In this article I compared the Canon PowerShot G3 X vs Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 and Sony Cyber-shot RX10 II. The FZ1000 is one of my favorites bridge cameras. It’s interesting to see whether FZ1000 faces competition from these two new bridge cameras, the G3 X and the RX10 II. Both the G3 X and RX10 II certainly look like very strong alternatives to the FZ1000. Whether the Sony RX10 II is the best of the three? – we are here to find out. If you are searching for a big-zoom DSLR alternative camera or an advanced camera for serious photographers, this article is for you.
I’ll start with a short introduction to the Sony RX10 II and move on to the comparison section, where you’ll be able to get a very clear view over the differences between those three cameras.
Sony RX10 II
On June 10, 2015 Sony has announced the successor to its popular Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 camera, the RX10 II. Like the RX100 IV, the RX10 II also boats the world’s first 1.0″ type stacked Exmor R CMOS sensor with 20.2MP effective resolution. The new sensor uses an integral DARM memory chip which leads to 5x faster readout image data from the sensor. This allowed Sony to bring some exciting new features, including 40x high-frame-rate motion video recording (up to 960 fps), 4K video recording and more with XAVC S codec, 14 fps continuous shooting speed (in Speed Priority, focus locked on first frame) and more.
In comparison, the RX10 (older model) uses Sony’s Exmor R CMOS sensor, which uses back-illuminated technology but doesn’t feature the stacked technology. In stacked technology, the pixels and circuitry reside on individual chips and later joined and assembled as one unit. Among the benefits of Stacked sensors are an additional bandwidth due to the on-board DRAM chip, improved sensitivity and other performance factors, lower-power consumption, ease of design for making future improvements (e.g. Adding new functionality), etc. Of course because Sony design and manufactures its own sensors, this gives Sony an edge over other companies. It allows Sony to push digital imaging technology forward because the sensor is the heart of any camera and many of the camera’s features are based on its performance.
For those of you whom are not familiar with sensor sizes, the 1-inch sensor i smaller than APS-C which can be found on most DSLR cameras. It’s even smaller than the Micro Four Thirds’ sensor. That said, for a bridge camera, this is relatively very large sensor. In the past, most of the sensors on bridge cameras were 1/2.3″. Some cameras still use small sensors in order to provide cameras with bigger zoom range. I mean Sony can use a 1-inch sensor with a 50x camera, but that will make the camera significantly larger and certainly much more expensive.
On the outside, the RX10 II looks identical to the RX10 II as you can see in the image below from camerasize.com. Even the lens is the same Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 24-200mm (35mm equivalent) f/2.8 8.3x optical zoom lens as the RX10.
I actually don’t mind having the same lens, because this is a superb lens. The lens can shoot at F2.8 in the entire focal length range. This means that the RX10 II will allow you to take well-exposed photos in low-light conditions, even when shooting at the tele-end. With many bridge cameras the aperture at the tele-end is very slow, and therefore you have limited options when shooting in low-light. With the RX10 II you’ll find less need to bump up the ISO in order to compensate for lack of light. f/2.8 and with such large sensor also means much better control over the depth of field. You can take image of subjects with the background being defocused in a high degree, same beautiful effect that you get with DSLR cameras. This is something which is very important for enthusiast photographers, being able to get more precise control over the DOF, and with the RX10 II you can do just that.
Among the RX10 II other features: up to 0.09 sec. quick precision autofocus system, improved 2359K-dots OLED electronic viewfinder, up to 14 fps burst in full-resolution without blackouts, top info LCD, S-Log2 gamma option to extend dynamic range when shooting videos and reducing the occurrence of blow-out highlights and black crush, MF assist and peaking, 1/32000 sec. shutter speed, NFC and WiFi and much more.
The RX10 II doesn’t come cheap:
- Sony RX10 II — ~$1300
- Sony RX10 (older model) — ~$900
- Panasonic FZ1000 — ~$730
- Canon G3 X — ~$1000
So pricing aside, I’m sure that you want to know which cameras has the most useful features to match your specific needs. In the next section you’ll learn about each camera cons and pros vs its peers and you’ll be able to get a clearer picture of which camera is the best for your specific shooting style and needs.
Here’s a sample video taken with the RX10 II in 4K resolution.
Now check these SUPER COOL slow motion footage – WOW I’m impressed!
RX10 II vs G3 X vs FZ1000
Now that you became a bit more familiar with the RX10 II key features, let’s see how it ‘s compared to the G3X and FZ1000.
|RX10 II||G3 X||FZ1000|
|Announced||June 10, 2015||June 18, 2015||June 12, 2014|
|Camera Type||Bridge Camera||Bridge Camera||Bridge Camera|
|Build Quality||Magnesium alloy||Magnesium alloy||Metal, composite|
|Weather Sealing||Dust and moisture resistant||Dust and water resistance (same as the 70D)||No|
|Both the G3 X and RX10 II are weather-sealed, the FZ1000 is not. This makes the G3X and RX10 II more suitable for outdoor use and when shooting in harsh weather conditions.
