Sony DSC-RX100


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    Sony DSC-RX100

      Full review

      Sony's RX100 created a frisson of excitement when it was announced on 6 June because of its 'winning' combination of a small camera body plus a relatively large, high-resolution sensor. The 20.2 megapixel  sensor is supported by a fast (f/1.8-f/4.9), 3.6x optically stabilised Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens. The RX100 is also the first Sony fixed lens camera since the R1 to support raw file capture and it provides much the same control suit as Sony's interchangeable-lens cameras.

      Angled view of the RX100 with the lens extended for shooting. (Source: Sony.)

      The lens retracts partially into the camera body when power is switched off, extending in two sections for shooting. With power off, the camera is genuinely pocketable, unlike its nearest rival the Canon PowerShot G1X. (A comparison of these cameras is provided below.)

      Build and Ergonomics
      According to the label on the base plate, the RX100 is made in Japan, which is in line with its premium market position and pricing. Build quality meets expectations for its market position, although compromises have been made to make this camera genuinely pocketable.

      The front panel has a very smooth finish and, unlike Canon's PowerShot S100 (which is similar in size) there's no grip bar to hold your fingers in position when shooting. Accessory maker Richard Franiec announced the development of a custom grip for the RX100 while we were writing this review. It will be offered through Amazon next month at an RRP of US$34.95  plus postage.

      The lens retracts into the camera body behind a split internal shield, protruding just over 10 mm to make the camera roughly 36 mm thick at its widest depth. A Zeiss logo is attached to the lower left hand side of the front panel and the lens itself carries the Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* brand, indicating it is a fast, high-quality zoom. 

      It covers a focal length range equivalent to 28-100mm in 35mm format, which is adequate for subjects ranging from landscapes to portraits. However, it slows rapidly as you zoom in, reducing your choice of aperture settings.

      Front view of the RX100 with the pop-up flash raised. (Source: Sony.)

      Page 2 of the shooting menu contains a Focus Mode setting that allows users to select Manual focusing. In this mode, focusing is carried out by turning the knurled ring at the leading edge of the lens mounting. Peaking displays on the monitor screen show which parts of the scene are in focus and users can choose from red, yellow or white for the peaking display. 

      The same lens ring enables users to adjust certain camera settings in the P, A, S and M shooting modes when autofocusing is enabled. In the supported modes it can be programmed for nine functions: exposure compensation, ISO, white balance, Creative Style, Picture Effect, zoom, shutter speed, aperture, left on the Standard default setting or Not Set. 

      In the iAuto mode, this control is disabled. By default this ring lacks click stops but you can set the camera to produce an electronic click as settings are changed.

      A mode dial is mounted in the top panel, with its top just proud of the surface. Ten settings are provided: Superior Auto, iAuto, Program Auto, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual, Memory Recall, Movie, Panorama and Scene Selection.

      Top view of the RX100 with the lens extended. 

      The top panel is stepped down in a 5 mm ledge at the back to allow the mode dial to be turned easily. Settings are well detented and there's little chance of changing modes inadvertently when the camera is in use or being pocketed. 

      Power on/off and shutter buttons are recessed into the top panel just left of the mode dial. The shutter button is surrounded by an annulus with a raised knob that controls the lens zoom speed and extent. The pop-up flash resides in the top panel on the left hand side of the camera.

      The rear panel carries a large, high-resolution monitor, similar to those on Sony's DSLRs. It's non-adjustable but  has a resolution of 1,228,800 dots and a 4:3 aspect ratio. There's no viewfinder so this screen does double duty as Live View and Playback monitor. It's more reflective than most LCDs and just as difficult to read in bright outdoor lighting. 

      Rear view of the RX100. (Source: Sony.)

      To the right of the monitor is a control wheel surrounded by four buttons. The directional buttons on the control wheel access display, flash, exposure compensation/Photo Creativity settings and drive modes.  Display options in Live View mode include image-only, graphic display, full info, live histogram and electronic level.

      In playback mode you can opt for image-only, graphic display, full info with brightness and/or RGB  histograms and peaking level indicator in white, red or yellow. It would be nice to have the peaking indicators in Live View mode as well.

      Above the control wheel are Function (Fn) and Menu buttons, while below it are playback and delete/Help buttons. The Fn button can be programmed with up to seven functions from a selection of 17 options. This button works in conjunction with the control wheel controls, which are used to select the settings within the selected function, using the on-screen display shown below. Available functions (white balance, dynamic range optimisation, exposure compensation and Picture Effect) are shown along the lower edge of the screen.

