After my poor luck with the Sony 5R that I picked up a few months back and returned, I realised that even the relatively compact form of mirrorless cameras (compared to DSLRs) is still too bulky and heavy for my liking. I wanted something the size of a pocket camera but with very good image quality and the full functionality of a DSLR. When I was researching the best pocket cameras, the same model kept popping up over and over again – the Sony RX100.

Snazzy new camera! Taken with not-so-snazzy smartphone.

Snazzy new camera! Taken with not-so-snazzy smartphone.

Now onto its 3rd generation, the Sony RX100 has been a favourite among many over the past few years. The latest version has a pop-up viewfinder and a F1.8-2.8 lens. That sounded pretty great to me. The price however, at NZ$1300, did not. While the original RX100 has been out for a few years now, it’s still very popular. I looked at the second model, RX100 II, but there wasn’t enough to distinguish it between the original RX100 to justify the higher price.

The original RX100 is one of the most popular cameras on Flickr. So you can see tonnes of examples of what this little camera is capable of. P.S. I love Flickr for exactly this reason. You can search photos taken with a particular camera. How awesome is that?

After deciding on the camera, I waited about 2 months for Noel Leeming to have a 20% off Sony sale and purchased it on Christmas Day (online) for $560. What a great little Christmas treat!

After a few weeks of playing around with it, I don’t regret my decision for one second. This is a great little camera. It has all the features of a DSLR in a compact package. Because it’s designed for both professionals and the everyday consumer in mind, it has both great auto modes for when you just want to get a decent photo quickly, as well as manual modes to get creative with your shots. I think it will take me quite some time to get the hang of the manual modes and how to use them to best effect. I’m new to photography and I think this is the perfect little camera to learn on.

At 240g, the Sony RX100 is pretty lightweight. You could slip it into a (loose-fitting) pocket if you wanted to. I picked up a Lowepro Dashpoint 20 case which fits it pretty snugly and JUST fits into my small purse. This is going to be a great light setup when travelling. I really don’t like to carry a big heavy purse with me everyday. I much rather something as small as possible.

One limitation of the camera’s size is it only has a 1” sensor. That’s a pretty good for a compact camera, but not compared to the APS-C or full-frame sensors you get in a DSLR. For my purposes though, I think the size is perfect.

One feature the original Sony RX100 doesn’t have (but the second and third models do) is Wi-Fi connectivity. This doesn’t really bother me as I’ll be travelling with my laptop and uploading photos to cloud storage as backup as much as possible. On my last trip to Europe back in 2012, I took only a camera and a smartphone. I used a micro-SD card in a full size SD adapter in the camera and then at the end of the day I would slip the micro-SD into my phone and upload from there. It worked well, but was a little slow. Hopefully I’ll be staying in places with good Wi-Fi this time, but I’ll be backing up to an external hard drive as well so I should be covered.

To be honest, I’m not sure how much I can say about this camera right now. I haven’t had much opportunity to use it. So far my experience with this camera has been limited to a few family snaps and far too many of the cat (she was quite an unwilling model too). I won’t really know how good it is until after I’ve used it on holiday. A test I can’t wait to perform!