Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX100 In-Depth Review
The RX100 is built around the interface Sony has been using on its SLR and SLT cameras for some time. This is a good place to start because, while its isn't necessarily the very best on the market, it's not at all bad. And, more importantly, it has been developed with high levels of user interaction in mind. The RX100 features the iAuto and Superior Auto modes that appear in all its other cameras, meaning it's a very capable creature even in Auto mode, but it also offers a good amount of direct control.
The control dials on the back of the camera and around the lens are the primary control points, with four other core functions assigned to the cardinal points on the four-way controller. Pressing the 'DISP' button cycles through display options, including a live histogram and a very useful dual-axis electronic level gauge.
However, it's the RX100's Fn menu that stands out in this class. The camera allows you to select up to seven options from the table below, in any order you wish, which appear ranged across the bottom of the screen when you hit the Fn button. This allows quick access to exactly the settings you regularly find yourself changing.
Up to 7 functions can be assigned to the RX100's rear Fn button through the main menu system. Once assigned, these functions appear in a simple left-right sub-menu when Fn is pressed, and the active option can be adjusted using the camera's rear control dial.
|Functions can be assigned to the Fn button via the 'Function Button' option in the custom settings section of the RX100's menu. Once assigned, pressing the Fn button brings up a quick menu, in effect, consisting only of the assigned options (right). These can be scrolled through using the left/right controls on the rear 4-way controller and sub-options selected using the rear control dial.|
Functions that can be assigned to Fn button:
| • Exposure Compensation
• Focus Mode
• Autofocus Area
• Drive Mode
• Metering Mode
• Flash Mode
• Flash Compensation
• White Balance
| • DRO/Auto HDR
• Creative Style
• Picture Effect
• Soft Skin Effect
• Image Size
• Smile/Face Detection
• Aspect Ratio
• Not Set (no function assigned)
A similar range of functions can be assigned to the left and downwards button of the four-way controller. In addition, these gain a 'Memory' and 'Auto Portrait Framing' options, plus the three functions that can be assigned to the central button:
- AEL Toggle
- AF/MF Control Toggle
- Focus Magnifier
Like the Canon PowerShot S100 to which it bears a passing resemblance, the RX100 features a slim control ring around its lens barrel. One of eight functions can be assigned to this ring if you over-ride the default setting, but unusually it rotates smoothly, with no detents.
This smooth rotation is perfect if you choose to assign it to being a lens zoom control, for example, but in our experience the absence of any tactile feedback as the ring is rotated can make changing more discrete options, like ISO and exposure compensation, a little disorienting. Interestingly, with the RX100 in manual focus mode, the control ring's function defaults to focus adjustment, overriding whatever option you might have assigned to it.
|The RX100 features a control ring around the lens barrel (highlighted here) which can be customized to serve one of eight functions, left at the default setting or disabled. The options include exposure compensation, lens zoom and ISO sensitivity selection. It rotates smoothly, with no 'click' detents.|
Functions that can be assigned to Control Ring
- Standard (the Sony-chosen setting, based on exposure mode)
- Exposure Compensation
- White Balance
- Creative Style
- Picture Effect
- Shutter Speed
- Not Set (no function assigned)
Like all recent Sony cameras, whether they be compacts, NEX mirrorless models or its SLR-like SLT series, the RX100 includes the company's Superior Auto mode (iAuto+). This not only makes use of the camera's many scene modes but will also use the multi-shot HDR and noise-reduction modes, if it thinks the scene requires it. So, despite the extensive level of user control, the RX100 can be used to point-and-shoot, too.
|If you'd prefer not to get too involved in fiddling about with the RX100's lengthy feature set, 'Superior Auto' mode is designed to recognise the shooting environment in which the camera is being used, and automatically set the appropriate shooting mode for you (beautiful Hawaiian sunset not guaranteed).|
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