Which Version Of The Sony RX100 Should I Get?

In the interest of full disclosure, One Mile At A Time earns a referral bonus for purchases made through some of the below links. These are products and services we use ourselves, and are the best offers we know of. Check out our Advertising Policy for further details. Thanks for your support!

For over five years now I’ve been using the same camera, the Canon S95. Prior to that I had a bigger and fancier camera, but I’m much happier with a smaller camera, since it makes it easy to take discreet pictures, given the crowded places in which I take pictures.

The Canon S95 has served me extremely well. Any piece of technology which still works after five years is a miracle, in my opinion, let alone one which works as well as the S95.

Canon-S95
My old (and reliable) Canon S95

But it’s time to upgrade, which I’ve been saying for a long time. In July 2014 I posed the question of which camera is best for frequent travelers, but I didn’t end up buying one. I’m an indecisive person and also not very tech savvy, which is a bad combo when you’re trying to decide which product is best by comparing specs you don’t understand.

When I started the process of looking for a new camera I was going to upgrade to something like the Canon S120, which seems to be the updated version of my camera. Having similar controls to what I’m used to sounded comforting, and I figured it would just have improved performance.

Canon-S120
Canon S120

But whenever I’ve asked about which travel camera I should upgrade to, the most popular answer has consistently been the Sony RX100. So many rave about it, and say it’s the best compact camera in the market.

Sony-RX100-1
Sony RX100

So I started looking online at the details, and noticed there are four kinds (at least Amazon shows me four types to compare):

Sony-RX100

The problem is, for someone who is pretty clueless with technology, the above doesn’t actually seem to help much. The most expensive type of camera has the lowest optical zoom, and all the other specs seem more or less the same.

So I’m hoping you tech and camera savvy people can chime in, because I’m sure I’m not the only one trying to figure out what kind of camera is best for the frequent traveler. In my case, I’m not trying to take photos for a National Geographic photoshoot, but rather just want a good point-and-shoot camera which takes quick and crisp pictures with minimal effort, especially in low light conditions.

I also don’t mind paying a premium for something which would even just be marginally better, since I took over a hundred thousand pictures with my current camera.

Is the Sony RX100 still the best option for the frequent traveler? And if so, which version of the camera is the best overall value? Is the $948 Sony RX100 IV worth the premium over the Sony RX100/B, which is less than half the price, or are one of the inbetween options better? Or should I get an evolution of my current camera, like the Canon S120?

Comments

  1. The mk3 & 4 versions go quite abit wider (24 vs. 28mm) which would be very handy for cabin/seat/hotel room shots.

  2. Rx100 IV has the option to record 4k video (3840 x 2160p resolution), hence the considerable price difference vs the RX100 III that records 1080p max (1920x1080p resolution). Other than that, no major advantages for the RX100 IV. If I had to choose a compact camera I’d also go with the Sony Alpha A5000 – much better results in low light vs any RX100 model.

  3. Just went through this same thing. Bought the Sony a5100. Much less expensive and allows you to buy other lenses. You’re paying a huge premium for the compactness of the RX100.

    That being said- the rx100 and a5100 are not point and shoot cameras. They’re for intermediate photography

  4. None of the above.
    Go for the Sony A6000 or A6300 without a doubt. Awesome small camera, much better pictures, and gives you the ability to use a longer zoom lens when you need it.

  5. I would recommend the mk3 or the mk4. The cool feature about the mk4 does have slow-motion feature which you could record on 1080p HD. The downside of these RX range is that the battery life isn’t up to quality as the juice drinks up fairly quickly. Having two batteries is recommend but not sure if you could face some issues having two/three lithium batteries at airports.

    Other than that, the picture and video quality is superb and you can’t fault with it’s performance. A truly outstanding camera to choose from.

  6. I have bought version III just some weeks ago. The improved features on version IV (4k Video, Super SloMo video and faster burst rate – 16 vs. 10 shots / sec) are nothing I would beusing, so I could no justify the steep price of the latest model.

    I wanted to have the wider angle of the newer models (24mm vs. 28mm on version III vs. II), though. You’ll want this, too, seeing that you take lots of pics of confined places (hotel rooms, airplane cabins…)

    Picture quality should be the same on all of them.

