We've provided this printable version of our review for your convenience. Please remember that your shopping clicks support this site. If you think this camera is a good choice for you, please consider returning to the link below to check prices and make a purchase via our shopping links.

Also note that this is just one of the pages from this review. Full reviews have several pages with complete analysis of the many test shots we take with each camera. Feel free to download and print them out to see how the camera will perform for you.

Full Review at: http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/sony-rx100/sony-rx100A.HTM

Like this camera?
Save money online!
Prices as of 07/24/2014
Sony RX100 digital camera image
Save Money!
Sony RX100

$502.79



- That's the average, click to find the BEST price!

Your shopping clicks support this site, help keep the reviews coming!

Sony RX100 Performance


Timing and Performance

Generally good to excellent performance in our tests.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

2.8 seconds

Time it takes to turn on and capture a shot.

Shutdown

~2 seconds

How long it takes camera to turn off before you can remove the memory card.

Buffer clearing time
~6 seconds
(JPEG)
Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card.
~2 seconds
(RAW)
~9 seconds
(RAW+ LF JPEG)
*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s UHS-1 SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Startup time was much slower than an SLR, but reasonable for a point & shoot. Buffer clearing times were pretty good for its class, especially considering the buffer depth and its 20 megapixel images. (Particularly impressive was the ~2 second clearing time for RAW images with a sufficiently fast memory card. RAW shooters rejoice!)


Mode Switching

Play to Record,
first shot

1.1 seconds

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to Play

2.2 seconds

Time to display a large/fine JPEG file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

0.6 second

Time to display a large/fine JPEG file already on the memory card.

Mode switching performance was pretty good for its class, though Record to Play was a bit sluggish.


Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus,
Wide Angle

0.153 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting, at the wide-angle end of the lens' range.
Full Autofocus,
Telephoto
0.266 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting, at the telephoto end of the lens' range

Flash
(Full AF, Wide)

0.372 second

Using the flash slows the shutter release because the metering pre-flash has to occur before the shutter opens. Compare this number to the Full AF Wide Angle case above.

Continuous AF
0.314 second
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects. In the case of the RX100, it seemed to significantly slow the focus speed.
Manual Focus
0.032 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused". There was about 11% variation between shots in this test.

Prefocused

0.013 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button. There was about 7% variation between iterations on this particular measurement.

Looking at the Sony RX100's ability to determine that it's properly focused when shooting the same target multiple times, its autofocus speed is very fast for it class. The Sony RX100's full-autofocus shutter lag (with the subject at a fixed distance) was only 0.153 second in Single-area AF mode. This increased slightly to 0.266 second in Multi-area AF mode. That's much faster than the average CSC, and competitive with many SLRs.

The one significant anomaly we found in our shutter lag tests was that the AF is very slow to lock on in continuous AF mode when the lens is set to its widest aperture: We measured very consistent lag times of ~1.2 seconds in that condition. Stopping down to f/4 reduced continuous-AF lag to the 0.314 second shown in the table above.

With the flash enabled, the RX100's full AF shutter lag increased to 0.403s, to account for the preflash metering. Shutter lag was 0.315 second in continuous mode AF. When manually focused, the Sony RX100's lag time dropped to 0.032 second, which is very fast. The Sony RX100's prefocused lag time was only 0.013 second, among the fastest we've seen in cameras we've tested.

To minimize the effect of different lens' focusing speed, we test AF-active shutter lag with the lens already set to the correct focal distance.


Cycle Time (shot to shot)

Single Shot mode
Large/Fine JPEG

0.36 second

Time per shot, averaged over 20+ shots*. (JPEG shot to shot time was highly variable. Some were on the order of 0.3 second, others were 0.4-0.6)

Single Shot mode
RAW

0.66 second

Time per shot, averaged over 20+ shots*.

Single Shot mode
RAW + LF JPEG
0.62 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20+ shots*. (The slightly faster time for RAW+JPEG vs RAW alone isn't significant: The range of variation was +/- 0.05 second for RAW and +/- 0.02 second for RAW+JPEG, so the 0.04 difference is within the margin of error.)

