The new Sony RX100 camera packs a Zeiss 1.8 lens and one inch CMOS sensor!

Sony’s New Advanced Cyber-shot RX100 Camera Packs Large Sensor and Bright Lens into Stylish, Pocket-Size Body

So is this Sony’s answer to cameras like the Fuji X100, the Leica X2, and Canon G12X?

With a name like the RX100 (much like Fuji’s X100) it would appear so as Sony is now jumping on the “X” bandwagon! This little bad boy appears to have great specs though including a 1 inch CMOS sensor (four times larger than your average P&S camera) and a Zeiss 1.8 lens. No built-in EVF though, but I would not expect it in a Sony camera like this anyway. It does have a nice 3″ 1.229 dot LCD (about a million more than the Leica X2). At 1st glance it reminds me of the Olympus XZ-1 but I do admit it is a good-looking compact. Sony says this will ship this month, in July for $650 and I look forward to testing one out. If it has good IQ, fast operation and good HD video then it could be a solution for those who want small, easy and quick. No muss, no fuss. We shall see! Press release is below and makes for an interesting read. ISO 25,600? Yep!

PRESS RELEASE:

New Model Contains World’s First 1.0-inch type 20.2 MP Exmor CMOS Sensor and Ultra-bright F1.8 Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* Fixed Lens to Deliver Outstanding Picture Quality

SAN DIEGO, May 16, 2012 – Travelling light no longer means compromising on picture quality with the Cyber-shot® DSC-RX100 camera, Sony’s new flagship compact camera.

Striking the ultimate balance of form and function, the stylish, aluminium-built RX100 camera inherits many advanced imaging features from Sony’s α range of A-mount and E-mount cameras, delivering beautiful still images, crisp full HD videos and a level of manual control and creativity unmatched by any other camera of its size.

“This camera is ideal for travel, portraits or street photography, delivering impressive results in a variety of lighting conditions with an intuitive, customizable control interface,” said Yosuke Tomoda, director of the Cyber-shot business at Sony Electronics.  “It’s a perfect step-up model for point and shoot users not interested in larger DSLR or compact system cameras, and also an outstanding choice for enthusiasts who may already own a large DSLR and are looking for a high-quality, pocket-sized ‘all-in-one’ second camera.”

 At the heart of the Cyber-shot RX100 is the world’s first 1.0-inch type Exmor® CMOS sensor with a resolution of 20.2 effective megapixels. Specially developed by Sony, the sensor has an area that’s approximately four times larger than the 1/2.3-type sensors in traditional point-and-shoot cameras. The sensor’s larger area takes in more light while capturing content, resulting in beautiful, detail-packed images and Full HD movie clips with very low noise.

The larger sensor is partnered with an exceptionally bright Carl Zeiss® Vario-Sonnar T* fixed lens with 3.6x optical zoom range.  In contrast to standard point-and-shoot cameras, it has a wide F1.8 maximum aperture to let in additional light and complement the resolving power of the larger sensor.

Similar to high-performance DSLR optics, the lens features seven- bladed circular aperture. This makes it easy to produce images with subjects in sharp focus against a smoothly-blurred, beautifully defocused background. The lens also features an Advanced Aspherical (AA) lens element that contributes to the camera’s extremely compact dimensions without sacrificing optical zoom performance or resolution.

Newly optimized to complement the 1.0-inch type sensor and lens, the camera’s powerful BIONZ® image processor maximizes shooting response times while helping assure exceptionally clean, natural images. It also extends sensitivity right up to ISO 25600 (using Multi Frame Noise Reduction), allowing for exceptionally clear handheld images in low light conditions. To capture fast-moving subjects, the RX100 camera can also shoot at up to 10 frames per second (in full resolution) and has high-speed autofocus that locks onto a subject in as quickly as 0.13 seconds (depends on scene and lighting conditions).

The new RX100 camera features a high-resolution 3-inch 1,229k dot Xtra Fine LCD™ display and also adds a new feature: WhiteMagic™ technology. This uses additional white pixels to boost screen brightness, allowing users to see subtle details and tones on the screen in all types of shooting environments, including outdoors in bright sunlight.

For making manual adjustments while shooting both still images and movies, the new camera has a smooth control ring around the lens body, which can be used to alter exposure, zoom, creative picture effects and a variety of other customizable functions.   Additionally, frequently used functions can be assigned to the Fn (function) button for instant access, and the Memory Recall feature can store up to three groups of customized shooting settings based on user preference.

Similar to a DSLR-style interface, there’s a choice of auto and manual focus modes on the Cyber-shot RX100 camera for enhanced image control. For those that prefer focusing manually, MF Assist magnifies images to simplify fine adjustments, and there’s also a pro-style peaking function that highlights sharply-focused areas of the image on screen.

The RX100 camera offers a generous choice of artistic options to expand creative shooting possibilities.  It includes the option for six different creative styles and a variety of popular picture effects including Toy Camera, Partial Color, HDR Painting and several others, most of which can be previewed directly on screen before shooting.

The new Cyber-shot features Auto Portrait Framing – a feature found on Sony’s latest α range of A-mount and E-mount cameras — making it simple to create sharp, perfectly framed portraits. This unique feature automatically detects faces in a scene, crops the picture accordingly creates a tighter, pro-style composition at full resolution.  Both the original and cropped photo are saved for review.

New accessories include a spare battery, dedicated carrying case and a battery charger designed to complement to the new camera.

Pricing and Availability

The Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 digital camera will be available this July for about $650.  The camera and accessories will be available at Sony retail stores (www.store.sony.com) and other authorized dealers nationwide.

140 Comments

  1. Just my opinion but evaluating a “premium” camera by reading the specs isn’t very useful. People have already declared this Sony a classic or DOA yet nobody has ever used one. Is the LCD bright enough for Perth? Probably not, but who knows for sure. Is a 1.8 lens a huge plus? Sure, if it happens to be exceptional (have a look at Imaging Resource; it doesn’t look that great to me). Is $650 too much? Not if they can’t fill the backorders.

    I’ve ordered one, and on paper it’s a great camera. However, my hunch is that it will turn out to be good, not great and then people will say “but it fits in your pocket!”

