The Sony RX100 Digital Camera Review. The best pocket digital compact of the year..actually…EVER!

The Sony RX100 Digital Camera Review – The best pocket digital compact of the year…actually…EVER!

Holy Pocket Rocket! That is what I said when I shot this camera and brought it back home to take a look at the files. The Sony RX100 is a SMALL pocketable camera, as in front pocket camera, and it packs a mean punch though I guess it should for its $650 price tag. I was a little underwhelmed with the latest NEX-F3 basically because it is more of the same old same old. Don’t get me wrong,  it’s a great camera but to me just a slight upgrade to the NEX-3 and C3. But what I never expected was for Sony to release this RX100 and have it be as good as it is for being so small. Yes my fellow photo enthusiasts, it really is that good and after this and the Nikon V1 I will never again doubt a small sensor camera, ever.

Before I get to the nitty gritty and let you know about my time with the RX100 here is the first look video I made as soon as the RX100 arrived to me:

You know me..I am not a fan of cameras without an EVF or some type of built in VF. I just feel a VF makes a camera more “complete” and more usable and sometimes, even more fun. I hate holding cameras out at arms length for various reasons but mainly it just seems “anti” photographer not to mention that the LCD screens are usually washed out by the daylight sun.

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I had this washed out issue with the Pentax K-01 rendering the camera useless to me in the bright AZ sunlight. I loved the IQ from that Pentax and applaud them for being different with the design but if it had a built in EVF I may have bought one for myself. I am also not a fan of zoom lenses (due to them usually being so slow) and this RX100 seemed (at first) like a dumbed down Nikon V1 without the EVF. Why? Well, because it houses the same size sensor as the Nikon 1 series sensor, which is a 1″ sensor (don’t get me started on sensor “actual” sizes, this is what Sony and Nikon call it, so this is how I am referring to it). This sensor is larger than point and shoot sensors but smaller than even Micro 4/3 or APS-C sensors. The good news is that the sensor in this camera ROCKS and ROCKS hard and I have never seen a small camera such as this deliver this quality in not only photo but video as well.

The good news is that the RX100 doesn’t have an issue with using the LCD in bright light as Sony uses their new “White Magic” technology that keeps the LCD viewable in even this harsh AZ sunlight I live with every day 🙂

IMPORTANT! WITH all of my reviews and this one as well you must CLICK THE IMAGES to see them larger and in the quality they are meant to be seen in. If you do not do this they will not look as good as they could. 

The Zoom lens in the Rx100 – Zeiss quality and rendering is here!

I stated that I was not a fan of zoom lenses in most compact or P&S (point and shoot) cameras but the lens in the RX100 is different. It starts out with a fast f/1.8 aperture and offers a 28-100mm zoom range. While the lens doesn’t stay at f/1.8 for long (as soon as you zoom from 28mm it goes to f/2 and then slows down from there) it offers really good quality in “real world” situations. You know, what a camera is built to be used for…photos. I have shot the RX100 in all kinds of situations. Low light, good light, harsh light and at all focal lengths and apertures. Never once did it disappoint me. Shooting at 28 at 1.8 is nice as you get that fast aperture so you can keep ISO’s lower (as low as ISO 80) or jack it up if you need to to shoot in low light.

RX100 – f/2.2 – 30mm – ISO 1000 – JPEG

The RX100 at 28mm wide open at 1.8. You can get shallow Depth Of Field if you stay close to your subject.

Another wide open at 1.8 and 28mm – this camera also happens to be SILENT in addition to crazy small. It’s the same shutter sound as the uber quiet Leica X2 and Nikon V1 when using the electronic shutter.

So I was not disappointed with the lens at all. I found it sharp even wide open. I found the color to be some of the richest I have seen from Sony without the usual color wonkiness the NEX series gives you at times. It’s got a Zeiss feel about it and is smooth with great color pop and contrast. Me like.

Click images below to see full 100% crops embedded in the larger versions!

The Features of the Sony RX100 – Lots of tech here

This little guy may appear to be just a compact P&S but it is much more than that. I am not going to bullshit here or beat around the bush. THIS my friends is the compact you have been wanting since digital photography started. If the RX100 launched in 1998 people would have been dumbfounded and shocked beyond belief. There are loads of things here that the Sony gives us..

  • Focus Peaking for Manual Focus and using MF with the ring dial is easy.
  • Live out HDMI. You can connect a mini HDMI display if you like and shoot with it in this way.
  • Control Dial on the lens barrel. Not a 1st but it is well implemented as you can program its function quickly.
  • Large sensor quality in a jeans front pocket camera. Wow!
  • “White Magic” LCD screen so you can view and compose in bright light. Works great in sunny harsh AZ so will work wherever you are!
  • Silent as can be shutter. This is a leaf shutter much like what is in the Leica X2. No one would ever know you snapped a shot off.
  • The lens extracts quickly upon power up and closes in at shutdown in a fast motion. When sucked in the body the lens has a built in cap that closes to protect your lens. No more lost lens caps. Also, the camera is very slim with lens retracted.
  • Much improved menus and control over the NEX series.
  • Full manual video! You can set the aperture, shutter speed, etc. No more dumbed down video.
  • Beautiful metal build in an all stealthy and gorgeous BLACK.
  • SteadyShot works great, as always.
  • Close focus abilities when at 28mm, something the Leica X2 can only dream about.
  • Has all of the usual Sony features like Sweep Pano, Color filters, Night modes, and even the new “Superior Auto” mode  that helps you take great pics even if you have no idea what you are doing.
  • AF is fast, almost instant. I have shot in low light, no light and good light. The camera had a hard time in NO light of course but I had no issues in low light, AT ALL. Focus always locked and never gave me a false lock (like the NEX does at times).
  • Built in flash is tillable for bounce.
  • Unique self portrait mode where the camera waits until it sees your face in the frame before it fires. It then takes a shot every three seconds until you move out of  the frame!
  • Zoom is slow and steady for video use.
  • Fast burst mode with 10 frames per second capability.
  • ALL of this in a tiny shirt pocket design. Oh, and it is made in Japan. It reeks of quality inside and out.
RX100 – f/4 – ISO 100 – 28mm

RX100 – f/1.8 – 1/30 – -0.7 – ISO 125

After shooting this cam for a few days I found I preferred it to something like a NEX-5 just due to the IQ, size, design and speed. The 1″ sensor must have some kind of special properties as the Nikon V1 also had these qualities but this RX100 is much smaller than even the Nikon V1 and IMO gives a little but better quality and much better high ISO quality. The RX100 literally squashes any previous P&S or pocket camera. The new upcoming Leica D-Lux 6 better have something special inside because it may be tough to beat the RX100. Seriously.

RX100 and Nikon V1 – The V1 is much thicker and larger but is also an interchangeable lens camera, which ultimately will give more versatility. The RX100 is a “super” compact meant to fit in a shirt pocket or pants pocket or purse. Literally TAKE ANYWHERE. Now there are no excuses.

Low Light and High ISO

One issue with most compacts is that they may give you nice output most of the time but to me they have always appeared digital and hard in the way they rendered the photos coming out of them. The old Canon S100, IMO, was a prime example of this. It was very digital, kind of “hard”, built a bit flimsy and had horrible low light performance with awful grain at ISO 800 even. Oh how times have have no idea!

Shooting the RX100 up to ISO 1600 is not a problem. Keep in mind that EVERY IMAGE in this review was shot as JPEG as at this time there is no Adobe support for the RX100 RAW files. So what you see in this review is the WORST this camera will deliver as it only gets better when shooting RAW. With RAW you can control the amount of Noise Reduction and therefore avoid smearing. You can control color, white balance, exposure AFTER the fact. I always shoot RAW but I have been very impressed with JPEGS coming from the Sony as is. This RX100 has better Auto White Balance and color than my NEX-7.

As for low light and high ISO I have been amazed at what I have seen. I turned the Noise Reduction to “LOW” and I shot a few images at various higher ISO’s in various light conditions:

RX100 – JPEG  – ISO 3200 – f/4.9 – 95mm

I shot the above image as a JPEG, Vivid mode I believe. It was around 8PM and I was at the Wildlife World Zoo here in Phx, AZ. The camera was on Auto ISO and it picked 3200 for this exposure. I zoomed in and fired. This is what came out. I have not added any Noise Reduction, I have not added any filters or effects. I simply resized this image to include in the review and adjusted contrast and levels. For a shirt pocket camera I have never seen anything close to this performance at ISO 3200, and this was at night!

I also did a long exposure around 8:45 PM in the same spot:

This is a 5 second exposure, ISO 80 at f/1.8. I set the camera on a ledge as i did not have a tripod with me.

A few more high ISO examples including 6400 ISO:

RX100 – ISO 1250 with 100% crop embedded when you click the image!

How about another ISO 3200?

or ISO 6400?

So why did I shoot the 6400 examples in B&W? I do not know really but if I were to shoot at this ISO it probably would be in B&W. I can not wait to see RAW results without the NR and noise smearing. I have a feeling ISO 6400 and B&W will be reminiscent of film with a tight grain, much like the Nikon V1 does at 1600 and 3200 with B&W. I have no complaints with the RX100 high ISO capabilities.

Why would I spend $650 on this over a DSLR? 

Man, you can go buy a full blown Sony A57 for about the cost of this little teeny pocket rocket. Why on earth would someone buy THIS RX100 over a DSLR? Some of you have already asked me this. I am one of those in the camp that feels the cost of the RX100 is NOT overpriced. For me, an RX100 brings me much more joy than lugging a DSLR anywhere. A DSLR and huge lenses have their place but they are not small or pocketable and I never would bring one everywhere with me.

This Sony RX100 has all of the features, and even more, than a huge DSLR. The image quality makes no apologies to it’s bigger DSLR brothers. Sure, you can go buy a DSLR and pro lens and get sharper images and make huge ass prints but you can also do this with the RX100. You lose some versatility as you are stuck with the zoom lens but man I would personally spend my hard earned cash on this over any DSLR in this price range any day. If it came down to a RX100 or Nikon starter DSLR it would be this one because it fits in my pocket and gives me 85-90% of the larger cameras quality. It’s nice to have this in addition to your workhorse or something like an M9, D800, 5D, etc.

Add to all of this the  panorama capabilities, HDR capabilities, color filters, a Zeiss lens, zoom versatility, great HD video, and some unique Sony only modes that you won’t find on other brands. Built in steady shot, made in Japan heritage. I mean, this little guy means business and I am not hyping here. Just writing what I feel, as I have done for years.

When I write reviews I may be enthusiastic but one thing I am not is dry and dull. When my excitement is there it shines through these pages and extrudes out to you. That is when you know I feel a camera is REALLY exceptional. The RX100 is exceptional for what it is. It is not an M9, it is not a OM-D, it is not a DSLR. It is a camera that many will buy in addition to their DSLR or larger kit. $650 is a bargain for what you get here as this is a camera  that will get massive amounts of use, at least for me it will. I bought my copy. 🙂

Motivation. I love being motivated to shoot and even though it’s the middle of summer here in AZ, a time when I am NOT motivated to go out and shoot..the RX100 did in fact get me out to shoot. I had no massive projects underway but I shoot just like most of you. My everyday life. My son, my friends, my girlfriend, my dog and things I see and do. It’s real world as it gets and the RX100 is a camera made for ANYONE and EVERYONE. That is what is so cool about it. It does what it does and does it well with little in the way of compromise.

Speaking of compromise, what is wrong with the RX100?

With all of this gushing over the RX100 there has to be something wrong with it, right? Well if I could redesign a thing or two I would try to add a swivel LCD as I think this would be really useful and add versatility allowing you to shoot in creative angles. I would try to add a VF of some kind, inside. Even an optical to keep size down if need be. The camera is so small and slick, there really is not much of a grip so a grip could be nice. A constant 2.8 aperture would also be amazing. BUT if you add all of the things I am suggesting it would make the camera quite a bit larger, taking away from what it is meant to be, which is a high quality take anywhere pocket camera.

This means that maybe Sony can work on a RX10 or RX1000 – a bit larger, 2.8 aperture throughout, grip, swivel LCD and EVF. Then again, this sounds like a NEX-7. Now that I think about it Sony nailed it with this. It falls in between their DSLR and NEX series and provides one more way for us photo nuts to get our fix.

Now that I think a bit more I would also like to see the shutter speed increased to 1/4000s as 1/2000ths is what it tops out at now and shooting in sunlight is tough at 1.8 if you want a creamier looking background. Also after some use by me I noticed the finish on one side scratched a little so there is already black finish that has come off on my body. It may have scraped up against another camera so my fault, but it will scratch if you are not careful! The battery door and USB door could also be a little more sturdy.

Where f/1.8 can come in handy! Low light, 1/30s, f/1.8, ISO 160

ISO 1600, B&W, 1/40s, f/2.2

ISO 640 – f/1.8 – 1/30s

Concerts? No problem. The RX100 Shoots Seal!

This little dynamo can also shoot grain free concert performances it seems. Check out these shots of Seal taken with the RX100 but know that these were not shot by me, but reader Barry Burris in Tulsa OK! Thanks Barry! I love the way the RX100 rendered these challenging shots as no other pocketable compact made to date could tackle this and give such great performance. Amazing. For comparison, you can see my live shots of Seal all shot with Leica gear HERE.

So this camera even does HD video? YES it does! 1080P

The RX100 also shoot HD video and you have options here. You can shoot in AVCHD or MP4. Tou can choose your recording settings such as 60i or 60p and the cool thing is you have full manual control if you desire when shooting video. You can also let the camera take over and choose settings. I like shooting in Aperture priority mode so I can choose the Aperture. There is also a wind noise reduction setting because this camera will pick up wind noise, no doubt. The RX100 will not give you video as rich as the NEX-5n or NEX-7 or even Olympus OM-D with a nice lens BUT it will give you perfectly acceptable video that is rich and with great IS. Below is a video sample I made with the camera. BTW, you can NOT add an external mic to the camera, which would have been cool so you are stuck with the internal microphone.

RX100 Sony Features – Panorama, Picture Effects, etc

For JPEG shooters who want simplicity and some cool out of camera effects Sony has included their Picture Effects and Sweep Panorama modes just as they do in all of their cameras. You get Toy Camera, POP Color, Posterization Effect, Retro, Soft High Key, Partial Color, High Contrast Monochrome, Soft Focus, HDR Painting, Rich Tone B&W, Miniature, Watercolor Effect and the Illustration effect which makes your subject look like it was drawn.

Most of these are garbage, I admit that. I do like the High Contrast Monochrome though as it gives a nice contrasty B&W result. I would throw away most of the others 🙂

High Contrast B&W

Illustration Mode 

Watercolor Effect

Sweep Panorama Mode

So the RX100 keeps the effects we know from previous Sony digital cameras. They are there if you want them, and if you do not then you can ignore them. The camera also focuses very close at 28mm. While not a true macro performance the camera can get VERY close at 1.97″ away from your subject. In comparison, the $2000 Leica X2 will get you 11.81 inches away at its closest focus. One weakness of the X2 I would love to see improved in an X3.

Compared to the Nikon V1, Olympus OM-D and Leica X2

So how would this little Sony RX100 Dynamo do against the Nikon V1? The V1 has the same sensor size but is 10Mp where the Sony is 20MP, twice the megapixel count of the Nikon V1. This should spell disaster for Sony but the results may surprise you. I am a Nikon V1 fan but have to give credit where credit is due. Take a look for yourself and be sure to click on the images for the full size files to see them in better quality! I also added comparison with the Olympus OM-D and 12-50 Zoom and the Leica X2!

You can see how much smaller the RX100 is to the fatter Leica X2. The RX100 is truly a pocket camera.

