Sony RX100 IV versus Panasonic GX1
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in June 2015 and November 2011. The RX100 IV is a fixed lens compact, while the GX1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an one-inch (RX100 IV) and a Four Thirds (GX1) sensor. The Sony has a resolution of 20 megapixel, whereas the Panasonic provides 15.8 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 IV vs Panasonic GX1
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Sony RX100 IV and the Panasonic GX1 is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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 IV – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GX1 is notably larger (33 percent) than the Sony RX100 IV. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the RX100 IV nor the GX1 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX100 IV has a lens build in, whereas the GX1 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 GX1 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
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
|Sony RX100 IV (⇒ rgt)||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||no||2015||999||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GX1 (⇒ lft)||116 mm||68 mm||39 mm||318 g||320||no||2011||949||discont.||check|
|Canon G3 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||123 mm||77 mm||105 mm||733 g||300||YES||2015||999||latest||check|
|Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||no||2014||699||discont.||check|
|Panasonic ZS100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||111 mm||65 mm||44 mm||312 g||300||no||2016||699||discont.||check|
|Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||831 g||360||no||2014||899||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GF6 (⇒ lft | rgt)||111 mm||65 mm||38 mm||323 g||340||no||2013||499||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GX7 (⇒ lft | rgt)||123 mm||71 mm||55 mm||402 g||350||no||2013||999||discont.||check|
|Panasonic G3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||115 mm||84 mm||47 mm||336 g||270||no||2011||599||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GH2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||124 mm||90 mm||76 mm||442 g||330||no||2010||1,499||discont.||check|
|Panasonic G10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||388 g||380||no||2010||499||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 RX100 III (⇒ lft | rgt)||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||290 g||320||no||2014||799||discont.||check|
|Sony A5100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||283 g||400||no||2014||549||latest||check|
|Sony A5000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||269 g||420||no||2014||449||discont.||check|
|Sony RX100 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||102 mm||58 mm||38 mm||281 g||350||no||2013||749||discont.||check|
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. 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 IV vs Panasonic GX1
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Sony RX100 IV features an one-inch sensor and the Panasonic GX1 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the GX1 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 IV has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the GX1 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Sony RX100 IV offers a higher resolution of 20 megapixel, compared with 15.8 MP of the Panasonic GX1. This megapixel advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 2.41μm versus 3.77μm for the GX1). However, it should be noted that the RX100 IV is much more recent (by 3 years and 7 months) than the GX1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. 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"). Of the two cameras under review, the RX100 IV provides substantially higher image quality than the GX1, with an overall score that is 15 points higher. This advantage is based on 2 bits higher color depth, 2 EV in additional dynamic range, 0.3 stops of reduced low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Sony RX100 IV (⇒ rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
|Panasonic GX1 (⇒ lft)||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||20.8||10.6||703||55|
|Canon G3 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.4||12.3||521||63|
|Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|Panasonic ZS100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.5||559||70|
|Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.1||11.7||517||64|
|Panasonic GF6 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||20.7||10.6||622||54|
|Panasonic GX7 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||22.6||12.2||718||70|
|Panasonic G3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||21||10.6||667||56|
|Panasonic GH2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||21.2||11.3||655||60|
|Panasonic G10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52|
|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 RX100 III (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67|
|Sony A5100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.8||12.7||1347||80|
|Sony A5000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||19.8||5456||3632||1080/60i||23.8||13.0||1089||79|
|Sony RX100 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.5||12.4||483||67|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the RX100 IV provides a higher video resolution than the GX1. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Panasonic is limited to 1080/60p.
Feature comparison: Sony RX100 IV vs Panasonic GX1
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 GX1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Sony RX100 IV, the Panasonic GX1, and comparable cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.
|Sony RX100 IV (⇒ rgt)||2359||no||3.0||1228||tilting||no||2000||16.0||10.2||YES|
|Panasonic GX1 (⇒ lft)||no||no||3.0||460||fixed||YES||4000||4.2||7.6||no|
|Canon G3 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.2||1620||tilting||YES||2000||5.9||6.8||YES|
|Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1040||tilting||YES||2000||6.5||7||YES|
|Panasonic ZS100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1166||no||3.0||1040||fixed||YES||2000||10.0||YES||YES|
|Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||2359||no||3.0||921||swivel||no||4000||12.0||13.5||YES|
|Panasonic GF6 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1040||tilting||YES||4000||4.2||6.3||no|
|Panasonic GX7 (⇒ lft | rgt)||2760||no||3.0||1040||tilting||YES||8000||5.0||7||YES|
|Panasonic G3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1440||no||3.0||460||swivel||YES||4000||4.0||11||no|
|Panasonic GH2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1534||no||3.0||460||swivel||no||4000||3.0||15.6||no|
|Panasonic G10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||202||no||3.0||460||fixed||no||4000||2.6||11||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 RX100 III (⇒ lft | rgt)||1440||no||3.0||1229||tilting||no||2000||10.0||YES||YES|
|Sony A5100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||922||tilting||YES||4000||6.0||4||no|
|Sony A5000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||461||tilting||no||4000||3.5||4||no|
|Sony RX100 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1229||tilting||no||2000||10.0||15||YES|
Both the RX100 IV and the GX1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The GX1 was replaced by the Panasonic GX7, while the RX100 IV was followed by the Sony RX100 V.
Review summary: Sony RX100 IV vs Panasonic GX1
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Sony RX100 IV or the Panasonic GX1 – has the upper hand? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (20 vs 15.8MP) with a 15% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (15 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (2 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (2 EV of extra DR).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1228k vs 460k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (16 vs 4.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens build-in, whereas the GX1 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 116x68mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a build-in lens (unlike the GX1).
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization build-in.
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 7 months of technical progress since the GX1 launch.
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1:
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (4000/sec vs 2000/sec) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (320 versus 280) out of a single battery charge.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in November 2011).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX100 IV is the clear winner of the match-up (14 : 5 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.
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 IV and the GX1 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. This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites. You can find the full text of the reviews, respectively, at cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.
|Sony RX100 IV (⇒ rgt)||HiRec||85/100 Gold||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2015||999||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GX1 (⇒ lft)||85/100 Rec||77/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2011||949||discont.||check|
|Canon G3 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||-||4.5/5||3.5/5||4/5||2015||999||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 ZS100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||82/100 Gold||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||2016||699||discont.||check|
|Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||82/100 Gold||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2014||899||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GF6 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||-||4.5/5||-||4.5/5||2013||499||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GX7 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||79/100 Silver||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||2013||999||discont.||check|
|Panasonic G3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||88/100 HiRec||75/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||2011||599||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GH2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||86/100 HiRec||79/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||2010||1,499||discont.||check|
|Panasonic G10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||70/100||4/5||-||4/5||2010||499||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 RX100 III (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||82/100 Gold||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||2014||799||discont.||check|
|Sony A5100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||-||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||2014||549||latest||check|
|Sony A5000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||-||4.5/5||reviewed||4.5/5||2014||449||discont.||check|
|Sony RX100 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||79/100 Silver||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2013||749||discont.||check|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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 you cannot find the camera you are interested in, kindly get in touch, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.
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