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Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX100 - Review

Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX100 - An Imaging Device for Professionals - Put it in Your Pocket & Carry With You for Dream Photography.

Source: PC Magazine
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 is the point and shoot camera that many Professional's dreamed of. With a large image sensor its 3.6x zoom lens opens up to f/1.8 on the wide end, and it can slide into your back pocket easily to carry everywhere you go. The 20 megapixel RX100 picture quality superb that can justifies its cost.

Structure - Features & Design

Measuring 2.4 by 4 by 1.4 inches (HWD) and weighing 8.5 ounces, the RX100 is only slightly larger than the Canon PowerShot S100. This is impressive considering that the S100's image sensor is a mere 1/1.7 inches in size, the RX100's 1 inch sensor boasts more than 2.5 times the surface area. Though the lens is fast and the sensor large enough to create a nice out of focus blur behind subjects, you shouldn't expect the RX100 to produce images that are quite as good as those from a D-SLR camera; they are better than you'd expect from a point and shoot camera, but you are still sacrificing some image quality for portability.
The lens is a 3.6x zoom (due to its compact size), covering a 328-100mm (35mm equivalent) field of view. It opens up to f/1.8 at its widest, narrows to f/3.2 by 50mm, and closes down at f/4.9 at its extreme. One of the weak points of the RX100 is its lack of any sort of eye level viewfinder. There's no accessory pot to add one, nor is there a hot shoe. What you'll use to frame and review images is the rear LCD. At 3 inches, it features a staggering  1,1229k-dot resolution, about a third more than a competing 921k-dot displays. Sony has added white pixels in addition to the standard red, green, and blue, resulting in an LCD that is brilliant even when viewed in bright sunlight.
Controls will satisfy the demands of serious shooters, but aren't perfect. Save for the shutter release, zoom rocker, Mod dial, Menu, Playback, On/Off. Display, EV Compensation, and Help buttons, the RX100's physical controls are largely customizable. The front and rear control wheels are a bit quirky when you're adjusting ISO, you need to move the wheel to the left to increase the sensitivity and to the right to reduce it, the opposite of the wheel's usual behavior, but the control system is otherwise well designed.
The Camera's flash hides inside the body when not in use, popping up at the half press of the shutter button once it's been enabled. It sits on a hinged neck, which makes it possible to tilt it back with your left index finger and to bounce light off of a ceiling. It's not powerful enough to act in this capacity in, say, a ballroom, but for snaps around the house using this method will help to soften the light. Of course, there's also Flash Compensation available, so you can reduce the power output to provide just a little bit of fill when you're not using it as a bounce flash.

Performance & Actions

The RX100 is a little slow to start up, but is otherwise a speed demon, there's virtually no shutter lag thanks to quick, accurate autofocus. When shooting JPEGs in its Speed Priority mode it can capture a burst of ten shots in a second, although if you're shooting in Raw the camera takes 2 seconds for the same ten shot burst.
As measured by Imatest, the RX100's lens helped it deliver highly sharp shots through the entirety of its zoom range with, at most, 0.2 percent pincushion distortion. Noise is also not an issue, it stays below 1.5  percent through the camera's top ISO of 6400. JPEGs look excellent through ISO 800, very good at 1600, and pretty good at 3200; comparing Raw and JPEG files side by side, there's very little evidence of noise reduction in the JPEGs at the top ISO settings.
Video is recorded in AVCHD format at 1080p60 or 1080i60 resolution. The lens zooms in and out quietly while recording, and the focus keeps details clear and sharp.
The micro USB port doubles as a charging mechanism for the battery, and there's a micro HDMI port for connecting to an HDTV. In addition to SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards, Sony also supports its own proprietary formats.
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 doesn't have the largest sensor of all zooming point and shoots, but it focuses fast, is consistently sharp, and can capture images with a shallow depth of field. You won't find better photos forma a camera that fits in your pocket.
(by: Jim Fisher)

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