Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX100 In-Depth Review
Video is one of the RX100's real strengths - coming, as it does, from a company that has been pushing the boundaries of what you can expect from video capture in consumer-grade cameras. Would-be film makers won't be blown away by the bitrate of the footage, but for all but the most demanding user, the specifications are very good. Video can be captured in 1080p60 or 1080i60, with a choice of P,A,S or M exposure modes.
The camera gives you the choice of continuous AF or manual focus when recording movies and allows you to zoom as you shoot. The camera's SteadyShot image stabilization is also available while shooting, meaning that you can get away without a tripod, if you don't mind a bit of drift and sway. There are two modes - Standard and Active - which compensate for different amounts of motion. Standard mode will happily compensate for a little hand-shake, while Active mode will also try to tackle larger amplitude movements, such as walking. Doing so crops the video footage in slightly, to give the camera more area to take the footage from.
|The shooting display in video mode is essentially the same as in stills - note the indication of the front dial for focus. This is where the stepless dial comes into its own, especially when combined with the 'Peaking' focus aid view.|
There's also the option, when you're shooting interlaced video, to capture 17MP stills (full-resolution 16:9 images) without interrupting your footage. Add to this the 'focus peaking' focus aid that Sony has included in its Alpha cameras and you have a very capable video device. The only thing really missing is an external mic input but, this aside, this is the best video spec in its class.
• 1920 x 1080p 60 fps
• 1920 x 1080i 60fps
• 1920 x 1080i 60fps
• 1440 x 1080 @ 30fps
• 640 x 480 @ 30fps
*All frame rates are for North American units - cameras sold in Europe offer similar specifications but with 50/25 fps frame rates.
|Audio Recording||• Linear PCM (Stereo)|
• AVCHD [H.264 + Linear PCM (Stereo)]
|Max recording time|| • Full HD & HD: Up to 4 GB or 29 min. 59 sec.
• L and M: Up to 4 GB or 1 hour
|Image stabilization|| • Lens-shift type (Active and Standard modes)
• Active mode offers stabilization for greater range of motion but uses a cropped region of the video
Video quality and operation
The RX100's video is very impressive, especially when you remember you're working with such a small camera. As with stills, it doesn't offer much control over depth-of-field, but the lens range is pretty flexible and there's plenty of manual control. The footage itself is clear and detailed, especially in 1080p mode. The interlaced video is also very good but could prove a little trickier to work with. Because it's captured as true interlaced footage (each field is captured 1/60th of a second apart, rather than both being captured together, 30 times a second, as most cameras do), it gives a smoother impression of motion it's a little harder to de-interlace if you want to play it back on a computer.
The RX100 will attempt to use digital zoom, when you reach the full extent of the lens' reach, but we'd strongly advise against it. Not only does the image quality suffer dramatically, but the rate of zooming also changes. As a result, you risk having a video that zooms in slowly, stops as the optical zoom is exhausted, then starts zooming much faster, with the picture suddenly becoming blurry. it's hard to imagine a scenario in which this won't look terrible and it's a shame that the option can't be switched off.
In operation, the RX100 offers a good degree of control. It can autofocus but the best results are achieved by manual focusing. If you're willing to do this, the RX100 provides two key tools for doing so: focus peaking (which highlights high-contrast/in-focus regions, to guide your focusing) and the large, smooth control ring for manual focusing. While the lack of click positions is to the camera's detriment in stills shooting, it's a definite bonus for video shooting.
Sadly, the RX100 inherits the rather frustrating playback quirks from other Sony models - movie playback is separated from stills playback (and MP4s from AVCHD clips), and it insists on playing one clip after another. This makes reviewing your movie clips or trying to delete unwanted ones much more confusing and time-consuming than it should be. And, while one of these irritations stems from the need to file MP4 and AVCHD footage in separate folders on the memory card, the continuous playback is purely Sony's choice.
Sample video 1
This is an example of the RX100's 1080i60 footage in the lower of its two bitrates (17Mb/s). As you can see, it conveys motions smoothly and convincingly.
|1920 x 1080i 60fps, 28.3MB, MTS, 15 sec. Click here to download original file|
Sample video 2
This video shows the effect of digital zoom (~400mm equivalent) on the RX100's video footage. Again shot in the 1080i60 mode at 17Mb/s the quality is drastically lower than the camera is capable of. We'd strongly recommend avoiding the use of digital zoom when shooting videos.
|1920 x 1080i 60fps, 29.6MB, MTS, 15 sec. Click here to download original file|
Sample video 3
In this sample, shot towards the wide end of the RX100's zoom, the camera is set to 1080p60 mode and is shot with SteadyShot set to Active mode and shot without a tripod or support. As you can see - while it's not perfectly steady, it's certainly stable enough for capturing your own clips, without any problematic IS/rolling shutter interaction.
|1920 x 1080p 60fps, 123.1MB, MTS, 39 sec. Click here to download original file|
Sample video 4
This is an example of the RX100's 1080p60 footage, featuring a fairly fast-moving subject.
|1920 x 1080p 60fps, 62.3MB, MTS, 20 sec. Click here to download original file|
Aug 25, 2015
Nov 4, 2013
Sep 30, 2013
Jan 15, 2013
This simple photograph of a seahorse and Q-tip has taken the internet by storm. We spoke to photographer Justin Hofman about how it was captured, and what it means to him.
