I generally skip over point and shoot cameras unless they REALLY grab my attention. There’s just too many of them and I have no use for 99% of them.  Sony have today unveiled the RX100 though which will sit at the top of their P&S lineup and go head to head with the Canon G1X.  The sensor in the RX100 is similar in size to the Nikon 1-Series cameras , though a little smaller than the Canon G1X it is still much bigger than typical P&S cameras.  On top of that, I think this camera actually looks pretty stunning!  I really dislike the styling of the Canon G1X but this Sony is very svelte , and I haven’t said that about a Sony camera in a long time.

The camera also boasts full 1080p/60 video recording, 20MP images and an f1.8 lens.  Certainly a compelling competitor in the upper end of that market.  Not everyone wants to have multiple lenses and some of those people still want to make quality images.  It’s a widening sector of the market that deserves some more investigation on my part.

Specs

20.2MP 1″ Exmor CMOS Low-Light Sensor

Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T Lens f1.8

Xtra Fine 3″ LCD Display with WhiteMagic

Optical 3.6x Zoom & Digital 7.2x Zoom

Optical & Electronic Image Stabilization

Full HD 1080/60p Video Capture

Ultra-Fast 0.13 Sec High-Speed AF

Face Detection & 10 fps Burst Mode

Record Stills Using JPEG, RAW, or Both

Aluminum Body with Built-In Pop Up Flash

Pre-Orders

Amazon has the Sony RX100 for order already.

B&H has the Sony RX100 up for order already.

Press Release

New Model Contains World?s First 1.0-inch type 20.2 MP Exmor CMOS Sensor and Ultra-bright F1.8 Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* Fixed Lens to Deliver Outstanding Picture Quality

SAN DIEGO, May 16, 2012 ? Travelling light no longer means compromising on picture quality with the Cyber-shot® DSC-RX100 camera, Sony?s new flagship compact camera.

Striking the ultimate balance of form and function, the stylish, aluminium-built RX100 camera inherits many advanced imaging features from Sony?s ? range of A-mount and E-mount cameras, delivering beautiful still images, crisp full HD videos and a level of manual control and creativity unmatched by any other camera of its size.

?This camera is ideal for travel, portraits or street photography, delivering impressive results in a variety of lighting conditions with an intuitive, customizable control interface,? said Yosuke Tomoda, director of the Cyber-shot business at Sony Electronics. ?It?s a perfect step-up model for point and shoot users not interested in larger DSLR or compact system cameras, and also an outstanding choice for enthusiasts who may already own a large DSLR and are looking for a high-quality, pocket-sized ?all-in-one? second camera.?

At the heart of the Cyber-shot RX100 is the world?s first 1.0-inch type Exmor® CMOS sensor with a resolution of 20.2 effective megapixels. Specially developed by Sony, the sensor has an area that?s approximately four times larger than the 1/2.3-type sensors in traditional point-and-shoot cameras. The sensor?s larger area takes in more light while capturing content, resulting in beautiful, detail-packed images and Full HD movie clips with very low noise.

The larger sensor is partnered with an exceptionally bright Carl Zeiss® Vario-Sonnar T* fixed lens with 3.6x optical zoom range. In contrast to standard point-and-shoot cameras, it has a wide F1.8 maximum aperture to let in additional light and complement the resolving power of the larger sensor.

Similar to high-performance DSLR optics, the lens features seven- bladed circular aperture. This makes it easy to produce images with subjects in sharp focus against a smoothly-blurred, beautifully defocused background. The lens also features an Advanced Aspherical (AA) lens element that contributes to the camera?s extremely compact dimensions without sacrificing optical zoom performance or resolution.

Newly optimized to complement the 1.0-inch type sensor and lens, the camera?s powerful BIONZ® image processor maximizes shooting response times while helping assure exceptionally clean, natural images. It also extends sensitivity right up to ISO 25600 (using Multi Frame Noise Reduction), allowing for exceptionally clear handheld images in low light conditions. To capture fast-moving subjects, the RX100 camera can also shoot at up to 10 frames per second (in full resolution) and has high-speed autofocus that locks onto a subject in as quickly as 0.13 seconds (depends on scene and lighting conditions).

The new RX100 camera features a high-resolution 3-inch 1,229k dot Xtra Fine LCD? display and also adds a new feature: WhiteMagic? technology. This uses additional white pixels to boost screen brightness, allowing users to see subtle details and tones on the screen in all types of shooting environments, including outdoors in bright sunlight.

For making manual adjustments while shooting both still images and movies, the new camera has a smooth control ring around the lens body, which can be used to alter exposure, zoom, creative picture effects and a variety of other customizable functions. Additionally, frequently used functions can be assigned to the Fn (function) button for instant access, and the Memory Recall feature can store up to three groups of customized shooting settings based on user preference.

Similar to a DSLR-style interface, there?s a choice of auto and manual focus modes on the Cyber-shot RX100 camera for enhanced image control. For those that prefer focusing manually, MF Assist magnifies images to simplify fine adjustments, and there?s also a pro-style peaking function that highlights sharply-focused areas of the image on screen.

The RX100 camera offers a generous choice of artistic options to expand creative shooting possibilities. It includes the option for six different creative styles and a variety of popular picture effects including Toy Camera, Partial Color, HDR Painting and several others, most of which can be previewed directly on screen before shooting.

The new Cyber-shot features Auto Portrait Framing ? a feature found on Sony?s latest ? range of A-mount and E-mount cameras — making it simple to create sharp, perfectly framed portraits. This unique feature automatically detects faces in a scene, crops the picture accordingly creates a tighter, pro-style composition at full resolution. Both the original and cropped photo are saved for review.

New accessories include a spare battery, dedicated carrying case and a battery charger designed to complement to the new camera.

Pricing and Availability

The Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 digital camera will be available this July for about $650. The camera and accessories will be available at Sony retail stores (http://www.store.sony.com) and other authorized dealers nationwide.

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