Sony RX1 / RX1R vs Fujifilm X100S vs Sony RX100 III Comparison

June 11, 2014

Sony RX1, RX100 III and Fujifilm X100S cameras on top of the other

In this article I will be comparing the Sony RX100 III (RX100 M3) versus Fujifilm FinePix X100S and Sony RX1 / RX1R.  This will be an interesting comparison, as those three cameras have their prominent differences as you’ll soon see, but I’ve asked to compared them, so that’s what I did. By the way, I will be comparing both the RX1 and RX1R in this comparison, but note that the only difference is that the R version lacks the AA filter. I won’t repeat myself twice for each camera of course, but I will talk about the difference between the RX1R versu the non R model.

Price Comparison Before Anything Else

In some comparison the price doesn’t play a big role, but here we the price difference might convince some of you haven’t done a price check yet, to might reconsider buying one of these cameras.

  • Sony DSC-RX100 III: ~$800
  • Fujifilm X100S: ~$1300
  • Sony DSC-RX1: ~$2800
  • Sony DSC-RX1R: ~$2800

*The prices are as of 6/10/2014 via Visit for updates prices.

As you can see, there is a significant marginal price differences between those three cameras, with the RX1 being $2000 more expensive than the RX100 III.  If you are shocked, this might suggests that the RX1 might be out of the question, but who knows, maybe after reading this comparison, you’ll be convinced to buy it regardless of its high price 🙂

Camera Types: Fixed Prime lens vs Fixed Zoom lens – Advantages and disadvantages

Before I jump talking about each camera in more depth, let’s first take a look at what cameras types are in front of us. All the three cameras are fixed-lens cameras. This means that with neither you’ll be able to change lenses. This is an advantage or disadvantage, depends on your specific shooting style and other aspects.

Let me explain. The RX100 III is the only camera among the three that features a zoom lens. The X100S and the RX1 both use a prime lens. A ‘prime lens’ means that the lens has a fixed focal length, or in other words, a 1x zoom. You can’t zoom in and out with a prime lens, you are limited in shooting only in that specific field of view, like most smartphone cameras.  One of the advantage of prime lenses is, in general, superior optical performance when compared to a zoom lens that features that exact focal length in its range.

Furthermore, camera like the RX1 and the X100S enjoy a fast aperture lens and advanced optics that are optimized for the sensor of the lens. This is a custom-made lens that was developed to perfectly fit the sensor and therefore result in a sharper image, with much less distortions and other optical aberrations. Even if those occur, they can be corrected by the image processor in-camera, without any intervention from the photographer.

For example, the RX1 features a Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 35mm F2.0 lens with 7 aperture blades that was designed to perfectly match its 24.3MP 35mm Full Frame sensor. You can expect excellent performance from those type of cameras.

This can also be said to any fixed lens camera, but premium fixed-lens cameras like the one we have here, get more attention to details and perfected to match the demands of enthusiast and professionals.

The downside of a prime lens is obviously the lack of the zoom versatility. This might put off some people from getting the X100S or the RX1, but those who buy these type of cameras, understand the optical advantages and are willing to pay a premium price for them. If you are reading this comparison, I assume that you might be one of those photographers.

OK, now that you are familiar with the types of cameras that we are dealing with here, it’s time to dive deeper and better understand what each camera is all about. We’ll start with the Sony RX100 III (or RX100 M3) and move on to cover the other two. This will followed by a side by side feature comparison and a conclusion section at the end of this article.

Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III (RX100 M3)

Sony RX100 III selfie tilting displayThe RX100 III is the successor to the very popular RX100 II.  For many photographers, this is the ultimate pocket camera, and its easy to agree if you look at its wide range of features.  The RX100 III costs more than a conventional compact camera for sure and even more than a entry-level and some mid-range DSLR cameras as well. That being said, those who buy this camera, have chosen it for its advanced features, great image quality and of course, its portability.

The RX100 II, unlike many other compact cameras, features a large 20.1MP 1″ sensor. This sensor is significantly larger than the 1/2.3″ sensor found on many compacts, and that helps, alongside the BIONZ X processor, promote a superior image quality in all the important verticals, including color accuracy, color reproduction, depth of field control (shallower depth of field effect), image details and high ISO performance.   This sensor is the same one used in the previous model, and although the camera design stayed almost the same, there are significant changed for the good.

