In depth

The Sony RX100 VI is a high-end compact digicam geared toward execs, fans and vloggers. Introduced in June 2018 it comes 21 months after its predecessor, and like that mannequin packs a bigger than common 1in sensor and high-end options into a comparatively pocketable physique.

The RX100 VI appears to be like primarily the identical because the Mark V earlier than it and shares the identical 20 Megapixel stacked 1in sensor with 315 embedded phase-detect AF factors for assured focusing in stills and films, 4k video, 24fps burst capturing with autofocus and a wealth of sluggish movement video choices at 240, 480 and 960fps. It additionally inherits the popup XGA OLED viewfinder of the Mark V, though this now options the single-action mechanism of the RX1r II permitting you to pop it up or push it again down once more in a single movement. Just like the Mark V, there’s a 3in display screen that may tilt up by 180 levels to face the topic, though it may well now tilt down additional by as much as 90 levels for simpler framing of topics straight under and it’s now lastly touch-sensitive too – amazingly a primary for an RX mannequin.

The main improve although is the lens with the RX100 VI now managing to squeeze-in a 24-200mm equal vary with a fairly vibrant f2.8-4.5 focal ratio right into a physique that’s the identical width and top as earlier than, however only one.8mm thicker. This vary provides the Mark VI significantly larger attain than the 24-70mm of its current predecessors and at last brings some competitors to Panasonic’s Lumix TZ100 / ZS100 and TZ200 / ZS200 fashions, and whereas the brand new Sony doesn’t share their optical attain, its aperture is brighter and autofocus more practical for monitoring motion. As a more recent technology, the RX100 VI can also be geared up with Bluetooth, S-Log 2 and three for grading footage, HDR HLG video and proxy recording. Sadly there’s nonetheless no possibility to attach an exterior microphone and the change to an extended zoom has meant sacrificing the f1.8-2.Eight aperture and built-in ND filter of its predecessor. As such vloggers will favor the older Mark V (see my Sony RX100 V overview), however anybody wanting a succesful pocket digicam for journey will admire the longer zoom vary to not point out its potential to trace and seize motion. I’ve been capturing with a ultimate manufacturing RX100 VI and forward of my full overview have put collectively a first-looks video which demonstrates all the brand new options (see under), an in depth report on the lens and burst capturing capabilities, and a broad number of pattern photographs! Carry on learn on to search out out if that is the high-end compact you’ve been ready for!

 

 

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Sony RX100 VI design and controls

 

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Above: Sony’s RX100 VI appears to be like nearly similar to its predecessor and at 102x58x42.8mm measures the identical from the entrance however is only one.8mm thicker to accommodate the longer zoom. Technically the burden has additionally elevated by 2g to 301g together with battery, however in your fingers there’s primarily nothing to inform it aside measurement and weight sensible from the Mark V which is spectacular given the for much longer zoom housed inside. This additionally makes the Mark VI slightly smaller than its closest rivals, the Lumix TZ100 / ZS100 and Lumix TZ200 / ZS200 which measure 110x64x44.3mm and 111x66x45.2mm respectively, though each pack longer 10x and 15x zooms. As with earlier fashions, the entrance floor of the RX100 VI is clean and there’s solely the slightest of thumb rests on the rear; this minimises physique protrusions, however makes it the toughest to carry regular of its peer group, though grip equipment can be found from Sony and third events. Observe none of those pocket cameras are weather-proof, though underwater housings can be found.

 

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Above: The management structure can be acquainted to homeowners of earlier fashions: on the flush prime floor there’s a devoted mode dial, shutter with zoom collar and energy button, whereas on the rear are a number of small buttons surrounding a thumb wheel. As earlier than, there’s additionally a programmable clean ring across the lens. Observe the 2 cutouts on the highest floor reveal the areas of the popup viewfinder and flash, the latter now slightly thinner than earlier than to make room for the larger lens contained in the physique.

 

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Above: Like its current predecessors, the RX100 VI incorporates a popup viewfinder within the nook which homes an 2.Three million dot / XGA OLED panel with 0.59x magnification. This will likely ship a smaller picture than bigger mirrorless cameras, however stays extremely helpful for framing in vibrant situations whereas additionally offering larger stability. As earlier than, the mechanism means there’s no room for an eye fixed cup which in flip means you might have to protect the view from vibrant lights together with your hand, however in a really welcome improve, the Mark VI good points the one-motion popup and push-down motion of the RX1r II which is way faster and extra handy in use. Observe the Lumix TZ100 / ZS100 and TZ200 / ZS200 additionally characteristic digital viewfinders, however preserve them completely seen within the higher left nook; that is clearly even faster to entry however makes their our bodies taller than the Sony.