    What I do miss from my previous “pocket travel cam”, the Panasonic Lumix LX-7, is the zoom (up to 90mm on the LX-7 vs. up to 70mm on Sony’s versions III and IV).

    If you do get an RX100, make sure you buy the AGR2 attachement grip as well – I can’t understand why it is not included when you buy the camera. It gives you a much better grip of the camera.

  7. Get III. I and II are suspended and IV is too hot so price was piked. Suspended cameras sometimes get piked in price as well because you don’t get new produced so hard to get. Rx100 I price was some $350 after deal 5 years ago, price even raised.
    You can’t go wrong with any of them so price should be the only consideration here. Optical zoom is a rather useless concept btw. Focal length is what you should look for. Equivalent focal length of 16-48mm and 50-150mm both get you 3x optical zoom but that’s two completely different things. For your purpose you should get the smallest equivalent focal length one because you need the wide coverage in the small space. Something with the widest equivalent focal length of 20mm or less should be your priority choice. With that considered the III also jumps out because it has 24mm focal length, same as IV but wider than the others

  8. As Daniel says above, for you the wider lens option is probably more important than being able to zoom so I would go with either the Mk III or IV. Buying the latest allows you to future proof yourself a little bit but you’ll have to decide if the premium is worth it.

    (and for the A6000/DSLR crowd, i’t pretty clear the preferred option is an all in one compact and not an interchangeable lens system…)

  9. I decided on the RX100 III. I could not see paying so much more for basically a few fancy video features that I would barely use while travelling. This camera line takes incredibly sharp images. The III is a considerable step up from II in so far as the mechanics of the camera.

  10. We have the basic 100/B and it’s been great for use on trips. It does really well at getting crisp, richly detailed pictures when you’re relatively close to what you’re trying to photograph. Video is also easy to record and fairly high quality. The zoom isn’t amazing and shooting panorama is only so-so (our smartphones actually do better on that). Still, we have no regrets and have been extremely happy with the photos we’ve gotten. If you don’t already use it, it’s worth plugging these into the site camelcamelcamel to track their prices on these models. The price on the 100/B, at least, fluctuated quite a bit last year and Amazon.

  11. If you are just looking for a camera for flight reviews, trip reports, etc. and want a compact light piece of equipment that you don’t mind abusing (or even losing), get the A5XXX series. It’s a simple easy to use camera for folks who have little interest in photography. It is a good value for money with crisp pictures, fast sensor clearance speeds and a decent low-light sensor.

    Having said that, if you are looking to expand out of the in-flight trip report/hotel room review section and moving towards tourism reports (such as some recent posts by you), a good full-frame DSLR is a must. Of course, that comes with a steep learning curve (and the cost only keeps going up as you “need” more accessories and lenses).

  12. Keep in mind that the Sony RX-100 series cameras have been updated each year in May, for the past few years. Thus a new model might be just around the corner–if so the Mk3 may be discontinued, and Mk4 will see likely see a price drop. No guarantee of course but worth thinking about.

  13. If you can afford it, get the IV since it has a brighter lens and a newest sensor. See DXOmark for comparisons.

    If you’re on a budget, the II is the best value since it has a better sensor than the original but isn’t as pricey.

    If you’re really wanting selfies, get the III or IV (you’d be surprised at how many people think this is mandatory).

    or if you want the best camera that you can fit in your pocket, get a Ricoh GR. I love mine.

  14. (comparison of II vs. III vs. IV)
    http://www.dxomark.com/Reviews/Sony-Cyber-shot-DSC-RX100-IV-sensor-review-Performance-stacked-in-favor

    (comparison of original vs. II vs. III)
    http://www.dxomark.com/Reviews/Sony-Cyber-shot-DSC-RX100-III-sensor-review-Better-by-design

    also keep in mind the III and IV lens, while brighter (larger aperture), is a little wider and doesn’t zoom as far (28-100mm vs 24-70mm). So if you want the extra zoom range, get the II, if you like wider angle, get the III or IV.

  15. Been looking over the last couple of years and I think the mirrorless cameras are now the way to go.
    They are a little more expensive than I’d like but their quality is on par with DSLRs for a fraction of the size, weight and even cost.

    I believe all the series of Sony A5000 (http://amzn.to/1SwbJRI) and AXX00s are mirrorless. Panasonic and Olympus make very good ones too.

