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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

Sony RX100 sample image

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The RX100 is fantastic for shooting portraits, producing rich colours and good skin tones. You can select the autofocus point to focus on the eye, just as you would with a compact system camera or DSLR.

Sony RX100 sample image

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28mm (equivalent)

Sony RX100 sample image

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100mm (equivalent)

Sony RX100 sample image

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The above three images show the lens set to 28mm (fully wide), 100mm (fully optically zoomed) and with full Clear Zoom (200mm) applied. If you examine the Clear Zoom image at 100% you will see there is a noticeable drop in quality, but it is still impressive at smaller sizes.

Sony RX100 sample image

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With Clear Zoom, the RX100 effectively transforms into a 200mm optic, which is very useful for shooting faraway action such as sport or when on holiday. Although quality is not as good as at fully optically zoom, By Pixel Resolution Technology does a good job of maintaining a good image.

Sony RX100 sample image

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The RX100's native image ratio is 3:2, the same as found on a DSLR, but also available is 16:9 (widescreen), 4:3, and 1:1, as in this image, which produces a square crop. This image has also been shot in Vivid Creative Style.

Sony RX100 sample image

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An example of the Sweep Panorama which is captured in-camera. It works very quickly and easily, and is a fun mode to experiment with.

Sony RX100 sample image

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There are several Creative Styles that can be deployed even when shooting in raw format, such as this "Vivid" mode which really makes colours pop.

Sony RX100 sample image

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Another of the Creative Styles is black and white. If you shoot in raw format, you can remove, or swap, the Creative Style for a different one.

Sony RX100 sample image

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One of the Picture Effects on the RX100 is Illustration, which has three different variations - this one is "Mid". Although not to everyone's tastes, it does produce a fun result.

Sony RX100 sample image

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This image shows Miniature Auto being deployed. Only the centre of the frame is in focus, to give the effect of a Tilt Shift lens and making the figures appear as toys. This works best when shooting from a high angle.

Sony RX100 sample image

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Partial Colour black and white is another Picture Effect. You have the option to choose between Red, Green, Blue or Yellow. Here, it has managed to pick up most of the green in the scene. Unfortunately, it's not customisable to make it more, or less, sensitive to different shades so it has missed some areas of the leaves.

Sony RX100 sample image

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HDR images can be shot by using the HDR Painting mode. Available in three intensities, this image has been shot in "Mid".

Sony RX100 sample image

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Another Picture Effect that won't be to everyone's tastes but has been implemented fairly well is the Watercolour effect, which gives the impression of a painting.

Sony RX100 sample image

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With a wide apertured lens and a large sensor, the RX100 is able to maintain low sensitivity settings and fast shutter speeds to produce blur free images even in lower light conditions.

Sony RX100 sample image

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Shallow depth of field effects are easy to achieve thanks to the f/1.8 aperture lens and sensor which is approximately four times larger than those found on traditional compact cameras.

Sony RX100 sample image

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Sony RX100 sample image

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Sony RX100 sample image

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Here you can see the D-Range Optimiser in action. The top image shows how the camera performs with it switched to Auto, while the middle image shows it at "Level 5". For comparison, the bottom image shows how the image would appear with D-Range Optimiser switched off.

Sony RX100 sample image

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In this image shot at f/8 we can examine the detail and sharpness of the Carl Zeiss lens. A good amount of detail is captured, even towards the edges of the frame.

Sony RX100 sample image

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This image was shot in Super Intelligent Auto. The camera was able to detect a landscape scene and deploy the most appropriate settings. This is a good option to use if you just want to concentrate on getting the images, rather than fiddling around with settings.

Sony RX100 sample image

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Colours are well represented by the RX100, here we can see the sky has a pleasing shade of blue.

Sony RX100 sample image

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Another image which shows how well the colours are captured, with bright tones which aren't overly vibrant.

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