Sony RX100 versus Sony RX100 III
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in June 2012 and May 2014. Both the RX100 and the RX100 III are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with an one-inch sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 20 megapixel. 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 RX100 III
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Sony RX100 and the Sony RX100 III. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth 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 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).
In this particular case, the Sony RX100 and the Sony RX100 III have exactly the same width and height, and, thus, have identically-sized bodies. However, the RX100 III is markedly heavier (21 percent) than the RX100. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the RX100 nor the RX100 III 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|
|Sony RX100»||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.4 in||8.5 oz||330||n||Jun 2012||649||-|
|Sony RX100 III«||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.6 in||10.2 oz||320||n||May 2014||799||-|
|Canon G5 X« »||4.4 in||3.0 in||1.7 in||12.5 oz||210||n||Oct 2015||799|
|Canon G7 X« »||4.1 in||2.4 in||1.6 in||10.7 oz||210||n||Sep 2014||699||-|
|Canon T5i« »||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||20.5 oz||440||n||Mar 2013||649||-|
|Canon SL1« »||4.6 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||14.4 oz||380||n||Mar 2013||549||-|
|Panasonic FZ1000« »||5.4 in||3.9 in||5.2 in||29.3 oz||360||n||Jun 2014||899||-|
|Sony RX100 IV« »||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.6 in||10.5 oz||280||n||Jun 2015||999||-|
|Sony A5100« »||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.4 in||10.0 oz||400||n||Aug 2014||549|
|Sony RX100 II« »||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.5 in||9.9 oz||350||n||Jun 2013||749||-|
|Sony NEX-5R« »||4.4 in||2.3 in||1.5 in||9.7 oz||330||n||Aug 2012||749||-|
|Sony NEX-5N« »||4.4 in||2.3 in||1.5 in||9.5 oz||460||n||Aug 2011||699||-|
|Sony NEX-C3« »||4.3 in||2.4 in||1.3 in||7.9 oz||400||n||Jun 2011||599||-|
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 somewhat lower price (by 19 percent) than the RX100 III, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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 RX100 III
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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an one-inch sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.7. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 20 megapixel. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the RX100 and the RX100 III have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the RX100 III is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 11 months) than the RX100, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most 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"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar image quality. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Sony RX100 III«||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67|
|Canon G5 X« »||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||-||-||-||-|
|Canon G7 X« »||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|Canon T5i« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.7||11.2||681||61|
|Canon SL1« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.8||11.3||843||63|
|Panasonic FZ1000« »||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.1||11.7||517||64|
|Sony RX100 IV« »||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
|Sony A5100« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.8||12.7||1347||80|
|Sony RX100 II« »||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.5||12.4||483||67|
|Sony NEX-5R« »||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60i||23.7||13.1||910||78|
|Sony NEX-5N« »||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60i||23.6||12.7||1079||77|
|Sony NEX-C3« »||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||720/30p||22.7||12.2||1083||73|
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, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).
Feature comparison: Sony RX100 vs Sony RX100 III
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the RX100 III has an electronic viewfinder (1440k 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Sony RX100, the Sony RX100 III, and comparable cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.
|Sony RX100 III«||1440||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||2000||10.0||Y||Y|
|Canon G5 X« »||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||2000||5.9||Y||Y|
|Canon G7 X« »||-||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||2000||6.5||Y||Y|
|Canon T5i« »||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||4000||5.0||Y||n|
|Canon SL1« »||optical||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||4000||4.9||Y||n|
|Panasonic FZ1000« »||2359||n||3.0||921||swivel||n||4000||12.0||Y||Y|
|Sony RX100 IV« »||2359||n||3.0||1228||tilting||n||2000||16.0||Y||Y|
|Sony A5100« »||-||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||4000||6.0||Y||n|
|Sony RX100 II« »||-||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||2000||10.0||Y||Y|
|Sony NEX-5R« »||-||n||3.0||920||tilting||Y||4000||10.0||n||n|
|Sony NEX-5N« »||-||n||3.0||920||tilting||Y||4000||10.0||n||n|
|Sony NEX-C3« »||-||n||3.0||920||tilting||n||4000||5.5||n||n|
Both the RX100 and the RX100 III have zoom lenses build in. The RX100 has a 28-100mm f/1.8-4.9 optic and the RX100 III offers a 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the RX100 III provides a wider angle of view at the short end than the RX100, but less tele-photo reach at the long end. Both cameras offer the same maximum aperture.
Both the RX100 and the RX100 III have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The RX100 was replaced by the Sony RX100 II, while the RX100 III was followed by the Sony RX100 IV.
Review summary: Sony RX100 vs Sony RX100 III
So what is the bottom line? Is the Sony RX100 better than the Sony RX100 III or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100:
- More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 50g or 17 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (19 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-RX100 III:
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.3 stops ISO advantage).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 11 months) more recently.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX100 III comes out slightly ahead of the RX100 (5 : 4 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.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the RX100 or the RX100 III 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 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.
|Sony RX100»||HiRec||78/100||4/5||5/5||5/5||Jun 2012||649||-|
|Sony RX100 III«||HiRec||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||799||-|
|Canon G5 X« »||HiRec||78/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||799|
|Canon G7 X« »||HiRec||77/100||4.5/5||3.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699||-|
|Canon T5i« »||-||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2013||649||-|
|Canon SL1« »||Rec||78/100||4/5||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549||-|
|Panasonic FZ1000« »||HiRec||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||899||-|
|Sony RX100 IV« »||HiRec||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999||-|
|Sony A5100« »||Rec||-||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2014||549|
|Sony RX100 II« »||HiRec||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||749||-|
|Sony NEX-5R« »||-||-||4.5/5||-||4.5/5||Aug 2012||749||-|
|Sony NEX-5N« »||HiRec||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||699||-|
|Sony NEX-C3« »||HiRec||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||599||-|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when refering to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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? 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. 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 send me an email, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.
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