or Connect
AVS › AVS Forum › Other Areas of Interest › Camcorders › RX100 First Impressions and Lamentations
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

RX100 First Impressions and Lamentations

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I bought the RX100 to potentially replace my Canon HF100 camcorder as my family / vacation camcorder. I'm really torn on whether to keep the camera or to buy a different camcorder like the CX760V or x900M.

Here are my first impressions - and don't get all sassy on me for my opinions of what it is.

The form factor kinda sucks, it is a bit hard to hold. I have read users wanting a grip and others replying that it doesn't and that it would make it bigger. My 2 cents is it definitely needs a little grip on the side and since the lens housing sticks out ¼” it really wouldn’t affect the size.
Even though it is a “pocket camera” I am concerned that it will get damaged. I owned a couple of point and shoots through the years and eventfully it seems that the lens protectors (or whatever those diagonally sliding things on the lens are called) get sand or dirt in them or get snagged in your pocket and stop working. This seems like it might be The Viewfinder – Since the back doesn’t tilt like a traditional camcorder, it can be hard and / or awkward to film kids or subjects that are down low.
As a big positive you will probably take the camera places you wouldn’t a camcorder and will get video you wouldn’t normally. E.g. You might want a few simple shots from an family dinner at a restaurant. It might also be great for a vacation where you just don’t want to haul around a camcorder.

I am of the opinion you have to have an external shotgun mic with a dead cat for any camcorder - unfortunately, you just can’t get sound outside, on many days, without it. Obviously, with the RX100 you have a trade off for the size. To me, the sound is generally decent, and I “steal” background audio clips from other places where the wind didn’t destroy the sound – this doesn’t work if you want to hear subject talking outside…
The two mics are at the top of the camera, you have to be careful not to put your fingers near or on top of the mics – I have done this a number of times.
Yes, you can clearly hear the grinding noise of the zoom – it’s quite bad... so you can’t zoom during video unless you don’t mind the noise or are going to use another audio clip. I’m fairly traditional and don’t generally zoom while recording anyway so this isn’t a bid deal.
No, you can’t hear the record button being pressed as someone suggested. Once you press record it takes about .5 sec to start recording, and when you hit the button to stop I can’t hear it on the recording.

Physically shooting video is not the most pleasant experience, shooting with a camcorder feels much better to me.
Zoom - The zoom length is pretty small, which is a trade off for the size. But big zooms can mean big image stability and resolution problems.
Aperture - There is an 1.8 aperture on the widest FL only. The problem is when you zoom to 29mm or greater the aperture quickly increases and makes low light shooting look awful. For nighttime indoor shooting, you will have to shoot at 1.8 at 28mm meaning, for me, I have to shoot my kids approx 2 feet from their heads to get the composition I want (and potentially slight FL distortion), which can make them flake out. For wider composed shots this isn’t a problem, but you may be limiting the type of shots you can get.
Focusing - The autofocus in video is a mixed bag. There is simple and easy to use focus tracking in which you click a button on any point to keep in focus. This is pretty effective. The problem is in lower light, (lower light defined as not outside in daylight), when you focus on something far and then quickly go to something in front of you it might take up to 5-6 secs to focus correctly – which is quite poor. This can be the same for the reverse, close to far. A traditional camcorder is by far better at focusing.

Video Quality
The video quality is quite good, better than my HF100. It has better dynamic range, much better lowlight capabilities. – much of this is probably due to the 60P and the larger sensor size.
Lowlight at 1.8 28mm is excellent and surprisingly clear, much better than my mosquito netted HF100. You can shoot all the tests you want with minimum lux etc – however my layman results revealed in a house with some lamps on, the low light image is really good. If you are in an area of a house with 1 lamp and you are in the opposite direction, the video is still ok, but you get muddled and slightly off colors.
Stabilization – Decent stabilization is a must for me, the RX100 is pretty good, but do to its small mass, it is a little tricky to get a smooth pan, but holding still is no problem. My HF100 works much better in regards to pans and quick movements etc. – even though the stabilization is fair.
ISO 3200 is usable!

Menu / Button Interface
Every shooting mode has a menu to tell you what is if for that pops up every time you enter the mode. This is pretty annoying and feels clunky. I can’t find out how to turn this off and I’ve also actually read the manual (but I couldn’t have missed it.)
There is a customizable function button which is pretty nice. E.g. you can have it set to a single item or up to 7 functions.
The main ring around the lens is customizable for FL, ISO, Exp Comp, however not for focus….

