The Sony RX100 is the first real premium compact camera from the brand. Has it been worth the wait? Find out in the What Digital Camera Sony RX100 review.
Sony Cyber-shot RX100 review – Image Quality
Tone and Exposure
The RX100 offers a choice of either Multi, Centre-weighted or Spot metering modes. In Multi, exposures from the RX100 were very good – well exposed under a range of lighting conditions. They’ll be the odd times when you’ll have to dial in a very small amount of exposure compensation, but only 0.3-0.7 of a stop.
Also featured on the RX100 is Auto HDR, with an Auto option and 6 selectable modes – three shots are captured with a single press of the shutter, which are then merged together for a final shot with broader dynamic range.
There is also Sony’s D-Range Optimizer with an Auto mode and 5 selectable levels and produces a more natural looking result than Auto HDR, with in-camera processing applied to a single image to improve detail in both the shadow and highlights.
White Balance and Colour
The Auto White Balance of the RX100 delivered nice, consistently neutral results, while there’s a host of presets to choose from as well: Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent: Warm White, Fluorescent: Cool White, Fluorescent: Day White, Fluorescent: Daylight, Flash, Colour Temp/Filter and Custom.
There are also a host of Creative Styles to choose from as well to boost on tone down saturation: Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset and Black & White.
Sharpness and Detail
The level of detail from this 3:2 aspect ratio 20.2MP 1in sensor is impressive for a camera of this class, with quite a noticeable difference in image quality over the competition – if you’re after images with even greater detail from a compact, then the only thing to really beat it is the Fujifilm X100 or Canon PowerShot G1X.
The 28-100mm is sharp through the range, with both vignetting and barrel distortion kept well under control. While we’d have like to have seen a slightly faster maximum aperture than f/4.9 at the long end, the ability to shoot wide-open at f/1.8 at 28mm means shallow depth-of-field shots are possible.
The RX100 has a broad ISO range, ranging from 80-6400 in standard form before in-camera processing is applied above that.
At the low end of the ISO range, results are nice and smooth with bags of detail and it’s only when you go above ISO 800 that image noise really becomes noticeable. Even at ISO 6400, and while the colours are a touch more muted, results are still good and very good for a compact camera – image noise control has been applied, but results don’t look too waxy, while there’s still a decent amount of detail on offer.
The movie mode of the RX100 is quickly accessible via the mode dial and there’s the choice of recording in AVCHD (1920×1080 @ 50p) or MP4 (1440×1080 @ 25fps) formats depending on whether you want to simply view footage on another device easily or quickly to edit it. Footage is good, while there’s a stereo microphone for sound.