Sony RX100 III versus Sony RX100 IV
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in May 2014 and June 2015. Both the RX100 III 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.
The physical size and weight of the Sony RX100 III and the Sony RX100 IV 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 dimensions 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 III – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).
In this particular case, the Sony RX100 III and the Sony RX100 IV have exactly the same width and height, and, thus, have identically-sized bodies. However, the RX100 IV is slightly heavier (3 percent) than the RX100 III. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the RX100 III 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 comparisons there.
|Camera Body Specifications
|Sony RX100 III (⇒ rgt)||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||290 g||320||no||2014||799||discont.||check|
|Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft)||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||no||2015||999||discont.||check|
|Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||112 mm||76 mm||44 mm||353 g||210||no||2015||799||latest||check|
|Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||no||2014||699||discont.||check|
|Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||831 g||360||no||2014||899||discont.||check|
|Ricoh GR II (⇒ lft | rgt)||117 mm||63 mm||35 mm||251 g||320||no||2015||699||discont.||check|
|Ricoh GR (⇒ lft | rgt)||117 mm||61 mm||35 mm||245 g||290||no||2013||799||discont.||check|
|Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt)||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||299 g||220||no||2016||999||latest||check|
|Sony A6000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||no||2014||599||discont.||check|
|Sony A5100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||283 g||400||no||2014||549||latest||check|
|Sony RX100 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||102 mm||58 mm||38 mm||281 g||350||no||2013||749||discont.||check|
|Sony RX100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||240 g||330||no||2012||649||discont.||check|
The listed 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 20 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies 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.
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 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) than the RX100 III, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar image quality. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Sony RX100 III (⇒ rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67|
|Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
|Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||-||-||-||-|
|Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.1||11.7||517||64|
|Ricoh GR II (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||13.7||1078||80|
|Ricoh GR (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||13.5||972||78|
|Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.4||586||70|
|Sony A6000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||13.1||1347||82|
|Sony A5100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.8||12.7||1347||80|
|Sony RX100 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.5||12.4||483||67|
|Sony RX100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.6||12.4||390||66|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the RX100 IV provides a better video resolution than the RX100 III. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the RX100 III is limited to 1080/60p.
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 RX100 IV offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the RX100 III (2359k vs 1440k dots). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Sony RX100 III 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.
|Sony RX100 III (⇒ rgt)||1440||no||3.0||1229||tilting||no||2000||10.0||YES||YES|
|Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft)||2359||no||3.0||1228||tilting||no||2000||16.0||10.2||YES|
|Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||2360||no||3.0||1040||swivel||YES||2000||5.9||7||YES|
|Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1040||tilting||YES||2000||6.5||7||YES|
|Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||2359||no||3.0||921||swivel||no||4000||12.0||13.5||YES|
|Ricoh GR II (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1230||fixed||no||4000||4.0||3||no|
|Ricoh GR (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1230||fixed||no||4000||4.0||5.4||no|
|Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt)||2359||no||3.0||1229||tilting||no||2000||24.0||10.2||YES|
|Sony A6000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1440||no||3.0||922||tilting||no||4000||11.0||6||no|
|Sony A5100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||922||tilting||YES||4000||6.0||4||no|
|Sony RX100 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1229||tilting||no||2000||10.0||15||YES|
|Sony RX100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1229||fixed||no||2000||10.0||YES||YES|
Both the RX100 III and the RX100 IV have zoom lenses build in. Both optics have identical focal length range and aperture specifications (8.8-25.7mm f/1.8-2.8). Both cameras offer the same maximum aperture.
Both the RX100 III and the RX100 IV have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The RX100 III was replaced by the Sony RX100 IV, while the RX100 IV was followed by the Sony RX100 V.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Sony RX100 III and the Sony RX100 III? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III:
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (320 versus 280) on a single battery charge.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (20 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in May 2014).
Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV:
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (2359k vs 1440k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (16 vs 10 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year) 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 III (4 : 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.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the RX100 III or the RX100 IV handle or perform in practice. 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. The full reviews are available, respectively, at cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.
|Sony RX100 III (⇒ rgt)||HiRec||82/100 Gold||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||2014||799||discont.||check|
|Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft)||HiRec||85/100 Gold||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2015||999||discont.||check|
|Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||78/100 Silver||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||2015||799||latest||check|
|Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||77/100 Silver||4.5/5||3.5/5||4.5/5||2014||699||discont.||check|
|Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||82/100 Gold||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2014||899||discont.||check|
|Ricoh GR II (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||-||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2015||699||discont.||check|
|Ricoh GR (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||79/100 Gold||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2013||799||discont.||check|
|Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||83/100 Silver||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||2016||999||latest||check|
|Sony A6000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||80/100 Gold||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||2014||599||discont.||check|
|Sony A5100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||-||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||2014||549||latest||check|
|Sony RX100 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||79/100 Silver||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2013||749||discont.||check|
|Sony RX100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||78/100 Silver||4/5||5/5||5/5||2012||649||discont.||check|
The above review scores should be interpreted 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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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