These are all OOC JPEGS using the same aperture. I let camera choose exposure. To me, it appears that the X100 and X2 gave me the best exposure. Click the images to see larger size and 100% crops to see how each camera delivered. Keep in mind the Olympus had the 12-50 kit zoom and the V1 used the 10-30 Kit zoom. I have to say the most accurate color wise, and I looked at this dumpster for a few minutes to embed it in my memory…comes from the Sony RX100.

Sony RX100 with Crop:

Nikon V1 with crop:

Olympus OM-D with crop:

Leica X2 with crop:

So as you can see there are differences in exposure and how each camera exposes the scene. This was full sun at 2pm and the sun was BRIGHT. The X2 pumped up the contrast and color a tad and the RX100 exposed it pretty spot on. The Sony has a smooth character with pleasing colors that are quite a bit different than the NEX series look and color. I


Pros and Cons of the Sony RX100


  • Small size, HIGH quality
  • Superb and shockingly good high ISO performance
  • JPEG or RAW or BOTH
  • HD 1080 Video in 60i or 60p
  • Zeiss Zoom lens is fantastic. Rich, smooth, great color and pop
  • Camera is fast to AF, and locks on quickly and accurately
  • Control dial can be customized to your preferences
  • Much better menu system than the NEX series
  • WhiteMagic technology  LCD allows use in bright light. LCD is 3″ and very good quality.
  • The image quality is the best I have seen of any pocket compact made to date, ever (not counting Leica X2, which isn’t a “pocket camera”
  • Blows away cameras like S100, G12, and even the D-Lux and Lumix compacts
  • Made in Japan and quality is high – build and feel is very nice
  • All of the filters and gimmicks of the NEX and Alpha series is here
  • Fits in my shirt or pants pocket and beats phone images, even the Nokia 808
  • Great for any photo situation
  • All in one piece of camera dynamite!


  • It may be TOO small for many
  • No swivel LCD
  • No EVF or VF at all!
  • 1/2000th second top shutter speed
  • Lens slows down as soon as you start to zoom so 1.8 is only good at 28mm, the widest setting
  • Can scratch easily
  • No real super shallow DOF but it is possible with 1.8 aperture at wide setting up close
  • Doesn’t come with a proper battery charger which seems to be the new thing with Sony. You get an AC wall wart with a USB cable and must charge the battery while it is in the camera.

My bottom line final word conclusion on the Sony RX100

As you can tell, I really fell for the RX100. I did not think I would as I saw it as just another average quality Sony compact. The RX100 is a different breed of Sony compact though and it’s quite remarkable in its capabilities for its size and sensor size. If a 1″ sensor can do this good imagine what is to come with APS-C or full frame sensors in the near future. The RX100 must have other manufacturers freaking out a bit. Here we have a small P&S size compact, Zeiss lens, superb ISO performance, Fast AF, 1080 HD video, quiet leaf shutter, discreet and beautiful design, made in Japan quality and IQ that sets it apart from any other compact to date.

I will keep this simple. The Sony RX100 is the best compact camera to ever be released in the digital world. Ever. Period. End of story. Will to be the best for long? Who knows but I do know it is not a camera that will hold you back from taking any kind of photos you want. If you have the passion, the creativity and drive you can make amazing photos with the RX100. I highly recommend it. I bought it :)-

Where to buy the RX100

You can buy the X100 at two of my most shopped stores. B&H Photo should have it in stock at all times. Amazon also sells the RX100 and we all know Amazon. I highly recommend both of these dealers for your photo nee

Buy the Sony RX100 at B&H Photo HERE

Buy the Sony RX100 at Amazon HERE


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  1. I took some photos of mountains and sky with RX100III and found them too contrasty – either sky washed out, or if sky OK, treed foreground too dark. Same with photos of people in bright sunlight – too contrasty. Worse than my prior Fuji and Canon G7 point-and-shoot cameras…. Could you please comment?

  2. What mode did you shoot these images in? I enjoyed this review! I own this camera and have noticed a few issues I have been having. After taking a picture, I notice I hear a clicking sound and eventually the photo comes out blurry despite not looking blurry when I pressed the shutter. Any solutions?

  3. Hi Steve,
    I was debating between the rx100 and the ricoh gr, as a back up to my sony a6000, which I love. However, I have started doing a lot of street photography, and find the shutter noise on the a6000 a little intrusive in close situations with subjects that you want to capture candidly. So, being familiar with the sony menus and the versatility of the zoom as a backup to the a6000, as opposed to the fixed 28mm prime on the ricoh gr, my mind was almost made up. Then, when I went into my local camera store to try it out the rx100 in person, I noticed that the auto iso does not work in manual mode!? This is a huge deal to me, as this is how I shoot street photography, by setting my shutter speed to 1/1000, continuous shooting mode, aperture to f5.6, auto iso, and manually focus to a hyperfocal distance of 2.5m, then all i literally have to do is point and shoot for clear, in focus shots 99% of the time. This lack of auto iso in manual was also continued in the mkii, and although fixed finally in the mkiii, then, you could not shoot continuously at full speed in manual, only in shutter priority!? Can you suggest a way around these limitations so I can shoot as I do with my a6000, but with a quiet shutter, or, do I have to go to the ricoh gr and live with the fixed 28mm prime?

  4. Just wondering – Approx how many pics can you take with a fully charged battery? Also, “Focus” makes a out of camera charger and batteries – your thoughts on that please. Finally, look as I might, I don’t see anything that says “Comes in the box” – like wrist straps etc. Much thanks

  5. Hi Steve..I really enjoy your great reviews (both audio and Photo gear…I am a mirrorless fan..Sony A7) I’m considering the RX100 … or the newer versions for its leaf shutter (high X sync)… I sometimes like to shoot in fairly bright sunlight with strobe gear…(I have been considering the Fuji X100 as well).. Have you shot anything with external flash at say 1/1200 sec or higher yet? (if so..could you post a pic or two..) …I will go out and try to borrow one to test,…for us “strobist”, its a major selling point (high x sync) in smaller all in one cameras. Cheers

  6. I just purchased a brand new RX100 for US$320
    The store also gave me a 2yr warranty.

    The price gap is too large now to buy the Mark III, especially when the image quality is more or less the same.

  7. Steve,

    It is worth buying RX100 2 for its backlit sensor for an extra $200 over the RX100.

      • Steve – I don’t care much about the external flash or Wi-Fi features BUT SONY claims RX100-2 has Back-Illuminated Exmor R CMOS Sensor (BIS), which is 40% more sensitive in low light than its predecessor, the RX100. Besides RX100-2 is NOT Made in Japan . So paying an extra $200 was debatable. Hence wanted to know your opinion , if I should go with RX100. BIS is the only question!

        • Steve – Can you kindly answer the last question on Back-Illuminated Exmor R CMOS Sensor?

  8. Thanks for the great reviews. I have a Lumix GF1 with a 20mm/1.7 lens which I enjoy as a carry-around and I’m considering the RX-100 for it’s smaller size although I’m on the fence as I’m assuming the overall image quality is comparable between the two. Can anyone comment on the overall image quality between what I have and the RX-100? Thanks v. much.

  9. The RX-100 and HX5V are leagues apart, the RX-100 gives mid range SLRs run for money whereas the other is a good compact P&S and just that. I had the Fuji X100S but neither the AF could match but I do like the Velvia rendition but Darktable allows me to get that with SONY as well.

  10. Hi Steve

    I have the Sony DSC-HX5V and was thinking of upgrading to the RX100 for my trip to walk the Thames path. A magazine gave this later camera a very high rating. I’m not convinced. Is it only the Sony that suffers from soft images at output, or is a it a general problem of all cameras? I was led to believe that the HX5V was so good until after a time the soft pictures (like a thin white haze) (albeit sharp – sometimes) and the digital type image of buildings (flat smeared image) actually ruins the photographic experience. It seems like the RX100 does the same. The closer pics look better. Also its lack of sharpness on landscape pics is evident (like the HX5V). It seems to have a “Sony” type of picture. My blown HP 945 “brick” ($150) took better pictures and u just want to go out and take more. I bet u know the feeling. I cant do that with the HX5V and it seems like the RX100 is also going to be a let down after a while when u see a certain type of image keep coming out.
    I am not sure why the HP was so good, but I just loved taking pictures with it. No sharpening required. What other small camera is out there that will give me this sort of excitement? Should I be looking at the RX1R then? I want photographs to remember in years to come.

    • If you can afford the RX1 then you have a huge range of cameras to look at other than sony.

      First look at lenses, if you are interested in sharpness.
      I found fuji colour to be more accurate and pleasant than sony (IMHO), sharpness I can’t say because it depends on the lens and focus system and you.

  11. Hi Steve, I love reading your reviews. They are always candid and it almost feels like you’re right here talking to me.

    I am looking for one all-round camera and has since sold off all my DSLR equipment. I find them too bulky and heavy to lug around and finally decided to go with something small; better to have good camera with you than an excellent camera at home.

    I am torn between the RX100 Mark II and the Fuji X100 (not the X100S). Was actually intent on getting the RX100, but a shop near me is having a good deal on the X100 (probably kept too much stock). I know the Fuji has slow focusing issues but I read that the latest v2.1 firmware has fixed it.

    It’s $574 for the RX100 Mark II vs. $553 for the Fuji X100 (yes, the Fuji is cheaper!). What would you recommend getting?


    • Well, at that cost I’d have to go Fuji. The X100 to me, has better IQ than the X100s due to the sensor NOT being an X-Trans design. Load it up with the latest firmware and the focus, while not as fast as today’s cameras, is still fine and dandy. I’d go X100 if it was a new one.

      • Many thanks Steve. I whand for the X100. Everyone I asked picked the X100. But what eventually helped me make my choice was the handling. I went to the store to try the RX100 II. I found it too small and controls were cramped. The X100 on the other hand was more engaging and overall nicer to handle and use.

  12. I have been shooting the RX100 (original model) in a professional recording, feet away from the microphones, simply propping it against a church pillar for support. It is silent. Excellent when used up to ISO 800 (with just a little NR preferable in LR or Topaz). Lovely auto-colour (especially compared with my Nikon D700 that still overcooks anything that is near a light bulb). Inconspicuous, and disturbs musicians far less. Wonderful outdoor shots at its best ISO = 125, lovely Zeiss colours. The one INFURIATING aspect I have to criticise is that it is so easy to press the Video-Record red button inadvertently, when it then takes an age to discover whether that is running and how to Escape back to still-shotting mode. BTW I stuck a tiny blob of Velcro onto the shutter-release button, which I can finally find by feel! Wrap the wrist-cord around the hand, always: as somebody commented, the camera can slip easily out of the hand.

  13. I totally want this P&S based on your review and sample photos, but I don’t think I could stomach the price tag. Do you have any recommendations for a great P&S in the $300-$400 USD range?

  14. If anyone has a workflow for the video files that works, please reply here. I’d truly, truly appreciate it. I’ve tried PavTube, Ultimate Video Converter and Wonder Converter. As well as FCP (7) and Prem. Pro CC and all have serious drawbacks.

  15. I’ve had the RX100 for a good while and like the images but haven’t found a reasonable way to deal with the videos. Having upgraded from a Canon G, I think I ultimately regret the decision. While the wide keeps the fast aperture, it too quickly goes away and I’m not a big fan of getting super close to subjects or of the distortion I get at the widest lens. The sensor is very nice as is the quality of the glass but dang those AVCHD files. I’ve tried three different converters and now I’ve settled on a Premiere Pro workflow that truly takes hours to render. (On a 2010 MBP). There are lots of pluses to this camera for sure – and you can see that it gets better with a confident and capable user like Steve but there are some real downers that make it probably not worth the (now) 750 dollar price tag for the Mark II.

  16. I just bought this camera based on your review, I clicked on the B&H add on the right side of the page, hope you get some credit back.

  17. Great review! I was sold on it until I saw the recent release of the rx100 ii. Have you had a chance to review that model yet? Wondering if it really is better with the backlit sensor?

  18. Made in Japan and quality is high – build and feel is very this camera not made in china

  19. Thank you Steve, I resisted joining the digital world for long preferring to shoot with my two ancient Minolta SLRs, a 9000 and 9xi and assortment of flashes and lenses collected over the year including one G lens. Sadly developing Velvia slides and XP2 B&W have become harder day by day especially after I moved back to India from the US.

    The only digital pics I have taken are with my phone cams and I never bothered to do any serious level of photography till I came across the RX100. My curiosity was raised when I saw the price on this at a local shop. I then began to read the reviews, I found that it can be a digital equivalent of LEICA’s famous R series rangefinders. I was ready to buy it but then I was torn between the NEX series, the full sized A series SLRs which would enable me to use my existing Minolta lenses. However changing and lugging lenses, taking gear out etc. are no longer my desire as I am close to fifty and my enthusiasm has considerably dropped. Your review made my decision final and after one week of owning it and shooting various subjects, the camera has endeared itself to me. I can carry it anywhere and when I take it out, unlike my SLR, it doesn’t gather notice. I can go to weddings and my relatives house and take dslr quality pics and gift them 20×30 blow ups. I have complimented the flash with a Vivitar Digital slave which works well as bounce for indoor flash work. However more and more I am beginning to prefer flashless photos as the low light result is excellent and very natural. I shoot mostly in RAW and use Darktable with Velvia filters. This makes me print images close to what I would with my Velvia slides. For emergency or to let others like my wife handle the camera, I leave it at its intelligent auto mode with JPEG and even then, the results are fantastic. Like you, I have fallen for this little gem hook, line and sinker.

  20. I’m apparently missing something, Steve. I just don’t see it.
    I have one on the way that I’ve ordered but still not sure why. I have a Canon S95 and a 5D mkII and I haven’t seen any images by the rx100 that trump what my S95 does. None….
    I’ll soon give it a try and see how well it sells itself because none of the reviews have yet convinced me. None.

    • Set your S95 to ISO 1600 or 3200…shoot some indoors with it, without flash. Low light. Then do the same with the RX100. The S95 puts out a digital looking hard file, that is just my opinion. I actually hated the S90, S95..all of them. Thought they were OK but no where near what they should be. RX100 beats it easily in all areas. FOR ME.

  21. @Steve Huff

    Do you really think a 1″ sensor took the Seal pictures under such challenging light? They just seems too good to me, there is hardly any noise in them. They look more like a big sensor pictures to me. Small sensors fall apart in low light.

  22. I bought the RX100 based on Huff’s review before the RX1 came out (which i also bought). Even with the RX1, the RX100 plays a valuable role not only as a backup, but as a camera that can easily be with you all the time. As small as the wonderful RX1 is, it’s not always with me. See a RX100 image on my website, (“Union Pacific”), as well as an RX1 image (“Twins”). Several Leica X1 images, and from other cameras.

  23. Hey, to Nicki: I think it the RX100 would work well. The lens is slow on the tele-side of things but this is one P&S camera that I would feel secure shooting at 6400. IF however you do shoot at the high ISO setting, you must shoot raw, for better control over color and noise/sharpening issues at that high-speed. You can then convert to the format of your choice on export.

  24. Hi Steve, I’m travelling to the US from Australia in June this year and would like to take a “point & Shoot” type camera rather than lug my Canon 60D and lenses all over the place. would you recommend the RX100 to use at concerts? we are attending the CMA fest in Nashville as well as other travelling including the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas & San Francisco…do you think this camera is up for the job? thanks heaps in advance.

  25. Steve,
    I do like your reviews that are an excellent mixt of experience and actual facts, plus a lot of talentuous shots. Much better than pure high tech vivisection or dogmatic opinions.
    Plus a permanent enthusiasm, very communicative as well, that helps in self ambition
    Just continue..


