RX100 First Real Impressions

Superbly sharp images from the RX100. Click to see larger image
Superbly sharp images from the RX100. Click to see larger image

Finally I managed to get out with the RX100 at the weekend and despite all the snow headed to North Wales with a friend. The light didn’t last long before the sky closed in with it starting to snow again. Fortunately I managed to get quite a few shots with the RX100 which has allowed me to assess its capabilities a little better.

Firstly the downside to using the RX100:

  • It’s a very small camera and it needs that leather half case to help with grip (I now have one on order)
  • It’s difficult to feel the shutter button, especially when wearing gloves
  • I miss the 24mm wide angle. 28mm is good but there were a few times that I found myself wishing for more

Now to the excellent stuff:

  • It’s a remarkably easy camera to use but better than that, it’s enjoyable and very intuitive. The more I use it the more I enjoy using it.
  • Size wise, its perfect to slip into your pocket
  • The sensor is lovely with low noise and a very high dynamic range
  • Image quality is exceptional

Image quality is the real reason I bought the camera and it’s simply amazing. The image you see with this post was shot with the RX100 and I can’t fault it. The quality looks like it’s out of my 5D and it produces the same size print. At ISO80 to 160 there is no visible noise, even when I set the noise reduction to off in my RAW converter. And whilst I am shooting RAW as always, the JPG’s are really very good and I would be happy to use them. This means I can take advantage of in camera HDR and other creative features.

The camera seems to resolve every little detail of a scene, especially in the first 20-50 feet. It’s not as good as the 5D with subjects in the far distance, which is really down to the laws of physics but it is so much better than I had hoped for. As for the lens, it is so sharp, even with finest details are sharply resolved. I actually printed the above image at A3+ and didn’t apply any output sharpening, only the usual RAW capture sharpening (and even then not much). The print is actually on the verge of looking too sharp and perhaps needs softening slightly.

The other aspect of image quality which you can’t judge from this image is the natural colours. Greens and blues are particularly good and far better than the LX5 or even the GX1 (although my latest GX1 is a big improvement on the one I had converted to Infrared).

As a pocket camera for a Landscape photographer or even urban work this is an amazing tool. And in case you were wondering just how detailed the full image is, here are three sections at 100% resolution with the only sharpening being light RAW capture sharpening.

Sample 1. Click to view at 100%.
Sample 1. Click to view at 100%.
Sample 2. Click to view at 100%.
Sample 2. Click to view at 100%.
Sample 3. Click to view at 100%.
Sample 3. Click to view at 100%.

8 thoughts on “RX100 First Real Impressions

  1. I wouldn’t expect to see much of a difference between 16MP and 20MP. And, in studio test shots on DPReview.com, the RX100 looks softer than the GX1. How do sharpness, detail and noise compare between your RX100 and GX1?

    1. Good question and I have seen the same image samples on DPReview and would say they don’t do the camera justice. It is far sharper and able to resolve more detail than the studio images suggest. What I would say is the images are sharper in the centre than at the edges and in the corners but you wold expect that. Stop down to around f/5.6 and the lens is good across all the area but superb in the centre. It’s sharper at the wide and mid focal lengths and does lose a little bit at the 110mm end. Looking at the prints I have made I would say the RC100 appears much sharper than the GX1. The GX1 however has a quality about it that the RX100 lacks. Perhaps this is the interchangable lenses of the GX1. Perhaps its my inexperience converting the RAW files.

  2. I love the PP of the first image at the top of the blog. I know it is a simple bordering to the image but looks very effect. Sometimes the simple things are best. Very impressive sharpness in the images.

      1. Funny to read this, since I don´t like the borders at all. I think they have too much impact on the photo, a bit of a cheesy enhancement which makes them look all the same, and find myself constantly wondering how the photo would look without.

      2. I always feel an image isn’t finished unless there is an edge to it. Yes this boarder is more pronounced than my usual work because the image is much lighter but I still feel it needs an edge of some form. Personal taste perhaps.

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