Ok so as you may recall some time ago I had purchased the portable Sony RX1 camera. I was in love with that camera, as its image quality is superb... however I did have to sell it for the following three reasons:
1. The first version I had did not have an EVF, and adding an external viewfinder would add too much bulk.
2. It is quite an expensive camera to carry around and not be too bothered about.
3. The camera though compact, was still not small enough to warrant me carrying it all over the place. This was mostly due to the fact that the width of the camera and lens is significant and therefore does not make an easy fit in one's pocket.
For this reason, I have been without a portable camera for the last 6 months, with the idea that I can shoot casually with my A7ii mounted with the Zeiss 55mm lens. Unfortunately experience has showed me that I lost several photographic possibilities when I was without my camera and therefore I needed to find a good super compact camera with reasonable image quality.
Since I am an avid Sony shooter, I saw that Sony do have a small compact camera which has a 1-inch sensor - the RX100 series.
The RX100 family
The RX100 family has gradually developed over a number of years. DPreview have a very good comparison table indicating the features for the various models:(https://www.dpreview.com/articles/7237085229/spoilt-for-choice-which-sony-rx100-is-right-for-you)
After a brief comparison I knew that I wanted Mk3 or upwards as I needed an EVF. I went for Mk4 as the only difference between the latest model and the MK5 was the focus speed and speed of shooting. Now realistically I do not want to shoot at a high frame rate and I read that the focus speed of the MK4 was already impressive. The sensor is unchanged, and therefore the image quality is the same. Considering that I intend to threat this camera as a disposable kind of camera (use it for a few years and then they depreciate quickly) I opted to go for the cheaper model.
As you can see below the camera is really small, even when compared to the small RX1 series which as I already commented is small but the protruding lens makes it difficult to place in a jacket pocket. I can now say that I can without any worry carry my rx100 camera wherever I go.
Build Quality and Camera Handling
Very much like the RX1, the RX100 build quality is amazing. The camera feels dense and well built. The only issue is that, as the RX1, the camera needs an additional grip. I therefore purchased the AG-R2 Sony attachment grip, which does improve the handling.
The fact that the EVF needs to be popped up each time, can be sometime a nuisance. I try to always have the camera in hand attached with my strap, with the EVF popped up, so that as soon as I see something I just shoot.
I must say I am quite impressed with the quality achieved. Actually very impressed for the size of the camera. But instead of me telling you how impressive the images are, how much detail is retained or how much dynamic range can be achieved... I will let some images speak for themselves. The images were shot in RAW and edited in Lightroom during this first two months of use of the camera. Just everyday shots from my world...
From my experience, the images are sharpest at 24mm to 35mm. After this focal range, I rarely get images which are sharp / clear enough for my tastes. It might be that I love to shoot wide open as much as possible.
The camera is nowhere near the RX1 image quality, however in good lightning conditions, I am happy to carry around the RX1 mk4. In the future I might revert back to purchase an RX1 mk2, possibly when there is a significant price drop or I feel I can spend some extra money on such a camera. For the time being, I will continue using my RX100. :)