When it comes to point and shoot cameras, Sony’s RX 100 series has a special place. Launched in 2012, it was one of the first really mainstream cameras to offer a large, one-inch sensor in a super compact body that could actually fit inside a jacket pocket. Of course, when it was launched, it was at a price that was considered to be on the slightly higher side at Rs 34,990. Today, that same device is available at a much more affordable price tag. Rs 22,999 on Amazon India. And we think that makes it a perfect bargain for anyone who wants a great camera but does not want to really spend big bucks.
Of course, there will be those who will say that the RX100 is an old camera – almost seven years old. But then unlike in smartphones and computers, cameras have a much longer life, and are focused (pun intended) mainly on photography. And well, take it from us, the RX100 is still capable of taking very good photographs.
The main reason for this is the 20.2 megapixel 1.0-Type Exmor CMOS sensor. At one inch, it is about four times the size of the sensor seen in most point and shoot cameras and almost twice the size of the half inch sensor seen in the likes of the OnePlus 7 Pro. Of course, having a bigger sensor means the RX100 is much more adept at handling low light and also delivering far more detail than you would get on a good smartphone camera. All right, we will amend that – even the best smartphone camera. That’s right, this seven year old camera is capable of taking much better snaps than the latest iPhone, Pixel, Galaxy S or OnePlus. You will not only get richer detail and colours, but also bokeh (blurred background) that is actually real and not created by software or data from a second camera. And the 3.6x zoom is a huge bonus as well.
And all this in a form factor that is shorter than a phone and at about 215 grammes, as heavy as one. It remains quite a brilliant design in terms of sheer compactness, which is why Sony has not changed it much over the years – it is very difficult to tell the later models of the RX100 apart from the original, as they basically shared the very same design.
This is not to say that the RX100 is perfect. No, it has its problems. Its autofocus is on the slower side and it is not the best option for those who love close ups (although landscapes are magnificent). Then there is the absence of a touchscreen and an optical viewfinder (not a dealbreaker in such a small form factor, we think). The absence of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi is a bigger headache, though it is mitigated by the fact that the camera has a micro USB port so you can transfer images to a computer using a simple data cable, or to a phone using an OTG adaptor. Finally, there is the fact that Sony’s camera interface can be a little confusing and in such a small form factor, finding and pressing the right buttons can be a little challenging and a lot of pain. On the spec side, the RX100 does not support 4K video, which might put off some of the vlogging crowd.
But in our honest opinion, all those shortcomings pale before what you are getting for a surprisingly affordable price – a fantastic sensor in a proven camera. If you are the type that likes to travel and take lots of pictures of places and portraits of people, then the Sony RX100 is an absolute gimme at Rs 22,999. A fantastic camera with a proven track record, which remains capable of legendary performance, especially if you are on a relatively tight budget (in camera terms).