Picking a Pocket Camera: Sony RX100 Edition

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Believe it or not, Sony now has manufactured seven different versions of the RX100, and all but one are still available for purchase. After six years of development, we decided to take a close look at the differences and changes introduced in each generation, both to illustrate the evolution of Sony’s perfect pocket camera and to help you figure out which is the best choice for your bag.

Series Overview

When Sony launched the first RX100, in 2012, it changed things. With a “large” 1″-type sensor, the pocketable camera could deliver higher-quality images than point-and-shoots and smartphones. Almost every year since, we have seen this model get better and better, adding impressive features like built-in EVFs, high-frame-rate video, 4K, 24 fps shooting, and more, all culminating in the just-released RX100 VA and the RX100 VI, released in 2018. This had led to some major differences between the models. For an overview of all these changes, we put together this table.

Now for the hard part—deciding which will be best for you. The easiest way to do this is to run through the lineup describing the differences and upgrades with each successive model, and let’s start with the first.


The OG RX100 is still hanging around, though many could successfully argue it is getting a bit long in the tooth. It is, however, the most affordable. Bear in mind that, while the tech may be older, the 20MP 1″-type sensor Sony packed into it is still going to be significantly better than the exceptionally tiny option squeezed into other types of point-and-shoot cameras. It also has a great 28-100mm equivalent f/1.8-4.9 lens tacked onto the front, along with many of the same dials and controls you will find on later models. It may not be the best, but it is a perfect starting point for anyone looking to pick up an everyday camera.

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