There isn't any IP water-ingress rating, so we can't really tell whether the G3 X has better weather sealing protection than the RX10 II. That said, Canon stated "water resistance", whether RX10 II states "moisture resistant". Furhtermore, on canon.co.uk it's written "keep shooting come rain.." (seems like a bad translation), but it might suggests that the G3 X has better weather sealing protection than the RX10 II, which I haven't seen anything mentioning shooting in the rain.
There is also an image of the G3 X with rain drops. Overall, the G3 X can operate under light rain, but I personally wouldn't stress that and shoot under heavy rain.
I think digital cameras also deserve IP rating, so people will know to what exact degree they can use their device.
(13.2 x 8.8 mm)
20.2 megapixels (effective)
Exmor RS CMOS (Stacked)
3:2 aspect ratio
(13.2 x 8.8 mm)
20.2 megapixels (effective)
BSI CMOS Sensor
3:2 aspect ratio
(13.2 x 8.8 mm)
20.1 megapixels (effective)
High Sensitivity MOS
|Regarding the FZ1000 sensor, I didn't find any official resource that says that the FZ1000 sensor is BSI. In my opinion based on unofficial sources, it is a back-illuminated sensor, but I'm not 100% sure. If you have more information about it, please drop me a comment.
Other than that, We can see that all three cameras offer very high resolution captures of 20MP and all use the same size sensor.
The RX10 II however is the only camera that uses Sony's latest Stacked sensor technology with the on-board DRAM memory chip.
|ISO||100 - 128000|
Extented: 64, 80
25600 (multi-frame NR)
|125 - 12800|
|125 - 12800
Extended: 80, 100, 25600
|Processor||Bionz X||Digic 6||Venus Engine|
|Lens||Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T*|
24-200 mm f/2.8 (equiv. focal length)
8.3x optical zoom
Lens-shift image stabilization
Power O.I.S. on/off switch on the lens left side + Intelligent Active Mode (electronic compensation / anti-rolling type)
- 14 elements in 11 groups (7 aspherical, AA lens)
- 7 diaphragm blades
- Dual control ring (aperture, zoom)
24-600 mm f/2.8-5.6 (equiv. focal length)
25x optical zoom
Lens-shift image stabilization (~3.5 stop) +
5-axis advanced dynamic IS
- 18 elements in 13 groups (1 double sided aspherical UA, 2 single sided aspherical UA, 1 single sided aspherical, 2 UD, 1 Hi-UD)
|Leica DC Vario-Elmarit
25-400 mm f/2.8-4.0 (equiv. focal length)
16x optical zoom
Hybrid O.I.S: 5-axis correction (horizontal, vertical axis of rotation, vertical rotation and horizontal rotation) + level shot function (maintains horizontal line when camera is tilted).
* Hybrid + level shot doesn't work in 4K video recording.
- 15 elements in 11 groups (5 asphetical lenses, 8 aspherical surfaces, 4 extra-low dispersion glass elements)
|Min. Focus Range||3 cm||5 cm||3 cm|
|The G3 X, although having the same sensor size and smallest out of the three, has the biggest optical zoom.
That being said, the RX10 II is the only camera among the three to have a constant maximum aperture across its focal length. It can shoot at the same f/2.8 at the wide-angle like the other cameras, but it doesn't slow down when you zoom in. This improves its overall low-light capabilities and allows you get more prominent shallow depth of field effect (for the same given focal length and subject distance).
The RX10 II doesn't have 5-axis stabilization, which will make videos more stable on the other cameras.
Having constant f/2.8 aperture is always useful, but having 600mm each like the G3 X is also very tempting as well.
The FZ1000 sits somewhat in between, it has more range than the RX10 II,but it doesn't have a constant aperture like the RX10 II, it also has lesser FOV at the wide-end.
The G3 X might appeal better for travelers because it's more compact and has a longer optical zoom range. However, we can't deny the many advantages of the RX10 II with its constant f/2.8 aperture. This is one of the main reasons why this camera is more expensive. The built-in ND filter and closer macro range might also make the RX10 II more attractive for some photographer who intend to use those features quite a lot.
Having built-in ND filter is very useful especially with a fast-aperture lens like the RX10 II one. It gives photographers control over the amount of light passed through the lens. It allows you get a well exposed image when shooting with the aperture wide open and with slow shutter speeds when shooting under bright light conditions. So you can still keep using the fast aperture to get a shallow depth of field instead of stopping it down to balance the exposure.
4:3 aspect ratio
WhiteMagic LCD for better outdoor visibility
Tiltable 107° up, 42° down
3:2 aspect ratio
Tiltable 180° up (for selfies), 45° down
AR coating (improved visibility by reducing reflections)
Full articulated (180° horizontal to each side and 270° vertical)
|The G3 X is the only camera with a touch-sensitive display. This is great for taking low- and high-angle shots and when recording videos.