      Using the Fn button and control wheel to set ISO.

      If you want to adjust ISO, for example, the quickest option is to press the function button then toggle to the ISO settings with the horizontal buttons and turn the ring around the base of the lens to select the setting. It's actually quicker to adjust exposure compensation by pressing down the lower edge of the control wheel, although this is only available in the P, A, S and M modes. Adjustments using the ring around the base of the lens can only be made in these modes. 

      The automated modes are the only ones with access to the Photo Creativity settings, which include Background Defocus Control, Soft Skin Effect and brightness, colour and 'vividness' adjustments. These are accessed by pressing down the lower edge of the control wheel. Picture Effect settings can be found here as well and adjustments can be made to all settings by turning the control wheel.

      Adjustments made by pressing down the lower edge of the control wheel in the iAuto and Superior Auto modes.

      The menu is similar to Sony's DSLRs and contains five tabbed 'pages' of still shooting settings, one page of movie adjustments, three pages covering functions like grid overlays, peaking displays and customisation of the controls ring and buttons. There are two pages of playback settings, a memory card page with formatting, numbering and folder settings, a single page devoted to date, time and region settings and, finally, a three page set-up sub-menu. 

      In all modes you use the menu settings to set image size, aspect ratio, quality and focus, drive and flash modes. It's also used turn face/smile detection and soft skin effect, stabilisation, AF illuminator and Clear Image or digital zoom on or off. A Help button provides illustrated tips on achieving different effects with typical subjects for novice users. Enthusiasts would have preferred a customisable button control.

      The Help button is also used to delete images in playback mode. If you press it while in a menu selection, it simple displays what the selected function does, rather than how it's used. This won't help inexperienced users and will frustrate experienced photographers.

      The battery and memory card share a compartment in the base of the camera and, like other Sony cameras, the single slot in the RX100 accepts both Memory Stick PRO Duo and SD/SDHC/SDXC cards. A metal-lined tripod socket is located next to the battery/card compartment, offset from the optical axis of the lens. A lift-up panel on the right hand side of the camera, just below the mode dial, covers the single micro USB input connection that is used for charging the camera.

      The batteries are charged in-camera using either a USB connection to your computer or the supplied AC charger (which is faster). You can remove the battery from the camera but you'll probably find it difficult to locate a charger that accepts it until third-party suppliers fill the gap in the market.

      Another shortcoming is the lack of an adequate user manual. A printed, multi-lingual 'Instruction Manual' is supplied but it's next to useless. The only guide with better than basic coverage is an online 'User Guide', which we found at http://www.sony.com.hk/svcfiles/faq/DI/User_Guide_Eng/DSC-RX100/contents/contentslist.html.  But it can't be downloaded in PDF format.

      Sensor and Image Processing
      The sensor in the RX100 is the same size as the chips in the Nikon 1 cameras, although its resolution is somewhat higher. It's considerably smaller than the chips in rival fixed-lens advanced digicams from Canon and Fujifilm, although larger than models from Olympus and Ricoh as shown in the table below. 

       

      Width

      Height

      Area

      Megapixels

      Pixel pitch

      Fujifilm X100

      23.6 mm

      15.6 mm

      368 mm2

      12.3

      5.5 microns

      Canon G1X

      18.7 mm

      14.0 mm

      262 mm2

      14.3

      4.3 microns

      Sony

      13.2 mm

      8.8 mm

      116 mm2

      20.2

      2.41 microns

      Olympus XZ-1

      8.07 mm

      5.56 mm

      44.87 mm2

      10.0

      2.2 microns

      Ricoh GR Digital IV

      7.44 mm

      5.58 mm

      41.52 mm2

      10.0

      2.04 microns

      Pushing resolution up to 20.2 megapixels may appear initially impressive but on the RX100's sensor, the individual photosites aren't much bigger than those on the smaller, lower-resolution sensor chips. Since larger photosites can capture more photons of light, thereby delivering better high-ISO performance, the RX100 is theoretically little better off than its smaller-sensor rivals with lower resolution. 