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

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

On of the most important important parts of the camera that most people pay attention to is the lens. The RX100 III features a Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* 24-70mm (equivalent) F1.8-2.8 bright zoom lens.  The faster aperture ensures better photos in dim light conditions, the Carl Zeiss optics ensures great contrast, minimum distortions and other optical aberrations. The camera uses SteadyShot optical stabilization to minimize camera shake and also employs an Active Mode with 5-axis stabilization stabilization that makes your movies smooth and steady with minimal shake interference, even recording while walking.

The 24-70 mm focal length range might seem limited for those who are used to shoot with a superzoom camera, but this is in fact the focal length range found on the most popular walkaround lenses for many interchangeable lens cameras, found in many professional photographer’s bag. I’m sure that if Sony was able to made the RX100 III have the same optical performance and keep the lens at the same size with a broader field of view range, it would have done this. The problem is that using a bigger zoom range means a few things: bigger lens (therefore less potable camera), inferior optical performance (longer zoom lenses usually are inferior to shorter zoom lenses in terms of the optical performance), and the last thing is a much higher price if Sony had wanted to keep the fast aperture. The RX100 III also incorporates a built-in ND filter (3-stops).

One of the great additions to the new RX100M3 is a built-in 1,440k-dot 0.59x magnification pop-up electronic viewfinder. The reason Sony used a pop-up mechanism (which also acts as an on/off switch), was to maintain the slim profile. After all, this camera was meant to be carried in the pocket. Without it, this won’t me a pocketable camera anymore, and people should carry it in a small bag or a larger pocket.  By the way, the EVF also utilizes Carl Zeiss T* coating for improved visibility.

Other features includea 3.0 1229k-dot 180-degrees tiltable LCD display, fits for selfie captures (can also tilt down 45 degrees), pop-up flash, XAVC S video codec for higher video quality for those who need it, HDMI clear (uncompressed) video output, 1080p60 video recording, Wi-Fi and NFc connectivity with smartphones (using a proprietary PlayMemories app for Android and iOS).

The camera has tons of software-based features, scene mode, picture effects, exposure settings and customization settings to explore. On the downside however, Sony didn’t improve upon the RX100 II AF system, which is contrast-detect AF only with 25 AF points, it lacks the top Multi Interface shoe for connecting accessories — but in most part, there is little to complain about, and many people will accept its shortcmoing, as it’s pros outweigh the cons by a large margin.

This is not a camera for everyone, but I’m sure that many people would love to have such camera in their pocket everywhere they go, and come home with lots of great high-quality photos.

Sony Cyber-shot RX1 / RX1R

The Sony Cyber-shot RX1 and RX1R are the almost all the same without distinct difference: the RX1R lacks the Optical Low-pass Filter (AA filter), whether the RX1 has the AA filter. If you look at some image quality comparison tests, you can see that the difference in real-world shooting is very small. However, some photographers like landscape photographers won’t to be able to extract as much details as possible from the scene, and because there are already many cameras that come without that AA filter, Sony decided to release another version to extend each reach in the professional customer’s segment.

How severe is the moiré artifacts on the RX1R?

You might also wanted to be aware of the fact that when the AA filter is removed, there is a greater chance of artifacts/false colors to appear in the image.  The moiré artifacts can be very severe in fact, and you can check out this RX1R review on to see what I mean.  There is an option to reduce it using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 or other photo editing software, and although it appears for certain type of subjects depends on the pattern and distance, you should be aware of this.

I will refer to both as the RX1 instead of writing both models, but everything that I write is true to both cameras.

The Sony RX1 is a fixed-lens Full Frame (35mm) compact camera. I say “compact”, because for a full frame camera it is indeed very compact in size, but it significantly larger and thicker than the RX100 III. The lens itself prevents it from being pocketable.

Sony RX1R (left) vs Sony RX100 III size comparison (via, click to view on camera size website)

The camera uses a 24.2MP 35mm Exmor CMOS sensor, which gives the camera its superior low-light performance. Even with 24.3MP, each pixel is approximately 5.967 microns (35.8 / 6000 x 1000), whether the RX100 has 2.412 micron pixels. So the RX1 pixels are 147% greater than the RX100 (and also the RX10) pixels.