  2. Looking forward to your review of this–a truly pocketable back-up living up to the potential shown in the specs would definitely be welcome. The X100, as much as I’d like to take it everywhere, is probably not going everywhere…and this would be perfect in those instances.

  3. It’s obvious why the RX100 doesn’t have a viewfinder. Look on the top of it! A nice space to add a hotshoe for the RX200, to take the optional EVF (£250).

    If Sony wanted to add a viewfinder they could have done and kept it the same size (check out Canon Ixus 500) – smaller than the RX100 with a viewfinder.

  4. It looks very promising, and the fact that Sony takes up a different new-edge-modern styling is a fresh air for against the “back to retro” new cameras being released.

    However, one thing I have taken notice is that now almost every new camera has an OEM leather case to match it. Seems like a new norm for cameras these days eh?

  5. I forgot to add earlier.
    I think the design philosophy was that it is meant to be a compact with a very good image output. If you have a view-finder…it would not be as compact, would it? Plus they do give you an alternative to buy one with an evf….its called Nex-5n and Nex 7. Or if you don’t like Sony, the Samsung NX series, Ricoh GXR, Micro fourthirds… There is a whole list of alternatives if you want one with a view-finder.

    For example, the Pentax K-01 had a lot of bad press. To me the design philosophy behind K-01 was more of a fun, fashionable accessory that takes good pictures and also looks like it was designed with pancake lenses in mind. The other thing going against it was the handling, I think it is meant for novices who has never held a SLR before – a rethink of interfacing with the camera – to illustrate, just get a kid to hold a compact camera and see how he holds it.
    What can you say about a brand which has mulitple-colours selection, a cartoon inspired design or a demo by a guy wearing a pink KX and a pink DA 40mm around his neck? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNh3wLJydAI
    I think Pentax current design philosophy right now is “fun, interesting and different”.

    SO……..before commenting on something so… so….. obvious, think on what the design goals were, who it is meant for, how is it to be used. Just because something wasn’t designed with something that you want doesn’t mean it is bad. Coz, it just mean it wasn’t meant for you.

    @ Dan
    Nice list. Just to add.
    17 . Not retro looking enough.
    That is the current fad of whiny complaints I’m seeing nowadays.

  6. Normally i’m non a fan of Sony Brand, but not this time. At this moment it seem to be the best pocketable camera out there no contest. I like to know if this lens is autocovered.
    I’m deluded only for the megapixel. 20 for me are too many. A commercial solution that can compromise the IQ.
    In my opinion 12/14 megapixel were more than adequate for this 1 inch sensor. Although the results on the field could deny it…… I hope

  7. Why not just summarize all the inevitable complaints right now:

    1. It has no optical viewfinder
    2. It has no flash shoe
    3. It’s too small
    4. It’s too big
    5. It doesn’t come in chrome
    6. It has too many megapixels
    7. It has too few megapixels
    8. It’s no good for shooting sports
    9. It has lousy bokeh
    10. The sensor is too small
    11. The sensor is too big
    12. It doesn’t have a manual focus ring
    13. It doesn’t have a hand grip
    14. You can’t attach a battery pack
    15. Zeiss lenses are all hype
    16. It’s not a real Zeiss lens
    17. ………

    • Dan,
      And for those camera phone users wishing to upgrade, well, they won’t as 17. it doesn’t have a rear facing lens!

  8. Looks like a great camera. I can’t understand all the fuss about the viewfinder. The latest cameras in this bracket mostly use EVF that are, after all, just small electronic displays that one can hold up to the eye.

    Its just a matter of preference. Aside from the sunlight issue (which is less important with the newer screens), both allow you to see and compose the image that you are about to capture.

    I for one prefer using a viewfinder, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t buy a pocket camera without one.

  9. doesn’t quiet blow the X10 out of the water IQ as one would expect, but then again the X10 has such an overly sensitive sensor it ORBs, lol! No arguing with the size of this though, in that it is a marvel.

    • I wanted an X10, really quite badly – still really like them (have an X100). But for some reason I couldn’t buy one and I think that it is because no matter what, the lens will always be protruding quite a way from the camera making it impossible to pocket. For many, this probably isn’t an issue, but for me the RX100 does what the X10 does (mostly) but is just that bit more suitable size wise.

  10. Wow….. looking at these comments….. its a wonder how you can get any good images on a camera with no auto-focus, no……. focus-peaking, no…….pop-up flash……clunky menu system…….low quality display screen……no anti-shake…..absolutely stupid designed battery/memory card compartment, heavy……. slow……………..I’m of course referring to the Leica M9……. and yet people seem to get those excellent photos………
    And here we have a new camera that is compact, pretty decent quality and performance, with a host of features that most hardly use……. and people complaint that you can’t get a decent photo? Wow…..just wow……. are you guys sure that it isn’t a case of a poor workman blaming his tools? What next? No coffee-cup holder?

    I’m sorry Steve if I appear to be trolling but I’m just getting tired of people’s excuses nowadays. For that I’m truly sorry.

    • A coffe cup holder would be nice.

      I can understand all the people complaining about the viewfinder. I would have to say to them, adapt, update, try something new. A serious camera does not have to have a viewfinder and a viewfinder is not necessary to take a picture. With an LCD, the viewfinder becomes an accessory, option or perk. It’s all how you look at it. The viewfinder does not effect the picture quality whatsoever, unless it leaks, than it does…

      For those who are saying no viewfinder, no go, hey, it’s their decision and opinion so no problem. For those actually complaining and saying the camera is no good because their is no viewfinder, you need to open your mind to new designs and get out of the rut of familiarality (spelling?). To say a camera is no good because of that just makes me think your really not seeing things from a good perspective, only from your own, and not considering the whole picture. Too bad. Don’t buy it than.

      man, god bless you for moderating all these comments steve …bring on the cup holder …and throw in a leash to walk my dog too.

      • I think what people are saying is that if you live in a bright sunny climate the camera without viewfinders cannot be used successfully, that is the case here in Arizona, a tilting LCD does help a bit though. If the sun didn’t shine so brightly here the LCD would work fine.

    • I agree. I think it’s a great camera (have to wait and actually see it and the image quality). It’s what I’m looking for.

      If people want a feature that’s not on a camera why are you looking at it?? Move on and find “your” camera.

