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Sony RX1R versus Canon G1 X

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R and the Canon PowerShot G1 X are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in June 2013 and January 2012. Both the RX1R and the G1X are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on a full frame (RX1R) and an 1.5-inch (G1X) sensor. The Sony has a resolution of 24 megapixel, whereas the Canon provides 14.2 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 RX1R vs Canon G1 X

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Sony RX1R and the Canon G1 X. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth 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 – the RX1R – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Sony RX1R vs Canon G1 X
Compare RX1R versus G1X top
Compare RX1R and G1X rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon G1 X is notably larger (29 percent) than the Sony RX1R. Moreover, the G1X is markedly heavier (11 percent) than the RX1R. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the RX1R nor the G1X are weather-sealed.

Concerning battery life, the RX1R gets 270 shots out of its NP-BX1 battery, while the G1X can take 250 images on a single charge of its NB-10L power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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 RX1R» 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.0 oz 270 n Jun 2013 2,799- i Sony RX1R
Canon G1 X« 4.6 in 3.2 in 2.6 in 18.8 oz 250 n Jan 2012 799- i Canon G1 X
Canon G1 X Mark II« » 4.6 in 2.9 in 2.6 in 19.5 oz 240 n Feb 2014 799 i i Canon G1 X Mark II
Canon G16« » 4.3 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.6 oz 360 n Aug 2013 549 i i Canon G16
Canon T4i« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.3 oz 440 n Jun 2012 849- i Canon T4i
Canon T3« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 17.5 oz 700 n Feb 2011 449- i Canon T3
Canon T1i« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.3 oz 400 n Mar 2009 799- i Canon T1i
Leica X Typ 113« » 5.2 in 2.9 in 3.1 in 17.1 oz 350 n Sep 2014 2,295 i i Leica X Typ 113
Nikon D3300« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.2 oz 700 n Jan 2014 499- i Nikon D3300
Sony RX1R II« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.9 oz 220 n Oct 2015 3,299 i i Sony RX1R II
Sony A7S« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 17.2 oz 380 Y Apr 2014 2,499- i Sony A7S
Sony A6000« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.8 in 12.1 oz 360 n Feb 2014 599- i Sony A6000
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 A7« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.7 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 1,699- i Sony A7
Sony A7R« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.4 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 2,299- i Sony A7R
Sony A3000« » 5.0 in 3.6 in 3.3 in 14.5 oz 470 n Aug 2013 329- i Sony A3000
Sony RX1« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.0 oz 270 n Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony RX1

Any camera purchase will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 G1X was launched at a markedly lower price (by 71 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 RX1R vs Canon G1 X

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Sony RX1R features a full frame sensor and the Canon G1 X an 1.5-inch sensor. The sensor area in the G1X is 69 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 1.85. The sensor in the RX1R has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the G1X offers a 4:3 aspect.

In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.

Sony RX1R and Canon G1 X sensor measures

With 24MP, the RX1R offers a higher resolution than the G1X (14.2MP), but the RX1R nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.97μm versus 4.30μm for the G1X) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the RX1R is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 5 months) than the G1X, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. 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.

RX1R versus G1X MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 review, the RX1R provides substantially higher image quality than the G1X, with an overall score that is 31 points higher. This advantage is based on 3.3 bits higher color depth, 2.8 EV in additional dynamic range, and 2 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 RX1R» Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.013.6253791Sony RX1R
Canon G1 X« 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.864460Canon G1 X
Canon G1 X Mark II« » 1.5-inch 13.0 4160 31201080/30p21.510.858158Canon G1 X Mark II
Canon G16« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054Canon G16
Canon T4i« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262Canon T4i
Canon T3« » APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562Canon T3
Canon T1i« » APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363Canon T1i
Leica X Typ 113« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p----Leica X Typ 113
Nikon D3300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582Nikon D3300
Sony RX1R II« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53041080/60p25.813.9320497Sony RX1R II
Sony A7S« » Full Frame 12.0 4240 28321080/60p23.913.2370287Sony A7S
Sony A6000« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782Sony A6000
Sony RX100 III« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.412.349567Sony RX100 III
Sony A7« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.814.2224890Sony A7
Sony A7R« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.614.1274695Sony A7R
Sony A3000« » APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.712.8106878Sony A3000
Sony RX1« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.114.3253493Sony RX1

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, but the RX1R provides a higher frame rate than the G1X. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/24p.

