The Sony RX100 – My quick real world preview of this ultra sexy pocket rocket!
UPDATE: My final review of the RX100 is no up and it can be found HERE!
YES! Another X! The X1, X1, X100, X-Pro 1 and now the RX100! X must be the magic number, or at least camera manufacturers think so it seems. I just took delivery of the “New X”, the Sony RX100. A small pocket rocket powerhouse of a camera that just in a couple days has FAR exceeded my expectations of what can come out of a pocket 1″ sensor camera, all for under $650.
Someone on Google + told me this picture below was taken by an Olympus camera, not the RX100. Well, yes it was! It was a picture taken OF THE RX100 to show how it fits in my jean pocket. Could not have taken it with the RX100 now could I? But yes, it will fit in a front jeans pocket easily. I left it sticking out for illustration purposes 🙂
It is funny though as this is a camera that is NOT aimed at me because I am not a huge fan of small pocket cameras because the quality usually suffers. I am one of those who never cared for the Canon S100 as I found the quality good but no where near great, especially low light. Anytime I see these small cameras at a camera shop or even a Best Buy store I walk right by them because before now they all had some serious compromises. Well, not anymore. The days of pocket meaning “lesser quality” are over. The Sony RX100 is here and man… it means business. If Sony grew some balls when they released the NEX-7, they just grew bigger here as they are taking on the likes of the Nikon 1 system and possibly even more serious cameras. What? Yep, this little guy packs a serious punch and is versatile as can be.
ISO 1250, OOC JPEG, B&W, Click image for larger
Keep in mind!
This is ONLY my 1st look quick preview (this is NOT the review as the review will be much more detailed) as I have had minimal time with the camera but man, I know when a camera is special right away and when it is not even close to being special, or having magic. The RX100 is a special camera just due to the fact that it is tiny, super fast, has amazing IQ that rivals some DSLR’s, has exceptional quality video and a fast 1.8 aperture lens at the wide end. The lens gives you a 28-100 equivalent and the lens seems to be excellent. ISO performance is the best I have seen for this size of camera and the AF is blazing fast.
1st things 1st! My 1st look video (specs of this camera can be found at the end of this preview)
Well, can one be in love after two days? Probably not but it feels like it. This camera opens up some great possibilities. It is tiny, silent and even blazing fast AND gives DSLR quality..well, correction… in some cases BETTER than DSLR quality (depending on DSLR and lens used). It fits in my front jeans pocket and is ready to roll at a moments notice. No, there is no EVF but this is a small camera that is meant for REALLY take anywhere pocket use. The LCD screen is easily visible even in the brutal AZ sun (can’t say the same for other cameras) as it has Sony’s “White Magic” technology that improves visibility in full sun.
It’s a fun camera but what is even more fun is when you look at your files and see how nice they are for coming out of such a small camera! Click on the following images to see larger sizes. The 1st one is ISO 3200 and all are OOC JPEGS.
The fast Zeiss lens helps and you can shoot at 28mm at f/1.8 and get nice results and even some decent Bokeh as well. The image below if of my son at ISO 6400. It is an OOC JPEG so you do see the NR but this is 6400, coming out of a pocket camera! I have not shot RAW yet but I will have RAW results when I post my full review of this camera.
So this looks like it will be a hit for Sony. I can not wait to shoot it over the next couple of weeks to really put it through its paces and pit it against the Nikon V1 and just for fun, a Leica X2! Should be fun 🙂 I also was messing around and took some video and it looked beautiful as well. The built-in Steady Shot worked wonders and this Zeiss lens has a Zeiss feel about it, even in the video. I will have full video samples in my full review.
In my hand the camera feels small but solid with a nice build. If it did have an EVF it would be flat-out my dream pocket cam. Then again, and EVF would have made it larger and that would have made it appeal to a different group of camera enthusiast, and not fit in my pocket! Me, I see this camera being taken with me anywhere and everywhere. Something that many other cameras can easily achieve with a bag, but now I have that quality in my pocket it seems. I can not give any final evaluation on it until my review of course but so far so good!
The RX100 is in stock at Amazon at the time of this writing and has 14 reviews, all of them 5 star reviews! B&H Photo sold out their 1st shipment in a day but their RX100 page is HERE and you can pre-order from them if you desire. This may be the camera of the summer and I can see many buying it as a 2nd body to a more serious camera or even a camera for the wife, hubby or kids who do not know so much about camera modes, functions and features (because it’s easy to pick up and use). Exciting times!
My full review will be coming soon so keep your eyes peeled!