      Sony has taken some complex strategies to achieve the high ISO performance buyers of premium-priced cameras demand, aiming to match the ISO 25600 peaks of rival cameras without compromising resolution and sharpness. Above ISO 6400, multi-frame noise-reduction kicks in, reducing noise by averaging its patterns across four or more frames and delivering a single image with lower noise levels.

      The RX100's native aspect ratio is 3:2 but 4:3, 16:9 and 1:1 aspect ratios are also available, along with the standard Sweep Panorama options (2D only). Both JPEG and ARW.RAW formats are supported, along with RAW+JPEG capture. Raw files can only be recorded at maximum resolution, regardless of the image quality setting or aspect ratio. The table below shows typical image sizes at the 3:2 aspect ratio.

      Image size

      Pixels

      Approx. File size

      Fine

      Standard

      Raw

      5472 x 3648

      22.73MB

      RAW+JPEG

      5472 x 3648

      34.48MB

      L: 20M

      5472 x 3648

      11.76MB

      6.78MB

      M: 10M

      3888 x 2592

      6.57MB

      4.20MB

      S: 5M

      2736 x 1824 

      4.27MB

      2.94MB

      Panorama (max. size, Standard mode, Horizontal)

      8192 x 1856

      4.83MB

      Panorama (max. size, Standard mode, Vertical)

      3872 x 2160

      3.52MB

      Panorama (max. size, Wide mode, Horizontal)

      12416 x 1856

      6.94MB

      Panorama (max. size, Wide mode, Vertical)

      5536 x 2160

      4.24MB

      Video
      Full HD Movie shooting is supported at 50i (interlaced) and 50p (progressive) frame rates using the AVCHD (Ver. 2.0) format; 720p video isn't supported. The alternative MP4 AVC movie recording mode is available using H.264 compression. Users can choose from 1440 x 1080 pixels or 640 x 480 pixel resolution, both at 25fps. 

      The P/A/S/M exposure modes can be used while shooting video, along with the two auto-everything modes. You can capture still shots while recording movies with four image size options: L (17M)  or S (4.2M) for movie sizes greater than VGA or 13M  and 3.2M when the VGA setting is selected.

      The recording time for movie clips varies because the camera uses variable bit- rate technology, which automatically adjusts image quality, depending on the amount of detail in the scene. Continuous shooting is possible for approximately 29 minutes per clip and the maximum size of an MP4-format movie file is approximately 2 GB.

      Autofocusing and zooming are supported in movie mode, although the camera may pick up operating noises. Digital zooming is available for up to 14x magnification – but at the expense of picture quality and recording performance because the frames have to be processed as they are recorded.

      Movie soundtracks are recorded in stereo using Dolby Digital (AC3) two-channel recording. You can turn off the audio recording if you want to avoid picking up operating sounds from the camera when you change focus or zoom in or out. A wind cut filter is available for suppressing bass noise from the built-in microphones when shooting outdoors. There's no connection for an external microphone.

      Playback and Software
      Playback modes are similar to other Sony cameras and include index displays (4 or 9 thumbnails) and slideshow playback. Images can be deleted, protected and rotated and the camera supports DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) tagging for automated printing as well as date imprinting. 

      Pressing the Playback button displays the last image shot and you can opt to see the image with shooting data or as a thumbnail plus data and brightness histogram by toggling the Display adjustment.  Images can also be displayed without data.

      Displayed images can be enlarged for focus checking by moving the zoom lever. A maximum of 14x playback zoom is available. 

      The RX100 wasn't supplied with a software disk and as it's not compatible with Adobe Camera Raw we had to locate and download Sony's Image Data Converter software to unpack the ARW.RAW files. You can get the Windows version from: http://support.d-imaging.sony.co.jp/imsoft/Win/idc/us.html and the Mac version from http://support.d-imaging.sony.co.jp/imsoft/Mac/idc/us.html. 

      Anyone used to a contemporary raw file processor like Lightroom or Aperture will roll their eyes in frustration when they try and use Sony's software. But until Adobe, Apple and others provide support, it will have to do.

      RX100 vs Canon G1X
      The nearest rival to the RX100 is Canon's PowerShot G1X and choosing between these cameras is a matter of determining which features matter most to you as a photographer. If you want a viewfinder, the G1X is your only option, although its built-in finder shows only 77% of the sensor's field of view. It's usable (just) but tunnel-like and vulnerable to parallax error when you shoot close-ups.