  16. I don’t have the time to read all the reviews.. I’m off doing my own photoshoot in a few minutes. I’d say though, you’re right about low light performance. Lots of your shots are in dark planes and hotel rooms. So if one stands out in terms of a great low light sensor and a lens which has a fast maximum aperture I’d consider it. Note though that a camera lens might have a fast max aperture at the shortest focal length and get much slower as you zoom. Meaning that only at the wide setting you can take advantage of a fast lens. I was the biggest backer of your getting the S95, and I think the Sony is a good choice. It seems to be the camera of the moment.

  17. The most important difference is that the newer versions do better in low light—the first version was great, but the newer ones are better. It’s not so much the lens, it’s the sensor technology. But in general the newer ones are larger, i.e. less and less like a point and shoot.

  18. I have the RX100 base model. I bought it thinking I would like to learn more about photography and that it would give me the flexibility to do so. That was like 4 years ago, and I haven’t. I use it as a point and shoot. It takes nice pictures, but I didn’t need to spend what I spent on it to be a point and shoot camera. I’m glad I have it, but I didn’t need it.

  19. Funny, I picked up the III a couple months ago. The IV didn’t advance the specs enough for me to want it and pay more. It’s a great camera for my needs.

  20. Based on the fact that S95 served you well, there’s no reason to get a new one that’s significantly bigger sized than it or worry about a longer zoom at the long end. So either the RX100III or IV should fit your needs. The 24mm at the wide end will serve you well in tight spaces. The pics it takes are sharp across the whole frame, you will be so impressed.

  21. Ben,
    I own the Sony RX100 IV and did extensive research for the chinese version, the III, and some of the other close competing options. I have an underwater case for mine and shot video/pictures underwater and all over (most recently in the Maldives). I think you’re on the right track with most of your considerations. I can tell you that even though the RX100 IV is extremely open for customization and “advanced” for shooting options, if you just want to point and shoot, it’ll do that quite well too. The US version for ~$900 can be found for ~$850 on certain sites. It’s solidly built, but slightly heavy because the case is metal, not plastic. The Asian version found for <$700 is plastic case so not as solid but presumably lighter.

    Possible Resources for Review of any camera you're considering:
    http://www.dpreview.com/
    http://www.imaging-resource.com

    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sony-cybershot-dsc-rx100-iv

    Sony RX100 IV vs Sony RX100 III
    http://www.imaging-resource.com/cameras/sony/rx100-iii/vs/sony/rx100-iv/

    If you want more insight, I'd be happy to provide some.

  22. No, no, no.

    Get the Sony Alpha Series (A6000, A6300) any day of the week. Much better camera and similar price.

  23. I’ve had the RX100 II for about 2 years and have nothing but wonderful things to say about it. Any one of your choices will be great. Regardless of which of the Sony’s you pick, be sure to also get the $15 grip attachment — much easier to hold and manipulate without the risk of dropping your investment!

  24. If you’re looking for something to replace the S95, save some coin, RX100 III.

    If you want to start changing lenses, then sony a600 is a great choice.

  25. Ben,

    The lens aperture in RX II and III is fantastic, f/1.8-2.8. That will mean that in confined, low light spaces (like in the airplanes) you’ll be more likely to take better quality photos.

    Hence, I’d pick either II or III.

  26. I’ll throw in one ‘out there’ suggestion… stay Canon and go with the G16 (and this is coming from a Nikon guy with a couple of D300 bodies, a d2X and thousands invested in lenses). Slightly larger, but great low light performance, excellent video and an optical viewfinder. I find myself in so many situations which you simply can’t see the screen to be able to frame a shot and the optical viewfinder is a saving grace. In addition, you get more stable shots with the additional ‘touch point’ (your face!).

    That said, it’s tough to go too far wrong with any decent branded camera (Nikon, Canon, Sony, Panasonic) at this point. You can often let price (or one killer feature) drive your choice.

  27. Having Sony as my preferred camera brand at the moment, I currently currently own the RX100 IV after having owned the RX100 I and III in the past; currently own the A6000 with a bunch of primes (including the ones noted below) and zoom lenses and have owned 3 prior generations of camera body in the same family (Nex 3, Nex 5n, Nex 6).

    Lucky, for your purposes, I’d definitely recommend the RX100III or IV if you’re willing to spend a good amount or the RX100 I if you’re looking for cheaper option.

