[REVIEW—SONY DSC RX100 compact camera]

by terry on 16 August 2012

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Price: $800

Game changer

THE LOW-DOWN: This 20 megapixel camera with a 28–100mm (equiv), Zeiss-branded lens has a sensor area 2.6 times larger than its competitors. The 75mm LCD is a brilliant high resolution (1.2m dot) viewing screen. Function controls are small but well laid out. The menu system is clear and intuitive to use. Image capture can be RAW, JPEG or a combination of both. Body construction is superb – the all black, austere appearance eschews fashion accessory look. Sony’s Steady-Shot image stabilisation proved effective in use. There are the usual picture effects and face recognition and registration, just in case you forget who uncle Cyril is. Video is full 1080 60p, saving as MTS or MP4. The useful function control ring around the lens is customisable.

LIKE: The image quality sets new standards for a pocketable camera. The lens, with its modest zoom range, is outstanding, resolving the smallest detail in the most difficult lighting conditions. Dynamic range far surpasses anything we have seen from a compact camera. RAW images show no sign of noise or noise reduction up to ISO800.

DISLIKE: The video is so good that provision for an external microphone would be the icing on the cake.

VERDICT: The Sony RX100 is a game changer, just as the Panasonic LX3 (the LX7 is coming soon) was, forcing other makers to follow suit or be left out of the reckoning for quality compacts. Now the Panasonic and its imitators have met their match. Image quality from this little camera is almost (not quite) indistinguishable from the Olympus OMD E-M5 and the Sony comes in a more convenient and portable form. For years serious photographers have been asking why compact sensors have to be so small, with their inherent problems of noise and limited dynamic range. Here’s the answer – it isn’t necessary at all. Now let’s watch for the others to catch up.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Marc August 20, 2012 at 20:56

Im on the point of buying the Sony RX100 at http://sonydscrx100.com.
Do you know it there are other places with equal or better prices

Marc

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David Lloyd September 25, 2012 at 10:31

I see no mention of an optical viewfinder? I want a camera like this but it MUST have an optical viewfinder. Can someone advise please?

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Terry hull October 21, 2012 at 19:01

David, no optical, but the best camera i have used, I use it for both diving and on land photography and the small factor means it can travel with me everywhere. the greater resolution and sensor size makes an incredible difference in the quality of photos compared to previous cameras, (last one ws canon s95). The features such as panorama also means you can take some very interesting shots without the need for wide angle lens. The screen on bright was easily seen in the bright tropical sunlight of PNG on a recent trip, so really viewfinder was not required.

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Ahoud December 1, 2012 at 20:06

Which is better canon powershot G15 or sony rx100?
which more advanced and closer to DSLR?

Thanks a lot,
A

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terry December 2, 2012 at 08:33

Ahoud: They are both excellent cameras. The G15 has the advantage of an optical viewfinder which I think is essential for serious photography. On the other hand the Sony has the much larger sensor and this means — all things being equal — better image quality at higher ISO speeds where image noise becomes an issue with the Canon. The Canon is bigger than the Sony, so if portability is a consideration then the Sony wins. If it were my money being spent I would incliune to the Sony, but only just. Terry

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TAMJID AHMED March 6, 2013 at 04:57

the last picture where the light looks continuous from the cars. how did u take that picture, good you please explain. I would really appreciate it.

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terry March 6, 2013 at 07:30

The camera was tripod mounted, ISO100, f11 and 3.2 second exposure.

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