The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VI ($1,199.99) is basically the RX10, however smaller. It covers the identical zoom vary as Sony’s first 1-inch bridge camera, and whereas its lens is not as vibrant when zoomed in, it suits into your pocket. It would not come low cost, nonetheless: At $1,200, it is the most costly pocket digicam we have seen that does not boast a Hasselblad or Leica badge. There is no arguing with its capabilities or options, however chances are you’ll discover that your lengthy zoom wants are met adequately by the $800 Panasonic ZS200. I’m still in the process of testing the RX100 VI, but have some first impressions.
The unique model of the RX100 was a groundbreaking digicam on the time of its 2012 launch. Its 1-inch picture sensor ran circles round competing point-and-shoot cameras—the sensor format is about 4 occasions as massive as picture sensors present in typical point-and-shoot fashions. And whereas its 28-100mm f/1.Eight-Four.9 lens was dim on the lengthy finish, it did not take lengthy for Sony to rectify that. It is continued to iterate on the design, including a wider aperture (however shorter) zoom lens beginning with the RX100 III, which stays our Editors’ Alternative for premium pocket cameras.
Earlier than we dive into the RX100 VI, let us take a look at its place out there. It doesn’t change the RX100 V, nor the IV, III, II, or the unique, all of that are nonetheless in manufacturing and on sale at costs starting from $450 to $1,00zero. I feel Sony made a slight misstep in persevering with with the Roman numeral naming for this mannequin, as its lens makes it a special digicam than the others within the RX100 household.
The III/IV/V lens design, a 24-70mm f/1.Eight-2.Eight, is a brief zoom constructed for shallow depth of subject and low-light capturing. The RX100 VI sports activities a (full-frame equal) 24-200mm zoom, however with a narrower f/2.Eight-Four.5 aperture vary. It is extra just like it bigger cousins, the RX10 and RX10 II bridge fashions in protection, though each of these 1-inch sensor shooters use a 24-200mm f/2.Eight lens with superior macro functionality. (The RX100 VI does an excellent job with shut focus at its widest angle, focusing to three.2 inches, however you might want to be at the least Three.Three toes out of your topic when capturing at 200mm.)
It is not the primary time we have seen an extended zoom 1-inch sensor digicam in a pocketable, kind issue. Panasonic began the development with its disappointing ZS100 and has continued with its sequel, the ZS200, which sells for $400. It would not have the match or end of the RX100 VI, and whereas we’re nonetheless within the means of testing the ZS200, we’ll speak in regards to the variations within the high quality of its 24-360mm lens and the RX100 VI’s 24-200mm zoom afterward.
Regardless of having an extended zoom vary, the RX100 VI is simply bigger by an element of millimeters compared with the cameras which have come earlier than it. It measures 2.Three by Four.zero by 1.7 inches (HWD) and weighs 10.6 ounces. It is smaller and lighter than the ZS200, which is available in at 2.6 by Four.Four by 1.Eight inches and 12 ounces.
The digicam is housed in a steel exterior, completed in matte black with out too many adornments. The Sony emblem is on the prime nook in white, with the Zeiss badge in blue on the backside nook—the lens options Zeiss branding as nicely. Whereas it does collapse into the physique while you energy the digicam down, the lens would not sit utterly flush. The area is not left unused—there is a programmable management ring surrounding it. By default it adjusts shutter or aperture primarily based on capturing mode, however you may change it to behave as a zoom management, modify the ISO, set publicity compensation (EV), or carry out one other sundry operate. I set it to regulate EV, because the digicam would not have a devoted dial adjustment for that operate.
The pop-up EVF and flash each retract into the highest plate when not in use, and are raised up with a mechanical swap. The EVF is barely totally different from earlier ones in that you just need not pull the eyepiece towards you to be able to get it correctly centered. The draw back is that you might want to watch out when utilizing it—press the viewfinder up in opposition to your glasses and the eyepiece might give in, throwing the OLED panel out of focus.
However having to take a little bit of care in use is price it when you think about the dimensions and high quality of the EVF. It is considerably bigger to the attention than what you get with the competing Panasonic ZS200—zero.39 inches measured diagonally—and intensely sharp at 2,359ok dots. There’s a diopter adjustment out there to regulate the EVF to match your eyesight.
Prime controls aren’t intensive. It has the On/Off button, a zoom rocker and shutter launch, and the Mode dial. Rear controls are all positioned to the correct of the LCD, which takes up the majority of the out there area. The Report button is nestled into the correct aspect of the rear thumb relaxation. Beneath it you may discover Fn and Menu buttons, the rear management wheel, and Delete and Play.
The rear wheel is used for aperture and shutter management, relying on the mode, and has directional presses to regulate the Drive mode, flash output, EV, and quantity of data proven on the LCD or EVF. Its heart button prompts EyeAF by default (many of the buttons are programmable), a really helpful characteristic for snapping portraits. Ergonomically it is a bit awkward to carry the rear button in and press the shutter whereas utilizing the EVF, however it is a bit simpler to handle when framing pictures utilizing the LCD.
