Housed in the same slick, pocket-sized body as its predecessors, The Sony RX100 VI is a premium compact digital camera that is packed full of features. Could this be the perfect compact for travel photography?
It’s discreet enough to be a lightweight travel camera; the perfect premium ‘point-and-shoot’ (if this all you want from it). It does, however, host a tonne of advanced features for those looking to take full control of their pictures (you can shoot in the equivalent of RAW, for example).
Its small size makes it the perfect all-rounder for those looking to create high quality images and video, without having to carry a bulky DSLR or mirrorless camera.
Let’s start with the headline feature - a new improved focal range of 24-200mm. Sony have listened to feedback from their customers, and have effectively added ‘an extra lens’, covering the 70-200mm focal range.
This extra range significantly increases the versatility of the RX100. The wide angle is perfect for landscapes and street photography, while the mid-range of the zoom will still allow for portraits to be taken with smooth, blurred out backgrounds. The compromise of the extra focal length comes in the aperture – the mark V 24-70mm lens was f/1.8 - 2.8 at its widest – the new 24-200 ranges from f/2.8 - 4.5.
The additional telephoto range allows you to zoom in on far-off objects - Sony's Optical Steadyshot reduces camera shake and delivers crisp images when hand-holding shots.
The extra 4-stops of image stabilisation allowed us to get great shots at 200mm, and will also help when shooting in low-light conditions. A great feature, as it’s unlikely that users will be taking a tripod around with them, given the RX100 is designed for use ‘on-the-go’.
The RX-100 uses a Exmor RS™ 1.0-type stacked CMOS image sensor with 20.1MP, combined with a high-speed BIONZ X™ image processing engine.
But what does this mean in plain English? It means that the RX100 is incredibly responsive when you use it – with continuous high-speed shooting at up to 24 fps with full AF/AE tracking, with an impressive buffer limit of up to 233 images.
Combine this with the sensor’s ability to record super-slow-motion shooting at a gob-smacking 960fps, and a top shutter speed of 1/32000 sec, and you start to realise Sony have thrown everything at this camera to make sure you won’t miss that all-important shot.
If you want to delve further into the technical side of things, we’ve provided detailed explanations of all of the key features.
Sony have made a name for themselves with their autofocus (AF) systems, and the RX100 VI is testament to this. With a focus lock time of 0.03 seconds (the world’s fastest for a compact camera, as at July 2018), the Sony uses a Hybrid AF system that intelligently switches between single point focus (AF-S mode) and continuous focus (AF-C mode).
This means that if you are lined up to take an image, and then your subject suddenly starts to move, the camera is intelligent enough to switch and track focus on the moving object. Perfect for anything from street photography, through to holiday pictures, or even when zoomed in on wildlife from a distance.
We also need to give a special shout out to Sony’s Eye-AF feature - borrowed from Sony’s flagship full frame mirrorless a9, it impressed us when we reviewed the Sony a7 III , and it’s no different here. It’s simple to use, and even the most rookie photographer can ensure that portraits of their favourite person will have the eyes perfectly in focus. What better way to get professional looking shots of your loved ones?
Sony have gone all out with their video, recording 4K HDR without any pixel binning. You can shoot in S-Log and at 120fps in Full HD Mode – favourite features for those looking to edit their videos and apply their own colour profiles and change frame rate in post-production.
The lack of microphone jack is a compromise required to keep the camera small, but that’s unlikely to be a problem if you are looking to the RX100 VI as an all round travel / holiday camera.
We found this camera incredibly practical and easy to get on with. We love that Sony have improved the Eye viewfinder pop up mechanism, a great feature that means you can still frame your shot even in bright daylight.
The LCD screen folds down to a 90 degree angle, perfect for snapping that plate of food below you, and 180 degrees up for taking selfies / vlogging. The touch shutter function means that you can easily select your focus point by tapping the back LCD screen. This is handy for when great precision is required - the Hybrid AF is so effective it’s unlikely you’ll need to do this very often!
Sony really have thrown everything they’ve got into this camera, borrowing technology from their top-end models that retail at £4500! It’s incredibly small for a camera with a zoom this large, and the autofocus is breathtakingly fast.
If you’re looking for a premium compact digital camera that is versatile enough to take stunning photographs and video, while being discreet enough to fit in your pocket, then this surely ticks all the boxes.
See how we got on with the RX100 VI in the video below. We can’t cover everything in this review, so if you do have any questions, add a comment below and we’ll get back to you!
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By Park Cameras on 05/07/2018