3 March 2013, Singapore – The Cybershot RX100 is one of Sony’s best celebrated product in 2012. Time magazine has named it one of the 25 best invention in the year 2012. New York Times has named it the best compact camera ever made ever. But is it really? Here is our take on this camera. Unless otherwise stated in the caption, the images found in this article are all straight out of camera jpegs without any editing/modification done. Head on to our Flickr page for a larger resolution of the images.
We were impressed the minute we unboxed the camera. The camera design is sleek and stylish and it comes in a fierce black color with metal body finishing. This is the one camera that you will want to show off or become part of your fashion repertoire. Moreover, the RX100 is delightfully light at 240g (with battery and memory stick) that you can barely notice the extra weight in your daily commute. Plus, it is so tiny that it fits into most pockets; well, maybe a little challenging to fit into your ultra skinny jeans.
The protective carrying case that Sony has kindly loaned us (LCJ-RXA/B) is equally chic. It is similar to Leica’s ever ready camera case, in which you can remove the front covering quickly to capture that spontaneous moment. The pop-up flash is also similar to Leica’s X2 camera with the “scaffold” support. The mini pop-up flash can even be tilted to create that ‘bounce’ effect, which is a nice feature to have.
The LCD screen on the RX100 is amazing and it is very much usable in bright light thanks to their new WhiteMagic technology. That could be the reason why an electronic viewfinder or optical viewfinder is not part of the RX100. But the magic of this camera and what sets it apart from most of the compact cameras is the 1” type CMOS sensor with a resolution of 20.2 Megapixels and paired with an F1.8 Carl-Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 3.6x optical zoom lens. And it was indeed a match made in heaven because the quality of images AND videos that this unassuming compact camera produces blow my mind away. It does produce images that will put some D-SLRs to shame. I am indeed delightedly surprised to find the images I took with the RX100 to have great colors and contrast, even in low light condition. Something that I have not experienced on a regular basis with previous Cybershot releases.
Unfortunately the RX100 camera only uses F1.8 at 28mm range. The aperture switches to F2.0 as you zoom away from 28 mm. Nevertheless the images produced are really good quality and close to the environment in which you are shooting in.
Another feature that I like about the RX100 is its almost silent operation. It is perfect for street photography enthusiasts. The camera is not domineering and does not attract much attention as opposed to whipping out a DSLR to photograph people on the street. Besides it is as stealthy as a cat with its black body and silent operation. Even if you are not into street photography, this camera is perfect for capturing candid moments of your friends and family.
One feature that I really love is the self-portrait mode. In the self-portrait mode, the camera will intelligently wait until your face is in the frame before it captures the photograph. After that, it will take a shot every 3 seconds until you move out of the frame. Wow… this mode is a godsend feature for the self snapping camwhores out there.
I had thought that the user interface and the dials to switch between modes are standard and intuitive enough. But it can be overwhelming for someone who is just keen to point and shoot. One of my friend is such a person. He came complaining that the images were blurred, not realizing that the shooting mode was set to a 2 second delay. For such users the camera offers the iAuto or S Auto mode in which the camera will choose the perceived shutter speed and aperture and match the ambient to one of the 36 pre-programmed scenes to produce the best possible images for beginners.
In short, the RX100 certainly lived up to its name as the best compact camera in 2012 especially the quality of images and videos that it produced. One complaint that I have is that the shutter button is small, and it does not have that ‘click’ feel to it when you take a photograph. Because it is so silent, sometimes you just can’t really tell if you have taken the image or not. Also, with the carrying case attached, it can be a little difficult to access the delete button at the lower right corner. Anyway those are just minor complaints.
What I really like:
- The compact and lightness of the camera. And ooohh… so sexy.
- The larger sensor in this compact camera paired with an amazing Carl-Zeiss zoom lens.
- WhiteMagic LCD screen which is god send when taking pictures in harsh daylight like Singapore.
- The silent shutter.
- The close up focusing at 28mm.
- Blazing fast and accurate auto-focus even in low light condition.
- A tiltable pop-up flash
- A nice self-portrait mode which allows you to have a nice picture of yourself when travelling alone.
- An equally useful 10 fast burst mode of 10 frames per second.
- The F1.8 aperture mode is only available at 28mm (the widest setting).
- The metal body can be scratched quite easily if you are a rugged user. A protective carrying case is highly recommended.
- Shutter button does not have that ‘click’ feel.
- Buttons can be too small for some people.
Buy or not?
YES! I would highly recommend this camera if you are in the hunt for a good compact camera. Trust me, you will not be disappointed. Although it commands a premium price, it is worth every cent.
How much and where can you get it?
The RX100 is priced at S$999 and it is available at all Sony stores and authorized outlets.