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Sony RX100 vs Panasonic GM5

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, 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 (GM5) sensor. The Sony has a resolution of 20 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 15.8 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.


Headline Specifications
Sony RX100   Panasonic GM5
Sony RX100 Panasonic GM5
Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
28-100mm f/1.8-4.9 Micro Four Thirds lenses
20 MP, 1" Sensor 15.8 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
1080/60p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-6400 (100-25600) ISO 200-25600
No viewfinder, LCD framing Electronic viewfinder (1166k dots)
3.0" LCD, 1229k dots 3.0" LCD, 921k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed touchscreen
10 shutter flaps per second 5.8 shutter flaps per second
330 shots per battery charge220 shots per battery charge
102 x 58 x 36 mm, 240 g 99 x 60 x 36 mm, 211 g

Body comparison: Sony RX100 vs Panasonic GM5

The physical size and weight of the Sony RX100 and the Panasonic GM5 are illustrated 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 size 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 side – the RX100 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Sony RX100 and Panasonic GM5
Compare RX100 versus GM5 top
Compare RX100 or GM5 rear

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 GM5 are 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 built 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 compare the optics available for the GM5 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the RX100 gets 330 shots out of its NP-BX1 battery, while the GM5 can take 220 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLH7 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» 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.4 in 8.5 oz 330 n Jun 2012 649- i Sony RX100
Panasonic GM5« 3.9 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 7.4 oz 220 n Sep 2014 749- i Panasonic GM5
Canon G9 X Mark II« » 3.9 in 2.3 in 1.2 in 7.3 oz 235 n Jan 2017 529 i i Canon G9 X Mark II
Canon G9 X« » 3.9 in 2.3 in 1.2 in 7.4 oz 220 n Oct 2015 529- i Canon G9 X
Panasonic GX85« » 4.8 in 2.8 in 1.7 in 15.0 oz 290 n Apr 2016 799 i i Panasonic GX85
Panasonic G7« » 4.9 in 3.4 in 3.0 in 14.5 oz 350 n May 2015 649- i Panasonic G7
Panasonic GH4« » 5.2 in 3.7 in 3.3 in 19.8 oz 500 Y Feb 2014 1,499- i Panasonic GH4
Panasonic G6« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 13.8 oz 340 n Apr 2013 599- i Panasonic G6
Panasonic GM1« » 3.9 in 2.2 in 1.2 in 7.2 oz 230 n Oct 2013 749- i Panasonic GM1
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 A5100« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 10.0 oz 400 n Aug 2014 549 i i Sony A5100
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 RX10« » 5.1 in 3.5 in 4.0 in 28.7 oz 420 Y Oct 2013 1,299- i Sony RX10
Sony RX100 II« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 9.9 oz 350 n Jun 2013 749- i Sony RX100 II
Sony NEX-5R« » 4.4 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 9.7 oz 330 n Aug 2012 749- i Sony NEX-5R
Sony NEX-5N« » 4.4 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 9.5 oz 460 n Aug 2011 699- i Sony NEX-5N
Sony NEX-C3« » 4.3 in 2.4 in 1.3 in 7.9 oz 400 n Jun 2011 599- i Sony NEX-C3

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 was launched at a lower price than the GM5, despite having a lens built in. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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 vs Panasonic GM5

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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to 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

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Sony RX100 offers a higher resolution of 20 megapixels, compared with 15.8 MP of the Panasonic GM5. This megapixels 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.

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 are ISO 200 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600..

RX100 versus GM5 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 imaging performance. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar 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» 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.612.439066Sony RX100
Panasonic GM5« Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.111.772166Panasonic GM5
Canon G9 X Mark II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.912.552265Canon G9 X Mark II
Canon G9 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.512.349563Canon G9 X
Panasonic GX85« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p22.912.666271Panasonic GX85
Panasonic G7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p----Panasonic G7
Panasonic GH4« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p23.212.879174Panasonic GH4
Panasonic G6« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961Panasonic G6
Panasonic GM1« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i22.311.766066Panasonic GM1
Sony RX100 V« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.458670Sony RX100 V
Sony A5100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.7134780Sony A5100
Sony RX100 III« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.412.349567Sony RX100 III
Sony RX10« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.912.647469Sony RX10
Sony RX100 II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.512.448367Sony RX100 II
Sony NEX-5R« » APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.713.191078Sony NEX-5R
Sony NEX-5N« » APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.612.7107977Sony NEX-5N
Sony NEX-C3« » APS-C 16.0 4912 3264720/30p22.712.2108373Sony NEX-C3

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).

