Sony RX100 VII Evaluation

Sony calls the $1299 Sony RX100 VII a digicam with “Professional options” in a to-go bundle and targets a inventive crowd of pros and influencers prepared to spend to streamline their ultramobile digicam setup.

I spent a while with the RX100 VII, and on this overview, we’ll go over its real-world capabilities and whether or not I might use it in my day after day inventive actions similar to media occasion protection, meals photographs, and pro-travel.

Since it’s ultra-compact, I’ll additionally rapidly evaluate it with the very best cell digicam telephones to point out you why ultra-compacts must push the envelope ever-farther.

It’s essential to grasp that I take advantage of a compact digicam like this one largely in auto-mode (to save lots of time), as I might with a smartphone. As such, I count on it to seize the best picture high quality attainable with comparatively good accuracy as a result of “what I see” is my baseline.

That is my particular use case, and a few photographers will do the alternative and use it in guide mode far more usually.

Excessive-Degree specs and optics

Simply to have a good suggestion of what the Sony RX100 VII is able to, let’s have a look at the important thing specs:

  • ZEISS 24–200 mm F2.8–4.5 lens
  • 20 Megapixel 1.0-inch sort sensor (0.52″ x 0.35″) 3:2 side ratio
  • ISO100-12800
  • 0.02 AF with 357 phase-detection factors, 425 contrast-detection factors, real-time eye-tracking
  • 20 FPS capturing, with out blackouts and with AF monitoring
  • 4K HDR recording
  • 180-degree (up), 90-degree (down) flip contact display screen
  • 101.6 x 58.1 x 42.8 mm for 10.7 oz (302 g) with battery and reminiscence card
  • Official specs hyperlink

Design and dealing with

If the Sony RX100 VII seems very acquainted, it’s as a result of it seems quasi-identical to the earlier RX100 VI. It’s an awesome factor as a result of this design stays essentially the most compact in its class whereas remaining practical, however with a couple of issues that could possibly be improved upon.

When the lens is tucked in, the digicam is extremely compact. It matches a pants pocket (Levis 501 in my case) with a little bit of room to spare. A vest/jacket pocket could be very comfy, and in a bag or purse, you’ll neglect it’s even there.

Should you evaluate it with opponents in the identical class and value vary, this design is noticeably smaller, and I like the load of 302g, which is about 1.5X that of a giant telephone. However there’s a small value to pay: the shortage of grip.

First, the sleek steel texture of the digicam makes it somewhat slippery, so I like to recommend utilizing the wrist strap or add some form of textured floor or a customized grip accent. Ideally, Sony may work the entrance steel floor to provide it somewhat bit extra texture and grip, because the ring has.

Secondly, the Energy and Shutter buttons are flush to the encircling floor, so they’re generally a bit arduous to search out in low-light, particularly the Energy button. Due to their barely bigger sizes, opponents are sometimes a bit extra “tactile” with extra bodily outlined buttons and knobs.

To the left, there’s a hidden pop-up OLED viewfinder (2.36M pixels), which could be very handy in vivid mild conditions the place the LCD show could also be overpowered by the setting’s mild. Sony made it attainable to show ON the digicam when the viewfinder pops-up, which is a pleasant contact.

To retract the viewfinder (VF), it’s important to press the lens first, then push the VF down. The pop-up half is quicker, as you simply want to drag the Finder tab/button to the left and the entire thing will pop-up and unfold.

The lens has a hoop that controls the zoom, which may also be managed from the digital zoom controls close to the shutter button. That ring has a clean movement as a substitute of the clicky controls that different cameras could have. I don’t thoughts, nevertheless it’s a matter of private preferences.

The ring makes lots of sense for pictures, and naturally, the digital zoom management is smoother when capturing movies.

Within the again, the show tilts to 180-degrees upwards for Vlogging and selfies. Should you elevate the digicam up above your head, you possibly can tilt the display screen downwards a full 90-degrees. Sony’s hinge is superior to some competing compact cameras that may’t tilt that low.

On the correct facet of the digicam, three ports are lined by plastic flaps: micro HDMI, micro USB, and a 3.5mm microphone enter. The usual audio connector opens lots of prospects for sound recording enhancements through exterior microphones.  We’d like to see a USB-C port sooner or later as all our sync/cost gears have moved to that format.