    You should get either the RX100 III (if you don’t care about 4k video) or the RX100 IV (if you do). There is not a large difference in image IQ, particularly if you’re a beginner and not going to use all of the fancy settings, etc. Yes, the IV has a BSI sensor, but having owned both the III and IV, I don’t see a huge difference. Both have the very good and bright Zeiss zoom lens (f1.8-f2.8), which means that even if you zoom in the entire ~3x, you can still shoot well in low light. They both also have a tiltscreen and a pop-up EVF for sunny outdoor environments.

    The reasons I wouldn’t get the the I – slow lens (f1.8-f4.9 is not bright when zoomed) and no tiltscreen. The II has a tilt screen and a larger zoom reach, but also is not bright when zoomed (same f4.9). The slow lens means that once you zoom in, good low light pictures are not as possible.

    For all of those saying get an interchangeable lens camera (e.g A6000, A6300, A5100), you’re forgetting that to the lens that come with the camera (kit lens) is very mediocre and slow (worse than the lens of any of the RX100 models), meaning that indoors or low light pictures are not going to be very good. Sony E-mount doesn’t have any good bright zoom lens other than those costing well into the thousands (G Master). The best you can do is buy some prime (non-zoom) lenses, some of which are very good but expensive (Zeiss 24mm for $900) or good and cheaper but have a narrower field of view (Sony 35mm for $400, Sony 50mm for $250). The camera with lens attached will also be considerably bigger than any RX100 model.

  28. @Lucky – Go with the Canon S120. Save the money and get the underwater casing for it instead.

    I personally have the S90 since 2009, still working awesome.

  29. @lucky – either way , more important question is which Credit card will you be using for the purchase ? 😉

  30. Definitely get the Mark IV. It has better image quality and better low light performance. Since airplane cabins and hotel rooms are generally very low light, that is the number one requirement for you.

    http://snapsort.com/compare/Sony-Cyber-shot-DSC-RX100-III-vs-Sony-Cyber-shot-DSC-RX100-IV/detailed

    DXOMark says: “For a physically small sensor, the new 20-Mpix Exmor RS BSI CMOS chip ranks high, coming in at 116th in our database for sensors of all sizes. Performance ranks alongside recent Micro-Four-Thirds models and even APS-C-equipped DSLR models such as the Canon EOS 7D Mk II and EOS 760D.”

    The Canon 7D is a huge DSLR!

    Like others have said, if you don’t mind the size, this would be a fantastic combo:
    A6000 with 16-50mm – http://amzn.to/1NmPH4K
    16mm f/2.8 pancake lens – http://amzn.to/1WfXEul

    Even better get this pack with a plane-spotting lens included: http://amzn.to/1r2sJpS

  31. In terms of bang-for-back at those prices, I’d probably pick the II, though III is a nice upgrade. Though really, you should splurge and get the IV imo. In the end, the cost of one of these, in terms of the utility you’ll receive, is trivial compared to the very limited utility of a your typical J/F flight.

    Personally, I do think you’re paying quite a premium for the portability – I’d look at Fuji’s X100 series if you you want truly excellent photography at similar prices with only a slightly larger camera size.

  32. Agree with @ajk – I love my Sony a6000. I got sick of traveling with my bulky Nikon D7100, so at the urging of my photographer husband, got my first Sony. Love the portability of it, and the great quality images.

  33. Just go with the cheaper one. The RX100 line is a really good camera line in general. With cameras its all about diminishing returns past like $500. Your average person won’t notice the difference between a pic taken with a $500 camera and a $5000 camera. The way you use it, you won’t need the best newest version. And you prob don’t need the interchangeable lens cameras that everyone is suggesting considering its that much bigger. I have an XT-1 for my main and the rx100 m2 when I need a pocketable camera.

  34. Your Canon S95 and more recent versions are truly pocketable cameras. The RX100 models are slightly larger – just big enough to be a little inconvenient to carry in an average-size pocket.

    Look carefully and see what you think. Full disclosure: I have both and think the Sony’s larger sensor gives outstanding results – but have pretty much settled on my iPhone-6 as my travel camera of choice!

