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Sony RX100 review

Does Sony's "game changing" premium compact deliver the goods?

Our Verdict

For

  • Sleek
  • Great screen
  • Shoots in raw format
  • Customisable buttons
  • Picture Effects

Against

  • Limited raw functionality
  • No touchscreen

In a declining compact market, camera manufacturers are turning their attentions to producing better and better image quality in what seems like ever smaller packages.

These days, consumers who decide to buy a dedicated image taking device expect to get a lot for their money, and expect it to deliver something which their phone can't. With the RX100, Sony is turning its attention well and truly towards the premium end of the market, going head-to-head with the likes of the Canon S100, Panasonic LX5, Olympus XZ-1, and potentially even some compact system cameras such as the Nikon 1 J1.

A large sensor size is the key to producing good image quality, and here Sony has chosen a 20.2MP 1-inch Exmor CMOS sensor, which in terms of size is the same as that found in the Nikon 1 J1, and is only beaten in the compact arena by the Fujifilm X100 and Canon G1X.

Sony RX100

There are a number of other premium elements to be found on the diminutive RX100 body, including full manual control, the ability to shoot in raw format and a lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.8 at the wide end (28mm equivalent) and f/4.9 at the telephoto end (100mm equivalent). Sony uses the same size camera body to store a full-frame sensor in on the Sony RX1.

One of the key areas Sony will be shouting about in its marketing material is the RX100's low light capability. Coupled with the f/1.8 lens, it also has a sensitivity range from ISO 125 - 6400 and is equipped with the latest generation Bionz processor.

The lens is also likely to be highlighted, offering the widest aperture of any compact camera currently on the market, though this matched by the Olympus XZ-1 which has a 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5 lens and the Samsung EX-1 which has a 24-72mm f/1.8-2.4 optic. Although designed by Sony, it has been produced in partnership with Carl Zeiss, boasts T* coating to reduce ghosting and flare, and has a seven aperture blades for producing attractive circular bokeh.

Autofocusing is claimed to be as quick as 0.13 seconds in bright conditions, slowing down to 0.23 seconds in dark scenes.

Full HD video recording in 50p is also available, along with a number of other features that can be found in Sony Alpha DSLT cameras. These include Auto Portrait Framing, Clear Zoom technology, Sweep Panorama and photo creativity guides.

Tech Specs

Product TypeCompact Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
TouchscreenNo
Effective Camera Resolution20.2 Megapixel
GPSNo
USBYes
Wide AngleYes
PictBridgeNo
Product FamilyCyber-shot R
Image StabilizationOptical
ColourBlack
Optical Zoom3.6x
Digital Zoom14x
Brand NameSony
FeaturesFace Detection, Live View, Orientation Sensor, Self-timer, Continuous Shooting Mode, 3D Panorama
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsAVCHD, MP4
Viewfinder TypeNo
Weight (Approximate)213 g
Minimum Focus Distance50 mm
Maximum Image Resolution5472 x 3648
Maximum Frame Rate60 fps
Number of Batteries Supported1
Battery Built-inNo
Battery RechargeableYes
Battery IncludedYes
Display Screen TypeLCD
Image Sensor TypeExmor CMOS
Total Camera Resolution20.9 Megapixel
HDMIYes
HD Movie ModeYes
Battery Model SupportedNP-BX1
Memory Card SupportedMemory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO High Speed Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo, Secure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Eye-Fi Card
Height58.1 mm
Width101.6 mm
Depth35.9 mm
Autofocus Points25
Product SeriesR
Focal Length10.40 mm to 37.10 mm
Image FormatsJPEG, RAW
Flash ModesAuto Flash, Flash ON, Flash OFF, Rear Curtain Sync, Slow Sync
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product ModelDSC-RX100
Product NameRX100 Digital Compact Camera
Product LineCyber-shot
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberDSCRX100.CEH
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.sony.co.uk
Marketing Information

Loads more detail

It's all about the sensor, and bigger is definitely better. Around four times larger than the sensor in many point-and-shoot cameras, the brand-new 1.0-type Exmor CMOS sensor with 20.2 effective megapixels captures detail packed images with low noise.

Battery Life330 Shot/2.75 Hour Video
Package Contents
  • RX100 Digital Compact Camera
  • Battery NP-BX1
  • AC Adaptor AC-UD11
  • Micro USB Cable
  • Wrist Strap
  • Shoulder Strap Adaptor
  • Instruction Manual
Display Resolution1229000 Pixel
Limited Warranty1 Year
Built-in DevicesMicrophone, Speaker