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Sony’s most recent entry into the premium compact camera market is the Sony RX100 VI. The RX100 series of pocket-sized high-end compact cameras from Sony has been expanding, and this sixth-generation model is the most significant change we’ve seen.
The RX100 VI has a significantly longer zoom range than its forerunners, which makes it a potentially much more versatile piece of equipment than its predecessors. This contrasts the previous three cameras in the lineup, which have shared the same lens design. Each iteration mostly only sees several performance enhancements and tweaks over earlier models.
The fact that Sony has been able to accomplish this without significantly increasing the camera size raises the question of whether or not this makes the RX100 VI the most excellent small camera. Let’s have a peek…
Sony RX100 VI Features
This standard zoom range might be a little limiting at the long end for some, and it’s all changed for the RX100 VI, with the new camera sporting a further 24-200mm zoom lens with a variable maximum aperture of f/2.8-4.5. While the RX100 V, RX100 IV, and RX100 III all featured a fast Zeiss-branded 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 zoom lens, this standard zoom range might be slightly limited in the long end.
The trade-off is that the maximum aperture accessible on this lens is not quite as stunning as the one with the 24-70mm optic, even though this lens has a far longer reach than that optic. However, it’s not as awful as it seems since it’s just one stop slower at f/4 when the lens is stretched just beyond 70mm. In other words, it’s not quite as bad as it seems.
In comparison to competitors like Panasonic’s Lumix ZS100 (also known as the TZ100 in countries outside of the US), which possesses a 25-250mm f/2.8-5.9 zoom lens, and the new Lumix ZS200, which has a 24-360mm f/3.3-6.4 lens, it stands out as a relatively strong performer.
Sony RX100 VI Build Quality
The RX100 VI is only 1.8 millimeters thicker than the RX100 V, coming in at 42.8 millimeters, and only 2 grams heavier, coming in at 301 grams. This is even though the RX100 VI offers a significantly longer zoom range than its predecessors. However, the design of the RX100 VI is almost identical to that of its predecessors, making it difficult to distinguish it from other models in the RX100 series.
This means that the RX100 VI has the same streamlined and subtle appearance as earlier models of the RX100 camera line. Additionally, it has a robust metal finish that completes the quality impression of the camera (although it is not weather-sealed).
The absence of any handgrip on the front of the camera, which is disappointing compared to the comfortable textured grip on, for example, the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II, is the slight negative to this very slender design.
There are a variety of alternatives available on the aftermarket, some of which are incredibly high-end. Additionally, Sony provides the optional AG-R2 attachment grip, which can be purchased for £14 or $14.99; however, given the low price, we would expect to see this included with the camera.
Sony RX100 VI Autofocus
The hybrid autofocus technology that was so impressive on the RX100 V has been given a significant upgrade with the RX100 VI. This results in 315 phase-detect autofocus points covering 65% of the frame. Twenty-fiveIn addition, more extensive contrast-detect autofocus focus regions augment these, and the two focusing algorithms work together to acquire focus. The RX100 VI will first lock focus using the phase-detect autofocus (AF), and the contrast-detect system will then fine-tune the focus wherever it is required.
With the improved BIONZ X and Front-end LSI on the RX100 VI, Sony boasts that focusing can be accomplished in as little as 0.03 seconds. We’re not inclined to disagree with this claim; it’s undoubtedly one of the quickest, if not the fastest, small cameras available to acquire focus.
Additionally, the RX100 VI is equipped with Sony’s advanced High-density Tracking AF technology. This feature allows the camera’s focusing system to concentrate AF points around a subject to improve tracking and focus accuracy. Sony’s Eye AF technology is also available and has approximately two times the tracking performance of the RX100 V.
Sony RX100 VI Performance
Do you need an SD card to be filled up quickly? The RX100 VI can take 233 JPEG photographs at 24 frames per second. This burst shooting speed would make many high-end cameras appear pedestrian, and it is a significant advance over the RX100 V, which could only capture 150 shots.
It can also shoot in raw at this burst rate, despite the buffer being smaller at 109 raw files than the RX100 V’s 77 raws. However, 109 raw files is still an imposing number. In addition, because the card port on the RX100 VI is only UHS-I and not UHS-II, you may be required to wait for a brief period as the camera writes the data to the card before making any adjustments to the shooting parameters. This is an odd design choice.
Sony RX100 VI Image Quality
The sensor in the RX100 VI appears to be the same chip as the one found in the RX100 V (and the RX100 IV, for that matter). Therefore, the photographs produced by the RX100 VI do not include any unpleasant surprises.
The 20.1-megapixel 1-inch sensor can provide photographs with impressively high levels of detail, as we have seen in the past. They will not come close to matching the quality of those from a mirrorless camera or DSLR, but for a compact camera, they are pretty nice. If you print them at 300 dpi, you should be able to generate fine A3 prints without increasing the file size.