  35. Loved the s95. Used it as regular backup and carry-around camera when I don’t want to deal with my Nikon dslr. S95 was a great camera. I bought into all the Sony talk and bought the Rx100ii a couple of years ago. Liked the feel and sharp lens. Didn’t like the relatively flat colors very noticeable to me coming from the canon. Tried to like it; wanted to like it; just wasn’t working for me. Got rid of it and went with the canon g7x. Same layout for most part; sharp lens; nice canon colors, good features; decent size although a bit larger/heavier than Sony and even more so compared to s95. But manageable. Very happy with move. Check it out.

  36. A lot of nonsense in the comments.

    First off, a lot of people are recommending the alpha 5000 or 6000 series. Those are wonderful camera systems, but they are not pocket cameras the way the RX 100 is. Yes, they can take better pictures but the RX 100 already takes amazing pictures. They don’t really “like” to operate in point-and-shoot mode (while the RX 100 is happy to) and you have to deal with interchangeable lenses.

    Secondly, even the RX 100 is probably overkill for your needs. I love mine but for snapshots there are plenty of smaller-sensor, cheaper cameras available.

    That said, points that might influence your decision:

    1. As someone who takes pictures in tight spaces, you want the widest possible zoom at the low end. This means that when you see 24-70 or 28-100 you want the first number to be as small as possible. I’d say this is probably the single most important question for you in selecting any camera.

    2. The electronic viewfinders on the later models (starting with the III, I think) are handy, although not so much indoors.

    3. The moveable screen is very handy for taking shots over the heads of crowds.

  37. I have the MK1 and the MK3. Perfectly happy with the MK3 as it gave me the wifi features I wanted. To be able to edit and post on the go via my mobile/tablet/laptop has been fantastic. MK4 was very tempting when it came out, but as my MK3 was under a year old, I decided that despite the new sensor and 4k video features, I could really live without. No one has mentioned the slew of apps you can run on the MK3, which are fantastic – I use the remote shutter app quite often (I can set the camera up for a long exposure, tap the app on my Playmemories app on my mobile, and trigger the camera). Low light performance is actually quite stunning – have taken outdoor shots in very very low light, and it has produced near daylight levels. No matter which model you go for (though given your work, I’d say again, get a model with wifi to pair to whichever device you work on) you won’t be disappointed.

  38. “A lot of nonsense in the comments. First off, a lot of people are recommending the alpha 5000 or 6000 series. Those are wonderful camera systems, but they are not pocket cameras the way the RX 100 is. Yes, they can take better pictures but the RX 100 already takes amazing pictures.”

    The size has been clearly disclosed by those suggesting the A5000 or A6000. Also, the image quality of the A5000/6000-series is an order of magnitude better and does an order of magnitude better in low light. In fact, you could get the A6000 and the 16mm f/2.8 lens I recommended and have a deceptively small package and never need to change lenses. (Check them out at a camera shop to get hands-on comparisons.) You could crop for zoom and still be better off. Finally this would give you the option of having a 55-210mm in your bag for doing airplane shots for taxiing. I LOVE being able to reach halfway across the airport to pull in planes.

    Another option would be the Rokinon 12mm f/2.

    “They don’t really ‘like’ to operate in point-and-shoot mode (while the RX 100 is happy to) and you have to deal with interchangeable lenses.”

    Cameras do not have likes and dislikes. You set it to fully automatic mode and it behaves just like the RX100 in automatic mode. Dealing with multiple interchangeable lenses is optional. It increases your flexibility without forcing you to increase your complexity.

    FWIW, I’m a former Canon shooter (Xti, T2i, 50D, 7D, 5DII, 5DIII) and current Sony shooter (A7r, A7s, A7rII, A5000, A6000). Sony has the best sensors to the point that Nikon even uses Sony-made sensors on their highest end cameras. The medium format cameras use Sony sensors. The cell phones use Sony sensors. On comparable ILC/DSLRs on the market, Sony sensors have two stops more of dynamic range than their peers (14 vs. 12) which is one of the most important measures of image quality. This technology advantage carries over into compacts as well.

    While in your current state of mind, the RX100 IV is your best bet hands-down, if you’d be willing to invest a little effort (size-wise and education-wise), you could really have fun upping your camera game in-flight, in-hotel, with plane-spotting, and with destination photography.

