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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Compact

Size vs. the Canon PowerShot S100

Lens

Control ring

Interface

Flash

Controls

Mode dial

Battery and SD card

USB port

HDMI output

The RX100 is more compact than most competitors with smaller sensors.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
It's thicker than the Canon PowerShot S100, but not substantially larger.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
The RX100 uses a Zeiss T* coated lens; based on my experience with Sony's camcorders, the T* lenses are significantly better than the uncoated ones. While the lens starts at a wide f1.8 maximum aperture, by the time it hits 100mm it devolves to f4.9, which is pretty narrow, especially compared with cameras like the Fujifilm X10 (f2.8), the next sensor-size down. Sony claims that at least it doesn't drop off precipitously after the first zoom stop or two.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
The RX100 incorporates the same sort of control ring that Canon debuted in the S95 and which was then incorporated into the Olympus XZ-1. Like those models, the ring supplies context-sensitive adjustments to various shooting settings, such as shutter speed, aperture and ISO sensitivity. In order for silent operation during movie shooting, Sony's doesn't have any tactile "click" or stops for the ring; I prefer a little more physical feedback.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
I do like the settings display while operating the control ring.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
Sony's popup flash can be tilted back while shooting. The ability to bounce the flash -- or simply reduce the harshness and intensity without having to dive into the settings -- usually results in much better flash photos.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
In addition to the control ring, the camera supplies a reasonable set of direct-access controls.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
Sony gives you a saved settings option (MR) in addition to the usual shooting modes.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
The location of the battery compartment and SD card slot make the camera somewhat tripod-unfriendly.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
This is a very odd location for the USB port; it means that you have to lay the camera down on its back while connecting to a computer.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
The mini HDMI connector stands alone.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
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