Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 Review Image

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 Review Image

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Introduction

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 is a feature-packed compact camera aimed at the discerning photographer. Offering an integrated 3.6x, 28-100mm Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* zoom lens with a fast aperture of F1.8 at the wide-angle setting, a 20.2 megapixel 1.0-type Exmor CMOS image sensor and full 1080p high-definition video recording, the RX100 also boasts a high resolution 3 inch LCD screen, continuous shooting at up to 10fps at full resolution, high-speed autofocus that locks onto your target in 0.13 seconds, built-in pop-up flash, support for the Raw format and full manual controls. The Sony Cyber-shot RX100 is available now for around $650/£550.

Ease of Use

The aluminium bodied Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 is Sony’s attempt at providing a pocket camera for professionals. On paper at least it offers almost everything that the more experienced photographer could want – a relatively large 13.2 x 8.8mm CMOS sensor, which is the same size as that used in the Nikon 1 series compact system cameras and 4xas big as a typical compact sensor, a fast lens (at least at the 28mm wide-angle focal length), a large and high-resolution screen, speedy auto-focusing system plus manual focusing too, full control over exposure and even Raw file format support. The only notable thing that’s missing is an eye-level viewfinder, either optical or electronic, but including this would inevitably have made the RX100 too big for the trouser/jacket pocket that it will spend a lot of its life in.

The Sony DSC-RX100 has a fast maximum aperture of f/1.8 at the 28mm wide-angle setting, but somewhat disappointingly this slows to f/4.9 at the 100mm full telephoto setting. Still, the combination of the fast lens with a seven- bladed circular aperture and the big sensor is a real joy to use, allowing you to easily create defocused depth-of-field effects that you simply can’t achieve with most other pocket cameras. If you’ve been searching for a small camera that will give you DSLR-like bokeh, then look no further than the RX100 – check out our Sample Images page to see just want you can achieve. The combination of the f/1.8 aperture, effective built-in image stabilizer and maximum ISO speed of 6400 also makes this camera well suited to hand-held low-light photography.

Surrounding the lens is an innovative control ring, much like the one first seen on the Canon PowerShot S-series cameras. Depending on which shooting mode is currently selected, this allows you to change key settings including aperture, shutter speed, the digital zoom and picture effects. The rear control ring also achieves the same things, but we found it more intuitive and quicker to use the large, smooth front ring. It’s not original, but is very effective.

Despite its large image sensor and correspondingly physically big zoom lens that dominates the front of the camera, the Sony RX100 is still quite small and slender, measuring just over 3.5cms in depth, 5.8cms in height and 10cms in width, and weighing 240g with the battery and memory card fitted. On the back there’s a large 3-inch, 1228k-dot resolution LCD screen. As you’d expect with a screen of that size on such a small camera, the RX100 has no optical viewfinder to fall back on in brighter lighting conditions, although in practice Sony’s WhiteMagic technology results in a a very high contrast screen that can be comfortably used outdoors even in harsh sunlight.

There’s no means of gripping the camera on the front, with just a small thumb-shaped lozenge on the rear, making the DSC-RX100 a little difficult to get to grips with, especially since its aluminum body is very smooth. Also located on the front of the RX100 is the lens and a porthole on the left for the self-timer/AF illuminator. There’s a clever fold-out pop-up flash unit on top of the camera which is automatically raised when you select a flash mode – it can also be manually raised and lowered if desired.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100
Front Rear

Press the small On/Off button on the top plate and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 quickly readies itself for action in a just over a second. The adequately sized shutter-release button has a definite halfway point, very quickly determining focus and exposure with a bleep of affirmation even in low-light, focus points highlighted as green rectangles on the LCD.

When you manually focus, MF Assist automatically magnifies the image to help you get sharp result, and there’s also the same convenient Peaking function from Sony’s DSLRs that highlights sharply-focused areas of the image on the LCD screen.

Go on to take the shot and JPEG or Raw images are quickly committed to memory in a single second, the screen momentarily blanking out and then displaying the captured image before the user can go on to take a second shot.

The shutter release button is encircled by a responsive forefinger-operated push/pull rocker zoom lever, with the camera taking around four seconds to zoom from wide-angle to full telephoto. The RX100’s twin built-in stereo microphones are also located on top of the camera, plus a round shooting mode dial with a knurled edge and positive action. This lets you quickly switch between the various shooting modes that are on offer.

Sony has included Intelligent Auto scene recognition, which works in virtually identical fashion to the intelligent auto modes of Panasonic’s and Canon’s compact ranges. Simply point the RX100 at a scene or subject and the camera analyses it and automatically chooses one of 11 pre-optimised settings to best suit. There’s also the Superior Auto mode, which places greater emphasis on reducing blur and noise and increasing the dynamic range.

