One year ago, Sony released the RX100. The camera had glowing reviews by professional photographers and critics alike. I had the chance to use the Sony RX100 for a few days and this post will be my opinion on it.
The RX100 is Sony's take on the high end Point & Shoot (P&S) market, an area where P&S camera makers can still make a healthy profit. The P&S market had shrunken considerably over the years due to the advent of smart phones.
Thus company nowadays resorts to what they called high end P&S to make up for the lack of profits.
This camera looks and feels like a point and shoot.
However rhe built quality is very good. Handling feels solid, though I suspect people with large hands will find it a tad uncomfortable to use. For me though, it feels perfect on my 2 hands.
Beautiful no matter the angle. You know looking at it again Sony looks to have found some sort of a design language within the company. Put this next to an Xperia phone or even the PS4, and you know that it is made by the same company.
Of course the heart of the camera consists of 2 parts - the lens, and the sensor used. For the lens. Sony uses those made from ZEISS, a well respected imaging company. The same company that made the lens for the brilliant Nokia 1020.
This camera uses a lens focal length of 24mm to 100mm. Basically this is a zoom capable camera, unlike my Fuji X100.
The German company recently announced that it will drop the Carl Zeiss monicker and from here on be officially known as just ZEISS for brand consistency.
So further products will be called a ZEISS lens.
The back screen of the camera. For me, the most fun part to use on the camera is what I call the focusing ring. You can change filters, ISO, aperture - you name it using the ring.
Let us see some samples from the camera shall we?
These are all unedited photos photos taken from the camera. And when I say unedited it means no post processing is done whatsoever. Since I'm shooting in JPEG, the photos do of course undergoes some in-engine editing from the camera itself.
Sony's image processing engine for this camera (and also the Alpha and NEX line) is dubbed the Bionz Engine.
Also all these shots are taken around Kuala Terengganu, which lies on the east coast of Malaysia. The food here, especially those famous fried squids, prawns and fishes are great, but for some reason is a lot more expensive than I can remember.
Underneath the simple look of the camera, many functions are abound. Coming from the Fuji X100 which is barebones in terms of filters and creative colors, I was overwhelmed by the many filters in this one.
I do like the "Toy Camera" effect in this shot. It gives some sort of a vignetting edge around the border of the picture.
While in this picture, I set the filter to "Pop Up Colour", which exaggerates the color reproduction quite a bit. I like it a lot - especially if you're doing landscape or urban photography.
If I were to set off the filter, the picture would look dull and not as colorful since it is close to sunset. The picture would have those golden hue around them. Some may say this filter makes the picture a little too manicured but hey, as I said before - I like it.
But from shooting a couple hundred of shots with this by now, I noticed that a lot of the time, even under adequate sunlight the picture comes out a little bit underexposed to my liking. In layman terms that means the picture looks quite dark.
So it is better to adjust the exposure bracket a little bit.
In my first 2 days of using this camera I set the mode of the camera to "Superior Auto" thinking that the camera is intelligent enough to give me the best result on each shot. Well wrong. This and "Intelligent Auto" mode are both rubbish.
Most of the time, no matter what type of shots I take the camera will almost always interpret it as a landscape photo and this is highly irritating. A Street shot? Nope, interpreted as landscape. Portrait? Nope, again landscape.
Why is this bad? Because in most landscape shots the default aperture of this camera will be between F/4 to F/8. These numbers will not give that desirable out of focus effect that most people are looking for when shooting for a portrait, or a macro for that matter.
Shots like this.
I had no fun at all shooting with this in my first 2 days with it. I thought that the camera was all hype.
On my third day, after much reading online I decided to turn to a regular Auto Program marked as P on the mode dial. Though the settings are still determined automatically, there is a layer of customisation present in this mode that is not present in the other 2 mentioned before.
You can customize shutter speed, aperture, ISO, filters, exposures - you name it with the very sweet focus ring. This allows for photography to be fun again. Even if you are an amateur with no knowledge at all in photography, I highly recommend shooting in P mode.