Undoubtedly, the three.5mm audio is among the new issues that Artistic customers have been eagerly ready for, and Sony caved in as competing merchandise do present it. The compact design makes it significantly arduous so as to add stuff, however to if you happen to goal a Artistic crowd, it’s essential to have glorious audio choices. That’s in all probability the #1 grievance on Youtube movies.

There’s no microphone shoe, and relying on the way you rig the microphone, the ultimate rig measurement may very well be extra substantial than with one of many competing cameras that has a microphone shoe.

Should you don’t use an exterior microphone, you may be capable of use the Sony RX100 VII on a gimbal stabilizer that was designed for telephones. There are numerous conditions to think about, relying in your state of affairs.

Photograph High quality

The photograph high quality of the Sony RX10 is great for its class, and for a lot of vloggers and creatives, that justifies carrying it round as a “do all of it” digicam. Though many individuals evaluate the standard with one thing like an A6500 or above, I wouldn’t go that far, even with the default package lens.

In full-auto, the RX100 VII captures natural-looking photographs with nice texture and like-like colours, in comparatively troublesome lighting conditions.

The RX100 VII has the benefit of coming with a 24-200mm lens, which is far more versatile than most of the Sony NEX package lenses which have a way more restricted vary. In that sense, I discovered it to be a extra polyvalent digicam than most mirrorless (out of the field).

At 24mm, the f/2.8 aperture could be very cheap and likewise permits for stunning bokeh results (out of focus blur). At 200mm the f/4.5 aperture is way smaller, and it’s fairly widespread, however I hardly ever discover myself utilizing the telephoto in very low-light circumstances, whatever the digicam.

The analog blur of the RX100 is smooth and artifact-free since it’s attributable to the lens and never by algorithms.

The autofocus (AF) is a spotlight of the Sony RX100 VII, and it’s true that it jogs my memory of once we first lined the Sony A9 in 2017.

With 357 phase-detection factors and 425 contrast-detection factors, the AF can work in 0.02 seconds, in response to Sony. And sure, it feels speedy. That’s not fairly as a lot because the 693 AF factors of the unique Sony A9, however the RX100 VII AF efficiency could be very satisfying.

The Face/eye monitoring may be helpful for topics in movement (works on animals too), primarily since you possibly can shoot at 20 frames per second (with monitoring), with none blackouts.

There’s an alternative choice for bursts of 80 Pictures in RAW+JPG at as much as 90 FPS, however the timeframe could be very quick. I might in all probability use 20 FPS and have a couple of seconds’ of movement, nevertheless it’s good to have the 90FPS choice if you happen to can time it accurately.

It’s also possible to set the AF level with the touch-screen of the Sony RX100, and that’s actually the one sensible use for the contact performance. Not one of the menus or interface will work with contact in the meanwhile.

I discovered myself utilizing the contact AF very often as a result of the RX100 VII tends to concentrate on issues which might be within the foreground, so I wanted to concentrate to the on-screen focus hints. I had a couple of photographs the place the AF determined to focus elsewhere, one thing that didn’t occur with my Sony A7 III or any of the smartphones I had on me that day.

Video High quality (day / evening)

In relation to video, the RX100 VII has rather a lot to supply, together with 4K video recording at 30 FPS, at a most of 100MB/s/

The general video high quality is excellent and does effectively with high-contrast (HDR) scenes as effectively. I discovered the video to be a bit grainy in dim lighting, however I haven’t experimented with the various image profiles that Sony has, and it could possibly make a giant distinction relying on the scene.

There are new 480 and 960 FPS slow-motion, along with 240 FPS. You continue to have to arrange all of the picture settings earlier than capturing and observe that 480 and 960 FPS do require extra mild, and the picture high quality tends to endure. 240 FPS works simply as you count on, and it’s in all probability the most-used slow-mo mode. Hopefully, Sony will make slow-mo simpler to make use of, with extra automation.

Like earlier Sony cameras, this one can get extremely popular when recording in 4K, and the default day out is ~5mn, however you can too make it temperature-dependent by enabling “Auto Energy OFF Temp.” within the menu. This additionally offers you an choice to chill it with a fan, if you’re vlogging in your studio.