Adding to the RX100’s snapshot simplicity, these features accompany face recognition and smile shutter functionality on board, the former mode biasing human faces in the frame and the latter mode firing the shutter when it detects a smiling subject. The Face Detection system automatically adjusts the focus, exposure and white balance for people in the frame, and can even be set to distinguish between children and adults. Smile Detection offers three self-explanatory options, Big, Normal and Slight. Used in conjunction, the Face and Smile Detection systems do result in more hits than misses, especially in contrasty lighting conditions, although all those smiling faces could ultimately freak you out a little! The self-portrait options in the self-timer menu work by automatically taking the shot with a two second delay after either one or two people have entered the frame.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100
Front Top

In addition to the regular Program mode, which provides the full range of camera options and additionally allows you to change settings like the ISO speed and metering, is the welcome inclusion of Aperture-priority, Shutter-priority and fully Manual modes which let you independently set the aperture and shutter speed, making the RX100 instantly appeal to the more experienced photographer. The range of apertures on offer is extensive for a compact camera, ranging from F1.8-F11, and the ability to choose from 30 – 1/12000th second shutter speeds opens up a lot of creative potential. There’s also very welcome support for the RAW file format, which is really the icing on the cake for serious photographers looking for a backup-pocket camera to their DSLR, although at the time of writing only the supplied Sony Image Data Converter fully supports the RX100’s proprietary ARW files.

The proven Sweep Panorama mode lets you capture a panoramic image very easily without the use of a tripod. All you need to decide is whether you would like to start from left or right, top or bottom. Then press and hold down the shutter release while doing a “sweep” with the camera in hand. Exposure compensation is available before you start the sweep, but the exposure is fixed once you depress the shutter button. After you are done with the sweeping, the camera does all the processing required, and presents you with a finished panoramic image. There are two modes, Standard and Wide. Note that if you do the sweeping too slowly, or you let go of the shutter release button too early, the panorama will be truncated.

In the Hand-held Twilight and Anti Motion Blur shooting modes, the DSC-RX100 takes six shots in a rapid sequence, typically at a high sensitivity setting and a (relatively) fast shutter speed, and then combines them into a single image that has somewhat less noise than a single shot taken at the same ISO and exposure settings. In our experience, the difference between the two modes is that in Anti Motion Blur mode, the camera is more willing to pick a really high ISO setting like ISO 1600 to maintain a fast shutter speed, whereas in Hand-held Twilight mode, it will only go as high as absolutely necessary to avoid camera shake at the chosen focal length. If light levels are truly low, however, the RX100 will pick a high ISO speed even in this mode.

The Clear Zoom function effectively digitally doubles the zoom range, using Sony’s new Pixel Super Resolution Technology to increase the magnification. The Auto Portrait Framing mode uses face detection and the rule of thirds to automatically crop and create tightly framed portrait shots. The same Pixel Super Resolution Technology ensures that the resulting image is still a full 20 megapixels in size, and the original uncropped image is also saved for easy comparison.

Sony’s long-standing D-Range Optimizer and HDR functions are present to help even out tricky exposures, for example where a bright background would normally throw the foreground into deep shadow. You can see from the examples on the Image Quality page that these features produce a photo with noticeably more dynamic range than one taken using one of the standard shooting modes, but at the same time without replicating the often “false” look of many HDR programs, and both offer a wide degree of customisation that’s previously only been seen on Sony’s DSLR/SLT range.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100
Pop-up Flash Side

Present and correct is the increasingly ubiquitous ability to shoot High Definition video clips, but unlike its main competitors the RX100 does so at full 1080p HD rather than 1080i or 720p, and also with stereo sound rather than mono. The various options are 1920×1280 or 1440×1280 pixels at 50p or 50i in the AVCHD format, and 1440×1280 or 640×480 pixels at 30fps in the MPEG4 format. During video recording you can take a 17 megapixel still image by pressing the shutter button, or alternatively grab a still from your video footage during playback.

There is full use of the 3.6x optical zoom during recording plus the ability to change the EV level, white balance, and metering options and turn on either standard SteadyShot or the Active Mode mode, which provides up to 10x more anti-shake effectiveness with no side-effects. If you set the shooting mode dial to Movie, you can also choose from Program, Aperture or Shutter priority and Manual modes, giving you full control over exposure for both stills and movies.

There’s also a direct HDMI output from the camera, useful for playing back your footage on a HDTV set, although sadly there’s no HDMI cable supplied in the box. The dedicated Movie button on the rear of the DSC-RX100 allows you to start recording a movie with a single push of a button, and then stop recording by pressing the same button – a lot more intuitive than having to select the movie mode then press the shutter button, as on most compacts. You can also activate the movie mode via the Shooting Mode dial.