  26. have been thinking and reading about this camera for my work as well as general photog and uw photog – the reviews from blue water photo are all superlative and yours just took it over the top! Is a no-brainer even at the price — thanks for the excellent review –

  27. Hi Steve

    Please advise which one is the better choice for traveling and DIVING mainly?
    RX100 Sony or G15 Canon
    I am intending to get the new dignity camera soon
    I have been reading a lot of comparison and review, but it keeps me being wishy-washy to choose one since several days sigh!

    Really appreciated if you could reply me at the soonest!

    With my love; Stephy from singapore 🙂

    • for better image quality, Sony RX100 out perform G15 because of it’s sensor size. Also, Sony RX100 very small that can fit to your pocket and great performing ISO. I found it even on ISO 3200 the images still acceptable and the details of photo still preserve.

      But RX100 have some weaknesses such as no hot shoe (for playing with strobish but you won’t need this since you need it only for travelling), the lens only 28-100mm range (G15 has longer range) and it’s only f1.8-4.9 which is good in low light but only on wide position. Bad in low light on tele position (very slow). But this problem can be solved by increasing the ISO (increasing ISO means increase the speed but reducing the image quality).
      RX100 also don’t have an adjusted LCD. G15’s LCD can be twisted. This is very helping for taking pictures more creatively such as from low angle, bird eyes view angle etc.

  28. Hi Steve, great review!

    For someone with no camera other than in an iphone 5, would you go for the RX100 or the NEX 5R, for great quality images, particularly in low light? So, if it was effectively your only camera?

    Or, would it be worth spending the extra for something like the OMD?

    • Pete, I will toss in my two cents, even though I am not an expert. The RX100 seems (to me) to find focus in low light better than the NEX 6, (same sensor as 5R). In most situations, the 5R will produce better pictures, but if the low-light hunting drives you crazy then you will prefer the RX100.

      The RX100 is also quite a bit smaller, so if you need something to fit in your pocket, then you won’t ever really be happy with the 5R. The RX100 also has significantly faster flash sync, so if you want to use the flash in daytime as backfill, then forget about the 5R.

      On the other hand, if you love the Sony 50mm prime lens, then you will not get that effect with the RX100. Steve can figure out how to blur out the background, but the average user can’t.

    • if you play with OMD… thing for sure. You won’t satisfy with the kit lens only (12-50mm). You will buy 17mm f1.8/45mm f1.8/75mm f1.8. Because with that lenses, the OMD’s true power appears.

      I almost buy OMD too but at the last minute, i chance my mind because Steve’s post about RX100 versus Leica X2, OMD, and Nikon J1. Also my consideration about there will be more money to spend on buying the expensive fixed lenses…..nay i prefer RX100

  29. Just received my own yesterday. Hopefully I can do as well as the Seal photo at the kids shows I plan to bring it to. The Nex 5N files are nicer for sure but interchangeable lenses are not allowed so to answer some folks questions that is why you might buy this Camera, you can take it places better cameras are not allowed. I just wish I could have found a sale, they are firm on that $650 price!

  30. Only compact i put on this level is fuji x100. I have owned canon s90,95,100 and don’t miss it. I bought fuji x100. Returned, bought it again, returned, bought again. Then got the Sony rx100 and it’s game over. Fuji is the best image quality out in compact under $2000 but you only have 1 focal length , focusing hit or miss, and it fits in a purse and no ones pocket. Sony answered all that and saves you $400

  31. First, thank you Steve for a great site!

    Have this camera and love it, but found what I consider a major flaw.

    The play-button also works as power-on. If you accidentally press it (putting it in your pocket for instance),
    it goes into playback. No worries so far. However, if you then press it again, does it come off again?
    NO! The lens extends! Thus, it is far too easy to turn it on in your pocket.

    I suspect this happened to me the other day because, out of the blue, my battery was dead when I took it out of my (soft) case to take some pictures.

    Considering buying a half-case for it so that the play-button does´nt get pressed by accident.

  32. Great Review! Honest and what I see with my copy. Great pick up and go camera that can tag along with our D3, Nex 7 and D90. Im waiting for all the additions you mentioned, plus maybe a GPS. Most inportant for me would be 2.8 and better all the way through! 🙂

  33. Hey Steve: I heard recently that Capture One V7 will open & process the X100 raw files (as well as the RX1)? Do you have any confirmation of this? C1v7 has great controls for noise reduction, sharpening and controlling dynamic range issues, and it’d be great if compatibility were confirmed.

    Thanks for a great site as usual!

  34. Steve,

    RX100 isn’t made in Japan anymore, it sucks to buy the camera based on what you wrote to see its made in China. Can you update your statement here that it is not Made in Japan anymore.

    Thank you,


  35. Steve,

    RX100 isn’t made in Japan anymore, it sucks to buy the camera based on what you wrote to see its made in China. Can you update you statement here that it is Made in Japan

    Thank you,


  36. After reading Steve’s review as well as several others, I took the plunge and got myself a RX100. I took this along with my Lumix GF1 for my vacation. I was so happy with the RX100 that my previously 1st choice GF1 never got out of the camera bag! However as Steve said, if you are somewhat paranoid about keeping your camera looking pristine, be careful as the paintwork scratches quite easily. The edge of the top plate of mine is already showing some paint loss as a result of constant removing and replacing the camera into a zippered pouch. Use a Velcro or magnetic-clasp cover pouch instead! I am now using a Kata DF410 V pouch which has a Velcro fastened cover. Does anyone know how to repair the paint loss neatly?

    • I gaffered every inch of the camera as Aston as I saw paint wear from one removal. They need to revisit their finishing. But seriously. Get a skin (eBay) and gaffer what’s left if you don’t want scratches.

  37. Thank you for the wonderful review Steve. Looking forward to getting my RX-100 next week !!

  38. Hi Steve,
    I am an owner of the V1. Actually, I’ve bought it after your comments and reviews of this great camera and I really like it too.
    But last week, after my V1 took a swim into salted water (drop it into the sea during a trip) I am planning to buy a new one and the exact same one.
    But now, taking a look at this RX100, I began to think if this could be a better all around camera than the V1 with almost (or even) the same quality results.
    It will be my one and only camera, mainly for travelling and all around shooting pictures (travelling, kids, skiing, family, outdoor and indoors…) and small size being a factor too.
    I know you just LOVE the V1 and also liked the RX100.
    What do you think (your personnal opinion)?
    I have the “salted” V1 with the flash and the 3 combo lenses.
    Thank you in advance and wish you have a great 2013…

  39. i think there are many misleading comments on the rx100. Many say : this the best pocketable camera. Many objective observations make me think this is not the case. Why ?
    The rx100 Lens is weak in the Angles at large aperture. It is not so good against light. It has nô viewfinder, the backscreen may not Be as easy to view if there is too much sun, it is almost impossible for a normal adult to take it in the hands firmly, it gives a “slippery” feeling, at longer end, the zoom looses 2 stops, the front Lens is protected with fragile blades, the same kind as on 100 dollar cameras. To sum up, the rx100 is a good camera as an alternative but far from being the best.
    It is just a compromise. For me, the Panasonic lw 7 is a far better choice : better zoom lens (better quality, 1,4), better handling, better zoom range, more reliable, électronicien viewfinder as option….

    • Ive compared the Leica D-Lux 6 and RX100. The D_Lux 6 is the fancy version of the Panasonic 7. To me it was no contest, the rX100 took it for IQ and ISO. The D-Lux 6 had great features such as aperture dial on the lens but that was about it for me. I preferred the speed, IQ and usability of the RX100. Of course both cameras will give you fantastic results and choosing one over the other comes down to personal preference on style and use. Either one will give you results that will please.

  40. Hi,

    I’m not an expert, but what about time exposure? can we choose when we want to stop the exposure or does it have a night mode with few times presets: 30 sec, 60 sec.
    I want to know if can do light painting with it, also?


  41. Here’s an interesting update for you: just received my new rx100 from B&H and it is made in China! The build quality does not feel as described here, but actually lighter and more plastic-y than my S95. It’s still charging, so I have not powered it up yet.

    • Well that is disturbing to me as the S95 was one of the cheapest feeling cameras I ever laid hands on. My RX100 was solid as a rock and was in no way comparable to the S95 in build (as in, the RX100 was much better).

  42. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.
    I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that,
    this is wonderful blog. A great read. I’ll certainly be back.

  43. Hi Steve, I am trying to get back into my photography hobby and my wife was going to buy me a Nikon J2 for Christmas, but then I saw the little wonder that is the RX100!. What would be best for me in your opinion?

    • I think the RX100 has better Image Quality. All depends on if you want interchangeable lenses. If you want the J2 you can save some money and get the J1. Basically the same camera.

      • Thanks Steve. I know this sounds dumb, but I am not sure if I’m going to require interchangeable lenses or not. As I am re-starting my hobby I am not sure if I will get to a stage where I want to play with more lenses. The more I read the more I get confused as many people are saying that you get better quality in a CSC, (like the NEX series or Fuji X100) and get more for your money. Although sheer portability does swing me towards the RX100. Does it really match a compact system camera or DSLR?

        • Having owned the camera for a coupe of months now. I think there are some things to consider.

          The autofocus absolutely stinks IMO. Using the AF illuminate make it worse it has the same issues the nex 5n has. Falso positives and hunting.

          Of course In good like its all great.

          Some of the modes are actually quite useful. It shoots good video. Really really good video for a camera of this size.

          I have no doubt it’s the best pocket can out right now but for me I just think its still not good enough.

          Also. Delicate is an understatement on the finish. You can look at it and it brasses.

          Just my $.02

          • You know. I’m not half the photographer Steve is. This camera was more about part shots etc. there’s a VERY good chance I need to earn much more about it.

            The nex5n – well. The menu is annoying, pretty much all the time. The rx100 is much better in that regard.

            One bummer is that 1.8 is not available @ 35mm.

            If I could go back to the mega Black Friday deal I’d probably save $350 and get the lx7 when it was $299.

            But honestly my thoughts are those of someone quite familiar with the 5d2 who has had a you time with every compact outside the x100 which I only ditched due to my overhead kiting in house (flaring badly) and af speed.

            I also loved my Leica x1. I just felt it need f2 and faster af. But looking back some of my favorite shots are from that camera

            They’re all capable machines I guess. I’m just having a hard time finding one that works well with me. And that’s likely my fault and lack of patience.

            I will say upon the advice of a dpreview member (shocking I know) the af illumination actually seems to screw more things up than it helps. And if you want to shoot any video. Just casual. IMO steady shot works really well.

            I’m sorry I can’t be more help.

          • Well the canon is £1500 and the Panasonic is £1000!, I’m looking for a csc that is in the £400 region, that’s why I was drawn to the Sony as although its a compact everyone is saying they you still have creative control and slr type images. Any thoughts?

          • The lx7 is more expensive tan the rx100?

            I think my point was. It’s going to be thought to just have a camera this size and as such it’s terribly expensive given the shortcomings.

            What do you shoot. I’m just a Joe Schmo learning and trying to stay gear obsession free. But I am learning that cameras are highly personal. I love the look of full frame, but I’m also well past needing to shoot everything at f1.4 or lower.

            Of course to my own discrediting, I did order an rx1, though I will have to sell other gear for it.

            I’d think if £400 is the budget maybe you should see why you think of the lx7. Especially if you shoot a lot of travel stuff in good light.

          • Ugh bloody typos an early am writing. My apologies for the nonsensical bits. Hopefully they translate in context.

  44. Steve, I want something like RX100, but till now got any compact camera better than this with good image quality. Thanks.

  45. Steve,
    Thanks for a great review! As already mentioned earlier It would be very interesting to see the Sony RX100 in comparison with Lumix DMC-LX7 with its very fast Leica lens. I am currently using my old LX3 as backup to my M9 but it is getting pretty old and very worn. In other words time for something new. After seeing your review of the Sony I am not so sure anymore that LX7 is the way to go.

  46. Hi Steve,

    I want to complement my Sigma cameras with the RX100 or D-Lux 6. The D-Lux 6 has a smaller sensor, but with an f/1.4–2.3 lens it sure seems like a good option. I’d like to know if the RX100 is better for IQ (packed with far more megapixels and a larger sensor) and low light shooting. Hope you get the chance to compare these two. Thanks.

  47. Steve – Your enthusiasm is infectious! Can you – or some one else reading this – tell me if the RX100 (or the LX7 – or any other point and shoot) combine multiple-exposure with burst-mode without advancing the frame ? One example of what I am looking for is: capturing a dancer in a series of poses all in one frame. Such photographs are not uncommon and most resort to second-curtain flash to freeze each pose and use
    a DSLR. The key is disabling frame advance after each exposure.

    Both RX100 and LX7 boast multiple-exposure but does it go beyond “Multi-Frame Noise Reduction”? I am also not sure if LX7 offers rear-curtain flash.

  48. After seeing the specs, image samples, looks and size of this camera last night, I became infatuated and sold my canon 40D (lenses and all) to a friend. In between, I’ve tried the Canon s95 but somehow its too great a gap between that and a DSLR regarding quality and features. Now that I read this review I’m glad it will not just be puppy love but a lasting relationship just as I first thought. Even the “cons” listed are pros for me since I’m genuinely tired of carrying large heavy equipment plus you can’t use what you’re not willing to carry around, especially in HOT Miami, Florida weather. I CAN’T WAIT TO GET IT!!! 😀

  49. Hi, Steve. I’m driving myself crazy trying to select a small(ish) travel camera for an upcoming trip to Europe. After reading your review, the Sony RX100 is a strong contender. Sadly, many of the images I see on flickr and elsewhere seem harsh and overly digital, lacking the filmic, rich, creamy quality you achieve with this camera. Would you mind sharing how you created such lovely images with the RX100? Thank you. (I love your enthusiasm.)

  50. Hey Steve,
    Not a question – just a comment. I’ve just bought a Sony RX100 today after narrowing down my choices to 3. Am so glad to have looked at your review just now and can’t wait to take shots in a few wks time when I’ll be in Hawaii/LA and Vegas (including the Grand Canyon). Will check out your site again when I return (see if people are still commenting) and let you know how it goes. Have been taking Nikon D5000 on previous trips OS and so tired of carrying such a lug of a thing around. Looking forward to a more lightweight simple to use camera.

  51. hi steve. how good is the rx100 at high ISOs when downsample to, say, 12mp or 16mp? thanks.

  52. why are the b&w (and some color) photos so dark? Is this the lightest the photos come out? the fish pic is so dark i can barely see the details and the blacks levels seem blown in many photos. sounds like an interesting camera I may consider if I can get around the heavy black level adjustments..

    great review and all the best steve,

  53. Steve-I have bought this camera and love it-unfortunately the new batch seems to be coming from China only, and I’m a bit disappointed about that-do you have any sources that still have the Japanese models in stock?

    • I have the Chinese made RX100 and there are no problems with it what so ever, you’ll have a warranty any way, so if a problem does occur, you are covered!!!

      • Hi Kevin-yes I agree it’s really not that big of a deal-I’m sure the parts are sourced from all over anyways. But it is the very first Chinese camera that I have bought-and I’m having a hard time adjusting to that!

        • Sorry Rob, I’m a little confused, so you’re saying there is no actual problem with the camera, its just the fact its made in China????

          Just for curiosity sake Rob, what is reason for having a problem with it being made in China???????????

          • Yes that’s correct. And it’s really not that big of a deal, as I said, it is the first camera I have ever purchased that was not a MIJ model.