 

Feature comparison: Sony RX100 vs Panasonic GM5

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Sony RX100 and Panasonic GM5 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Sony RX100»- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 2000 10.0 Y Y Sony RX100
Panasonic GM5«1166 n 3.0 921 fixed Y 500 5.8 n n Panasonic GM5
Canon G9 X Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 2000 8.2 Y Y Canon G9 X Mark II
Canon G9 X« »- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 2000 6.0 Y Y Canon G9 X
Panasonic GX85« »2765 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y Panasonic GX85
Panasonic G7« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n Panasonic G7
Panasonic GH4« »2359 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 8000 12.0 Y n Panasonic GH4
Panasonic G6« »1440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n Panasonic G6
Panasonic GM1« »- n 3.0 1036 fixed Y 500 5.0 Y n Panasonic GM1
Sony RX100 V« »2359 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 24.0 Y Y Sony RX100 V
Sony A5100« »- n 3.0 922 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n Sony A5100
Sony RX100 III« »1440 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 10.0 Y Y Sony RX100 III
Sony RX10« »1440 Y 3.0 1229 tilting n 3200 10.0 Y Y Sony RX10
Sony RX100 II« »- n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 10.0 Y Y Sony RX100 II
Sony NEX-5R« »- n 3.0 920 tilting Y 4000 10.0 n n Sony NEX-5R
Sony NEX-5N« »- n 3.0 920 tilting Y 4000 10.0 n n Sony NEX-5N
Sony NEX-C3« »- n 3.0 920 tilting n 4000 5.5 n n Sony NEX-C3

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The RX100 has one, while the GM5 does not. While the built-in flash of the RX100 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, the GM5 features an electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).

The RX100 writes its imaging data to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards, while the GM5 uses SDXC cards.

Connectivity comparison: Sony RX100 vs Panasonic GM5

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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»-stereomono--micro2.0---Sony RX100
Panasonic GM5«Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic GM5
Canon G9 X Mark II« »-stereomono--micro2.0YYYCanon G9 X Mark II
Canon G9 X« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon G9 X
Panasonic GX85« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic GX85
Panasonic G7« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Panasonic G7
Panasonic GH4« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Panasonic GH4
Panasonic G6« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Panasonic G6
Panasonic GM1« »-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic GM1
Sony RX100 V« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony RX100 V
Sony A5100« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony A5100
Sony RX100 III« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony RX100 III
Sony RX10« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony RX10
Sony RX100 II« »Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony RX100 II
Sony NEX-5R« »Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--Sony NEX-5R
Sony NEX-5N« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Sony NEX-5N
Sony NEX-C3« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Sony NEX-C3

It is notable that the GM5 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the RX100 does not offer wifi capability.

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 does not have a direct successor.


Review summary: Sony RX100 vs Panasonic GM5

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Sony RX100 or the Panasonic GM5 – has the upper hand? 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 built-in, whereas the GM5 requires a separate lens.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (330 versus 220) on a single battery charge.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • 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 built-in lens.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in June 2012).

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Arguments in favor of 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.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 3 months of technical progress since the RX100 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the RX100 emerges as the winner of the contest (11 : 8 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 when reflecting and deciding on a new camera.

RX100 11:08 GM5

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 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.

Expert reviews: Sony RX100 vs Panasonic GM5

This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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»HiRec78/1004/55/55/5 Jun 2012 649- i Sony RX100
Panasonic GM5«Rec77/1005/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 749- i Panasonic GM5
Canon G9 X Mark II« »-75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2017 529 i i Canon G9 X Mark II
Canon G9 X« »HiRec-4.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 529- i Canon G9 X
Panasonic GX85« »HiRec82/1005/54.5/55/5 Apr 2016 799 i i Panasonic GX85
Panasonic G7« »HiRec80/1005/54.5/54.5/5 May 2015 649- i Panasonic G7
Panasonic GH4« »HiRec85/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2014 1,499- i Panasonic GH4
Panasonic G6« »HiRec-5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 599- i Panasonic G6
Panasonic GM1« »Rec78/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 749- i Panasonic GM1
Sony RX100 V« »HiRec83/1004/55/54.5/5 Oct 2016 999 i i Sony RX100 V
Sony A5100« »Rec-4.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 i i Sony A5100
Sony RX100 III« »HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2014 799- i Sony RX100 III
Sony RX10« »Rec80/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,299- i Sony RX10
Sony RX100 II« »HiRec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jun 2013 749- i Sony RX100 II
Sony NEX-5R« »--4.5/5-4.5/5 Aug 2012 749- i Sony NEX-5R
Sony NEX-5N« »HiRec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2011 699- i Sony NEX-5N
Sony NEX-C3« »HiRec74/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Jun 2011 599- i Sony NEX-C3

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes 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.

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    Specifications: Sony RX100 vs Panasonic GM5

    Camera and Lens Specs
    Camera Model Sony RX100 Panasonic GM5
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens 28-100mm f/1.8-4.9 Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date June 2012 September 2014
    Launch Price USD 649 USD 749
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format 1" Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 13.2 x 8.8 mm 17.3 x 8.8 mm
    MP Resolution 20 Megapixels 15.8 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5472 x 3648 pixels 4592 x 3448 pixels
    Pixel Size 2.41 μm 3.77 μm
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100-6400 ISO 200-25600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-25600 ISO no Enhancement
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type No viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Resolution n/a 1166k dots
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 1229k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input no Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/2000s 1/500s
    Continuous Shooting 10 shutter flaps/s 5.8 shutter flaps/s
    Silent Shootingno E-ShutterElectronic Shutter
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium MS or SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Connectivity Specs
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Body Specs
    Battery Type NP-BX1 power pack DMW-BLH7 power pack
    Battery Life330 shots per charge220 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 102 x 58 x 36 mm
    (4.0 x 2.3 x 1.4 in)
    99 x 60 x 36 mm
    (3.9 x 2.4 x 1.4 in)
    Camera Weight 240 g (8.5 oz) 211 g (7.4 oz)

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