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|
Our technical evaluation of the Panasonic GX9 has included a trip to the studio, where we put its 20MP Four Thirds sensor in front of our standard test scene.
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VI earned high marks in our recent review, and we've revisited our collection of buying guides to reflect our final conclusions. Click through for links to our updated guides covering the best pocketable and long zoom compacts as well as the best choices for travel and video.
Fujifilm has announced the XF 200mm F2 R LM OIS WR telephoto lens along with a matching 1.4x teleconverter. This weather-sealed lens - 'matte silver' in color with a bold green hood - has a total of 19 elements, a nine-blade aperture and five stops of shake reduction according to Fujifilm. The lens and teleconverter kit will be available in late October for $6000.
Fujifilm has updated its X-mount lens roadmap with three intriguing new models, which include 33mm F1.0 and 16mm F2.8 primes and a 16-80 F4 zoom.
Fujifilm's widest X-series zoom lens to-date, the XF 8-16mm F2.8 R LM WR, will hit the market in late November for $2000. The weather-sealed lens features ED, Super ED and aspherical elements along with a Nano GI coating.
We've seen different flavors of 360° cameras over the past couple of years, but the Vuze XR may be the first one that's designed to shoot both 360° spherical and 180° stereoscopic video in a single unit.
Huawei has launched the world's first photography contest with both AI and human judges. The contest began on July 12 and will run for 8 weeks. During this time, photographers can submit their images via a Facebook Messenger chatbot.
Fujifilm has announced the XF10, a premium compact camera with a fast 28mm equivalent F2.8 lens and 24MP APS-C sensor. This replacement for the X70 will ship in August for $500.
It won't come as a surprise to anyone that there are some unpleasant, predatory men within the photography industry. However, a long-form, extensively researched special report in the Columbia Journalism Review about sexual harassment is still a depressing, eye-opening read.
Is this the end? Nikon's UK and Japanese websites now list some of its KeyMission action cameras as discontinued.
Leica Camera AG is now an investor in Light, the makers of the innovative L16 camera. According to the company, the funding will allow Light to 'expand the reach of its imaging platform beyond consumer photography'
YouTuber ZY Productions has a video wherein he provides a succinct summary of how phase detection autofocus systems work, their benefits and their shortcomings.
The X-U is Leica's first ruggedized compact camera and is still the only waterproof camera on the market with a large APS-C sensor. That sensor sits behind a 35mm-equivalent, F1.7 lens, and we've taken it to the mountains and back to see just what it's capable of.
Gitzo and Sony have teamed up to launch a new tripod and L-bracket designed specifically for Sony α-series cameras.
There have now been seven variants of the Sony RX100 series, and at least six of them are still current models. Confused? Here's an updated look at their differences, and our recommendations among them now that we've tested the Mark VI.
The Kodak-branded 'Kashminer' Bitcoin mining scheme announced at CES has apparently collapsed, with Eastman Kodak distancing itself from the company behind it.
The software uses computational imaging techniques to boost detail and dynamic range in your images, and reduce noise levels.
As part of a promotional giveaway, Fujifilm Korea has released kimchi-flavored instant noodles wrapped in branding inspired by Fujifilm Provia 100 color reversal film.
The Leica Noctilux-M 75mm F1.25 ASPH is a fast, high-quality and decidedly heavyweight short telephoto prime lens, designed for use with Leica's digital M-series rangefinders. We've been grappling with it for a little while - take a look at our sample images.
70-200mm F4 zoom lenses may not get as much attention as their faster F2.8 siblings, but for many photographers these lenses hit the perfect sweet spot of price, performance, and weight. This week, we shoot the new Tamron 70-210mm F4 alongside the equivalent Canon and Nikon models to see how they stack up.
Blackmagic recently worked with Apple to develop Blackmagic eGPU, an external GPU that brings "desktop-class graphics performance" to the new MacBook Pro laptops with Thunderbolt 3 ports.
Lightroom alternative Luminar has received numerous updates across both its Mac and Windows versions, primarily improvements to existing features, as well as support for additional cameras from Fujifilm, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Canon, and Pentax.
Sony has quietly updated its RX100 V, bringing a couple of the goodies from the RX100 VI travel zoom. The updated RX100 VA gains a new processor and various firmware tweaks but misses out on the VI's other hardware improvements.
Apple has updated its MacBook Pro series of notebooks with 15in and 13in models that are claimed to be better for intense image and video editing. The company says the new models are the most advanced ever, and that they feature 8th generation Intel Core processors for faster performance.
According to sources familiar with the matter, Adobe will announce a full-fledged Photoshop version for the iPad at its annual conference in October.
The last day to place an order for Apple photo prints and related products is September 30th.
Manfrotto has launched its new Noreg camera bag series with the Backpack-30 and Messenger-30 models. Both bags are designed for premium mirrorless camera systems, each featuring internal camera units that can be removed and used independently of the larger bags.
Industrial designer Thomas Müller has created a concept device that attempts to democratize film development using an all-in-one device that sits on your countertop.
Mastin Labs has released its latest set of presets titled 'Kodak Everyday.' The pack includes film emulation presets for iconic Kodak films, including Ektar, Gold and Tri-X.