  11. The images at dpr looks quite convincing. Actually very, very good IQ for such a small camera. But maybe we should not be so surprised after the J1/V1 which also has very good IQ.

  12. The formula for all digital cameras.
    make it with all the features photographers really need EXCEPT ONE.
    So they’ll buy it. Then they’ll buy another one because sfter using it they’ll realize it’s it’s flawed.
    And we can play this game for years and years.
    Much better than when we made film cameras and the customers would buy one camera and use it for years.
    No, we don’t want that do we?
    We want to keep churning out disposable plastic products that cost a lot.
    So let’s make a camera with slow autofocus, one with no viewfinder,one that can’t track moving targets ( Gotcha OMD!) one that has too small a sensor, etc.
    Got the pattern yet?

  13. Having a viewfinder ( Optical or EVF or hybrid…we dont care ) is important to people who grew up using a proper camera with a viewfinder and who cut their teeth 36 frames at a time.An addition of hot shoe (even a non dedicated one) is a step towards a serious camera.
    A lot of prozumer compacts used to have a hot shoe why is it suddenly a luxury to own a decent sized camera with a hot shoe on it?

    A camera with great image quality should have a viewfinder. If its just toy for your Facebook pics…..there already are lots of cheap compact cameras and very competent phone cameras.

    Too bad Sony chose to use a Zeiss T* lens on it and no VF. What a waste!

    Why not give us a 2012 version of Sony R2 ??

    • Nice thought, Ujwal.

      The only thing I’d personally like to see updated in my R1 would be a sensor change to that in my Nex5N, so it would equal the IQ,and with its lovely Zeiss lens it would be a great performer. But, when the R1 was launched it wasn’t long before dslrs broke the $1000 price point and a camera like the R1 was doomed to no further development.

      Who would pay the price Sony would have to charge now, when after all, the R1 is a bridge camera, with a fixed limited zoom range, 24-120 equivalent lens, an EVF as opposed to optical reflex viewing? Yes, I’d love one, but I’d hate to think what the price would be today.

    • Considering the type of optical viewfinder this could have had, I find them to be near useless on a digital camera (check out the X10 or G1X). As there are no dedicated knobs or dials to the 3 or 4 settings I used on a film camera it is all very menu driven and constantly needing to check the screen rather than ‘feel out’ or quick glance the settings. Further to this there is no metering indication, no focus indication of any kind whatsoever, they are a crap little tunnel you can semi sort of use to frame your shot, I say sort of because they don’t most of the time, cover the full frame. It is shooting more blind than using the screen, even if you can barely see it at least you know what settings the camera is set to!

      EVF is a bit different, but I (and many who are saying it should have one) would not pay an additional $350 for a clumsy add on EVF or to have one built in, in a bigger body. Yeah it would be awesome if it and an EVF in the same body for the same price, but in reality it would have been pretty close to that $1000 price point… would you have been prepared to pay that? And don’t tell me you’d like it as an option at least because franky, if you aren’t prepared to pay that for an EVF than no, you shouldn’t have the option and have every single other buyer wear the additional cost of ‘having the option’.

  14. Me? I judge a camera by the image quality. If it takes great images and doesn’t have a viewfinder?

    I don’t care personally. When people look at my photos they can’t tell whether I have one or not.

    I think the same ones whining about the lack of a viewfinder would whine equally about the higher price if it included one. I’m thinking “Zeiss optics……f/1.8……1 inch sensor…..ISO of 25,600 (that they would even state that is enough)…….$650.

    Count me in already.

  15. $650 when the Olympus E-PM1 goes for $399 with a larger sensor. I know Sony has a serious profitability issue but there is the new world economy (for the next 20 years) and we are looking for deals.

    • Once again, this is smaller (more pocketable) has a faster lens and more control points with higher resolution and as far as I can tell better sensor as well as a better screen, so no the oly isn’t better value, unless you are looking for an ILC. They are quite different cams.

  16. nice little unit, BUT….LISTEN Japan camera Manufacturers….No viewfinder, No sales….must have viewfinder to shoot in Australia.

    PS: Leica should have had this re-badged 🙂

  17. Me thinks it looks sweet! Really. Nice size, build, fast lens and priced about right. I’m on the waiting list :0)

  18. I think the whole “No Viewfinder, No Go” crowd are missing the point on this camera. This thing is closer to the size of the s100. Put a viewfinder on it and it’s another class of camera.

    That said, I totally understand wanting to use a viewfinder, but a camera like this will never come with one and a viewfinder would actually be detrimental to a camera like this (size wise).

  19. The size is amazing. This could be an incredible travel camera. Wish it started at 24mm, but the panorama feature makes up for it.

  20. This is perfect. I don’t want a view finder (size) I don’t want more manual controls (size) I don’t want a constant aperture (size) I want a good performing camera all the way through its range, with a nice good sized sensor, good performance, and can fit NEATLY into my pocket. Lots look at this as a compromise, I look at this as a companion tool. I cannot carry my NEX-7 everywhere. I can literally carry this with me in every situation. Thank you Sony.

    • This is tempting for me as well. Some of us who are already invested in multiple systems don’t really need yet-another-system. My big gripe about these big sensor cameras is investing in a new system of lenses. I think I read somewhere that the vast majority of people who buy interchangeable lens cameras and just use the kit lens and popup flash.

      …and I wrote off P&S as a category because they haven’t really dramatically changed IQ in years while cameras in smartphones keep leaping forward in terms of IQ, convenience to post online, and take zero extra space in your pocket.. but this definitely breathes new life into P&S:

      * 1″ sensor w/ RAW
      * Actually pocketable (way smaller than Canon G1X — about the size of their S100)
      * Aluminum body
      * No viewfinder
      * No hotshot
      * Decent zoom range and large aperture
      * Big bright 3″ LCD to show preview to others
      * USB charger (you can share AC adapters with your other USB devices when traveling)

      If you’re not a professional / prosumer / serious amateur, then this is pretty compelling in itself. If you fit in one of these categories, then it makes a pretty good backup / secondary camera for those days you don’t have your rig with you. Big sensor & pocketable. Win.

