Sony Cyber-shot RX100 Digital Camera Review$649.99
Ease of Use
- Automatic Features
- Buttons & Dials
- Effects, Filters, and Scene Modes
- Instruction Manual
Two fully automatic modes are available from the dial. They are Intelligent Auto, which is a scene-detecting mode, and Superior Auto, which uses a short burst to achieve the sharpest results. Both modes have locked Function menus, so beginners shouldn't be confused by extra options. Then again, some preferences in the main menu are left unlocked, so those with a certain comfort level can still get the shots they want.
Buttons & Dials
The button layout is simple and effective. On the rear panel, a typical rotating dial / directional pad has shortcuts at all four positions, and is flanked by four buttons for menus, in-camera help, and playback. Above them all is a hotkey for video recording. The rotating dial is excellent, in fact we used it more than the control ring surrounding the lens barrel. Other buttons are a little small and have minimal stroke, they could use improvement for the next model.
Effects, Filters, and Scene Modes
Scene modes and picture effects are a welcome diversion for some, and the RX100's are all pretty excellent. Thirteen useful scene modes and thirteen picture effects are available, and we want to reserve special praise for some of the more processor-intensive picture effects. Illustration mode is particularly convincing.
The interface is divided into a quick Function menu and the main menu. The Function menu is not very effective because it only controls a few specific variables, and the design is hard to understand at first. The main menu is where you'll spend most of your time, but brings its own share of problems. This horizontal tab-based system is very long, plus the menu closes and resets after each change. The most important shooting options are found on page three, so if you need to adjust multiple settings at once, this becomes highly inconvenient.
Button mappings are also very strange when it comes to the main menu. For example, it's not possible to swap tabs using the control ring, zoom lever, or rotating dial, any of which would've been useful. Meanwhile, the control ring and zoom lever each perform no function in the menu, wasting the opportunity completely.
The RX100 ships with a pretty detailed printed instruction manual, however it lacks a proper index or table of contents. This document contained just about all the information we were looking for, minus a few omitted details. A digital version of the same guide is available from Sony's website.