Panasonic LX100 vs Canon G7 X vs Sony RX100 III vs Canon G1 X Mark II

September 16, 2014

Panasonic LX100, Canon G7 X, Sony EX100 and Canon G1 X Mark II cameras banner

In this article I will compare the Canon PowerShot G7 X versus the Panasonic Lumix LX100, Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II and Sony RX100 III.  Both the G7 and LX100 were announced just prior to Photokina 2014 event, whether the RX100 3 was announced on May 16, 2014. This is an interesting comparison for the enthusiast photographer, looking for a compact camera with a large sensor. Both the RX100 III and the G7 X has a 1″ size sensor, whether the LX100 features a Four Thirds sensor which is larger than the 1″ one.

Of course the sensor isn’t the only thing that differ between those three cameras. If you are into buying a new large-sensor compact camera, you’ll love reading this article, so stay with me until the end to see which camera comes on top. We’ll start with a short introduction to each camera and continue to the side by side comparison afterward.

Canon PowerShot G7 X

The G7 X is probably one of the more exciting announcements on the Canon camp for enthusiast and amateur photographers and it’s Canon’s first 1-inch compact digital camera. This camera is priced around $50 below the G1 X Mark II which has a larger 1.5″ (18.7x 14mm) size sensor but the G1 X MKII is much larger in size as well. Np doubt that comparing the two is very interesting, and in this article you will be able to comprehend the differences between those two cameras.

The Canon G7 X was designed to compete against other popular premium large-sensor compacts, especially the super popular Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III. Externally, the G7 X is very similar to the Sony RX100 III, and I personally was really surprised to see that.

Canon G7 X and Sony RX100 III size comparison

Canon G7 X and Sony RX100 III size comparison (via camerasize.com)

As you can see from the image above (via camerasize.com), the Canon is slightly larger than the RX100 III, but resembles a very equivalent design with the mode dial at the top-right side, with the shutter button/zoom lever near it and the on/off switch at the same position.  At the back you have the grip at the same position with a larger movie record button.  I personally don’t have a problem with that. The RX100 III is a great camera, and I am happy that Canon come up with a premium compact that has a large sensor,  premium features and of course, it’s very compact in size.

OK, enough talking about the RX100 III for now, we’ll do that later on. Let’s focus on the G7 X and see why we should be excited about this new camera.

The Canon G7X features a 1-inch 20.2 MP High-Sensitivity CMOS sensor and Canon’s DIGIC 6 image processor. Quite a high-resolution, even for a 1″ sensor, but hey, the Sony RX100M3 also features 20.1MP resolution, another thing that closely resembles the RX100 III camera. I’m sure that many photographers will be happy if the G7 X shows the same or even better high ISO performance as the RX100 III.

A large sensor mean that you can expect a very good high ISO performance (low-light performance) and be able to get more control over the depth of field — being able to throw the background out of focus in much higher degree compared to a smaller sensor. This is one reason why so many people prefer buying a more expensive large-sensor compact than a conventional compact with a 1/2.3″ sensor. For comparison, the Canon G7 X sensor is measured 13.2 x 8.8 mm and the 1/2.3″ sensor is measured 6.17 x 4.55 mm. 1/2.3″ sensor is used in some premium smartphone cameras. Some smartphone camera even have larger sensors, like the Nokia Lumia 1020 with its 2/3″ (8.80 x 6.60 mm) sensor and the Nokia 808 PureView with its 1/1.2″ (10.67 x 8.00 mm) sensor. If you are asking about the iPhone 6 and iPhone 5S, both of them use a 1/3.2″ (4.54 x 3.42 mm) size sensor, which is much smaller than the 1″ one.

According to Canon, this new sensor has a very high dynamic range, high signal-to-noise ratio, providing minimum amount of noise, breathtaking colors and processing that beautify and make each image closer to what the eye sees, more life-like. The sensor is also 3:2 in aspect ratio, same as Canon EOS SLR cameras and it can shoot on RAW in both 3:2, 16:9, 4:3, 1:1, 4:5 and 4:3 aspect ratios (aka Multi aspect-ratio).