  54. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for the review, I have a question you may have experienced, some people were saying that there is problems because you cant select a max ISO level and also a minimum shutter speed. it’s that really a big problem in real world pictures?, did you had any problems with that firmware limitation?; also, how much you really need ND on this camera, I would like to shoot pics like the icon from Gideon, where the water seems so unnatural, but I read this is only done if you have ND on the camera

  55. Hi Steve.
    Very nice review BUT now you have confused me!!!! I already have Nikon D300, 700, 800 for my landscape and aviation work, but I just want a very pocketable compact to carry with me at all times, specially when on my daily trek out on Dartmoor so when I come across an area I want to return to with my main gear, I have a reference, also when I’m out with friends and family, I don’t like carrying such obtrusive gear as an SLR.
    I had already decided to go for the recently announced LEICA D LUX 6, and then you throw this little gem of a spanner into the works.
    NOW WHAT DO I DO????????
    Anyone have any views?????
    Compacts are not my usual thing, so need a little input from somebody with more experience with them!!!!!!!

  56. Dear Steve,

    As much as I love your reviews but there are three annoying things you should have mentioned:

    1. no chance to set shutter speed in AUTO ISO menu
    2. no AUTO ISO in manual mode
    3. image stabilization is not effective, 1/30s shots are blurry sometimes

    These 3 points makes it rather hard to use the RX100 in poor light because the camera chooses 1/30s in aperture mode. When using S-Mode to avoid camera shake it uses f1.8 and the lens isn’t sharp there in the corners.

    I really hope for a firmware update to fix the first 2 points. Beside that the camera is awesome so I understand that you are excited. It’s fast and exposure, contrast and colors are top.

  57. Great review by an equally great reviewer. Could you please let me know two things
    1 does it make panoramas at all focal lengths or is it at a fixed focal length
    2 to what degrees can it make panoramas? 120,180,240? Any limit on that?
    Warm regards and best wishes

  58. Steve, or anybody else, is the center button on your RX100 a bit loose resulting in a weird clicking sound when it’s used? On a camera that is otherwise rock-solid feeling, my center button feels a bit flimsy for some reason.

    • mine is pretty solid. There’s a very slight amount of play, but it doesn’t make a “clicking sound”…

  59. I have a Fuji x10 and i am thinking on upgrading to the Sony RX100, is this a good choice??
    I have a DSLR, the Pentax K5, its just for those times when i don’t feel like lugging the Pentax around.

    • A lot of people have been reporting this recently. It would appear that now the RX100 has been out a while Sony has switched production over to China, thus making the Japanese models somewhat rare. 😉

      No word on whether or not quality has been effected, although considering some of the earlier Japanese models had lens issues I’d imagine things are better rather than worse now.

      • Well.. at least that is comforting! I received mine today from Sony direct UK and it is made in China… was disappointed. I guess the lens and sensor will not be made in China anyway!

    • After a week I interchange the EX2 for the RX100 (partly thanks to this review) and I haven’t regret it a sec.
      If you don’t go for a swiftable screen and wifi, buy the RX100!!!!!!!!

  60. Hey Steve,

    What do you think about buying this as a replacement for my NEX-5? I am by no means a professional photographer, maybe your above-average amateur, but I’ve found I’ve become a bit lazy in carrying around my NEX-5 (and it’s 2 lenses) so I was thinking about this as a replacement.

    The things that matter to me are fast autofocus, good to GREAT & FAST low-light photos (which is why I fell for the NEX), and good macro shots (I take lots of close ups of food).


    • I sold my NEX-5 for the RX100! Haven’t been disappointed yet! Of course it depends on the user, but for my amateur use, it’s been great. And I have it on me more often than the NEX w/lenses.

      • What will I lose if I get rid of the NEX-5? What have you noticed/missed about it since swapping the two?

        • RX100 has a smaller sensor so you will not get shallow DOF like you can with a 5n and fast glass. BUT the RX100 has faster AF, is smaller, has fantastic IQ and is an all around superb pocket take anywhere camera. The 5n is a little more serious but I have heard from quite a few who swapped and dont miss much at all, if anything.

        • Tim, I can toss in my two cents as well, since I sold my NEX5n for an RX100. I find the RX100 a bit more fun to shoot than the 5N, because I mess with settings quite a bit, and the extra controls on the RX work well for me. (Your mileage may vary.)

          I find the image quality of the RX100 to be a bit better than then 16mm lens, but not quite as good as the kit lens. Again, TMJBM (this might just be me), but the kit lens on the NEX5 seemed to nullify the advantage of the small camera; while the 16mm seems to nullify the advantage of the great sensor.

          If you really prefer pure image quality, then keep the NEX5 and get the 50mm prime. (The 50mm prime is nothing short of amazing. It is so much better than the kit lens that it is like buying a new camera, only more so.) Then, if you want to upgrade to an NEX6 (or whatever) later on, you have an investment in at least one lens that will continue to be as-good-as-Nikon, and better in some ways. (The Sony 50mm has built-in I.S., for example.)

          I miss the tilt screen and the touch screen of the NEX5N, but in the end, it was the size and AF that made the difference for me. For personal reasons, I need a pocket camera with really fast AF, and I have not found anything yet that beats the RX100 in those two categories.

          • Thank you, everyone, for all of your feedback.

            I have one main issue that I really must get hammered home before I make the commitment to sell my NEX-5 (it’s only a 5, not a 5N): the RX100’s low light capabilities.

            One of the things that I really wanted and the thing that sold me while upgrading from my old Canon P&S to the NEX-5 was the NEX’s low light abilities in little to no light situations and it’s fast AF and lack of graininess in photos.

            I certainly don’t mind a picture being dark, but I don’t want my camera to take a blurry and/or grainy picture to try to make up for that. I also almost NEVER use flash with my NEX because I love the natural look of dark photos (and would prefer that to an overexposed flash picture).

            Therefore, I guess my question is how is the RX100 in dark situations, specifically/as an example: dark restaurants and restaurants with lots of shadows? As a reference, if you attempt to take a picture with an iPhone 4S, the picture shows up but is horribly grainy.

          • The RX100 is great in low light. I’ve discovered that when shooting raw, the amount of detail that can be recovered from dark, shadowed areas is astonishing! The trade off seems to be that blown highlights are rarely recoverable through.

            Having switched from an NEX-5 to an RX100 myself, I can honestly say that low-light performance isn’t something I’ve found lacking in the RX100.


            So the thing that bothers me most are:
            – RX100 has a smaller sensor
            – RX100 has slower shutter speed

            How will these affect me (if I do change cameras) in terms of:
            – autofocus (AF) – I take a decent amount of candid shots where I like to just focus as quickly as possible (not really action shots per se, just candids of various things from friends to babies moving around)
            – low light – specifically in dark restaurants (where normal P&S’s would give you grainy photos) and in places with lots of shadows

            I like to take most of my pictures (95%+) without flash because I like the natural look of my NEX, whether or not subjects are “properly” lit or not so I’m wondering how the RX100 works with that.

          • Tim, if you are comparing the RX100 to the NEX5, I feel like the AF on the RX100 is faster. The new 5R might be faster still, but it also might depend on lens.

            I also think you will find the controls on the RX100 easier to use. For example, I usually set the ring to contol shutter speed, and shoot in aperture priority. At 1/1600, you can not only freeze the action pretty well, but you can fire the flash for backfill. On the NEX5, triggering the flash will slow your shutter to 1/160, which will not only smear your photo, but wash it out as well.


            This picture also demonstrates the trade-off of the small sensor. I was shooting at F1.8, which would give you pretty narrow depth of field on a big sensor, but with a smaller sensor, it does not. Even though I missed the focus a bit, you can also tell that images can be a bit soft wide open.

            The bad news is that Sony said they won’t fix my camera under warranty, and so the cost to repair would be $680. Since that exceeds the price of a new one, repair seems like a bad investment.

            I am not sure if I can blame that on the camera, since I kept it in my pocket for an entire weekend at Disney. Even though it looks like a pocket camera, it does not seem to be as rugged as my other pocket cameras. If you decide to buy, I would recommend getting the jacket case.

            I don’t play in sand, to be honest, but my son does. Apparently, if Sony finds any sand inside the camera, then the warranty is void, and it costs a bundle to repair.

  61. I bought it. I love it. You are right on every point. If I can’t get the straight scoop from you or Michael Reichmann….then it doesn’t exist. You guys rock. Straightforward honest information and opinion. It just doesn’t get any better. Oh and by the way, you are one helluva photographer.

  62. I’ve been looking for a digital equivalent of my Minox GT35 for some years, a real high quality pocketable camera. It looks like i’ve finally found one. I know that there are upcoming cameras from Panasonic & Samsung that will be up against this one and the Fuji X10, but they are not truly pocketable
    Thanks Andy C.

  63. Hi all
    My previous post doesn’t seem to have worked so apologies for cross posting if I’ve missed it.

    The RX100, does it have anything like the snap function of the Ricoh GRD series, or zone / hyper focal focusing settings or ability?


  64. I wanted to dislike this camera – I have never found a sony I liked. However, it does sound a great ‘tool’. I love the GRD4 Ricoh. The snap function. Does this camera have any kind of work-around in this regard? Zone focus / hyper / snap?

  65. I was after a NEX but read your review, bought it after selling my D90 and a few lenses and having a hell of a good time with it ! No luggin’ around and suits my way of shooting. I’ll see how the raws come out later but the OOC jpeg + slight post treatment are nothing short of amazing.

  66. Hi Guys/Steve,

    I’m planning to pick up my first camera, I’m a casual photographer though I would like something which gives me a fair amount of flexibility. To put things into perspective I do collect figures and models and I photograph those often, however I want something I can use when I go out with friends or visit some relatives or what not.

    I asked the people at our local camera shop – they don’t have the RX100 yet unfortunately, they told me however to pick up the GX1 with the powerzoom kit lens, I saw it and it is not too big and I think it looks great.

    So the big question is would you guys recommend get an M4/3 (i really can’t afford the OM-D though, so older bodies like the GX1 or GF3 or something) or this -the RX100, the size and portability is really attractive to me but I really wouldn’t want to sacrifice image quality at all.

    P.S. I use my iPhone 4s for photos as of now, but I’ve really been wanting to use a real camera XD

    Thanks in Advance,
    B ~

  67. I managed to buy one of these online some time before it was officially released earlier this summer and I’m very glad I did. My background is as a 25 year pro in news photography but for the last several years I’ve been looking for a compact size camera with the highest quality files I could find. I’ve had the Lumix LX series which I loved, and the GF1 which is also a classic, but I think the Sony is as you say, the very best small digital ever. I find the menus a bit fidgety but the camera is so well built and so small and the files are so HUGE and wonderful quality and in the end that’s all I really wanted. Well, that plus the low-light, fast focus, ease of use etc etc. It’s a great great camera and I’m really looking forward to when adobe will come up with a RAW files converter for it.

  68. Hey Steve – I see you posted your RX100 for sale. No longer feeling the love or saving money for the M10 🙂

  69. Shot the video test through glass and dirty water. What was the reason for that? Looked abysmal even in the shopping dolly, the exposure time for each frame was way too shot. If 30fps it should be 1/60th sec but I suspect it was much shorter than that?

    • Oh I don’t know…so you can see what video would look like with the RX100 through dirty glass in the dark of course. I have shot there with all of the cameras I test. This was not the “Cinema Review of the RX100” nor did I plan to go out and shoot a feature film with it. It was a quick video test indoors, like many will use it for. For low light, high ISO it looks fantastic for a P&S camera, as long as you watch it at 1080P here on youtube.

      Always a grump around here somewhere.

  70. Judging by Steve’s enthusiasm, this seems to be a cracking camera (until, of course, it’s toppled by the next camera Steve falls in love with :)).

    Before shelling out the big bucks for this camera, though, I’d like to see a direct comparison between it, the Panny LX7 and the Fuji X10. I know the latter two have smaller sensors, but they also have fewer pixels and much faster lenses, which even things out (dpreview has an interesting “effective ISO” comparison that illustrates this point). The samples I’ve see of all 3 cameras are very good, even in high ISO, for compacts, but I haven’t seen a direct comparison of the 3 by a reputable website/blog yet.

  71. Damn, you Steve Huff! This article put me over the edge. The photos of the parrots, the high ISO B&Ws, and then the concert photos did the trick. I guess I can sell my DLUX4 and old Canon SD1000 to (somewhat) cover the price of the RX100 I just ordered.

    Nice review!

  72. I think, there is another PROS with this beast camera and many would agree with me – it’s 3:2 aspect ratio.

  73. Knocked out by your rx100 write up. Browsed pop photo for mediocre review of same. please..what’s up?

    • Popular Photography dinged Sony pretty heavily for putting too many pixels on the sensor. They are correct that the extra pixels decrease the low light performance, and hurt dynamic range. Pop Photo is trying to get camera manufacturers to give up on the pixel race, because they feel (again, correctly) that Sony traded in image quality for marketing.

      In the end, you pick the camera that you want to carry around. It won’t help to have a camera that gets great reviews if it is at home in the closet when you go on vacation.

      • I think in this case Sony made the right choice to use 20MP instead of 10. If you look at the Nikon 1 series it’s ISO noise is on par if not better than the Nikon 1. But the resolution/detail is much higher.

        The thing with high MP is not that it is inherently bad to have, it is only bad if it results in lower image quality. But in this case I think it is resulting in higher image quality. The CMOS technology is getting better and better and I guess that the optimal number of MP is shifting from 10MP to more 🙂

    • I think pop photo either had a bad camera, or got the results mixed up with another camera! Seriously…the high-iso performance of the RX100 is great. I just replaced my NEX-5 with one, and I do not feel limited as to what ISO I can shoot at & still get useable results.

  74. I recently sold my micro 4/3 camera and lenses, because I don’t like the weight and size of the stuff. Still to big for an everyday carry everywhere camera. This Sony RX100 is great! Absolutely superb! I wouldn’t want to part with it. Super quality, fast AF, great build quality etc, etc. Just get one!

  75. I really appreciate the creative effort and genuinely imaginative use to of this camera by SF, to show us what this camera is capable of. Often, reviewers are quite lazy and show hardly any imagination at all when it comes to highlighting what a particular camera setting is all about. No so with Steve who took a LOT of effort/time to shw us the finer points of the images he captured with this camera. I will definitely read a lot more of Steve’s reports. Accessories like a small grip, a half/full leather (traditional) cover which screws itself into the tripod underside of the camera is already available. So that leaves the optional external charger, which most people would rather have (as well) than not, I’d say. I also would like to say that by giving us a more than a glimpse of how HE personally reacted to the RX100, definitely added a lot of depth, in what this camera is like to own and use. So often camera reviewers are so bound up with “objectivity” that their reviews feel like refrigerator reviews, if you get what I mean.

  76. Steve, thank you for the great review. I appreciate how thorough and thoughtfully written it was. I have a DSC-HX9V and just came back from a camping trip. I was very disappointed with the watercolor look that many of my photos had and the poor video quality when the camera is zoomed out and so the RX100 is a welcome entry. I hope it kicks the pants off my HX9V. Have you tried the video on the RX100 with the lens fully zoomed out? I wish I had read your review before buying it so that I could have used one of your referral links. My RX100 comes tomorrow and I cannot wait to try it out. I am also considering buying the custom grip but I wanted to see how it feels first. Please know that I did end up buying a Canon 600EX-RT using your search link so that you could get kudos. Take care.

  77. Thanks for the review Steve! I saw your YouTube video and came to your web site to see the full review of the Sony RX100. First time here, but it won’t be my last. I especially like the real world viewpoint… I’ve had Canons of S80, G9, and S95… I didn’t like the S100 and was about to give up and go big with a low-end SLR Canon T4i setup and just suffer the added weight, etc. Back in the Kodachrome, Ektachrome, Fujichrome days I used an OM-1 and OM-2 with all the screens, close-up rings, autowinders, lenses, and lots of lugging stuff around. I don’t want to go there again, so I ordered the RX100 and the Franiec grip this afternoon.

