Sony RX100 - it's going back...

Lightmancer

Super Moderator
Aug 13, 2011
164
Sunny Frimley
Bill Palmer
Currently sitting around a pool on Ischia, my thoughts turn to toying with the idea of something tiny and high quality. m4/3 is not for me, so in today's market that means Sony.

I'm happy with a 2x zoom, and value lens speed over reach. I want decent jpgs with the ability to capture raw for those times when I want more flexibility to get to the desired final result. I know the user interface is more PlayStation than analogue, but I am prepared to compromise - a bit, but see below.

Considering, therefore, the RX100 range from MK lll to MK lV, these are my questions:

- Is it easy to adjust aperture and exposure compensation on the fly - they are the parameters I change most often

- Is it instantly ready to use once turned on?

- Is the zoom stepped or continuous and does it remember the last setting?

- Does the WiFi work effectively for transferring images to (android) phone or tablet?

- Can you shoot raw and best quality jpg simultaneously?

- Is there a built in raw conversion capability?

- What is the mono output like?

- Is it robust, and free from dust issues?

- What are Sony like for servicing (I have had some experience of them with portable telephones...)

- Can you turn the screen off completely and just rely on the viewfinder?

- Does the viewfinder have a level or grid?

- Is the viewfinder good quality and free from flare?

- Given all the above, and my likely usage - shove in a pocket or pouch and take everywhere, particularly travel, for street, architecture, interiors, occasional portraits, occasional macro, never flash (other cameras are X-Pro2, X100F and GR) - which model would you recommend, and

- would you advocate buying new or used?

Thank you kindly for your time and attention to this matter.
 

Biro

Super Moderator
Aug 7, 2011
124
Jersey Shore
Steve
Bill, I have the RX100 V and can answer some of your questions from that perspective. I can't swear all will apply to the Mark III and IV.

- Is it easy to adjust aperture and exposure compensation on the fly - they are the parameters I change most often

Yes. In aperture priority mode, you can use either the zoom ring or the rear dial to adjust aperture. You can change exposure compensation in all but Intelligent Auto mode with an extra push at the bottom of the rear dial.

- Is it instantly ready to use once turned on?

Yes, at least for my purposes. But turning it on takes a second or two - a bit sluggish.

- Is the zoom stepped or continuous and does it remember the last setting?

You have the choice in settings of using continuous or stepped. But it doesn't remember that you were on, say, 35mm the last time you had the camera on. At least I can't find such an option.

- Does the WiFi work effectively for transferring images to (android) phone or tablet?

I wouldn't know. I've never used it. But the menu options look simple and the Mark V also has NFC ability.

- Can you shoot raw and best quality jpg simultaneously?

No. RAW+JPG gives you "fine" jpgs - medium quality.

- Is there a built in raw conversion capability?

No.

- What is the mono output like?

Not bad at all. But, for certain choices, you have to use two menu options to get it. You must select regular B+W in the Creative Style option and then you have the additional option to choose high contrast or rich B+W in the Picture Effects option. You could probably assign your preference to the function buttom.

- Is it robust, and free from dust issues?

Yes. The RX100 series is pretty robust, especially the later models.

- What are Sony like for servicing (I have had some experience of them with portable telephones...)

I haven't had to contact them.

- Can you turn the screen off completely and just rely on the viewfinder?

Yes.

- Does the viewfinder have a level or grid?

Yes.

- Is the viewfinder good quality and free from flare?

I have found it to be so, yes.

- Given all the above, and my likely usage - shove in a pocket or pouch and take everywhere, particularly travel, for street, architecture, interiors, occasional portraits, occasional macro, never flash (other cameras are X-Pro2, X100F and GR) - which model would you recommend

If you want phase-detection autofocus and the best continuous autofocus functionality, get the Mark V. Otherwise, the Mark IV, which has a better sensor (stacked), better EVF and better video ability over the Mark III for not much more money.

- would you advocate buying new or used?

I would generally default to new unless you find a cracking deal on used and you are confident about the previous ownership. But that's just me.

As to whether you would be happy with one of the RX100 models, I'm not sure. The cameras tend to lend themselves to use as high-quality point-and-shoots. The menus are long and involved and they don't have touchscreens. The Mark V can shoot very quickly and employ excellent autofocus but control operation can be sluggish. Battery life is so-so at best (And remember to take the battery out if you're not going to use the camera for a few days. Sony cameras drain their batteries even when turned off.). But there's no arguing about the lens and image quality.

If you don't require a viewfinder, you might want to check out the Panasonic LX10/15 as well. It has an even faster lens, better performance in terms of control response, 4K photo mode, a touchscreen and a dedicated aperture ring in addition to the stepless control ring. All for a lot less money.

Hope this has been helpful.
 
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davidzvi

Top Veteran
Apr 18, 2014
104
Boston Burbs
David
......- Is it instantly ready to use once turned on?......
That's the one that has ALWAYS gotten me. I've always been a "turn it off when not shooting" person and I have yet to find one of these that I've been happy with. I'm also not a fan of power zooms in general, but it's the on/off that bugs me more since most (all?) have the option to step or free zoom. Most seem to allow you to set zoom lever for one and ring for the other.

If I recall correctly both the Pan LX100 and LX10/15 have a setting for resume to last focal range, I thought Sony did as well but will take @Biro's word on that.

Really wish someone would put a Fuji X30 like manual zoom lens on a 1" (or larger) sensor. But until then the Fuji X70 is my jacket pocket camera. While it is a fixed 28mm it does have a built in TC for 35mm & 50mm (JPeg only) that is an actual up sample back to 16mp and not just a crop.
 

Lightmancer

Super Moderator
Aug 13, 2011
164
Sunny Frimley
Bill Palmer
Thank you Steve.