Looking at it, it can't be understated just how small but powerful this camera really is. It is about the size of an iphone.
Low light performance is very admirable. even at ISO 3200 the camera can still shoot beautiful pictures with minimal amount of noise. To think that over a decade ago photos taken with an ISO setting of over 800 is borderline unusable - we have come a long way.
Camera manufactures are even using ISO numbers as a marketing bullet point, kind of light those megapixels mega race a few years back.
Speaking of megapixels this camera packs a 20 MP sensor. High enough to capture minute details for a camera this size. Personally for me, MP size is not that important.
Focusing under low light is slow though, not a deal breaker for me but keep that in mind. You will miss a lot of shots if you are not under direct sunlight.
When there is a lot of light around, believe me that the image quality is gorgeous. I hadn't had the chance to use its competitors such as the Fuji X20, or the Canon S110 for comparison but looking at Sony's hot streak nowadays in their imaging division and the large sensor size that the camera is using, you won't be disappointed.
Sony uses a 1 inch sensor, the same size as the Nikon 1 mirrorless camera system. Normal point & shoot cameras and mobile phones use 1/3 inch sensor which is very small. In comparison DSLR's and mirrorless cameras such as my Fuji uses very large sensor, up to 2 times the size of the RX100.
Basically the bigger the sensor, more light can be captured and thus more image information can be translated resulting in better image quality. Remember that ultimately it is sensor size that matters, not megapixels. A 24 MP point & shoot will not produce better image quality than a 12 MP DSLR.
Remember, the bigger the sensor the better.
The heart of Kuala Terengganu, near Pasar Payang. Notice how beautiful the color reproduction is. The sky is nice and blue. This was taken a day after our Independence Day which is held on the 31st of August.
Focusing is not blazing fast but usable. I love the shutter sound of this camera.
In front of Istana Maziah. I have been inside here about 11 years ago. Abah's friend works in here. But to be honest I can't remember most of what I saw inside aside from the royal coronation room which looks grand and luxurious.
More random photo, this one is to show this camera's reproduction of the color blue. Very nice.
Testing the camera's near object focus and it focuses well. This is not considered a macro shot yet.
I was sweating a whole lot by this time. Kuala Terengganu is very hot nowadays. I don't think that Johor is ever this hot.
This is comparable to summer in Egypt. I'm getting dehydrated quick.
Chinatown, another place to visit here. I was laughed at when I refer to this place as Chinatown though. Locals call this place as Kampung Cina which directly translates to Chinese Village.
A cone of ice cream is nice on this very sunny day. Costs me just RM 1.50. When I was in Cambodia a person said to me that aside from working in factories, another job that can land them the most money is to sell homemade ice creams like this.
The seller here is a Malay though, not a Khmer. Just something I thought is interesting to share. The ice cream was delicious.
Another bokeh, or out of focus shot that this camera is very capable of. At an aperture of F/1.8 at the wide end, it should be. Portraits and macros should look nice taken with this camera.
The famous Crystal Mosque, made out of glass, steel and crystal.
A similar shot, but this time with the camera's lens fully zoomed in. The camera has an equivalent zoom of 24 mm - 100 mm. Coming from a prime lens camera, I oftentimes forgot that I can zoom in and out with this.
24 mm is a good enough wide angle focal length, though 20 mm would have been a sweet spot but alas.
Taken on the wide end. When looking at zoom capable cameras, like this 24 mm - 100 mm, remember that the smallest number, in this case 24 mm is the wide end, whilst 100 mm is what we start to call the telephoto end.
So at the wide end, this photo is taken at the 24 mm focal length.
This camera is also capable of face detection. Normally it functions better whend set to "Portrait Mode". What it does is it will automatically crop the picture and focuses more on the face, like a portrait shot.
Another one. This is inside the mosque. It is a lot smaller than what I thought it would be. Most people will say the same thing too.