After a massive leak last week, Profoto has officially debuted the Profoto A1: the company's first on-camera flash system that they're calling "the world's smallest studio flash."
"When the first hyperfocal distance charts were designed, someone decided that an acceptably sharp background contained some blur — enough to notice in a medium-sized print [...] After that point, nearly every other hyperfocal chart followed suit."
The Canon EOS Rebel SL2 (also known as the EOS 200D) is the company's impressively compact entry-level DSLR. Packing a 24MP APS-C sensor, DIGIC 7 processor and Dual Pixel AF, it promises a lot of bang for the buck. And while not mind-blowing, it handles most tasks very well.
Correct these four common composition mistakes and your photos will be more balanced, tell a better story, and lead your viewer's eye where you want it to go.
The rugged, compact 360° action camera Kodak unveiled at Photokina in 2016, the Kodak PixPro Orbit 360, is finally available in the United States.
iOS 11 launches tomorrow, and it'll save all of your pictures in a new high efficiency image format called HEIC. Fortunately, there's now a converter that will let you turn those photos back into JPEGs.
Photo protection company ImageRights recently released a new service that lets non-subscribers take advantage of their streamlined copyright registration system that checks for errors and fills out all the required forms for you.
What's the difference between a $200 circular polarizing filter and a $100 circular polarizing filter? Roger Cicala at Lens Rentals put six different filters through a few tests to find out.
A flurry of leaks reveal that GoPro's upcoming Hero6 will shoot 4K at 60fps, 1080p at 240fps, will cost $500, and is scheduled for announcement/release on September 28th.
Before he became the iconic director whose name we've all heard, a teenage Stanley Kubrick struck up a business relationship with New York’s Look magazine. No surprise: he was an incredibly talented photographer.
WD's new G-Technology G-Drive mobile SSD R-Series is a portable solid state option for photographers who want the reliability of an SSD in a rugged water and dust-resistant package.
Fast, stabilized and affordable is an appealing combination when it comes to lenses. With its latest 24-70mm F2.8, Tamron aims to upgrade autofocus speed and stabilization. We've got a full gallery from this updated full-frame zoom.
Photographer Clay Cook tells the story of his most ambitious photographic dream and career goal coming true: photographing A-list actress Jennifer Lawrence.
In an interview with a Chinese website, Nikon Japan's Director of Development dropped a bombshell, saying that a Nikon mirrorless camera "must be full-frame."
Here's a side-by-side spec comparison of two flagship devices with particular attention to the things that really matter – at least to people who prioritize photography features.
A month and a half after revealing the finalists of the 2017 EyeEm Awards, the photo sharing community and licensing marketplace has finally revealed the winners.
Photographer Josselin Cornou tells the breathtaking story behind two beautiful photos captured while snorkeling with humpback whales in Tonga.
The Sony RX10 IV is a fixed lens camera with a 1"-type sensor and 24-600mm equivalent lens that can shoot 4K video or stills at 24 fps, but that's not what we think is interesting about it. The addition of phase detection autofocus is pivotal to all those features.
The announcement date is set! Google will reveal their next generation Pixel phones—their response to Apple's shiny new iPhone X—on October 4th. Let the smartphone camera wars begin.
Sony just debuted three palm-style 4K camcorders that steal a bit of speedy phase detect autofocus technology from the company's RX10 IV. In fact, they kind of improve on it.
Earlier today, NASA's Cassini spacecraft plunged into Saturn's atmosphere, ending a 20 year long mission. Here are 21 of our favorite photographs captured by this incredible machine and its makers.
Fans of film photography should keep an eye out for the widespread theatrical release of Kodachrome, a movie staring Jason Sudeikis about the final days of the iconic film stock.
Photographer Manny Ortiz breaks down the pros and cons of shooting natural light vs off-camera flash, and explains why he chooses to shoot one, the other, or both in any given situation.
A leaked product page and a bunch of leaked photos shows Profoto is preparing to release its first ever speedlight: the Profoto A1 Air TTL
The Yashica camera brand disappeared in 2003, but a new teaser video and website hint at a comeback. Excited?
Western Digital just debuted a new, higher capacity WD Gold internal hard drive. The new drive offers 12TB of storage and class-leading reliability to the tune of a 550TB/year workload rating.
The new Godox XPRO-C is an affordable, highly capable flash trigger for Canon users that boasts a lot of useful features at a very reasonable price.
Tamron is working on a lightweight, durable and compact 100-400mm tele-zoom lens that will be available for Canon and Nikon cameras by the end of the year.
The Nikon D850 promises equal parts resolution and speed. On a trip to Bend, Oregon, we had the chance to try it out with fashion, sports, landscapes, and more. Check out our updated sample gallery to see how it fared.