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Sony RX1R versus Sony RX100 IV

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in June 2013 and June 2015. Both the RX1R and the RX100 IV are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on a full frame (RX1R) and an one-inch (RX100 IV) sensor. The RX1R has a resolution of 24 megapixel, whereas the RX100 IV provides 20 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 Sony RX100 IV

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Sony RX1R and the Sony RX100 IV. 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 side – the RX1R – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

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

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony RX100 IV is notably smaller (19 percent) than the Sony RX1R. Moreover, the RX100 IV is substantially lighter (38 percent) than the RX1R. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the RX1R nor the RX100 IV 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 RX1R» 113 mm 65 mm 70 mm 482 g 270 n Jun 2013 2,799- i Sony RX1R
Sony RX100 IV« 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 298 g 280 n Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV
Canon G7 X« » 103 mm 60 mm 40 mm 304 g 210 n Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
Leica X Typ 113« » 133 mm 73 mm 78 mm 486 g 350 n Sep 2014 2,295 i i Leica X Typ 113
Nikon D5300« » 125 mm 98 mm 76 mm 480 g 600 n Oct 2013 799- i Nikon D5300
Panasonic FZ1000« » 137 mm 99 mm 131 mm 831 g 360 n Jun 2014 899- i Panasonic FZ1000
Sony RX100 V« » 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 299 g 220 n Oct 2016 999 i i Sony RX100 V
Sony RX1R II« » 113 mm 65 mm 72 mm 507 g 220 n Oct 2015 3,299 i i Sony RX1R II
Sony A7S« » 127 mm 94 mm 48 mm 489 g 380 Y Apr 2014 2,499- i Sony A7S
Sony A6000« » 120 mm 67 mm 45 mm 344 g 360 n Feb 2014 599- i Sony A6000
Sony RX100 III« » 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 290 g 320 n May 2014 799- i Sony RX100 III
Sony A3000« » 128 mm 91 mm 85 mm 411 g 470 n Aug 2013 329- i Sony A3000
Sony A7« » 127 mm 94 mm 48 mm 474 g 340 Y Oct 2013 1,699- i Sony A7
Sony RX100 II« » 102 mm 58 mm 38 mm 281 g 350 n Jun 2013 749- i Sony RX100 II
Sony RX100« » 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 240 g 330 n Jun 2012 649- i Sony RX100
Sony RX1« » 113 mm 65 mm 70 mm 482 g 270 n Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony RX1

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 IV was launched at a markedly lower price (by 64 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 Sony RX100 IV

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Sony RX1R features a full frame sensor and the Sony RX100 IV an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the RX100 IV is 86 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 2.7. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Sony RX1R and Sony RX100 IV sensor measures

With 24MP, the RX1R offers a higher resolution than the RX100 IV (20MP), but the RX1R nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.97μm versus 2.41μm for the RX100 IV) due to its larger sensor. However, the RX100 IV is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 11 months) than the RX1R, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that 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 RX100 IV MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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. Of the two cameras under review, the RX1R provides substantially higher image quality than the RX100 IV, with an overall score that is 21 points higher. This advantage is based on 2.2 bits higher color depth, 1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 2.1 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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
Sony RX100 IV« 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170Sony RX100 IV
Canon G7 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671Canon G7 X
Leica X Typ 113« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p----Leica X Typ 113
Nikon D5300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.9133883Nikon D5300
Panasonic FZ1000« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.111.751764Panasonic FZ1000
Sony RX100 V« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.458670Sony RX100 V
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 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 RX100« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.612.439066Sony RX100
Sony RX1« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.114.3253493Sony RX1

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the RX100 IV provides a better video resolution than the RX1R. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the RX1R is limited to 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Sony RX1R vs Sony RX100 IV

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the RX100 IV has an electronic viewfinder (2359k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the RX1R relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Sony RX1R and Sony RX100 IV in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar 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 RX1R»- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n Sony RX1R
Sony RX100 IV«2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 2000 16.0 Y Y Sony RX100 IV
Canon G7 X« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 2000 6.5 Y Y Canon G7 X
Leica X Typ 113« »- n 3.0 920 fixed n 2000 5.0 Y n Leica X Typ 113
Nikon D5300« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel n 4000 5.0 Y n Nikon D5300
Panasonic FZ1000« »2359 n 3.0 921 swivel n 4000 12.0 Y Y Panasonic FZ1000
Sony RX100 V« »2359 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 24.0 Y Y Sony RX100 V
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 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 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

The RX100 IV is equipped with a zoom lens, while the RX1R comes with a build-in prime. The RX100 IV has a 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 optic and the RX1R offers a 35mm f/2.0 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the RX100 IV 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 IV offers the faster maximum aperture.

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

Review summary: Sony RX1R vs Sony RX100 IV

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Sony RX1R or the Sony RX100 IV – has the upper hand? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 20MP) with a 10% higher linear resolution.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (21 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (2.2 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (2.1 stops ISO advantage).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (4000/sec vs 2000/sec) to freeze action.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in June 2013).


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

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
  • 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.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (16 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 will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 184g or 38 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (64 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 11 months) more recently.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX100 IV is the clear winner of the contest (12 : 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.

RX1R 08:12 RX100 IV

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the RX1R or the RX100 IV. 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. This is why expert reviews 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
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
Sony RX100 IV«HiRec85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV
Canon G7 X« »HiRec77/1004.5/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
Leica X Typ 113« »--3.5/5-4/5 Sep 2014 2,295 i i Leica X Typ 113
Nikon D5300« »HiRec79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799- i Nikon D5300
Panasonic FZ1000« »HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 899- i Panasonic FZ1000
Sony RX100 V« »HiRec83/1004/55/54.5/5 Oct 2016 999 i i Sony RX100 V
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 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 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

The above review scores should be interpreted 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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

 

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 send me an email, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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