The Fn button launches an on-screen settings menu for fast entry to extra choices. It is not contact delicate—not one of the menus are—which is an odd determination. The menu system is a bit dense, with dozens of choices unfold throughout a number of pages. It is a testomony to how a lot the digicam can do, however may be formidable to navigate. It is best to spend an hour or two with the digicam to be able to set it as much as your liking while you first unbox it, so you do not have to navigate by way of menus when you have to be out capturing photos.
Contact does work for different issues, although. You possibly can faucet the rear LCD to set a spotlight level when capturing stills or video, and when you cannot pinch to zoom or swipe by way of pictures in playback, you may swipe to maneuver round a picture when reviewing a magnified model. The show high quality is premium, Three inches in dimension with 921ok dots of decision and a hinged design. It may well flip all the best way ahead for selfie pictures or video, and likewise angles right down to 90 levels, sitting flush with the underside of the digicam.
The RX100 VI’s lens makes it a perfect digicam for journey, as it will probably deal with a variety of totally different conditions, and its dimension means it is a no-brainer to pack. If you wish to Instagram from the highway, the digicam contains Bluetooth and Wi-Fi so you may beam photos and movies wirelessly to your Android or iOS gadget utilizing the free Sony PlayMemories Cell app.
There’s a single micro USB port, used for information switch and charging. Sony features a micro USB cable and AC adapter within the field, however not an exterior charger. You possibly can anticipate to snap about 240 photos on a completely charged battery (in response to CIPA requirements) utilizing the LCD. Sony states that you would be able to lengthen it to 310 by enabling energy saving, however the EVF makes use of extra energy so the digicam is simply rated for 220 pictures when utilizing it.
These numbers are good tips for picture snapping, however can fluctuate enormously relying on how you utilize the digicam. Taking pictures enormous bursts of photos will internet extra, and recording customary or slow-motion video and transferring pictures over Wi-Fi will eat into battery life.
I solely had just a few hours to make use of the digicam to this point and was handed one with a battery that wasn’t absolutely charged, so I haven’t got an incredible gauge on real-world battery life as of but. You possibly can recharge on the go by way of a USB battery, and the digicam will work whereas charging. However for journey, I would suggest selecting up a spare battery in addition to an exterior charger. I will have a look at battery life extra intently when I’ve extra time with the digicam.
Along with the micro USB connector, there’s a micro HDMI port. However there isn’t any method to join or mount an exterior microphone—you may wish to transfer as much as the bigger RX10 collection if that is a precedence.
The battery and reminiscence card slot are accessible by way of the underside plate. The RX100 VI helps UHS-I SD playing cards and Reminiscence Stick Duo media, however would not help the quickest UHS-II playing cards.
The RX100 V was the primary pocket digicam with on-sensor part detection autofocus, and the characteristic continues with the VI. Section detection, mixed with a sensor with a design that enables for very fast information processing delivers capturing at as much as 24fps with topic monitoring, even in Uncooked format. Taking pictures that shortly is overkill for many situations, however having it as an choice is actually a profit. It’s also possible to set the digicam to shoot at a speedy, however extra cheap 10fps.
The digicam buffer can deal with about 106 Uncooked+JPG, 108 Uncooked, or 231 JPG pictures earlier than it fills up. However writing all of these pictures to a reminiscence card takes a very long time—90 seconds for Uncooked+JPG, 62 seconds for Uncooked, or 80 seconds for JPG. You possibly can proceed to seize photos because the buffer clears, however you will not have the ability to begin a video till the pictures are dedicated to reminiscence, which may be irritating.
In different regards, the digicam’s pace leaves nothing to be desired. It begins, focuses, and fires in about 1.Eight seconds, locks focus in virtually no time in vibrant mild, and in round zero.Four-second in very dim circumstances.
Picture High quality
The RX100 VI’s lens would not have as a lot attain because the Panasonic ZS200, however our checks present that it is sharper, and the f-stop tells us it captures extra mild. At 24mm f/2.Eight the Sony scores 2,477 strains on Imatest’s customary center-weighted sharpness check. Picture high quality is robust by way of many of the body, however the edges are a bit gentle, at 1,331 strains. That is much less decision than we wish to see at a minimal from a 20MP sensor, 1,800 strains.
Decision holds regular at f/Four and f/5.6. There is a slight drop in common sharpness at f/Eight (2,263 strains), however edges are stronger, 1,554 strains. You possibly can shoot at f/11, however you should not—it drops picture high quality, reducing the rating all the best way right down to 1,713 strains.
Some edge softness at 24mm is not remarkable in a compact, and it is actually the one unhealthy factor there’s to say in regards to the RX100 VI’s lens. At 50mm the utmost aperture has dropped to f/Four, however total picture high quality is robust. We see 2,341 strains on common, and whereas the perimeters aren’t as sharp as the middle, they’re fairly crisp at 2,045 strains. Picture high quality jumps at f/5.6 (2,897 strains), with edges which are nearly 200 strains behind the typical rating. We see 2,549 strains at f/Eight and 1,918 strains at f/11.
