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Sony RX100 versus Sony RX1

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in June 2012 and September 2012. Both the RX100 and the RX1 are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on an one-inch (RX100) and a full frame (RX1) sensor. The RX100 has a resolution of 20 megapixel, whereas the RX1 provides 24 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 vs Sony RX1

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Sony RX100 and the Sony RX1. 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. 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 – the RX100 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Sony RX100 vs Sony RX1
Compare RX100 versus RX1 top
Compare RX100 and RX1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony RX1 is notably larger (24 percent) than the Sony RX100. Moreover, the RX1 is substantially heavier (101 percent) than the RX100. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the RX100 nor the RX1 are weather-sealed.

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» 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.4 in 8.5 oz 330 n Jun 2012 649- i Sony RX100
Sony RX1« 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.0 oz 270 n Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony RX1
Canon G7 X« » 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.6 in 10.7 oz 210 n Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
Canon T5i« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.5 oz 440 n Mar 2013 649- i Canon T5i
Canon SL1« » 4.6 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 14.4 oz 380 n Mar 2013 549- i Canon SL1
Nikon D5300« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 16.9 oz 600 n Oct 2013 799- i Nikon D5300
Sony RX100 IV« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 280 n Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV
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 A3000« » 5.0 in 3.6 in 3.3 in 14.5 oz 470 n Aug 2013 329- i Sony A3000
Sony A7« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.7 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 1,699- i Sony A7
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 RX1R« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.0 oz 270 n Jun 2013 2,799- i Sony RX1R
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-7« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 14.1 oz 430 n Aug 2011 1,349- i Sony NEX-7
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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The RX100 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 77 percent) than the RX1, which puts it into a different market segment. 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 vs Sony RX1

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. 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 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 Sony RX1 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the RX1 is 634 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.7 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Sony RX100 and Sony RX1 sensor measures

With 24MP, the RX1 offers a higher resolution than the RX100 (20MP), but the RX1 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.96μm versus 2.41μm for the RX100) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the RX1 is a somewhat more recent model (by 3 months) than the RX100, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

RX100 versus RX1 MP

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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the RX1 offers substantially better image quality than the RX100 (overall score 27 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.5 bits higher color depth, 1.9 EV in additional dynamic range, and 2.7 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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
Sony RX1« Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.114.3253493Sony RX1
Canon G7 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671Canon G7 X
Canon T5i« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161Canon T5i
Canon SL1« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363Canon SL1
Nikon D5300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.9133883Nikon D5300
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 A5100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.7134780Sony A5100
Sony A3000« » APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.712.8106878Sony A3000
Sony A7« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.814.2224890Sony A7
Sony RX100 II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.512.448367Sony RX100 II
Sony RX1R« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.013.6253791Sony RX1R
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-7« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.113.4101681Sony NEX-7
Sony NEX-C3« » APS-C 16.0 4912 3264720/30p22.712.2108373Sony NEX-C3

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. 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 Sony RX1

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The RX100 and the RX1 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Sony RX100, the Sony RX1, and comparable cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, 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»- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 2000 10.0 Y Y Sony RX100
Sony RX1«- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n Sony RX1
Canon G7 X« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 2000 6.5 Y Y Canon G7 X
Canon T5i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon T5i
Canon SL1« »optical n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 4.9 Y n Canon SL1
Nikon D5300« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel n 4000 5.0 Y n Nikon D5300
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 A5100« »- n 3.0 922 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n Sony A5100
Sony A3000« »202 n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Sony A3000
Sony A7« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 5.0 n n Sony A7
Sony RX100 II« »- n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 10.0 Y Y Sony RX100 II
Sony RX1R« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n Sony RX1R
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-7« »2359 n 3.0 921 tilting n 4000 10.0 Y n Sony NEX-7
Sony NEX-C3« »- n 3.0 920 tilting n 4000 5.5 n n Sony NEX-C3

The RX100 is equipped with a zoom lens, while the RX1 comes with a build-in prime. The RX100 has a 28-100mm f/1.8-4.9 optic and the RX1 offers a 35mm f/2.0 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the RX100 provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the RX1. The RX100 offers the faster maximum aperture.

Both the RX100 and the RX1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The RX100 was replaced by the Sony RX100 II, while the RX1 was followed by the Sony RX1R.

Review summary: Sony RX100 vs Sony RX1

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Sony RX100 and the Sony RX1? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Arguments in favor of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100:

  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/1.8 vs f/2.0).
  • Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
  • More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 113x65mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 242g or 50 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (330 versus 270) on a single battery charge.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization build-in.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (77 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in June 2012).


Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 20MP), which boosts linear resolution by 10%.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (27 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.5 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.9 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (2.7 stops ISO advantage).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (4000/sec vs 2000/sec) to freeze action.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (3 months) more recently.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX100 emerges as the winner of the contest (9 : 7 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 09:07 RX1

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the RX100 or the RX1 handle or perform in practice. 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 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 detailed reviews can be accessed 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
Sony RX1«-79/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony RX1
Canon G7 X« »HiRec77/1004.5/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
Canon T5i« »-76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649- i Canon T5i
Canon SL1« »Rec78/1004/54/54/5 Mar 2013 549- i Canon SL1
Nikon D5300« »HiRec79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799- i Nikon D5300
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 A5100« »Rec-4.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 i i Sony A5100
Sony A3000« »Rec-4/54.5/54/5 Aug 2013 329- i Sony A3000
Sony A7« »HiRec80/1005/54.5/55/5 Oct 2013 1,699- i Sony A7
Sony RX100 II« »HiRec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jun 2013 749- i Sony RX100 II
Sony RX1R« »--4/5rev4.5/5 Jun 2013 2,799- i Sony RX1R
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-7« »HiRec81/1004.5/55/55/5 Aug 2011 1,349- i Sony NEX-7
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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

 

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 use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. 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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