The rear of the DSC-RX100 is dominated by a large 3 inch LCD screen, with the resolution a pleasingly high- 1228k dots. To the right of the screen is the useful one-touch movie record button next to the rubberised thumb-rest. Underneath is the Function button, which accesses up to 7 customisable options that appear on the LCD screen as a semi-circle of icons that can be selected using either the lens or rear control rings. The Function menu proves to be a very handy way to quickly change the RX100’s key settings and one of the main ways of setting the camera to suit your shooting style.

Alongside the Function control is the Menu button – press this and a number of shooting and set up folders appear on screen, with white text on a black background aiding visibility. The five shooting folders allow users to select image size, ratio and quality and – if JPEG (RAW and RAW+JPEG also available) – compression rates too, plus features like SteadyShot, long exposure and high ISO noise reduction – all in fact activated as a default. The Movie folder contains the video quality and audio options, while the three Customise folders allow you to tweak the RX100 to your way of working. Playback, Memory Card, Time and two further Setup folders allow the likes of the LCD brightness to be adjusted, the help guide to be turned on or off, plus user languages, folders and file numbering to be specified.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

The traditional round navigation pad can be used to navigate through menus and options, in conjunction with the small button in the middle which activates whatever it is you’ve chosen. The four directions on the navigation pad also provide a quick way of setting the Display, Flash, the Exposure Compensation / Photo Creativity interface (dependant upon the current shooting mode) and Continuous Shooting/Timer options. The Photo Creativity options make it easier for beginners to change the colour, brightness, vividness and Picture effect modes, with changes previewed in real time on the LCD screen. The navigation pad also doubles up as a control ring that’s used to set the aperture and shutter speed in the creative shooting modes, amongst other things. The ring is a little small, but it’s not too over-sensitive and the ability to take full control of the RX100 is very welcome.

The Sony RX100 can shoot full-resolution 20 megapixel pictures at up to 10fps, a very fast rate for a compact camera. To achieve the full 10fps you need to set the exposure mode dial to the Speed Priority Continuous option, which locks the focus and the exposure at the first frame. The RX100 can shoot up to 13 Fine JPEGs or 10 Raw files at 10fps, with the regular continuous burst shooting changing the focus and exposure between frames but providing a much slower rate of 2.5fps.

There’s a small button for playing back your images underneath the navigation pad. Users have the ability to dip in and out of created folders of images or the calendar view, view thumbnails, select slideshows and choose transitional effects and accompanying music, or delete shots. Press the shutter button halfway and you’re helpfully catapulted back into capture mode. And that’s basically it. With a press of the Menu button in playback, users have access to a few in-camera retouching effects, including the ability to crop and sharpen an image and apply red-eye correction.

Completing the rear of the RX100 is a button with a question mark. This provides a list of shooting tips that Sony no doubt hopes will provide a crutch for new users trading up from a more bog-standard point and shoot compact. Examples of textual advice, complete with small pictorial thumbnail alongside, include ‘increase the ISO sensitivity to make the shutter speed faster’, and then, the thoughtful addition: ‘higher ISO sensitivity may make noise stand out.’ Hand holding for those who want it then. Sadly the button can’t be reconfigured by more experienced users to something more useful.

The bottom of the Sony RX100 features a standard metal screw thread for attaching it to a tripod. A lockable plastic cover protects the lithium-ion battery, good for 330 shots or or 80 mins AVCHD video, and the removable memory card, with the RX100 supporting the SD / SDHC / SDXC format in addition to Sony’s own proprietary Pro Duo Memory Stick format. The right side of the RX100 has a tiny metal eyelet for the supplied wrist strap and also the USB port underneath a sturdy plastic cover, with another wrist strap eyelet on the left side. Note that the camera battery is charged via the USB port, rather than a more convenient separate charger, so it’s a good idea to invest in an extra battery.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 Review Image

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 Review Image

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Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 20 megapixel JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5Mb.

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 produced images of outstanding quality during the review period. This camera handled noise well, not becoming obvious until ISO 1600, and then becoming progressively worse at the faster settings of ISO 3200 and 6400, an excellent performance for a small image sensor with such a high pixel count.

Chromatic aberrations were in evidence but were well-controlled, with some limited purple fringing effects appearing in high contrast situations. The images were a little soft straight out of the camera at the default setting and require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can increase the in-camera sharpening level.

