Sony Cyber-shot RX100 - A Compact Dream

Launch SRP: S$999

Image Quality and Performance

Image Quality and Performance

Digital compacts have always been known more for the convenience they offer rather than their image quality. After all, there's only so much quality you can squeeze out of an image sensor that's less than an inch-large. And even though the RX100 may have a larger sensor compared to the rest, a large sensor isn't the only major factor that produces good image quality. Optics and processing engine also play a part. In this regard the RX100's lens may not seem physically much larger than the standard point-and-shoots out there, and despite being able to shoot at f/1.8, the question is, will the optics on the RX100 be able to take advantage of its 20.2 megapixels?

The F1.8 lens allows for some creamy background blurriness, something the average point-and-shoot will never accomplish

Among the various digital compacts we have handled, the RX100 produced one of the best looking images right out of the camera. Images displayed good color saturation without looking too garish, and the ability to get good background blur (or bokeh as photography enthusiasts call it) with its F1.8 lens makes it much more useful in terms of creative shooting than your average point-and-shoot. If you have been using DSLRs or mirrorless system cameras, you will be surprised by how quick and agile the autofocus on the RX100 is. We found it to be consistent and reliable, and locking on to our subjects was a fast affair.

The RX100 also manages to capitalize on its 20.2-megapixel sensor as images retained loads of detail. If you're not shooting with a shallow depth-of-field, the RX100 is able to deliver images full of detail at the higher aperture settings. Despite technically being a digital compact camera, the RX100 fared very well in our resolution test, scoring a very impressive 2400LPH (vertical) and 2600LPH (horizontal). So if you're very particular about details and resolution, then rest assured that the RX100 will definitely perform well in this aspect.

Almost every digital camera out there now is able to shoot video, and the RX is not left out of this trend. Able to shoot at 1920 x 1080 pixels with stereo sound, we do caution you to remember to be careful about where you place your fingers as the microphone is located on the top plate of the camera.

Due to its large sensor, the RX100 excels at low-light shooting. Noise doesn’t show up until ISO800, and even then there’s a fair bit of details left in the images. Naturally, noise gets more prevalent and details get lost as you bump the ISO settings higher. At ISO1600, details start to smudge, but if you don't intend to view images at 100%, then the level of noise is still acceptable. Too much detail loss occurs at ISO3200 and there's also a substantial amount of noise present. If you're uploading images to the Web, then you can probably afford to go as high as ISO1600 if you're in a pinch. Noise is still well-controlled at that ISO Setting. But if you're pixel-peeping or are going to upload zoomed-in images, we recommend sticking to ISO800 as too much detail is lost shooting at anything above that ISO setting.

At 50% crop, ISO1600. There's still a fair bit of detail retained. So for web use, you can go as high as ISO 1600 even.

Here's the entire image shot at IS1600. If you don't pixel peep or zoom too much into the image, it's still acceptable in terms of detail and noise.

Notice the figures on the power box are still discernible at ISO800 and 100% crop

At ISO1600 and 100% crop, the numbers start to smudge and noise is increased

Too much detail is lost to be of much use at ISO3200 if you're going to view images at 100% crop

The Good
Good image quality with lots of detail
Good low-light performance for a digital compact
Speedy autofocus
Fast F1.8 lens
The Bad
Battery can only be charged in-camera
Slower at f/4.9 at longest end

Obsessed with technology?
Subscribe to the latest tech news as well as exciting promotions from us and our partners!
By subscribing, you indicate that you have read & understood the SPH's Privacy Policy and PDPA Statement.