The specs of the RX100
20.2 Megapixel Exmor 1″ CMOS Image Sensor
The massive 20.2MP Exmor 1″ CMOS sensor captures ultra-high definition images that take full advantage of the camera’s sharp Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T lens. The sensor enables advanced column A/D processing that reduces noise levels, resulting in astonishing low light images with incredible smooth and clear details
Bright F1.8 Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T Lens with 3.6x Optical Zoom
This large-diameter F1.8 Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T lens delivers refined background defocusing. It also features a premium multi-layered T coating that dramatically reduces ghost and flare caused by light reflection. Focal length (35mm equivalent) – Still 16:9: 29-105mm; Still 4:3: 30-108mm; Still 3:2: 28-100mm; Still 1:1: 36-127mm; Movie 16:9: 29-105mm (Std), 33-120mm (Active); Movie 4:3: 36-128mm (Std), 41-146mm (Active)
P/A/S/M Modes for Video & Stills
Enjoy a full range of controls for video and still shooting from iAUTO mode to P/A/S/M: Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual. There are even on-screen prompts which help you refine your skills, build your confidence and exercise greater creative control
Capture JPEG Files, RAW Files, or Both
The RX100 saves pictures as compact JPEG files and/or ultra-high quality RAW files. RAW files save images prior to de-mosaicing, white balance, sharpness and color enhancement. This retains maximum latitude for enhancing the image on your PC
Full HD 1080/60p Video Capture
Record crystal clear movies in Full HD 1080p at 60 fps. This provides stunning, fast motion video with less distortion for playback on your HDTV. Plus, with dual recording for stills and movies, you can shoot both at the same time
Low-Light ISO 6400 Sensitivity
Capture incredibly clear low-light pictures without sacrificing detail, thanks to the low-noise Exmor CMOS image sensor and refined BIONZ image processor
High-Speed Auto Focus
To improve focusing speed and sensitivity, the Exmor CMOS sensor uses its rapid throughput to deliver high-quality image signals to the camera’s BIONZ processor, which provides intelligent response data to a high-speed actuator motor in the lens. The result is fast, DSLR-like focusing speeds even in low light
Up to 10 fps Burst Mode
Capture full 20.2 megapixel resolution images at up to 10 fps, helping to ensure that the decisive moment is captured such as the soccer ball flying into the goal. In addition, a mechanical shutter helps reduce distortion when continuously shooting moving subjects
Large 3″ Xtra Fine LCD Display
The 3″ (1229k dots) Xtra Fine LCD Display makes it easy to scroll through menus and preview pictures. Plus, the large display delivers brilliant-quality still images and movies while enabling easy focusing operation. It also features WhiteMagic technology, which increases visibility in bright daylight
Customizable Function Button
Assign up to seven different functions to the function button, to allow quick access to your most frequently used functions
Optical SteadyShot with Active Mode
Optical SteadyShot with Active Mode enables blur-free movies even while walking. Plus, the camera-shake compensation using Optical SteadyShot/Active Mode has been improved with the addition of electronic image stabilization, which makes it easier to obtain sharp, blur-free movies even when zooming in unsteady situations, such as shooting with one hand while walking
MR (memory recall) mode can memorize up to three groups of the user’s preferred settings. The settings include zoom magnification, white balance, exposure compensation, date and grid lines. This enables quick switching of settings at the right moment
Sophisticated Design with Pop Up Flash
The sophisticated aluminum body is lightweight, slim and strong. There’s even an integrated pop up flash, which affords the convenience of flash photography everywhere you go
Auto Portrait Framing
Simply photograph a person and Auto Portrait Framing will save an additional, optimally framed image in portrait or landscape orientation. This mode combines Face Detection and By Pixel Super Resolution technologies with rule of thirds to provide beautifully composed and appealingly balanced full resolution portraits
Auto HDR Mode
Using auto HDR mode allows you to capture more scene dynamic range than a single exposure can handle – and more range than photo film. It combines the best highlight detail from one shot, the best mid-tones from a second shot and the best shadow detail from a third shot for one incredible image (up to 6 EV stops). Plus, it works in a split second (recommended for still subjects)
Face Detection / Face Registration
The camera can automatically detect and register up to eight individual faces and adjust focus, exposure, white balance and flash to help deliver crisp, properly lit images of family and friends. You can even prioritize children or adults
Multi-Aspect Ratio Recording for Still Images
Capture still images in any of four aspect ratios – 1:1, 2:3, 4:3, or 16:9 (vertical to horizontal). This provided the freedom to choose a ratio that matches the scene or the specific shooting purpose
3.6x Optical Zoom & 7.2 Digital Zoom
Most digital zooms use electronic cropping to get closer to the subject, resulting in unsharp images. With Clear Image Zoom the powerful processor compares patterns found in adjacent pixels and creates new pixels to match selected patterns, resulting in more realistic, higher-quality images. Clear Image Zoom digitally doubles optical zoom for closer photos
Four Focusing Modes
This camera has two Autofocus modes: Single-shot AF (AF-S) or Continuous AF (AF-C), which tracks moving objects. It also has Manual Focus for manual focusing freedom, and Direct Manual Focus (DMF), that first uses autofocusing to focus on the subject, and then allows fast and easy switching to manual focusing for even more precise adjustment
MF Assist & Peaking
Manual focus becomes much easier because peaking highlights the edges that are in focus in your choice of three colors (white, red, or yellow). This is especially helpful during macro or portrait photography where your focus setting can make or break your shot
Multi-Frame Noise Reduction
In this mode, the camera automatically shoots multiple images and layers them to produce a single noise-free image. This method provides noise reduction equivalent to a 2-stop lower shutter speed while maintaining the same aperture setting. Since the Multi Frame NR mode can be used in combination with P/A/S/M modes, it expands the user’s shooting flexibility
The Photo Creativity interface enables you to easily enjoy the creative expression of SLR-quality digital imaging without complex jargon. Changes can be combined, removed and viewed in real time on the LCD display, which makes it a breeze to make adjustments. Choose from several different Photo Creativity functions using the convenient control wheel and center button including: Picture Effect, Background Defocus, Color, Brightness and Vividness
Picture Effect Mode
Picture Effect is a fun and simple way to convert ordinary landscapes and portraits by heightening mood and emphasizing certain attributes. Effects include: Soft Focus, Posterization, Retro Photo, High Contrast Monochrome, Rich-Tone Monochrome, Miniature, Soft High-key, Toy Camera, Pop Color, Partial Color, Watercolor Painting, HDR Painting and Illustration
Creative Style Settings
Control how the camera processes your images with six finishing styles: Standard, Vivid, B&W, Sunset, Portrait and Landscape. You can even fine-tune contrast, saturation and sharpness to your personal taste
Sweep Panorama Mode
Capture expansive landscapes automatically. Press the shutter and sweep vertically or horizontally. The camera does the rest by continuously shooting images and stitching them together
Superior Auto Mode
In order to get cleaner, more dynamic pictures and fewer missed shots, the camera automatically recognizes the correct scene mode, then quickly shoots and combines up to six shots to produce images with greater clarity, optimum dynamic range using Backlight Correction HDR technology, and lower image noise using six shot layering technology. Superior Auto can intelligently detect 33 scenes for still images and movies, making it easy to get the best shot
Intelligent Scene Recognition Mode
Intelligent Scene Recognition (iSCN) automatically detects 33 different types of scenes for photos and 44 scenes for movies, and then selects the appropriate camera settings. In Auto Mode, the camera takes a single shot using the optimal settings. In Advanced Mode, the camera takes a photo with the optimal settings and, if in difficult lighting (low light or back light) immediately takes a second photo with another optimized setting so you can choose which to keep
Digital Level Gauge
The digital level gauge allows for easier leveling of the camera
for people who has used film for most of it’s life, the arriving of small cameras, with more quality than any kind of film of the past is always a joy.
