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Sony RX100 vs YI M1

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 and the YI M1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in June 2012 and September 2016. The RX100 is a fixed lens compact, while the M1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an one-inch (RX100) and a Four Thirds (M1) sensor. The Sony has a resolution of 20 megapixels, whereas the YI provides 20.2 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Sony RX100
versus
YI M1
Sony RX100   YI M1
Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
28-100mm f/1.8-4.9 Micro Four Thirds lenses
20 MP, 1" Sensor 20.2 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
1080/60p Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 100-6,400 (100 - 25,600) ISO 100-25,600
No viewfinder, LCD framing No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 1229k dots 3.0 LCD, 1040k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed touchscreen
10 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
330 shots per battery charge450 shots per battery charge
102 x 58 x 36 mm, 240 g 114 x 64 x 34 mm, 281 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 and the YI M1? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Sony RX100 and the YI M1. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. 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.

The M1 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the RX100 is only available in black.

Size Sony RX100 vs YI M1
Compare RX100 versus M1 top
Comparison RX100 or M1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the YI M1 is notably larger (23 percent) than the Sony RX100. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the RX100 nor the M1 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 M1 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 M1 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Sony RX100 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 240 g 330 n Jun 2012 649 i
2.
 
YI M1 114 mm 64 mm 34 mm 281 g 450 n Sep 2016 349 i
3.
 
Canon G9 X Mark II 98 mm 58 mm 31 mm 206 g 235 n Jan 2017 529 i
4.
 
Canon SX730 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 300 g 250 n Apr 2017 399 i
5.
 
Canon G9 X 98 mm 58 mm 31 mm 209 g 220 n Oct 2015 529 i
6.
 
Fujifilm X-A3 117 mm 67 mm 40 mm 339 g 410 n Aug 2016 399 i
7.
 
Nikon 1 J5 98 mm 60 mm 32 mm 231 g 250 n Apr 2015 399 i
8.
 
Panasonic GX850 107 mm 65 mm 33 mm 269 g 210 n Jan 2017 549 i
9.
 
Panasonic GF7 107 mm 65 mm 33 mm 266 g 230 n Jan 2015 499 i
10.
 
Sony RX100 V 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 299 g 220 n Oct 2016 999 i
11.
 
Sony A5100 110 mm 63 mm 36 mm 283 g 400 n Aug 2014 549 i
12.
 
Sony RX100 III 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 290 g 320 n May 2014 799 i
13.
 
Sony RX10 129 mm 88 mm 102 mm 813 g 420 Y Oct 2013 1,299 i
14.
 
Sony RX100 II 102 mm 58 mm 38 mm 281 g 350 n Jun 2013 749 i
15.
 
Sony NEX-5R 111 mm 59 mm 39 mm 276 g 330 n Aug 2012 749 i
16.
 
Sony NEX-5N 111 mm 59 mm 38 mm 269 g 460 n Aug 2011 699 i
17.
 
Sony NEX-C3 110 mm 60 mm 33 mm 225 g 400 n Jun 2011 599 i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. 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.

Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Sony RX100 features an one-inch sensor and the YI M1 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the M1 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 M1 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Sony RX100 and YI M1 sensor measures

With 20.2MP, the M1 offers a higher resolution than the RX100 (20MP), but the M1 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.34μm versus 2.41μm for the RX100) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the M1 is a much more recent model (by 4 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 YI M1 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).

RX100 versus M1 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Sony RX100 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.612.4390 66
2.
 
YI M1 Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p...... ..
3.
 
Canon G9 X Mark II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.912.5522 65
4.
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p...... ..
5.
 
Canon G9 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.512.3495 63
6.
 
Fujifilm X-A3 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p...... ..
7.
 
Nikon 1 J5 1-inch 20.7 5568 37124K/15p21.112.0479 65
8.
 
Panasonic GX850 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p23.213.3586 73
9.
 
Panasonic GF7 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p...... ..
10.
 
Sony RX100 V 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.4586 70
11.
 
Sony A5100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.71347 80
12.
 
Sony RX100 III 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.412.3495 67
13.
 
Sony RX10 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.912.6474 69
14.
 
Sony RX100 II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.512.4483 67
15.
 
Sony NEX-5R APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.713.1910 78
16.
 
Sony NEX-5N APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.612.71079 77
17.
 
Sony NEX-C3 APS-C 16.0 4912 3264720/30p22.712.21083 73

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the M1 provides a better video resolution than the RX100. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Sony is limited to 1080/60p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The RX100 and the M1 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 YI M1, and comparable cameras.

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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)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Sony RX100none n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
2.
 
YI M1none n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 n n
3.
 
Canon G9 X Mark IInone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 8.2 Y Y
4.
 
Canon SX730none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
5.
 
Canon G9 Xnone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 6.0 Y Y
6.
 
Fujifilm X-A3none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
7.
 
Nikon 1 J5none n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 60.0 Y n
8.
 
