Reasons Not Rush to buy RX100

Started Jun 22, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Cy Cheze
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Reasons Not Rush to buy RX100
Jun 22, 2012

A pocket camera with a 1" sensor and a f/1.7 aperture seems like a compelling combination, but I've resolved not to pre-order. In fact, I'll wait plenty long, until the hype wears off and sober judgment prevails.

Reasons:

1) Price: $650 is a lot to pay for an unseen camera, especially if it might be available for less in a few months.

2) Bad timing: mid July "availability" is possible but not certain. People who have waited for delivery of hot new cameras know that actual delivery might take additional weeks. Supplemental batteries might not be in stock at all. July and August vacation plans should not take for granted that the RX100 will arrive in time, and it makes no sense to plow $650 in discretionary money for boy toys that might better be splurged on things others in the household might enjoy. There could be a Venus vs Mars rebellion if the credit card bill arrived with a $650+ charge for what is, to the lay person, ostensibly just another P&S, but with less zoom.

3) Dust: a fair share of Sony pocket cams are prone to sensor dust. They are fixed lens devices, but not sealed to dust. Any extensive portage in a pocket means exposure to lint and other junk that winnows its way into the collapsible lens fittings, and electrostatic forces seeem to draw particles to the sensor. At least, this is what befell P93 and HX5 models I owned. Dust removal is no fun with cameras not designed to be dissected by the buyer, and to open the camera can actually increase the amount of ambient dust that ends up inside. It will be months before anyone uses an RX100 long enough, or totes it enough time in a pocket, before anyone will know if it is vulnerable to dust or not. Dust specks on photos are bad enough; specks on video are almost impossible to remedy. A hasty purchase might serve nothing.

4) Video Mode may not be especially distinctive. Being so small, and lacking a rubberized grip, the video is apt to be just as shakey as that captured with cheaper small sensor cameras with the same stabilizers. The microphones will be prone to wind, handling noise, and maybe AF racket. The video and audio won't be any worse, but not ostensibly better than what one gets with an HX9V or a ZS20.

5) Troubles with the intelligent auto mode and flash of an HX7V. After six months, the flash ceased to work (though seldom used), the IA mode failed too, and the LCD flashes a 99 error message perpetually. The thing works in other modes, but the flash cannot revive, despite attempts to reset to default settings, etc. The mere fact that the RX100 costs more offers no reassurance that the circuitry or processors are any less vulnerable.

6) Low light results may be better, but this is the brightest time of year in the north hemisphere, so why rush?

7) Obsolescence: it would not surprise me if Sony later announces an RX200 that, using a sensor crop trick, offers more effective optical zoom than the RX100, whose stills one can crop, but whose video degrades if you zoom digitally beyond the modest focal length That would be easy to introduce and make it a great travel zoom without any need to be larger. It may also include GPS, which does not matter a lot, since the feature is very pokey or faulty on many cameras.

8) The a99. No, it won't appear before September either, but it will be interesting to learn the specs, when announced. If it costs $4k, I don't want to pre-commit $650 to a camera I'm worried could end up quickly disabled or obsolete in one way or another.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX7V Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V Sony RX100 Sony SLT-A99
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