Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX100 In-Depth Review
Despite its small size, the RX100 includes all the features that Sony has been putting in its recent interchangeable lens cameras. This includes three-shot HDR, sweep panorama and a multi-shot noise reduction mode for working in low light. Many of these are modes we've seen and discussed before, but are interesting enough to be worth taking another look at.
Sweep Panorama, and its seemingly faddish cousin '3D Sweep Panorama,' has been a Sony mainstay for a while now and has been much copied by other manufacturers. The Sony implementation remains the best we've seen, with the camera doing a great job of stitching the images together, regardless of how stable you are with it.
Because it is shooting a sequence of images, any object moving across your scene risks appearing multiple times or being stretched or compressed, depending how it's moving relative to your sweep. Shooting scenes directly into a light source can produce some interesting results with lens flare too:
|Landscape orientation standard sweep panorama|
Overall, though, the system is relatively flexible (there are two widths of panorama available and you can shoot vertically, as well as horizontally - effectively opening up a further two options if you sweep with the camera in portrait orientation), though it'd be nice not to have to delve into the main menu to play with the settings. You are limited to the camera operating at its widest-angle focal length, though, which is a pity.
|Landscape orientation wide sweep panorama|
A 100% crop shows the image quality isn't as good as we'd expect from a conventional still
It's not the same as painstakingly shooting a panorama with a DSLR and a tripod, but it means you can capture the full sweep of a dramatic vista without having to lug a tripod around or making your hiking companions stand around on a hillside while you do so. Overall it's a feature we rather like, nicely done.
Dynamic Range Optimization
The RX100's primary means of making the most of its dynamic range is Sony's 'Dynamic Range Optimizer' this doesn't do anything to capture a greater range of tones, but it does selectively brighten shadow regions so that the final image is more balanced. DRO can either be set manually in five levels, switched off, or set to Auto for the camera to decide, based on the contrast in the scene.
For a split second after taking each image, you get to view it without DRO applied, before the screen refreshes with the processing applied. On the whole, Auto does a good job of creating balanced images with a broad range of tones, but without overall contrast being affected or either noise or noise reduction becoming problematic.
DRO can be enabled even when shooting in Raw, though it doesn't affect the underlying Raw data, so its effect will only be seen if you run the Raw file through Sony's own converter. This is one of the features that makes us wish the RX100 had an in-camera Raw conversion option - being able to set the DRO level after you'd shot an image would make it easy to optimize your shots.
|DRO Level 1||DRO Level 5|
|100% crop, showing little differentiation between tones in shadow regions.||100% crop, showing greater shadow detail without excessive noise or noise reduction.|
The RX100 also features Sony's three-shot HDR, that will use three different exposures to maximise the range of brightness information it can capture, then blend the exposures into a single image. This is a JPEG-only mode which saves the normally-exposed single-shot image as well as the three-shot composite version.
|Single (metered-value) exposure||Three-shot Auto HDR image|
|100% Crop||100% Crop|
These two 100% crops are taken from the same position in an HDR image and the normally-exposed shot that went towards its creation. The two things worth noting (beyond the brighter, more detailed shadow region), is the use of the detail from the shortest exposure in the final image, so that the bike's motion is frozen. Equally, this means the final image takes its detail from one of the later captures - something you'll want to be aware of if you have any moving subjects in your scene.
Multi-shot noise reduction
Another feature now standard on CMOS-powered Sonys is multi-shot noise reduction - a feature that shoots six images and then combines them into a single, cleaner image. Because noise occurs randomly, combining multiple shots allows the camera to average that noise out. The system is clever enough to use information from the image stabilization system so that it only uses relatively unshaken images taken of the same subject.
The results are pretty impressive. As you might expect, in the low-light circumstances in which you might want to use it, the slight shake between images means that really fine detail isn't perfectly sharp around the edges. However, it is undeniably less noisy than the conventional, single-shot version.
|ISO 6400||Multi-Shot NR ISO 6400|
|100% Crop||100% Crop|
The multi-shot noise reduction system underpins the 'Hand Held Twilight' mode, which is available either from the SCN position on the mode dial or automatically, if the camera thinks it's needed, in Superior Auto mode. In both instances, it will use as many of the shots as it can, but will ignore shots with excessive movement (either camera shake or subject movement) in them, so that your final image isn't a confused mess.
Clear Image Zoom
Clear Image Zoom is a digital zoom setting based on what Sony somewhat incomprehensibly calls 'By Pixel Super Resolution.' The idea is that it assesses the image at a pixel level and matches the fine detail against a database of patterns, in an attempt to add appropriate detail as it up-sizes. Clear Image Zoom can be enabled or disabled in the menu and is not available when shooting Raw. It essentially doubles the cameras zoom, taking it out to around 200mm equivalent.
|Clear Image Zoom on||Clear Image Zoom on|
|100% crop, showing exaggerated sharpening halos||The process can also exaggerate noise|
Clear Image Zoom's results aren't bad (though they look as if they might be scaled up after sharpening has been applied, given how large the sharpening halos are in the final image), and we've found it offers a slight improvement and added convenience over trying to upscale a Raw image to the same extent.
Beyond this there's a conventional crop-and-upsize digital zoom that can be enabled separately, extending the camera's reach to around 400mm equivalent, but the results are pretty terrible.
|Tomatillos and Red Jalepeno Peppers by Kukla|
from Herbs, spices, sauces, or condiments
|Little Kickers by Gfancher|
from sports T&I including banners
|ABD_9819 Bald Eagle by kasjun|
from A big year - birds 2018
|the eyes by aarif|
from -Portrait Challenge 2018-
We were recently able to follow local frame builder Max Kullaway as he created one of his AirLandSea bikes. Here are our picks of the photos we got, as the project progressed from bare tubes all the way to rideable bicycle.
