They say being first to market is best way to get a leg up on the competition, but there is advantage of watching from the sidelines for 7 years -- you can observe what works and what doesn't. That seems to be exactly what Sony has done with the newly announce DSC-RX100 enthusiast compact, their first in this category since 2005.
It appears that Sony's RX100 has taken all our favorite parts from the top pocket sized enthusiast compacts (See Canon's S series and Olympus's XZ-1), added a larger sensor and put in a sleek body. In other words, this could be the compact we've all been waiting for.
Purely from the specs, the RX100 is impressive, with a 20.2MP 1" sensor that's over twice the size found in the Canon S100 and Olympus XZ-1. It has a 28-100mm f1.8-4.9 lens, competing with the Olympus XZ-1 in terms of brightest lens. Like the S100, it's got a front control dial for manual adjustments, and like most enthusiast compacts, can shoot in RAW.
The 1080p60 HD video is nice for slow-mo video video puts in a pocket compact class of its own. As far as the build goes, it's hard not to notice the obvious similarities to Canon's S series from the initial set of images, and that's not a bad thing (unless, I suppose, you are Canon).
The drawback, of course, is that this nice big sensor comes with an extra cost. The RX100 is set to be released in July for $649, $220 dollars more than the S100.
The Sony RX100 for Underwater Photography?
Given the impressive features of this camera, it seems likely it will get some attention from housing manufacturers. The larger sensor size and brighter lens than the S100 will appeal to serious compact users that are still looking for pocket sized camera. However, the extra cost will likely still make the S100 a more attractive to those who a find a better sensor than the average compact, full manual controls and RAW shooting completely adequate.
There will likely be much more to come about this model soon, but suffice it to say, we're pretty excited about it.
Full press release below
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Travelling light doesn’t mean compromising on picture quality with the new Cyber-shot™ DSC-RX100 camera.
Sleekly crafted in aluminium for strength, lightness and luxurious looks, the RX100 inherits many advanced imaging features from Sony’s α range of A-mount and E-mount camera families. It’s an accomplished partner for travel, portraits or street photography, with impressive picture quality and intuitive, comfortable control options that make the RX100 ideal as a step-up from point-and-shoot cameras. It’s also ideal as a pocket-sized second camera for enthusiasts who want to capture pristine stills and Full HD video while they’re on the move.
At the heart of the Cyber-shot™ RX100 is the world’s first1 1.0-type Exmor CMOS sensor with a resolution of 20.2 effective megapixels. Specially developed by Sony, the sensor has an area that’s around four times larger than the 1/2.3-type imager in regular point-and-shoot cameras. Capturing far more light than small-sensor cameras, it’s the key to beautiful, detail packed images and Full HD movie clips with very low noise.
The larger sensor is partnered with an ultra-bright Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens with 3.6x optical zoom range. In contrast with standard point-and-shoot cameras, the wide F1.8 maximum aperture lets in more light to complement the resolving power of the large 1.0-type Exmor CMOS sensor.
In common with high-performance DSLR optics, the lens features seven- bladed circular aperture. This makes it easy to produce pro-style ‘bokeh’ effects, with subjects in sharp focus against a smoothly-blurred background. The lens also features an Advanced Aspherical (AA) glass element that contributes to the camera’s extremely compact dimensions without sacrificing optical performance or resolution.
Complementing the 1.0-type sensor and lens, the optimised BIONZ image processor maximises shooting responses while assuring exceptionally clean, natural images. It also extends sensitivity right up to ISO 256002 (using Multi Frame Noise Reduction), allowing exceptionally clear handheld images in dim light. Speedy burst shooting at up to 10 frames per second (full-resolution) lets you grab split-second photo opportunities, while high-speed autofocus locks onto your target in as little as 0.13 seconds3.
Even if you’re shooting outdoors, it’s easy to see subtle details and tones on the bright, high contrast 7.5cm (3") Xtra Fine LCD. With an extremely high 1229k dot resolution, the screen debuts new WhiteMagic™ technology that uses white pixels in addition to RGB to boost screen brightness.
It’s easy to fine-tune your image with a wide range of manual adjustments, whether you’re shooting stills or Full HD video.
Experienced photo enthusiasts will appreciate the unique Control Ring that surrounds the lens body. Allowing smooth, fingertip adjustment of exposure, zoom, Picture Effect and other functions, it makes versatile DSLR-style creative control over your image easily accessible.
Frequently-used functions can be assigned to a handy Fn (function) button for instant access. Memory Recall stores up to three groups of settings for instant recall – a big time-saver when you don’t want to keep adjusting parameters for favourite scenes.
Just like a DSLR camera, there’s a choice of auto and manual focus modes for even greater control over your image. If you’re focusing manually, MF Assist magnifies your image to simplify fine adjustments. There’s also a convenient Peaking function that highlights sharply-focused areas of the image on screen.
There’s a generous choice of artistic options to expand shooting possibilities for enthusiasts and novice photographers alike. It’s easy to fine-tune the look of your image with a choice of six Creative Styles to suit the scene or your personal preference. Picture Effect offers an inspiring choice of 'in camera' effects that can be previewed on the LCD screen, including Toy Camera, Partial Colour, Pop Colour, HDR Painting, Miniature, Illustration, Watercolour and other (Note: real-time preview not available with all Picture Effect settings).
Shared with the latest α range of A-mount and E-mount cameras, Auto Portrait Framing makes it simple to capture personality-packed photos of family and friends. Cyber-shot™ does all the hard work, automatically detecting faces and cropping the scene to create tighter, pro-style compositions without sacrificing pixel count.
Newly created for the DSC-RX100, the NP-BX1 Type X rechargeable battery features a slim, energy-efficient design to allow up to 330 still shots or 80 mins AVCHD video shooting per charge. Exclusively designed to match the camera, the LCJ-RXA is a stylish ‘jacket style’ carry case with an attractive leather-look textured finish and supplied shoulder strap. Attaching securely to the camera, the case opens to allow easy shooting while you’re on the move.
The new Cyber-shot™ RX100 digital compact camera from Sony is available in Europe from mid July 2012.
1 Among compact digital still cameras, as of June 6, 2012.
2 ISO 12800 and higher settings are achieved through combining Superimposing technology and By Pixel Super Resolution technology.
3 Actual autofocus speed depends on scene and lighting conditions.
4 WhiteMagic is a trademark of Japan Display Inc.
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