Sony Cyber-shot RX100 Ken McMahon, October 2012

Sony RX100 vs Panasonic LX7 vs Canon G1 X quality

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To compare real-life performance when zoomed-out, I shot this scene with the Sony Cyber-shot RX100, Panasonic Lumix LX7, and the Canon PowerShot G1 X within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings. You can see a RAW comparison on the next page.

The zoom settings on the cameras were adjusted to provide an aproximately equal vertical field of view.

All three cameras were set to Aperture priority mode, stabilisation was disabled for this tripod-mounted test and tone enhancement features were left on the default settings. The ISO sensitivity was manually set to 80 ISO on the Cyber-shot RX100 and Lumix LX7 and 100 ISO on the PowerShot G1 X.

  Sony CyberShot RX100 results
1 Sony RX100 Quality
2 Sony RX100 RAW Quality
3 Sony RX100 Noise
4 Sony RX100 RAW Noise
5 Sony RX100 Sample images

The image above was taken with the Sony Cyber-shot RX100. The camera was set to Aperture priority mode with the aperture set to f5.6 and the sensitivity to 80 ISO. The Cyber-shot RX100 metered an exposure of 1/400 at f5.6. I selected f5.6 as it delivered the most detailed result for the RX100 under these conditions. The sharpest result for the PowerShot G1 X was also at f5.6 and it metered the same exposure at 100 ISO. For the Panasonic Lumix LX7 the best result was obtained at f4 with the same exposure, in this case 1/800 at f4.

The size of the detail in the crops reflects the different sensor resolutions - in ascending order of size are the 10.1 Megapixel Lumix LX7, followed by the 14.1 Megapixel PowerShot G1 X and finally the 20.2 Megapixel Cyber-shot RX100. With the highest resolution (but not the biggest physical size) sensor, the Sony RX100 crops show the smallest area with the largest detail. Bigger doesn't always mean more detailed, but in the case of the RX100 crops you can actually see more detail than in the crops from the Lumix LX7 and the PowerShot G1 X.

Starting at the top, you can make out detail in the stonework of the chapel walls and you can just about see the panels in the window on the end wall. The grassy hill in the foreground of this crop is textured, but that's not noise, it's real image detail. In the lighhouse crop you can see the lamp house as distinct from the rest of the column, a level of detail that you'd never expect to see resolved on a compact with a smaller sensor, even a high resolution one.

The detail in the third crop from close to the frame edge is a little softer, but there's no sign of chromatic aberration or other distortion. But the final crop, from close to the centre of the frame is the most impressive. The edges are crisp and the level of fine detail is outstanding. You can clearly make out the individual balcony rails, but the RX100's lens and sensor's resolving power are most clearly demonstrated by the fine detail in the foreground of this crop where you can easily make out the individual tiles on the roofs of the two buidings.

Compared with the results from the Panasonic Lumix LX7, there isn't a huge difference in quality. The LX7 crops are also of a very high standard with low noise, crisp edges and a good level of detail. The major difference is that the higher resolution 20.2 Megapixel sensor in the RX100 is able to resolve more detail.

There's more detail in the chapel in the first crop and you can make out the lamp room in the lighthouse as a distinct element. The roof tiles in the foreground of the second and fourth crops - detail too small to be resolved by the 10.1 Megapixel sensor of the Lumix LX7 provides no problems for the RX100. It's the same, but to a lesser degree for the 14.1 Megapixel sensor of the Canon PowerShot G1 X. Canon's slightly more aggressive processing makes for a slighty more contrasty, grainier appearance.

Check out my RX100 RAW Quality results on the next page or see how these models compare at higher sensitivities in my RX100 Noise results.


Sony Cyber-shot RX100
Panasonic Lumix LX7
Canon PowerShot G1 X
f5.6, 80 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 80 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 80 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 80 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO

Sony Cyber-shot RX100 results : Quality / RAW vs JPEG / Noise
/ RAW Noise

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