Macro performance is good, allowing you to focus as close as 5cms away from the subject. The built-in flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and good overall exposure. The maximum shutter speed of 30 seconds allows the cameras to capture enough light for most after-dark situations. The Steadyshot anti-shake system works well when hand-holding the camera at slower shutter speeds.

The effective Dynamic Range Optimizer function extracts more detail from the shadow and highlight areas in an image, without introducing any unwanted noise or other artifacts. The High Dynamic Range mode combines two shots taken at different exposures to produce one image with greater dynamic range than a single image would produce. It only works for JPEGs and for still subjects, but does produce some very effective results. Sony’s now tried-and-trusted Sweep Panorama is still a joy to use. The Picture Effects quickly produce special looks that would otherwise require you to spend a lot of time in the digital darkroom, while the Creative Styles provide a quick and easy way to tweak the camera’s JPEG images.

Noise

There are 9 ISO settings available on the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting for both JPEG and Raw formats.

JPEG Raw  

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

 
 
     

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

 
 
     

ISO 125 (100% Crop)

ISO 125 (100% Crop)

 
 
     

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

 
 
     

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

 
 
     

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

 
 
     

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

 
 
     

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

 
 
     

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

 
 

Focal Range

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100’s 3.6x zoom lens offers a fairly versatile focal range, as illustrated by these examples:

28mm

100mm

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web – Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are just a little soft and ideally benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. Alternatively you can change the in-camera sharpening level.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

File Quality

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 has 2 different image quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

Fine (5.41Mb) (100% Crop) Standard (3.73Mb) (100% Crop)
   
RAW (19.7Mb) (100% Crop)  
 

Chromatic Aberrations

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 handled chromatic aberrations well during the review, with some purple fringing present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 allows you to focus on a subject that is 5cms away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop

Flash

The flash settings on the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 are Auto, Forced Flash, Slow Syncro, No Flash, with a Red-eye Reduction option in the Main menu. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Suppressed Flash – Wide Angle (28mm)

Forced Flash – Wide Angle (28mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Suppressed Flash – Telephoto (100mm)

Forced Flash – Telephoto (100mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Forced Flash setting or the Red-Eye Correction option caused any amount of red-eye.

Forced Flash

Forced Flash (100% Crop)
   

Red-eye Reduction

Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night Shot

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100’s maximum shutter speed is 30 seconds in the Manual mode, which is great news if you’re seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 10 seconds at ISO 125. I’ve included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Steadyshot

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 has an antishake mechanism which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, I took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with Shake Reduction turned off, the second with it turned on. Here is a 100% crop of the image to show the results. As you can see, with Shake Reduction turned on, the images are sharper than when it’s turned off.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Shake Reduction Off (100% Crop)

Shake Reduction On (100% Crop)

1/4th / 28mm
     
1/6th / 100mm

Dynamic Range Optimizer

D-Range Optimiser (DRO) is Sony’s solution to improve shadow detail in photos taken in contrasty light.

Off

LV1
   
LV2 LV3
   

LV4

LV5

High Dynamic Range

High Dynamic Range Optimiser (HDR) is Sony’s solution for capturing more contrast than a single exposure can handle by combining two exposures into one image.

Off

1.0EV

   

2.0EV

3.0EV

   

4.0EV

5.0EV

   

6.0EV

 
 

Creative Styles

There are 6 Creative Style preset effects that you can use to change the look of your images.

Standard

Vivid

   

Portrait

Landscape

   

B/W

Sunset

Picture Effects

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 offers an extensive range of thirteen creative Picture Effects.

Off

Toy Camera

   

Pop Color

Posterization

   

Retro

Soft High-key

   

Partial Color (Red)

High Contrast Mono

   

Soft Focus

HDR Painting

   

Rich-tone Mono

Miniature

   

Watercolor

Illustration

Sweep Panorama

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 allows you to take panoramic images very easily, by ‘sweeping’ with the camera while keeping the shutter release depressed. The camera does all the processing and stitching and even successfully compensates for moving subjects.

Standard
 
Wide

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 Review Image

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 Review Image

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Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 camera, which were all taken using the 20 megapixel Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample RAW Images

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 enables users to capture RAW and JPEG format files. We’ve provided some Sony RAW (ARW) samples for you to download (thumbnail images shown below are not 100% representative).