    • exactly, the NEX, m43, NX, X1/X2, J1/V1 of the world does not fit in a pocket. and the ones that do have small sensor with slow lens. This is one of kind. Don’t understand why people wants it to be like the “other” cameras.

  21. LAME SONY< shame on you, what about R-X pro 1, R-X10, what about the X-10 that you are trying to imitate, not even Samsung or M$ do this crap

  22. I’ve been locked out of Steves site on all of my computers at home and can only access it via 3G. I made a comment and got a permission error saying I wasn’t allowed to comment and after trying again the website stopped responding. I’ve been able to make other comments on my phone but if I try to respond to the same string of comments that got me blocked in the first place I still they that same error. Has this happened to anyone else ever? I’ve never said anything offensive. Also I made reference to my website, could that be it? I didn’t put the actual address I just referenced it. Weird.

  23. The RX100 looks like a nice, competent pocket camera. People will be buying it for the lens. Otherwise Nikon still holds the advantage with their 1-Series. I will bet that the J1 and V1 have much better autofocus performance.

  24. P&S camera with RAW support, pocketable, 20+MP, CZ F1.8, 3″ 1.229M LCD, etc. More than you need for a backup camera.

  25. For the Cheese debate-
    Waitrose number 4 strength Cheddar Cheese. There are many cheese types but these babies are pretty tasty blocks- very good all rounders, on toast, in sandwichs, lasagne toppings etc.

    Back to the camera-
    This looks like it will be a excellent performer and because of its size will be ‘the the camera you have at the time’.
    Horses for courses really. Viewfinder or not i’m sure you can still make images with it- if its the only choice.

  26. According to Sony, I understand that the “R” in RX100 is a tribute to its glorious predecessor fixed lens mirrorless camera, the R1, in that it shares a Zeiss optic. Other than this, the two are like chalk and cheese in every respect – size, weight, zoom range, sensor size and pixel count, and one has an lcd screen and the other hasn’t. But this is to miss the point.

    No one has yet had an opportunity to try it, but already it is garnering comments based on lack of this or lack of something else, or it doesn’t do this or that, although some are prepared to await judgement until later. Just as with every other camera, it can’t possibly appeal to everyone, and I think David Brabsky has so cheesily put it into context.

  27. I don’t care for an EVF (the good ones are still pretty expensive and would drive the price too far up), but I think it is a mistake not to make the LCD tiltable like on the NEX.

  28. Techradar says it’s got more noise than the S100. At 3x the sensor area! Gone #1 potential advantage over the camera it copied in pretty much all other respects.

  29. It looks like the lens is f/4.9 on the long end. Bad. Should be a constant f/1.8 or f/2.

    They’re also cramming 20 megapixels in that small sensor. Imagine the performance if they stuck to 10 or 12.

    • Brad, Have you any idea of just how big that lens would have to be to maintain f2 at its tele end? But I doubt that for the majority of potential users this will even be an issue, The lack of speed at the tele end may easily be offset by IQ at 400 ISO. We’ll have to await seeing some results.

      I was, though, somewhat taken aback by its megapixel count. This is 25% more than the 5N with an APS-C sensor. Crazy.

      • ISO 400 or 800 is no problem at all for this camera. Even ISO 3200 looks very usable. Take a look at dpr.

        • Anders, yep, my hope of performance off-setting a slow aperture at the tele end is born out. My only problem now is it will be better than my LX3 re IQ, but by how much, and will it be worth my giving up the 24mm equivalent field of view AT ALL image sizes? I see GAS rearing its ugly head!

          • I once owned the LX3 and even though it is a very good camera I have no doubt that this camera will be much better in the IQ department and high ISO performance.

          • Anders, this is exactly what is bothering me! The high ISO performance of my LX3 is now nothing to write home about, but I do value that 24mm equivalent field of view for all image sizes. And as a “good weather” shooter it still gives remarkable IQ and sharpness. When I need better IQ or high ISO then I will revert to my Nex 5N and which I am re-discovering since getting the little Sigma 30mm prime. 🙂

            Perhaps I should appreciate more what I have? Then there is that indescribable element of camera ownership – I like how the LX3 handles and feels in my hands.

          • TerryB, guess the hard part is to be satisfied with the equipment you have 🙂 and if you already got the Nex 5, then I don’t see any reason to get this camera as well. Unless of course you want a truely pocketable camera (the Sony seems to be about the same size as a Canon S90/95/100)

            I got the Nikon J1 which probably have the same sensor as the Sony and I must admit that I have really been enjoying this camera and the very good output from it, so this is what could be tempting with the Sony – a very small camera with very good IQ.

  30. A Steve said really sounds like a competitor to the Olympus XZ-1 not the X100 or X2 and there is a large market out there for this type of camera, its just that they’re not typically found on this blog.

  31. Looks like it’s aimed at the S90/95/100 end of things rather than X100 / X2 given it has a small physical size, no hot shoe etc. As I say above I may replace my S90 as my business trip camera with this, rather than the Nikon that I had been considering. I live in Western Australia and the sun here can make most lcds unusable, which is why I pounced in the NEX-7 when it came out. Will wait to see some more sample shots before I make a decision, and there’s still the e-mount G range zoom to come.

  32. I bet most here on this site want a viewfinder. Still there is a huge market out there for people that want better quality from a small camera and who are used to composing shots on their iPhones. Personally I don’t miss the viewfinder if that allows me to carry around a more potable camera with larger sensor. I used the 5n without viewfinder and that was fine. So why not with this camera. And I am a viewfinder guy who has used and still uses Mamiya 7, Leica M6, M8, M9. D!RK

  33. indeed VERY interesting Sony… I’d buy it for christmas maybe..if the price is right 😀 (initial price seems to be overpriced for me)
    and yes, for me it’s a better package than the 1-series
    can’t wait for the review, Steve 🙂

  34. Sorry, but I have to have a view finder option as I prefer to hold the camera up to my eye instead of way out in front of me. I want as solid a shooting position as possible and the lack of a view finder, whether internal or mounted on a hot shoe, is a no go.

    BTW, there’s no hot shoe on this camera either!

