The very latest cameras are usually the hottest, but the new EOS-M hasn't dislodged the reigning champion from atop Amazon's bestseller's list: the #1 selling camera on Amazon is still the Sony RX100. (Of course, maybe the Canon will do better once it's actually shipping.)
The RX100 probably benefited greatly from David Pogue's formidable endorsement (you'll recall, I got on board with his teaser/reveal presentation), but even a big-name endorsement isn't enough to carry a camera to #1 and keep it there.
So what's so special about the RX100? I'm not quite sure I know, although it does seem to check a lot of the right boxes: 20-megapixel sensor that's very large by compact digicam standards; a fast lens; reportedly, unusually fast autofocus. With pretty much every other feature up-to-the-minute state of the art, including the viewing screen and the video performance.
So, anybody have one? I'd be curious to know your impressions.
(Thanks to Svein-Frode)
P.S. [Curmudgeon alert]: Just as an aside, has there ever been a teaser/reveal where the teaser part hooks you but the reveal part doesn't disappoint you, at least a little? We're now getting the new Mazda 6 revealed to us about three inches at a time. I'm starting to tire of the gambit as a PR style. Just show me the thing and let me get on with my life....
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Original contents copyright 2012 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Edward Taylor: "I've had the RX100 for six days now. It replaces my Canon S100. It is thicker than the Canon, but otherwise the same size. It feels a bit heavier too. It handles wonderfully. It has surprised me only in positive ways so far.
"Image quality is excellent and it handles low light and underexposure better than the Canon. For pixel peepers, the files are very much like Micro 4/3 or DSLR files.
"I try to avoid zooming if I can help it because the aperture shrinks quickly and I just love the way the camera focuses and captures images when wide open at ƒ/1.8.
"To sum it up, there is no going back. This is real trouble for point-and-shoot small-sensor cameras. A camera this small with this quality will attract any serious photographer who wants a pocketable camera, and non-serious photographers will be using their cell phones.
"The only question is whether a Micro 4/3 camera with its somewhat smaller sensor [Micro 4/3 sensors are actually larger than the RX100's. MarcinB shared this link which features a visual comparison. —Ed.] could be made even smaller (especially because of smaller lens sizes), maintain a larger aperture for more of the zoom range, and produce similar image quality.
"Right now, in my opinion, the RX100 is the best small, fixed-lens camera obtainable today. No doubt."
Featured Comment by Ken Tanaka: "In a recent thread here about the RX100's introduction I remarked that I would stick with my trusty Canon S95 because it's a camera I know and it's been an outstanding performer.
"I still endorse my opinions of the S95. But I ended up biting on RX100 bait last week. (Hook in mouth....) I think my Canon S95 might be out of business. My primary first impressions:
- Remarkable image quality. Really. I've only shot a few hundred frames with it and only in JPEG (no handy Raw conversions yet) but geez. Damn! In the few scenes I use as initial inspection frames the RX100 produced some of the best results I've seen from any camera.
- Same size as the Canon S95. That's important to me. It's gotta be really pants-pocketable...and it is.
- Pretty good handling, again very similar to Canon's S90/S95/S100. Being well-accustomed to Sony's menu/control Zen I was able to be instantly productive with the RX100. I have a few nits and have not yet learned all of the camera's tricks but it's been a shallow learning curve for me.
- A bit slippery! The satin finish is lovely but hard to grip, with the only tacky spot being at the rear. Richard Franiac is making one of his wonderful accessory grips (ordered) for the camera but it won't begin shipping until August.
- The RX100's battery concept sucks. The batteries must be charged in the camera with either with a USB cable attached to a computer or to an included AC adapter. (Of course the batteries are $50, too) WTF?
- The RX100's Zeiss Vario-Sonnar lens is no slouch, either. It's extremely flare-resistant, produced excellent contrast and sharpness at all apertures. Its only weakness is that its fast ƒ/1.8 speed slows immediately when you push beyond 28mm. Not really a serious issue on balance.
- The LCD is a lovely, bright, rich display similar to the NEX-7's.
"Did I already mention that the image quality on the RX100 kicks many asses?
"Someone in the EOS-M thread remarked that some folks who didn't want the expense of removable lenses might just get an RX100 and call it a day. That's quite feasible. Of course the viewfinder fetishists won't consider it. But Sony has built a nearly perfect pocket camera, at least for me, in the RX100."
[Ed. Note: Both of the above commenters, Edward Taylor and Kenneth Tanaka, have written camera reviews for TOP in the past. —MJ]
Featured Comment by James Symington: "I've had mine for a week and the image quality is stunning—easily as good as my Fuji X100 which is praise indeed. Great lens, solid build quality although indeed a bit slippery so a proper wrist strap that you can tighten around your wrist essential. And it is very small. I think it is revolutionary and it massively overshadows any other compact camera I've had. Expensive but very worth it."