Go, is rx100 good for taking children or toddlers shot bearing in mind they move a lot and quickly
The one I”ve got from Amazon is made in China instead of made in Japan? Although I don’t think the manufacturing quality really changes that much, I am curious to know why there are different versions of production…..
Steve, quick question. Do you know if it’s possible to set a custom focal length upon startup? For example, the startup (when you power up) focal length is the widest. It would be nice to be able to tell the camera to start up at 1.2x instead of so wide. I realize this is a pipe dream but figured you were the guy to ask!
I do not think so.
I have purchased the RX100 and love it for still shots. The video looks a bit too much like daytime soaps or Saturday Night Live for my taste. Is there a way on this camera to get a more “normal” looking video and/or a more “film-like” look. I’m not sure exactly what I’m asking, but I’m working on holiday home movies, and the smooth effect looks a little odd. Thanks for any help you can provide.
Steve I´m thinking about updating my Panasonic LX5. I really love that camera and know how to use it best, but it´s just not fast enough to get nice shots of my playing dogs. Also above 400 iso, it quite sucks. Would it be wise to update to the LX7, or the Sony?
I have yet to try the LX-7 but the Sony is excellent. Highly recommended.
Yes, I read your article, so I know the Sony is highly recommended:-) I´ll just wait then what you think of the LX7.
The Panasonic GF3 is also tempting since it´s on sale now. I do love my LX5 because it´s fun to use, (lots of control for a control freak like me:-)), I like the colors, I like the close-ups a lot, I find the dynamic B&W great, so much to like. What I´m missing is speed, low light capacity and reach. I would be nice to get a couple of flying geese that aren´t little dots for a change. Since I don´t have the money to buy all kinds of lenses, I was thinking two cameras might be better. Then I can buy the gf3 with just the longer zoom lens and take either the Panny or the Sony along, in which case I will sell my LX5. Pff, it´s keeping me up at night :.))
When are ypu planing to do the review on this?
Review has been done and posted for months now..go to “mirrorless central” under Sony to find it.
Ah, any link to it?
AArrggghhh this camera looks great! I already have a Sony DSLR and REALLY fell for the Fuji X100 after all your reviews, but now I’m torn…….. I want a smaller camera for my honeymoon in 2 weeks and settled on the X100, but now this seems like a contender too. I’m spending 2 weeks in the Maldives, so wondering if I might benefit more with this than the X100, with the zoom option and even smaller size? Decisions decisions…..any thoughts?
Well, for your honeymoon I’d still prefer an X100 but either will do the job.
WARNING!!!! This camera is being marketed as a having a 1″ sensor. From sonys website you will find the actual dimensions of the sensor are 13.2x.35 mm. This equates to .52 inches x .35 inches. WARNING!!!
Same way Nikon markets the Nikon 1 system with the same size sensor. Doesn’t matter – what matters is the IQ, and the RX100 has nothing to apologize for.
The sensor on both RX100 and Nikon J1/V1 is 13.2 x 8.8 mm. Nothing to warn about 🙂
The bugaboo that makes P&S cameras POS cameras is their focusing speed is atrocious. Can you comment on your experience so far with moving subjects, or stills in indoor lighting?
So far for me, not great w moving subjects (still only CDAF), but AF lock is much faster than my NEX 5N, especially in low light – very similar to my Lumix G3 and Nikon V1 for single AF it seems.
Hello steve another point if you have the time. A lot of people are maybe asking to compare it with a lot of cameras. The only camera I would think of testing it against would be the X100 at the same around 35mm.
Something I’d like to know. Can the camera be set to automatically go to a particular focal length/zoom when turned on?
My default would be 35mm equivalent, that’s where I want to be for 90% of my shooting. Having to switch on, which puts it at 28 then zoom to 35 is a major annoyance.
Dear Craig, I’m sure Steve will answer your post but here are some thoughts. If the camera opened at your (and mine) favorite 35mm focal length it would open at f/2.8 and not at the f1.8 aperture that you paid the top dollar to have available. This of course diminishes your low light capabilities and the currently popular narrow depth of field that the f1.8 aperture gives you. Many buyers would prefer to just make a small crop in post if they must have the 35mm view as the IQ of this camera will easily stand the crop up to the sizes that most of the buyers of this camera will print. If however you must quickly have your 35mm focal length you can use either Full Auto mode and a quick clockwise turn of the lens collar will display and give you this focal length. If you choose to shoot in other modes you can set this lens collar zoom as a custom function. All this of course is not important if you shoot stopped down but the lens/camera designers at Sony felt the 28mm/f1.8 design was the best compromise for giving the buyer the pocket size and the lens speed/zoom lengths.