Other Considerations
With 60P you will need an editor which supports this
With the 1” sensor you can get some DOF control with slightly blurred backgrounds, and the image is not a “videoy”
There is 60P 60i and some other weird 1440x1220 mode. If you want 24p, which isn’t for me, you can’t get it.
No histogram for video mode…

So, I’m really torn on whether to keep the camera, despite it’s faults, for the size convince, or get a traditional camcorder and deal with the size.
post #2 of 17
I own one and like it a lot. I started two thread here. The first was when it was announced and declared amazing by the New York Times. In the second thread I thought it would be fun to write about some of the unusual features and exercise my vimeo account providing "real world results from a rank amatuer". It quickly went sideways to lens design issues and aberrations documented in a German lab.

I did not buy RX100 for the sole purpose of shooting video. I bought it because it was small and for its photographic capabilities that seem to be highly regarded and unusual for a pocket sized camera. I would not have bought it if it couldn't do video, but video is not the primary purpose for me. The decision to buy it came after I decided I wanted to learn Photoshop and Lightroom. I needed a camera that would provide suitable photos for that.

If video is your primary purpose for owning the camera, I would send it back and get something else. The price tag on the RX100 is way to high for someone that uses it more for video and less for photos. There are a lot of 1080p60 camcorders and cameras on the market now.

There is a guy that has a small business of making quality grips for a variety of cameras, including this one. Version 11 of Adobe Premier Elements works well with 1080p60 on both Macs and PCs. You can turn of the popping up menu. If you keep the camera you should buy one of the two books recently out that provides 200+ pages of information on the complicated nature of the camera.

Edited by bsprague - 11/28/12 at 8:28am
post #3 of 17
Unless you are going to be taking still pictures mostly, the RX100 is not a satisfactory video camera in many ways (most of which you have found out). You should check the Sony HDR GW77V - which is a real camcorder, high quality and as small as the RX100 with practically no sacrifices. The cx760v and X900 have more manual controls, but their video quality is not much better than the GW77 and they are much bigger.
post #4 of 17
You may also want to consider the Panasonic LX7 - it goes for $449 (Amazon had it on sale Black Friday for $249 - which was an unreal price).

60p@28mbps and has an "f1.4F 1.4-2.3 Leica DC vario SUMMILUX 24mm Wide Angle" lens (f1.4/low light capability with decent sized sensor).
It has a ring that will permit aperture adjustment and manual focus. Has optimal image stabilization (POWER O.I.S./ MEGA O.I.S).
Still photos can shoot RAW and HDR. "Easy grip" to hold camera.

It's worth looking into, maybe it will go on sale again.

Video quality is very good:


LX7 vs 5Dii ($2000 DSLR):

Edited by xfws - 11/28/12 at 8:49am
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
How are the lowlight capabilites on Gw77 and any idea how it would compare to my HF100?
post #6 of 17
Originally Posted by seaberttheseal View Post

How are the lowlight capabilites on Gw77 and any idea how it would compare to my HF100?
After watching too many YouTube tests of "lowlight" shots from various cameras, I've come to the conclusion that nearly all of them work pretty well until it gets so dark you need a flashlight to navigate.

On edit, here is a sample of where someone is driving in the dark. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsKhUy9zl9w
Edited by bsprague - 11/28/12 at 9:02am
post #7 of 17
"How are the lowlight capabilites on Gw77 "

The lowlight capbilities are good.

Here is another low-light video taken with the GW77:

post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
My HF100 was not good in lowlight... terrible moquito screen...

Ok everyone, I just ordered the GW-77v at Amazon 599 - I'll try it out and return if I don't like.
post #9 of 17
Check out the GW77 thread, which has lots of tips about taking advantage of the features of the GW77 (e.g., manual audio, focus tracking, touch focus (great feature)) with video examples.
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Mark, I received the Gw77 today and so far I'm really impressed. The stabilization is the best I've used on a camcorder, you can actually walk around and it is smooth (not that you'd necessarily want to do that.) Also, the unit is very simple, yet easy to get the basic things done. Low light appears to be pretty good - at least quite a bit better than my HF100.

If I get ambitious, I might take sample video of the Gw77 vs RX100 in various lighting and scenes.

Thanks for the recommendation, I'll write more once I have had more time with it.
post #11 of 17
Originally Posted by seaberttheseal View Post

.......If I get ambitious, I might take sample video of the Gw77 vs RX100 in various lighting and scenes....
You might find humor in my buying a Sony HX9V back when the same Mark was writing about that camera on this forum. I also owned an upper end Panasonic consumer camcorder. I took them both on a trip to Hawaii and tried to find clear proof one was going to be significantly better. I shot lots of the same scenes twice. My test was to watch them on a 55" TV at home. What I learned was that, by the time the TV does its magic, the 1080 60p footage was too close for my eye to see much difference.