 

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Above: As earlier than the 3in display screen can angle up by 180 levels to face the topic for selifes or vlogging; once more a decrease strip of the display screen stays blocked by the highest of the physique, stopping you from seeing the settings, however the compositional space is absolutely seen. The display screen additionally folds down, however now by as a lot as 90 levels, making it simpler to border when capturing straight down, resembling for meals pictures. In one other very welcome improve, the display screen itself lastly turns into touch-sensitive, permitting you to faucet to reposition the AF space (additionally potential whereas composing by means of the viewfinder) and faucet to pull-focus throughout video. Sadly although, like different current Sony cameras there’s not an important deal else it may well do although, so nonetheless no tapping by means of menus and even the icon-driven Fn choices.

 

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Above: Behind two small flaps on the suitable aspect of the digicam you’ll discover the RX100 VI’s two bodily ports: Micro HDMI and Micro USB, each using normal sockets so you need to use normal cables; as earlier than, the digicam fees its battery internally over USB and a full cost received me round 200 pictures in apply or round an hour’s price of video. When it comes to wi-fi, the RX100 VI gives Wifi with NFC and now additionally Bluetooth permitting simpler connections and seamless location tagging through your smartphone; it really works very well in apply, though now Sony’s eliminated the downloadable apps within the digicam itself, there’s no interval timer or timelapse choices. Sadly there’s additionally nonetheless no microphone enter, nor any means to attach one wirelessly (maybe through Bluetooth) or through USB. To be truthful, none of its rival pocket-sized 1in compacts have microphone options both, however it doesn’t cease me wishing they did. These cameras are the popular selection of vloggers and having a mic enter of some description would enable a giant improve in sound high quality. The chance is there for somebody to take the lead. Because it stands, vloggers should proceed to make use of an exterior sound recorder, like a Zoom H2n or a Rode SmartLav+ for smartphones.

 

Sony RX100 VI lens

The massive new characteristic of the Mark VI is its lens, beginning on the identical 24mm equal focal size of its predecessors, however now extending manner past their 70mm telephoto to a for much longer 200mm. This provides the Mark VI significantly extra attain than earlier than, making it way more versatile as a pocketable do-it-all digicam. I’ve illustrated its protection under the place it’s clear how it may be used for capturing large views one second, earlier than concentrating on distant particulars the following.

 

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Above: Sony RX100 VI protection at 24mm (left) and 200mm (proper)

 

Impressively Sony’s managed to squeeze the brand new lens right into a physique that’s only one.8mm thicker and 2g heavier than the Mark V, though there are some comprehensible compromises because of this. Most clearly there’s a discount within the most aperture from the f1.8-2.Eight of the Marks III, IV and V, to f2.8-4.5 right here on the Mark VI.

With variable aperture lenses, I at all times like to notice the place within the vary the focal ratio reduces. On the RX100 VI, the brightest aperture of f2.Eight is just obtainable on the widest focal size of 24mm. At 25mm it reduces to f3.2, then to f3.5 at 30mm, and to f4 at 40mm. The Mark VI impressively maintains the f4 focal ratio between 40 and 109mm after which it reduces to f4.5 for the remainder of the vary as much as 200mm. This makes it brighter than the Lumix TZ200 / ZS200 all through their shared vary, to not point out brighter than the Lumix TZ100 / ZS100 as quickly as you zoom past its widest focal size.

Whereas the Mark VI aperture is impressively vibrant for a pocket superzoom with a 1in sensor, it’s nonetheless roughly one cease slower than the RX100 III, IV and V within the 24-70mm vary – which in flip would require a slower shutter velocity or larger ISO to compensate beneath the identical situations. Some kinds of pictures the place the topic doesn’t transfer can accommodate slower shutters, however others like video, sports activities or avenue require a minimal shutter velocity and its there you’ll discover the Mark VI inevitably having to deploy larger ISOs than its predecessors in low gentle. I actually seen it when vlogging in dim interiors with the Mark VI the place the upper ISO resulted in much less detailed footage than the Mark V beneath the identical situations. You’ll additionally discover it in any low gentle scenario the place the minimal shutter velocity to keep away from digicam shake or movement blur has been reached. Certainly if you happen to principally shoot in low gentle and discover 70mm long-enough, then you definitely’ll be better-off sticking with the Mark V.