Nice preview. Quick question for you (or others who have used this camera). Can you comment at all on the controls setup in comparison with the NEX models? I can see this as a good pocket camera to own alongside my 5n. If the control scheme is similar I it would be very quick transition – i.e. similar control layout/menus and custom button functions. Any comments in this regard would be most helpful.
Dear Hans, Just another quick comment. IMO a few of the commenters have been making some comparisons that lose sight of one compelling virtue of the RX100, it’s size. This is truly a small shirt pocket camera. I took mine to lunch today with 7 friends and was able to shoot a round of casual portraits without offending anyone at nearby tables. Shutter is very quiet. The point is that this camera went with me today in a shirt pocket where even the compact Nex7 would have stayed at home. All this and great IQ too.
Controls/menus are a bit different than the 5N, but IMO much more intuitive with more customizability. Took me no time to figure it out. It will replace the 5N w kit lens completely for me – will use the 5N with primes and legacy lenses. The RX100 and 5N w 50mm 1.8 OSS is a good walk-around combo for street/low-light shooting (28mm f1.8 and 75mm f1.8 equivalents w OSS). Man, I kept my old Canon D30 as a reminder just how far tech has progressed in such a short time.
I think everyone goes gaga at every new camera that comes out these days.( Including you Steve!),I picked this up in the store and it didn’t feel good at all. Slippery to hold. No grip which many other cameras get criticized for. felt just like any other ‘girls styled’ compact camera on the market. No viewfinder therefore pictures must be taken in dirty nappy position.And yet another camera that makes you troll through menus.
White magic means power is revved up and battery drained.Not even close to using an EVF or optical finder.I’d wait for the new PEN before letting your money burn a hole in your pocket.
Can’t get excited about this at all. NEXt please!
Most exciting thing about this, well…..it’s new.
This is not meant to compete body wise with the likes of OM-D, PEN or NEX. This is a pocket camera meant to compete against the GRDIII, the D-Lux, etc. This is simply the BEST pocket cam I have ever shot with and IQ beats any other small sensor pocket camera easily, in all aspects. The build is solid, feel is a bit slick for sure but again, it’s a pocket take everywhere and anywhere camera. There is reason to be excited about it as there has never been a camera of this site with this quality. Sigma Merril, but the Sigmas are slow as molasses and still larger.
I would love to see you do a review of the Sigma Merrill line of cameras, especially the DP1 Merrill.
I plan on it!
I am looking forward to your review which hopefully includes some coloured pics too – not more then RAW saved as JPG, no further postprocessing.
I spent almost an hour looking through many threads on dpreview.com and actually have to say – WHERE is the good IQ? There are soooo bad examples there that I could not see the mentioned good IQ.
Specs sound similar to the Oly XZ-1, especially the lens. Would be interesting to see a comparison of the two.
Mine came today. Was able to set up camera and assign my choice of seven functions to the Fn button without referring to the manual. Much simpler and more intuitive than my nex7. Factory ring functions presets suit me fine though I may make a few changes as I become more familiar with camera. First shots are JPEGs only as I wait for Lightroom and or Aperature to offer RAW converter. Very pleased with IQ of first casual portraits printed on Epson Lustre 8.5/11. Build quality seems up to best Sony nex7. I can live with in camera charging until Sony releases their charger. I am pleased with this camera and it’s small size will make it a constant companion and a backup travel camera to my other mirror-less systems.
Thanks Don. So it handles similar to the 5n/7? I have the 5n and am considering this as my pocket take anywhere camera. If the controls are similar I think I could adjust to it very quickly. Any other thoughts or impressions of the camera – any negatives in comparison with the 5n/7 aside from the smaller sensor?
IMO the 3 wheel control scheme of the nex7 is inspired and offers easy control of a true professional camera. The menu however is confusing with a definite learning curve. Once learned and set to your choices it is not a big problem. The RX 100 menu was easy to use and set up with the lens ring controlling a choice of functions depending on the mode selected. I prefer to shoot in Aperature Priority mode and the factory preset assigns the F stop control to the lens ring. Very easy to use in this mode. Should you choose to shoot in one of the full automatic modes as many buyers of this camera will, then the lens ring would default to another function such as controlling the zoom function. It’s really up to the buyer as this great little camera can be as simple as any point and shoot or as fully featured as much larger cameras.
I do know how to spell aperture but had a senior moment!
I have had my 5N since it was released and just got an RX100 for pocketability, and I think the menu system is much more intuitive. Took me only a few minutes w/o the manual to figure it out (I’m not an alpha system user either). I don’t see many compelling reasons for the NEX cameras (7 excluded) over the RX100 if one were to ONLY use the kit zoom lens. Legacy glass is a different story.
If people want pocketsbility so badly why don’t they just stick to phone cameras?
There are already large sensor high quality phone cameras that can compete with the RX100 in IQ
Your argument can be twisted as follows:
“If people want a great camera why don’t they trash their DSLR?
There are already large sensor high quality phone cameras that can compete with the RX100 in IQ”
Totally disagree. Outside of the Nokia PureView, there are few cel phones out there that can beat a good camera. I’m not talking a $50 piece of junk camera, but something like the RX100.
