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Sony RX100 versus Panasonic GM5

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in June 2012 and September 2014. The RX100 is a fixed lens compact, while the GM5 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an one-inch (RX100) and a Four Thirds sensor. The Sony has a resolution of 20 megapixel, whereas the Panasonic provides 15.8 MP.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Sony RX100 and the Panasonic GM5 is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions 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 – the RX100 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Sony RX100 vs Panasonic GM5 front
RX100 versus GM5 top view
RX100 and GM5 rear side
Body view (RX100 on the left)

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony RX100 and the Panasonic GM5are of equal size. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the RX100 nor the GM5 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX100 has a lens build in, whereas the GM5 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 GM5 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 comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
Camera Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(y/n)
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Sony RX100 (⇒ rgt) 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 240 g 330 no 2012 649discont. check
Panasonic GM5 (⇒ lft) 99 mm 60 mm 36 mm 211 g 220 no 2014 749discont. check
Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 103 mm 60 mm 40 mm 304 g 210 no 2014 699discont. check
Canon 100D (⇒ lft | rgt) 117 mm 91 mm 69 mm 407 g 380 no 2013 549discont. check
Panasonic G7 (⇒ lft | rgt) 125 mm 86 mm 77 mm 410 g 350 no 2015 649discont. check
Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt) 122 mm 85 mm 71 mm 390 g 340 no 2013 599discont. check
Panasonic GM1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 99 mm 55 mm 30 mm 204 g 230 no 2013 749discont. check
Ricoh GR II (⇒ lft | rgt) 117 mm 63 mm 35 mm 251 g 320 no 2015 699discont. check
Ricoh GR (⇒ lft | rgt) 117 mm 61 mm 35 mm 245 g 290 no 2013 799discont. check
Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt) 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 299 g 220 no 2016 999 latest check
Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 298 g 280 no 2015 999discont. check
Sony RX100 III (⇒ lft | rgt) 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 290 g 320 no 2014 799discont. check
Sony A5100 (⇒ lft | rgt) 110 mm 63 mm 36 mm 283 g 400 no 2014 549 latest check
Sony RX10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 129 mm 88 mm 102 mm 813 g 420 YES 2013 1,299discont. check
Sony RX100 II (⇒ lft | rgt) 102 mm 58 mm 38 mm 281 g 350 no 2013 749discont. check
Sony RX1R (⇒ lft | rgt) 113 mm 65 mm 70 mm 482 g 270 no 2013 2,799discont. check
Sony RX1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 113 mm 65 mm 70 mm 482 g 270 no 2012 2,799discont. check

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The RX100 was launched at a lower price than the GM5, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better 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 features an one-inch sensor and the Panasonic GM5 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the GM5 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 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the GM5 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Sony RX100 and Panasonic GM5 sensor measures
Sensor size

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Sony RX100 offers a higher resolution of 20 megapixel, compared with 15.8 MP of the Panasonic GM5. 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 GM5). Moreover, it should be noted that the GM5 is much more recent (by 2 years and 3 months) than the RX100, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

RX100 versus GM5 MP
Sensor resolution

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar image quality. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(Megapixel)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Sony RX100 (⇒ rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p 22.6 12.4 390 66
Panasonic GM5 (⇒ lft) Four Thirds 15.8 4592 3448 1080/60p 22.1 11.7 721 66
Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p 23.0 12.7 556 71
Canon 100D (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 17.9 5184 3456 1080/30p 21.8 11.3 843 63
Panasonic G7 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.8 4592 3448 4K/30p - - - -
Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 1080/60p 21.3 11.5 639 61
Panasonic GM1 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.8 4592 3448 1080/60i 22.3 11.7 660 66
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 RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p 22.8 12.6 591 70
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 RX10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p 22.9 12.6 474 69
Sony RX100 II (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p 22.5 12.4 483 67
Sony RX1R (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 25.0 13.6 2537 91
Sony RX1 (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 25.1 14.3 2534 93

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the GM5 has an electronic viewfinder (1166k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the RX100 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Sony RX100 and Panasonic GM5 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(Y/n)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(Y/n)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(GN)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Sony RX100 (⇒ rgt) no no 3.0 1229 fixed no 2000 10.0 YES YES
Panasonic GM5 (⇒ lft) 1166 no 3.0 921 fixed YES 500 5.8 no no
Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 2000 6.5 7 YES
Canon 100D (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 1040 fixed YES 4000 4.9 9.4 no
Panasonic G7 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1040 swivel YES 4000 7.0 9.3 no
Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1440 no 3.0 1036 swivel YES 4000 7.0 10.5 no
Panasonic GM1 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1036 fixed YES 500 5.0 4 no
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 RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) 2359 no 3.0 1228 tilting no 2000 16.0 10.2 YES
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 RX10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1440 YES 3.0 1229 tilting no 3200 10.0 10.2 YES
Sony RX100 II (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1229 tilting no 2000 10.0 15 YES
Sony RX1R (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1229 fixed no 4000 5.0 6 no
Sony RX1 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1229 fixed no 4000 5.0 6 no

Both the RX100 and the GM5 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The RX100 was replaced by the Sony RX100 II, while the GM5 was followed by the ...

Summary

So how do things add up? Is the Sony RX100 better than the Panasonic GM5 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


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Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (20 vs 15.8MP) with a 15% higher linear resolution.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.7 EV of extra DR).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 921k dots).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (2000/sec vs 500/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5.8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens build-in, whereas the GM5 requires a separate lens.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (330 versus 220) on a single battery charge.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a build-in lens.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in June 2012).

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Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5:

  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.9 stops ISO advantage).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 3 months of technical progress since the RX100 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX100 is the clear winner of the match-up (10 : 5 points). 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.

RX100 10:05 GM5

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 and the GM5 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 why expert reviews are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites. The detailed reviews can be accessed, respectively, on the websites of cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.

Review scores
Camera camera
labs
dp
review
ephoto
zine
imaging
resource
photography
blog
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Sony RX100 (⇒ rgt) HiRec 78/100 Silver 4/5 5/5 5/5 2012 649discont. check
Panasonic GM5 (⇒ lft) Rec 77/100 Silver 5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2014 749discont. check
Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 77/100 Silver 4.5/5 3.5/5 4.5/5 2014 699discont. check
Canon 100D (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 78/100 Gold 4/5 4/5 4/5 2013 549discont. check
Panasonic G7 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 80/100 Silver 5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2015 649discont. check
Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec - 5/5 - 4.5/5 2013 599discont. check
Panasonic GM1 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 78/100 Gold 5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2013 749discont. check
Ricoh GR II (⇒ lft | rgt) - - 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2015 699discont. check
Ricoh GR (⇒ lft | rgt) - 79/100 Gold 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2013 799discont. check
Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 83/100 Silver 4/5 5/5 4.5/5 2016 999 latest check
Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 85/100 Gold 4/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2015 999discont. check
Sony RX100 III (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 82/100 Gold 4.5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2014 799discont. check
Sony A5100 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec - 4.5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2014 549 latest check
Sony RX10 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 80/100 Gold 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2013 1,299discont. check
Sony RX100 II (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 79/100 Silver 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2013 749discont. check
Sony RX1R (⇒ lft | rgt) - - 4/5 reviewed 4.5/5 2013 2,799discont. check
Sony RX1 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 79/100 Gold 4/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2012 2,799discont. check

The review scores listed above should be treated 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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods 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 comparisons

In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. 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 the camera you are interested in is not available, please send me an email, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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