New RX100, first thoughts

Started Jul 31, 2012 | Discussions thread
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ManuH
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New RX100, first thoughts
Jul 31, 2012

I did my first outing today with my shiny new RX100. I'm mostly a DSLR user (K-5 and lot of glass) but I wanted a good small pocket camera when I'm out with the kids.

Build quality is good but nothing better than the excellent Samsung TL500/EX1.

The speed of operation is quite good. Buffering works well enough that I rarely wait for the next shot. AF is fast, though not as fast as say a Panasonic GH2. It's also annoyingly prefocusing all the time and the lens has a lot of breathing (meaning the effective FOV changes with focus). There's maybe a setting to avoid this prefocusing? OTOH there are some neat features with the AF tracking that allows you to focus and recompose and making sure the focus is on the correct subject. AF accuracy is good but not perfect, I missed a few shots for no reason. So AF is a bit of a mixed bag.

Video is good but there few options for controlling fps. I wished for a 30p but instead it's a truly horrible 60i (come on, interlaced is so last century). A 24p and 25p would be also nice, especially when shooting with multiple cameras. 60p is the recommend setting here, great quality.

I tried to shoot jpeg as LR doesn't yet support the RX100 raws. JPEG are OK, DRO works rather well but a lot of time when looking at 100% you get this mushy P&S look. Not on all pictures though, I don't know why. Even at ISO 125 you could get it. I was set on NR normal and Sharpness +1 and natural mode. Nothing more. Sharpness +1 is too much I think, it has a harsh look so I don't recommend it. 20 megapixels bring a LOT of details, at least in the center, extreme borders are somewhat softer (but usable). I'm really waiting for LR support to see what the camera is really capable of. Even in jpeg the high ISO is stunning for such a small sensor.

The UI is mostly OK and most of the time much better than the Samsung EX1 which I also have. But it's not as good as a DSLR like the Pentax. There's only one thing that really annoys me is the flash control. For fill flash you have to go through a menu. And while I like fill flash for portrait in daylight, I don't want it (obviously) when shooting a wider vista. The only way I found is to push the flash in its place after half-pressing the shutter button. It works but it's a bit weird and I much prefer camera with a flash release button.

I tried sweep Panorama (it's my first Sony). It works really well but it doesn't keep the full resolution of the shots so it makes it a bit useless in the end for "serious" shots. NR on multiple frames is also interesting and seems to works quite well.

The DOF is much shorter than most P&S, you have to be careful because OOF will happen much more often than on a regular P&S (1/2.33" sensor). It's also really easy to blur the background with the RX100 and in a pleasing way : not too much but just enough to separate the subject from the background while still allowing to recognize the "context" (I'm not fond of middle ground blur where the background is OOF but not enough to remove clutter and too much to recognize anything).

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 Sony RX100
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