  78. Aeesome! Need to get one. 🙂

    My little question is… if i put in in my jeans pockets they will get destroyed easily??

  79. I am in decision to get a backup small system for me to carry arround on the street..
    I love shooting people … and some still life everywhere I saw them..

    Sometimes, not many places allow me to use my set up (lumix GF2 or sony nex5N with some manual lens)..
    If i simply want to go out having fun, knowing new places and people..
    shoot fast , either with autofocus, hyperfocal or zone focusing ( i did that with nex 5 N and manual lens)..

    I just almost buy my Ricoh GRD IV (III is not available in my city)…
    but seeing the RX100… I rethink…

    which do u think match my need for simplicity, speed and street ?
    (I own a LX3 also, but its too slow to be on the street .. at least for me…)

    2 weeks from now is my Birthday and my wife is on the crossroad of buying me a Ricoh GRD IV or OMD body to replace my GF2 (goes to my brother)
    but this RX100 comes into the ways..

    Sure OMD is nice.. but its serious DSLR look is intimidating for people in the street (at least in my country)

    I dont know why.. I keep thinking Ricoh.. even with the small sensor

    To be fair. with the sensor and techie stuff.. for pure street joy .. which all of you think suit my need ?

    William Jusuf

  80. I just bought one to replace my canon S90 (which I never quite came to terms with) 🙂 🙂

  81. Steve as always I find your site invaluable and make a lot of my camera purchases based on your recommendations.

    So I have been waiting for the RX100 review and now I am torn!

    I got the Panasonic GF3 as a starter 4/3 camera as I got it for steal at $300 new w/ the kit lens. I got the panasonic 20mm 1.7 which I love and was looking to upgrade to the Olympus OM, but I hear it has banding issues with the 20mm.

    Then I played with a S95 and I never thought I would like a P&S and I really liked it… so I was set on getting the s100… so the RX100 really has me on the fence.

    Save the money get the s100 and wait for the Olympus OMD ver 2 / fix for my lens or get the RX100? The RX100 looks amazing and I almost want to say forget the 4/3 system as I wanted it to be my pocketable highend camera. The RX100 fills this…

    Anyway thanks inn advanced for any advice

  82. Nice review,

    what about the DOF when you close down a bit the aprture ?

    Do you get nice DOF if you zoom a bit ?

    Thank you

      • Thank you for your answer.
        Yes i am talking about shallow DOF

        Every body is saying that at 1.8 it’s great, but i don’t shoot always at 1.8

        i work with canon 7D usually, but i want a small camera to take everywhere with me, and i want it to have a minimum of shallow DOF until F5.6 for example.

        i think, i am sure we can always create a bit of DOF, event with a crap camera, if we focus on something close, and have far background.

        thank you

        did you hear something about the canon rumor of a small camera like the S100 opening at F1.9


    • If you are looking for great depth of field control, this camera may not be your best friend. You can blur the background a little, but not anywhere near what you get with an ASPC.

      On the other hand, if you want a really fast flash sync, great colors at ISO400, and a camera you can carry with you when you are just chasing kids and dogs around, the RX100 is pretty cool.

      This is not a great picture, because I am not particularly a good photographer, but this is an example of the Sony RX100, at F1.8, ISO400, 1/800sec, with a flash, shooting fairly close.

      Maybe someone else will go to the trouble to compare the RX100 to other small cameras, but to me the Sony seems better.

  83. OK Steve, great camera, great enthusiastic write up, but I need to hear a little more confirmation about the readability of that display in the bright Arizona sun! I understand that for every RGB dot there is a white dot. I just need to know can I read the display for real in the sun in order make camera adjustments, not just see the image? Can I compose a picture in bright sun?

  84. At this class, why don’t you compare with the same level camera such as Fujifilm X10 instead J1 or V1 that they are an Interchangeable Lens Camera, same with OM-D?

    Just curious.

    • Because I do not own an X10 or every camera made. I can only compare with what I have on hand and the Nikon V1 and J1 have the same exact size sensor as the RX100. The X10 does not, it is much smaller. So a comparison against a Nikon 1 camera was fully warranted. Near the same price range, same size sensor, etc.

  85. OK, you convinced me. I had to replace my lost Olympus P+S, so I bought one. My first impression is that it is better than any P+S that I ever owned, but that is like saying Larry was the smartest of the Three Stooges.

    • That is not to say it is bad. In fact, if I knew what I was doing, I suspect it would be taking some great pictures. I would say, though, don’t buy this expecting a DSLR.

  86. Hi! Steve,
    As a owner of a Nikon V1 as you are, your great review of RX100 simply makes me think to replace V1 with RX100.
    Are there any reason make you want to keep V1? or are you ready to let go V1 already?

  87. Hi Steve!

    Thx for your efforts – especially the direct comparison of the X2, OM-D, V1 and RX100.

    Looks like I will get the RX100 as I have sold my S100 to have a always-with-me pocket camera.


  88. Why is SONY not integrating a simple GSM cel phone into this camera? It would be a nice “always with you” piece!

    • Good point, John. Maybe in the next version they will include a touchscreen phone. And, MapQuest and ‘Angry Birds”. I think the TV remote is impractical (I don’t need to take pictures of the TV), but a garage door opener would be handy.

  89. I love my nex5 and Pentax. But I will not carry them every where. I leave them at home until I know I’m going shooting. However this means I moss many great photo opportunities, and my phone is no substitute for a cam. So I had been considering a p&s to carry with me at all times, but I could not wrap my head around the quality compromise. I think I just found my carry everywhere cam! 😀

  90. Steve — great review. I’m on your wavelength in these matters. If it makes you want to take photos, and if it makes you want to get on the computer to see what magic you’ve captured, then it’s a great camera.

    Speaking of great cameras, I bought a Ricoh GXR 28mm based on your review. While I love love the IQ and the customization options of the GXR, the AF performance is punishing. I’ve got two small kids and I lose most every time.

    So here is my annoying and boundless question: how does the RX100 and its 1″ sensor hold up against the GXR 28mm and its APS sensor, IQ-wise? While the GXR is usually a pain in the ass, when you get the shot, it’s buttery and rich and just perfect. Even OOC JPEGs, IMHO.

    Thanks for your continued passion and wisdom.


    • The GXR and 28 will have a more shallow DOF look to the images if you shoot wide open. That is an APS-C sensor so if you do not mind more DOF then the Sony is great. The GXR is a tad slow to AF when compared to todays offerings.

    • Jason, I can’t respond for Steve, but I can tell you that I had to return my TG-1 due to video noise. Olympus said the noise was a known problem, but that mine was worse than they had seen elsewhere. Some noise may be related to the C-AF or the IS, but mine continued even with them turned off. (Support your local camera dealer, my dealer gave me my money back.)

      The TG-1 takes great pictures though. I have a few still on my website:

  91. Hi Steve
    Thanks for your great review, which was a catalyst in me getting the RX100. Hesitating heavily between the RX and the X100, I spent an afternoon just shooting the RX to see if it can compete with the X100 (which I used to own – then sold – then thinking about re-buying when they improved the F/W). I will add these comments to your review, or more precisely, emphasise what you wrote:
    1. Skin tones are great. Used to be the bane of the Sony HX9V my wife had, before she got the Nikon J1… So I was really keen to test this aspect, and it came up trumps, glad to say.
    2. It’s fast to focus, fast to use. I was able to catch those fleeting great moments when I took pictures of my gorgeous wife – you know, those moments “between shots” when women sweep their long hair off their face with one hand, or re-arrange their sunglasses?…These moments always look good to me and the RX was very fast to focus and fast in-between shots. Yes, I got those moments 🙂
    3. Pixel-peep and there’s none of those blotchy patches that are so typical of p&s cameras. The files look very DSLR-like, as you said yourself.
    4. Colours are vibrant without being Disney-ish.
    5. It’s sharp! I bumped my sharpness to +3 – maybe too much?. What did you do with your RX in the photos in your review? Did you turn up the sharpness?
    6. It focused in the dark when the J1 could not… This surprised me since the 1 series is renowned for its AF. We live near nature in Canberra, Australia, and we have these Kangaroos coming at night to eat grass, literally about 4-5 m from my balcony. It was so dark (about 10 pm here in winter) that I could barely make the K’s silhouette in the dark The J1 could not focus, but the RX locked focus in less than a second with flash. Impressive.

    Anyway, enough ranting. Thanks again, I’m keeping my copy. Keep up the good work!

  92. Hi Steve:

    Another great eye-opening review. Thanks. I’m an OMD user with 14mm, 20mm and 25mm F1.4 lens prime, which I share with the EPL2. I have been using the EPL2 as an all-around ‘pocket’ camera when biking etc to get the smallest form factor. Thanks to you ☺, you got me thinking of selling off the EPL2 along with the 20mm. Should I? Thanks.

  93. It’s just so DIGITAL looking. So dull.

    No retro stying.

    And retro styling is in because, lets face it, digital “camera” actual meaning is fast becoming an IPhone4s to upload images to instagram.

    Digital has to be more now, has to homage a film camera look, the digital rev has come and gone long ago. Thats why you seeing a big upswing back to film cameras, cause people are seeking something with more bite now; 70% are using iphones to take photos so people who like photography either want mirrorless or “cool” film cameras.

    Boring, sleek digital cameras are not selling and will never sell again. DSLRS are no longer selling very well. Yep, old nikons from the 1970’s are selling to 16-22 years olds, but this age group are not touching dig slrs.

    Heck even that Eric Kim guy is shooting all film as he’s bored with digital.

    • Film is great and digital can be dull, but the latest digital cameras are so much better now than just a generation ago. After getting a D800 (the D3200 is also fantastic) I’m not using film any more because these cams are so good that digital look you are referring to has disappeared. Well, it does not look exactly like film, but the rendering is so good now that I don’t miss film.

      The RX100 still has some of the digital look, but it is a great little camera anyway due to extremely fast AF, great high ISO performance and then it is pocketable.

      I don’t agree that retro styling is that nice and much prefer the style of for instance this RX100, J1/V1 or X2 to X100 (even if the X100 is a great camera), but that is my personal opinion.

    • I have the RX100 and agree that some JPEGs can look too digital – BUT when toned down and the re-worked in post (can’t wait for proper RAW support) they can look sublimely film like.

      • Depending on the purpose of using the camera. For artistic purpose, sure, nothing beats film. However, for general convenient purposes, digital is still great, especially nowadays. About the design, everyone will have different thought, taste and preference.

  94. Steve,
    As usual great “real world” review I just picked one up and it’s a great addition to the DSLR bag and my pocket when I don’t want to lug stuff. I’ve owned all the other usual compared subjects (S100,NEX5 and 5N, Nex7, X100, X10, P7000, P7100, V1) the RX performs better than all IMO although I really do like the x100 for the feel of images you get actually I’ve sold it and re-purchased it 3 times!!

    Thanks for doing the leg work on the RX100 it really helped me decide and it will be a keeper


  95. Hi,

    what to say . . . . thanks for this valuable review. 🙂 I read a couple more – there aren’t that many yet – and this one I enjoyed the most. So enthusiastic.
    I doubted buying the RX100 when available end of July, but after reading these review pages and looking at your photographs, I certainly will buy now.
    Actually, a while ago I wanted a NEX-5n or maybe a NEX-7, but size when lens attached stopped me. Not really pocketable. Already at first sight, the RX100 seemed the right camera to me (additional to my Minolta/Sony Alpha DSLR gear), but at a fairly high price: €649. But I know now it’s certainly worth the money!! Thanks!

    Best regards, Bart (Netherlands).

  96. Hi Steve, I’m a proud owner of this new wonder from Sony and I realy love it. I owned Nikon D700 and pro lenses, hevy pack for traveling. Went to India for a month and since that dowsized my equipment for portability. Went to Fuji X100 and X10 then Xpro-1, Pany Gh2 and 7-14mm. Loved it but still big. Then came this beast. I’m an HDR lover and for me image quality is essential. I was stunned by this small package and realy, it made me forget my other cameras. I do cycle a lot and I’m going on a one month tour in France in september. I’m about to leave the Xpro home and take the one and only RX100. So small, so good. As for the grip, I have bing hands and I order the Richard Franiec custom grip for the RX100, it should improve handling.

    Thanks for your good work, I read you every week.


  97. Thanks for the fantastic review Steve! I’m a K5 user at the moment but i’ve decided I really don’t need the bulk of an SLR and whilst I love the K5 i’m gonna shift it it on ebay while the model is still in demand-

    Would I have if the RX100 wasn’t available?

    No way- i’m not sure if sony realise how revolutionary this camera will be-

    btw I think you’re a very good photographer- ever since i’ve been reading your site i’ve been impressed with your shots- keep going and thank you!

  98. Wow, this cam is generating a ton of interest.

    Just picked one up today and my initial impressions are mostly favorable – will withhold final judgement until RAW processing is available.

    As someone who owns and shoots several film compacts – Contax T3, Minilux, Ricoh GR and Yashica T4 – I’ve been waiting patiently (not really) for the true digital iteration of those fine cameras. Unfortunately, this is not it, but it is one step closer.

    Is it a better overall camera then those old film gems? In terms of control, features and HD video, certainly it is. But it still lags behind what those FF 35mm compacts could do in terms of shallow DOF and creamy rendering.

    If you can live with a deeper DOF, this camera is for you. Street shooters especially will LOVE this camera for its discreteness, fast AF, useable MF and sharp, detailed files.

    • There is RAW processing available using Sony’s Image Data Capture. For Mac: and Windows:

      I don’t know about Sony, but the manufacturer should be able to get the most out of their own raw format. This is the case with Capture NX2 for J1/V1 and other Nikons.

      Capture NX2 is made by Nik software that also created Silver Efex Pro and other products. At first I was a very suspicious, because I read many places how bad this software is, but Capture NX2 is absolutely in a class of it’s own, very intuitive and the control point implementation is brilliant. Also the RAW converter is clearly the best I have come across.

      So maybe there are similar options for the RX100, besides those in the provided links.

  99. Many thanks Steve.

    Great review of what stacks up to be an exceptional little camera.

    I too would have liked an optional EVF – mainly for street photography (it’s more discreet than holding a camera out a foot or so from your face).

    May be in the RX200…

    There is also a custom-built grip available for the RX100 on the market (already!) at

    (BTW I do not have any affiliation with the manufacturer of this product).

  100. How serious a drawback is the 1/2000? I have been looking at my sunlight pictures, and quite a few of them are 1/3200 and F2.8, but that is an ASPC sensor. Will the smaller sensor allow me to get the same light balance at slower speeds, or am I misunderstanding how speed works?

    • The sensor size is irrelevant from an exposure perspective.

      If (to make the numbers a little simpler) on a sunny day 1/4000 at f/2.8 at ISO 100 is the correct exposure with one camera, then it would be the correct exposure on any other camera regardless of sensor size.

      If the other camera is limited to 1/2000 max shutter speed you need to compensate for the one stop difference in shutter speed elsewhere – close the aperture to f/4, reduce ISO sensitivity to 50 (theoretically – don’t know if this setting is possible on most digicams), or use a one stop neutral density filter for example.

      • Thanks, that makes sense. I usually shoot in aperture, and let the camera set the speed. I placed an order for the RX100 to replace a (point-and-guess) that I lost, but it sounds like it will not replace my DSLR.

        It might do a lot of the day-to-day stuff, though. I don’t know of any ND filters for the RX100, but if I stop down the lens, it will still get better shots than my old pocket camera.