The slower aperture additionally means much less likelihood of reaching a shallow depth-of-field in that shared 24-70mm vary. To be truthful the earlier fashions weren’t nice in that regard, however if you happen to’re capturing between 24 and 70mm, the Mark VI gained’t be capable of ship as a lot blurring within the background. That stated, it’s nonetheless potential to realize some blurring at 24mm f2.Eight if you happen to get near your topic, whereas the power to zoom additional to 200mm can ship some topic separation even at f4.5. Right here’s two examples on the broad and lengthy finish of the vary for example what’s potential. Observe the closest focusing distance is 8cm on the broad finish and 1m on the lengthy finish; you’ll have to get as shut to those as potential to maximise the potential for blurring.

 

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Above: Sony RX100 VI at 24mm f2.Eight and near minimal focusing distance

 

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Above: Sony RX100 VI at 200mm f4.5

 

One other compromise of the longer zoom vary is the lack of the built-in Impartial Density filter. Sony’s engineers inform me they’re laborious to implement on longer zoom ranges which is why the power was additionally dropped when the RX10 prolonged its vary on the Mark III and IV variations. The absence of an ND filter on the RX100 VI gained’t influence daytime stills shooters an excessive amount of, particularly given the utmost aperture isn’t as large as earlier than and you continue to have an digital shutter possibility as much as 1/32000 to play with. However its absence will make lengthy publicity pictures of buildings and landscapes more durable, forcing you to attend for a lot dimmer situations earlier than you’ll be able to deploy lengthy shutter speeds.

Videographers will really feel the lack of the ND filter most of all although, as they’re important for reaching motion-friendly shutter speeds when filming in vibrant situations with bigger apertures. For instance, when filming with the RX100 VI on a mean overcast day on the lowest sensitivity and most f2.Eight aperture, I wanted a shutter velocity of 1/250 to stability the publicity, when what I actually wanted for handsome movement was a shutter velocity of, say, 1/50 for 25p video or 1/60 for 30p video. This is able to have been simple to realize on the sooner Mark V by merely enabling the ND filter from a menu, however on the Mark VI you’d have to both match a 3rd occasion filter resolution or wait till the situations grew to become dimmer – or after all put up with the uneven footage from a shutter that’s too quick for video.

The slower aperture at 24mm and lack of the ND filter make the RX100 VI much less fascinating for vlogging than its predecessor. Had Sony geared up the Mark VI with some sort of exterior microphone resolution, then the scales may have balanced and even tipped in its course, however with no improve on this respect I’d steer vloggers in the direction of the earlier RX100 V as a substitute; see my Sony RX100 V overview for extra particulars.

At this level, you might be questioning if Sony has scored an own-goal with the brand new lens. Removed from it. Whereas it might not be as appropriate for vlogging because the Mark V, it stays far preferable for day-to-day capturing due to its for much longer vary. And I’m delighted to report the optical high quality is surprisingly good for the digicam’s measurement, particularly on the longer-end of the vary the place many rivals start to undergo from softness and lowered distinction. Higher nonetheless, the lens can exploit the phase-detect autofocus system embedded within the sensor to ship fairly assured efficiency when capturing motion as I’ll illustrate within the subsequent part.

Earlier than shifting on, it’s necessary to match the RX100 VI lens specs towards the 2 rivals it’s gunning-for: the Lumix TZ100 / ZS100 and Lumix TZ200 / ZS200. The Lumix TZ100 / ZS100 has a 25-250mm f2.8-5.9 zoom with a 5cm closest focusing distance at 25mm. The utmost aperture of f2.Eight is just obtainable on the first couple of mm, earlier than slowing to f3 at 27mm, f4.1 at 50mm and f5 at 90mm, then to f5.9 between 160 and 250mm. In the meantime the newer Lumix TZ200 / ZS200 packs a 24-360mm f3.3-6.Four zoom with a closest focusing distance of 3cm.