Very simply…A Pocket Rocket!
I have had one for a week now and the images are often breath taking when viewed on a Retina display, they simply POP!
It isn’t all things to all people, but for now it is where size and image quality meet.
I really can’t understand the in-camera charging. Can’t figure out what the UX decision was here. Makes it a pain to charge an extra battery if you need to.
They are releasing an external charger, it’s just not out yet. But it actually makes sense. Sony’s using a standard USB mini cable like, say, a cel phone (unless you have an iPhone) or many other devices. So you can use your computer or whatever way you charge USB devices to do that. It does come with a little angled AC thing to plug like cable into like the Sony Reader does. Where this does become an issue currently is if you have two batteries.
Just buy a universal charger and your problem is over. The RX100 is great.
Sold my leica D-Lux 5 and bought an RX100. Had it for just for 2 hours. Incredible clarity. Best compact I’ve ever used.
yeah steve, the x is really a magic letter hahaha..
it really dominate everything, and i’m also big fan of camera, especially x100
so when i was creating my email account, and can’t think of good name,
i end up using x to follow my name, just to like malcolm X.
Hello Steve. 2 things I want to say:
1) If it is not too late make sure to review the noise level of the zoom while video shooting. I have seen a youtube video that was horrible noise wise. I want to make sure the noise level in a quiet room is more than good and not picked up by the built in microphones. I understand recording you audio separately is better ( i am an audio dude)
2) Swivel screens are cool but I want to go beyond those especially for framing photos. I understand the RX100 has an hdmi output. Why not use one of those mini monitors so you know how to frame very low or way above your head. I wish you or someone in this thread would advise me on the most cost effective/practical mini monitor that would go with the RX100 while keeping the whole thing as small and compact as possible. Quality may not be an issue, it woud be mostly for accurate framing when I can’t look at the built in screen…
Hey! I will test the zoom during video, I am evaluating the camera now so will be sure to test it. As for the mini monitor, wouldn’t that defeat the whole purpose of this camera being small and pocketable?
I didn’t notice zoom noise during my tests, but I also did it at a concert. The AF-C IMO is more bothersome – that’s where the V1 has the RX100 beat.
I agree. But in some situation a mini monitor like the ones used on the 5d II makes things easier for framing only in those described siuations. the rx would be external monitor free 95% of the time
I just got my RX100 and was immediately surprised at how loud the zoom mechanism is (hope it’s not just mine). I then tested it with video and it slows and quiets the zoom motor when shooting video. Please confirm this if this is true for others.
I have both the V1 and the RX100. Here are some comparison shots:
All are OOC JPGs, no post-processing.
1. The Nikon V1 + 30-110 is a great concert camera. I got many keepers. In comparison, the Sony did OK. Many more missed shots, and with the smaller zoom range, you’re not going to get those tight shots if farther back.
2. Clear Image Zoom surprised me in how effective it was. It’s not the 30-110 (Nikon rated, not the 35mm equivalent), but for a travel cam, I think I could live with it just fine.
3. I think the Sony OOC JPG files have a bit more accurate color (I was there I should know), although IMO both the Sony and Nikon need PP based on what my eye saw last night for some of the lights, etc.
4. The continuous mode on the V1 is great … until you fill the buffer and it’s backed up in writing to the SD card. The continuous mode on the Sony is OK – it works. I’d say it’s a draw in the end. You can snap more with the V1 but it gets jammed up.
5. Since I’m just starting to get used to the RX100, I have more bad shots than good at the moment. I’m also getting used to controls, etc. But on the Sony, I have to say the ring is pretty effective. I like it. Button layout is screwing me up at the moment since I’m so used to the V1.
6. Not surprisingly, the focus on the V1 is better than the RX100. Nikon really got that right. The RX100 does continually hunt and peck a bit in AF-C, which is a bit annoying. I just keep it at AF-S or use CDM/Manual.
7. In terms of effective use (read: is 20MP better than 10MP), I’d say this is a draw. Both cameras have somewhat similar overall output (relatively speaking), but I’d give the edge to the Sony in low light shots.
8. In some of the shots, I felt that at auto, the V1 tended to overexpose a bit. I would normally fix that stuff in PP.
9. I didn’t have a problem handling the Sony without a grip. I also don’t use one on the V1.
10. Although the RX100 isn’t the ultimate concert camera, I was surprised at how many keepers I still got despite the fact I am learning the camera and it’s not the same as the V1 + 30-110.
11. I didn’t really use the EVF at all last night during the concert. It really just got in the way and at some points, I needed to have the camera not at eye level. IMO the need for a viewfinder of ANY kind is overrated. I like the EVF on the V1, but if I didn’t have it, I wouldn’t be lost per se. On the E-PL1 the screen was terrible so the EVF was almost a must-have for me. The Sony screen was great, no issues.
Bottom line: I think Sony did a great job in making a pocketable camera that pretty much can be used anywhere. Does it make tradeoffs and compromises? You bet, but so do all cameras. I still need to do more daylight and normal shots, but last night impressed me a lot. I could see me just taking the RX100 on vacation and not caring one iota. It reminds me a lot of the fun I had with the D-Lux4 (LX3).
Hi Alan, thanks for the quick review. I am actually still using DLux 4 and only due to some sensor burned in fragments, I am considering to upgrade. Comparing the all 3 system Sony, Nikon and Dlux, do think Sony has more to offer? WOuld you recommend Rx100 over Leica? I know about Panasonic’s recently announced LX7, but the specifications are dissapointing – not worth the wait for the Dlux update.