    • Ever consider a loupe on cameras such as this? Sorry I am genuinely curious why thy never come up in these discussions. I use one on a NEX (they didn’t offer EVF on he first 3 of those either) and I actually find it better than the 2.4 million dot EVF on my SLT, has an absolutely enormous view which I find really engaging. Also they are cheap, quick to attach (I have mine stuck to a NEX hard plastic screen guard so just clip it on) they are light to chuck in a bag and you can use them on just about any camera.

  35. Viewfinders are overrated. Why squint on a microscopic screen through 1 eye, instead of viewing a higher resolution 3inch screen with BOTH eyes? stability (not a factor), framing (nope), accuracy (nope), discomfort and headaches from squinting (yes), nostalgia from old school habits (yes),

    • LCD’s are great when you can see them, I returned an LX3 because I coud not use it outdoors 99% of the time here in Tucson, AZ. I had a Nex 3 with a tilting LCD wich did make it easier to use in the bright sun, gave it to my son, thinking about a EP-3 now with the optimal viewfinder.

  36. Looks sweet.

    F/1.8 great!

    If the test are good, maybe i am going to say my G10 goodbye 😉

    • Would that be a Panasonic G10 or Canon G10?

      Why oh why do they have to use such similar names these camera companies?! And why D, G and X in particular? Imagine an BMW E55i, Mercedes Series-7 or Ford Corollå…

  37. Why can’t they give sensor sizes in a form everybody can understand intuitively and instantly?
    Like 24x36mm. Or 8x11mm. (Leica and Minox negative sizes as an example.) Makes comparisons simple.

  38. I think I’ll just wait for Hasselblad to bring out a mirrorless, interchangeable lens, medium format camera with a small body, view finder,built in flash,GPS, WiFi, FM radio,compass,corkscrew,pocket knife, bottle opener,pliers………….

    • LOL .. good point.. this camera is designed for people who wants a high quality pictures in a small portable form .. many pro consumers dont want another ILC ( another ecosystem of lenses, accessories…etc ) they just want to capture rare moments in life( you cant always carry a 2 Kg Full frame camera). and at the same time they want to capture it as good as possible as fast as possible.. ( fast operation and fast lens is crucial for this type of market )

      another target market is people who dont care about LENS or accessories, and they just want the best Point an shoot camera on the market that is ultra portable,takes great pictures&video ,has many Auto Features and has a good build quality

  39. If it is indeed suppose to be in the class of an X2 or X100 then I suspect there should be a VF. Looks like they went for the huge hi pixel count screen instead. It at least has that over the X2. Definitely does not have the magic of the aforementioned cameras, unlike the NEX’s which can have magic added with legacy lenses. This one seems more like a Gx1 or any other higher end consumer P&S you can get at Best Buy rather then a camera store. I’m sure it takes great photos though and as long as it has a largish sensor I would support it.

    • Ahem, I think you meant to say G1X, not GX1. My excellent Panasonic GX1 is NOT the pointless large sensor point and shoot with a fixed zoom lens incapable of good bokea or low light performance. That would be the Canon G1X, thank you very much! (Seriously, who names anything G1X when there’s already a GX1 on the market!)

      • Oops yeah I meant the Canon. I know all the previous incarnations were not so good but the new one does have a big sensor so maybe it’s improved in some of those regards.

  40. In other news, the French Fromagerie creates a new brand of Rocquefort..

    “I’m not buying it ‘cos it’s not Gruyere!”
    “I’m not buying it ‘cos it’s not Brie!”
    “I’m not buying it ‘cos it’s not Emmental!”
    “I’m British, and I’m not buying it because it’s not Wensleydale.”
    “I’m Spanish, and I’m not buying it because it’s not Manchego.”
    “Brie in the summer? ..Here in New Zealand it’ll run all down your shirt..”
    “Which Briton wants Wensleydale when you can have Cheddar?”
    “Well I’m from the Netherlands, and we eat only Edam.”
    “I’m from the Netherlands, and I eat only Gouda!”

    ..Honestly: who cares? ..If you don’t want it, simply don’t buy it.

    • Ah, but the problem is there are many who really would want it……if only it had an evf! Ennui! FML! Not me of course, I’m done with fixed lens cameras. Besides, how will these manufacturers learn what’s good for them if we don’t bitch about their products on the internet? Isn’t that what Al Gore built it for?

      • So Al Gore built the internet now dan? Come on, even he knows that’s just not true. 😀

    • Mmm, cheese! 😀

      Frankly I’d rather talk about cheeses David than the latest “what’s the point?” digital P&S camera. My favourite is a nice bit of Byland Blue right now. Nice with a good old water biscuit. 😉

  41. At least do what Ricoh, Panasonic, Olympus, and other companies have done and have available an add on EVF though a hot shoe or accessory port of some kind. Seriously, these companies have to start realizing that it’s a deal breaker for many professionals and enthusiasts, and if it’s an add on one can always not get it for the extra portability. Why throw away profits by ignoring a large group of buyers who might be willing to buy your camera AND an expensive accessory? That’s how Panasonic got so much of my money!

    • that’s the whole point, why do something that Ricoh, Pana, Oly, and other companies already have done. but what they have not done is combine large sensor, fast lens, and fits in normal pocket.

    • Actually there is a good reason for this I promise! While some enthusiasts will be outraged by the lack of an EVF option, I guarantee that if they had brought one out, it would have been relatively expensive (as most are) and of those buying the RX100 maybe 1% would have bought it. So there would be the added expense and bulk of having the port on the camera (plus supporting software in it as well) that each customer will have to wear at purchase time. Then they have to design and build the EVF’s, of which they will sell few, so that increases their cost further, or they make lot’s and nobody buys them so they sit on shelves and then bargain bins and then the trash, Sony and retailers losing craploads of money along the way.

      Despite the fact that you would like an EVF, I guarantee you they did some case studies and decided it wasn’t worth the risk, because even though you might say you would buy it if it had one available… you probably wouldn’t (not you specifically, but a generalisation of those making similar comments).

      I’ll give you an example – at my local Sony Centre, you can pick up what was a pretty damn expensive (and probably still pretty decent) flash unit for an f828 (and a few others that I can’t remember) for $30ish brand new in a bargain bin. Now I bet at the time that camera was around, enthusiasts would have been outraged if that camera didn’t have a hot-shoe and flash options. But at the end of the day, that store probably only ever had that one in stock and nobody ever bought it.