      The G1X's photosites have more than three times the surface area for collecting light, which gives it an unbeatable advantage – and it gains additional benefits from 14-bit raw file processing.  Sony doesn't specify the bit depth of its ARW.RAW files but we suspect they're 12-bit, like the company's interchangeable-lens cameras. 

      The RX100's advantages centre on it being noticeably smaller than the G1X, less than half its weight and marginally cheaper. It also has a faster lens – but this only provides an advantage at the wide end of the zoom range. Both cameras' lenses are about equally slow through the rest of their zoom ranges.

      Both cameras have the same wide-angle coverage but the RX100 can focus much closer than the G1X, although the latter's zoom range is slightly longer. The G1X offers a wider shutter speed range but the RX100's ISO range is wider. However, multi-shot processing is required at high ISO settings to 'manage' image noise. 

      The RX100 also supports faster continuous shooting rates, albeit with reduced image sizes at the top speed. For bursts of full-sized images, the G1X has a slight advantage.

      Finally, the RX100's battery is recharged inside the camera, via a USB-connected charger, which is attached to a computer (the slow method) or mains cable. While charging, the camera cannot be used. The G1X battery is charged outside the camera and you can fit a spare battery to keep the camera usable while charging takes place.

      The table below compares summarises the key differences.  

       

      Sony RX100

      Canon G1X

      A/D processing

      not specified

      14-bit

      Lens

      10.4-37.1mm, f/1.8 - 4.9

      15.1-60.4mm, f/2.8-f/5.8

      35mm equivalent

      28-100mm

      28-112mm

      Zoom ratio

      3.6x optical, up to 7.2x digital

      4x optical, up to 4x digital

      Minimum focus normal/macro

      5 cm

      40 cm/20 cm

      Max. image size

      5472 x 3648 pixels

      4352 x 3264 pixels

      Video sizes

      1920 x 1080 at 50 or 25 fps, 1280 x 720 at 30 fps, 1440 x 1080 at 25fps, 640 x 480 at 25fps

      1920x1080 at 24fps; 1280 x 720 and 640 x 480 at 30 fps

      Shutter speed range

      30-1/2000 second

      60-1/4000 second

      ISO range

      80-25600 (ISO 12800 and above require multi-frame NR)

      100-12800 in 1/3EV steps

      Flash range (ISO auto)

      0.3 to 17.1 metres

      0.5 to 7.0 metres

      Sequence shooting

      Speed Priority Mode: Approx.10 fps; AF-S Continuous: 2.5 fps

      Max. 4.5 fps for 6 frames; AF and LV approx 0.7 frames/sec

      Viewfinder

      None

      Real-image optical zoom viewfinder with -3.0 - + 1.0m-1 dpt adjustment; 77% FOV coverage

      LCD monitor

      Fixed 3-inch LCD with 1,228,800 dots

      Vari-Angle 3-inch LCD with 922,000 dots

      Power supply/CIPA  rating

      NP-BX1/ approx. 330 shots/charge

      NB-10L/approx. 250 shots/charge with LCD; 700 shots/charge with viewfinder

      Battery charging

      Inside the camera

      Outside the camera

      Dimensions (wxhxd)

      101.6 x 58.1 x 35.9mm

      116.7 x 80.5 x 64.7 mm

      Weight (incl. battery & card)

      213 grams

      534 grams

      RRP

      AUD$799; US$650

      AUD$849; US$799

      Radical differences between the two cameras' control interfaces will drive different types of photographers to one camera or the other. Shooting modes and exposure compensation are set with dials on the top panel of the G1X, while the arrow pad buttons handle ISO, flash, display and focus settings. The camera has two dial wheels, one just below the shutter button and the other around the arrow pad to handle adjustments.

      Performance
      The small and inconspicuous nature of the RX100 makes it an excellent camera to use when you don't want to benoticed. It's great for street photography and grabbing candid snapshots and its high ISO performance makes it usable in a wide variety of lighting conditions.

      Pictures taken with the review camera appeared bright and colourful with the slightly elevated saturation we've come to expect from Sony's cameras. The AF and metering systems handled a wide range of shooting conditions effectively and were above average for a compact camera.  

      Over-exposed highlights were relatively uncommon in outdoor shots, as you'd expect. The Dynamic Range Optimiser (DRO) function is quite effective for balancing tones in wide brightness range shots, provided you choose the optimum level of adjustment. Three settings are available: Off; DRO and HDR. 