I still have the D-Lux4 (in the friends of a hand at the moment). For my money, the Sony to me is the rightful heir apparent to the LX3/D-Lux4. I was holding out a little to see what Panasonic would announce with the LX7, and I was disappointed in the specs and I’ve been spoiled by the better IQ of the V1, so no way I was stepping back. Sony managed to get what they did in a smaller package than the D-Lux4.
The Sony isn’t a perfect camera – I know there’s been a lot of praise heaped on it and most of it very deserving. I say go try one and see how it feels in your own hands. I don’t think $650 is too much considering what it is. Could you get a NEX or the new Canon EOS M with APS-C instead? Sure. That will have better IQ, but it’s not going to fit in your pocket.
Like Steve said above, I pretty much know within a minute or two if I’m going to “bond” with a camera. When I bought the V1, I tried that, the NEX 5 (don’t believe it was the 5N, but it could have been) and the Fuji X10. The other two didn’t feel right or intuitive to me. The V1 did. The same could be said for the RX100 – I played with it in the SOny store before buying it.
What I think the Sony is suffering from is the hype. There’s been so much positive said about it, people think it should be made of gold. It’s not. It’s just a camera, and a very fine one at that.
Thanks Alan for the reply. I do echo the same concern about LX7 feature list. I was waiting for that announcement, but could not wait ay longer – still love the build in quality of the Leicas. Lets wait for the examples and maybe Dlux7, but I might skip this generation anyway.
I got the Sony RX100 yesterday. As for the experience with Sony so far – Its a complex and I do somehow miss the simplicity of the controls. Its will take some time to get used to it. Picture quality is great – even some of the examples you see around the web looks soft. As for video – miles ahead of what I had in Leica. Stunning.
When I was just about to purchase a RX100, Panasonic announced a new Lumix DMC-LX 7 features a 24-90 Vario-Summilux (f/1.4). I am really interested in a real world comparison by Steve!
lumix is a small sensor
Sold $7000 worth of m4/3 and Nikon dslr and the Sony rx100 makes me not even lok back. Also $7000 in my pocket!
I’m not a photographer, I just take pics for fun. I had the 15 compulsory lenses.
The rx100 is keeping me plenty busy and the pictures look the same as e-m5 and Nikon dslr. Of course true low light photography requires f .95 $14,000 Leica lenses, there in no end to low light expense.
The fun you have enjoyed so far may worth more than $14,000 unless you sold it for less.
Steve perhaps this grip will help with the handling.??
EVF is not a problem for me because it has AF… half press, press done…if one needs to hold his camera the old way instead of the living dead or zombie stance, then the clearviewer (clearviewer.com I guess) that I use on my NEX5 would work. Faster than an EVF and Sony’s screen is supposed to be great even in the sun… ANyhow I will test it for sure… makes the camera a tad bigger but it can be removed in a second with a dime (or a quarter if your budget allows).
It looks like a great camera, but when I stop and think about it I still need to carry my wallet, sunglasses and phone. When I don’t need a coat I use a manbag to carry these things so for me I think I’ll still be getting the X100 to slip in there as my walk around camera when I don’t want to take my DSLRs.
Not bad I’ve tested it but still prefer Fuji x100.
So many focusing problems with the Fuji X100. Read the forums. The Sony RX100 focuses instantly and well.
The fuji x100 with the new firmware focuses fine. Why does he (or me) have to “read the forums” to learn that when we have our own and can decide for ourselves??
They belong both into the bag. A great combo.
Thanks Steve. I guess I needed that extra nudge; just clicked on your link to Amazon and pulled the trigger on this little camera.
After the M9, then M9P replacing the M9, Fuji X100, succession of Oly EP2, EP3, EM5, countless Leica M lenses, hopefully the total gear-head that I am will have enough time to shoot them all.
Thanks for being such an inspiration to so many of us here and a very effective cash evaporator, though you won’t have me complaining 🙂
Hatem – thanks for making me feel frugal 🙂
Steve says the autofocus is blazing fast. It is also widely accepted that the autofocus on the NEX series is somewhat slow. If the next iterations of the NEX cameras could improve on the autofocus it would be fix my biggest gripe about the system.
I’m also wondering whether Sony designed this camera in response to NEX critics who say they don’t want to carry around a small camera with big lenses?
Impressive little camera. Now how about a version with built in EVF, a grip and 7 x lens (25 – 175mm) – too close to the NEX series?
A 7 x zoom lens would make this camera much bigger – or the sensor would have to be much smaller.. Either would ruin the whole point of this camera..
Sounds so “too good to be true” but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and wait for your review. Steve, can you make sure to test the CAF of video mode please? thanks
Do you think th RX100 could replace a Fuji X10. I like the X10 for its control but would likt better high ISO performance.
Is there some reason they couldn’t have added the port for the clip-on EVF? It would be nice to have a choice, especially for those who aren’t comfortable shooting “stinky diaper” style. Other than that, it certainly is an intriguing camera.
Could you please post more pictures with 1.8 Aperture showing more bokeh, defocusing of background… I am interested in this very much if not physically impossible due the (still) small Sensor. Thx
Very nice. Finally a worthy upgrade for my Casio Exilim Pro 600 🙂
Steve, I too am interested in this vs. J/V 1. If you can comment on the color depth/richness, it would be much appreciated. I know that you too are impressed with that aspect of the V1.
Friday I sold one of my bodies to downgrade to a smaller camera (Fuji X100) that could be both used as a back up as well as lighter and more mobile. Tired of lugging the D700 around when traveling. I have been using my iPhone4s and really enjoy using something smaller and fixed which has led me too the decision to go to a smaller camera that can produce fantastic quality images.