The G7 X features a 24-100mm (35mm equivalent) f/1.8-2.8 wide-angle lens with Canon’s Optical Image Stabilization mechanism (4.2x optical zoom).  It’s a vyer impressive lens and one of the most versatile lenses among the four cameras we compare here. It offers the same 24mm wide-angle as the other cameras, but more versatile zoom range than the RX100 III and the LX100, although less than the G1 X Mark II’s 120mm. Of course one of it’s main selling point is its super-fast aperture at both the wide-end and the tele-end. Shooting with maximum aperture range of F1.8-F2.8 gives you plenty of light at any field of view, making this camera an excellent low-light performer and giving you very shallow depth of field at the tele-end. The RX100 II had a 24-120 mm F2.0-3.9 lens, but Sony shortened the focal length on favor of faster optics. Some people thought that the focal length is quite limited, and it’s nice to see that Canon didn’t follow the same path.

The G7  X also features a 9-blade iris diaphragm, 11 glass lenses with multi-layer coating, all result in a buttery smooth background blur effect with excellent suppression of ghosting or flaring for very high-quality rendering. The lens also has a control ring which makes it easy to adjust the camera setting without taking your eyes of the rear display. The camera has a built-in neutral density (ND) filter which allows photographer to gain more control over the exposure by reducing the amount of light passing through the lens and reaching the sensor. Photographers can now use longer shutter speeds without overexposing the image — allowing certain image effects to be achieved in that way.

At the back you’ll find a 3.0″ 1.4-million dot 180° tilting (capacitive type = better sensitivity, same as your smartphone screen) touchscreen LCD in 3:2 aspect ratio (wide), which can be tilted upward in a way that the screen faces the photographer for easy selfie shooting. So you get it all here, a selfie-ready high-res large display, which is touch-sensitive as well — what more can you ask for?

Other great features include up to 6.5 fps in burst mode, full manual control over the exposure, as well as very easy-to-use auto mode. You get a 31 point contrast-detect AF system and a built-in Wi-Fi/NFC that makes it super easy to share your photos and videos on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, flickr, Google Drive and other online photo storage solutions. Canon added a new Mobile Device Connect button that allows you to easily connect the camera with your mobile device in one-touch (you’ll need to install the CameraWindow app to enjoy all those great features). You get 1080p Full HD video recording at 60 frames per second in MP5 file format (smaller file size), movie recording in manual mode (Av, Tv and ISO adjustment) and also have the ability to change the focus point while shooting video by tapping on the touchscreen and even record videos in Apple iFrame format. Canon also added a start shooting mode to capture beautiful star time-lapse movies or stills. Oh, and there is built-in HDR function and a built-in flash as well!

The Canon PowerShot G7X is an high-capable little camera that have the potential to be one of the most popular compact camera on the market.  Unfortunately, it lacks a built-in viewfinder like the RX100M3 and you don’t have an option to attach one. Overall, an excellent release from Canon, I have to give it to Canon this time, Bravo!

Panasonic Lumix LX100

The Panasonic Lumix LX100 also introduced a day prior to Photokina 2014. The DMC-LX100 is a very interesting camera in its own right. It’s the first compact camera that comes with a Micro Four Thirds sensor, and oh boy, this is a very large sensor in compact camera’s terms.

Sensor size comparison: APS-C, 1-inch and Micro Four Thirds

Sensor size comparison: APS-C, 1-inch and Micro Four Thirds

You can see that the Micro Four Thirds sensor, used in Olympus and Panasonic mirrorless cameras as well, is much larger than the 1-inch sensor. This should give the camera an important advantage when shooting in low-light, as well as improving the dynamic range, signal-to-noise ratio, giving you better control over the depth of field and improving the image quality overall.  This is not a mirrorless camera, as the LX100 comes with a fixed 24-75mm (35mm equivalent) f/1.7-2.8  Leica DC Vario-Summilux lens. The llens is equipped with an aperture and manual focus ring, features that are in high-demand among enthusiasts. The manual ring works hand-in-hand with the built-in manual assist gauge that helps the photographer getting a precise and clear view of the area of focus.

The camera itself looks amazing and built like a professional camera. It has a mechanical shutter speed dial and an exposure compensation dial at the top, which gives quicker access to those frequently used camera functions.

At the back of the camera you’ll find one of the highly-requested features in a premium compact, and that is an electronic viewfinder. The LX100 LVF has 2,764K-dot resolution, 100% coverage of the field of view, 100% color reproduction for true-color viewing experience. At this point you probably asking about the price. The LX100 has an initial price of $899.99, and although not cheap, it certainly gives the competition an easy run, and you’ll soon see why. In fact, as of the time of writing, the LX100 already positioned itself as #1 Best Seller on Amazon.com in Compact System Cameras (although it’s not a Compact system camera by definition, doesn’t accept interchangeable lenses).

