Updated: Aug 19, 2021
Everybody thought the compact camera market was pretty much done and that smartphones were taking over, right? Sony and Canon says “nope!” and came out with the RX100VII and G5X Mark II respectively.
There’s a lot of videos out there talking about the video qualities of these cameras and such, but we wanted to take a look at the photography aspect of the cameras.
First, let’s talk about build quality and design. The Sony and Canon both look really similar from the top down, but that’s where it ends. The Canon is more of a photographer’s camera, it’s a little longer, a little bit heftier and there’s a nice grip with leather wrapped around it that feels great in the hand.
The Sony is much more compact, shorter, and you’ll have to cradle your hand around the camera since there isn’t much of a grip to speak of on the body. Both feel robust and solid, but the Canon edges out the Sony here, whether it’s the weight or the feel and texture of the materials used.
Both rear displays can be flipped up for easy selfie-taking, but the Canon has a much larger display compared to the Sony. We also need to applaud Canon for making the display fully touch-controllable, while Sony still requires you to use a dial and menu buttons to adjust your settings.
You’ll find an Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) on both cameras, but the Canon is a little less intuitive. You’ll need to pop up the EVF then pull it out, and it doesn’t turn on the camera.
With the Sony however, the moment you pop the EVF up, the viewfinder automatically pops out and the camera turns on and is ready to capture an image. When you push the EVF down, the camera turns off automatically as well.
Despite all that, the Canon has a larger EVF and you’ll definitely notice the difference if you’re using the cameras for photos.
Both cameras have a 20.1MP 1-inch sensor, while the Sony uses the BIONZ X processor and the Canon got the DIGIC 8 processor, so both are really powerful point-and-shoot cameras.
Sony is calling the RX100VII a mini A9, thanks to the eye tracking technology and no-blackout 20fps burst rate shooting. It’s a fast and formidable camera, especially if you’re shooting people, thanks to the eye tracking.
Canon isn’t touting the same with the G5X Mark II. There’s no Dual Pixel AF, which is a big thing. That technology makes a big difference and it’s a bit of a shame they didn’t put it into the G5X Mark II. That doesn’t mean you won’t get good photos out of this camera, because you will, but you just have to be a little more patient with the camera’s autofocus system.
The lens is where it gets interesting. The Sony uses a slower lens, with an aperture of F/2.8 to 4.5 and a focal length of 24mm – 200mm. It’s a great all purpose focal length, but the aperture means you won’t be getting that shallow depth of field, and it’ll struggle with low light situations.
Canon has gone with F/1.8 to 2.8 and a focal length of 24mm – 100mm, which is more reasonable. 200mm is a bit long for most people, and won’t be used generally, so getting the F/1.8 aperture is a good tradeoff for the reduction in focal length. There’s also a built-in ND filter, so users can shoot at F/1.8 without having to bump up the shutter speed.
Sony has the no-blackout 20fps continuous shooting which is definitely useful for fast-paced situations like kids or animals playing. There’s also a 90fps shooting mode which ends up with around 3 or 4 shots, but that’s not something that will be used often.
Let’s do a photo comparison. Skin tones first, the photo straight out of the Sony comes out a little more reddish while the Canon has a sharper image that’s more accurate in terms of colour. This means there’s less processing required for the Canon image, which is always a plus.
Looking at a cityscape photo, the same can be seen, with the Sony producing an image that’s a little more on the orange side, with reddish hues while the Canon has an image that’s more neutral. So far, we’re preferring the photos that come out of the Canon, in terms of colour.
The Canon did have a bit of flare while shooting, whilst the Sony didn’t, but again, the skin tone and colour was generally warmer on the Sony’s image.
Sony’s 200mm zoom is fantastic though, with plenty of detail retained. Canon only zooms up to 100mm, but also retains enough detail and showcases the colours more accurately.
So while we didn’t mention much about the video aspect of these cameras, we can say that the Sony will definitely beat out the Canon in terms of videography, but we feel that the Canon wins from a photography standpoint thanks to the 1.8 aperture.