Sony QX100 Hands-On Field Test

  By Jordan Drake

One of the biggest struggles Chris and I face is finding new locations to shoot TCSTV episodes.  Especially during the winter, when everything outside is brown, grey, and generally depressing.  So when we get a chance to shoot a location indoors, we always jump on it.  This explains how we found ourselves at Otafest.  We sponsored gear for a photobooth, and in exchange we were given press passes for the event.  Not wanting to miss an opportunity to shoot at room temperature, Chris and I happily accepted.


We decided to check out the Sony QX100, a weird camera we were pretty intrigued by.  The RX100 and RX100 MK II are our favourite compact cameras, so the idea of having that sensor and optics combination on a smartphone was pretty compelling.  However, Chris and I had very little time to play with the camera before heading out to shoot.  This meant you really are seeing Chris’ first impressions, but also meant that we didn’t have a plan in place to deal with the camera’s limitations.

Shooting at Otafest was a bizarre experience.  They say you fear what you don’t understand, and that certainly applied to me that day.  Everyone was friendly, but oddly shy for people wearing so much technicolor fur.  Filming Chris while a medieval attired kid stood behind him making threatening faces was amongst my most unnerving shooting experiences ever. It was also really loud, which made balancing the sound in post quite a bit tougher.  


Finding an appropriate soundtrack for this video wound up being very easy thanks to our partnership with  Nerdy synth driven prog is at your fingertips, along with a lot of more practical tracks.  

Check them out at


I filmed on the Sony FS700 with my trusted Tamron 24-70 F2.8 VC on a Metabones speed booster.  The booster was extremely useful as a good portion of the downtown U of C campus is quite dark.  I plugged Chris into a Sony UWP-130 wireless system, threw the FS700 on a monopod and we got to shooting.  


This was an interesting shoot in that we thought we knew what to expect, but the actual experience was very different from our initial impressions.  Chris and I are big fans of the RX100, so we went in with high expectations.  However, the odd handicaps of the QX100, most notably the lack of shutter speed and ISO control, left it impossible to get sharp photos.  The camera’s insistence on using slow shutter speeds and low ISOs meant we had only a few sharp images from several hours of shooting.  The QX100 would function much better in good light, but that’s also where your phone camera will do a better job. The constant disconnection between the camera and phone, and several software crashes also made shooting a difficult task.  Sony has been making a lot of very compelling cameras lately, from the A7, A7R, RX10 stills cameras, to the AX1 camcorder, but the QX100 felt like a beta camera in most regards.  The good news is that many of the limitations could be address by firmware, so hopefully Sony is listening and gives us shutter and ISO control control soon.