The Sony Cyber-shot RX100 is a 20MP point and shoot camera. But this isn’t just any point and shoot camera. The RX100 sets itself apart from every other compact camera out there thanks to a much larger image sensor, which measures the same size as the Nikon 1 Series mirrorless camera system. Somehow, Sony managed to cram that sensor into a pocketable digicam.
Read on to find out if that big sensor combined with the rest of the RX100 features is enough to make this camera the king of pocket cams.
Sony RX100 Key Features
- 20.2MP 1-inch Exmor CMOS sensor
- Carl Zeiss f/1.8 max aperture lens
- 3.6x optical zoom (28-100mm equivalent)
- Optical image stabilization
- 1080/60p HD video
- ISO 80-6400
- 10fps burst mode
- RAW image capture
- Auto HDR mode
- Sweep panorama mode
Shooting with the RX100
The RX100 is a very easy-to-use camera. You can take it out of the box, turn it on and immediately begin capturing some images with it. The auto modes are very effective for those who find quasi-manual controls intimidating, and other features like Sweep Panorama and Night Shot modes prove to be most helpful when the scene or occasion arises.
The camera is very pocketable. I had no problems putting the RX100 in my jeans front pocket and it easily fit into cargo pockets of shorts as well. The included wrist strap makes it easy to casually carry for quick access if you are sightseeing or whatnot. Sony has always been good about including these wrist straps with their compact cameras. I am a big fan of these all the way around.
The controls are pretty standard fare for a compact camera. There is a separate video record button on the rear in easy reach of your thumb for grabbing some quick video without shifting shooting modes or menu diving. One thing that sets the RX100 apart is the control ring around the lens barrel. It slightly protrudes from the camera body – most likely due to the lens size, which I consider good use of real estate on the camera.
The control ring allows you to quickly adjust all sorts of parameters depending on what shooting mode or menu selection you have pulled up. For instance, if you pop open the ISO settings via the Function button, you can run through the ISO range on the control ring. Likewise, if you are in aperture-priority mode, you can simply turn the control ring to adjust your aperture without the need to press any other buttons. Once you’ve selected your aperture, you are good to go – just start shooting.
The larger image sensor on the RX100 is apparent for those accustomed to shooting with the typical fare of compact camera models. You will notice a pleasant bokeh from many shots that would ordinarily have a very deep depth of field. Of course, this is nothing like a DSLR or NEX-5R will give you with their much larger sensors, but it beats the heck out of any other compact model to date.
Sony RX100 Image Quality
Image quality is really where it is all at with the RX100. Generally speaking, the bigger the sensor, the better the image quality. And, as I have made abundantly clear thus far, the bigger sensor on the RX100 is nothing but a good thing for this camera.
Below are some sample images that you can feel free to download for closer inspection by right-clicking on the image and choosing “Save link as…”
Sony RX100 Accessories
Sony NP-BX1 Li-Ion Battery – If you think you’ll be out for long periods of time between recharges, this is the battery you’ll need to pick up as a spare for the RX100.
SanDisk Extreme SDHC Memory Cards – The RX100 can use SD or Memory Stick format memory cards. Get SD cards. Specifically, I recommend going with a SanDisk Extreme SDHC memory card for maximum compatibility with memory card readers (e.g., built into Apple computers, etc.) and for the sake of speed (the RX100 can throw a lot of data at the memory card).
Ikelite Underwater Housing – If you’re a serious diver, this is the compatible underwater housing for the RX100.
Given the sensor size the the solid performance of the RX100, I can’t see a better point and shoot camera on the market right now. The RX100 is fast and produces extremely solid images for a camera that easily fits in your pocket.
If you can stomach the steep purchase price for a point and shoot camera, there’s really no way to go wrong with the RX100. I give it a very high recommendation.
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