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Sony RX100 V versus Panasonic GH5

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 V and the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in October 2016 and January 2017. The RX100 V is a fixed lens compact, while the GH5 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an one-inch (RX100 V) and a Four Thirds (GH5) sensor. The Sony has a resolution of 20 megapixel, whereas the Panasonic provides 20.2 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 V vs Panasonic GH5

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Sony RX100 V and the Panasonic GH5 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. 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 toggle the display 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 side – the RX100 V – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Sony RX100 V vs Panasonic GH5
Compare RX100 V versus GH5 top
Compare RX100 V and GH5 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GH5 is considerably larger (130 percent) than the Sony RX100 V. It is noteworthy in this context that the GH5 is splash and dust-proof, while the RX100 V does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX100 V has a lens build in, whereas the GH5 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 GH5 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the RX100 V gets 220 shots out of its NP-BX1 battery, while the GH5 can take 410 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLF19 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)
Camera
Model
Sony RX100 V» 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 299 g 220 n Oct 2016 999 i i Sony RX100 V
Panasonic GH5« 139 mm 98 mm 87 mm 725 g 410 Y Jan 2017 1,999 i i Panasonic GH5
Canon 77D« » 131 mm 100 mm 76 mm 540 g 600 n Feb 2017 899 i i Canon 77D
Canon G9 X Mark II« » 98 mm 58 mm 31 mm 206 g 235 n Jan 2017 529 i i Canon G9 X Mark II
Canon M100« » 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 302 g 295 n Aug 2017 499 i i Canon M100
Fujifilm X-E3« » 121 mm 74 mm 43 mm 337 g 350 n Sep 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-E3
Nikon D500« » 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 860 g 1240 Y Jan 2016 1,999 i i Nikon D500
Olympus E-M1 II« » 134 mm 91 mm 67 mm 574 g 440 Y Sep 2016 1,999 i i Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic G9« » 137 mm 97 mm 92 mm 658 g 400 Y Nov 2017 1,699 i i Panasonic G9
Panasonic FZ2000« » 138 mm 102 mm 135 mm 915 g 350 n Sep 2016 1,199 i i Panasonic FZ2000
Panasonic TZ100« » 111 mm 65 mm 44 mm 312 g 300 n Jan 2016 699- i Panasonic TZ100
Panasonic GX8« » 133 mm 78 mm 63 mm 487 g 330 Y Jul 2015 1,199- i Panasonic GX8
Panasonic GH4« » 133 mm 93 mm 84 mm 560 g 500 Y Feb 2014 1,499- i Panasonic GH4
Sony RX100 VI« » 102 mm 58 mm 43 mm 301 g 240 n Jun 2018 1,199 i i Sony RX100 VI
Sony RX100 IV« » 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 298 g 280 n Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV
Sony RX100 III« » 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 290 g 320 n May 2014 799- i Sony RX100 III
Sony RX100 II« » 102 mm 58 mm 38 mm 281 g 350 n Jun 2013 749- i Sony RX100 II

Any camera purchase will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The RX100 V was launched at a lower price than the GH5, despite having a lens build in. 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Sony RX100 V vs Panasonic GH5

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Sony RX100 V features an one-inch sensor and the Panasonic GH5 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the GH5 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 V has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the GH5 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Sony RX100 V and Panasonic GH5 sensor measures

With 20.2MP, the GH5 offers a higher resolution than the RX100 V (20MP), but the GH5 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.34μm versus 2.41μm for the RX100 V) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the GH5 is a somewhat more recent model (by 2 months) than the RX100 V, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the GH5 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

RX100 V versus GH5 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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. Of the two cameras under consideration, the GH5 has a markedly higher DXO score than the RX100 V (overall score 7 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 1.1 bits higher color depth, 0.6 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.5 stops in additional 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 V» 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.458670Sony RX100 V
Panasonic GH5« Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p23.913.080777Panasonic GH5
Canon 77D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.397178Canon 77D
Canon G9 X Mark II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.912.552265Canon G9 X Mark II
Canon M100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278Canon M100
Fujifilm X-E3« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p----Fujifilm X-E3
Nikon D500« » APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.014.0132483Nikon D500
Olympus E-M1 II« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.712.8131280Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic G9« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p----Panasonic G9
Panasonic FZ2000« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----Panasonic FZ2000
Panasonic TZ100« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.555970Panasonic TZ100
Panasonic GX8« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.512.680675Panasonic GX8
Panasonic GH4« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p23.212.879174Panasonic GH4
Sony RX100 VI« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----Sony RX100 VI
Sony RX100 IV« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170Sony RX100 IV
Sony RX100 III« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.412.349567Sony RX100 III
Sony RX100 II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.512.448367Sony RX100 II

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 GH5 provides a faster frame rate than the RX100 V. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/60p, while the Sony is limited to 4K/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Sony RX100 V vs Panasonic GH5

