Sony's Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 might have the shortest focal range - 24-200mm - in this shoot-out, but it uses a much bigger 1-inch image sensor compared with the 1/1.7-inch image sensors used by its peers.
As a result, the RX10 is as heavy and bulky as a DSLR camera, due to the big sensor and huge lens.
At 813g and 10.2cm thick, the RX10 is almost double the weight and thickness of the Olympus Stylus 1 and the Casio Exilim EX-100.
Still, the RX10 is lighter than a DSLR camera, but not necessarily smaller than one.
But among the three cameras here, the RX10 has the most solid and sturdy build, thanks to its magnesium alloy body.
Its rubberised grip and contoured rear thumb rest allow you to hold it comfortably. All my fingers are nicely wrapped around the grip.
Button layout is well thought-out, with all the controls and buttons easily accessible. You can change the aperture using the aperture barrel ring and the shutter speed with the rear dial in Manual mode.
Also, other than using the zoom lever around the shutter release, you can turn the step zoom barrel of the lens to quickly change the focal length of the lens.
Handling is good, but loses out slightly to the Olympus Stylus 1 in terms of intuitiveness.
For example, the Menu button is isolated on the top left rear of the camera. It took me awhile to get used to that, as most Menu buttons are on the rear right.
Its Oled electronic viewfinder (EVF), with 100 per cent frame coverage, is sharp and bright. It is almost as good as an optical viewfinder.
Plus, the EVF provides real-time setting updates. I prefer this EVF over the 3-inch display, which can be tilted downwards by 45 degrees or upwards by 84 degrees.
The RX10 starts up swiftly, at around 1.2sec. Shutdown takes around 1sec longer. Autofocusing (AF) is almost instantaneous in bright sunlight.
In dim lighting conditions, it is not as quick as the other two cameras here. It can take up to 2sec to find a focus even with the aid of the AF assist light.
But the RX10's image quality is excellent and easily beats the other two superzoom cameras here.
Images are vivid with sharp details and low barrel distortion throughout its focal range.
The noise performance is the best here as well. There is no visible noise up to ISO 800. Even at ISO 1,600, while there are visible noise artefacts, there is no significant loss of details. However, I would not recommend anything exceeding ISO 3,200.
The RX10's battery life is the best here at around 420 shots on a full charge, slightly edging out the Stylus 1.
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 is the bulkiest and most expensive with the shortest focal range in this shoot-out. But with its solid build, good handling and fantastic image quality, it is the best superzoom compact camera in the market.
Image sensor: 20.2 megapixels, 1-inch CMOS
Lens: 24mm-200mm f/2.8
Display: 3-inch tiltable LCD with 1,290,000 dots; Oled electronic viewfinder with 1,440,000 dots
Sensitivity: ISO 80 to ISO 12,800
Shooting speed: Up to 10 frames per second
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Near Field Communication
Weight: 813g (with battery and memory card)
Value for money 3/5
Battery life 4/5
This article was first published on July 02, 2014.
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