Panasonic LX100 and Sony RX100 III size comparison

Panasonic LX100 (right) and Sony RX100 III (left) size comparison (via camerasize.com)

The LX100 is built with magnesium alloy body, offers a small hand grip and it’s smaller than the G1X Mark II, although larger than the RX100 III and the G7 X. One of its main disadvantages is that it’s not pocketable, so this is one advantage that the RX100M3 and G7 X have over the LX100. I’m sure many people won’t mind paying this price for having a built-in EVF, 4/3 sensor, 4K video recording and a high-quality super fast Lecia lens.

There are plenty of things to cover here, and I will cover them in more details in the comparison section.

Canon G1 X Mark II

The Canon G1 X Mark II is a pouplar large-sensor compact camera (not pocketable though) that has gotten very good review ratings across many popular camera review websites.

The G1 X Mark II is Canon’s PowerShot flagship model, featuring a 12.8 megapixel 1.5-inch size CMOS sensor. This is a very large sensor in compact-camera terms, and one of the reasons that many people opt to buying this camera.

1.5 inch vs 1 inch sensor size comparison digram

1.5 inch vs 1 inch sensor size comparison digram

This of course comes at the price of a larger physical size as you can see in the image below.

Canon G1 X Mark II vs Sony RX100 III

Canon G1 X Mark II vs Sony RX100 III size comparison (via camerasize.com)

The larger sensor has proven to win in low-light tests, but for many people, portability is not something to take lightly, and many people prefer pocket camera that they can take everywhere they go, instead one that is less easy to carry around. That’s in fact one of the reasons why so many people opt for the RX100 instead.

The G1 X Mark II features a 24-120mm (equivalent) f/2.0-3.9 5x optical zoom lens with 9-blade aperture and optical image stabilization. This is not a lens that is fast as you’ll find on some other large-sensor compacts, and in fact, it’s the slowest lens (in terms of exposure) among the four cameras we compare here. It’s still very fast at the widest angles, but gets slower as you move to the tele-end.  I will talk about the effects on the depth of field in the comparison section. The lens also has dual control rings to change the shutters speed, aperture or exposure values.

At the back of the camera you’ll find a 3-inch 1040K-dots tilting touch-sensitive (capacitive type) display. Unfortunately, the G1 X MKII lacks a built-in viewfinder, which is quite a shame considering its size and the fact that the RX100 III does have a retractable built-in EVF, and the RX100 III is much smaller in size. You do have an option to attach the EVF-DC1 (optional) electronic viewfinder at the top of the camera,but for around $240, it doesn’t come cheap.

The G1 X Mark II is equipped with built-in WiFi/NFC, Full HD 1080p video recording, Multi-aspect RAW shooting, 5.2 fps burst, High Speed AF system,a new Star Shooting modes and much more.

The Canon PowerShot certainly has its right place in the large-sensor compact market, although we can see that it certainly has fierce competition from new released cameras, and I think that Canon did  smart adding the G7 X model to the PowerShot camera’s lineup. Whether it can compete well against the LX100 and RX100 III, we’ll see that in the comparison section.

Sony RX100 III

for many photographers the Sony RX100 III needs no introduction. This is the third iteration of the RX100 camera, which is as the moment one of the best and most popular compact cameras on the market. Sony made changes from previous generation, and you can read more about those changes in my RX100 III vs RX100 II vs RX100 comparison review.

The RX100 III gains its popularity mainly for its fast lens, build-quality and size and it’s large sensor.  For a price around $800 (As of the time of writing), it’s not cheap, but for many people it’s worth its price compared to an interchangeable lens. This is especially true if you don’t enjoy changing lenses and you prefer a camera that you can carry everywhere you go, instead of one that will stay at home on the shelf most of the time.

The Sony RX100 III features a 1″ 20.1MP Exmor R BSI sensor, which proven to result in excellent image quality and low-light performance. You are not forced to shoot at high-ISO as the RX100 III features a very bright Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 24-70mm (35mm equivalent) F1.8-2.8 aperture lens with built-in ND filter.  The RX100 III result in very high-quality stills, but it was found to be superb for video shooting with its XAVC S video compression and 1080p60 smooth video recording with stereo sound. If you love shooting videos as you enjoy shooting stills, the RX100 III will certainly appeal to you.