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/6s · f/4 · 28mm · ISO 80
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/8s · f/4 · 28mm · ISO 100
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/10s · f/4 · 28mm · ISO 125
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/15s · f/4 · 28mm · ISO 200
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/30s · f/4 · 28mm · ISO 400
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/60s · f/4 · 28mm · ISO 800
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/125s · f/4 · 28mm · ISO 1600
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/250s · f/4 · 28mm · ISO 3200
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/500s · f/4 · 28mm · ISO 6400
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/160s · f/4.9 · 100mm · ISO 125
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/125s · f/4.9 · 100mm · ISO 400
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/250s · f/8 · 28mm · ISO 125
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/125s · f/5.6 · 100mm · ISO 200
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/1000s · f/4 · 67mm · ISO 80
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/125s · f/1.8 · 28mm · ISO 100
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/800s · f/4.9 · 100mm · ISO 100
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/100s · f/11 · 28mm · ISO 125
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/2000s · f/2.8 · 28mm · ISO 125
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/1600s · f/1.8 · 28mm · ISO 125
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/500s · f/3.5 · 28mm · ISO 125
Download Original

Sample Movie

This is a sample video from the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 camera at the highest quality setting of 1920×1080 pixels at 25 frames per second. Please note that this 21 second movie is 58Mb in size.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 Review Image

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 Review Image

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Product Images

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100

Front of the Camera

 
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100

Front of the Camera / Lens Extended

 
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100

Front of the Camera / Flash Raised

 
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100

Isometric View

 
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100

Isometric View

 
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100

Isometric View

 
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100

Isometric View

 
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100

Rear of the Camera

 
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed

 

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100

Rear of the Camera / Turned On

 
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100

Rear of the Camera / Function Menu

 
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu

 
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100

Rear of the Camera / Help Menu

 
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100

Top of the Camera

 
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100

Bottom of the Camera

 
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100

Side of the Camera

 
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100

Side of the Camera

 
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100

Front of the Camera

 
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100

Front of the Camera

 
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100

Memory Card Slot

 
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100

Battery Compartment

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 Review Image

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 Review Image

Mac users, we’re pleased to announce Macphun’s all-in-one photo editor Luminar is now available for just $69£52

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Specifications

Lens

Optical Zoom 3.6x (Optical Zoom during movie recording)
Clear Image Zoom 7.2x
Digital Zoom 20M Approx.14x / 10M Approx.20x / 5M Approx.28x / VGA Approx.54x
F F1.8(W)-4.9(T)
Focal Length (f= mm) f=10.4-37.1mm
Focal Length (f=35mm conversion) f=28-100mm
Macro (cm) iAuto:AF(W:Approx.5cm(0.16′) to infinity, T:Approx.55cm(1.80′) to infinity) / Program Auto:AF(W:Approx,5cm(0.16′) to infinity, T:Approx.55cm(1.80′) to infinity)
Filter Diameter (mm) NO
Conversion Lens compatibility NO
Carl Zeiss® lens YES
Sony G NO

Image Sensory

Sensor Type Exmor™ CMOS Sensor
Size (Inches) 1.0type (13.2 x 8.8mm)

Camera

Effective Pixels (Mega Pixels) Approx. 20.2
Bionz Processor YES
Face Detection YES
Smile Shutter YES
Soft Skin Effect YES (ON/OFF)
Background Defocus NO
GPS NO
Waterproof NO
Auto HDR YES (ON/OFF)
Picture Effect Toy camera, Pop Color, Posterization, Retro Photo, Soft High-key, Partial Color, High Contrast Mono., Soft Focus, HDR Painting, Richtone Monochrome, Miniature, Watercolor, Illustration
Sweep Panorama YES
Intelligent Sweep Panorama NO
Underwater Sweep Panorama NO
3D Sweep Panorama NO
Clear RAW NR NO
Auto Focus Area (Multi Point) YES
Auto Focus Area (Centre weighted) YES
Auto Focus Area (Spot) NO
Auto Focus Area (Flexible Spot) YES
Manual Focus YES
Aperture Auto Mode iAuto(F1.8/F11(W)) / Program Auto(F1.8/F11(W))
Aperture Priority Mode F1.8/F11(W)
Aperture Manual Mode F1.8/F11(W)
Shutter Speed Auto Mode (sec) iAuto(4″ – 1/2000) / Program Auto(1″ – 1/2000)
NR Slow Shutter NO
Hand Shake Alert NO
Exposure Control ± 3.0EV, 1/3EV step
White Balance Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent warm white, Fluorescent cool white, Fluorescent day white, Fluorescent daylight, Flash, C.Temp./Filter, Custom
Automatic White Balance YES
Light Metering (Multi Pattern) YES
Light Metering (Centre weighted) YES
Light Metering (Spot) YES
Sharpness Setting YES
Saturation Setting YES
Contrast Setting YES
ISO Sensitivity (REI) Auto (ISO125-6400, selectable with upper / lower limit),125/200/400/800/1600/3200/6400 (Extendableto ISO80/100),Multi-Frame NR:Auto(ISO125-25600)
Scene Selection Portrait / Anti Motion Blur / Sports Action / Pet Mode / Gourmet / Macro / Landscape / Sunset / Night Scene / Handheld Twilight / Night Portrait / Fireworks / High Sensitivity