I think the GW77 and RX100 may be among the best examples of clever camera product development for 2012. They seem to fit a new segment that might be called "pocket sized power".

We are in a world where consumer photography and videography are being taken over by smartphones, YouTube and Facebook. I've read where the consumer camera market is down by around 30%. Sony put enough unique difference in the RX100 and GW77 to get at least some consumers to spend money on them.

Both fit in a pocket like a smartphone and perform like equipment far more serious than a smartphone.

The RX100 seems to get a lot more "buzz" in that it shows up on lots of recommended camera lists. Perhaps it has a broader appeal because it is focused on photographers and there may be more of them than videographers.

If you keep both, I will be full of envy!

post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
I've done some comparison video with the Rx100 and Gw77. The gw77 is not quite as good in low light, but I think it pushes the gain up too high, so I'll have to figure that one out.

Anyway, something that is quite disturbing is that in situations with low audio noise the GW77 records what sounds like an old film projector running - it is in all locations (I thought it might be something in my house.) and I've tried with wind reduction on / off and recording levels, normal and low. I'm quite disappointed by this, it is enough to send it back. Anyone else experienced this? This unit doen'st have moving parts in general, so I don't get it.

You can't hear it if there is a fair amound of noises going on.
post #13 of 17
Originally Posted by seaberttheseal View Post

....Anyway, something that is quite disturbing is that in situations with low audio noise the GW77 records what sounds like an old film projector running ..... Anyone else experienced this?

Odd! The RX100 manual says it will pick up zoom motor noise in quiet situations. Of course, you don't hear it if there is any noise in the background or you don't zoom. But, if the GW77 has to have auto focus turned off to stay quiet, that might be really annoying.

(Bo Barker in the GW77 thread wrote that his made noise until he turned off auto focus at around post #386.)

post #14 of 17
I have posted scores of GW77 videos, including audio demonstration videos, and no one has ever complained about this noise. It is very low level, and you now know how to stop it when it is apparent.

Here is a video demsostrating the audio capbility of the GW77, from a distant soft ship bell and small, soft harmonica to an airplane engine plus singing voices: https://vimeo.com/47831360

I have not heard any better audio on a similraly-priced camcorder or any P&S.

On low light: when it is dark, the GW77 tries to mimic daylight! It pushes up the gain to max, so you get video that is brighter than real life (and noisy) - great for searching for bin Lden, but ugly video. There are two remedies: 1. there is a night scene mode and 2. (prefrerred) use manual expoure and turn down the exposure.

Here is a critical point: to take good video you cannot just rely on auto mode. You have to understand what the camera is doing and the circumstances you are shooting in. The GW77 has manual focus, wb and exposure options. I use theese options a lot.
Edited by markr041 - 12/2/12 at 8:09am
post #15 of 17
Originally Posted by markr041 View Post

I have posted scores of GW77 videos, including audio demonstration videos, and no one has ever complained about this noise. It is very low level, and you now know how to stop it when it is apparent.


You work hard at defending this camera. I've enjoyed watch most, if not all, of your examples. The GW77 is good and, especially good, in your hands on your travels around the world. I learn about cameras shooting technique and other cultures from you.

Based on other posts you have a fairly large collection of cameras and camcorders. Do you use any of them now? Or has the GW77 become "the one"? What are you looking at for next year's acquisition?

post #16 of 17
Like you Bill, I have found that having a small camera or camcorder really enables you to take videos more comfortably and in more places. In some of the places I go I almost laugh at those with these big DSLRs, rigged up with handles and viewfinders to mimic camcorders!

The GW77 is like the Hx9v, but with better performance in all circumstances; performance that appears to match the best camcorders.

I wish it had more buttons and dials to go into manual modes, but that might be impossible to do and retain the size.

I enjoy some aspects of shallow dof video that big-sensor cameras can give (but so far at the expense of resolution and artifacts). Still looking for a small, big-sensor camera that gives good video as an *addition* to the GW77, as no way a big-sensor *small* camera is going to have a big aperture and fast zoom. I was tempted by the RX100, but it didn't make the cut for video (not great shallow dof; not great low-light except wide-angle, not that sharp) for me.

And, btw, I am not defending the GW77, but defending facts (as at least I know them, and I usually present them in test scores or videos).
Edited by markr041 - 12/2/12 at 9:19am
post #17 of 17
I been using the Sony HX100V for 1080p 60p with great results out doors, but I still think if your serious about video you pick a good video camera, although the new Panasonic GH3 I would give a serious look at. The NEX-7 is also pretty darn good indoors and outdoors and in low light.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Camcorders
AVS › AVS Forum › Other Areas of Interest › Camcorders › RX100 First Impressions and Lamentations