 

Feature comparison: Sony RX1R vs Canon G1 X

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the G1X has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the RX1R relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the RX1R can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the FDA-EV1MK. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Sony RX1R, the Canon G1 X, and comparable cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or 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 RX1R»- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n Sony RX1R
Canon G1 X«optical n 3.0 922 Swivel n 4000 1.9 Y Y Canon G1 X
Canon G1 X Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 5.2 Y Y Canon G1 X Mark II
Canon G16« »optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 4000 2.2 Y Y Canon G16
Canon T4i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon T4i
Canon T3« »optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon T3
Canon T1i« »optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 3.4 Y n Canon T1i
Leica X Typ 113« »- n 3.0 920 fixed n 2000 5.0 Y n Leica X Typ 113
Nikon D3300« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n Nikon D3300
Sony RX1R II« »2360 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 4000 5.0 n n Sony RX1R II
Sony A7S« »2400 n 3.0 921 tilting n 8000 5.0 n n Sony A7S
Sony A6000« »1440 n 3.0 922 tilting n 4000 11.0 Y n Sony A6000
Sony RX100 III« »1440 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 10.0 Y Y Sony RX100 III
Sony A7« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 5.0 n n Sony A7
Sony A7R« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 4.0 n n Sony A7R
Sony A3000« »202 n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Sony A3000
Sony RX1« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n Sony RX1

The G1X is equipped with a zoom lens, while the RX1R comes with a build-in prime. The G1X has a 28-112mm f/2.8-5.8 optic and the RX1R offers a 35mm f/2.0 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Canon provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the Sony. The RX1R offers the faster maximum aperture.

The RX1R writes its imaging data to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards, while the G1X uses SDXC cards.

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 RX1R»YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Sony RX1R
Canon G1 X«Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon G1 X
Canon G1 X Mark II« »Ystereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon G1 X Mark II
Canon G16« »Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--Canon G16
Canon T4i« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Canon T4i
Canon T3« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon T3
Canon T1i« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Canon T1i
Leica X Typ 113« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Leica X Typ 113
Nikon D3300« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D3300
Sony RX1R II« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-Sony RX1R II
Sony A7S« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7S
Sony A6000« »Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony A6000
Sony RX100 III« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony RX100 III
Sony A7« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7
Sony A7R« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7R
Sony A3000« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Sony A3000
Sony RX1« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Sony RX1

Both the RX1R and the G1X have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The G1X was replaced by the Canon G1X Mark II, while the RX1R was followed by the Sony RX1R II.

Review summary: Sony RX1R vs Canon G1 X

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Sony RX1R or the Canon G1 X – has the upper hand? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 14.2MP) with a 33% higher linear resolution.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (31 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (3.3 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (2.8 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (2 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/24p).
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 922k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 1.9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.0 vs f/2.8).
  • More compact: Is smaller (113x65mm vs 117x81mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 52g or 10 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 5 months after the G1X).

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Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot G1 X:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (71 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2012).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX1R is the clear winner of the match-up (14 : 6 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.

RX1R 14:06 G1X

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the RX1R or the G1X. 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 table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known 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 RX1R»--4/5rev4.5/5 Jun 2013 2,799- i Sony RX1R
Canon G1 X«Rec76/1004/54/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799- i Canon G1 X
Canon G1 X Mark II« »Rec77/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 799 i i Canon G1 X Mark II
Canon G16« »Rec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i i Canon G16
Canon T4i« »HiRec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849- i Canon T4i
Canon T3« »80/10069/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449- i Canon T3
Canon T1i« »HiRec74/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799- i Canon T1i
Leica X Typ 113« »--3.5/5-4/5 Sep 2014 2,295 i i Leica X Typ 113
Nikon D3300« »Rec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499- i Nikon D3300
Sony RX1R II« »-82/100-rev4.5/5 Oct 2015 3,299 i i Sony RX1R II
Sony A7S« »-86/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Apr 2014 2,499- i Sony A7S
Sony A6000« »Rec80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2014 599- i Sony A6000
Sony RX100 III« »HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2014 799- i Sony RX100 III
Sony A7« »HiRec80/1005/54.5/55/5 Oct 2013 1,699- i Sony A7
Sony A7R« »HiRec82/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2013 2,299- i Sony A7R
Sony A3000« »Rec-4/54.5/54/5 Aug 2013 329- i Sony A3000
Sony RX1« »-79/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony RX1

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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. 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 are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, kindly get in touch, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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