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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. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. 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).

Compare Sony RX100 IV vs Panasonic GX1
Compare RX100 IV versus GX1 top
Compare RX100 IV and GX1 rear

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.

Concerning battery life, the RX100 IV gets 280 shots out of its NP-BX1 battery, while the GX1 can take 320 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLD10 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras 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)
Camera
Model
Sony RX100 IV» 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 280 n Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV
Panasonic GX1« 4.6 in 2.7 in 1.5 in 11.2 oz 320 n Nov 2011 949- i Panasonic GX1
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 ZS100« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 11.0 oz 300 n Jan 2016 699- i Panasonic ZS100
Panasonic FZ1000« » 5.4 in 3.9 in 5.2 in 29.3 oz 360 n Jun 2014 899- i Panasonic FZ1000
Panasonic GF6« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 11.4 oz 340 n Apr 2013 499- i Panasonic GF6
Panasonic GX7« » 4.8 in 2.8 in 2.2 in 14.2 oz 350 n Aug 2013 999- i Panasonic GX7
Panasonic G3« » 4.5 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 11.9 oz 270 n May 2011 599- i Panasonic G3
Panasonic GH2« » 4.9 in 3.5 in 3.0 in 15.6 oz 330 n Sep 2010 1,499- i Panasonic GH2
Panasonic G10« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 13.7 oz 380 n Mar 2010 499- i Panasonic G10
Sony RX100 VI« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.7 in 10.6 oz 240 n Jun 2018 1,199 i i Sony RX100 VI
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 A6000« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.8 in 12.1 oz 360 n Feb 2014 599- i Sony A6000
Sony RX100 III« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.2 oz 320 n May 2014 799- i Sony RX100 III
Sony A5100« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 10.0 oz 400 n Aug 2014 549 i i Sony A5100
Sony A5000« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 420 n Jan 2014 449- i Sony A5000
Sony RX100 II« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 9.9 oz 350 n Jun 2013 749- i Sony RX100 II

The camera’s price is obviously a critical decision-making factor. 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.

Sony RX100 IV and Panasonic GX1 sensor measures

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.

RX100 IV versus GX1 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many 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.

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 IV» 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170Sony RX100 IV
Panasonic GX1« Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p20.810.670355Panasonic GX1
Canon G7 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671Canon G7 X
Panasonic ZS100« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.555970Panasonic ZS100
Panasonic FZ1000« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.111.751764Panasonic FZ1000
Panasonic GF6« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i20.710.662254Panasonic GF6
Panasonic GX7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.612.271870Panasonic GX7
Panasonic G3« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756Panasonic G3
Panasonic GH2« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i21.211.365560Panasonic GH2
Panasonic G10« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152Panasonic G10
Sony RX100 VI« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----Sony RX100 VI
Sony RX100 V« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.458670Sony RX100 V
Sony A6000« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782Sony A6000
Sony RX100 III« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.412.349567Sony RX100 III
Sony A5100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.7134780Sony A5100
Sony A5000« » APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.813.0108979Sony A5000
Sony RX100 II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.512.448367Sony RX100 II

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. That said, the GX1 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the DMW-LVF2. 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.

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)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Sony RX100 IV»2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 2000 16.0 Y Y Sony RX100 IV
Panasonic GX1«- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 4000 4.2 Y n Panasonic GX1
Canon G7 X« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 2000 6.5 Y Y Canon G7 X
Panasonic ZS100« »1166 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 2000 10.0 Y Y Panasonic ZS100
Panasonic FZ1000« »2359 n 3.0 921 swivel n 4000 12.0 Y Y Panasonic FZ1000
Panasonic GF6« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.2 Y n Panasonic GF6
Panasonic GX7« »2760 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 8000 5.0 Y Y Panasonic GX7
Panasonic G3« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 4000 4.0 Y n Panasonic G3
Panasonic GH2« »1534 n 3.0 460 swivel n 4000 3.0 Y n Panasonic GH2
Panasonic G10« »202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 2.6 Y n Panasonic G10
Sony RX100 VI« »2359 n 3.0 1229 tilting Y 2000 24.0 Y Y Sony RX100 VI
Sony RX100 V« »2359 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 24.0 Y Y Sony RX100 V
Sony A6000« »1440 n 3.0 922 tilting n 4000 11.0 Y n Sony A6000
Sony RX100 III« »1440 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 10.0 Y Y Sony RX100 III
Sony A5100« »- n 3.0 922 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n Sony A5100
Sony A5000« »- n 3.0 461 tilting n 4000 3.5 Y n Sony A5000
Sony RX100 II« »- n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 10.0 Y Y Sony RX100 II

The reported shutter speed and shutter burst refer to the use of the mechanical shutter. In addition, the RX100 IV features an electronic shutter, which makes silent shooting and higher burst speeds possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (flickering).

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 IV.

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.

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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.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • 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.

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Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1:

  • More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
  • 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 (15 : 6 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.

RX100 IV 15:06 GX1

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 (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

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 IV»HiRec85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV
Panasonic GX1«Rec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2011 949- i Panasonic GX1
Canon G7 X« »HiRec77/1004.5/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
Panasonic ZS100« »HiRec82/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2016 699- i Panasonic ZS100
Panasonic FZ1000« »HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 899- i Panasonic FZ1000
Panasonic GF6« »HiRec-4.5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 499- i Panasonic GF6
Panasonic GX7« »Rec79/1005/54.5/55/5 Aug 2013 999- i Panasonic GX7
Panasonic G3« »HiRec75/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2011 599- i Panasonic G3
Panasonic GH2« »HiRec79/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Sep 2010 1,499- i Panasonic GH2
Panasonic G10« »-70/1004/5-4/5 Mar 2010 499- i Panasonic G10
Sony RX100 VI« »-83/1004/5-4.5/5 Jun 2018 1,199 i i Sony RX100 VI
Sony RX100 V« »HiRec83/1004/55/54.5/5 Oct 2016 999 i i Sony RX100 V
Sony A6000« »Rec80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2014 599- i Sony A6000
Sony RX100 III« »HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2014 799- i Sony RX100 III
Sony A5100« »Rec-4.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 i i Sony A5100
Sony A5000« »Rec-4.5/5rev4.5/5 Jan 2014 449- i Sony A5000
Sony RX100 II« »HiRec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jun 2013 749- i Sony RX100 II

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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