Sony Cybershot RX100- Too Little Too Late?
Cybershot shooters have been wanting a full featured compact camera ever since Sony abandoned the idea in 2006 when they purchased Konica Minolta and started the Alpha DSLR system. The last Cybershot that catered to enthusiast needs was the Sony DSC-R1, back in 2005. The RX100 is the first camera to incorporate a raw file option since then. But, is the RX100 the camera that Cybershot shooters have been asking for years? I doubt it.
Sony Cybershot Cameras
Reading the official specs below tells me that the RX100 has some of the features enthusiasts want, but it falls short on many other fronts. First of all there is no grip on the front of the camera, no optical or electronic viewfinder built in (nor is there an option for an evf possible either), no filter threads on the lens, no flash shoe, and 20mp might be a bit much for the camera and the user to chew on.
There are however a few nice shiny spots. The ring around the lens is programmable for a few different functions, an idea that Olympus first came out with years ago. Canon has used it since then, and now Sony. Its a great idea and being customizable is nice.
Although the sensor seems packed with 20mp, I'm sure it will perform at least at a decent level since there is a raw option and Sony are good at making sensors. The RX100 includes a lot of the same software goodies as the NEX and Alpha line like sweep panorama, DRO, multiframe noise reduction, art filters and more. The lens is pretty bright at the wide end but mediocre at the long end, and the range at its best (depending on the multitude of aspect ratio's available), is pretty average. A CZ lens with 24-120mm would have been much more attractive, for example.
|Video button where my thumb rests, flat buttons, no tilt screen, uh no thanks.|
In the end though, Sony almost gave me a heart attack seeing that the RX100 had a raw option. There have been no Cybershot cameras since 2005 with a raw option, much to the dismay of many enthusiasts screaming from the bleachers for it. Still
no NR off setting for Jpegs though, the new Sony standard. That means all the software goodies it has that only use JPEG writing won't give you the option to have the best IQ possible out of camera- they don't work with raw.
Seems like a small slick point and shoot typical of Sony's Cybershot division albeit with the inclusion of raw and a larger sensor. If that kind of camera appeals to you then you are the target market for Sony.
The camera will probably sell, but had it some features that enthusiasts really want or an APS-C sensor, it would have sold a lot better. I'm sure of that much. It's not hard to predict with today's finicky/spoiled buyers who have a multitude of more options out there to choose from- especially for the price the RX100 sells for- $649.99 USD.
Sony Cybershot Cameras
Sony Cybershot RX100 Full Press Release
Sony’s New Advanced Cyber-shot RX100 Camera Packs Large Sensor and Bright Lens into Stylish, Pocket-Size Body
New Model Contains World’s First 1.0-inch type 20.2 MP Exmor CMOS Sensor and Ultra-bright F1.8 Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* Fixed Lens to Deliver Outstanding Picture Quality
SAN DIEGO, May 16, 2012 – Traveling light no longer means compromising on picture quality with the Cyber-shot® DSC-RX100 camera, Sony’s new flagship compact camera.
Striking the ultimate balance of form and function, the stylish, aluminium-built RX100 camera inherits many advanced imaging features from Sony’s a range of A-mount and E-mount cameras, delivering beautiful still images, crisp full HD videos and a level of manual control and creativity unmatched by any other camera of its size.
“This camera is ideal for travel, portraits or street photography, delivering impressive results in a variety of lighting conditions with an intuitive, customizable control interface,” said Yosuke Tomoda, director of the Cyber-shot business at Sony Electronics. “It’s a perfect step-up model for point and shoot users not interested in larger DSLR or compact system cameras, and also an outstanding choice for enthusiasts who may already own a large DSLR and are looking for a high-quality, pocket-sized ‘all-in-one’ second camera.”
At the heart of the Cyber-shot RX100 is the world’s first 1.0-inch type Exmor® CMOS sensor with a resolution of 20.2 effective megapixels. Specially developed by Sony, the sensor has an area that’s approximately four times larger than the 1/2.3-type sensors in traditional point-and-shoot cameras. The sensor’s larger area takes in more light while capturing content, resulting in beautiful, detail-packed images and Full HD movie clips with very low noise.
The larger sensor is partnered with an exceptionally bright Carl Zeiss® Vario-Sonnar T* fixed lens with 3.6x optical zoom range. In contrast to standard point-and-shoot cameras, it has a wide F1.8 maximum aperture to let in additional light and complement the resolving power of the larger sensor.
Similar to high-performance DSLR optics, the lens features seven- bladed circular aperture. This makes it easy to produce images with subjects in sharp focus against a smoothly-blurred, beautifully defocused background. The lens also features an Advanced Aspherical (AA) lens element that contributes to the camera’s extremely compact dimensions without sacrificing optical zoom performance or resolution.
Newly optimized to complement the 1.0-inch type sensor and lens, the camera’s powerful BIONZ® image processor maximizes shooting response times while helping assure exceptionally clean, natural images. It also extends sensitivity right up to ISO 25600 (using Multi Frame Noise Reduction), allowing for exceptionally clear handheld images in low light conditions. To capture fast-moving subjects, the RX100 camera can also shoot at up to 10 frames per second (in full resolution) and has high-speed autofocus that locks onto a subject in as quickly as 0.13 seconds (depends on scene and lighting conditions).
The new RX100 camera features a high-resolution 3-inch 1,229k dot Xtra Fine LCD™ display and also adds a new feature: WhiteMagic™ technology. This uses additional white pixels to boost screen brightness, allowing users to see subtle details and tones on the screen in all types of shooting environments, including outdoors in bright sunlight.
For making manual adjustments while shooting both still images and movies, the new camera has a smooth control ring around the lens body, which can be used to alter exposure, zoom, creative picture effects and a variety of other customizable functions. Additionally, frequently used functions can be assigned to the Fn (function) button for instant access, and the Memory Recall feature can store up to three groups of customized shooting settings based on user preference.
Similar to a DSLR-style interface, there’s a choice of auto and manual focus modes on the Cyber-shot RX100 camera for enhanced image control. For those that prefer focusing manually, MF Assist magnifies images to simplify fine adjustments, and there’s also a pro-style peaking function that highlights sharply-focused areas of the image on screen.
The RX100 camera offers a generous choice of artistic options to expand creative shooting possibilities. It includes the option for six different creative styles and a variety of popular picture effects including Toy Camera, Partial Color, HDR Painting and several others, most of which can be previewed directly on screen before shooting.
The new Cyber-shot features Auto Portrait Framing – a feature found on Sony’s latest a range of A-mount and E-mount cameras -- making it simple to create sharp, perfectly framed portraits. This unique feature automatically detects faces in a scene, crops the picture accordingly creates a tighter, pro-style composition at full resolution. Both the original and cropped photo are saved for review.
New accessories include a spare battery, dedicated carrying case and a battery charger designed to complement to the new camera.
Pricing and Availability
The Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 digital camera will be available this July for about $650. The camera and accessories will be available at Sony retail stores (www.store.sony.com) and other authorized dealers nationwide.