On paper, the Sony a7 III is a tempting option for photographers who've been considering a switch to full-frame mirrorless. But how does its image quality stack up? We compare it to the Mark II and a few of its other peers.
Erez Marom shares the details behind this beautiful aurora photograph, captured on Haukland Beach in the Lofoten Islands, Arctic Norway, on a moonless evening.
Google Lens uses artificial intelligence and 'computer vision' to identify and provide information about businesses, landmarks and other objects using your phone's camera. And now it's available for iPhone users, too.
The company posted a record quarterly revenue of $2.08 billion for the first quarter of the 2018 fiscal year. That represents incredibly healthy year-over-year growth of 24 percent.
In the job posting, the Times' describes this role as "one of the most important and high-profile jobs in visual journalism." If you're looking for a high profile job in photojournalism, you could do a lot worse than being Photo Director at The Gray Lady.
According to a recent report out of South Korea, Samsung is increasing production of its ISOCELL image sensors in a bid towards market leadership for image sensors. To reach this goal, Samsung will have to dethrone current market leader Sony... no small task.
In this video, large format photographer Ben Horne shows off the incredible resolving power of 8x10 slide film by pixel peeping a massive 709.6-megapixel drum scan of one of his landscape shots. And you thought 100MP medium format was big...
Photographer Wendy Teal tells the heart-breaking story of a wedding she shot at a hospital on just 24-hours notice. The mother of the bride had been given one week to live, and Wendy responded to the couple's desperate social media plea for someone to capture their special day.
This tiny little plug-and-play VR/AR camera for Android phones uses a pair of greater-than-180° FOV fisheye lenses to offer both 360° video/photo capture and 360° livestreaming at 1440p resolution.
Syrp has announced the Magic Carpet Pro: a slider that offers filmmakers an 'infinitely extendable' range thanks to built-in track levers that let you connect lengths of track without the use of tools.
At CP+ we sat down with executives from several major manufacturers. Among them was Kenji Tanaka, of Sony, who talked to us about the a7 III as well as its plans to attract more pro shooters – without ignoring APS-C and entry-level customers.
How do you shoot macro photography on an 18x24cm large format wet plate camera? You 'connect' two large format cameras together! That's how wet plate photographer Markus Hofstaetter did it, and you can read about the whole process in this article.
The Fujifilm X-H1 is a top-of-the-range 24MP mirrorless camera with in-body stabilization and the company's most advanced array of video capabilities. We've tested the X-T2's big brother extensively to see how it performs.
Motorsports photojournalist Jamey Price recently flew to Canada with Lamborghini for the car company's Winter Accademia 2018, where clients get to drive the latest Lamborghini supercars on snow and ice. Yes... it is exactly as awesome as it sounds.
For the Pixel 2 smartphone's Motion Photos feature, Google built on its existing Motion Stills technology by adding advanced stabilization that combines software and hardware capabilities to optimize trimming and stabilization.
This "high-capacity advanced spider tripod" system can handle a maximum load of 65kg / 143lbs thanks to its reinforced design and 8-layered carbon fiber legs.
Photographer William Briscoe captured the beautiful two-for-one timelapse just outside Fairbanks, Alaska on January 31st, braving -31°F (-35°C) temperatures to get the shot.
"After his camera was stolen from his room in the orphanage, he switched to an iPhone for his photography, reasoning that the image quality of a big, heavy camera was less important than the freedom of a cell phone. 'Quality? Screw it, I’d sketch things with a pencil if I could draw,' he wrote in a blog post."
Chinese manufacturer Vivo has announced some AI-powered Super HDR tech to compete with Google's HDR+ system. Both systems combine multiple images to create a final shot with more dynamic range and less noise, but Super HDR claims to do so more intelligently.
The YouTube channel JerryRigEverything recently tore down (or rather, tore apart...) the new Samsung Galaxy S9, giving us the closest look at yet at the new smartphone's camera hardware.
The Leica l Model A, dating from between 1926 and 1927, comes with a card signed by Earhart herself. Unfortunately, this is the only 'proof' that the camera really did belong to her.
The Rokinon AF 35mm F2.8 FE is a budget-friendly option for users of Sony's a7-series that are looking to get into the 35mm focal length.
The 'semantic image segmentation model' categorizes every pixel in an image and assigns it a label, such as “road”, “sky”, “person” or “dog.” And now, Google has released its latest version as open source, making it available to any developers whose apps could benefit from the tech.
Huawai is teasing the upcoming P20 smartphone's low-light and zoom capabilities in a couple of tongue-in-cheek teaser videos on YouTube.
Fuji's latest firmware update for the GFX 50S adds two new features: a focus stacking mode, and a 35mm format mode that takes 30.5MP photos using the center portion of the camera's medium format sensor.
The crash has raised serious questions about 'startling safety gaps' in the doors-off photo tour industry. After a brief safety video, passengers are strapped in with heavy-duty harnesses and given only a knife to cut themselves loose in case of emergency.
For the first time in five years, Adobe is raising the price of some Creative Cloud subscription packages. The good news for photographers: The $10/month CC Photography plan that includes Photoshop CC, Lightroom CC, and Lightroom Classic CC will stay the same.
In a statement, Canon CEO Fujio Mitarai said the company will "go on the offensive" in mirrorless cameras, aiming to clinch 50% of the entire interchangeable-lens camera market.
In this month's 'Race Issue,' National Geographic asked historian John Edwin Mason—who specializes in the history of photography and the history of Africa—to investigate the iconic magazine's coverage of people of color around the world.