Early shutter
penalty?

No

Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous mode
Large/Fine JPEG

0.40 second (2.5 frames per second);
33 frames total;
6 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 33 shots, then slows to an average of about 0.63s or 1.59 fps when buffer is full.

Continuous mode
RAW

0.45 second (2.22 frames per second);
16 frames total;
2 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 16 frames, then slows to an average of about 1.32s or 0.76 fps when buffer is full.

Continuous mode
RAW + LF JPEG

0.45 second (2.22 frames per second);
11 frames total;
9 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 11 frames, then slows to 1.90s or 0.53 fps when buffer is full.

Speed Priority Continuous mode
Large/Fine JPEG

0.10 second (10 frames per second);
13 frames total;
6 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 13 shots, then slows to an average of about 0.51s or 1.96 fps when buffer is full. (Sometimes significant variation between shots, though)

Speed Priority Continuous mode
RAW

0.10 second (10 frames per second);
13 frames total;
2 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 13 shots, then slows to an average of 1.32 fps when buffer is full. (Sometimes significant variation between shots, though)

Speed Priority Continuous mode
RAW + LF JPEG

0.10 second (10 frames per second);
10 frames total;
9 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 10 shots, then slows to an average of 1.84 fps when buffer is full. (Sometimes significant variation between shots, though)

Flash Recycling

7.2 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s UHS-1 SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Single-shot cycle time was quite good with just large/fine JPEGs, at 0.36 second, increasing to just 0.66 second when shooting RAW and 0.62 second for RAW + large/fine JPEG files. (As noted above, the difference between RAW and RAW+JPEG is within the margin of error.) Standard continuous mode performance was about average at 2.5 frames/second for JPEG and 2.22 frames/second for RAW and RAW+JPEG. Speed Priority Continuous mode was outstanding at 10 frames per second, though autofocus and exposure are fixed at the first frame of a burst in that mode.

Buffer depth for large/fine JPEGs was excellent, at 33 frames in standard continuous mode. Note, though, that our test target for this is designed to be difficult to compress, so users can expect longer JPEG burst lengths with typical subjects. When shooting with RAW files, buffer depth dropped to 16 RAW frames or 10 RAW+L/F JPEG frames, both still pretty good. Buffer depth in Speed Priority Continuous mode was 13 large/fine JPEG or RAW frames in our tests, and 9 JPEG+RAW frames, but as mentioned, you should do better with typical subjects.

Flash recycling was a significant shortcoming of the RX100, at 7.2 seconds from a full discharge. While not at all uncommon in small-body cameras with reasonable flash ranges, this is still a significant step down from what enthusiasts are accustomed to with either high-end (and bulky) point & shoots or interchangeable-lens cameras.


Download Speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

8,666 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Download speeds were relatively fast, quick enough that you won't feel the need for a separate card reader, even with large memory cards. (Note that this test was performed with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s SD card: Slower cards would likely show slower transfer times.)


Bottom line, the Sony RX100's performance was really excellent for a high-resolution point & shoot. Autofocus is on par with even fast SLRs, prefocused shutter lag is very much in the top tier regardless of camera type, and Speed Priority burst mode was faster than most professional SLRs (though the RX100 won't track focus or adjust exposure in that mode). While not quite as dramatic as Speed Priority burst mode, single-shot cycle times were very good as well. Buffer depth was very good in all modes, especially considering the 20 megapixel resolution of the RX100. The two disappointments were the rather slow flash recycling and very slow AF when using continuous AF mode with the lens a the maximum f/1.8 aperture.

Battery

Battery Life
Good battery life for a compact camera.

Operating Mode Battery Life
Still Capture,
(CIPA standard)
330 shots

The Sony RX100 uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack for power, and comes with a single battery and AC adapter (charging is in-camera via USB). The battery is rated for 330 shots per charge using the CIPA standard, which includes 50% flash shots. Battery life is above average for a compact model, but we do recommend getting a second battery for your RX100 if you plan any extended outings or shoot a lot of video.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))