Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 Compact Camera

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78% Silver Award
The RX100 isn't a perfect camera, but it's hard to think of another that includes so much capability and yet still fits in your pocket. Not to be underestimated.”

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Key Features

  • 20.9 MP 1"-type Exmor CMOS sensor
  • 28-100mm equivalent F/1.8-4.9 lens
  • Up to 10 FPS
  • ISO 125-6400 expandable ISO 80, 100, and 25,600
  • 3" LCD screen with 1.2M dots
  • 1080p video
  • Steady-Shot image stabilization
  • Rear control dial and customizable front control ring
  • Memory Recall feature can store up to three groups of custom settings

Product Description

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 is a compact camera based around a 20MP 1" CMOS sensor. It features a 28-100mm equivalent lens with F1.8-4.9 aperture range and image stabilization, and is the first Sony compact to capture Raw files. It can shoot 1080p/60FPS (AVCHD) video and capture 17MP (16:9 crop) stills simultaneously. Enthusiasts will appreciate its lens control dial, programmable function button, and 3:2 aspect ratio sensor (the same proportions as most DSLRs). It's also the first Sony compact to feature the company's 'White Magic' LCD technology, promising a brighter or lower-power display. Image quality is excellent, making the RX100 one of the few compacts that can hold its own alongside larger-format cameras.

Specs

Body type
Body type Large sensor compact
Sensor
Max resolution 5472 x 3648
Other resolutions 5472 x 3080, 4864 x 3648, 3888 x 2592, 3648 X 3648, 3648 x 2736, 2736 x 1824, 2592 x 1944, 2592 x 1944
Image ratio w:h 1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels 20 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors 21 megapixels
Sensor size 1″ (13.2 x 8.8 mm)
Sensor type CMOS
Image
ISO Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800, 25600
White balance presets 9
Custom white balance Yes (1)
Image stabilization Optical
Uncompressed format RAW
Optics & Focus
Focal length (equiv.) 28–100 mm
Optical zoom 3.6×
Maximum aperture F1.8 - F4.9
Autofocus
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Multi-area
  • Center
  • Selective single-point
  • Tracking
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Face Detection
Digital zoom Yes (14x)
Manual focus Yes
Macro focus range 5 cm (1.97)
Number of focus points 25
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCD Fixed
Screen size 3
Screen dots 1,228,800
Touch screen No
Screen type WhiteMagic TFT LCD
Live view Yes
Viewfinder type None
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed 30 sec
Maximum shutter speed 1/2000 sec
Aperture priority Yes
Shutter priority Yes
Manual exposure mode Yes
Subject / scene modes Yes
Built-in flash Yes (Pop-up)
External flash No
Flash modes Auto, On, Off, Slow Sync
Continuous drive 10 fps
Self-timer Yes (2 or 10 sec, Portrait 1/2)
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Spot
Exposure compensation ±3 (at 1/3 EV steps)
AE Bracketing (3 frames at 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV steps)
WB Bracketing No
Videography features
Resolutions 1920 x 1080 (60 fps), 1440 x 1080 (30 fps), 1280 x 720 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
Format MPEG-4, AVCHD
Videography notes 1920 x1080 60p PS: 59.97fps Progressive (appx 28Mbps), 1920 x 1080 60i FX : 59.97fps Interlaced (appx 24Mbps), 1920 x 1080 60i FH : 59.97fps Interlaced (appx 17Mbps), 1440 x 1080 30p :29.97fps Progressive (appx 12Mbps), 640 x 480 30p :29.97fps Progressive (appx 3 Mbps)
Microphone Stereo
Speaker Mono
Storage
Storage types SD/SDHC/SDXC, Memory Stick Duo/Pro Duo/Pro-HG Duo
Connectivity
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMI Yes (Micro HDMI)
Wireless Eye-Fi Connected
Remote control No
Physical
Environmentally sealed No
Battery Battery Pack
Battery description Lithium-Ion NP-BX1 battery and charger
Battery Life (CIPA) 330
Weight (inc. batteries) 240 g (0.53 lb / 8.47 oz)
Dimensions 102 x 58 x 36 mm (4 x 2.29 x 1.41)
Other features
Orientation sensor Yes
Timelapse recording No
GPS None

Reviews

DPReview Conclusion

Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category at the time of review.