    Check out my Instagram where I’m posting some of my recent pics from Iceland: http://instagram.com/hansmast/

  39. W’s answer (and several others) hit the nail on the head. MK3 is the best unless you’re shooting a lot of video. We were in India for 5 weeks, I used the MK3 while my friend used the lumix with a 30 – 1 zoom. Most of the time, my pictures were better quality – but, once in awhile when you needed a bigger zoom – esp for wildlife, his Lumix was much better. For shooting in the plane and within the airports, the Sony will work great. Both fit in the pocket and are very easy to use – even as a point and shoot. (if you do want a bigger zoom the Lumiz zs100 is the way to go.). Sony is also very well constructed and will take a lot of abuse.

  40. I’ve had the M1 and M3 of the RX100 and also handled the M2. Biggest difference is the lens, and the 24mm equivalent on the M3 and M4 is much wider (especially useful for photographing hotels and airplane cabins) than the 28mm equivalent on the two earlier models. I don’t think the new features on the M4 is worth the premium, so I’d get the M3 if I were you, despite the big price premium. The alternative is the Canon G7 X, which has the same-size sensor and a similarly wide (24mm equivalent) lens. It’s now quite a bit cheaper than the comparable RX100 M3 – $600 or $450 if you’re willing to go for the grey-market version (check Amazon).

  41. Love love love my Sony RX II…it’s lightweight and perfect for traveling. It has wifi, a custom fit leather case, but most importantly, takes excellent photos with NO effort on my part! I’m not camera savvy, my son told me about it, and I’m so glad I got it.
    Check out my photos…milestravelingteacher.com

  42. Lucky, you probably have more comments than you need, but I will chime in. I’m a casual trip and kid photographer. I’ve used the original RX100 since it first came out and LOVE it. The idea that it doesn’t do well in low light is nonsense. It sees better than I do! I love the zoom, and find that even the “auto” setting is good 90% of the time. The only time I really have to depart from the predefined scene modes is when I’m shooting sports photos. Even then, it doesn’t take too much time to master using the camera properly. It fits perfectly in my pocket, isn’t too heavy, and has been hither and yon and still works perfectly. I have older, bigger, interchangeable lens cameras and they are gathering dust because this is a camera I can keep with me all the time, and so I use it all the time. If I were you, I’d get the lowest cost RX model and be happy.

  43. I’ve actually been in the market for a premium point and shoot as well. My best advice to you is to actually go to a camera store or best buy and test out the camera. I know at best buy they have the first gen Sony RX100, but I actually was impressed by the Sony a5000 and a5100 cameras. Both of those are mirror less cameras and are like a hybrid between a DSLR in the compact body of a point and shoot. Plus they both sell for $500-$600, significantly less than the 4th gen RX100.

    Or if you like canon, take a look at their new Power shot g9x. Its selling for $400 and came out a few months ago.

    Happy shooting Lucky

  44. Have a look at Panasonic LX 100. Ultra small, wide angle and perfect for low light situations.

  45. Unless you’re a real camera geek, you probably don’t need the newest version – the older versions of the RX100 already have plenty of options and produce images of adequate quality for most.

    Also consider checking out Canon’s G7X – personally I prefer that to Sony.

  46. Robert says: “Have a look at Panasonic LX 100. Ultra small, wide angle and perfect for low light situations”

    Ultra small? No, considerably larger than any RX100.

    Wide angle? Same as RX100 Mk III and IV.

    Low light? Marginally better, yes.

  47. I would reiterate that unless you want a camera that is significantly larger and are okay with buying lenses (usually expensive for something that will do better than the RX100 line in medium/low light, as much of your indoor shooting will be) and changing them for different needs, get an RX100 model, preferably the III or IV for the wider 24mm starting field of view, which others have noted will help you with capturing more in often-crapmed interior shots. Importantly, they also have ~3x zoom so its an all-in-one solution for most circumstances.

    I have the 16mm lens for the A6000 and it has a wide angle of view and decent speed at f2.8 but its not that good and definitely not worth buying a +$300 body just so you can use this one lens that has no zoom. I had the 16-50mm kit zoom and its very mediocre indoors and overall not that sharp, though the compact size and zoom made it a decent lens for walking around outdoors while traveling. As I mentioned before, you’d need to invest more money and carry around more lenses (in effect, carry gear like a photography enthusiast) to get better and more versatile performance from an A6000 (or similar) setup.