- Can you shoot raw and best quality jpg simultaneously?

No. RAW+JPG gives you "fine" jpgs - medium quality.

- Is there a built in raw conversion capability?

No.


Double ugh...

That battery thing is a bit of a killer too...

Viewfinder is a must, Panasonic is not an option. Been there, done that.
 

Biro

Super Moderator
Aug 7, 2011
124
Jersey Shore
Steve
Thank you Steve.

Double ugh...

That battery thing is a bit of a killer too...

Viewfinder is a must, Panasonic is not an option. Been there, done that.
Given the cameras you already have, Bill, there aren't many choices for you in the compact category if a viewfinder is a must. And the few available outside of the RX100's seem to be Panasonic.

Canon has some interesting entries in the category with their dual-pixel autofocus but most don't have built-in EVFs or are otherwise too large.

Is renting an RX100 IV or V possible just to see if you could get along with it?

I wonder what the Fuji XF10 is going to be about. It's supposed to be unveiled in the next week.
 
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serhan

All-Pro
May 7, 2011
124
NYC
I never put cameras directly in my pocket, usually they are in a bag so far I had not seen any dust issues. I wear eye glasses and did not like/use the Sony evf as I was pushing it when I was trying to see more with my eyeglasses. The new VI has a different implementation. I find image stabilization very useful esp when my dog pulls me when I am taking a shot...

I had Mark 1, made in Japan, broke in 2 years and Sony was charging nearly same amount to fix it as a used one costed... So I ugraded to a used ver III. It worked great until my wife washed in the washing machine... Then I got a used ver IV, which is fine so far, but I use more TZ100/200 due to longer reach when I am walking in the neighborhood. When I go to field trips to subway, I use the RX100 for low light. Ver IV has better low af and also min shutter option which is very useful. You can set up min shutter or choose slow-normal-fast option to adjust it per zoom which is much useful then TZ200's min shutter set up w 15x zoom.

Here are M3 shots that I posted:
Spring in NYC
A Foggy Day...
M4:
Black & White, monotone and sepia
 
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Lightmancer

Super Moderator
Aug 13, 2011
164
Sunny Frimley
Bill Palmer
Thank you kindly for the responses thus far, this is really helpful.

A subsidiary question if I may.

On the Mk. IV and later, is there dioptre correction on the viewfinder?

I do wear spectacles but tend to remove them when shooting.

Both my Fuji bodies have in-built dioptre correction and are set up to my needs.
 

bassman

Regular
Feb 12, 2014
19
New Jersey, USA
The Bassman
I’d echo one of Biro’s points - while the RX100 has all the manual controls and settings you might like, I find the controls are all very small and not that easy to use. The Auto functioning, however, is really quite good. So it really is a P&S camera that you might occasionally control manually.

I’d add that I’m on my second, which I don’t use all that much. The first lost its LCD when I dropped it, which made it almost unusable. The repair was almost $400, so I declined. The second lost its EVF for no apparent reason.

I find my iPhone X works very well as that camera always in my pocket.
 

Biro

Super Moderator
Aug 7, 2011
124
Jersey Shore
Steve
Thank you kindly for the responses thus far, this is really helpful.

A subsidiary question if I may.

On the Mk. IV and later, is there dioptre correction on the viewfinder?

I do wear spectacles but tend to remove them when shooting.

Both my Fuji bodies have in-built dioptre correction and are set up to my needs.
Yes, my Mark V has diopter correction. The adjustment is on the top of the viewfinder after you pop it up and pull it back.

Also, to expand on what serhan mentioned, you can set a minimum shutter speed with Auto ISO... and you can select how quickly the camera raises ISO.

And yes, it must be stressed that while it seems the later RX100's want to be point-and-shoots at heart, they really do deliver excellent results when used that way.
 

porchard

Veteran
Feb 3, 2013
43
Devon, UK
If the RX100 V has such an option, I haven't been able to find it.
I'm still on my trusty Mk1 (now almost six years old), so my comments relate specifically to that model. However, they might be (and, I suspect, probably are) common to later models.

There's no 'focal length resume' function as such, but there is, at least, a useable work-around:-
if one saves the current settings using the MR (Memory Recall) function, the focal length is saved, along with all the other settings. Thus, if the camera is switched on when set to the chosen MR, the focal length is resumed automatically.

Hopefully, this information might prove useful to someone.
 
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porchard

Veteran
Feb 3, 2013
43
Devon, UK
The RX100 Mk 1 is a slippery little fella, and I presume that the Mk IV is no different. I thought you might like a couple of suggestions for reducing the likelihood of yours heading for the pavement, and an untimely demise. :eek:

i) I keep the lower half of the case on the camera, since it's much easier to grip than the body.

ii) I operate a strict policy - when removing the RX100 from a pocket - of pulling out the wrist-strap first, and putting a hand through it, before pulling out the camera.

This approach has kept my RX100 in one piece for nearly six years, so far... and hopefully many more!
 

Lightmancer

Super Moderator
Aug 13, 2011
164
Sunny Frimley
Bill Palmer
That is my friend; that it is. Many observations by myself and others should make much more sense to you now.
True dat.

I planned ahead and bought a grip but I have large hands (long, rather than thick, fingers) and I could see myself cramping up if I hold it "ready" for a long time, as when shooting street. Still not happy about the lack of an in camera raw converter and the lack of raw+top quality jpg. Like the viewfinder, hate hate hate the tilty screen... Like the usb charging but hate the fingernail-challenging cover. The menus, surprisingly, bother me less than I expected, although many of the "help" descriptions are written in haiku-like, cyclic "japlish". If I have to refer to a manual to do basic things, its a fail...

I'll use it over the weekend and make a choice.
 
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