Score Breakdown
Poor Excellent
Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Features
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Optics
Performance
Movie / video mode
Value
Silver Award
Silver Award
78 %
Overall Score

The RX100 is probably the most capable compact camera on the market today, combining the image quality benefits of a mid-sized sensor with the proportions of a conventional compact. Extensive, though not flawless, manual controls make the RX100 a great second camera for DSLR shooters.

Good For

Enthusiasts looking for a carry-everywhere camera. Developing photographers who don't want the cost and bulk of interchangeable lenses.

Not So Good For

Low light work (compared to a large-sensor camera) or fast action shooters.

User Reviews

4.3879 out of 5 stars
  • spitsi, Feb 26, 2013 GMT:
    expensive but the best

    suberb in every action, especially in photo quality and video capabilities! Problems: -not direct video playback access -not direct flash button -not fast at tele(f 4.9)

    Continue Reading

  • Shamatt, Jan 14, 2013 GMT:
    Dream Camera... Almost

    I have been an avid SLR user for 25 years, more recently DSLR. I could never afford a larger format, and I'm a hobbyist, so for me an SLR was the one to have. But I have always seem my friends with their little point and shoots, and envied the portability! This camera is exactly what I was thinking about all these years - works like an SLR, fits in my pocket. Brilliant! First up - image quality - I can't fault it. Even at high ISO it's fabulous. It's easy to use in any mode, and you can ...

    Continue Reading

  • burnymeister, Nov 20, 2012 GMT:
    Best Small Camera in the World?

    I've owned a lot of gear over the past decade or so. See my previously owned gear list if you don't believe me. I'm always looking for a big punch in a small package because I'm a mountain adventurer which includes hiking, scrambling, climbing and skiing. The RX100 is the best compact camera with a sensor size under APS-C that I've ever owned. In my mind, it even beats the m43 line up (which I've used extensively) because it's so darn small and takes such amazing photos! When processing the ...

    Continue Reading

  • AP Hovasse, Nov 16, 2012 GMT:
    A Great Solution at Last!

    I love this little camera, and my last camera was a Nikon D3s! I have been looking for this camera for some time, was an early adopter of the Lumix LX-2 and 3, then the GF-1, always looking for high quality files in a small footprint. I read David Pogue's review in the NYT in the spring and scoured the internet until I finally bought this one, at a premium, from someone in HKG in the summer, before it was released in North America. I haven't been disappointed at all. It seems to me camera ...

    Continue Reading

Videos

Sony DSC-RX100 by DPReview

Questions & Answers

QUESTION

Should I buy a Canon S120 or a Sony DSC-RX100? (Pocket User-Friendly Buying Question)

Hello guys, I have a question to ask and I need your help. I have a Nikon D3200 with a few lenses and an external flash, but you know when you are hanging out with your friends or travelling a DSLR is not that friendly to carry it around. I have an iPhone 5 but the image quality in my opinion is not good, so I am looking to buy a premium pocket camera, a camera that would fit in my jeans like my cellphone a pocket-friendly gadget , that will take great photos at day and at night. I found two good cameras, Canon S120 and Sony DSC-RX100 (First Version) .I heard that RX100 (First Version) is better as an overall camera. But the reason I am going to buy a new camera as you can see is about the pocket-friendly compatibility. I want to feel comfortable when I carry it around.About what I’ve searched I found that RX100 (First Version) has better image quality but it’s bulkier and that S120 is more pocket friendly. What would fit my needs guys, what do you advice me? Is there any other ...

stelios112 asked
4 months ago

ANSWERS

Don't rule out the Nikon P330. It is much improved over its predecessors. I still have the P300 and despite the critics, I still like mine and pop it into a pocket regularly. Continue Reading

Footski answered
4 months ago

No problem, but remember, when you have a short list, the only way to make a final decision, is to handle the cameras. Then buy the one that feels best to you. Continue Reading

Footski answered
4 months ago

I don't know if this is relevant to you, but the S120 has a 24 mm equivalent lens, the RX100 is limited to 28 mm. For holiday shooting, I find the extra wide angle useful. Continue Reading

Klaus dk answered
4 months ago

QUESTION

Does exposure affect sensor dynamic range?

