Since the original release of the Sony RX100 back in 2012, the company has been pushing updates to the Camera and releasing one new iteration every year. Which means that as of today, we have had a total of 4 such releases: RX100, RX100 II, RX100 III and RX100 IV. Sporting a 1″ sensor and superb optics from Zeiss, these point and shoot cameras have been widely popular among photographers. And thanks to their compact size and low weight, the RX100 series cameras have been highly regarded as very capable, and yet pocket-able cameras that are perfect for such needs as travel photography. Unfortunately, due to the number of the RX100 series cameras, their differences in pricing and features, it has become increasingly difficult for potential buyers to understand the main differences between these cameras. In this article, I will be comparing the key features and specifications of the RX100-series cameras, which will hopefully make it easier to see what has changed between all the releases we have seen so far.
Below is a table that we put together for our readers, showing each iteration of the Sony RX100 cameras, along with their key specifications. Please note that we have marked the superior features in darker blue, while the key missing features are marked in light red.
|Specification||Sony RX100 I||Sony RX100 II||Sony RX100 III||Sony RX100 IV|
|Sensor Type||CMOS||BSI CMOS||BSI CMOS||Stacked CMOS|
|Sensor Resolution||20.2 MP||20.2 MP||20.1 MP||20.1 MP|
|Sensor Size||13.2 x 8.8mm (1″)||13.2 x 8.8mm (1″)||13.2 x 8.8mm (1″)||13.2 x 8.8mm (1″)|
|Native ISO Range||125-6400||160-12,800||125-12,800||125-12,800|
|Image Processor||Bionz||Bionz||Bionz X||Bionz X|
|Lens Focal Length||10.4-37.1mm||10.4-37.1mm||8.8-25.7mm||8.8-25.7mm|
|Focal Length in 35mm Equiv||28-100mm||28-100mm||24-70mm||24-70mm|
|Integrated ND Filter||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/2000 sec||1/2000 sec||1/2000 sec||1/32000 sec|
|Startup Time||2.8 sec||2.8 sec||2.0 sec||2.0 sec|
|Anti Distortion Shutter||No||No||No||Yes|
|Auto ISO Min Shutter Speed||No||No||No||Yes|
|EVF||N/A||Optional||1.44 Million Dot EVF||2.36 Million Dot EVF|
|Continuous Shooting Speed||10 fps||10 fps||10 fps||16 fps|
|Buffer Size||13 JPEG / 13 RAW||13 JPEG / 13 RAW||48 JPEG / 26 RAW||48 JPEG / 26 RAW|
|LCD Screen||3.0″ Fixed||3.0″ Tilting, +90°/-40°||3.0″ Tilting, +180°/-45°||3.0″ Tilting, +180°/-45°|
|Video Recording||1080p, up to 50 fps||1080p, up to 60 fps||1080p, up to 60 fps||4K, up to 30 fps|
|Slow Motion Video||N/A||N/A||Yes, Up to 120 fps||Yes, Up to 1000 fps|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||330 shots||350 shots||320 shots||280 shots|
|Current Price (as of 01/30/2016)||$398||$498||$748||$948|
As expected, the latest generation Sony RX100 IV obviously does have much richer feature-set and specifications compared to its predecessors. It has a superior Stacked CMOS sensor with excellent image quality that surpasses all the previous generation RX100 cameras, faster Bionz X processor that is capable of handling up to 16 fps shooting speed, 4K video recording at up to 30 fps and very respectable Slow Motion Video recording capability up to 1000 fps. It can handle shutter speeds of up to 1/32000 sec, has a very nice 2.36M electronic viewfinder (EVF), improved autofocus and a few other nice extras, such as anti distortion shutter and ability to set minimum shutter speed when shooting with Auto ISO enabled.
However, at $948, it is far more expensive than its predecessors, especially the first two models that can still be bought today for less than $500. Which begs the question – is the latest and greatest really worth spending so much more money on? I guess it depends. If you really need the ability to shoot 4K or slow motion video, the RX100 IV might be worth the price premium. However, if you are just looking for a solid point and shoot camera, I would say the previous generation RX100 III model is not all that different at $200 less. The RX100 and RX100 II are obviously great bargains, but for a reason – they are a bit longer on the wide end (28mm vs 24mm is a huge difference in field of view), their image quality is not as great as on the latest models, they lack built-in viewfinders and their LCD screens are not as versatile. So keep all this in mind when deciding what route to take.
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