The RX1 and RX1R feature a Carl Zeiss Sonnar T*35mm F2.0 lens, 9 diaphragm blades for buttery smooth Bokeh, aperture and manual focus rings, and SteadyShot digital image stabilization for movies. When you shoot at 3:2 aspect ratio the FOV is equivalent to 35mm (the sensor’s aspect ratio), 37mm in 16:9 movie recording and 44mm when the SteadyShot is turned on. The IS is not optical, but electronic stabilization. The focal length is higher because some part of the sensor area is used to compensate for the frame movement. I think that for a 35mm F2.0 lens with a full frame sensor that has amazing high ISO performance, having an optical image stabilization is not crucial, but some of you might disagree on that.

Among its other features are 5 fps burst speed in full resolution, 1080/24p/60i/60p Full HD video recording with stereo sound (mic input also included), including full control over the exposure, Multi-interface shoe, PlayMemories support, manual focus assist and focus peaking, picture effects, face recognition, built-in pop-up flash, Auto HDR mode, Auto portrait framing, Sweep Panorama and a 3.0″ 1,229k dots fixed non-touchscreen TFT LCD display.

This might come as surprise for some, but the Sony Cyber-shot RX1/RX1R  doesn’t employ an electronic viewfinder. You do however have the option to buy the FDA-V1K (optical, Carl Zeiss optics) viewfinder or the FDA-EV1MK (2,359k-dots OLED True-Finder) electronic viewfinder.

The RX1 and RX1R is a superb camera, providing excellent image quality and superb high ISO performance, and it’s amazing how small this full frame camera is. The RX1 was negatively criticized for its relatively slow AF performance, especially for subject tracking, the lack of built-in viewfinder and mediocre video quality.

Fujifilm FinePix X100S

Fujifilm X100S camera fixed lens compact cameraThe Fujifilm FinePix X100S replacing the X100, and Fuji made changes that makes this camera even better. The FinePix X100S is a fixed-lens large sensor camera. The X100S is quite small, but significantly larger than both the RX1/RX1R and RX100 III. I personally really like the retro-style design of this camera and its die-cast magnesium alloy construction   that feels great in the hands. It has mechanical buttons, dials and switches that add to the overall classic look and feel. The leather-like coating also adds durability, style and gives better grip. The shutter button looks like a film-camera equivalent and you can choose between 4 different shutter sounds. If that’s not enough, Fuji made the lens cap with metal to match the overall camera design

The X100S already won various awards, including dpreview Gold Award, EISA Award 2013-2014 for Best Product on the Advanced Compact Camera category, Good Design Award 2013 and Product Design Award 2014. The camera comes in both silver and all-black design.

At the heat of the camera is a 16MP X-Trans CMOS II APS-C sensor and EXR processor II and lacks the optical low-pass filter (OLPF). This sensor has a unique color array pattern, which is different than the Bayer one. This promote an image that suffer less from moiré and false colors and promotes higher resolution and more detailed image.

The X100S is equipped with Fujinon 35mm F2.0 prime lens (equivalent). This makes the X100S the perfect street, candid and landscape photography camera. The lens uses double sided aspherical lens and Super EBC (Electron Beam Coating) for maximum optical performance, while reducing ghosting and lens flare and promoting better image quality. With the 9-blade aperture diaphragm, you are sure to enjoy beautiful defocused background effect, although this effect is somewhat limited due to the lens field of view. Fujifilm also added a 3-stops built-in ND filter, The lens can focus as low as 10 cm away from the subject.

If that’s not wide enough, you can buy the Wide Convestion Lens, which is sold separately and apply 0.8x magnification which makes the lens shoot at 28mm instead of 35mm (available in silver and black).

At the back of the camera you’ll find a 2.8-inch 460K-dots fixed LCD display, which is quite disappointing considering its a premium compact camera, and I expected at least 920K-dots resolution.

Unlike the RX1 that lacks an eye-level viewfinder, the X100S spoils you with a Hybrid viewfinder, a combination of both optical and electronic viewfinder. You can choose which one you prefer based on your needs and personal preference. You use the viewfinder switch level at the front of the camera to switch between the OVF to EVF. If you prefer zero time lag, you better off with the OVF, and if you want an electronic feedback of the focus, exposure or other camera settings, including depth of field preview, you should switch to EVF.

