Mini tests

£1149

Practical Photography (UK) - - October - sony.co.uk

Fea­tur­ing Sony’s RX100 VI, Benro’s fil­ter kit and more.

CAM­ERA

SONY MAY BE AHEAD OF the curve when it comes to full-frame mir­ror­less re­leases, but for many of us, it’s the com­pany’s line-up of com­pacts that best meets our needs.

Main fea­tures

The RX100 se­ries is now on its sixth ver­sion and, in true Sony style, it boasts a truly mas­sive amount of im­pres­sive fea­tures.

You have ac­cess to a 20.1MP stacked 1in CMOS sen­sor with DRAM chip, as well as the com­pany’s Bionz X pro­cess­ing en­gine. You also have a huge 315-point phase de­tec­tion AF sys­tem which boasts a rapid 0.03sec ac­qui­si­tion speed, and 24fps con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing speed – which puts many ad­vanced CSCs to shame.

The fixed lens has an 8x op­ti­cal zoom, which trans­lates into a 35mm equiv­a­lent fo­cal length of 24-200mm f/2.8-4.5. You can fur­ther boost the fo­cal length to 400mm with the Clear Im­age Zoom func­tion, which ap­plies a 2x dig­i­tal zoom. There are 15 el­e­ments in 12 groups, in­clud­ing four AA ad­vanced as­pher­i­cal el­e­ments, as well as two ED (Ex­tra-low Dis­per­sion) el­e­ments, which help to com­bat lens dis­tor­tion and flare.

For those who are look­ing to shoot in low light, or want a handy vlog­ging cam­era, the Op­ti­cal SteadyShot of­fers 4 stops of im­age sta­bil­i­sa­tion. You may also ap­pre­ci­ate the 960fps frame rate, which al­lows you to cre­ate se­ri­ously slow mo­tion video footage.

Per­for­mance

Although many com­pact cam­eras boast im­pres­sive specs, you get the feel­ing that it’s purely win­dow dress­ing. That is to say that, while the abil­ity is there, the qual­ity isn’t what you’d ex­pect. That’s not the case with this RX, with ev­ery­thing feel­ing well thought out and im­ple­mented. The Anti-dis­tor­tion shut­ter, much like that found in the α9, will lessen the ef­fect of rolling shut­ter, which al­lows for shoot­ing fast mov­ing ac­tion while you’re us­ing the elec­tronic shut­ter. The AF speed is very im­pres­sive, and man­ages a re­spectable job of fol­low­ing sub­jects, es­pe­cially with the Eye AF. It’s def­i­nitely giv­ing many en­try-level CSCs a run for their money here. The 921k-dot 3in rear touch­screen al­lows for touch fo­cus­ing, but doesn’t nav­i­gate menus, which feels like a missed trick, though we love the hid­den EVF, which is just large enough to be use­ful. Im­age qual­ity is also very im­pres­sive for a com­pact, with the files look­ing sharp and colours ren­dered well, and the larger 1in sen­sor han­dles low light bet­ter than most tra­di­tional com­pact cam­eras, though it will strug­gle at any­thing over ISO 1000.

It’s a shame that the bat­tery life isn’t a touch stronger, only of­fer­ing 240 shots. The smaller con­trols can also feel snug for big­ger hands.

Ver­dict

There’s no doubt­ing the qual­ity here. It’s got 315 points of phase de­tect AF, a 24fps con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing speed and high qual­ity 24-200mm f/2.8 – 4.5 lens. It even man­ages 4K video with a full read-out, fast hy­brid AF and S-log, which is a big deal for such a lit­tle cam­era. There’s no doubt that this is the best in its class, how­ever, de­spite a num­ber of im­pres­sive fea­tures, it still comes back to whether you can jus­tify pay­ing such a high price-tag for a com­pact cam­era...

Above & be­low De­spite reach­ing 200mm, the RX100 VI’s lens is packed away very dis­cretely.

Above The RX100 VI of­fers truly out­stand­ing re­sults for a com­pact.

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