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?
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.