Friday 24 August 2012

Sony RX100 - believe the hype

A few months ago there was a rumour that Sony were going to launch an enthusiast pocket camera that would be pocketable and yet have almost DSLR quality. Yeah, right I thought to myself, despite reading the rave reviews it was getting. I then saw some pictures that a friend had taken with one and could not believe that they were taken from a pocket camera. This camera was the Sony RX100.

I had a Panasonic GX1 and wasn't really getting on with it so I part exchanged it for a Sony RX100. Luckily I didn't have to add much and I am really glad I took the plunge.

The camera is quite small at 101.6 x 58.1 x 35.9 mm and weighs only 240g with memory card and battery inserted. I has a fantastic Carl Zeiss f1.8 lens, with a focal range of 28 - 100mm.

This is like a TARDIS as it has lots packed inside!

That f1.8 Carl Zeiss lens is gorgeous! 

It is unusual for a camera of this size as it packs a 20.2 mega pixel, one inch sensor which is huge for a compact camera of this size. I believe it is the same size as the sensor used in the interchangeable lens, Nikon J1.

It has all the manual controls one would want. Aperture priority, shutter priority, program mode as well as full manual. In addition there are two auto modes which as useful if you're feeling lazy or if you are new to photography, a panorama mode and movie mode. You can also shoot in RAW so you can play around with the files to your hearts content.

The LCD screen is wonderful and clear and useable in sunlight with 1.228 million dots. It has something called TFT TruBlack. Im not sure what this means but for my money the screen is better than any camera I've used.

With an f1.8 Carl Zeiss lens, low light performance is nothing short of excellent. The detail that this sensor renders is amazing. If you have a Mac and iPhoto you'll know that there is a zoom slider. When doing this on a picture taken with this camera, even zoomed in the detail is astonishing. All of the pictures below were taken as Jpegs with no editing of any kind.

Taken in very poor light at sunset.
The only light in this room was that created by the candles. I was deliberately trying to get bokeh.

The macro ability of this camera is excellent and it really is an all rounder. When zoomed in on my Mac you can see the hairs on the bee quite clearly. The Zeiss lens does a really good job of capturing super sharp detail.

Macro is great and look at the creamy bokeh.

The Sony RX100 also has lots of clever little in camera effects. The one below has everything in black and white apart from the blue of the sky.

This one creates a quite excellent diorama effect really well. There are many effects and functions to play around with, far too many to for me to write about.

The pictures below where taken from the top of Tower 42. It was quite a hazy, but the detail and sharpness is great. Dare I say it is better than my beloved Olympus Pen E-P3 and my old Canon 500D!

Shot to shot time is quick (even when shooting in raw), focusing is very fast indeed and it has the ability to shoot silently. When I say silently, I do mean absolutely no noise at all. This is great for discrete street photography. I managed to get 380 shots out of it and that was with me chimping at almost every shot, so battery life is good.

This is a great little camera and I can see myself using it for many year to come. If you are in the market for something small, lightweight but packing an incredible punch, this just might be the camera for you.  I really cannot be bothered with hulking DSLR's anymore and for once you really can believe the hype. This is THE best compact sized camera bar none and if if makes me think it actually has the edge over my Olympus Pen E-P3, it must be very good.

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