      The HDR mode records multiple images in a quick burst and combines them into a single frame. We found it to be fairly aggressive, which often produced unnatural-looking results. The DRO setting includes an auto option, along with  five levels of highlight/shadow compensation across a range of +/- 6EV. This gives you more control over the tonal balance, although over it must be used with care. 

      The examples above show the same wide brightness range scene shot without DRO processing (top) and with the DRO compensation set to level 4.

      Although subjective assessment revealed most images appeared sharp, we were disappointed by the results of our Imatest testing, which showed resolution to be somewhat below expectations for the sensor's resolution. This was true for both JPEGs and ARW.RAW files.

      We suspect the relatively poor proprietary conversion software would account for the reduced resolution with the raw files. But it was the only option available when we tested  because the RX100 wasn't supported by Adobe Camera Raw or other third-party converters at that time. 

      JPEG compression in the RX100 is quite aggressive, which may account for the lower resolution we found. The default sharpening adjustments are also a bit heavy-handed and noise-reduction processing (which can't be fully disabled) would also influence image sharpness.

      Fortunately, resolution held up well across the lower end of the camera's ISO range, tailing off from about ISO 800. There was a significant drop between ISO 12800 and ISO 25600, as shown in the graph of our Imatest results below.

      Interestingly, low-light performance exceeded expectations based on the results of our Imatest tests. Long exposures at night maintained a high degree of detail up to ISO 25600 and colours were natural-looking, although shadow noise was evident. Slight softening was visible in shots taken at ISO 12800 but ISO 6400 shots were printable to A4 size.

      Although the pop-up flash was under-powered and took several seconds to recharge, flash exposures were generally good, with evenly-lit shots between ISO 400 and ISO 6400. Shots taken at ISO 80 with a focal length of 37mm were more than two stops under-exposed and normal exposure levels weren't reached until about ISO 400. 

      At the other end of the scale, ISO 25600 shots showed noticeable softening and loss of colour fidelity – but no evidence of over-exposure, indicating an efficient system for balancing flash and ambient light. Portrait shots taken in dim lighting showed few (if any) signs of the red-eye effect that can be typical of on-camera flashes.

      The Carl Zeiss lens delivered its best performance a stop or two down from maximum aperture across its zoom range. Highest resolution was obtained at shorter focal lengths, where edge softening was greatest. The graph below shows the results of our Imatest tests.

      Aberrations like chromatic aberration, vignetting and distortion are corrected automatically in the camera (although not if you shoot raw files).  You can't over-ride these corrections. In our Imatest tests, lateral chromatic aberration sat solidly within the 'low' band with all apertures and focal length settings we tested, showing in-camera corrections for this aberration aren't necessarily strong. No coloured fringing was seen in test shots.  In the graph below, the red line marks the border between ‘negligible’ and ‘low’ CA with the green line separating ‘low’ and ‘moderate’ CA.

      The auto white balance setting failed to produce neutral colours with incandescent lighting in our standard tests  but came very close with fluorescent lights. The warm bias remained with the former. We found some slight colour biases in the AWB mode in certain lighting conditions with natural light sources, where colour balancing was influenced by subject hues.

      Scenes containing a lot of cyan and blue took on a slight orange bias, while shots with purplish-blue in the centre were tilted towards yellow. All these casts are easily adjusted out when images are edited. You can also make adjustments on the monitor, although they can't be fine-tuned to such a degree or as easily.

      Close-ups were generally good, particularly at the 37.1mm focal length, where the maximum aperture setting (f/4.9) produced attractive bokeh. You can use the digital zoom in  Macro mode to enlarge subjects substantially, as shown in the illustrations below, both of which were taken from the same position with the lens at 37.1mm focal length.

      The left hand side picture shows a close-up with no digital zoom, while the right hand side picture was taken with maximum digital zoom.

      Video quality was similar to the results we obtained from the NEX-F3 (although the RX100 has one less AVCHD option). Levels of saturation and contrast appeared to be similar, even though our test clips were recorded under radically different lighting conditions. 

      The zoom lever makes it easy to zoom in and out smoothly while recording movies. But once you enter the digital zoom range, where zooming pauses, image quality dropped quickly and the quality of clips began to deteriorate until it became quite poor at maximum digital zoom. 

