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First Impressions: Sony RX100

by Peter Walkowiak on 08/28/2012

 

Now I am going to struggle a bit keeping this initial report on the camera short. The reason why I have to restrain myself is just the fact that this camera is just so, so good; I’m sure you have already heard that though. I wanted to wait for the review because I wanted to spend some real quality time with the camera. I didn’t want to rush across the street, take some photos of some trees and then write a review based on my “thorough” usage.

My final night with the camera was spent with me wandering the streets of Hollywood Los Angeles and staying up all night with the camera shooting scenes as I found them. I have a lot of positive things to say about the greatest point / shoot camera of all time but I’m not going to let the camera walk away without me telling it how I really feel. A camera like this shouldn’t live off of just praise but it should learn from its few shortcomings.

Okay, okay, you twisted my arm; I’ll tell you that the image above was shot at ISO 1,000, you can find a full resolution file here on my server. When viewing the file I cant see any noise looking at the full image on my 27″ display and of course you will when you peep. With this ladies and gents I would like to introduce the future of small digital cameras, this camera sets the curve.

RX100 HDR Mode

The image above is a sample from the Auto HDR mode on the Sony RX100 and it is also a full resolution file. I loved the Auto HDR feature of the camera and I found it to have great natural looking results. Just to let you know when shooting HDR images the camera also saves a single non HDR image alongside, this is a nice touch that I wished my Nikon would do.

As I promised myself I’m not going to discuss every feature but while on the topic of HDR I must mention a frustrating issue with the camera. Lets say you are shooting RAW + JPG and you would like to take a HDR photo. One simply cannot take a photo when in this mode but one would have to change the camera settings to just JPG and then a picture can be taken. It makes pulls my hair out and it’s just a sign that this camera was designed with everyone in mind, not just professionals. I would prefer that the camera saves the RAW and saves a HDR version of the JPG. A big complaint no but these little nuisances add up.

RX100 Sweep Panorama

I wont lie to you when I say that the sole reason why I want a Sony camera is the fact they have Sweep Panorama. The feature is such a treat to use and it does a killer job. With my Nikon I would always take the series of photos with the intent to stitch them later but I never have… even once. This feature on the Sony point / shoot cameras is in my opinion just for memories, the files that I have seen come out very soft and I was worried about how these would come out. In my opinion the quality is between the small digital cameras and their APS-C cameras although I would say its closer to the NEX series than the A77.

RX100 at ISO 3200

The high ISO is good and this claim is easy to back up. Above is an image shot at ISO 3200 and the High Contrast picture style (with the lowest noise reduction set in camera). I actually shot this same exact image side by side with a Sony A77 user and from our limited pixel peeping we couldn’t tell the difference.

Shocked? Well you should be. This camera has better high ISO than cameras we were using just a few years ago (or maybe you are still using an old camera and currently giving it the death stare). It’s a big deal and I will probably keep repeating myself until its engrained into your brain!

Full Image

100% Crop of the Above Image

For those of you who are anti link clickers here is a 100% crop because lets face it this is what we came here for! There is no processing on the image so I’m sure an image could always be sharper but it isn’t needed here.

What do you think? What do you want to see or read in the upcoming review? Let me know and if its possible I’ll make sure its mentioned in the full review! Stay tuned!

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