The X100S uses a 2360K-dot 0.48-inch type high quality EVF that makes it easy to view the fine details and with the “Digital Split Image” view, it’s much easier to confirm the manual focus, making sure that you get the focus right at the first time. This split image appears as a square on top of the projected scene image. The X100S also comes with focus peak highlight that makes it much easier to focus manually at a fine area on your subject.

The FinePix X100S is a highly-rated camera, and it should certainly be positioned high in your list if you search for a street photography camera. In the next section we’ll dive deeper into the specs and see how those three superb cameras differ, so you’ll have an easier time deciding which camera is the perfect one for you.

X100 S vs RX1 / RX1R vs RX100

Now that you are more familiar with the key features of each camera, let’s take a look deeper into the technical specification in order to fully understand how the three camera differ.

[table "157" not found /]

Let’s continue with some sample videos..

Sony RX100 III sample video (1080p24 by dpreview)

Sony RX1 sample video (official by Sony)

Fuji X100S sample video (by Mathieu Gasquet)

Is it just me or the Fuji X100S color rendering is just superb — I’m really impressed!


So there you have it. Three cameras, with lots of fundamental and functionality differences. Each camera is actually aimed towards different audiences, but if you read this review so far, you probably among those who haven’t yet decided which type of camera you want. The decision shouldn’t be hard if you already know what type of camera your are looking for and got a positive reinforcement after reading this article.

If you you don’t mind or can pay the RX1 or RX1R price, want a compact full frame camera for with excellent image quality and high resolution images, looking for a camera that can squeeze more details from the scene, looking for an excellent street camera and don’t mind not having a stabilization mechanism and you can put out with the somewhat average AF performance (especially in low-light), lack of built-in viewfinder and mediocre video quality and features, the RX1 or RX1R is probably the best camera for you. The price is stiff I know, and that’s what makes the X100S so attractive.

The X100S costs appeox. $1500 less, but by all means it’s not a $1500 less of a camera, in some aspects it’s even better than the RX1. In my observations, it has a better high ISO performance, it has better macro capability (leaving the depth of field equation aside), it shoots slightly faster, it’s has faster maximum shutter speed (twice as fast), has a marvelous retro-style design, uses a unique X-Trans sensor that produces superb IQ results, a superb fast lens, the ability to expand the dynamic range up to 400% (one of the advantages of the X-Trans sensor), built-in ND filter, ability to attach a conversion lens,  film simulation effects, Hybrid AF and Hybrid viewfinder — so in many aspects, the X100S is better than the RX1. You will give up a large high-res LCD,  less video features (although the video IQ is excellent!),  and of course the full frame sensor that so many photographers crave for. I think that in many aspects, the X100S is an all-around better camera, more versatile with lots of useful features — all that for much less. Does it worth skipping a FF camera? — You make this decision, I personally think it is for my personal shooting habits, you might decide otherwise.

The Sony RX100 III is a different camera than the other two. In many ways its portability will certainly make it favorable by those who prefer a camera that they can take everywhere they go, than having a camera that stay at home most of the time — no matter what type this camera is. If the last sentence sounds great, this means that you probably should be looking at the RX100 III. It’s the least expensive one, but for many people it can serve an alternative to an interchangeable lens camera (mirrorless or DSLR). The RX100 III has tones of features that makes it The best compact camera on the market right now. It’s a well-tested camera that has gotten many positive rating among leading camera review websites and more positive opinions and great reviews keep purring in.

So it’s a full frame dream compact camera versus a more fully-featured APS-C camera vs the best pocketable compact camera on the market. I’m on a tight budget, so for me the RX100 III is the best option, and I also prefer a camera that I can take everywhere I go, and I also prefer having a versatile zoom, rather than a fixed prime lens. If I had to choose between the X100S and RX1/RX1R for street photography, I would probably had picked the X100S for its hybrid AF, excellent color reproduction and excellent high ISO performance, great retro-style design and for its responsiveness and AF performance.

Your decision might be completely different from mine. You should focus on the features that you care about most. Some people will straightly opt for the single focal length lens for their superior optical performance and a large-sensor camera for street photography for example, others would skip the RX1 for its lack of built-in viewfinder.

Make sure you understand the cons and pros of each camera, as each one is unique in its own way.  If you made up your mind, please share your decision in the comment section below and tell use why you preferred that specific camera, so it makes easier for others to decide.

Thanks for reading and enjoy your new camera!

Amazon Ads