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 GH5 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the RX100 V (3680k vs 2359k dots). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Sony RX100 V and Panasonic GH5 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or 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 V»2359 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 24.0 Y Y Sony RX100 V
Panasonic GH5«3680 n 3.2 1620 swivel Y 8000 12.0 n Y Panasonic GH5
Canon 77D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 6.0 Y n Canon 77D
Canon G9 X Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 2000 8.2 Y Y Canon G9 X Mark II
Canon M100« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 6.1 Y n Canon M100
Fujifilm X-E3« »2360 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 8.0 n n Fujifilm X-E3
Nikon D500« »optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n n Nikon D500
Olympus E-M1 II« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 18.0 n Y Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic G9« »3680 Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 20.0 n Y Panasonic G9
Panasonic FZ2000« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 12.0 Y Y Panasonic FZ2000
Panasonic TZ100« »1166 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 2000 10.0 Y Y Panasonic TZ100
Panasonic GX8« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 10.0 n Y Panasonic GX8
Panasonic GH4« »2359 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 8000 12.0 Y n Panasonic GH4
Sony RX100 VI« »2359 n 3.0 1229 tilting Y 2000 24.0 Y Y Sony RX100 VI
Sony RX100 IV« »2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 2000 16.0 Y Y Sony RX100 IV
Sony RX100 III« »1440 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 10.0 Y Y Sony RX100 III
Sony RX100 II« »- n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 10.0 Y Y Sony RX100 II

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The RX100 V has one, while the GH5 does not. While the build-in flash of the RX100 V is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

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

The RX100 V writes its imaging data to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards, while the GH5 uses SDXC cards. The GH5 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the RX100 V only has one slot.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Sony RX100 V»-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony RX100 V
Panasonic GH5«YstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-YPanasonic GH5
Canon 77D« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon 77D
Canon G9 X Mark II« »-stereomono--micro2.0YYYCanon G9 X Mark II
Canon M100« »-stereomono--mini2.0YYYCanon M100
Fujifilm X-E3« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y-YFujifilm X-E3
Nikon D500« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0YYYNikon D500
Olympus E-M1 II« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.0Y--Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic G9« »YstereomonoYYfull3.0Y-YPanasonic G9
Panasonic FZ2000« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0Y--Panasonic FZ2000
Panasonic TZ100« »-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic TZ100
Panasonic GX8« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-Panasonic GX8
Panasonic GH4« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Panasonic GH4
Sony RX100 VI« »-stereomono--micro2.0YYYSony RX100 VI
Sony RX100 IV« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony RX100 IV
Sony RX100 III« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony RX100 III
Sony RX100 II« »Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony RX100 II

Both the RX100 V and the GH5 are current models that good online retailers will have in stock. You can check the latest prices, for example, at amazon. The RX100 V replaced the earlier Sony RX100 IV, while the GH5 followed on from the Panasonic GH4.

Review summary: Sony RX100 V vs Panasonic GH5

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Sony RX100 V better than the Panasonic GH5 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (24 vs 12 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens build-in, whereas the GH5 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 139x98mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a build-in lens (unlike the GH5).
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a build-in lens.

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Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (7 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.1 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.6 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.5 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (4K/60p versus 4K/30p).
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
  • More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (3680k vs 2359k dots).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1620k vs 1229k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/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 (410 versus 220) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.1 vs 2.0).
  • More solid recording: Has a full-sized HDMI port for a sturdy connection to an external recorder.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GH5 is the clear winner of the contest (22 : 8 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 V 08:22 GH5

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the RX100 V and the GH5 in practical situations. 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available 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 V»HiRec83/1004/55/54.5/5 Oct 2016 999 i i Sony RX100 V
Panasonic GH5«HiRec85/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2017 1,999 i i Panasonic GH5
Canon 77D« »-82/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 899 i i Canon 77D
Canon G9 X Mark II« »-75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2017 529 i i Canon G9 X Mark II
Canon M100« »Rec-4/5-3.5/5 Aug 2017 499 i i Canon M100
Fujifilm X-E3« »Rec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-E3
Nikon D500« »HiRec91/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 1,999 i i Nikon D500
Olympus E-M1 II« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2016 1,999 i i Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic G9« »HiRec85/1005/5-5/5 Nov 2017 1,699 i i Panasonic G9
Panasonic FZ2000« »Rec82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Sep 2016 1,199 i i Panasonic FZ2000
Panasonic TZ100« »HiRec82/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2016 699- i Panasonic TZ100
Panasonic GX8« »Rec82/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2015 1,199- i Panasonic GX8
Panasonic GH4« »HiRec85/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2014 1,499- i Panasonic GH4
Sony RX100 VI« »HiRec83/1004/5-4.5/5 Jun 2018 1,199 i i Sony RX100 VI
Sony RX100 IV« »HiRec85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV
Sony RX100 III« »HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2014 799- i Sony RX100 III
Sony RX100 II« »HiRec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jun 2013 749- i Sony RX100 II

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. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please contact me, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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