Light Wait

The Sony RX100 combines great manual controls and low-light performance.

Written by Pranay Parab | New Delhi | Published: September 14, 2012 5:21 am

The Sony RX100 combines great manual controls and low-light performance.


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Till recently,every good camera was bulky. They carried huge sensors and many of them needed extra room to house film rolls. Even though several companies launched good compact cameras,their small sensors made sure that pictures were average at best.

Last year,a few manufacturers launched mirrorless compact cameras. These had slim bodies and interchangeable lenses. They struck a good balance between price,portability and picture quality but even these cameras couldn’t fit into pockets and one had to carry extra lenses.

This is where Sony’s RX100 compact camera steps in. It has a rather large 20.2-megapixel 1-inch sensor (used in many mirrorless cameras),which improves its picture quality. The most impressive aspect of this camera is its fast lens,which has an aperture of F1.8 to F11. The camera has a low zoom range of 28-100 mm (3.6x). All this,packed in a compact 240 grams.

The metal body gives it a solid build but does it not have a rubberised grip. The lens protrudes just a little and gives the camera a sleek look. The lens ring can be configured to adjust shutter speed,aperture and zoom. There is also a dial to switch between camera modes and to tweak various settings in manual mode. There is an HDMI port,a slot for the battery and an SD card. Sony usually has a Memory Stick Pro Duo slot,but this camera supports an SD card,which is cheaper.

Many users will like the RX100’s panorama mode and DSLR aficionados will be glad to find “bulb mode”. It allows you to keep the shutter open for as long as you press the button,which is a useful feature if you are shooting trails of light. Low-light shooting is aided by the RX100’s maximum aperture value of F1.8. This means that you can allow more light to enter the camera without having to keep the shutter open for longer. So,there is less chance of unsteady hands ruining a good composition. Photos were of fine quality up to ISO800,which is an achievement for a compact camera. The scene mode allows you to adjust focus with the lens ring,which is useful for macro shots (close-ups of tiny objects). DSLR owners might want to buy this one as a second camera. You will find that images do not need much colour correction,since the camera reproduces colours well.

However,the lack of a swivelling display makes taking low-angle shots difficult. The ring on the lens is too close to the camera’s body,which makes it inconvenient to use. The flash is good,but putting it back in its place is difficult because of its awkward joints. At the back,the LED screen takes up a lot of space.

Very rarely do we come across a compact camera which gives you this level of control over your images and such high-quality pictures. The RX100 may be expensive at Rs 34,990,but it is difficult to find a compact camera which matches its performance.

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