RX100 M1 vs Xperia XA2 dog fight !

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Rambow Contributing Member • Posts: 810
RX100 M1 vs Xperia XA2 dog fight !

Somebody has recently told me that we live in "the smartphone era" and that he doesn`t enjoy smartphone bashing, despite this being the sony cybershot forum and stuff. But hey, who i am i to contradict popular opinion? Hence this topic.

Today we are comparing a 2012 sony cybershot RX100 camera and a midrange sony xperia XA2 smartphone from 2018. Both machines are updated to the latest firmware, 1.1 for the rx100 and android 9.0 for the xperia. This is a fair and balanced comparison, both cameras are similarly priced, have fast lens(f1.8 vs 2.0) and a similar resolution(20 mpx vs 24). RX100 has a 1 inch sensor, but the Xperia has Computational Powers(not sure if that is the official name for it). For this test i have used P mode on the rx100 like usual and the default Auto mode on the XA2(in manual mode the default camera app loses the existing presets every time i reopen it, which was impractical).

First thing is first. Size and weight. The RX100 is a thick camera and weights 100 grams more than the xa2. The xperia is a slender and slippery device, and is taller and wider than the camera. Both have a shutter button. The experia screen is 5.2 inch versus the rx100`s 3 inch, but note that the rx100 screen is slightly brighter at maximum brightness.

XA2 screen at full brightness

RX100 is smaller but chunkier and has a brighter screen

I have noticed that the 24 megapixel files coming from the XA2 are roughly twice as large than the 20 megapixel files produced by default by the rx100. This is pretty annoying and not something i can change on the XA2.



The Xperia phone does not have IS or optical zoom, but it has digital stabilisation useful in video mode. These following samples were taken using full digital zoom on the XA2 and full optical+ 2X smartzoom on the rx100:

One annoying aspect when using the camera app of the XA2 is that some setting reset every time you activate the camera, such as the WB preset. The menu system on the rx100 is not pleasant to use either, but having access to two custom buttons and a dial does make a difference. I prefer having minimal physical control of the camera.

AF is generally fast on both devices, however the XA2 has trouble focusing on close objects and is also less precise than on the rx100.

Next is the low light test. Both devices were set to use iso 3200:

Flash photopgrahy. Both devices have decent flashes, however the rx100 flash is much stronger than the one on the xperia. On the plus side, the XA2 flash doubles as a very bright led flashlight, which is good.

VIDEO. Both devices failed the video test. The rx100 refused to shoot 1080p video because the installed memory card was too slow, while the XA2 indicated an error and shut the camera app. After restarting it i managed to shoot a 10 second clip, which apparently has dissapeared from the internal memory by the time i got home.

As a general rule, both the rx100 and the xa2 shoot good quality 1080p at 60 frames pers second. The XA2 can also shoot 4K, but the clips are short because the phone overheats fast, the digital stabilisation is much less efective and the quality of 4K clips are basically identical to 1080p ones, which makes the whole 4K capability useless.

The rx100 clips are more detailed and benefit from having optical zoom. The rx100 can also sit on a table by itself and can easily be installed on a tripod, while the xa2 needs a special adapter.

Final thoughts. Despite having a number of shortcomings, the Xperia XA2 has one distinct advantage over any rx100 camera- despite not being a weatherproof model, xperia phones can handle operation in light rain or sub zero temperatures without any problem, whereas the dedicated camera tends to malfunction in these adverse conditions.

The rx100 has a removable battery, the xa2 has a built in battery.

The xa2 has LTE internet and a gps, the rx100 doesn`t even have bluetooth.

Both the rx100 and the XA2 are slippery, however the thick body of the camera helps a lot with one handed operation.

During this test i have used the flight mode on the XA2 phone. Normally i don`t even bother bringing my phone along with me when i go outside for a walk, but the thought of having someone call me while i take pictures is unbereable, so i had to turn off all antennas. This also comes with the benefit of saving battery power.

I will leave the final conclusions of this test to you, so that i won`t appear as being too biased.

 Rambow's gear list:Rambow's gear list
Sony Mavica FD-71
Fujifilm X-A2 Sony RX100
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