Now with the reviews the Sony RX100 is receiving i’m curious :))
The question I ask is not about the technical aspects that will come out soon enough and sounds. What about the feel. The main decision to go for the Fuji was the chunky, light weight handling and the EVF. I happen to love fixed 35 also 🙂
From reading your blog posts I feel like I have a pretty good feel for your likes and dislikes and I am curious if you would consider this over your X100 if you could only have one or is it no question. It’s still a too small in your hand compact feel with no EVF?
I would see this as more of a companion to a Fuji X100 or DSLR type of camera. It is lovely but doesn’t have the same feel as an X100. It feels like a small compact but with much better IQ. No VF and small. I wouldn’t replace an X100 with it but I see this for those who want a pocket camera with really high quality.
I swappped my Fuji X10 for an RX100. I’m most impressed by the super fast AF (feels like a DSLR), no shutter lag (it seems) and super screen visible in the brightest sunshine. Having had a NEX-5 before I really like the improved UI on the RX100.
I have been looking at cameras since the launch of the v1. Looking for better picture quality. I was almost decided with the om-d but this has changed my mind. I am looking for a family vacations great picture small camera. I think rx100 has what I need.
Hmm….looks like a good replacement for my Canon S90……
I love how the technology is being pushed. Go Sony.
Ah you could have commented on the responsiveness of the AF at least…I am sure that you have a clear idea… I did not look back just ordered one… Hell with it, I am having a lot of fun wih my iphone but lugging around this little bugger is not much efforts and it will give me loads of possibility to get closer to my subject without actually getting closer. This is the T3 of the 2010’s… but with a zoom. Saw nice magnet filters that will hit the market soon… Polarized, ND, everything to get the results you would expect from a DSLR that will weight much more. The 20 mpix might make it a dog noise wise but if you need cropping in PP, this will be very handy. Anywyas I saw ISO 800 in the dark is very good, 1600 usable 3200 very goodwith NR applied (not so good in RAW). So a RAW with NR in LR must be giving very good results. Even the NEX5 with Leica and Zeiss glass is becoming too heavy and cumbersome… This will be it… this is my camera for the next 2 years… $650 is crazy for a P&S? Well I don’t care, one trip to the photo finishing used to cost me $200-$300 after my vacations. It would be a few thousands over the lifespan of my camera… This little RX100 got me very interested in the T3 though (or even the CM)… You get a fresh new FF sensor with every roll, you have the ultimate punchy colors, B&W monochrome, no fringing and other atrocities but you get no zoom (CM has a zoom). since these cameras have good glass, then the only difference between them and pro SLRs is the film and you are free to put the best quality money can buy….Anyhow… RX100 will be it, Photokina might raise an eybrow and make me pull the trigger on a bigger toy to play with my Leica and Zeiss M glass, mind you the NEX 5 is a nice toy for these. So far I am just not that impressed with the pictures I saw from the RX100, could just be the learning curve.
Francis, you don’t need to fear about AF or ISO, as Steve said above: “ISO performance is the best I have seen for this size of camera and the AF is blazing fast.”
Also, $650 is less than a Contax T3 cost new – and back then you had to factor in film and developing costs. The RX100 is more of a TVS though.
Thanks for pointing that out… I missed that little bit (which I found way up in the article). With easy PP programs like snapseed, this thing will give great images to record my memories. and with the guys who are making those magnetic filters, it will be awsome… the file will be DSLR like right out of the camera… ready to be printed with green foliage, blue sky and red brick walls… Can’t wait to put my hands on it and start snapping around.
No doubt, the RX100 looks great BUT what I am most excited about is the thought that the other manufacturers are finally going to take notice of the demand for a large sensor compact. We may be just 6mos or a year away from an APS-C compact that truly fits in your pocket, hello Ricoh GRD V? How about you Fuji? Where is your large sensor version of the fast Natura p&s?! Olympus? At least give us a m4/3 remake of the XA – tell me that wouldn’t sell like hotcakes! Nikon, the V1 is great but how about an APS version of the 28ti and 35ti?
Sony continues to impress in their innovation and drive to market. I wonder how much of this comes from the old Minolta team or Sony?
A smaller x100 with aps-c sensor and good 35mm prime, maybe 1.4? That would be beautiful.
Yes! Basically this camera:http://camerapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Fujifilm_Natura_Black_F1.9
But a bit faster and make it a 35mm or 40mm.
How about the new Sigma Merrill DP 😉 …just a poke.
I can only say ‘hear hear’. I picked mine up two days ago and I am staggered how good it feels – & how sharp the pics are. It will take a while to learn all the the features (only a basic manual) but it will be fun!! Come on down Gary Friedman!!
RX100 is one of those rare things that turned out better than I thought it would even. As I have a full Nikon DSLR kit for my more demanding photo needs, mainly professional with the occasional desire to take some really nice shots of the dogs playing in the backyard etc at my disposal, I have sold my CSC systems of the NEX and m4/3, including the EM-5.
Make no mistake, excellent cameras, EM-5 in particular, but for me, too many times I just didn’t want to walk around with the EM-5. Didn’t want either a camera around my neck all day, or a bag, though a small one with the FX5b around my shoulder.
Just wanted to be able to slip a camera into my pocket and forget it theres but in the event something does present itself, have a camera with me with good IQ
That was always something that wasn’t quite possible. Love my iPhone for its always there factor but the IQ in low light, lack of flash, zero subject separation etc means it can’t always do it all.
