Sony RX100: Complete Review

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In the camera world; DSLR camera has made a monopoly and outran most of cameras in the market in their price segment. Because, most of cameras getting developed in point and shoot segment are loaded with small sensor therefore, increase in resolution of sensor results in decrease in pixel size which reduces the low light performance.

But in spite of a better low light performance, DSLR are bulky and difficult to carry, which is main disadvantage for many people. So, market had a definite need and scope for point and shoot camera with large sensor. The Sony RX 100 is the answer to all of the above needs. Since this is not the first one in this range as the big brother Sony RX100 has already rooted itself in the market with sensor size of almost full frame camera. The camera is based around the 20MP 1” CMOS Sensor, 3.6X optical zoom and stabilized lens with Zeiss ‘T coating’ to minimize the internal reflection. It has already set the market on fire as the European Imaging and the Sound Association named the camera as ‘European Advanced Camera for 2012- 2013’. And also the best invention of 2012 by Time Magazine.

Quick Specs:

Type: Compact, High-End

Optical Zoom: 3.6X

Resolution: 20.9 megapixel

Sensor Type: Cmos Sensor

ISO: 80 -6400

Image processor: Bionz Image processor

Aspect Ratios: 16:9, 3:2, 4:3

Frame Rate(s): 60p, 60i, 30p

Dimension: 58.10mm X 101.60 mm X 35.90mm

Display Type: LCD

Display Size: 3inch

Display Resolution: 1229000 pixels

Media Support: SD, SDHC, SDXC

Auto HDR YES)

Picture Effect: Toy camera, Pop Color, Posterization, Retro Photo, Soft High-key, Partial Color, High Contrast Mono., Soft Focus, HDR Painting, Rich tone Monochrome, Miniature, Watercolor, Illustration

Manual control: manual focus, aperture priority mode, shutter priority mode, full manual exposure, custom white balance, ISO control

Exposure Control ± 3.0EV, 1/3EV step

White Balance Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent warm white, Fluorescent cool white, Fluorescent day white, Fluorescent daylight, Flash, C.Temp./Filter, and Custom

Battery Type: removable lithium-ion

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Image Sensor, Processor and the Lens:

Sensor used in camera is 1” format CMOS sensor which is same as sensor used in Nikon CX system. Image sensor is larger by the factor of 2/3 than conventional sensor in the camera which provides better quality image as the lens is more exposed to light and better electric signal to Image processor which result in great color reproduction and depth in photographs. The camera has a 3.6X Carl Zeiss Vario Sonar T of focal length equivalent to the 24- 105mm. The lens’ internal coating is for reducing internal reflection. Its advanced aspherical glass element keeps camera compact and don’t compromises the resolution of camera.

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Body Design and the Ease of handling:

Sony has done a great work in design department, camera is made sleek, compact and well designed. It does not have any grip, but; is enough thick to hold without any slippage. Camera slips into pocket without any extra work, also it can be carried with ease in handbag. Camera is perfect rectangle with curves in the edge. Buttons are very clean and nicely placed. Back panel has multi-functional button, delete button and the ‘Fn’ button. ‘Fn’ button is used for various easy setting of ISO and picture. Next to shutter button there is a Dial mode which looks perfect and nice finish to camera.

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Flash is pop up type, which is bearded upon spring arm. Flash can be extracted manually through button or also automatic mode. There is a level gauge in camera to ensure camera is horizontal. In terms of design camera is stiff, simple and easy to use.

Storage and battery:

Camera support storage for SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards and as well as for company ‘Memory Stick Pro Duo’ card. Battery pack is of Sony N-type NP-BX1 and typical rating is of 1240 mAh giving an average life of 220 to 330 shots.

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Performance:

Auto Focus performance by camera is moderate and at most at par in the class. Camera is able to focus object very quickly in bright light, but struggles sometimes in low light conditions. At wide angle, time required by camera to focus is 0.15 second and at the highest zoom it is around 0.26 second. Shutter lag is around 0.5 which is average. Shutter release is instant. Boot up time required by camera is more than 2.2 second which is pretty low. The camera has ‘drive continuous’ mode by which it can take 10 shot at a 2.5 frame per second.

Image Quality:

Results obtained from camera are quite sharp even cropping them to maximum. Just like the DSLR the Depth of Field can be distinguished. ISO performance is pretty good and user is free to use ISO till 1600 ISO. Image qualities even at ISO 1600 are with very little grain. Result is awesome but not suitable for large poster printing. After ISO 3200, image starts getting grain. Color compensation is good but at some condition Red starts to be overexposed. White balance is somehow toward cooler side. Overall image from the camera are quite nice and very good noise reduction is there, but sometimes, depth of Field is low due to overexposure.

Video Quality:

It can record the full HD recording at the 60 pi or 60 p. Manual operation such as controlling zoom, focus and exposure are great add on in camera making it unique in its segment. Camera lack microphone input but stereo microphone does fair amount of work. Video quality taken from the camera is quite clear and crisp having fair amount of depth of field in background. Also the interlacing is quite good giving you very smooth motion.

Conclusion:

Is this camera capable of replacing the DSLR?” Though the camera is loaded with the sensor that is smaller than DSLR, but image quality is superb with good sharpness even at the high level of cropping, Noise reduction function is quite good in camera like DSLR. Also electronic View finder and manual control give you more freedom in your photography. Camera lack somewhere in color composition and white balance but their effect are negligible and can be ignored. So overall if you see, camera is exciting because of its pocketable size and is perfect for you when you don’t want to log yourself with the burden.