Panasonic GX850none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/500s 10.0 Y n
9.
 
Panasonic GF7none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/500s 5.8 Y n
10.
 
Sony RX100 V2359 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/2000s 24.0 Y Y
11.
 
Sony A5100none n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
12.
 
Sony RX100 III1440 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
13.
 
Sony RX101440 Y 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/3200s 10.0 Y Y
14.
 
Sony RX100 IIoptional n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
15.
 
Sony NEX-5Roptional n 3.0 920 tilting Y 1/4000s 10.0 n n
16.
 
Sony NEX-5Noptional n 3.0 920 tilting Y 1/4000s 10.0 n n
17.
 
Sony NEX-C3optional n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5 n n

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The RX100 has one, while the M1 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 YI M1 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.

The RX100 writes its imaging data to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards, while the M1 uses SDXC cards.

Connectivity comparison

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 YI M1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Sony RX100-stereomono--micro2.0---
2.
 
YI M1Ystereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
3.
 
Canon G9 X Mark II-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
4.
 
Canon SX730-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
5.
 
Canon G9 X-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
6.
 
Fujifilm X-A3Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
7.
 
Nikon 1 J5-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
8.
 
Panasonic GX850-stereomono--micro2.0Y--
9.
 
Panasonic GF7-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
10.
 
Sony RX100 V-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
11.
 
Sony A5100-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
12.
 
Sony RX100 III-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
13.
 
Sony RX10YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-
14.
 
Sony RX100 IIYstereomono--micro2.0YY-
15.
 
Sony NEX-5RYstereomono--mini2.0Y--
16.
 
Sony NEX-5NYstereomono--mini2.0---
17.
 
Sony NEX-C3Ystereomono--mini2.0---

It is notable that the M1 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 provide wifi capability.

The M1 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of YI. In contrast, the RX100 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the RX100 was succeeded by the Sony RX100 II. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Sony and YI websites.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is the Sony RX100 better than the YI M1 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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

  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 1040k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the M1 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 114x64mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the M1).
  • 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 heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in June 2012).

ilogo

Arguments in favor of the YI M1:

  • Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
  • Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (450 versus 330) out of a single battery charge.
  • 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.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • More modern: Reflects 4 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 M1 is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 8 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. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

RX100 08:14 M1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Sony RX100 and the YI M1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the RX100 or the M1. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Sony RX1005/5+ +78/1004/55/5 Jun 2012 649 i
2.
 
YI M1....69/100.... Sep 2016 349 i
3.
 
Canon G9 X Mark II4/5..75/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2017 529 i
4.
 
Canon SX730..+..4/54/5 Apr 2017 399 i
5.
 
Canon G9 X3.5/5+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Oct 2015 529 i
6.
 
Fujifilm X-A3....74/1004.5/54/5 Aug 2016 399 i
7.
 
Nikon 1 J5......4.5/54.5/5 Apr 2015 399 i
8.
 
Panasonic GX850..+76/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2017 549 i
9.
 
Panasonic GF74/5+..4.5/54.5/5 Jan 2015 499 i
10.
 
Sony RX100 V4.5/5+ +83/1004/54.5/5 Oct 2016 999 i
11.
 
Sony A51004.5/5+..4.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 i
12.
 
Sony RX100 III5/5+ +82/1004.5/55/5 May 2014 799 i
13.
 
Sony RX105/5+80/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,299 i
14.
 
Sony RX100 II5/5+ +79/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2013 749 i
15.
 
Sony NEX-5R......4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2012 749 i
16.
 
Sony NEX-5N3/5+ +79/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2011 699 i
17.
 
Sony NEX-C33/5+ +74/1004.5/54/5 Jun 2011 599 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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.

Sony RX100:
Check Ebay offers
YI M1:
Check Amazon price

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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Sony RX100 vs YI M1

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Sony RX100 YI M1
    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 2016
    Launch Price USD 649 USD 349
    Sensor Specs Sony RX100 YI M1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format 1" Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 13.2 x 8.8 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 116.16 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 15.9 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 2.7x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 20 Megapixels 20.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5472 x 3648 pixels 5184 x 3888 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 2.41 μm 3.34 μm
    Pixel Density 17.18 MP/cm2 8.96 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 6,400 ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 25,600 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 66 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.6 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.4 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 390 ..
    Screen Specs Sony RX100 YI M1
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Magnification
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 1229k dots 1040k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input no Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Sony RX100 YI M1
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/2000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 10 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium MS or SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Sony RX100 YI M1
    External Flash no Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Bluetooth Support no Bluetooth Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Sony RX100 YI M1
    Battery Type NP-BX1 BXM-10
    Battery Life (CIPA)330 shots per charge450 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 102 x 58 x 36 mm
    (4.0 x 2.3 x 1.4 in)
    114 x 64 x 34 mm
    (4.5 x 2.5 x 1.3 in)
    Camera Weight 240 g (8.5 oz) 281 g (9.9 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

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