The cropping will be set to landscape or portrait orientation depending on the photo. They will still save the original picture though so no worries.
Taken on the telephoto end (100 mm). The lady right here is making Keropok Lekor, a traditional dish made out of fish and starch.
This is one of the most famous shop around the area. Look at the line.
Kampung Losong is an area famous for its Keropok Lekor. There's a street where they sell this and an assortment of fish related products. Everyone should try it.
I have been shooting with this non-stop for half a day now and I like this camera a lot.
The small and pocketable size makes it easy for me to store it in my pants. It is also very very light and I often mistaken this camera for my phone when I take it from my pocket. It is that light.
This one is taken with the "Watercolor Filter" effect on. Not something thatI'll use everyday but I think people will love playing with it.
This one is set to "Pastel Filter" I think? My memory is getting hazy. There's a huge amount of creative options that I can't seem to remember it all.
A low light food shot, taken handheld. This camera is incredible. There's also "Food Mode" for all you foodies out there.
I did not record any videos with this from the time that I had spent with it but reading and watching videos online, I'd say the camera does a pretty good job. A plus that most reviewers say is that the camera is able to focus manually when video recording.
Speaking of manual focusing I hadn't had a chance to try it as well. But focus peaking is here which is a big bonus. Focus peaking is such a revelation that rival companies such as Fuji and Olympus had started to implement it in their newer camera bodies.
What it does is that it color profiles the area which you are focusing for a more accurate area of focus.
But let's be honest, most people who get this won't shoot manually.
I like this effect, called "Miniature Filter". It makes the photo looks like an assortment of mini models and houses that you often see at a propery exhibition.
A macro shot. I tried to get closer but the firefly just flew away. Even this is hard to capture since the insect won't stay still.
For those that want to learn photography, this camera is a great starting point. I do not recommend a DSLR since it is too bulky to carry around. Most people doesn't even bother to buy new lenses anyway so it is better to invest in something that is of good quality all around.
Is the camera worth the money? Well since a successor to this model dubbed the RX100 Mark II has been released I'd say go with the newer model if you have the money. The added WiFi functionality and a flip screen on the newer model is a major plus point.
Value wise, and image quality wise, the RX100 is in my honest opinion the perfect everyday to use camera. Hands down it is a camera that most people will consider more than good enough.
Will I buy it? No I won't since I have my Fuji but if people asked me the best camera that they can buy I'd say invest on this, you won't be dissappointed.
I used to recommend to people those mirrorless camera models such as the Panasonic GF and Sony's NEX series, but at the end of the day I realised that people would just like to turn their camera on and snap great photos. Changing lenses are not their priority at all.
But like I said earlier on, forget Superior Auto or Intelligent Auto. Normal auto mode is the way to go.
Battery can easily handle a day of normal shooting. I think I got around 300 - 350
shots before the battery bar turns to red.
This is not a cheap camera. It retails at a little over RM2000.
Just recently Sony announced the QX series of lenses for mobile phones. It is not just for Sony mobile phones but other Android and iOS phones as well. The QX100 is essentially a miniature RX100, same sensor thus same image quality.
Perfect for capturing those memorable moments on the go.
I returned back the camera to my cousin after 4 days of use. I missed it a lot, and my suddenly camera feels a lot more heavier now.
This is the perfect camera for the masses. I highly recommend it.
+ Amazing image quality.
+ Good built quality and feel.
+ The small size, it just fits inside the pocket.
+ An array of features and filters and art options, which makes it fun to use.
+ Battery can last for a day worth of casual shooting (300 - 350 shots)
+ Fun to use.
+ The very fun and clever usage of the focusing ring.
- The very steep price, retails at RM2199.
- Slow autofocus in lowlight, in daylight the focusing speed is quite respectable.
- Superior Auto and Intelligent Auto. I hated them.
- Only one function button.
- Sometimes the in-engine processing for images is slow. More obvious when the mode dial is set on Superior Auto.