      I wouldn’t waste $300 on an EVF for a $600 camera either.

      Having said that, IF there were a simple standard for EVF’s across brands, THEN I would be upset that Sony didn’t offer that connectivity. As it stands, I completely understand why Sony don’t offer one.

      • Hmm, seems like you’re not in the UK, Matt ..but if it’s small and compact (not huge and out of proportion) I’d buy that f828 flash for $30 if you’re near your Sony Centre again ..and I’ll pay you for your time and bother and (obviously) the postage, too!

        The 828 was a glorious camera ..and I still use it!

        • Hi David, sorry no I’m not, at it was pretty massive it is something like a GN36 flash unit and also came with and external flash bracket, nearly bought it for just the bracket. It would be pretty big on an F828 and probably feel a little silly to be honest. It was reduced down from some $500ish dollars, it caught my eye as I thought it might work on an R1. Probably the only person who has ever looked at it twice.

          And yeah have always wanted an f828. Fetch too much today though, you’d be at least half way towards one of these for the prices they go for.

          • Ah, never mind: thanks all the same, Matt. If big and bulky it’d negate much of the glory of the sleek F828. I’d no idea that people are still buying them (I just looked on eBay: average price around £110).

            8 megapixels (just under the pixel count of the M8), 7x Zeiss f2-f2.8 zoom (like 28-200mm ..but that’s 200mm at f2.8!), jpeg & RAW, excellent CCD sensor with ‘LiveView’, low resolution (by current standards) EVF, but decent (though small) rear monitor, dual cards (MemoryStick and CF), auto and manual focus, very versatile swinging lens/body, excellent long-exposure noise reduction, silent shutter.

            No stabilisation, but still a great, versatile camera ..at a ridiculously cheap price today.

        • David, mentioning your Sony F828 brought back memories. When these first 8meg models started to appear I opted for the Olympus 8080 simply because out of the Canon Pro-1, the Minolta, and the Sony, all of which I handled in the store, I preferred how the Olympus felt in my hands. And I was rewarded with some great imaging for its day. Well, even today when I look back at them!

          I sold this and bought an Olympus E-500 with the Pro 14-54 lens, but I didn’t really notice a significant increase in quality over the smaller sensored 8080. It wasn’t until I got the Sony R1 with its superb Zeiss lens and APS-C sensor that I really felt I had something significantly better. And like your F828, used within its technical limitations compared to modern cameras, it still turns in excellent results.

  42. I wonder how it compares to a Nikon J1. Both have 1 inch sensors though Sony is playing its cards again in the megapixels game.

    The J1 has the upperhand on initial impression being an ILC and currently lower priced than the $650 Sony is asking for this unit.

    The Sony has a better screen. I doubt it can surpass the AF of the J1 but I will happy if they prove me wrong. Competition is always good for us end users and I would love to see better AF in low light situations.

    disclaimer: I have the V1 and love it for what I use it for.

    • Better manual controls, better range than the J1’s kit zoom and almost 2 stops advantage on the wide end is nothing to sneeze at and worth a higher price. They label the lens as “Zeiss”, so let’s see whether it will live up to this big name.

      • I may be wrong, but I have a feeling that this is going to be a little computer rather than a manual friendly camera. The N1 is not either, hence another direct comparison. Agree the aperture advantage is good and indeed the N1 needs faster lenses.

        Sony labels almost all cameras with Zeiss lenses. We will have to wait and see, but I guess Sony is putting some importance on this camera and may be they will put something special on this one.

        • The Sony has 2 x control dials, one around the lens and the other on the back plus a mode dial. It also supposedly has very decent MF using the ring around the lens (fly-by-wire, Fuji could probably learn a thing or two here!) including peaking etc. It also has manual controls during video (can’t think of ANY compacts that do that). Yeah it is still a digital compact camera, so it isn’t going to feel overly ‘analogue’ in it’s controls, but I do think they have managed to not completely cripple the camera at the same time. Controls look decent and downright excellent for it’s category.

          • Sorry the comment about Fuji and Fly-by-wire is not to suggest Fuji should use Fly-by-wire, more that it is supposed to work very well on the Sony, unlike on my X100.

  43. Everyone is totally missing the point of this camera. It is MUCH smaller than NEX, X2, X100, etc. This camera is nearly the same size as the Canon S100 P&S, but with a Nikon V1 sized sensor. This would be a great purse camera for my wife.

    • Bingo, we have a winner! Man, what a bunch of whiners…obviously this thing is a P&S but with a fast lens and a big sensor…great for portable, quality, snapshots with the family etc.

      • I couldn’t agree more! However, I think enthusiasts see the enthusiast type specs such as biggish sensor and fast lens and then they are hoping for something more than it is.

        This is an amazing P&S camera, but it is a P&S. A P&S that enthusiasts can enjoy too. It is there to appeal to those that want better IQ than a traditional P&S, but an ILC is too scary or too big. Also as an enthusiast P&S for those with SLR systems but don’t want to invest in glass for a whole new mirrorless system.

        Does anyone know of any mirrorless system that has any native f2 lenses (or faster) for under ~ $400 for the lens alone?

  44. Won’t work in Sydney in the summer, would not be able to see the screen. Is it weather sealed as it could only be used on a dull or wet day.

  45. Looking very interesting as the pocket cam for enthusiasts. If that lens was only f2.8 at the long end……

  46. 1 inch = large sensor in a Sony but small in the Nikon 1?
    Nikon V1 with VF, Nikon J1 without VF, just like the Sony.
    Sony with a built in lens, Nikon J1 and V1 the freedom of choice.
    Price? Sony vs. Nikon J1, Nikon wins.
    Sony, yeah, whatever!

    • Absolutely right. I have Olympus OM-D for serious shoot and Olympus XZ-1 for $379 in my pocket, also it has faster lens

    • The sensor size of Nikon’s N1 are identical to the one in the new Sony, but have 10MP only. This size sensor coupled with a decent range and fast zoom (at least at the wide end) in a shirt pocket size camera has no competition in the market yet. So specs look very interesting for LX5, Oly XZ-1 etc as well as for X10 (half the size sensor, AF so so) and J1 shooters. If they match the Nikon N1’s AF speed and accuracy, it could be hot.
      Phone cameras challenge and will replace smalls sensor cameras.
      The new small sensor format will be in the one inch size range and challenge entry level mft.
      Premium mft challenges lower end aps-c.
      Premium aps-c challenges FF.
      FF goes after MF.
      It’s time for the manufacturers to focus on improving performance (AF speed, accuracy etc), menu systems, user interface, ergonomics, tactile feel, design.

