Sony Cyber-shot RX100 Digital Camera Review$649.99
Lens & Sensor
The RX100's 3.6x optical zoom lens seems surprisingly loose and not sturdy given its reputation. Motorized action isn't remarkably fast or slow, and feels rather like any other point-and-shoot on the market. Control is accomplished with either the zoom lever or the handy, customizable control ring that surrounds the barrel. Neither solution is particularly precise. Minimum focus distance can also be somewhat unforgiving, unless you're zoomed all the way out.
The 1-inch image sensor is a giant among compact cameras, larger than the one found in Fujifilm's X10, and almost as large as the 1.5-inch lens inside Canon's G1 X. To find itself amongst such impressive peers means the RX100's sensor is exceptional and a legitimate contender at the prosumer level.
In the absence of a viewfinder, images are framed and reviewed on a gorgeous 3-inch LCD monitor, with resolution in excess of 1.2 million dots. Viewing angle is imperfect but adequate for all but the most acute shooting positions. Overhead framing, for example, is manageable; though a tilting panel would've been even better.
A spring-loaded flash arm pops up from the left side of the top plate (not the most convenient place for it), and has a maximum effective range of 56 feet at ISO 3200.
Underneath a flimsy, plastic door on the right side of the body, you'll find the RX100's proprietary USB terminal. This port is also responsible for charging the battery. We wish Sony would start using standard connectors, but otherwise no complaints here.
Strangely, the camera's microHDMI output terminal is located on the bottom of the camera, adjacent to the tripod mount. Another flimsy plastic door protects this connector, and its location means HDMI streaming while using a tripod is not possible.
The included NP-BX1 battery pack is rated to 330 consecutive shots with this camera, and we did not find ourselves butting up against this limit while testing. Charging is accomplished with the use of the USB cord and the AC adapter. Charging directly from a USB port on your computer is possible.
Both the battery and memory card slots are located under a locking door on the bottom of the camera. The RX100 is compatible with SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards, as well as a few different varieties of Memory Sticks.