SteadyShot

SteadyShot capability YES
Optical SteadyShot capability YES

Auto Focus System

AF Illuminator Auto / Off

Built-In-Flash

Flash Mode Auto / Flash On / Slow Synchro / Rear Sync / Flash Off
Red-Eye Correction On only
Auto Daylight Synchronized Flash NO
Distance limitations using Flash (m) ISO Auto: Approx.0.3m to 17.1m(Approx.11 3/4″ to Approx.56′ 1 3/4″)(W) / Approx.0.55m to 6.3m(Approx.1′ 9 1/2″-Approx.20′ 8″)(T)

LCD/ Viewfinder

LCD Screen Size (inches) 7.5cm(3type)
LCD Total Dots Number 1.228,8
LCD Monitor Type TFT TruBlack
Auto Bright Monitoring YES
Optical Viewfinder NO
Electrical Viewfinder NO

Recording

Recording Media Memory Stick™ Duo / Memory Stick PRO Duo™ / Memory Stick PRO Duo™ (high speed) / Memory Stick PRO HG Duo™ / Memory Stick Micro* / Memory Stick Micro (mark 2)*
Recording Media II SD Memory Card / SDHC Memory Card / SDXC Memory Card / microSD Memory Card* / microSDHC Memory Card*
Recording Format JPEG, RAW (Sony ARW 2.3 format)
DCF (Design rule for Camera File System) YES
DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) YES
Burst Mode (shots) Approx.10 fps
Burst Interval (approximately sec) Approx.06 sec.
Still Image size (20M 5472×3648) (3:2 mode) YES
Still Image size (10M 3888×2592) (3:2 mode) YES
Still Image size (5M 2736×1824) (3:2 mode) YES
Still Image size (18M 4864×3648) (4:3 mode) YES
Still Image size (10M 3648×2736) (4:3 mode) YES
Still Image size (5M 2592×1944) (4:3 mode) YES
Still Image size (17M 5472×3080) (16:9 mode) YES
Still Image size (7.5M 3648×2056) (16:9 mode) YES
Still Image size (4.2M 2720×1528) (16:9 mode) YES
Still Image size (VGA, 640 x 480) YES
Still Image size (13M 3648×3648) (1:1 mode) YES
Still Image size (6.5M 2544×2544) (1:1 mode) YES
Still Image size (3.7M 1920×1920) (1:1 mode)  
2D Panorama Wide(12,416×1,856/5,536×2,160) / Standard(8,192×1,856/3,872×2,160)
Moving Image Size (1920×1080 50p Approx.28Mbps) (AVCHD) YES
Moving Image Size (1920×1080 50i Approx.24Mbps) (AVCHD) YES
Moving Image Size (1920×1080 50i Approx.17Mbps) (AVCHD) YES
Moving Image Size (1440×1080 30fps Fine Approx.12Mbps) (MP4) YES
Moving Image Size (640×480 30fps Approx.3Mbps) (VGA) YES

Playback/ Edit

HD (High Definition) Playback YES (HDMI® out)
Slideshow (Playback) YES
Trimming NO
Playback Zoom Depends on image size
Cue & Review (MPEG) YES
Index Playback 4 / 9 images
Image Rotation YES
Auto Image Rotation YES
Auto grouping and & Best Picture Recognition NO

General

Battery Remaining Indicator YES
Histogram Indicator YES
PTP (Picture Transfer Protocol) NO
Print Image Matching YES
PictBridge NO
Shop Front Mode YES
Start up time (approximately sec) Approx. 2.1 sec.
Menu Language English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Polish, Czech, Hungarian , Turkish, Greek, Bulgarian, Croatian, Romanian

Jacks

Multi use Terminal with HD USB, HDMI®, Micro USB, Micro HDMI®, PAL Video out
Multi use Terminal YES
AV Out NO
USB 2.0 Hi-Speed NO

Power/ Others

Battery System Lithium-ion
Supplied Battery NP-BX1
Stamina (battery life) with the supplied battery(s) in normal shooting condition Approx. 330 / Approx. 165min
Battery for Clock NO
Weight (g) Approx. 213g (3.8oz.)
Weight with Accessories (g) Approx. 240g (4.4oz.)
Supplied Software PlayMemories Home
Supplied Accessories Rechargeable Battery Pack (NP-BX1), AC Adaptor (AC-UD10), Micro USB cable, Wrist Strap, Shoulder strap adapter, Instruction Manual

Dimensions

Width (mm) 101.6
Height (mm) 58.1
Depth (mm) 35.9

Disclaimers

* Requires adaptor (not supplied)

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 Review Image

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 Review Image

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Conclusion

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 takes a clear shot at the popular Canon PowerShot S-series and in most ways clearly beats it, resulting in the best pocket camera that avid photographers can currently buy.