There’s an lively picture stabilization (digital) that helps if you end up strolling round. It isn’t as clean as a GoPro 7 or a few of the new smartphones, nevertheless it makes the video far more usable out of the field.

As I mentioned earlier than, the addition of a 3.5mm microphone connector will vastly improve the sound high quality choices, on the value of a clunky setup, maybe.

RX100 VII vs. Finest Smartphones: Galaxy Notice 10 / iPhone 11 Professional and Huawei P30 Professional

It’s not information that the compact digicam business has been decimated by the rise of smartphone cameras. Cellular digicam high quality is the #1 buy standards, and it’s so essential that we constructed our personal Cellular Photograph High quality benchmark (Digital camera IQ), together with a Digital camera {Hardware} Benchmark (Digital camera HW).

So, in case you have a few of the greatest cell cameras on the market, is it price getting the Sony RX100 VII? Properly, it relies upon.

In absolute phrases, and even in full auto mode, the Sony RX100 VII produces higher-quality photographs than the very best telephones, with extra pure rendering with out extra filtering and in increased decision, whether or not it’s in daylight or low-light.

In low-light, the RX100 VII does brighten the scene a bit, however delivers more-natural photos than telephones.

A digicam such because the RX100 VII will naturally seize a lot better bokeh than a smartphone as a result of its lens is massive sufficient to create actual Bokeh. And naturally, the bokeh can be current in movies, one thing that only a few telephones can do, and none can do as effectively.

Cellphone lenses are too small, in order that they pretend the bokeh impact by computing the space to the digicam, however it’s a bit hacky, and it is not uncommon to see artifacts on the perimeters or in hairs.

With the Sony RX100 VII, simply focus in your shoot and set the aperture to most, and voila, it simply works. This is a bonus that smartphones haven’t (but) been in a position to work round, for my part.

The RX100 VII additionally captures life-like photographs and movies, and also you gained’t need to take care of the additional filtering that telephones usually have, together with making stuff supernaturally vivid.

Nevertheless, high-end smartphones are usually a lot better with HDR photographs (excessive dynamic vary) in tough high-contrast conditions. They only pack extra computing energy, and the software program stack is a lot better when in comparison with the software program in standalone cameras.

For my part, if you would like higher absolute high quality, higher bokeh, and a extra natural-looking seize (much less filtering), then the Sony RX100 VII can simply justify proudly owning one. High quality offers you extra choices for what you are able to do later along with your photographs. That’s the explanation why influencers and execs would take into account getting one.

The 200mm telephoto can be far superior to any smartphone options now, even the P30 Professional, which has essentially the most potent zoom of all. In lots of conditions, I discovered the AF monitoring to be superior as effectively, for film recording, or motion/sports activities photographs.

Should you simply need to share on the internet, or put up on social media and don’t care that a lot about photograph particulars and maybe shade accuracy, you then may the standard hole between the Sony RX100 and high-end smartphones shouldn’t be massive sufficient to justify the expense.


The Sony RX100 VII is the final word evolution of a profitable line of product which has been praised by many inventive customers. Even with the rise within the high quality of smartphone cameras, there are nonetheless many compelling causes to get certainly one of these, relying in your wants (and checking account).

I have already got a Sony NEX 6000, 6400, and 6500, together with a Sony A7 III, and whereas I might fortunately change one the mirrorless with the RX100 VII for a selected job and primarily for the sunshine weight. Nevertheless, I might maintain utilizing the interchangeable-lens cameras as a result of I would like bigger apertures and the picture high quality is increased.

I didn’t spend a lot time speaking in regards to the menus and capabilities of the digicam, however it’s functionally a fully-featured digicam and felt very very like utilizing one of many mirrorless talked about above more often than not. Sony customers will probably be very comfy with the interface.

Total, I discover this digicam to be excellent, and I wouldn’t be shocked if it was the very best in its class, however I haven’t had sufficient playtime with the competitors to make that remaining name.

Filed in Photograph-Video. Learn extra about Digital camera Evaluations, Compact Cameras, Editorspick, Sony, Sony Cameras and Sony Evaluations.

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