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Sony Cyber-shot RX100 Digital Camera Review$649.99
Buckle up. We're about to make some bold statements on this page. But first, let's preface our results a bit.
We did notice some software oversharpening in our test shots, and this is a camera's way of faking additional sharpness performance at the cost of natural-looking edges. The effect is not severe in this camera, maybe four to six pixels total, and that's even less significant when you remember this camera shoots extra-large 20 megapixel photos.
That being said, even after accounting for edge enhancement, the RX100's sharpness performance is astonishingly impressive. Not since the Canon G1 X have we seen a sharper fixed-lens camera. In fact, scores are more in line with the sharpest DSLRs of the year, which is just amazing from a camera of this size.
Sharpness is also remarkably consistent across different areas of the frame and different focal lengths. Detail is best at the closest focal length, and only drops off slightly at 22mm, before blurring a bit at full zoom. But again, the difference is relatively narrow. To put this in perspective, average resolution at 1.0x is roughly 2200 MTF50s, while 3.6x zoom only causes a decrease to 1800 MTF50s. On an inferior camera, both of those figures would've been much lower. More on how we test sharpness.
Our image stabilization test was inconclusive. We could detect no improvement to image quality with SteadyShot turned on, when the camera was subjected to repetitive horizontal movement. In the crops below, you can see that the wide gray trail is lessened in the "Stabilization On" shot, however the edge itself (the area we test) has actually worsened.