Sony have obviously been “inspired” by the Canon S100 and its forebears, with the RX100 mimicking its main rival’s twin control rings and button layout, so much so that they look like long-lost twins at first glance. Where the RX100 gains significant ground, though, is with the inclusion of a much larger sensor, previously seen on Nikon’s 1 compact system camera series. We think it makes much more sense in a small camera like the RX100, though, with the ability to achieve DSLR-like effects and image quality a real surprise given the camera’s small size and light weight. The RX100 now proves that you don’t necessarily have to buy and lug around a larger camera to get excellent results – it really does hit the sweet spot between portability and image quality.

The 20.2 megapixel sensor provides excellent results from ISO 100-1600, with only the faster settings of 3200 and 6400 suffering from a little too much noise and smearing of fine detail. Chromatic aberrations are well controlled and colours a little dull but largely accurate, and the fast 3.6x lens is great for achieving that shallow DSLR-like depth-of-field and using the camera in low-light conditions. The headline grabbing F1.8 maximum aperture soon slows down as the zoom increases, but it’s still perfectly possible to throw the background out of focus throughout the range.

As the RX100 is a Sony camera, it boasts a long list of other stand-out features, particularly excelling in the speed department. Auto-focusing is very quick and reliable, shutter lag only notable by its apparent absence, and image processing times thankfully non-intrusive, even for the large Raw files that the RX100 produces. This camera really does deliver DSLR-like performance and image quality in a pocketable format, music to the ears of most enthusiasts.

Flies in the ointment are few and far between. In attempting to appeal to beginners, pros and everyone in between, the RX100’s wealth of options is initially intimidating and at worse downright confusing, although we suspect that once you’ve turned off or ignored the features that don’t suit you, it will prove more pliant. We don’t like the in-camera battery charging as it essentially forces you to buy a second battery, while the pop-up flash though clever in design takes ages to recharge and is underpowered when finally ready. Still, these are fairly minor gripes for what is otherwise an undeniably excellent camera.

Sony have not only blurred the lines between compact and compact system in terms of the RX100’s features, performance and image quality, but somewhat inevitably perhaps also in terms of its price. $650/£550 is more than many mirrorless cameras and even some DSLRs too, but on the other hand this is no humble compact. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 is the first truly pocketable camera to offer a DSLR experience, and in that regard it could almost be seen as something of a bargain – it’s certainly deserving of our highest Essential! accolade.

5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 5
Features 5
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 5
Value for money 4

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 Review Image

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 Review Image

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Main Rivals

Listed below are some of the rivals of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100.

Canon PowerShot G1 X

Canon PowerShot G1 X Review thumbnail

The Canon PowerShot G1 X is a serious compact camera with a large 1.5-inch image sensor. Building on previous G-series models, the G1 X also offers a 4x, 28-112mm zoom lens, 1080p HD video with stereo sound, 3 inch vari-angle screen, optical viewfinder and manual controls. £699 / €799 / $799.99 is a lot of money to pay for a fixed-lens compact camera – read our Canon PowerShot G1 X review to find out if it’s worth it.

Canon PowerShot S100

Canon PowerShot S100 Review thumbnail

The Canon PowerShot S100 compact camera is a new compact camera that offers an extensive DSLR-like list of features – ISO range of 80-6400, RAW support, full manual controls, customisable interface and 1080p video – all in a slim and stylish body that you can easily fit in a trouser pocket. Read our in-depth Canon PowerShot S100 review now to find out if this is the only compact that you need…

Fujifilm FinePix X10

Fujifilm FinePix X10 Review thumbnail

The Fujifilm FinePix X10 is a gorgeous new compact camera that boasts impeccable build-quality, intuitive handling and a long-list of photographer-friendly features. Find out if it can deliver the goods in our in-depth Fujifilm FinePix X10 review, complete with full-size sample JPEG and raw images, videos and more…

Nikon 1 J1

Nikon 1 J1 Review thumbnail

The Nikon 1 J1 is the junior member of Nikon’s new range of compact system cameras, featuring a smaller and lighter body at a cheaper price than the V1 model. Based around the same “CX” format sensor, the Nikon J1 is still all about pure speed, with fast auto-focusing and up to 60fps continuous shooting. The J1 also offers a built-in pop-up flash, 3 inch LCD screen, full HD video, and a range of innovative modes like Smart Photo Selector and Motion Snapshot. Read our in-depth Nikon 1 J1 review.