So whereas all three cameras begin at roughly related wide-angle protection, each Lumix fashions zoom longer than the RX100 VI, reaching 250mm or 360mm. The Sony lens is nevertheless brighter, matched solely by the TZ100 / ZS100 when each are at their widest settings. As soon as you start to zoom the TZ100 / ZS100 into longer focal lengths, it turns into nearly a cease slower than the RX100 VI, whereas the TZ200 / ZS200 is slower all through its whole vary. Their slower focal ratios once more imply the need to deploy even larger ISOs or slower shutter speeds beneath the identical situations, and once more much less of an opportunity to take pleasure in a shallow depth-of-field on the identical topic distance, though each Lumix cameras can focus nearer at their wide-ends which compensates to some extent. I plan on making quite a lot of checks and comparisons between the Sony and Lumix fashions sooner or later and can replace this web page with my outcomes.

 

Sony RX100 VI focusing

The RX100 VI shares the identical sensor because the Mark V and as such inherits its phase-detect autofocus system which embeds 315 factors throughout 65% of the body. Sony stays the one firm to supply a 1in sensor digicam with phase-detect autofocus and it actually provides them a bonus in relation to monitoring shifting topics or easily refocusing throughout films. The advantages for video had been already obvious on the Mark V, particularly for vlogging or product opinions the place you could possibly merely neglect in regards to the autofocus, however now on the Mark VI they’re additionally exploited when capturing motion with the longer lens.

As earlier than, the phase-detect AF system works alongside a contrast-based system for velocity, accuracy and low gentle capabilities, though curiously Sony’s resisted upgrading it from the earlier 25-area system of the Mark V to the finer areas of the most recent Alpha our bodies.

Just like the earlier fashions, there’s a wealth of focus space choices together with Extensive, Zone, Heart, Versatile Spot and Increase Versatile Spot; Lock-on AF for monitoring can also be obtainable with all however Increase Versatile Spot. Up to now so just like the Mark V, however in an enormous improve, now you can modify the one AF space positions by contact utilizing the touchscreen. Beforehand shifting the AF space was a convoluted course of with a number of button presses, however now it includes nothing greater than a easy faucet. I’ve been requesting this characteristic for years and it’s taken six generations of RX100 fashions for them to lastly catch up, however finally the characteristic is right here. You can even use the display screen as a touchpad to regulate the AF space whereas composing by means of the viewfinder. Positive the system might not be as responsive as the very best contact techniques on the market, and Sony continues to inexplicably restrict what you are able to do by contact within the menus and playback, however I’m simply joyful there’s now a neater approach to transfer the AF space in any respect. It additionally fortunately works for pulling-focus throughout films.

If you happen to’re capturing human topics, you may make life simple for your self by deploying the efficient face and eye detection, the latter obtainable in single and steady autofocus modes, and now working as much as twice as quick because the Mark V. In use this felt loads just like the higher-end Alpha our bodies, which isn’t stunning since lots of the AF algorithms are shared, together with Excessive Density Monitoring.

I’ve demonstrations of the autofocus for films and vlogging in my first-looks video overview on the prime of this web page, however for now needed to focus on the digicam’s potential to trace and seize motion for stills. Sony quotes the RX100 VI as having the ability to shoot at as much as 24fps with steady autofocus for bursts of as much as 233 High-quality JPEGs – that’s nearly ten seconds of full decision motion at a video body charge. However how usable is it in apply, particularly with the brand new longer zoom vary? Can or not it’s used to realistically seize motion?

To seek out out, I photographed cyclists approaching me over an extended stretch, utilizing the lens set to 200mm f4.5. I set the burst velocity to Excessive and the standard to advantageous JPEG, then experimented with totally different AF space configurations. Like different Sony cameras, I discovered the Extensive space mode works finest for faces or outlined topics towards a reasonably easy background. For cyclists using with out helmets – cautious there! – the face detection may lock onto them from an affordable distance, however when helmets or sun shades made it tougher, I discovered single AF areas proved extra dependable.

