/55/54.5/5 Oct 2016 999 i i
Sony A6000« »Rec80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2014 599- i
Sony RX100 III« »HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2014 799- i
Sony A5100« »Rec-4.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 i i
Sony A5000« »Rec-4.5/5rev4.5/5 Jan 2014 449- i
Sony NEX-5R« »--4.5/5-4.5/5 Aug 2012 749- i
Sony RX100« »HiRec78/1004/55/55/5 Jun 2012 649- i

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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, 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 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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