        Now all I need is a good waterproof bag.

  101. Do all these rx100’s come with that tacky blue zeiss badge? I thought I saw some reviews that showed plain black fronts (except for the SONY).

    • All ‘oficial’ photos seemed to be without the Zeiss logo (I checked Sony USA and Sony DE) – I have only seen the logo on the early reviewed cameras. I should have one in hands within few days, so I can report then 🙂

      • I just saw the “Verge” review and they said it was a STICKER! Take it off! LOL

      • The camera was just delivered and it indeed has a sticker. I will play with it gently to see that everything is OK 🙂 I do like that (even though brief but very thick as it is in more than 10 languages) manual is included.

        The first impression holding it in hand tells me that the 3rd party grip is probably a good idea.

        What impresses me that compared to Ricoh GRDIII it is only a few millimeters thicker (less than 5) – the rest dimensions are the same. The GRD has much better feel in hand though (body shape and surface structure/material).

  102. Steve this is another great review from you, I enjoyed so much to read it and the pics you took are ones of the best I saw in your reviews. Keep on like that, I’m a big fan of you, kindly cheers 😉

  103. ok, you got me in this review~I just ordered mine for my M9 backup cam
    Thank you for your great review~


    • Thanks and let me know how you like the camera! I love it and have been using it non stop for just about everything…video, photo…

  104. Steve you are on the money about the camera performance. Thanks for the review.

    I’ve owned the RX100 for about 3 weeks. I was also turned off by the IN camera charger, so I ordered an external charger and 2 batteries on Ebay for $40.

  105. Dear Steve

    I got it this afternoon and did not have a lot of playing time yet but from the short time I have been playing with it, I am very very pleased, as much as I was when I first started up the X100 (which I still have and will keep).

    I decided to buy the X100 after reading your review and bought the RX100 after your first preview so this is 2 for 2. I only may have to stop reading your site in the future… 🙂

    Once you have had some more time with the camera, could you write up what in-camera settings you prefer ?

    Thank you for another great review.

  106. I can’t recall any camera in recent time with more polarizing comments between those who actually have used it and those who haven’t than this RX100.

    Seems nearly all who got one love it and those who didn’t buy one, can’t afford one, don’t want one etc are sure going out of their way to dismiss it, argue that their camera of choice is better and such.

    The RX100 is just a really great pocket camera, nothing more, nothing less. If that fits a given person’s needs, fantastic, if it doesn’t, then so be it.

    How this camera can stir up all this drama about how many camera’s a person needs, make 10 different people see 10 different things in IQ samples and such is a bit crazy.

    • I hear ya. I think a lot of it has to do with Sony bashing, myself. The day after it was finally revealed that the OMD sensor came from Sony, there started to spring responses and comments that the sensor might not be so good, but the rest of the OMD was great! While for months people were praising the sensor and hoping it would be in the next Lumix. I don’t know what it is, or why Sony is perceived the way they are – I guess they should have kept the Minolta name to be taken more serious. Or maybe people haven’t gotten over Betamax and Minidisc wars. But hey, they won Bluray!

    • He..he. “polarizing comments”, “drama”??? . This is very civilized compared to the launch of Nikon J1/V1 where a whole army of haters attacked those great cameras from all sides without even having tried one.

      • Very true, that camera seems to ruffle a few feathers as well, people seemed to take it all personally, like how dare Nikon make something with a 1″ sensor, like some designers in Japan were sitting around thinking of ways to personally insult people.

        Then for anyone to suggest they actually liked the camera….look out! lol

        Funny though is that in these comments now we see N1 fans proclaiming how its got the best looking images (though apparently some don’t look at them full size)

        Guess its a bit like Justin Beiber for some people. No one is forcing them to listen to his music, and I’m certainly not a fan either, but for some people, the mere fact he as much as exist is upsetting to them.

        RX100 seems the same way, its not such much that they don’t have a need/want for a larger sensor compact camera, but the very fact one exist is bothersome to them.

        Guess it shakes up their camera worldview a bit too much

        • “No one is forcing them to listen to his music…” Would you come over and talk to my 6yo daughter? This weekend, Sunday night, my littler girl is turning 7 and we are hosting the “Bieber-bash Swim Party” I will be using my $1400 a77 with $1600 Zeiss glass to take pictures of other 6/7yo squealing girls next to a cardboard standee of JB and his hoodie. Oh the photography gawds are after me…..

          • Chance, your girls will think they’re the greatest pictures ever. Who is to say they’re wrong? You might even agree when they aren’t little anymore.

            There are some very effective earplugs specially designed for such events. Or should be.

  107. Sorry to say that Steve, but this time I do think that you got a little push from Sony. Words a free and you can affirm a hundred times that your not writing for Sony or whoever, but you are the only one who knows the truth (apart Sony ;)) But, I just want to believe your words and do hope that I’m wrong, because I do want such a smal cam with that good IQ. So, I will buy one and test it and see if I can believe you again and apologize for my suspicion. I hope intensely that I’m wrong 🙂

    • Sorry to say this Robin but you are 100% wring and have offended the hell out of me. DO you have the Sony? Have you tried it? BTW, I bought mine from Amazon, Sony did not even send me one for review. I NEVER in the history of this website have accepted any money or equipment to write a “good” review. In fact, not one company has ever even attempted to pay me or bribe me or ask me to write something good about their cameras or products. If a camera is great, and I like it, I say so. Read the reviews, everyone is parsing this camera. I write about my experience using and shooting it, that is all. I also show images that were taken during the time I used it. In any case, like I said..I bought mine from Amazon with my own money, like I do many of the cameras I review. If a camera IS SENT to me for review they always go right back to the company when I am done as they do not let me keep them. That is another fact but somehow many seem to think I get free cameras. Just not the case. Sony is not an advertiser and they pay me ZERO money. If you think otherwise I suggest you do not come here or read any of my reviews or articles. Thank you,


      • Wow…I did expect and hoped for a reaction from you but wow that IS a reaction. And yes, you are right to be offended, my english is not that good, otherwise I may have found a better way to express my suspicion. It could be, and i apologize for this, that i was to harsh, but I just thought all the test shots are not full resolution, most of the high isos are in b&w…is this hazard? Maybe my fault in thinking so, I’m always to suspicious (longtime experience). I’m really hypercritical when it comes to IQ and always suspicious when the pics are not in full res. So, damn, you did get such excited about this cam that I thought this is too much, that can’t be true! Sorry if I’m wrong here and, please, could you cool down, I bought the cam (not in stock) and like I wrote above will test it and all will clarify. So, my words were not well choosen I may have been to fast, and I appologize for that and I will post my findings as soon as I get the RX100. And If the RX is really that good I will be so ashamed that I burry my head in the sand…and sent you a real good bootle of wine for compensation…Deal? Hope we can bury the hatchet…

        • The most moronic comment here so far.
          Good or bad, he wrote by his experience of using the camera and he just happened to like it and bought it later. It’s just his opinion. It doesn’t mean everyone has to like the camera or buy this camera. And who’d care you believe this article or not? Like Steve says, if you don’t trust what he writes, just don’t come here or read any of his articles and reviews. Just go away..

        • Publicly accusing someone of flagrant dishonesty with not one shred of proof is not good form whatever your first language is.

          • After rereading my comment and thinking about it again, I have to admit you are completely right.

  108. Dear Mr Steve,
    Thank you very much for your nice review. Please kindly advice me in terms of IQ, Sony RX 100 and Fuji X 100, which one is better. I am thinking to get one but can’t effort both. Size is doesn’t matter for me and any one of Sony or Fuji is in my budget. Thanks again and I will be waiting for your kind and wise advice.

    • X100 will be the better camera overall but is much slower to use than the RX100. The X100 has a larger sensor and beautiful files. Different kind of camera. ONe is a pocket point and shoot with a zoom, one is a RF “styled” camera with a 35mm f/2 lens attached. Fuji will not fit in your pocket.

  109. From specs and this review nothing less than great. The art is to further miniaturize and push away electronic innards to make more room for a larger sensor and lens. Did I say larger lens? At least when collapsed there is no penalty for the f1.8 nor the 3.6x zoom, compared to Nikons’s f2.8/10mm “pancake”.

    The “real” amateur (=connoisseur) may want to show he makes more efforts to get better pictures than the masses with their point-and-shoots. He lugs around bulky bodies, multiple (prime) lenses, intervenes in the camera’s “auto” settings or even does it the very hard way with fully manual operation and real film. The RX100 only demands more money.

    I would love to see a comparison between RX100 and Nex5/7 with the Zeiss 1.8/24mm. Is the latter worth the extra effort?

  110. First the Canpn g1x with a large sensor and now an even smaller fixed lens camera with a large sensor in comparison to other ps cameras. Soon, in the near future all ps cameras will probaly have aps c sensors.

    • Only YOU can decide that! E-P3 is larger, can take other lenses (some great ones at that) and is more of a system camera. If it was between RX100 or E-P3 with only a Kit Zoom it would be RX100. If you plan on getting a couple of great lenses with that E-P3, like a 12, 25 or 45 then it is a different story. Do you want a small P&S pocket cam or a larger camera that can accept lenses?

    • Flamingos are very unique birds. They like to stand on one leg and pose for the camera. Just tell them you are from National Geographic or a famous celebrity like Steve Huff and they will do anything for you 🙂

  111. You have are confused which a camera should I buy… its mean you dont need one you just have the money to spend… #CommsumerismRealEvil

  112. I fully appreciate your excitement, Steve. I myself – after 30 years of lugging heavy
    (d)slr+equipment around, and after 500,000 usable frames in my database – am done lugging and buying and switching and interchanging and fulfilling orders and… . All I want now is precisely a tiny little capable box to pocket and shoot to see what things look like when photographed. Hope others will follow suit (that is manufacturers, not necessarily photographers). Enjoy!

  113. Get us 24mm at the wide end at least… or even 21. Then constant aperture like the new Fz200 panasonic which goes from 25 to 600 – all at f/2.8.

    Add an optical viewfinder of the quality of the Fuji X100 –

    Then I’ll consider one.

    • That’s what I thought too. But apparently the larger the sensor the larger the zoom lens has to be to keep a constant F-Stop. The Panasonic has a lot smaller sensor and look how big the lens is. I guess the laws of Physics don’t apply to our Wish List. Maybe in the future new technology will change that. So for now we enjoy what we have 🙂

  114. Great review. Only one problem, im stuck!

    I’m stuck choosing between RX100, 5n or a57. They are all in the similar price point. I tried the 5n in best buy and the screen looked terrible, I don’t know if it was just a problem with their sample camera or not.
    With the 5n & a57 you do get more DoF but the AF is slower in 5n and a57 is much larger in size. So many choices.
    I currently have a Nikon S8100 and the pictures coming out of that is “okay”. I love photography and want to get into it more. What should I choose Steve or anyone else? I do want to stay in the Sony realm btw

    • Sorry for being pedantic, but with the 5n and a57 you actually get less depth of field – or, if you prefer, a shallower depth of field.

  115. I really like your review of the rx100, I was almost ordering it a few days ago when I got news the lx7 had come out, do you have any opinion about the panasonic lx7?

    • I do not as I have not used it but I doubt it will beat the RX100 due to sensor size. The LX7 sensor is much smaller. Looks nice but I can give my opinion on actual performance, only my guess.

      • I would have thoufght so, so people are saying the lenses are better because of the f measurement going all the way up, but that behind my basic knowledge about cameras

  116. To my eye, some of the most enjoyable images you have posted recently. i’ve had my RX100 for only two days but two things stand out for me. First, I do miss a viewfinder – a lot. Second, the RX100 images have a “look” whether color or b&w that grabs my attention and it is a special “look” that also contributes to my liking of the Fuji X100 and the Olympus OM-D. Thanks for getting your review out so quickly.

    • Thanks Robert (and everyone) for reading the review and comments. I agree there is a “look” to these RX100 photos. Much like the X100 has a look. It’s pleasing to my eye, more pleasing than NEX images. Thanks!

  117. This really seem be the best pocketable camera so far.
    What is intriguing is that it seem to compare well with larger sensor cameras.
    Nikon is being laghed at for chooosing such a small sensor for their mirrorles system camera.
    Surely the 10 MP sensor lacks in resolution when compared to its latests competitors. Not that it matters much for the main target group of the cameras.

    However as Sony now shown new high MP sensors can be amazingly good.
    With Nikon’s long tradition using Sony sensors I am sure we will see this 20 MP Sony sensor in a Nikon 1 camera sooner than later! Maybe already at Photokina or a month later?. And what if Nikon made a compact Nikon 1 camera with a zoom lens and this Sony sensor? Maybe introduced in beginning of next year?

    • If you just want a camera for everyday use and you’ve no interest in upgrading it or purchasing new lenses for it or anything like that then I say choose the powerful rx100.
      Otherwise, if you’re interested in a camera system and the potential it holds with regards to future lenses than I say go for the Nikon V1 That’s basically my reasoning, I chose the V1 over the Rx100 because I am hoping Nikon will release some seriously small and seriously good primes! I’m a sucker for primes and not ever really interested in zooms. Hope that makes sense.

  118. Sounds excellent and Steve, it is true you are never dull! Whilst some may find it confusing that you get so enthusiastic about various cameras, it makes sense to me as each is a different stroke for a different folk (or mood, situation). There’s no need to have just one camera, or even just one system, as they’re all a compromise.

    I personally am doing the DSLR (Nikon) and m4/3 thing and there are times when even that isn’t small or zoomy enough. I also have an LX5, to ‘take everywhere’ but I’m never really happy with the files from it, they are kind of flat and colorless, despite a fine lens. In fact I think in many ways my iPhone gets better shots. I have gotten some nice shots with the LX5. I’m just not really satisfied with the output.

    So here comes this camera, like a bolt from the blue. Whilst it won’t be as good as my big boys, it will be welcome along any day, any where and it certainly sounds like I’ll get better photos than my rather underwhelming compacts so far. Maybe this is one of Sonys’s greatest breakthroughs so far.

    So thanks for the review and for keeping it so real. Now I have another camera on my shopping list…

  119. My RX100 just arrived today. Been pretty disappointed with IQ from most pocket cams, this one is different.
    The only cons so far: awkward to grip (have ordered Richard Franiec’s aftermarket grip and added grip tape until it arrives) and the camera came with a dust spec on the sensor.

  120. Hi Steve, great review. I sometimes buy cameras prematurely based on the internet hype. I got this baby the day it was released and am amazed by what sony has done in such a small package. A delightful purchase. I think the price is FAIR!!! The menu system is better than the Nex 7 so I like that. It will be a perfect compliment to all of my Leica “gold” and I know it will satisfy that old saying “the best camera is the one you have with you” Kudos to Sony and Kudos to you my friend. You rock and thanks as always for all of your passion. We in the photo community are lucky to have you. Lou

  121. Great review. I’m a looking for a high quality P&S camera. This may be it.

    By the way, in the video I spot the 41mp 808 pureview smartphone from Nokia. It would be fun to do an IQ comparison.

  122. I was going to post something slightly negative about a “camera” with “watercolor mode” being a toy, but I’ll just not do that. Thanks for making the decision of a backup camera so easy–the Ricoh GRD IV has been calling me for a while now, and I am glad it’s out there, still unrivaled by any other compact.

    • I too, love the ricoh, and I can’t wait until they drop in price so I can pick one up. They are simply fantastic.

    • How can it be better than the RX100 with a sensor that is much smaller and with no zoom?