      Autofocusing was a bit sluggish when following a zoom but the tracking AF was quite successful when following moving subjects. Soundtracks weren't as patchy as the NEX-F3's but the wind filter was equally unable to suppress noise in outdoor situations. 

      When you insert a new memory card, the camera starts by checking the Image Database, a process that can take several seconds if the card was used previously in a different camera. This delays the start-up time, which is normally around one second when the card has been in the camera since the last shoot.

      Our timing tests were conducted with a 32GB SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC UHS-1card, the fastest card in our collection. We measured an average capture lag of 0.3 seconds which was reduced to 0.1 seconds when shots were pre-focused. Shot-to-shot times averaged 0.75 seconds. 

      The only indication that image files have been processed is when the monitor returns to displaying the original scene. We've measured this time for our estimates here. High-resolution JPEGs took an average of 2.4 seconds to process, while ARW.RAW files were processed in 2.6 seconds and RAW+JPEG pairs in 2.7 seconds.

      In the continuous shooting mode the review camera recorded 10 Large/Fine JPEGs in 4.1 seconds in the normal burst mode. It took 4.8 seconds to process this burst. With ARW.RAW files, the review camera recorded 10 frames in five seconds and took 7.2 seconds to process them. The same capture rate applied with RAW+JPEG pairs but it took 11.8 seconds to process this burst.

      In the Speed Priority Continuous mode the review camera was able to match the specified 10 frames/second burst rate.  It took 4.8 seconds to process a burst of 10 Large/Fine JPEGs in this mode. 

      In Summary

      Buy this camera if:
      - You're looking for a pocketable, large-sensor digicam with PASM shooting modes.
      - You want raw file capture and Full HD video recording. 
      - You don't mind having to dive into menus to adjust camera settings.
      - You want good-looking photos at high ISO settings.
      - You'd like a built-in flash.

      Don't buy this camera if:
      - You want an optical viewfinder.
      - You want interchangeable lenses.
      - You require quick access to key camera settings.
      - You don't like  in-camera battery charging.

      SPECS

      Image sensor: 1.0 type (13.2 x 8.8mm) Exmor CMOS sensor, aspect ratio 3:2 with 20.9 million photosites (Effective resolution Approx. 20.2 megapixels)
      Image processor: BIONZ
      A/D processing: 12-bit
      Lens: Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T*10.4-37.1mm f/1.8 - 4.9 zoom lens with; 28-100mm equiv. in 35mm format
      Zoom: 3.6x optical, Clear Image Zoom up to 7.2x digital
      Image formats: Stills – ARW.RAW, JPEG (Exif 2.3), RAW+JPEG; Movies – AVCHD and MPEG4
      Image Sizes: Stills – 5472 x 3648, 5472 x 3080, 4864 x 3648, 3888 x 2592, 3648 x 3648, 3648 x 2736, 2736 x 1824, 2592 x 1944, 2592 x 1944; Movies: AVCHD format: 1920 x 1080 (50p/28Mbps/PS, 50i/24Mbps/FX, 50i/17Mbps/FH, 25p/24Mbps/FX, 25p/17Mbps/FH); MP4 format: 1440 x 1080 (25fps/12Mbps), 640 x 480 (25fps/3Mbps)
      Image Stabilisation: (Still image) Optical SteadyShot; (Movie) Optical SteadyShot Active Mode with electronic compensation (anti-rolling)
      Shutter speed range: iAuto (4 secs - 1/2000) / Program Auto (1 sec - 1/2000); Manual to 30 secs
      Exposure Compensation: +/- 3.0EV in 1/3EV steps
      Exposure bracketing: 3 frames in 1/3 EV or 2/3EV steps
      Self-timer: 2 and 10 sec delay plus Portrait 1 & Portrait 2
      Focus system: Contrast-based AF with  Multi point AF (25 points) / Centre weighted AF / Flexible spot / Flexible spot (tracking focus) / Flexible spot (face tracking) Digital Zoom: approx. 4x (still images / movies); range 5 cm to infinity
      Focus modes: Single-shot AF (AF-S) / Continuous AF (AF-C) / Direct Manual Focus (DMF) / Manual Focus; Face detection (max. 8 faces) available
      Exposure metering: Multi-pattern, centre-weighted and spot
      Shooting modes: Superior Auto, iAuto, Program Auto, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual, Memory Recall, Movie, Panorama, Scene Selection (High Sensitivity, Twilight, Night Scene, Night Portrait, Landscape, Fireworks, Gourmet, Pet, Hand-held Twilight, Anti Motion Blur)
      Picture Effect settings: HDR Painting, Rich-tone Monochrome, Miniature, Toy Camera, Pop Colour, Soft High-key, Partial Colour (R,G,B,Y), Watercolour
      Colour space options: sRGB, Adobe RGB
      ISO range: Auto ISO 80-6400, selectable with upper/lower limit), 80, 100, 125, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400 (Expandable to ISO 25600 with Multi Frame NR); NB: ISO 12800 and higher settings are achieved through combining Multi Frame Noise Reduction and By Pixel Super Resolution technology.
      White balance: Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent, Incandescent, Flash, Custom
      Flash: Built-in flash with Auto, Flash On, Slow Synchro, Rear Sync, Flash Off; range 0.3 to 17.1 metres with ISO Auto
      Flash exposure adjustment: +/- 2EV in 1/3EV steps
      Sequence shooting: Speed Priority Continuous Mode: Approx.10 fps; Continuous mode: 2.5 fps (AF-S)
      Storage Media: Single slot for Memory Stick PRO Duo and SD/SDHC/SDXC cards
      Viewfinder:  No
      LCD monitor: 3-inch Xtra Fine TruBlack TFT LCD with 1,228,800 dots; 4:3 aspect ratio
      Playback functions: Single-frame, Index (4 or 9 frames), Enlarge (7.2x  to 14x), Slideshow, Picture rotation (auto mode available), Histogram (independent luminance/RGB available), Shooting information
      Interface terminals: USO 2.0, HDMI (Type C Mini), Micro USB
      Power supply: NP-BX1 rechargeable lithium-ion battery; CIPA rated for approx. 330 shots/charge 
      Dimensions (wxhxd): 101.6 x 58.1 x 35.9mm
      Weight: Approx. 213 grams (with battery and card)

