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Flagship Sony large-area sensor compact

Sony has announced the Cyber-shot RX100, a new premium compact cameras with a 1-inch, 20-megapixel sensor, ‘the biggest ever for a “pocketable” zoom camera’, according to the press release.

The retro-styled, aluminium-bodied RX100 camera inherits many advanced imaging features from Sony’s Alpha range of A-mount and E-mount cameras. It will retail for an RRP of $799 (compared to US$648 + approx $50 shipping from B&H in New York., and $640 – 700 on eBay from Hong Kong).

‘It’s a perfect step-up model for point-and-shoot users not interested in larger DSLR or compact system cameras, and also an outstanding choice for enthusiasts or professionals who may already own a large DSLR and are looking for a premium, pocket-sized “all-in-one” second camera,’ said Anthony Moy, product manager, Digital Still Cameras, Sony Australia.

The Cyber-shot RX100 ie equipped with ‘the world’s first 1-inch (13.2 x 8.8 mm) Exmor CMOS sensor with a resolution of 20.2 effective megapixels’. The sensor has an area that’s approximately four times larger than the 1/2.3-type sensors in the majority of Sony and other point-and-shoot cameras. The sensor’s larger area takes in more light, resulting in more detailed images and Full HD movie clips with low noise.

The larger sensor is married to a Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* fixed lens with 3.6x optical zoom range and a fast f1.8 maximum aperture.

The lens features a seven-bladed circular aperture for pleasing defocused areas (bokeh). The lens also features an Advanced Aspherical (AA) lens element that contributes to the camera’s compact dimensions without sacrificing optical zoom performance or resolution.

The RX100’s Bionz image processor maximises shooting response times. It also extends sensitivity right up to ISO 25,600 (using Multi Frame Noise Reduction), allowing for hand-held images in low light conditions. To capture fast-moving subjects, the RX100 camera can also shoot at up to 10 frames per second at full resolution and has high-speed autofocus that locks onto a subject in as quickly as 0.13 seconds.

The new RX100 camera features a high-resolution 3-inch 1.3 million dot Xtra Fine LCD display and also adds a new feature: ‘WhiteMagic’ technology. This uses additional white pixels to boost screen brightness, allowing users to see details and tones on the screen in all types of shooting environments, including outdoors in bright sunlight.

Manual control
For making manual adjustments while shooting both still images and movies, the new camera has a smooth control ring around the lens body, which can be used to alter exposure, zoom, creative picture effects and a variety of other customisable functions. Additionally, frequently used functions can be assigned to the Fn (function) button for instant access, and the Memory Recall feature can store up to three groups of customised shooting settings based on user preference.

Similar to a DSLR-style interface, there’s a choice of auto and manual focus modes on the Cyber-shot RX100 camera for enhanced image control. For those who prefer focusing manually, MF Assist magnifies images to simplify fine adjustments, and there’s also a pro-style peaking function that highlights sharply-focused areas of the image on screen.

The RX100 camera offers a generous choice of artistic options to expand creative shooting possibilities. It includes the option for six different creative styles and a variety of popular picture effects including Toy Camera, Partial Colour and HDR Painting, which can be previewed directly on screen before shooting.

The new Cyber-shot features Auto Portrait Framing – a feature found on Sony’s latest α range of A-mount and E-mount cameras — making it simple to create sharp, well-framed portraits. This unique feature automatically detects faces in a scene and crops the picture accordingly to create a tighter, pro-style composition at full resolution. Both the original and cropped photo are saved for review.

New accessories include a spare battery, dedicated carrying case and a battery charger designed to complement to the new camera.

Sony has made the RX100 available to consumers via its website and Sony Centres prior to a general release to photo retailers.

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