A while ago I was able to purchase a very used original Sony RX100 for about $130 – I really wanted a lightweight, or ultralight backpacking camera that would be “good enough”. While I don’t mind bringing my Fujifilm X-T1 and zoom lens (816 grams with battery), I wanted to try an even lighter camera and I read that the Sony RX 100 series is one of the best weight to quality cameras available. This one is of course the first version in (now version 4 is available) So, this review is rather dated, but what the hell 🙂 I still use an analogue camera, so a 4 year old camera is fairly new by my standards. In anycase, I have learned that the camera rarely makes a good photograph: Subject, framing and lighting are the essentials, it’s just important to have a sensor that can capture those three key ingredients. So with that said, the Sony Rx 100 fits the bill.

Weight:
I will start with the weight as this is one of the main reasons I bought this camera. The sensor is just a measly 1″ sensor and the camera itself weighs just 242 grams with battery and memory card.

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Ergonomics:
This camera is small.. or my hands are massive. Either way, it disappears in my palm. (the newer versions have a small groove in them for better grip). While the camera is small I seem to have good hand and eye coordination and don’t normally have a problem gripping it and using it. Though, I do think it’s easy to drop because of how small and slippery it is.

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Waterproof:
Not that I know of – though I can’t say I have been too protective of it. I recently had it on my hiking trip in Iceland, it rained non-stop and the camera held up very well. Though as with anything, a little bit of brain goes a long way in protecting your gear.

Picture Quality:
I can’t stand camera reviews where they take pictures of completely useless shit and charts and so on.. Who cares, says absolutely nothing to me. Show me real pictures the camera has taken in real scenarios. Anyway, I was a bit unsure about bringing the Sony RX 100 with me on my Iceland trip as I really didn’t want to risk having a camera that wouldn’t be able to capture the beauty of the region. I find the Fujifilm to be very satisfactory in capturing what I see, so I tend to stick with what I know and trust.

But I decided that I would give the Sony RX 100 a true shot at glory and used it as my primary and only camera on my hiking trip in Iceland. While the raw files aren’t as “deep” as the fuji files (can’t edit them as much) and the colours aren’t as good either, in the end I found the RX 100 to be an excellent, lightweight camera for the trip. Here are just a few pictures that I have taken with the Sony RX 100. Only editing done was to bring out the colors.

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Full zoom – Hilleberg tent

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Some chromatic there in the mountains, but otherwise a good pic

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Conclusion:
It’s hard for me to not like this camera. While the files aren’t as good or clean as the fuji files, I am still very pleased with the end results. At 242 grams complete with battery and memory card and by far much better pictures that an Iphone. Also, my review doesn’t take into consideration video or flash. This is because I don’t really use these functions – This review is based on how I use the camera, for me this camera works, and it will be a mainstay in my camera bag and backpack. I might upgrade at some point to the newer version as I like the 24mm equivalent lens and better f-stop. While I don’t like sony as a company (make near great gear but never upgrade firmware forcing constant hardware upgrades – just horrible customer service) There is no denying the Sony RX 100’s greatness.

Posted by Kenneth Shaw

Blogger, photographer and backpacker. If you like my writing or my site don't be afraid to follow me, like or share my posts here on the site. Thanks and enjoy!

4 Comments

  1. Hi Kenneth

    First of all great blog!

    Im wondering if there was any situation where you would have wished you had a interchangeable DSLR? I have walked the trail, and I would not have done without my DSLR.

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    1. Thanks for the comment..

      First off, what I want and what I need are usually two different concepts altogether 🙂 Of course at times I wish I have a DJI phantom drone with 4k camera and a Nikon full format DSLR with 5 lenses.. but the truth is, for most photography I find that subject and framing are everything.. So I wanted to try this out with the RX 100 which of course was a big risk, but I think the pictures came out “good enough”. A saw a few people with massive DSLR cameras on the trail, to each his own 🙂 but I find the RX100 perfectly suited for what I do.

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  2. […] Sony RX100 – The ultimate ultralight backpacking camera? – I recently had it on my hiking trip in Iceland, it rained non-stop and the camera held up very well. Though as with anything, a little bit of brain goes a long way in protecting your gear. I can’t … […]

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  3. Have you considered Ricoh GR II? APS-C sensor, very low profile and only 270 grams with battery. If you don’t mind the price and its fixed 28mm-equivalent lens, it’s a perfect ultralight camera on the trail.

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