Sony RX100: hefty features, hefty price tag

Sony recently announced the RX100, a high-end compact digital camera that fits in a pocket. What makes it so unique at this time is that it houses a large sensor in a small body.

Most compact cameras have 1/2.3″ sized sensors that limit their ability to capture low light photos with less image noise. The size of the sensor in the RX100 is 1.” It also has a fast F1.8 lens, making it an excellent camera for low light photography.

Sony dubs the RX100 “the professional’s compact camera.” However, for photo enthusiasts and digital camera users who want to take  point and shoot photography to the next level, the RX100 offers full automatic and semi-automatic modes in addition to SLR-like operation. The camera has a full range of controls for both still and full HD video shooting.

The RX100 has a lot of advanced features and controls not often found in a small camera body that measures approximately 4″ x 2 3/8″ x 1 7/16″ (101.6 x 58.1 x 35.9mm) and weights about 8.5 oz (240g) including battery. While the camera has no viewfinder, it has a bright, high resolution 3” LCD (1,228,800 dots).

Notable features include:

  • 20 megapixels
  • Integrated control ring around to lens for quick access to settings important settings
  • High speed Auto Focus
  • Image Stabilization
  • Rear control dial and front Control Ring that can be customized
  • Capture full resolution images up to 10 frames per second
  • JPEG and RAW image formats
  • Full HD 1080/60p video with manual control
  • Take still photos without interrupting video recording
  • ISO range of ISO 125 to 6400; up to ISO 25,600 using multi-frame noise-reduction
  • Sweep Panorama Mode – capture sweeping panoramas automatically. Sweep the camera vertically or horizontally while holding the shutter button down. The camera continuously shoots images and automatically stitches them together.
  • Multi-frame noise reduction – the camera automatically shoots multiple images and layers them to produce a single image free from noise
  • Superior Auto mode – the camera automatically recognizes the correct scene mode, then  shoots and combines up to six shots producing images, according to Sony, “with greater clarity, optimum dynamic range using Backlight Correction HDR technology and lower image noise using 6 shots layering technology.” Superior Auto can be used for both still images and movies.
  • Intelligent Scene Recognition (iSCN) Mode – automatically detects 33 different types of scenes for pictures and 44 scenes for videos, and then selects the appropriate camera settings

Some may consider these features, or lack of features, downsides:

  • Expensive – As of this writing, it costs a whopping $650 at Amazon and other camera shops.
  • Limited zoom range – the optical zoom range is only 3.6x (28 – 100 mm equivalent)
  • Camera doesn’t come with a battery charger – use the included Micro USB cable to charge the battery when it is in the camera. No doubt chargers will become available but it will be an added expense
  • No hot shoe for external flash
  • No viewfinder – neither is there a port for an accessory viewfinder.
  • Sensor dust?? -Some Sony pocket cameras are susceptible to sensor dust. It is not yet known how the RX100 will fare.

For those looking for a high-end digital camera that fits in your pocket, the RX100 may be just what you’re looking for. So far, early testing by professional reviews have given the camera high marks.

You may also like...