On the 100mm setting the utmost aperture remains to be f/Four. The lens reveals 2,838 strains right here, with edges that contact 2,700 strains—it is not lifeless even efficiency throughout the body, however it’s shut. We see 2,863 strains at f/5.6, 2,571 strains at f/Eight, and 1,865 strains at f/11.
Picture high quality holds up at 200mm. At f/Four.5 we see 2,462 strains on common, and whereas the perimeters aren’t that sharp, they’re nonetheless acceptable at 1,843 strains. At f/5.6 there’s 2,630 strains, with edges that present about 2,00zero strains, and there is a slight drop to the typical at f/Eight (2,457 strains) and a extra noticeable one at f/11 (1,615 strains).
The lens on the competing Panasonic ZS200 has an extended zoom vary, however it is not as sharp. At its greatest it reveals about 2,300 strains (on the 50mm setting) and its edge efficiency could be very weak at 24mm and considerably softer than the RX100 VI by way of the remainder of its zoom vary.
One of many benefits of a 1-inch sensor over the half.Three-inch designs you normally discover in point-and-shoots and flagship smartphones is picture high quality on the greater ISO settings used when capturing in dim mild.
I’ve solely been in a position to have a look at JPG photos to this point—Adobe hasn’t but added help for the RX100 VI to Lightroom Classic, our customary software program for Uncooked conversion. However we anticipate Uncooked efficiency to be just like the RX10 IV, which makes use of the identical sensor and picture processor.
When capturing JPGs at default settings, the RX100 VI retains noise underneath 1.5 % by way of ISO 3200, two stops beneath its prime ISO 12800 setting. In fact, it will get there by making use of some noise discount to photographs. There is no noticeable degradation in picture high quality from the bottom setting of ISO 125 by way of ISO 800. At ISO 1600 there’s a very slight step again, however one that you’re going to solely discover when printing massive or cropping closely. Particulars are extra noticeably smudged at ISO 3200. Picture high quality suffers far more noticeably on the prime ISO 6400 and 12800 settings.
Regardless of not supporting an exterior microphone, which limits the digicam’s use for very critical video work, the RX100 VI has some wonderful capabilities to report transferring photos. It may well report 4K video at 24 or 30fps at your alternative of 60 or 100Mbps, and 1080p can be out there at as much as 120fps.
There’s a very slight crop utilized to 4K video—it is probably not noticeable except you are working from a tripod and switching between nonetheless and video seize. Footage could be very sharp, and the digicam easily racks give attention to demand and tracks transferring topics with aplomb. Proxy recording is supported—it is a characteristic that data each 4K and a lower-resolution file on the identical time, so you may simply edit the decrease decision footage after which apply the edits to the 4K clip, with out placing an excessive amount of pressure in your workstation.
If capturing at 120fps is not ok, you may transfer the Mode dial to the HFR place for Excessive Body Charge seize. You’ve gotten the choice of capturing at 240, 480, or 960fps on this mode, rendered out to a file that performs again at 24, 30, or 60fps. It is a bit tough to make use of—you might want to prefocus and body a shot and begin a buffer earlier than you can begin recording. And it takes a very long time to render out the video. It is accomplished in actual time, so when you report a few seconds of footage it will probably take a minute or two to render out, throughout which period you may’t use the digicam for the rest.
The standard of the slow-motion video varies primarily based on the seize fee. The 240fps footage appears the perfect, as a result of its seize decision is not that far behind 1080p and the shutter can hearth at 1/240-second, so the ISO would not must be pushed as excessive. I are likely to shoot at 480fps, as it is a good compromise in high quality and pace. The 960fps video is cropped, severely upscaled, and the shutter wants to fireside at 1/960-second to seize every body—it is best reserved to be used in very vibrant mild.
I’ve solely had just a few hours to make use of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VI, so I am not giving it a score at the moment. I do have a reasonably robust deal with on the digicam, as I’ve watched the RX100 collection evolve over the previous six years, and have used each mannequin up up to now. The RX100 VI is the largest departure from the unique idea we have seen, and it is due to the lens.
As a substitute of a brief zoom with a vibrant aperture, you get an extended lens that by no means captures as a lot mild as the opposite fashions within the collection that begin at f/1.Eight. For photographers who prefer to snap bokeh-filled photos of fancy dinner plates in dim restaurant lighting, or photos of their children enjoying in the lounge, the lesser light-gathering functionality is a downer—so the RX100 III, IV, or V, or the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II are all higher suits, relying on finances and efficiency necessities. However none of these have a zoom that matches the RX100 VI.
I will want some extra time with the RX100 VI earlier than delivering a closing verdict. My first impression is that it appears like an excessively succesful pocket digicam for photographers who need the perfect picture high quality, match and end, and autofocus in a mannequin that matches right into a pocket, and who additionally put precedence on zoom vary. I am nonetheless working with the Panasonic ZS200, which sells for about $400 much less, however its lens is not nearly as good and it would not have the identical autofocus, burst capturing, or sluggish movement chops because the Sony, and its viewfinder is nowhere close to nearly as good.
Examine again for a full overview of the RX100 VI. It is out there to order now, and can begin transport in early July.