      Distributor: Sony Australia; 1300 720 071; www.sony.com.au.

      TESTS

      JPEG images

       

       

      ARW.RAW files converted into 16-bit TIFF format with Sony Image Data Converter.

       

       

      SAMPLES

      Auto white balance with incandescent lighting.

      Auto white balance with fluorescent lighting. 

      10.4mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/800 second at f/5.6.

      37.1mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/800 second at f/6.3.

      Standard digital zoom setting; 37.1mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/800 second at f/5.6.

      Maximum digital zoom; 37.1mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/500 second at f/5.6.

      Close-up with macro focus setting; 10.4mm focal length, ISO 125, 1/100 second at f/2.

      Close-up in aperture-priority auto mode; 37.1mm focal length, ISO 125, 1/320 second at f/4.9.

      30-second exposure at ISO 100; 10.6mm focal length f/2.

      15-second exposure at ISO 800; 10.6mm focal length f/2.8.

      8-second exposure at ISO 6400; 10.6mm focal length f/4.5.

      2-second exposure at ISO 25600; 10.6mm focal length f/4.5.

      Flash exposure at ISO 100; 37.1mm focal length, 1/30  second at f/4.9.

      Flash exposure at ISO 800; 37.1mm focal length, 1/30  second at f/4.9.

      Flash exposure at ISO 6400; 37.1mm focal length, 1/50  second at f/4.9.

      Flash exposure at ISO 25600; 37.1mm focal length, 1/80  second at f/5.6.

      Strong backlighting; 10.4mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/800 second at f/8.

      Skin tones, indoor ambient lighting; 32mm focal length, ISO 400, 1/25 second at f/4.5.

      19.2mm focal length, ISO 160, 1/60 second at f/3.2.

      Still frame from Full HD 1080p video clip shot in AVCHD format with the 50i/24Mbps/FX mode.

      Still frame from Full HD 1080p video clip shot in AVCHD format with the 50i/17Mbps/FH mode.

      Still frame from Full HD 1080p video clip shot in AVCHD format with the 50p/28Mbps/PS mode.

      Still frame from MP4 format video clip with 1440 x 1080 pixel resolution.

      Still frame from MP4 format video clip with VGA resolution.

      Rating

      RRP: AUD$799; US$650

      • Build: 9.0
      • Ease of use: 8.3
      • Autofocusing: 8.5
      • Still image quality JPEG: 8.5
      • Still image quality RAW: 8.3
      • Video quality: 8.5

      BUY

        No