    For reference, I use my A6000 with fast primes at home photographing my two children under 2 or at special events – I have a good but slow zoom (18-105 f/4) that I use occasionally when I want to play photographer at the outdoor playground. I carry my RX100 IV whenever I leave the house with the kids to capture random moments at restaurants, friends’ houses, etc. The difference in carrying the small camera (which is pretty much like carrying your S95 but slightly bigger) vs. carrying my A6000 with even just the Zeiss 24mm attached is enormous – difference of a small camera attached to my wrist (including case) vs having a very noticeable camera around my neck or medium-sized camera bag on my shoulder. You also don’t stand out nearly as much with the small point-shoot in public places (and my wife hates standing out as the one family carrying around a noticeable camera in restaurants, gatherings).

    Particularly as you’re just looking to take travel photos (seemingly in mostly Auto mode?), I think the RX100 line is your best bet for no-hassle great photos that will be better than your Canon S95. The RX100 III is good enough unless you want 4k and are willing to pay a $150 premium for it.

    Others have noted the Canon G7X and G9X as well. I haven’t used them but hear that they’re very good as well, though the lenses on them aren’t quite as sharp as the ones on the RX100 line – however, the difference is probably not even noticeable unless you pixel peep. Between those two, I would recommend the G7X which has a tiltscreen because those things are really handy for getting shots you wouldn’t otherwise be able to get – its hard to go back after using a tiltscreen.

    Someone else mentioned the Panasonic LX100 – I really wanted to get this as it has an even bigger sensor than the RX100 line and has 4k video, good EVF, though a little big bigger size. There was a great deal around the holidays for this camera at $500 direct from BH Photo. Only thing I couldn’t get over was the lack of tilt screen – for me, being able to tilt that screen up while taking photos/videos of crawling little ones is huge and there are other uses as well (shooting above a crowd, shooting at waist level without bending over, etc.)

  48. I actually went through the same decision 3 months ago. I wanted a travel point and shoot, especially good for low light, and something at a lower price range since I am a noobie photographer.

    My solution was actually to buy the original RX100/B, but *used* and only via the Amazon Warehouse seller (that is I’m not buying used via 3rd party sellers that I’m not familiar why).

    Pros:
    1) Price: ~$300 – at this price range, even the 4-5 year old entry level is still competitive with newer P&S, just because it has such a large sensor size
    2) Amazon Warehouse – same quality of service as Amazon.com, with a good return policy and each camera is inspected to make sure that it works
    3) May take a little digging, but I was able to find one w/o any cosmetic imperfections (takes a little bit of search time w/in the Amazon website to see all of the ones they stock). Limit to “like new” (more rare) and “very good” from Amazon Warehouse as the seller for safer bets.

    Cons:
    1) It’s used, although mine has been working perfectly. Warranty might be limited or not there.
    2) Shorter lifespan vs new? Can’t know until you’ve had it for a while. But the RX100 build is pretty solid to begin with so I think the risk is less here.
    3) It’s not the newest tech, still a 4-5 year old camera from a tech perspective but I think sensor size is the #1 reason why this camera is so good for low light. Newer RX100 models might do low light even better but I’ve been amazed on how well low light on even the V1 model has done.

    Link:
    http://smile.amazon.com/Sony-DSC-RX100-Sensor-Digital-Camera/dp/B00889ST2G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1461339952&sr=8-1&keywords=rx100

    https://smile.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B00889ST2G/ref=olp_f_usedGood?ie=UTF8&f_usedLikeNew=true&f_usedVeryGood=true&qid=1461340413&sr=1-1

  49. Lucky: Go with the III. You don’t need to be an expert. Super photos, and the pop up viewfinder will make your job easy. Compactness is worth the price. You will always have it with you, and you never look like a tourist with it.

  50. Just a FWIW on the larger cameras. Back when Ben got the S95, one of the big reasons was the look and size. There was a article out there on “Best Cameras For Bloggers.” The main point was that the bigger and more professional looking the camera, the more people would be scared by it and tell you no photos allowed. The S95 had a good mix of small size and sophistication. That thinking still applies. And let’s face it. 99% of Ben’s photos are used less than 1000 pixels wide. It’s not like he needs a $55,000 Hasselblad.

  51. ben – you can also take a look at the canon g7x mark ii. i use the mark i and I love my camera. the g7x has similar specs as the rx100. i’ve been using canon cameras for about 10+ years already and wanted the familiarity with controls, hence i got the g7x. the iphone app for canon is also very easy to use (great for uploading photos from the camera promptly onto your phone).