    • Sony – Faster lens at all focal lengths, faster even than the non-IS 10mm prime
      Sony – More control points than Nikon with ‘proper’ mode dial
      Sony – Twice J/V1 resolution with seemingly avoiding the potential downsides of higher MPs
      Sony – MUCH better screen than J1 (V1 would be closer), which being the only way to compose with these 2 cams is a big plus.
      Sony – Seems to have a lot more ‘software’ features than the somewhat undercooked (in this regard) 1’s. Most here wouldn’t/don’t care about such things, but to some it will make a difference.
      Sony – Manual controls during video

      Nikon – Theoretically much better AF and definitely much better AF tracking
      Nikon – Interchangeable lenses, though not a lot to choose from at the moment in native mount (still very intrigued by adapted Nikon lenses – but would J1 buyers even be looking at that? Seems more suitable to V1 customers)
      Nikon – Colours… you know, if that is your thing
      Nikon – Probably better metering, that and AF seem to be a real strength of the 1’s.

      For me though, if Nikon does eventually bring out some more lenses for the 1’s, they will be expensive and it is a system I’d really rather not invest in expensive glass in, have enough systems for that and adapting lenses is a bit odd given the crop factor (though incredibly useful for fast telephoto equivalents. The best lens for the 1’s is the 10mm f2.8 at the moment (my opinion), however the Sony at the same FL is 1 & 1/3 stops faster and has stabilization.

  47. This could be a very very interesting camera. I wish it did have a VF, but not having one is not the end of the world. I think what will make or break this camera is whether it has good auto-focus, fast handling, and great image quality.

    • You will not know what it has, you cannot see the screen in daylight, so there is nothing to look at till later then its to late, can’t even tilt the screen to shade it. End of world.

      • The screen is ‘supposed’ to be much better in bright light, but we’ll see on that one. Regardless you can always stick a cheap loupe on it in desperate times, or a small hood.

        • If one sells a camera that needs a third party ad-on then one should not be in the camera business. What is supplied must be a fully working item.

          • Erm what? So if any company launches a camera that is missing a feature that YOU think it should have the manufacturer of that camera should be packing up and closing it’s doors?

            There is nothing here that isn’t ‘fully working’ and requires a third party add-on. Your comment is about as absurd as saying ‘well if it doesn’t have a tripod in the box it’s a complete design fail. End of world’.

            Muppet. End of world.

  48. Viewfinders are really only needed for outdoor work if the sun is strong. 90% of all cameras have no viewfinder. This one will sink the Leica X2

  49. While the lack of a view finder in a small point and shoot camera is not a big deal to me, I have not read too many positive comments about Sony’s in-camera software and menu system. Until I can take a look at how this camera’s menus operate, I’ll reserve judgement. Otherwise, it looks like a nice small yet capable alternative to other cameras in this segment (Fuji & Leica come to mind). I’ve read that the sensor in this camera is the same used in the V1 which Steve has praised.

    • The menu UI on this is taken from the Sony Alpha SLT range (and late SLRs) which is a LOT better than the system on the NEX, which has lots of critics. It is pretty much in line with what you would expect from a DSLR menu system and should be pretty intuitive for the most part. It has taken a few of the button customisation types settings from the NEX though, but beefed them up with a dedicated button.

      The sensor is not from the Nikon 1’s, it is the same physical size, but double the total resolution 20MP vs 10MP. Despite the resolution jump, initial images around the place seem to show that in low light is the new Sony sensor performs similar or better than the 10MP Nikon, that and it would appear much better in good light.

  50. Looks nice, hope it delivers the goods. I wish that Sony would develop a different brand for their cameras. Like Panasonic did with Lumix. I mean, you can say you have a Lumix, instead of a Panasonic, and Panasonic isn’t branded over the whole camera.

    I wish they just stuck the alpha name or logo and no SONY. When people ask me what I have and I’m like “Well it’s a Sony alpha – but-its-really-a-Minolta DSLR, it is, wait, come back here, it is! Its great! Come back!…….I have Zeiss!”

    But then again, when it comes to my X100, I’m not like, its a FinePix X100. That’s too much like FinePixie. So I just say Fuji, maybe FujiFilm, or sometimes I do the Belushi-Japanese accent and say “Fujinon! X One Hude-red”

    • Contrary to your brand naming argument I always find Panasonic have more complicated brand naming identification than Sony. Consistently Sony use Sony-Alpha for their SLT and NEX for their mirrorless, and Sony CZ for their lens. On the other hand in Panasonic side they use Lumix for camera, so we should call it Panasonic Lumix or PL for the short and then comes the problem with their lens naming, PL is also short for Panasonic Leica, because they also have Panasonic Lumix G and Panasonic Lumix X, so how we call the Panasonic Leica Lens in Panasonic Lumix camera? PL in PL or PL two or PLLL or PL3…camera maker should hire brand consultant and drop the X, and G code from entire camera coding.

  51. I kinda find the ‘no viewfinder’ comments funny. The lack of viewfinder on this thing is what helps keep the size down. If I want a viewfinder I’ll use my XPro-1 or my 5D2…this Sony is perfect for a small/take everywhere camera…easily pop it in the Wife’s purse.

    • You would have to ‘pop it in the wife’s purse’, its the only way to carry it. If you have it in hand all the time you would be taking lots of unintentional movies, (look where the button is) then leave it somewhere by accident. At $650 I would want a lot more thought to have been put into the product.
      Right shot wrong execution, as they say when the tennis pro misses the side line and the ball goes out with the opponent unable to get there.

    • This looks like a great camera for me. I’m trading up from a Sony DSC-TX9. I’ve had bigger cameras but found they were too bulky to cary around. Even with a camera case around your neck they always seemed to be in the way. It was too easy to hook it on a chair and forget it. With a pocketable camera and a small velcro case that hangs on your belt I can take it anywhere and take a picture in less than 10 seconds. Would I like a view finder? Sure, but not at the cost of having a biger bulkier camera. What it does have is a large sensor ane lens so I can take pictures in low light. It shoots in RAW as well so I won’t run into those color problems when shooting under incandescent lights. Finally this looks like a camera for someone who wants to take pictures anywhere. Then burn them to a DVD to show them easily on a big flat screen TV for their friends

    • You sonnd repetitive – judge a camera for the category it is competing with. I would not critique a corvette for not being an SUV if that is what I wanted. I hope people do not make buying decisions based on non intelligent comments.

      • we are not critiquing a corvette for not being an SUV. those are 2 different things. we are critiquing a sony for trying to sit next to a proper camera. a proper camera neeeeeds a viewfinder, whether in body or attached (as it was 80 years ago). a corvette offers something different than many other sport cars (i had a 2001, Z06). Sony is not setting the camera world on fire. and they’ve tried. why is it that people talk more about say the X100, than an NEX 5, which cheaper, and can take different lensess, and does many more things better than many others. sony has been doing a really good job at trying to get a piece of the market. they tried with DSLRs, then with mirrorless (the firsts were the ugliest cameras designed) and now they are having a go at premium Compacts. what bothers me is that this is a very old school Japanese way of doing things. while others have learned to innovate and set the pace for the market, Sony is still paying tribute (they don’t say immitate or copy) to what already exist things like the name rX100? the case?. no wonder Sony is where it is. and i mean in a bad state. and i am sorry but their mirrorless cameras look more like cell phones than cameras to me. and really like a lot of the things from the NEX 7. but still needs a second generation with a lot of feedback from actual photographers. thank you very much

        Arigato

        • Neeeeeds a viewfinder? It’s a miracle that any of us NEX owners have been able to take pictures at all, then.

          • to be Avedon isn’t among us. i’ve love to see him used the Rx over rolleis or large format. o BTW Rollei’s dead. and i also love ’em and use’em. it is quite a miracle to do photography with the screens just panning and moving and really concentrating on subject., comp, and all else that makes photography demand sp much from us. hassy was way better, just like Rollei for looking and the screen, than many cameras with the screen only. and new hassys have VF. if photographing with just the screen was enough why put out a NEX 7 with a Viewfinder?

        • Needs a viewfinder? …no it doesn’t. A proper camera records an image. Sounds like a lot of girls I know who need those shoes, those earrings, etc, etc. You want a viewfinder …thats it.

          • Where do you live? Anywhere with really consistently bright sunlight almost the whole year?

            Have you been able to take good pictures without being able to see what you’re attempting to take a picture of? I’m afraid I lack that ability and I cannot see what I’m trying to take a picture of outside in our bright sunlight.

            SO for ME a viewfinder is a necessity not an accessory.

        • It is comletely legitimate if users say no to the RX100 because it does not have a built in VF.
          But then you go on spending a lot of lines on non-factual critique on Sony, such as claiming Sony is immitating while others innovate. I actually think that Sony brought some innovative designs on the market starting with the best sensors available today and the best electronic view finders.
          Brings me back to the initial statement: that they decided not to offer EVF in the RX100 can be criticized. But i believe there will be many customers looking for a camera that fits in a pocket but delivers great IQ. I would consider the RX100 competing with Canon’s S100.

          • Just to attempt to add a bit of balance!

            Having owned a Fuji X10 and a canon S95, I can vouch for both cameras being great in their own right!

            BUT – a compact camera with a decent build in VF and a truly pocketable high end point and shoot are very much two different types of camera and should be compared as such.

            The RX100, much like the S95/100 or Olympus XZ1 will go places with you that your Viewfinder equipped compact just won’t. If you can’t stuff it in your jeans pocket, nine times out of ten you’re likely to leave it behind, however small it is. At least this is what I’ve found.

            I bought the x10 to replace the s95 (selling the latter), which was a mistake. Not because both aren’t great cameras, rather that both are considerably different in size. This shouldn’t be disregarded and in my mind is a major consideration when deciding what you want to do.

            This could well be the high end, point and shoot compact by which all others are judged, certainly it has class leading specs, lens and sensor size.

            Judge against it’s peers – the S100, XZ1 etc, and leave likewise judge those larger compacts with viewfinders against each other; Fuji x10, Canon Powershot G series etc.

    • My feelings exactly. I’d gladly pay more for a viewfinder or add-on option. Shooting without a viewfinder in bright Western Australian sunlight is largely impossible for most of the year.

      • Spot on, the WA sun was the main reason my NEX-5 had to get replaced! On the other hand, I have been using an S90 for a couple of years when packing light for business trips, and this “just” might make a good upgrade.

    • please read the complete spec sheet.. its LCD is White magic ( RGB plus one white pixel) and it can be seen in bright sun light without any problem . just like their new Xperia P phone (Im not sure about the name)

      Any way its a more pocket friendly version of Nikon J1 plus better lens and better LCD. .. but the price is a little high.. anyway it has its own market , a high quality small camera that you can REALLY put it in your pocket.

      • With respect, what manufacturers say on their spec sheet can hardly be taken as “true”, it’s just marketing babble.

        As for the lens, it’s “better” because it says “Carl Zeiss” on it, just like those Sony mobile phones do? If it’s anything like the “G” lens (old Minolta nomenclature) that graced the Sony WX-1, it will have catastrophic flare and a jpeg engine produced from $5 of R&D expenditure.

      • “Can be seen in bright sunlight.” I’d be extremely sceptical about that having heard that claim a number of times before in relation to both phones and camera LCDs and finding them useless in Perth sunlight. For better or for worse we have some of the brightest sunlight anywhere here.

    • Agree 100%, it looks very nice, and a f/1.8 lens is fantastic, but the Canon G1X, you can hold up to your eye and use the (very small) optical finder. For me, that’s not negotiable.

      • Canon G1X is not a pocketable camera. RX100 matches the size of S100 — the camera it’s competing against.

    • Exactly, David and Grant. Useless most of the time. It’s a feature I immediately look for on any new model and if it’s not there, goodnight Queen Mary..

    • Remember folks! Sony loves to sell accessorys one by one! Ain’t do no built-in functions.

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