The G3 X also has the highest resolution display, and although the display is not fully articulated, it does allow you to flip the screen facing forward for easy selfie image composition.
|The G3 X lacks a built-in electronic viewfinder, something that might be a deal-breaker for some. Both the FZ1000 and the RX10 II have a high-quality EVF.|
|Shutter Speed||30 - 1/32000 sec||30 - 1/2000 sec||60 - 1/16000 sec|
|The RX10 II offers the fastest maximum shutter speed among the three. Giving photographers more control over the exposure and giving more versatility when shooting fast moving subjects.|
|Built-in Flash||Yes (10.20m)||Yes (6.80m)||Yes (13.50m)|
|Burst||14 fps||5.9 fps||12.0 fps|
|Exposure Compensation||±3 (1/3 EV step)||±2 (1/3 step)||±5 (1/3 step)|
(max res / NTSC)
|2160p30 (4K/Ultra HD)|
MPEG-4, AVCHD, XAVC S
Miniature effect: 720p6/3/1.5
|2160p30 (4K/Ultra HD, 100Mbps)
High Speed Video (slow-mo) 1080p30 from 120 fps sensor output
|The FZ1000 certainly gives the RX10 II a good run for its money, but it lacks the more advanced slow-mo and video recording features of the RX10 II. The G3 X offers both headphone and mic inputs, does have 60p in Full HD, but doesn't offer 4K video recording option.
The RX10 II with all its video features and constant-aperture dual-rin lens seems to be more future-proof when it comes to video recording and might appeal better to videgraphers.
DFD (Depth From Defocus)
|The FZ1000 also utilizes DFD focusing technology, the same one used in the GH4 Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera.
It allows the camera to achieve higher AF speed and higher AF accuracy by calculating the direction and the amount of movement the focus lens need to move at a single movement by comparing 2 images with different depth of field.
|Wireless||WiFi / NFC||WiFi / NFC||WiFi / NFC|
|Battery Life||400 shots (CIPA)|
|300 shots (CIPA)|
|360 shots (CIPA)|
|Dimensions||129 x 88 x 102 mm (5.08 x 3.46 x 4.02″)||123 x 77 x 105 mm (4.84 x 3.03 x 4.13″)||137 x 99 x 131 mm (5.39 x 3.9 x 5.16″)|
|Weight||813 g (1.79 lb / 28.68 oz)||733 g (1.62 lb / 25.86 oz)||831 g (1.83 lb / 29.31 oz)|
The RX10 Mark II is more expensive than the FZ100 and G3 X, but in return you get a more progression-grade camera for both stills and video recording. It’s durable and has weather-sealing, it has a f/2.8 constant aperture Zeiss lens, it uses Sony’s latest innovation in the sensor development department with its new Stacked sensor technology, top LCD, it has a built-in ND filter, EVF fastest burst in the group, 1/32000 sec shutter speed and the most advanced video recording features among the three, including 1080/960 fps slow-mo video recording and S-Log2/S-Gamut adjustments.
These are just s few of the features that makes the RX10 II so appealing to enthusiasts. The Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 is the cheapest among the three. You still get to have 4K videos, a very versatile and relatively fast lens, EVF, 12 fps burst and advanced and innovative AF system. I personally would prefer having f/2.8 all across the FL than longer zoom, just because of the shallower depth of field effect and better low-light performance. Remember all three have the same sensor size and roughly the same effective resolution. For video recording the RX10 II also wins, but I think that not everyone who enjoy shooting videos will need those. So that in mind, the FZ1000 does offer a better value compared to the RX10 II in my opinion.
The Canon PowerShot G3 X is the smallest among the three, but it ain’t pocketable. It does offer the longest zoom range among the three cameras, which should appeal to anyone looking for a good DSLR replacement and a versatile family/travel camera. It’s really an all-around excellent camera with its durable weather-sealed body, selfie-friendly tilting touchscreen display, 1080p60 video recording and wireless connectivity. It doesn’t have a built-in viewfinder, it has the slowest burst among the three, weakest battery, and it doesn’t shoot 4K. The EVF might be a very important feature for some of you and I know that most of you probably won’t be thinking of buying an external EVF. This makes the competition a bit harder for the G3 X. Having a built-in EVF makes it easier to compose your images under bright lighting conditions, and this is one reason why I prefer buying a camera with EVF than one without it. All in all, the G3 X is a great camera to take to the Safari to capture images and photos of animals, great for birds’ photography, sports, etc.
Having said that, I think that many people might be willing to give up on the EVF just to enjoy a longer focal length. The difference in the optical zoom range is quite significant, especially when you compared it to the 200mm FL of the RX10 II. If you want to buy a camera for your next trip, would you prefer a much bigger zoom in favor of a faster lens? – if you ask me, I would probably prefer a bigger zoom, but for general use I would go with the constant f/2.8 aperture of the RX10 II.
Yep, not easy to make a decision. Whatever you pick up, make sure your money is well spent. Don’t buy the most expensive camera if you don’t intend to use its more advanced features. For example, if you aren’t into shooting videos, the unique RX10 II video features are meaningless. If you mainly shoot in daylight or with a flash, you can good with a slower lens of either the G3 X or the FZ1000. Understanding the features and match them to your specific needs is the key to making a smarter buying decision.
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