      • The IQ is much better to me and it just doesn’t suffer for the smaller sensor. Not everyone wants zoom; IQ is compromised by zoom unless Zeiss has done something that’s never been done before. Something about the RX100’s IQ is not at all pleasing to me…it seems like too many shots come out looking worse than they should (not basing that only on this review but on many shots). I wanted to like this camera and held off on buying a backup until it came I know. To be fair, I can see how it appeals to some people, and some of the shots are very impressive for a small camera, but I’ve seen so many examples of what the Ricoh can do and despite lacking illustration mode it is a solid little camera and IMHO preferable to the Sony.

    • “I was going to post something slightly negative about a “camera” with “watercolor mode” being a toy, but I’ll just not do that. ”

      It’s good that you didn’t. Or I would have just laughed at you and won’t take your comments seriously.

    • There are no real deal breaker changes to the GRD IV from the III really so why not snap up a bargain and get a GRD III? Small sensor it might be in these cameras but the files print just fine @ A3 or even a bit larger (Mind, so did my previous GRD II), how big a print does someone really need? 🙂

        • Just out of curiosity, but wouldn’t a Panasonic GF3/5 + 14mm lens be better choice? Especially since you seem to have a thing about ‘toy’ cameras.

          • I can’t speak for anyone else, but in my opinion, either wiuld be a good choice. I like the feature set of the little Sony, but some people would prefer the feature set of the GF3.

            I miss not having a touchscreen focus, and I miss not being able to switch out to a fast 50mm (equiv.) portrait lens.

            On the other hand, the Sony has a very fast flash sync speed, and image stabilization. For me, these two features tipped the scale.

  123. Steve, great review!

    Have you tried to shoot Video with stabilisation set to Active and than to Standard?
    If you set Active stabilisation for video, optical stabilisation is replaced by pixel shift electronic stabilisation on the sensor.


      • I have tried both and I get the feeling that the Active stabilitation works best, recording movies becomes less sensitive to movement and the image gets some kind of 3D feeling.
        will be interesting to hear your opinion! 🙂

        • Hi Steve

          Have you drawn any conclusions on the Active stabilisation issue?

          It appears that the Optical SteadyShot image stabilisation is used for sharper still images at slower shutter speeds. Active Mode stabilisation is further complemented only for video recording.

  124. Nice review but how many camera’s does a person need ?
    When you have one or two that you love to use why complicate things by having more to choose from .
    Just my .2

    Nice for a newby maybe

    • “Nice review but how many camera’s does a person need ?”

      That’s an excellent question. Seems to be N+1 for me, where N is the number I own now 😉

      Actually I’m starting to think 3 is enough; 1 which can fit in a pocket like the RX100, one “high quality” one which can’t fit in a pocket like a DSLR, and of course, 1 film camera.

    • If you only shoot one style and/or one subject then maybe thats an easy thing to do, but what about someone who’s a wedding or sports pro for a living like myself ?

      Do I want to use my big heavy DSLR gear for casual shooting ?

      Do I simply not take snapshots and such of friends and family ?

      What about my enjoyment of still shooting my large format 4×5 camera for some landscape work ?

      Is my only “off duty” camera my field camera then ?

      What about different outings ?

      Would you expect me to carry the same camera on a leisure walk around my neighborhood as you would if I was out hiking to known waterfall ?

      Frankly I don’t know what on earth your snide “newby” comment has to do at all with the RX100

      It (and any other camera) can be enjoyed as much as an individuals only camera as much as it can be a pocket camera for someone with a Alpa MF system costing $60k

      Only “requirement” for owning it is wanting a camera that can be carried in a pocket

  125. Great review Steve. I like your site. Keep doing it.

    The Sony RX100 is just what I was looking for. I’ll pick one up through your B&H link.

    Thanks 🙂

    • Question?

      I noticed that most compact cameras like the Sony RX100 or Canon S100 have a varying F-Stop lens. So you go from F1.8 – 4.9 as you zoom. Now is it possible to build a camera with this size censor to have a constant F-Stop, say F1.8, as you zoom? I know Panasonic just came out with their Travel Zoom camera DMC-FZ200 with a F2.8 constant zoom. But the censor is a lot smaller. Is there some science behind this F-Stop, Zoom and Censor Size?

      • Lens Size (This will make the camera alot bigger), Cost,

        DMC-FZ200’s size is pretty huge.

  126. If you would have a summary interest in photography, you would want control over DoF, some manual influence, zoom lens mmm, and of course (very) good IQ. Add portability to that, you end up with M3/4, and fast lenses.


    • Pretty narrow minded to equate wanting shallow DoF with having an interest in photography.

      Nothing wrong with the ability to create shallow DoF and yes, many people do like shooting that way, but one can hardly say that it makes one more or less of a photographer.

      What would be the point in a landscape photographer carrying around a bunch of expensive fast lenses ?

      What makes more sense for that person, buying a 85mm f1.2 L or a 90mm PC-E ??

      • “would want control”. Not the same as shallow DoF every time. Please read carefully before you call someone narrowminded. Anyway, you think the RX100 is the perfect camera for landscape photography? Certainly an interesting suggestion…

        • Lts not be too silly. It’s a pocket camera. Full frame with 1.4 at a party is neither discrete nor practical. Too may people shooting wide open all the time.

          What I wonder about is a small accessory flash. I need to go reread. But Steve. I find my nex quickly defeated the purpose. I bought 4 lenses….silly when I have full frame canon and a host of l glass. I need something better than an iphone that my gf can also pick up and make nice shots with. Ill find out next week if this is right.

          Lx3/4 s95/100. None of them cut it for me.

  127. Hi, you mention how the color is different from NEX color. Is it possible to show this comparison, say of the pink bin shot with NEX and RX100 to demonstrate this color difference?



  128. Hope Fuji respond by releasing an X100 (X200?) with a similar zoom range or putting this size sensor in an X10 (needs and evf though).

      • Yes, stumbled upon this and think it is the best setup. The rear dial controls aperture much quicker than the control ring and having the steps labeled is nice.

        Sony still should add a true “step option” as well as a zoom position memory.

  129. Great Review! I’m waiting on mine! I have been itching for a small compact of higher quality for some time now. In the film days, I always had a little Contax T, T2 point shoot and got GREAT results from it. I loved it to death! Hoping this camera fills that void for me.


    • I ordered one too, but I wouldn’t expect anything like what you got out of your Contax! After all the Contax was a “full frame” 35mm camera, with the possibility of shallow depth of field at normal focus distances, etc.

      As I comment on in some of my photo videos: any reasonably good 35mm film camera (even a tiny one) produces great results, comparable to the very best and fanciest 35mm cameras. Not so much with digital, if you consider the form factor as part of the equation.

      But I expect to have plenty of fun with my RX100!

  130. Whoa, whoa! Just cool it down a bit, folks! Don’t sell your cameras, please? I know that every hot new camera looks like the best ever, however selling an OM-D E-5 or an X100 for this one is crazy in my opinion.

    • I would not sell a OM-D or X100 to buy the RX100 UNLESS you want even smaller than those cameras. If you find you do not take them out due to size (though they are small as is) then the RX100 may be right but the X100 and OM-D are still superior cameras.

      • Steve,
        though you seem not to be telling us, it looks like the RX100 actually owns both the omd and x100 in Af – especially fast moving action. Even if the RX100 was the size size as the omd and x100 It could very well be that RX100 is still the right cam for many of us. J

      • I just got my RX100 yesterday, Love it, compliments my D800/E perfect, I have a NEX7 kit also which I think I am going to sell now.
        I think I will order the custom grip from Richard Franiec, looks like it will make the RX100 easier to hold.

      • I sold my x100 and k-r and then bought a nikon V1 as my one and only digi cam. It’s great, I actually take it out and shoot. The x100 was too large and too flashy, the k-r was just bulky and boring. These tiny sensor cameras really are fun and powerful little things :).

    • Selling an X100 or EM-5 etc for the RX100 is no more or less crazy than keeping an X100 et al in addition to the RX100.

      All depends on a users needs and what they want to carry, what they can afford etc.

      I’ve got several FF Nikon DSLR’s so while the RX100 is hardly the only camera I’ll ever need, I can’t say I miss my EM-5, or my X100 for that matter, in the slightest.

      I feel I’ve got the best of both worlds right now

      RX100 for a burden free walking around town camera and bodies like the D3s when I’m shooting a sporting event and need great high ISO, great AF etc.

      If I didn’t have a D800, D3s and such and sold everything for just the RX100….well then maybe that would be a bit crazy, at least for me as someone who earns a living as a photographer.

      As it stood though, I personally thought it was crazier to have lots of money in my m4/3 system when I really wasn’t using it that much.

      Didn’t cut it for my job as a sports photographer and was really still more camera than I’d want to take going for a walk.

      Perhaps crazy was having several thousands of dollars in a system that was neither here nor there for my specific needs ???

      • I tend to agree with you Jeff, to me this is the perfect compliment to a DSLR system (or even high end mirrorless system if that is your flavour). I can’t get into a mirrorless, not because they aren’t any good – they’re amazing in fact. But I prefer my SLR for more serious shooting and if I’m going to buy lenses I want to buy them for that system, not a mirrorless. This gives the great portability and IQ without having to worry about investing into another system.

        Would I replace a mirrorless with this? Probably, if the mirrorless was there to offer a portable alternative. If it were my main system camera, well no, but this would still compliment it very well.

        Will this replace my X100? No. But this might be the push I need to switch into an X-Pro1 (didn’t want to lose the portability of the X100) and then get this as my tote-everywhere cam. So instead of multiple mirrorless, X100 (go everywhere) and SLR change to just this and the X-Pro1.

        • I don’t quite follow. How does “can’t go into mirrorless” jive with switching to the X-Pro1?

          BTW: your SLR must be quite self-conscious if it needs to be complimented. 🙂

      • All good points, Jeff. I guess buying a new camera is always an emotional experience, nevertheless it still helps to think it over, give some time and then make a rational decision, which would also leave one’s heart satisfied. 🙂

  131. Steve. Does this had a ND filter?

    If not it would render the small f stops useless in bright light as it is limited to 2000sec shutter speed.

    Also f1.8 on this size sensor must equal about f8 on a full frame wouldn’t it. (someone can do the calcs and let us know for sure).

    Thanks for the review. I want one too but the money ain’t there unless I sell my X100 (not likely).
    Sony are going to be swamped with orders and they will become hard to get.

    • No built in ND filter, that is one flaw of this camera.

      The Nikon 1 cameras using the same size sensor have a cropfactor of about 2.7.
      2.7 x 1.8 = 4.86

  132. This thing really can be described as a “Pocket-Rocket”!

    Having owned many cameras, this is definitely the most versatile camera on a features/size ratio.

    I shoot a lot of video, and I am very impressed thus far with the tiny camera’s video capabilities.

    In particular, its ability to close focus incredibly close really provides a nice “macro” look for video and stills.

    I made a quick little video to show off this little camera’s close-focus abilities:

      • Yes it is… Love the M3. The best thing is, it isn’t depreciating, like every digital camera I own. I will probably own the M3 and summicron DR set forever.

  133. No battery charger???
    C’mon, are we talkin about a cell phone or a camera?
    Deal breaker. Period.

    • I’m sure external battery chargers will be available soon. Then it becomes a choice. Use the USB when you don’t want to mess around with removing and replacing the battery. Charge externally when that makes sense or when you want to charge two simultaneously.

        • Thanks for the info. Now it will be even harder to resist. I am on disability so can’t afford to buy gear just because it’s the latest and best, but this seems special.

    • The USB chargers are TINY – and you can use the same USB cable to connect the camera to your laptop – so if you do not have a built-in SD card reader you do not have to get one (and carry everywhere). No need to take out the battery out and put it in a charger that is larger than the camera itself.

      Question is – how long does it take to charge the batter via USB …

    • I think I’m going to buy 2 RX100 so that I can charge 1 while using the other. Oh and I’m lazy too.


    • Personally I think this is a great move! More standardization in chargers for all the devices we deal with nowadays. IF it were an SLR or other more ‘serious’ camera I would think otherwise, but being that this is a take with you everywhere, everyday camera I think being able to charge it with all my other portable USB devices on the bedside table is a much better option, means I plug in phone, tablet, camera all off the same USB charging hub, ready to go rather than having to dig out yet another of 8 million camera battery chargers each one corresponding to a different camera… No thanks!

      But again, only for this style of camera please Sony!

    • Yep, I think it’s Sony trying to save a dollar on a $600 camera.
      I like to be able to charge one battery while I’m using the other.
      I checked out the non-Sony batteries on Amazon, and I’m made a little suspicious by the fact that they are decorated exactly like the Sony batteries except for the brand name. I’d stick with the Sony brand batteries.
      I like the “Digipower TC-55S Travel Charger for Sony” (Sorry, can’t seem to do a link. It’s at Amazon) I have one of this brand for the X100, and it’s convenient, compact, and works just fine.

  134. Thanks for a great review! All the images are good, especially the high ISO ones. This review will do it for me. I’ll sell my silver OM-D and buy the RX100. It will complement my Sony a57 + 16-50mm combo which I also bought after reading your other review.

    Btw, do you notice any sensor dust issue with the Sony a57 camera? I have bought two a57 bodies and both have quite a bit of sensor dust right out of the box. I couldn’t blow them off with a rocket blower. I can live with the problem for now but am worried with extended use the problem may get worse. Any experience with other Sony bodies such as a65 or a77 will be helpful too. Thanks.

    • @Nghi: so you’re dumping the OMD, out a few months, for the next bright light. Are you a photographer? Don’t think so.

    • I love my OM-D. The RX100 will go with me when I want to carry a camera in my pocket. The OM-D the rest of the time. I don’t see the RX100 as a replacement unless you just needed a point and shoot in the first place.

  135. Been looking to buy a small(er) camera for when I don’t want to lug around my DSLR. Already tried the X100: loved the IQ but hated the AF.

    If you had to choose between the RX100 and the Pen EP-3, which one would you get? I ruled out the OMD because it feels awkward in my hands.

    thanks for the review!

  136. Everyone (here) appears to want to sell the camera(s) they have, and (pre-)order (and later cancel that) the next big (small) thing. Not me. Not even tempted.

    Yes, the RX100 images have a generic digital look. Not bad at all. It’s small. So you need a grip I noted. It’s got no vf, o or e, so you need one. It’s got floating max aperture, need fixed 2.8 at least.

    Sounds like a reasonably expensive p&s to me; a sort of digital notebook. Shirtpocket stuff (I haven’t got shirts with pockets, so that rules me out). I’ve got a Contax 139Q, 2.0/50 ML loaded with a roll of Tri-X for that in my car. Usually forget it’s there. When that current roll was full I had it developed and scanned. Must’ve been about 6 months of strange images there.

    • There is something nice about developing a roll of film after a long period sitting in your camera. You rediscover moments that you had already forgotten. You look at the film and you say…ahhhh… yeah..,I took that photo and it is looking great. It is satisfying to look at it while it is hanging to let it dry. And yes, everybody here is chasing the dream to finally get a large format quality camera in size of an Altoids box. And with every new purchase we realize that we are not quite there and every new review is promising us to get closer to the one and only camera that we will ever need in our life. I expect this to continue for …lets say the rest of my life.

      • Ha ha, yeah, you’re quite right. I look at the scan and think “where the f was that? And when?”. Digital sometimes seems so more flighty.

        Images should be more interesting than the next digital invention. GAS. Still, I put in a bid for an FM3A body, apparently mint, tonight. I’ve got the Fm2n, FE2, FA… so might as well?

  137. Everyone (here) appears to want to sell the camera(s) they have, and (pre-)order (and later cancel that) the next big (small) thing. Not me. Not even tempted.

    Yes, the RX100 images have a generic digital look. Not bad at all. It’s small. So you need a grip I noted. It’s got no vf, o or e, so you need one. It’s got floating max aperture, need fixed 2.8 at least.

