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Sony RX100 versus Sony RX1R

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in June 2012 and June 2013. Both the RX100 and the RX1R are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on an one-inch (RX100) and a full frame (RX1R) sensor. The RX100 has a resolution of 20 megapixel, whereas the RX1R 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 RX1R

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Sony RX100 and the Sony RX1R. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. 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 – the RX100 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Sony RX100 vs Sony RX1R
Compare RX100 versus RX1R top
Compare RX100 and RX1R rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony RX1R is notably larger (24 percent) than the Sony RX100. Moreover, the RX1R is substantially heavier (101 percent) than the RX100. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the RX100 nor the RX1R 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)
Sony RX100» 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.4 in 8.5 oz 330 n Jun 2012 649- i
Sony RX1R« 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.0 oz 270 n Jun 2013 2,799- i
Canon G7 X« » 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.6 in 10.7 oz 210 n Sep 2014 699- i
Canon T5i« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.5 oz 440 n Mar 2013 649- i
Canon SL1« » 4.6 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 14.4 oz 380 n Mar 2013 549- i
Leica X Typ 113« » 5.2 in 2.9 in 3.1 in 17.1 oz 350 n Sep 2014 2,295 i i
Nikon D5300« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 16.9 oz 600 n Oct 2013 799- i
Sony RX1R II« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.9 oz 220 n Oct 2015 3,299 i i
Sony RX100 IV« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 280 n Jun 2015 999- i
Sony RX100 III« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.2 oz 320 n May 2014 799- i
Sony A5100« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 10.0 oz 400 n Aug 2014 549 i i
Sony A3000« » 5.0 in 3.6 in 3.3 in 14.5 oz 470 n Aug 2013 329- i
Sony RX100 II« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 9.9 oz 350 n Jun 2013 749- i
Sony NEX-5R« » 4.4 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 9.7 oz 330 n Aug 2012 749- i
Sony RX1« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.0 oz 270 n Sep 2012 2,799- i
Sony NEX-5N« » 4.4 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 9.5 oz 460 n Aug 2011 699- i
Sony NEX-C3« » 4.3 in 2.4 in 1.3 in 7.9 oz 400 n Jun 2011 599- i

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 RX1R, 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 RX1R

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 Sony RX1R a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the RX1R is 638 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 RX1R sensor measures

With 24MP, the RX1R offers a higher resolution than the RX100 (20MP), but the RX1R nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.97μm versus 2.41μm for the RX100) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the RX1R is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year) 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. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the RX1R has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

RX100 versus RX1R MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the RX1R offers substantially better image quality than the RX100 (overall score 25 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.4 bits higher color depth, 1.2 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 Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Sony RX100» 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.612.439066
Sony RX1R« Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.013.6253791
Canon G7 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671
Canon T5i« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161
Canon SL1« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363
Leica X Typ 113« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p----
Nikon D5300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.9133883
Sony RX1R II« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53041080/60p25.813.9320497
Sony RX100 IV« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170
Sony RX100 III« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.412.349567
Sony A5100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.7134780
Sony A3000« » APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.712.8106878
Sony RX100 II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.512.448367
Sony NEX-5R« » APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.713.191078
Sony RX1« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.114.3253493
Sony NEX-5N« » APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.612.7107977
Sony NEX-C3« » APS-C 16.0 4912 3264720/30p22.712.2108373

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, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).

 

Feature comparison: Sony RX100 vs Sony RX1R

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The RX100 and the RX1R 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Sony RX100 and Sony RX1R 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
(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
Sony RX100»- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 2000 10.0 Y Y
Sony RX1R«- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n
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
Leica X Typ 113« »- n 3.0 920 fixed n 2000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D5300« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel n 4000 5.0 Y n
Sony RX1R II« »2360 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 4000 5.0 n n
Sony RX100 IV« »2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 2000 16.0 Y Y
Sony RX100 III« »1440 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 10.0 Y Y
Sony A5100« »- n 3.0 922 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n
Sony A3000« »202 n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 2.5 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 RX1« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y 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

The RX100 is equipped with a zoom lens, while the RX1R comes with a build-in prime. The RX100 has a 28-100mm f/1.8-4.9 optic and the RX1R 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 RX1R. The RX100 offers the faster maximum aperture.

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

Review summary: Sony RX100 vs Sony RX1R

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Sony RX100 better than the Sony RX1R or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • 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).


Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 20MP), which boosts linear resolution by 10%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (25 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.4 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.2 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 (1 year) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the RX100 emerges as the winner of the contest (10 : 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 10:08 RX1R

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 RX1R 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 following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Sony RX100»HiRec78/1004/55/55/5 Jun 2012 649- i
Sony RX1R«--4/5rev4.5/5 Jun 2013 2,799- i
Canon G7 X« »HiRec77/1004.5/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699- i
Canon T5i« »-76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649- i
Canon SL1« »Rec78/1004/54/54/5 Mar 2013 549- i
Leica X Typ 113« »--3.5/5-4/5 Sep 2014 2,295 i i
Nikon D5300« »HiRec79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799- i
Sony RX1R II« »-82/100-rev4.5/5 Oct 2015 3,299 i i
Sony RX100 IV« »HiRec85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999- i
Sony RX100 III« »HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2014 799- i
Sony A5100« »Rec-4.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 i i
Sony A3000« »Rec-4/54.5/54/5 Aug 2013 329- i
Sony RX100 II« »HiRec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jun 2013 749- i
Sony NEX-5R« »--4.5/5-4.5/5 Aug 2012 749- i
Sony RX1« »-79/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799- i
Sony NEX-5N« »HiRec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2011 699- i
Sony NEX-C3« »HiRec74/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Jun 2011 599- i

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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please contact me, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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