Until ISO 800, there was excellent control over the image noise. If you go higher than that, you’ll notice that color noise starts appearing in the shadow areas. However, you shouldn’t limit yourself to these lower sensitivities because photos still hold up well even at ISO3200, with luminance (which looks grainy) and color noise merely creeping on the image.
If you can, we recommend shooting in raw above this setting; however, if you are only taking JPEGs, you may wish to reduce the amount of noise reduction that your camera makes to the images.
Sony RX100 VI Specs
|Max resolution||5472 x 3648|
|Other resolutions||3:2 (3888 x 2592, 2736 x 1824), 4:3 (4864 x 3648, 3648 x 2736, 2592 x 1944), 16:9 (5472 x 3080, 3648 x 2056, 2720 x 1528), 1:1 (3648 x 3648, 2544 x 2544, 1920 x 1920)|
|Image ratio w h||1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9|
|Effective pixels||20 megapixels|
|Sensor photo detectors||21 megapixels|
|Sensor size||1″ (13.2 x 8.8 mm)|
|Sensor type||Stacked CMOS|
|Color space||sRGB, AdobeRGB|
|Color filter array||Primary color filter|
|Boosted ISO (minimum)||80|
|Boosted ISO (maximum)||25600|
|White balance presets||9|
|Custom white balance||Yes|
|CIPA image stabilization rating||4 stop(s)|
|JPEG quality levels||Extra fine, fine, standard|
|File format||JPEG (Exif v2.3, DCF v2.0)Raw (Sony ARW v2.3)|
|Optics & Focus|
|Focal length (Equiv.)||24–200 mm|
|Autofocus||Contrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View|
|Autofocus assist lamp||Yes|
|Digital zoom||Yes (3.8x)|
|Normal focus range||8 cm (3.15″)|
|Macro focus range||8 cm (3.15″)|
|Number of focus points||315|
|Screen type||TFT LCD|
|Minimum shutter speed||30 sec|
|Maximum shutter speed||1/2000 sec|
|Maximum shutter speed (electronic)||1/32000 sec|
|Exposure modes||AutoProgram AutoAperture PriorityShutter PriorityManual Exposure|
|Scene modes||PortraitSports ActionMacroLandscapeSunsetNight SceneHandheld TwilightNight PortraitAnti Motion BlurPet ModeGourmetFireworksHigh Sensitivity|
|Flash Range||5.90 m (at Auto ISO)|
|Drive modes||SingleContinuousSelf-timer (single, continuous)Single/continuous bracketingWB bracketingDRO bracketing|
|Continuous drive||24.0 fps|
|Metering modes||MultiCenter-weighted spot|
|Exposure compensation||±3 (at 1/3 EV steps)|
|AE Bracketing||±3 (3 frames )|
|Format||MPEG-4, AVCHD, XAVC S|
|Modes||3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 100 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 60 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 25p / 100 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 25p / 60 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 24p / 100 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 24p / 60 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 120p / 100 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 120p / 60 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 100p / 100 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 100p / 60 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 50 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 28 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 28 Mbps, AVCHD, MTS, H.264, Dolby Digital1920 x 1080 @ 60i / 24 Mbps, AVCHD, MTS, H.264, Dolby Digital1920 x 1080 @ 60i / 17 Mbps, AVCHD, MTS, H.264, Dolby Digital1920 x 1080 @ 50p / 50 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 50p / 28 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 50 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 16 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 25p / 50 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 25p / 16 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 24p / 50 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 24p / 24 Mbps, AVCHD, MTS, H.264, Dolby Digital1920 x 1080 @ 24p / 17 Mbps, AVCHD, MTS, H.264, Dolby Digital1280 x 720 @ 30p / 6 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1280 x 720 @ 25p / 6 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC|
|Storage types||SD/ SDHC/SDXC, Memory Stick Pro Duo/ Pro-HG Duo|
|USB||USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)|
|HDMI||Yes (micro-HDMI with uncompressed 4K/30p output)|
|Wireless notes||802.11b/g/n with NFC|
|Remote control||Yes (wired or smartphone)|
|Battery description||NP-BX1 lithium-ion battery & USB charger|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||240|
|Weight (inc. batteries)||301 g (0.66 lb / 10.62 oz)|
|Dimensions||102 x 58 x 43 mm (4.02 x 2.28 x 1.69″)|
Sony RX100 VI Verdict
The RX100 VI is widely considered among the best small cameras currently available. When it comes to performance, there is absolutely nothing else that can compete with it, and the photographs produced by the 20.1-megapixel sensor are exceptional. However, its strength is also its vulnerability since some of the available technology – and for which you pay a premium – has the sense of using a sledgehammer to crack nuts, even though you are paying for it.