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|
|New Forest pony by Dutch Newchurch|
from Equines in 2018
|Leader of the pack by Wu Jiaqiu|
from My Best Photo of the Week
|Czech Crown by Tobik|
from Coins - Macro only
In Part 1 of his series on photographing Greenland in winter, landscape photographer Erez Marom shares the freezing details of his arrival on the town of Uummannaq where the temperature was -25°C. Still, he went out shooting.
SmugMug has acquired struggling photography site Flickr for an undisclosed sum, with CEO Don MacAskill promising to give the neglected photo sharing service 'the resources that it deserves'.
The APO-Makro-Plasmat 105mm F2.7 is Meyer Optik's latest Kickstarter lens revival, and it promises "natural sharpness, unbelievable color reproduction, and a glowing bokeh united at every step of the aperture" ... whatever that means.
The update also comes with "post-scan cloud processing," which allows you to render 3D models with 4K resolution textures for better detail and realism.
Chinese accessories brand Meike has announced it will introduce an 85mm F1.8 lens for Canon and Nikon full frame DSLRs that will feature autofocus. This will be the company’s first AF lens.
The World Photo Organization has finally revealed the overall winners for the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards, including the coveted Photographer of the Year, Open Photographer of the Year, Youth Photographer of the Year, and Student Photographer of the Year winners.
Venus Optics has unveiled four new lenses that will ship later this year: a wide-angle zoom for Sony FE, a circular fisheye for Micro Four Thirds, a wide-angle lens for the medium format Fujifilm GFX, and a 2x Ultra Macro for multiple full-frame mounts.
The One Backpack is a 5-in-1 modular backpack that can be used as a camera bag, work & gym pack, suit carry backpack, travel pack or tech-backpack.
This highly-specialized lens is perfect for sports, action and wildlife photography. Check out these first sample images for a taste of what it's capable of.
For KFC Hong Kong’s latest ad campaign, New York City-based advertising agency Ogilvy and Mather used Photoshop to magically morph pieces of flaky fried chicken into fire and smoke in various scenes.
The Android and iOS app from Surpuba AR lets you place animated 3D models in real-world environment using augmented reality technology. You can alter poses and location, insert lighting equipment, and more... right from your phone or tablet.
Under the agreement, the two companies will work together to develop Oppo's smartphone camera roadmap, covering optical zoom, depth mapping and other innovative imaging features that dual cameras allow.
Canon is jumping into the portable printing game with the new IVY Mini Photo Printer: a rechargeable battery-powered printer for creating 2x3 prints and stickers of your smartphone snaps on-the-go.
The program first launched last year, but only as a temporary promotion limited to previous-generation GoPro cameras exchanged for discounts on current-generation models. This time around, GoPro is accepting nearly any digital camera in any condition.
One of the most usable 360° cameras on the market is getting even better. With its latest update, Rylo adds a 180° mode, bluetooth remote capture, and a cinematic motion blur effect for your timelapse shots.
Phase One has released the first major update to its Capture One Pro 11 photo editing program. The update adds support for 8 new cameras and 16 new lenses, and includes several new features and functional improvements that speed up workflow.
We recently got our hands on Samsung's latest and greatest smartphone, the dual camera, variable aperture Galaxy S9+, and took it to mostly sunny Southern California for a long weekend.
It's spring, and that means wedding season is upon us! If you're one of the many photographers planning wedding shoots this year, this is a great time to think about including aerial photography in your plans.
The first firmware update for the Sony a7 III addresses an issue in video mode wherein "blinking pixels" would show up along the base of footage recorded with certain settings.
Researchers with Switzerland's EPFL have developed a soft exoskeleton that enables its wearer to control a drone using their upper body. The human-robot interface is said to offer "natural and intuitive control of drones."
Photokina has released an official list of confirmed exhibitors for the 2018 expo, quieting rumors that major brands like Canon and Profoto might follow in Elinchrom's lead and skip this year's show.
For owners of Sony's a7R III, a9 and the new a7 III, there's now an easy fix for the rare but dreaded 'striping' in backlit shots with lots of flare. Click through to learn more.
The team behind the ubiquitous JPEG format has unveiled an all new image format designed to quickly and efficiently stream content across wired and wireless networks alike. Surprisingly, it actually uses less compression than traditional JPEG.
Canon USA has released a promotional video showcasing its latest CMOS sensor technology. Albeit over daraticized, it’s an interesting overlook at the work it’s continually putting into its camera systems.
The large-format digital LargeSense LS911 is the "world's first 8x10 digital single shot camera for sale." The camera features a 12-megapixel 9x11-inch monochrome CMOS sensor, which translates into massive 75 micron pixels.
Pricing and availability have been announced for Tokina's high-end Fírin 20mm F2 FE AF autofocus lens for Sony E-Mount. If you're curious about this lens, you'll be able to pick up your own starting in June for $950 USD.
It's the copyright lawsuit that refuses to die. In September 2017, PETA finally settled its monkey selfie lawsuit with photographer David Slater, but the request to dismiss the case has since been rejected by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
As part of his ongoing ‘Good Light’ YouTube series, London-based photographer Sean Tucker has created a simple tutorial on how to find good natural light for portraits.
The 2018 Pulitzer Prizes were announced yesterday, with the photography awards going to photojournalist Ryan Kelly for image of a car plowing into protesters in Virginia, and the entire Reuters photo staff for a series on Rohinga refugees fleeing persecution.
When it was announced in 2016, the Rokinon AF 14mm F2.8 FE was among the first full-frame autofocus lenses for Sony's a7-series mirrorless cameras. We wanted to see how this affordable wideangle prime performs on Sony's latest a7R III.