    Sounds like a reasonably expensive p&s to me; a sort of digital notebook. Shirtpocket stuff (I haven’t got shirts with pockets, so that rules me out). I’ve got a Contax 139Q, 2.0/50 ML loaded with a roll of Tri-X for that in my car. Usually forget it’s there. When that current rol was full I had it developed and scanned. Must’ve been about 6 months of strange images there.

  138. Steve the Sony RX100 will not give you better and sharper image Qaulity than the Fantastic Fuji x100.

    • You know this how? Just because? They aren’t even direct competitors. Even so, I can easily imagine that two years of sensor improvements could lead to better images, especially with Sony making the best sensors by far. The lens looks excellent, too. Oh, I forgot, it doesn’t have any pseudo-rangefinder magic to call upon. Too bad. Sony found some magic of another kind for the RX100.

    • Looking at the images here it seems better than the OMD and that is saying something so I would say it is a match for the X100 but I imagine the X100 edges it in low light. I have a X100 by the way.

      • It’s probably close if you compare the OMD with kit lens, but slap a nice lens on there like the Oly 75 1.8 or 45 1.8 and you’ll need to be careful not to cut yourself on the images…that new 75mm prime particularlly is impressive.

        Still, the rx100 images look great, especially viewing them at reasonable sizes, and ESPECIALLY for a pocket camera. Good job Sony!

        • I agree. The OM-D with a 25 1.4 or good prime would be much sharper. I used the kit as I was typically using the “kit” with the Sony and Nikon. I love my OM-D!

          • But don’t forget the 25 f1.4 is almost as much as the Sony. I think the rx 100 would be a great companion to my d800 and d700. I found spending tons of money on mft lenses wasteful. As quality is not up with full frames and prices are getting close to pro lens category. Omd and 75mm f1.8 is pricey.

  139. I also have this camera now for about a week. I really like it, but if you put it to Auto and take pictures in very bright sunlight, bright areas (in particular white ones) have a certain glow around them. Did you observe similar things with your cam, Steve?

    • Ive been shooting in the brightest sun you can find in the USA – Phoenix AZ in summertime. I have not had any of these issues but I only use A mode so not sure what you are having those issues. Send me a sample if you like.

  140. Regretfully just read your review. Why regretfully? Just could not resist – and immediately purchased (via your website). I think it will be a perfect complement to my OM-D. I love the OM-D, but also wanted a high quality camera that was “pocketable”.

    One of my first and favorite digital cameras was the Nikon Coolpix 8400. It had a 2/3″ sensor, 24-85mm zoom, reasonably fast (f2.6 at the wide end), and shot RAW. Always hoped that someone would make a smaller version of the 8400, but with at least as large a sensor, and at a reasonable price point. Looks like the RX100 did all that — and much more!

    Thanks for the review Steve. Always appreciate your perspective and insight!

        • Does your camera rattle a bit steve? I just got mine in today while I was reading your review and noticed there’s something in there moving around with even the slight shift in angle I carry it. I think it’s the battery.

          • Mine rattles even without the battery in it. Not sure what it is but it doesn’t bother me.

          • Thats what I was thinking, maybe the lens floats when it’s running and can easily move while turned off.

          • I’ve also felt the rattling, but only when the lens barrel is extended. It really bothers me, but I think I’m growing used to it. Curiously, I think it doesn’t happen if I just zoomed in or out. But after a while, it starts happening again.

      • The s95/s100 was in my opinion one of the best small pocketable cameras around until the RX100 arrived, but then things changed and there is no doubt that the RX100 delivers much better image quality.

  141. Still confused how the AF on the RX100 compares with the rest- apparently according to Steve H the V1 is up to this point the AF champ in all conditions:

    Recently Steve put the AF of the V! in context, I would like to see the AF of the Rx100 written about in context as well:

    “When I started to read more about the V1 I looked at the specs and features and saw that Nikon was boasting the “Fastest Auto Focus in the World” and one NIkon rep said it put the D3s to shame in the AF department. BOLD CLAIMS! Olympus was also boasting the fastest AF a few months ago in regards to the E-P3. The more I read about the Nikon V1 the more I was intrigued. I started to get really curious about it when I saw some reviewers who never even shot with it calling it a “turd” or saying that this new CX format is “A dead format”. Interesting…it seemed like 80% of the enthusiast world was judging it just due to the sensor size. With other cameras that come in for less money having larger sensors, many failed to see the point of the 1 series. What could it possibly offer that wasn’t already being provided by a NEX-5n or Panasonic G3?”..

    “When the camera arrived to me from B&H Photo along with the lenses I was impressed as soon as my hands hit the camera body. It was solid. It was sleek. It was black and it felt like a fully finished product (unlike some cameras that are rushed out). After charging the battery, which is the same chunky battery used by the Nikon D7000 I went out to shoot with camera and I had the 10 2.8, 10-30 zoom, and the 10-100 zoom. After just a few shots and hearing the quiet mechanical shutter and how solid the camera felt…I was PRAYING the image quality would be good because the camera was performing amazingly well in every other area. The auto focus blazed and it was 100% accurate. The LCD was nice and crisp and colorful. The EVF was really good and the AF tracking was even pretty damn incredible. If the IQ held up and was good enough for my personal daily shooting and it could beat my Olympus E-P3, I knew right then I would buy one because I never experienced AF performance and accuracy like this nor have I enjoyed metering this good”

  142. Just read the negatives (cons), and they are NEGATIVE!
    Sorry, but this seems like a one dimensional gadget which fails in important features which are invaluable to the compact shooter looking to be creative.

    And again, cannot distinguish between pictures taken with this and S100/XZ-1/LX3 etc.


    • Ibraar, we get it. You don’t like the camera. You don’t think it’s worth the money. Its output is the ‘same’ as ‘other cameras’.


      Here’s the deal, and it’s pretty awesome: nobody is making you buy it, and nobody will be insulted if you pass. Isn’t that amazing?

      So, the really good news is that you can stop coming in ever so many comments and saying the same thing. Your work here is done. Off to better things, comrade!

    • Hi Ibraar, the RX100 seems to be at least as good as the J1/V1 if not better and J1/V1 is a lot better than s95/s100. No comparison at all in my opinion.

    • On the money as usual Ibraar. It’s all just marketing & selling at the end of the day. Just companies selling the dream like the new TV or the latest vacuum cleaner, it has nothing whatsoever to do with photography or how someone perceives the art they practice. But hey, it works and most of the sheeple fall for it every time just like the big corps rely upon.

      End of the day there have not been any BAD digital cameras for so many years now it really doesn’t matter anymore.

      Any real photographer would be far better off on sharpening their technique or selecting the right frames for their prints as opposed to just buying yet more & more new gear. It’s about the pictures at the end of the day and not some companies latest electronic product.

      • For anyone that doubts what I said about there not being any bad digital cameras for years checkout Ming Thein’s fantastic work with the pathetic 4.2 mp Nikon D2H –

        It’s not what you’ve got, it’s what you do with it that counts. It is seeing, not buying that provides you with wonderful photos.

        • I agree on everything you write, but if you want a great little pocket camera then the RX100 is much better than anything else around with the same size.

          Also D2H is not pathetic at all, it is actually a lot better than all the other junk cameras sent to market these days – well, its pixel count may be pathetic, but that does not count 🙂

          • 100% agree with you Anders. 🙂

            I still regret selling my D2X, big mistake as newer never always equals better.

      • I recently went out and did some comparison photos between the Rx100 and S95 (don’t have a S100 on hand). Oddly, I found that comparing the photos side by side I liked the S95 ones better (brighter, happier colors); but scrolling through them as a whole the Rx100 shots were a lot more… ‘solid’ is the only way I can think of describing it.

        • I think Kevin has a point. The S95 jpg engine produces slightly over-saturated colors, because most people like their pictures to look a bit more vivid. The RX100 jpg’s are a little flat by comparison.

          On the other hand, you can process the Sony pictures in Photoshop quite a bit, and still end up with well balanced pictures. If you take an image from an S95, and try to adjust it in Photoshop, it may degrade the picture pretty quickly.

          Part of that is just the difference between 10mp and 20mp, but it also has to do with the physics of color saturation and brightness. It is pretty easy to compress a histogram without ruining the color, it is pretty hard to uncompress it.

  143. Steve – love the review.

    I’m holding the RX100 in my hands and with so many options – can you list what you think the best settings are for the little guy?

    Thanks so much


  144. Steve – thank you VERY much. I am getting the RX100 for my friend – and will envy him sincerely … maybe I should buy one for my wife too so I can shoot it 🙂

  145. My RX100 arrived yesterday and I’ve been shooting with it non-stop. For me this is the holy grail that I’ve been looking for. It’s the modern day Yashica T4 which I have always wanted.

    I am truly blown away by what Sony did with this camera. A game changer indeed.

  146. I had completely ignored this camera until this weekend. I tried it for a few minutes at the Sony store and really liked the controls, the feel, the quick focusing, etc. Now that I know the images are good too. I’m getting an itch to buy it. (Even though I swore I’d never buy a camera without a viewfinder).

  147. Damn Steve,
    Just got my OM-D and now I want one of these little beauties. Would be good to carry in car
    and record an unfortunate accident or something of that nature. I enjoy your “real world reviews”. and
    I am more than happy with my Olympus Em Omd. Using Leica glass (old 35mm summicron)
    Keep up good work

    • “record an unfortunate accident or something of that nature”. Really??? Put yourself in the other persons shoes before you think off that.

      • I think what George C means if he happens to get into an accident he can take photographic evidence (for insurance etc). Not so he can go taking snaps of accidents! Always used to have a preloaded disposable film camera in the glovebox just in case.

        However I don’t really see the need for a camera as nice as the RX100 for this. A phone camera would be far better suited than something that is likely to go flat waiting to be used.

        • Thanks Matt,
          That is what I meant. I have experienced being in an accident that was no fault of mine. The other person lied and I did not have documented evidence such as
          photo of road and skid marks.
          I try to go to Helen Georgia to camp during the Oktober Fest. There is a beautiful
          falls that requires a mile uphill trek to get there. This camera a would be easier to
          carry then the DSR Kodak I walked with the last time.
          Seems that an excellent picture from a lesser camera is more worthy than
          an lesser photo from a great camera. That said, I enjoy my OM-d with Leica
          george c

  148. Size matters, but do any of you (Steve H. included) really carry this type of camera in your front pocket?

    I never do and never would. I hate the feeling of carrying anything around in my pockets. And what about pocket lint? I always use a camera bag to carry whatever camera I’m using, along with my wallet, keys and cell phone.

    I did pickup the X100 and I am mostly impressed. What is good: All around performance (including AF, Face Detect), functions layout (fn button is so useful) and IQ are ALL VERY GOOD. Those 20mp are actually a good thing.

    The not-so-good: lack of external battery charger really bothers me. Also, the screen and battery compartment door are both more flimsy than I would like.

      • I don’t like things in my pockets when I draw but walking around is fine. I’ll do what I always do either stick it in the passenger seat or make whoever is sitting in my passenger seat hold it lol.

        As for pocket lint, That’s something I will consider, I might get a microfiber bag/pouch for it to sit in.

    • “AF is fast, almost instant. I have shot in low light, no light and good light. The camera had a hard time in NO light of course but I had no issues in low light, AT ALL. Focus always locked and never gave me a false lock (like the NEX does at times).”

  149. To be honest I can’t tell the difference between these pictures and those from any other similar one.

  150. > So what you see in this review is the WORST this camera will deliver as it only gets better
    > when shooting RAW.

    Hmmm, I see you haven’t opened a Fuji X-Pro1 RAW file in Lightroom 🙂

      • Yeh don’t get me wrong i love sony cameras they always seem to do something a little different but there jpeg engine sucks in comparison to the competition. The raw outputs always surprise me when i compare them to the jpegs its like sony like watercolours and tunes there cameras to produce them. They have gotten better over the years but the adobe will kick sony’s ass on this one.

  151. This camera is causing me lots of problems. I have no idea what a perfect kit is anymore. I got a nex7 and use some manual glass because it’s small and fun. But this is TINY as compared, hell I wanted to shoot something I saw at lunch, but I didn’t have a camera.

    UGH SONY…I think maybe I want this and will sell my Nex7 and pick up……………..a vacation. 🙂

    • You hit the nail on the head. There’s so many (nasty) debates as to this body or that, this lens or that, this system or that, this sensor or that….all it comes down to is: the best camera is the one you have with you.

      Sadly, more often than not it’s usually a camera phone; but at least they are getting better.

      • What we need is for Sony to add phone features to this and voila a Camera phone – rather than the other way around (Phone camera)

        • You know, I was thinking just this, and I am sure that others are too…it’d be a tad bulky for a phone, but I suspect that this will happen soon.

      • I just got mine in today and it’s amazingly tiny. I bet sony’s next interation of this model will have modest upgrades but a much faster aperture on the long end. It would literally be perfect if the aperture at the long end was under f3.

        • next iteration will have a touch screen, some sort of grip on the front, faster processor, the hdmi moved from the bottom to the side, and maybe… a new improved sensor.

    • Feel the same even I try to lug my full frame Nikon with me everywhere but this camera would be a perfect fit for restraunt and all day pocket shooting

  152. Hi Steve,

    How did you find the AWB worked? I absolutely love my Olympus XZ-1 but the AWB is horrible. This Sony is very intriguing.



    • Mark,

      I had the XZ-1 and loved it’s metering. It just got everything right, but that rear display was waaayyy oversaturated, so I never really knew what the picture would look like colorwise. It’s video was also pretty lousy.

      Seems like the RX100 built on what was good with the XZ-1 and got the display right. I wonder how the RX100 competes with the X100 from Fuji. I know, apples and oranges, but I don’t care about pocketability nearly as much as image quality.

  153. Great review, great camera, and I know it’s a trivial matter, but WHY do they have to call it RX100 when we already have a X100 in the market… RX100, X100, how about some originality, come on Sony….

    • Didn’t Sony say it was an evolution of their R1 ‘series’ (there was only ever one R1).

    • I might be one of the few who sees a bit of Sony history beyond the RX100…

      Sony F707 replaced by Sony 717 replaced by Sony F828 replaced by Sony R1 (technically) replaced by Sony RX100. May be Sony could have called it R100? Or, R10?

  154. Nice review. I looked at the camera while I was in Germany and it is a really intriguing package. It has almost all that you need for casual photography. Thanks for the great write up. Wonder how it compares to the Nex 7. D!RK

  155. Great review. I had a Canon SLR until a few months ago which is now dead and am looking for a new system. My budget is limited to about 700-800 USD so I was thinking of getting a cheap camera like the GF1 and a couple of lenses until this RX100 came along. Now I am not sure which one to get – I really would like to be able to change lenses and I used to love the fast prime on the canon, but with the quality and fast lens on the RX100…

    • If you can suffice with deep DOF and a slowish lens (at the long end), the RX100 is perfect. Otherwise, I’d get the GX1 (it’s newer and may be cheaper than the GF1) and a couple of lenses (panny 20, Olympus 45) and you’ll have a more versatile set, albeit a bit bigger…it’ll be closer to your SLR in performance….BUUUT, the RX100 is outstanding for a PS. Agreed with Steve….

    • The RX100 wasn’t meant to replace any system, it is to compliment it on times where portability is prioritized.

      DSLR + RX100
      M4/3 + RX100
      NEX + RX100

  156. Steve,
    Your headline grabbing statement brought a wry smile to my face. That is… until the next one! 🙂

    • Your so right Terry!! It’s easy to get excited about most of these offerings in one way or another. The RX100 certainly packs a punch.

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