  52. I’ve been very happy with my RX100 II. Pocket size, large sensor, good in low light situations, screen tilts appropriately for getting ceiling shots without bending my head back, can move photos from camera to iPhone with wifi, flash that can bounce, good photos in general. Option of shooting RAW & JPG. In anti-shake mode (I don’t remember what it’s called) takes three quick shots and blends them together for a good motion shots. The RX100 III is too expensive for me to move up just one level. Given the option, though, I would purchase the RX100 III. I don’t like the panoramic on the RX100 II, but that’s just my opinion. Good luck with whatever you decide.

  53. You travel constantly with a carry on, so if you want a small camera that does it all, I’d go with RakSiam and recommend the Panasonic ZS100 over the Sony RX100:
    It’s delivers comparable image quality with the same-size sensor and similar weight/size, is as easy to use (or easier, depends on who you ask) and has a 10x Zoom. That extra zoom is critical, if it’s the only camera you have with you. Try taking a wildlife shot or a candid shot of people with the shorter zoom of the Sony – won’t work. And the Panasonic is in the middle of the price range, but a brand new camera!
    And while the Sony a5100/6000/6300 is a “better” camera for better pictures, I don’t think it would be better for you – because its heavier, bulkier and more complicated to use.
    I have a big DSLR, a smaller interchangeable lens-camera (with underwater housing) and a compact travel zoom – there is a right camera for every occasion and if you want one, than in your case I’d go with the Panasonic ZS100 (or TZ100, if you pick it up in Europe/Asia).

  54. I’d get the Sony RX1R II, It’s full sensor and it’s a 35mm. Perfect for photojournalism type shots.

  55. @Rupert The Panasonic, at f2.8 wouldn’t be able to perform anywhere nearly as well as the Sonys in low light or indoor conditions.

  56. EVERY camera has tradeoffs. i’m in a simplify mode, and downsizing from tons of Canon stuff, which I still love. most of us camera folk have the disease…there’s always the “next” best camera. its like getting hooked on crack.

    Picked up an RX100 on Craigslist for $250. wanted to dislike it, but it is a great camera, yes i’d like the wide lens on the 3 & 4 models but they give up the 100mm. and they’re more plasticky.

    Thought i had to have a a viewfinder…I don’t. 4k is cool but a huge memory & battery suck. the camera can be compicated, but just put it on Program or Superior Auto and enjoy great pics without having to think.

    Get a used RX100, two batteries, and a grip. Done. Worry about other bells and whistles later. start taking great shots today.

  57. I too need a new camera. The SONY RX100 looks really good and the comments I’ve read are helpful. My first digital camera was a SONY and I only stopped using it because of course I dropped it at Lincoln Center when taking pictures of my kids. They were about 8 then; they’re 19 now.

  58. From my side I would have said Mark 1 or Mark 2 before I bought my SONY RX100 M1.

    I am satisfied with the quality of the picture for the compactness of the camera. BUT THE HUGE problem with SOny is that their products are very fragile and not very reliable. Then, you have to assume that the customer service of Sony is very poor wherever you are in the world (I tried, Thailand, CHile, France and India !) and the waranty of their products is limited to the country of purchase so if you are travelling …

    In my personal case, my 1st camera had dead pixel the first day i Used it. they changed it. Then I had dust that entered in the lens of my second camera during a long trip. I send it to Chile customer service and they simply broke my mother board by spliting a conection in the customer service in CHile, Thailand customer service diddn’t want to contact them and made me pay the repair and broke the speaker. 30 days later, my problem came back. I was in india and I had to face again the customer service. I finally bought a 3rd camera which had electrical problems after 3 monthes. Starangely my backup camera had no problem during my world trip.

    I definitely stop buying SONY their quality is not at the level of their prices !!!

  59. I know this is an old post now but just my 2 cents –

    I’d say go for the RX100 III. Unless you HAVE to shoot 4k video then the extra is not worth it.

    Also, unless you want to invest in more lenses, ignore anyone suggesting a CSC like the A5000 or A6000. With their standard 16-50mm kit lens the RX100M3 will be brighter at all focal lengths (when converted to 35mm format values) and offer much sharper results.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *