The ease of taking pictures from a cellphone has forced camera makers to take point-and-shoots out of the entry-level market, where they can’t offer as much value.
Sony and Fujifilm take the concept as far as it can go, to deliver amazing point-and-shoot cameras that produce great quality photographs, and cost quite a bundle too:
The FinePix X100 was loved by many, but it didn’t come without its quirks.
In comes the Fujifilm X100s, the second iteration of the camera, bringing with it everything we’ve loved about the X100, addressing most of the quirks we faced and also throwing in a few extra goodies to keep us happy.
The X100s comes with a new 16.3-megapixel X-Trans CMOS II sensor which finds the company of a new EXR Processor II chip. Together they achieve a slightly faster 6 frames per second (fps) burst mode, but that isn’t all. The EXR II chip is designed to apply real-time correction for any kind of vignette and aberration that might be generated by the Fujinon 23mm f/2.0 lens.
Besides having impeccable image quality, thanks to the back-side illuminated or BSI nature of the X-Trans II sensor, it also incorporates Phase Detection pixels on sensor. This in conjunction with the contrast detect AF (auto-focus) module, allows the camera to lock focus in unbelievably difficult conditions at blazing speeds. We showed up to a super-shady venue with no lights for an underground gig and the X100s locked focus on nine out of 10 shots.
Shooting this gig at ISO 3,200 and above, we found our images to be clean and quite sharp. All in all, the Fujifilm X100s is an incredible point-and-shoot camera for the enthusiast, with image quality matching that of most high-end DSLRs. The images are incredibly sharp even at f/2.0 and the colours are extremely well-balanced.
The Sony DSC-RX1 is the world’s first point-and-shoot camera to incorporate a 35mm full-frame sensor. Let that sink in for a minute. It’s got a solid magnesium alloy build and raises expectations like no other.
The RX1 is a deceptively small camera that delivers impressive performance thanks to its 24 megapixel full-frame sensor paired up with the BIONZ processor.
The camera can shoot up to 5 fps in full resolution RAW and when paired with a fast memory card like the SanDisk Extreme Pro SDXC UHS-I (95 MB/s write speed), we found that the camera could continue shooting off about 15 full resolution RAW files before it slowed down.
The 35mm Carl Zeiss lens that adorns the front of the RX1 is where the magic happens. The lens has a ring on the front that allows the focus range to be switched between a macro range and a regular range. When shooting in the macro range, the lens tends to exhibit some distortion, which can look bad if you’re shooting straight lines or faces. In the regular focus range, the lens is quite sharp, but tends to fall prey to severe purple fringing when shooting in strong light.
Despite the fringing, the RX1 produces incredibly good images regardless of the shooting condition. The AF is a little slow, but the camera almost always locks focus even in low light thanks to the AF illuminator. Speaking of low light, as can be expected from a full-frame sensor, the RX1’s image quality at high ISOs is just as good as that of a full-frame DSLR. We shot a few events and concerts with the RX1 with the ISO turned up to 6,400 and found that the noise was so well controlled that in the worst case, it only looked like grain.
The only downside to the RX1 is that it is priced high. In fact, it is in the same price category as Sony’s full-frame DSLR, the A99.
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