 

Sony RX100 VI at 200mm f4.5. One second of motion utilizing H velocity

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Above: full photographs, under 100% crops

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Above: full photographs, under 100% crops

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Above: full photographs, under 100% crops

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Above: full photographs, under 100% crops

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Above: full photographs, under 100% crops

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Throughout a number of bursts I discovered the RX100 VI did an excellent job at protecting the approaching topics in sharp focus. Sometimes in a gaggle of 20 pictures like these above, all however two or three had been completely sharp, with the rest being shut sufficient to make use of at a lowered measurement. I timed the bursts and located on this specific setting with steady AF, the digicam was truly capturing at 19fps, however whereas this falls under the 24fps quoted by Sony, it’s nonetheless very quick. Keep in mind that’s supplying you with 19 full decision footage to select from each second, with round 16 or 17 of them being completely sharp on this specific take a look at. I’d say you’d be laborious pushed to not file the decisive second.

To be truthful, the depth-of-field at 200mm f4.5 isn’t massively shallow, so the brand new lens doesn’t pose an excessive amount of of a problem to the AF system, however not less than it may be used with a excessive diploma of success to file day-to-day motion like lively youngsters, pets or fundamental sports activities. Bear in mind that is one thing which eludes most rival compacts, so if you happen to’re on the lookout for a compact that may seize motion, the RX100 VI ought to be in your shortlist.

 

Sony RX100 VI film mode

The RX100 VI inherits the superb film capabilities of its predecessor and upgrades them in a variety of regards. So just like the Mark V, you get the possibility to file 4k at 24 to 30p with a gentle 1.1x crop, or 1080 video as much as 120p for sluggish movement; 4k clips are once more restricted to 5 minutes every to keep away from overheating, though 1080 clips can prolong to a second shy of half an hour. The battery stays the identical because the Mark V, so that you’re roughly one hour’s price of 4k per cost, though if filming consecutive 5 minute clips, you’ll nearly definitely should pause every so often to permit the digicam to chill down.

 

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Above: Obtain the unique file (Registered members of Vimeo solely).

 

There’s the Excessive Body Price HFR modes launched on the Mark IV and enhanced on the V which may seize a couple of seconds of motion at 240, 480 or 960fps to sluggish footage by as much as 40 instances; the standard at 960fps is low decision and noisy, however the 480 is way more usable and the 240fps truly comes near 1080 footage.

The phase-detect AF system launched on the Mark V continues to do an excellent job at easily refocusing with out looking, making it very best for informal vlogging (particularly with face detection) or product demos. It additionally works effectively with the prolonged focal vary, confidently refocusing on shifting topics at 200mm if required. The RX100 VI’s new touchscreen additionally means that you can pull-focus by tapping the display screen, and once more the transitions are clean and principally keep away from the looking and overshooting of rival contrast-based techniques.

Shifting on, the RX100 VI gives full guide management over exposures with the selection of filming in Program, Aperture Precedence, Shutter Precedence or full Handbook. You’ll be able to modify the aperture, shutter, ISO, publicity compensation and even the AF mode whereas filming. The complete sensitivity vary is accessible for films as much as 12800 ISO and there’s an Auto ISO possibility that works in any of the publicity modes together with Handbook; it’s additionally potential to use publicity compensation when capturing in Handbook with Auto ISO.

You’ll be able to apply a number of Artistic Types, which additionally present guide tweaking of distinction, saturation and sharpness. You can even apply a number of Image Profiles which now embrace S-Log Three and Hybrid Log Gamma HDR along with S-Log 2.

As famous earlier, the longer zoom vary prevented Sony from together with the built-in ND filter of earlier fashions, making the Mark VI much less sensible for filming video in daylight with motion-friendly shutter speeds. The lens aperture can also be a cease slower throughout the 24-70mm vary of its predecessors which implies vloggers will nearly definitely favor utilizing the earlier RX100 V as a substitute; see my Sony RX100 V overview for extra particulars.

 

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Whereas the RX100 VI lastly good points a touchscreen, it nonetheless lacks any sort of exterior microphone enter. To be truthful, its compact rivals don’t have one both, however I nonetheless imagine whoever implements one first will assure a raft of gross sales from vloggers. If there’s no room for a bodily socket, I ponder if it’s potential for Sony to suit one on the non-compulsory grip accent or maybe exploit Bluetooth for a wi-fi resolution? Because it stands, vloggers should proceed to make use of an exterior sound recorder, like a Zoom H2n or a Rode SmartLav+ for smartphones.

, B&H, or Adorama. Alternatively get your self a replica of my  or deal with me to a espresso! Thanks!

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