*video by TheCameraStoreTV

At the back of the camera you’ll find a 3″ 1229K-dots 180-degrees tilting LCD for easy selfie shooting, but it’s not a touch-sensitive display. This screen utilizes WhiteMagic technology that dramatically improved outdoor visibility when shooting in bright daylight.

One of the most lovely surprise is a built-in 1440K-dots Electronic viewfinder. The viewfinder is built inside the camera and retracts on use, so it doesn’t take any vertical or horizontal space when you carry it in your pocket. Very innovative features for such a camera.

Enjoying dpreview Gold Award and covering itself with many fluttering online reviews, the Sony RX100 III proven to be an excellent performer and a compact camera that wins in almost every category. This is a camera that certainly be at the top of your list.

OK, I wanted to keep things shorter because I know that the comparison section is where the meat is. So let’s jump into the most interesting part of this article, the comparison section, in order to see which camera should be your next camera.

LX100 vs G7 X vs RX100 III vs G1 X Mark II

I’m sure that you are very interested to know the differences between the LX100, G7 X, RX100 III and G1 X Mark II. all four are among the best large-sensor compact cameras on the market right now. If you intend to buy one of those cameras, you need to understand the differences between them in order to find a camera that best matches your shooting style. So without further ado, let’s jump to the comparison!

[table "174" not found /]

Let’s look at the current pricing before we continue to the conclusion section.

  • Panasonic Lumix LX100 – ~$900
  • Canon PowerShot G7 X – ~$700.00
  • Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III – ~$800
  • Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II – ~$750

Conclusion

The Panasonic Lumix LX100 is the most expensive camera among the three, but not by much. In my opinion it’s the more interesting and the most capable camera among the four, as long as you don’t mind that it’s not pocketable Among its advantages are: large viewfinder with large pixels, fastest aperture range and fastest at 24mm (widest field of view), superb optics, nice front hand-grip, lots of buttons and dials that offer quick access to frequently used camera settings, dual lens ring, best viewfinder in the group, highest number of AF points, 1/16000 shutter speed and burst speed, 4K video recording. On the downside, it lacks a tilting and touch-sensitive display and don’t have the same focal length range as the G7 X and G1 X Mark II. I would buy the LX100 if I don’t mind not carrying it in my pocket and I find myself taking advantage of one or more of its key features, with some of them not being available on the other cameras. All in all,  I am not surprised that this camera found itself as a #1 best seller on Amazon.com prior to its release (as of the time of writing).

The Canon PowerShot G7 X might be the most direct competitor to the Sony RX100 III (and the other RX100 models). It’s roughly the same size as the RX100, have roughly the same resolution, BSI sensor and pixel size — even the external design and button layout looks very similar. That said, the G7 X has more versatile lens, both longer and faster than the RX100 III and it has more diaphragm blades that should render smoother Bokeh and shallower depth of field due to its longer focal length at the tele-end. The camera has a touch-screen, the RX100 III does not. The tilting screen as the RX100 III can tilt 180 degrees, but does not tilt down. Unfortunately, the G7 X lacks a built-in  EVF, what Sony was able to achieve using a bit of imagination and innovation. This is probably one advantage that the RX100 III has over the G7 X that might convince some people to opt towards the RX100 III.

The RX100 III does feature the XAVC S video recording, which should give the RX100 III an advantage as far the image quality goes, but we still need to see side by side comparison to see how the G7 X sensor performs, especially in high ISO before we come up with any conclusion about the video quality. The battery life is also significantly better than the G7 X.

The G1 X Mark II is unique among the four due to having the largest sensor among the four cameras and the most versatile lens. Although this lens is not the fastest, it will give you the most shallow depth of field effect among the four cameras. It’s not leading in the video department, lack a built-in EVF, average battery life and heaviest and largest in the group. It’s also the second least expensive among the four. I think that the G1 X Mark II main selling point its large sensor and the advantages that follows it (ie. image quality, DOF), but it certainly suffers from fierce competition from the newer models that introduces and will be introduced in the near future.

If you want my opinion, I favor the Panasonic Lumix LX100 among the four, and I am really impressed with the camera design and button layout, viewfinder, the lens and its features and the video recording options. I think it’s an excellent alternative to a DSLR/CSC for enthusiast photographers who don’t want to make harsh compromises, but don’t mind compromising for less portability.

What’s your opinion, which camera you prefer? — share your opinion in the comment section below and don’t forget to LIKE if you like reading this article. Thanks for reading.

 



Amazon Ads