Nikon Coolpix P310

Nikon Coolpix P310 Review thumbnail

The Nikon Coolpix P310 is a new pocket camera for professionals. The Nikon P310 features a 16 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, full manual controls, 1080p HD video recording, a fast maximum aperture of f/1.8, a high-resolution LCD screen and 5fps burst shooting. Are these features enough to elevate the P310 above its main rivals? Read our in-depth Nikon Coolpix P310 review to find out…

Olympus XZ-1

Olympus XZ-1 Review thumbnail

The new Olympus XZ-1 is a serious compact that’s aimed at the enthusiast and professional user looking for a small yet capable pocket camera. A relatively large 1/1.63 inch CCD sensor, f/1.8 maximum aperture, 3 inch OLED screen and a full range of manual shooting modes should be enough to get their attention. But can the XZ1 take on the likes of the Panasonic LX5, Samsung EX-1 and Canon PowerShot S95? Read our detailed Olympus XZ-1 Review, complete with full-size JPEG, RAW and movie samples, to find out…

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 Review thumbnail

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 is the long-awaited successor to the ahead-of-its-time LX3, a compact camera that hit the sweet spot for photographers looking for a pocketable alternative to their DSLR. Fast forward two years to 2010, and it’s the turn of the new LX5 to appeal to the more experienced prosumer, with a longer 3.8x lens, improved 10 megapixel sensor, AVCHD movies and a tweaked control system all on offer. Read our in-depth Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 review with sample JPEG, RAW and video files now.

Pentax Q

Pentax Q Review thumbnail

The new Pentax Q is unlike any other camera on the market – an interchangeable lens model that’s as small as a compact yet as full-featured as a DSLR. But can it turn more than heads and persuade you to part with £500 / $800 of your hard-earned cash? Read our Pentax Q review to find out…

Ricoh GR Digital IV

Ricoh GR Digital IV Review thumbnail

The GR Digital IV is the 2011 version of Ricoh’s compact camera for serious photographers. With a fixed focal length 28mm wide-angle lens, high-sensitivity 10 megapixel sensor, excellent 3 inch LCD screen and faster auto-focus system, can the Ricoh GR Digital IV justify its equally serious price-tag of £499 / $599? Read our Ricoh GR Digital IV review to find out…

Samsung EX1

Samsung EX1 Review thumbnail

The Samsung EX1 (also known as the Samsung TL500) is a new pocket camera for serious photographers, sporting a bright f/1.8, 3x zoom lens, sensible 10 megapixel CCD sensor and a swivelling 3 inch AMOLED screen. RAW shooting, ISO 80-3200, image stabilisation and full manual control complete the EX1’s main attractions. Read our Samsung EX1 review to find out if it hits the mark.

Sigma DP2x

Sigma DP2x Review thumbnail

The Sigma DP2x is a new compact camera featuring a large APS-C DSLR sensor from Foveon and a fixed 41mm lens with a fast aperture of f/2.8. Can Sigma’s latest model compete with the recent crop of compact system cameras? Read our in-depth Sigma DP2x review to find out…

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 Review Image

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 Review Image

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Review Roundup

Reviews of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 from around the web.

imaging-resource.com »

Sony’s Cyber-shot RX100 takes the cake as the most premium of pocket cameras, with a much larger sensor, a very bright lens, and enough modes and special features to keep a tinkerer busy for a good long time.
Read the full review »

eoshd.com »

The RX100 is a camera that fits in your jeans pocket. Would I consider intercutting RX100 footage with 1080p from a pro Super 35mm cinema camera? Yes I would.
Read the full review »

digitalversus.com »

Sony’s big guns are out! The firm’s new expert compact is nothing short of a technical revolution. It packs a 20-Megapixel, 1-inch sensor (that’s four times the size of those usually found in compact cameras!) and a 28-100 mm zoom lens into a body the size of a regular point-and-shoot. Wow! This pocket-sized, tech-packed snapper could be set to make some serious waves in the camera market.
Read the full review »

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 Review Image

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 Review Image

Mac users, we’re pleased to announce Macphun’s all-in-one photo editor Luminar is now available for just $69£52

with special Valentine Day bonuses (two eBooks, Vivid Wonderland preset pack, & Creative Sky Overlay pack) included for free until February 19.

Use coupon code “PHOTOBLOG” to save another $10 on Luminar.

We rated Luminar as “Highly Recommended”. Visit the Luminar web site to try it for free.

Download Luminar & Try Free »

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SOURCE:http://www.photographyblog.com/reviews/sony_cybershot_dsc_rx100_review