Make no mistake, the RX100 is good, but only as far as say a System 1, m4/3 with kit lenses etc and even then maybe not quite as good. Its hardly going to beat a EM-5 with 25mm f1.4 for example. However, for me, if my needs are such that only a EM-5 with fast prime is acceptable, well then, my D3s with 50mm f1.4 G would probably be even better.
Its become I’m either fully committed to photography for the day and carrying a bag, in which case, might as well make it FF DSLR, OR….. I don’t want to be burdened with being a “photographer” and carrying anything, in which case its the RX100 slipped into the pocket and I’m out the door.
I’m again not saying the RX100 matches what the NEX or m4/3 systems can do in absolute terms, but at the same time, I really don’t feel I”m really giving much if anything up for the size reduction in typical casual shots I take.
I can get basically the same results I would with the RX100 as I would with the NEX and kit zoom in anything but the worst possible light. If I know I”m going to a daytime event for that matter, then it matters even less and the RX100 is sure easier to carry.
Way too many times I’ve dealt with a CSC only to come home with a handful of images, mostly disposable. I simply don’t always create “photographs” or want to put in the effort it takes. Sometimes just some nice “snapshots” and my focus (pun…?) on friends/family instead when out are what is important.
I’ve come home with my little bag with thousands of dollars in glass in it and would think, “this is such a waste”, all these nice lenses and I didn’t really even use them. Why am I even carrying this stuff everywhere ?
Do I have a real need to mimic my DSLR rig for personal shooting or did I simply get it to get it so to speak ?
Am I shooting things because I want to, or am I trying to force shots just to try to justify the expense in my head ? Thinking, “well here is another shallow DoF shot to justify buying this latest fast prime” even though I have no interest in close up’s of fruit at a farmers market, as an example.
With the RX100 I’ve felt quite free, both in terms of gear I’m carrying and also the self imposed mental burden that goes with it. Now that my casual shooting outlay is a mere $650 I’m fine just taking a few pictures when out on a walk or even none at all. I don’t look at my RX100 sitting there and think, did I really need to spend $4k on such a system, because I simply can’t spend that even if I wanted to. Lets me honest too, for most of us, me in particular, its rather a “if they built it, I will buy it” mentality lol. Nothing wrong with that mind you, but certainly is nice to do so when you actually have a need rather than a want.
Point of all this rambling is this, the RX100 is a pretty nice little camera and worth checking out. It very well may finally give us that seemingly impossible dream camera that can give good IQ and yet still fit in darn near any pocket.
I think I’ve been wanting this thing for years and buying (then selling) darn near every CSC under the sun
Quite a long rambling. But you are right. This is the first truly shirt pocketable solution which does not make you constantly regret having left the big guns at home. Its IQ is good enough, and it’s fun to shoot as well.
I agree. It would sure be nice to have a camera that fits in a pocket, (or in my case, a little pouch on my belt), that can produce a really decent file. For years, my always-with-me camera has been a little indestructible Oly that’s never let me down, but above ISO 200 the files are bad, and above 400 they’re hopeless.
The poor, old thing’s about 6 years old, and the RX100 may just replace it and my Canon G11. Definitely looking forward to the rest of Steve’s report.
I can agree with you there. I have the em5 which I got for portability. 8 out of 10 times im still taking a bag with it just incase. I keep the 20mm prime on the front all the time and can slip it into my cargo pants pocket but nothing else. I’d like a camera that I can stick in my regular pockets on any pants so I think this will replace my em5.
I have my full frame (5dc which is still great for studio work) for when I want to go all out or when im doing my portrait work. This will be for my personal use like going out with friends.
Steve, it really sounds great – I may get the RX100 over the Nikon V1 for my friend – but I only have few days to decide and order. If you could have some more details (sample video would be great) in a day or two that would help me very much. I have played yesterday with the V1 and it really is a little wonder, but if this camera delivers similar performance in much smaller package it could just be it! Thank you!
I think the rx100 would be better suited. Unless you need long reach on a lens this thing screams v1 killer. It has a good zoom range, fast aperture for where you typically need it most. I’m going on a trip to mass and decided to order this which I will take along with my em5.
I have just realized (I did not keep my eye on mirror less prices so closely) that an EP-3 with the contact 12-42 zoom lens costs less than the RX100 – so I am looking at other options too. But indeed the RX100 seems to be a great camera.
yeah!! I guess sony just did it!
I’d really love to see how it go alongside the V1.. can’t wait for the comparison 🙂
thanks for sharing Steve
I just unpacked my new RX100, and am quite impressed. So many features that it will take another month to work my way through the manual and learn about all of them. (Several months ago, I did the same with the Fuji x100.) This camera will fit in the shirt pocket of a standard man’s button down shirt. The Fuji won’t fit into any pocket, so I can see this RX100 becoming a constant companion. My complaint about the hype over this camera is that the sensor is not “massive.” Large for the size of the camera for sure, but you recently did an article on the Nikon 1 which was all about “sure the sensor is small, but it’s not that bad.” And the so-called 1″ sensor actually measures about 1/2.” I haven’t done the math, but I’ll bet the sensor has less than half the area of the Fuji. Sony seems have to gone for the high megapixel count, probably at the expense of good low light performance. This may be the ultimate travel snaps and street shooter, My real question is how snappy the face recognition focus will be in the real world. Maybe a Nikon 1 vs Sony RX100 shootout?
Megapixel count do not diminish low light performance. It does when you view at 100% crop but if u compare it at 10 megapixels next to say the v1 i’m sure it will have more detail.