• Weight 243 grams
  • Cost $599.00

Sony RX100 Compact Camera



Rating: 8.6 / 10
Value for Money 1.6 / 2
Durability  1.6 / 2
Ease of use 1.7 / 2
Weight 2.0 / 2
Picture Quality 1.7 / 2

Sony RX100 Compact Camera Review

Please note that while you can still find this camera online and in some stores the RX100 Mark 2 is really now the base camera and comes packed with extra features

On any given two week hiking trip I average about 1600 photos. I already own two Nikon SLRs and was getting sick of undoing my pack very time I wanted to take a photo. When you multiply this by 1600 images you can see my dilemma. I decided I needed a high quality compact camera that was easy to access and would take great images.

As per my usual modus operandi, I spent about three months trawling websites and camera reviews to find what for my usage was going to be the best buy. My criteria for choosing my new toy was:

  • Must take good quality images that could be printed at A4-A3 size
  • Compact size – must fit comfortably into my pants pocket or the pocket of the hip belt on my pack
  • Weather resistant
  • Could be used in automatic or manual mode
  • Wasn’t going to require me to mortgage my house to purchase
  • Feel good in the hands

Image quality

If this is going to be your first camera purchase then the key thing is that you get what you pay for.  What isn’t obvious when you look at compact cameras is the sensor size. The camera sensor provides your image quality. The larger the sensor the better potential image quality. If all you ever do is print the standard 6″ x 4″ image at your local box stores, or post small images to the internet then a large sensor camera is probably something you may not need. If however you want to produce images that can be printed at an A4 to A3 or bigger size then small sensor cameras are not going to be all that useful. So while most compact cameras on the market are cheaper than the RX100 this is due to the smaller sensor size. In addition to the sensor size, this camera can shoots images up to an impressive resolution of 20.2 MP providing some great quality images from this tiny camera.

While I have good photoshop abilities, I was always taught to take the best image possible to limit the amount of editing and usually will only adjust the image brightness or crop the image if needed. I have my camera set on the highest quality images and don’t use the flash.

Compact size

This is the big one for me. I love my Nikon SLR and when choosing to take macro shots or arty photos this is my go to camera. However at 1 Kilogram + including the lens, I find it annoying to unpack every time I want to take a photo. This is where the Sony RX100 wins out. For me it fits in my pants pocket and will fit into the pack hip belt pockets on larger packs. This allows me to regularly get the camera out in a matter of seconds so I can keep on snapping to my hearts content. When powered down, the lens retracts and the whole camera is very small.

Weather resistant

This is the main weakness of this camera. My other option when I was looking at a compact camera was the Olympus TG-4 (now Olympus TG-5) which will take photos underwater to a maximum depth of 15 metres. While I wouldn’t use this feature this does mean that if its raining I could still take photos. I would not attempt to use the RX100 in heavy rain as I think that it would be temping fate. If the Olympus camera had a larger sensor size then I may have gone a different direction.

Could be used in automatic or manual mode

Most of my photography with my SLR is done in manual mode. However with my RX100 Mark-1 I mainly use the automatic modes. The reason for this is the one weakness in that it lacks is a manual viewfinder. When you are in the full sun its very hard to see what your image result on the LCD screen so I will use automatic mode in bright areas and use the manual mode sparingly.

Wasn’t going to require me to mortgage my house to purchase

The RX100 is not a cheap camera. These days you can purchase compact SLRs for the same price. Having said that the RX100 Mark-1 is still very good value for money and is compact which suits me.

Feels good in the hands

The RX100 Mark-1 feels like a quality camera when you handle it, has a compact aluminium body and even though I have large hands it is easy to use and to access the controls.

Bibs and bobs

  • The video function on both the RX100 and my newer SLR camera is not something that I have ever used. Maybe one day!
  • The automatic shooting settings are intuitive and easy to use

Last words

I did look at the more expensive siblings before I made my purchase (the Sony RX100 Mark-2, 3, 4,5,6, and 7) but the price and additional features didn’t entice me. The RX 100 Mark-1 is a simple no nonsense version that doesn’t share a lot of the bells and whistles with the newer versions but in the way I use this camera I don’t feel that I have lost out. So while it doesn’t provide the level of image quality that my SLR’s do it leaves most other compact cameras for dead and I have been very happy with the quality of  images that I get from this compact little unit and would be happy to recommend it to anyone looking for a high quality compact camera.

We Like

  • 243 gram weight including memory card
    • Much lighter than equivalent quality large format cameras
  • Compact size
    • Ultra-slim, aluminum body 102 x 58 x 36mm. This camera will fit into most pants pockets making it easy to access quickly to catch that great shot
  • Image size 20 megapixels
    • Good quality images that can be blown up
  • ISO (you will need a tripod, or a stable surface for nighttime shooting)
    • Auto
    • 100
    • 200
    • 400
    • 800
    • 1600
    • 3200
    • 6400
    • 12800
    • 25600
  • Focal length
    • 28-100mm
  • Max aperture
    • F1.8-4.9
  • Memory: SD memory cards
    • Easily available storage available in most towns if you run short
  • Maximum Resolution
    • 5472 x 3648 providing great pictures in a little package
  • RAW image capability
    • This is Sony’s version of RAW
  • Multi shot mode
    • 10 frames/second
  • Optical zoom 3.6X
  • Digital zoom 14X
  • Autofocus
    • Contrast Detect (sensor)
    • Multi-area
    • Center
    • Selective single-point
    • Tracking
    • Single
    • Continuous
    • Face Detection
  • 3″ LCD screen -fixed
    • This is not a touch screen
  • Video mode that records sound
  • Battery Life
    • 330 shots without flash use
  • Removable battery
    • Lithium Ion

We Don't Like

  • The cost. For a compact camera its not cheap but as the saying goes ‘you get what you pay for’
  • Availability. This base grade model RX100 is becoming harder to find in many stores and may have to be a special order. There are plenty of suppliers on line offering this version
  • Lack of viewfinder. The main visual access point of this camera is the rear LCD screen and while this is OK in low light, on bright sunny days it is hard to see exactly what you are shooting and what the outcome is without finding a shady spot to review the image
  • While this camera has RAW capability you will need the Sony software for editing
  • Macro and artistic shots aren’t quite as good as with an SLR but when I’m serious about taking macro shots I tend to use a high quality dedicated lens anyway
  • This camera occasional turns itself on in my pocket which has the potential to damage the lens mechanism

Best Uses

This is a great compact camera for those weight conscious hikers who want high quality images without the extra bulk and weight of SLRs

Buy One

You can purchase the Sony RX100 Camera family from Camera Pro. While you can still track down the mark I and mark II versions of this Camera the Mark III is now considered the entry level model

Disclosure: Some of the above links are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Please note that our affiliations do not influence, in any way, the independence of our reviews. If we don’t like a product, you’ll hear about it from us!

If you have used the Sony RX100 Camera or if you have questions, we’d like to hear from you. Post your comment or question below


These days the older model are harder to source

Other Versions

The following price are the best available in store at the time of review. Cheaper deals are usually available online.


This review was done with product purchased by the Australian Hiker from a retail store

Front view of the Sony RX100 in the ‘on’ position. When the camera is turned on the lens is extended

Top image of the RX100 Mark-1 showing the main controls

Sony RX100 Mark-1 back view showing digital screen and menu controls


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