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Sony RX100 VI Review

Sony’s most recent entry into the premium compact camera market is the 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 is in contrast to the previous three cameras in the lineup, which has shared the same lens design, with each iteration mostly only seeing 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 new 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 at 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 rather strong performer.

The RX100 VI has Sony’s Optical SteadyShot image stabilization technology, which provides a 4-stop advantage over conventional image stabilization methods. This helps to mitigate the impacts of camera shaking.

This indicates that to take sharp pictures, it is not necessary to shoot at a shutter speed of 1/250 second when the lens is fully extended at 200 millimeters; instead, it is possible to take sharp pictures by shooting at a shutter speed that is four stops slower, which in this case would be 1/30 second.

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, but given the low price, we would expect to see this included with the camera itself.

As we have seen with more recent Sony Alpha cameras, the RX100 VI benefits from a little revised menu layout, which makes it a little bit easier to navigate your way around the camera’s many settings and modes. This is something that we have seen with newer Sony Alpha cameras.

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. 25 bigger 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 quickest, 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. Additionally, Sony’s Eye AF technology is also available, and it has approximately two times the tracking performance of the RX100 V.

There is also a function known as Face Detection, although photographers who capture a lot of portraits may want to make use of EyeAF, which is included in the RX100 VI. If you enable this feature by pressing the central button on the four-way control wheel, the RX100 VI will focus on the eye of your subject. If you have a continuous AF set, the camera will continue to track the eye while your subject travels across the frame, which is nifty.

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 is a burst shooting speed that would make many high-end cameras appear pedestrian, and it is a significant advance over the RX100 V, which was only capable of capturing 150 shots.

It is also capable of shooting in raw at this burst rate, even though the buffer is somewhat smaller at 109 raw files rather than the RX100 V’s 77 raws. However, 109 raw files is still an impressive number. 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 you can make any adjustments to the shooting parameters. This is an odd design choice.

Compared to the RX100 V, the back display of the RX100 VI may have suffered a tiny decrease in resolution; nevertheless, under actual shooting situations, this difference will be complicated to discern. In practice, we compared the new camera to an RX100 IV, but we could not identify any significant differences between the two.

When you bring the pop-up electronic viewfinder to your eye, you could be under the impression that it is just a gimmick, but you will be pleasantly surprised when you do so. There are indeed electronic viewfinders (EVFs) on the market that are larger and brighter, but for a camera of this size, it’s pretty nice indeed, with a clear display and a wide field of vision.

Battery performance is the same as that of the RX100 V at 220 shots if you expect to use both the rear display and EVF. However, this number may be increased to 310 shots if you plan to shoot exclusively with the rear display and have this mode set to auto-off. Even though the RX100 VI has built-in support for direct USB charging, you might want to think about purchasing an additional battery for it.

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 deliver images 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 perfect. If you print them at 300 dpi, you should be able to make fine A3 prints without having to increase the size of the file.

Regarding the brand new 24-200mm lens, there is very nothing with which to find fault. During our tests, it maintained its sharpness throughout the entire range of its zoom, with very little evidence of distortion or vignetting.

The most obvious drawback is that the maximum aperture range is a little bit slower compared to the RX100 V; however, if it were to have an aperture range comparable to the RX100 V’s, you’d be looking at a noticeably larger camera.

Sony RX100 VI Specs

Body typeCompact
Body materialAluminum
Sensor
Max resolution5472 x 3648
Other resolutions3:2 (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:h1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels20 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors21 megapixels
Sensor size1″ (13.2 x 8.8 mm)
Sensor typeStacked CMOS
ProcessorBionz X
Color spacesRGB, AdobeRGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
Image
ISOAuto, 125-12800
Boosted ISO (minimum)80
Boosted ISO (maximum)25600
White balance presets9
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationOptical
CIPA image stabilization rating4 stop(s)
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsExtra fine, fine, standard
File formatJPEG (Exif v2.3, DCF v2.0)Raw (Sony ARW v2.3)
Optics & Focus
Focal length (equiv.)24–200 mm
Optical zoom8.3×
Maximum apertureF2.8–4.5
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View
Autofocus assist lampYes
Digital zoomYes (3.8x)
Manual focusYes
Normal focus range8 cm (3.15″)
Macro focus range8 cm (3.15″)
Number of focus points315
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDTilting
Screen size3″
Screen dots1,228,800
Touch screenYes
Screen typeTFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeElectronic
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder magnification0.59×
Viewfinder resolution2,359,296
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/2000 sec
Maximum shutter speed (electronic)1/32000 sec
Exposure modesAutoProgram AutoAperture PriorityShutter PriorityManual Exposure
Scene modesPortraitSports ActionMacroLandscapeSunsetNight SceneHandheld TwilightNight PortraitAnti Motion BlurPet ModeGourmetFireworksHigh Sensitivity
Built-in flashYes
Flash range5.90 m (at Auto ISO)
External flashNo
Drive modesSingleContinuousSelf-timer (single, continuous)Single/continuous bracketingWB bracketingDRO bracketing
Continuous drive24.0 fps
Self-timerYes
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedSpot
Exposure compensation±3 (at 1/3 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±3 (3 frames )
WB BracketingYes
Videography features
FormatMPEG-4, AVCHD, XAVC S
Modes3840 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
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage
Storage typesSD/ SDHC/SDXC, Memory Stick Pro Duo/ Pro-HG Duo
Connectivity
USBUSB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
USB chargingYes
HDMIYes (micro-HDMI with uncompressed 4K/30p output)
Microphone portNo
Headphone portNo
WirelessBuilt-In
Wireless notes802.11b/g/n with NFC
Remote controlYes (wired or smartphone)
Physical
Environmentally sealedNo
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionNP-BX1 lithium-ion battery & USB charger
Battery Life (CIPA)240
Weight (inc. batteries)301 g (0.66 lb / 10.62 oz)
Dimensions102 x 58 x 43 mm (4.02 x 2.28 x 1.69″)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingNo
GPSNone

Sony RX100 VI Verdict

If you look at the specifications for the RX100 VI on its own, you will see that it dominates most of its competition in the compact camera class. We do not believe that there is now a more technologically sophisticated or well-specified small camera available on the market.

The problem is that gaining access to some of these features and the vast number of available options can be a little bit of a hassle at times. Because it has a relatively small number of controls that are mounted on the body and a restricted number of customization options, using the RX100 VI can, at times, feel like a bit of a chore.

The inclusion of a touchscreen unquestionably helps to alleviate some of these frustrations; however, when compared to competitors with lower price points, such as Canon’s PowerShot G7 X Mark II and Panasonic’s Lumix ZS200/TZ200, it continues to feel a little cumbersome and laborious.

Sony RX100 VI Pros & Cons

Good For
  • Excellent dynamic range
  • JPEGs with good color and detail
  • Highly detailed video
Need Improvements
  • Under-utilized touchscreen
  • Low light performance limited by lens
  • Lack of ND filter restricts video shooting
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Features
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Performance
Movie / video mode
Connectivity
Value
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Sony's most recent entry into the premium compact camera market is the 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...Sony RX100 VI Review