Let's say that I want to test Camera A vs Camera B in terms of sensor DR.  Assume that both cameras have the same mount, sensor size, and that the same lens is being used to test both cameras.  F-stop, subject distance, and lighting conditions are fixed.  The test scene is a very high DR scene.  Each camera is used at it's respective base ISO value. I shoot Camera A at a variety of shutter speeds until I find the one with highlight detail that is barely recoverable, just at the point of clipping in the RAW file.  This happens to be a 1/4s exposure. I shoot Camera B at a variety of shutter speeds until I find the one with highlight detail that is barely recoverable, just at the point of clipping in the RAW file.  This happens to be a 1/2s exposure. Now I push both of those RAW files to see which one has more recoverable shadow detail relative to noise.  Is this a "fair" DR test, or does the difference in exposure (Sensor A getting only half as much light as Sensor B) affect the ...

Amin Sabet asked
1 year ago

ANSWERS

Hi Amin, interesting discussion I think there is a question here of what is meant by 'base ISO'. If you are exposing the highlights at different levels, you are no longer on the same ISO. The camera is on the same ISO setting, but the ISO, in terms of the selected exposure (which will presumably be mapped to 100% just the same in the putative output file) is different, since ISO maps exposure to output tonality. As you know, I never subscribe to the idea of comparisons being 'fair' or 'unfair', just 'informative', and then the question is - what information are you seeking? If you want to know the absolute DR the camera is capable of, then your procedure makes sense, and is as has been pointed out, is what DxOmark already does. If what you know is what is the DR offered at the same exposure, your test procedure also makes sense , but the derived information is slightly different. Sometimes people talk about 'DR in the highlights' or 'DR in the shadows', and that si what they talk ... Continue Reading

bobn2 answered
1 year ago

OK. In this case, THE 'DxOSO' for the E-M5 set to 200 is 107. DxO didn't test the RX100 at 125, but at 100, where it's DxOSO is 101. At 200, it's DxOSO is 146, or 0.45 stops headroom above 200. We have to guess what is the highlight headroom of the RX100 is at 125, but to accept an exposure 0.6 stops less than the EM-5, it would need to be 167, which seems unlikely. Iliah Borg (whom I'm inclined to believe on these things) tells us that at base ISO and around sensors can be quite non linear (compressed) and in any case, Sony uses a non-linear encoding for its raw files. So, I'd guess that in going for a visually equally 'recoverable' highlights, you have discovered that Sony has already encoded away some of the recoverability of its highlights, in the interest of a smaller file. As far as the visible noise goes, it's not surprising that, with the exposure 2/3 stop more, and a sensor with larger area, the E-M5 is looking much better, both in the bright bits due to lower shot noise ... Continue Reading

bobn2 answered
1 year ago

There is nothing weird. You tested them at the same exposure, so since the gain setting is the same, and therefore the read noise is the same, you saw exactly the same DR and SNR. On the other hand, DxO tested 80 ISO with a 100% exposure corresponding to 81 ISO, and 100 ISO with a 100% exposure corresponding to 101 ISO (they didn't test at 125). That is 1/3 stop difference in exposure, which will give 1/3 stop above the (identical) read noise floor, and lower shot noise also. Continue Reading

bobn2 answered
1 year ago

QUESTION

Would you buy the P8000 ?

P8000.... 1" sensor 24-120//. 2.0-3.0 lens compact size body....what's the chances you would buy it ? ie. Better than an RX100 and that sold very well.

jonrobertp asked
5 months ago

ANSWERS

Yes ;-) Continue Reading

Jennyhappy2 answered
5 months ago

There is NO comparison in IQ from a 1" sensor to a 1.7 sensor...And the 7800 is huge by the pocket size standard of the RX100 size that we are talking about in the 8000. Continue Reading

jonrobertp answered
5 months ago

I just can't buy a camera anymore without an LCD that tilts AND swivels. If the published figures are true AND it has a swivel screen I will rejoice and lay down my hard earned dollars in free flowing ecstasy. Continue Reading

Tony Kindred answered
5 months ago

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