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Sony RX100 III versus Panasonic FZ1000

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in May 2014 and June 2014. Both the RX100 III and the FZ1000 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 III vs Panasonic FZ1000

The physical size and weight of the Sony RX100 III and the Panasonic FZ1000 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. 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. 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 III – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Sony RX100 III vs Panasonic FZ1000
Compare RX100 III versus FZ1000 top
Compare RX100 III and FZ1000 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic FZ1000 is considerably larger (129 percent) than the Sony RX100 III. Moreover, the FZ1000 is substantially heavier (187 percent) than the RX100 III. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the RX100 III nor the FZ1000 are weather-sealed.

Concerning battery life, the RX100 III gets 320 shots out of its NP-BX1 battery, while the FZ1000 can take 360 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLC12 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 RX100 III» 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.2 oz 320 n May 2014 799- i
Panasonic FZ1000« 5.4 in 3.9 in 5.2 in 29.3 oz 360 n Jun 2014 899- i
Canon G5 X« » 4.4 in 3.0 in 1.7 in 12.5 oz 210 n Oct 2015 799 i i
Canon G7 X« » 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.6 in 10.7 oz 210 n Sep 2014 699- i
Panasonic FZ2500« » 5.4 in 4.0 in 5.3 in 32.3 oz 350 n Sep 2016 1,199 i i
Panasonic LX100« » 4.5 in 2.6 in 2.2 in 13.9 oz 300 n Sep 2014 899 i i
Ricoh GR II« » 4.6 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 8.9 oz 320 n Jun 2015 699- 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 RX100 IV« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 280 n Jun 2015 999- i
Sony A5100« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 10.0 oz 400 n Aug 2014 549 i 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 RX100 III was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 11 percent) than the FZ1000, 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 III vs Panasonic FZ1000

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 III and Panasonic FZ1000 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 III and the FZ1000 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. Moreover, the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation.

RX100 III versus FZ1000 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 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 Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Sony RX100 III» 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.412.349567
Panasonic FZ1000« 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.111.751764
Canon G5 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p----
Canon G7 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671
Panasonic FZ2500« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----
Panasonic LX100« » Four Thirds 12.7 4112 30884K/30p22.312.555367
Ricoh GR II« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.613.7107880
Ricoh GR« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.613.597278
Sony RX100 V« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.458670
Sony RX100 IV« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170
Sony A5100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.7134780
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 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, but the FZ1000 provides a better video resolution than the RX100 III. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Sony is limited to 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Sony RX100 III vs Panasonic FZ1000

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under review are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the FZ1000 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the RX100 III (2359k vs 1440k dots). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Sony RX100 III and Panasonic FZ1000 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. 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 RX100 III»1440 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 10.0 Y Y
Panasonic FZ1000«2359 n 3.0 921 swivel n 4000 12.0 Y Y
Canon G5 X« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 2000 5.9 Y Y
Canon G7 X« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 2000 6.5 Y Y
Panasonic FZ2500« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 12.0 Y Y
Panasonic LX100« »2764 n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 11.0 n Y
Ricoh GR II« »- n 3.0 1230 fixed n 4000 4.0 Y n
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 RX100 IV« »2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 2000 16.0 Y Y
Sony A5100« »- n 3.0 922 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n
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 RX100 III and the FZ1000 have zoom lenses build in. The RX100 III has a 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 optic and the FZ1000 offers a 25-400mm f/2.8-4.0 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Sony provides a wider angle of view at the short end than the Panasonic, but less tele-photo reach at the long end. The RX100 III offers the faster maximum aperture.

Both the RX100 III and the FZ1000 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The RX100 III was replaced by the Sony RX100 IV, while the FZ1000 was followed by the Panasonic FZ2500.

Review summary: Sony RX100 III vs Panasonic FZ1000

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Sony RX100 III and the Panasonic FZ1000? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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

  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.6 EV of extra DR).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 921k dots).
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/1.8 vs f/2.8).
  • Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
  • More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 137x99mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 541g or 65 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (11 percent cheaper at launch).

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Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000:

  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
  • More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (2359k vs 1440k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (4000/sec vs 2000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12 vs 10 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (360 versus 320) out of a single battery charge.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the match-up finishes in a tie (7 points each). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera.

RX100 III 07:07 FZ1000

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the RX100 III and the FZ1000 in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is where reviews by experts come in. 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 III»HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2014 799- i
Panasonic FZ1000«HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 899- i
Canon G5 X« »HiRec78/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 799 i i
Canon G7 X« »HiRec77/1004.5/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699- i
Panasonic FZ2500« »Rec82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Sep 2016 1,199 i i
Panasonic LX100« »HiRec85/1005/54/55/5 Sep 2014 899 i i
Ricoh GR II« »--4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 699- 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 RX100 IV« »HiRec85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999- i
Sony A5100« »Rec-4.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 i 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 above review scores should be interpreted with care, 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. 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 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. If the camera you are interested in is not available, please contact me, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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