Sony’s newest superior compact digicam is the extremely pocketable RX100 VII, the seventh iteration of the RX100. Since its debut, this line of cameras has confirmed a extremely popular possibility amongst lovers searching for a terrific journey digicam, vloggers and even execs who desire a compact backup possibility simply in case. The RX100 VII ought to swimsuit all these wants very effectively, offered you’re okay with coughing up the $1,200 asking value.
Not that $1,200 is just too costly for what you’re getting, as Sony has packed in great worth, together with a particularly versatile 24-200mm (35mm equal) zoom vary, 20fps steady burst mode capturing, a flip-up contact display screen, built-in picture stabilization and the identical highly effective autofocus applied sciences you’ll discover on its flagship full-frame interchangeable lens professional cameras.

Pocket energy
The Sony RX100 VII satisfies a particular want, however it’s one which lots of people most likely have: Striking a steadiness between picture high quality, vary and portability. On the comfort finish of the spectrum, the final word system might be your smartphone, since you may have that with you all the time. On the IQ and vary facet, you’re taking a look at a top-end DSLR with a high-quality, low aperture zoom lens that may weigh greater than a big canine. The RX100 VII manages to be so spectacular as a result of it could actually ship almost the portability of a smartphone, with among the images chops of a setup that sometimes requires its personal suitcase.
Inside the RX100 VII you’ll discover a 1-inch sensor, which could be very massive relative to smartphone imaging sensors. This is necessary as a result of it means there’s no contest between which is able to seize a greater picture, with decrease noise, higher depth-of-field and higher coloration rendering. For all of the software program magic that firms like Apple and Google can deliver to the images desk, nothing but can completely compensate for merely having a bigger sensor.

The RX100 VII’s compactness isn’t simply spectacular due to the massive sensor it packs inside, nevertheless; you additionally get an EVF, an built-in flash, an exterior microphone jack and an articulating LCD show. To get all of this right into a bundle this small is astounding — the EVF particularly is a good function for anybody who needs to be a bit extra direct and specific with their shot composition, whereas the flip-up LCD means you can also have a terrific selfie display screen and monitor to be used when vlogging.

Last however not least by way of its portability advantages, you may cost the RX100 VII by way of USB instantly to be able to depart any extra charging {hardware} at residence. The digicam has a micro USB port for each information and energy, and whereas it could’ve been good to see this upgraded to USB-C on this digicam to maintain up with the newest by way of laptop and smartphone charging, it’s nonetheless higher than requiring an exterior charger.
Zoom zoom
Sony selected a really lengthy zoom vary for the RX100 VII, which sports activities a 24-200mm (35mm equal) f/2.8-4.5 powered retracting zoom lens. That’s the identical vary and aperture because the RX100 VI, which opts for extra vary over the brighter 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 lens discovered on the V and earlier.
While you’ll lose some means to separate your topic from the background versus a brighter lens, you get much more attain for capturing motion or wildlife. The added vary undoubtedly makes it a greater all-around journey digicam, too, and makes it potential to get some pictures you in any other case simply wouldn’t have the ability to get in any respect with a shorter lens.
The lengthy finish of the zoom vary additionally affords stunningly sharp photos, particularly in shiny, daylight situations. In the examples beneath, you may see among the 200mm samples shot on the RX100 VII subsequent to the 24mm extensive variations of the identical scenes to get a way of simply how shut you will get with this lens, and the standard of the pictures potential even at these excessive zoom lengths.

At the extensive finish, you may have loads of actual property to seize nice sweeping architectural or panorama pictures, and the sharpness can also be incredible in nice gentle. There’s some distortion, however it’s principally corrected by Sony’s software program on JPG output. That 24mm extensive angle can also be the fitting width for arm-length selfies, although you’re most likely going to need not less than a brief selfie stick for vlogging purposes to provide your self a little bit extra in the best way of framing choices.

Sticky AF
Leaving apart the truth that this is without doubt one of the higher sensors accessible available on the market for a digicam this dimension, there’s one other very compelling cause to choose up this digicam, and one which probably provides it the sting over opponents from different firms. I’m speaking about Sony’s autofocus system, and the RX100 VII will get the newest and biggest that Sony has developed, which is discovered solely in far more costly cameras from the corporate, just like the A9 and the brand new A7R IV.
You get face and eye monitoring, for each human and animal topics, and these are each best-in-class in comparison with different digicam makers’ programs. The animal one particularly is a Sony specialty, and labored amazingly effectively on my actual canine — and on Sony’s Aibo robotic canine, captured on the Sony Ginza expertise heart in Tokyo.

The face and eye detection settings can be found in each nonetheless capturing and flicks, and you’ll set eye choice (left or proper), too. The latest AF function, nevertheless, is object monitoring, which lets you level your AF level at a particular object and have the digicam mechanically monitor that object as you zoom or transfer, or as the article strikes inside body. You can select from a variety of choices concerning how giant of a focal space to trace, and this works in tandem with human face detection in order that the digicam will mechanically deal with the topic’s face when it’s seen, and on them extra usually when it’s not, which is wonderful for sports activities or motion images.
In apply, this works extraordinarily effectively. Sony’s claims about how effectively this sticks, and the way good it’s at selecting a topic again up after it strikes behind an object, for example, are spot on. This is absolutely the most effective AF system accessible on a digicam within the pocketable class, at any value level, and it’s actually wonderful to expertise. In the pictures beneath, you may see the way it allowed me to seize a really clear image of a hovering hawk on the 200mm tele zoom, the way it tracked a motorbike in movement and obtained a transparent picture of the rider’s face and the way it froze a motor bike in movement throughout a burst sequence (all of the pictures have been in focus, by the best way).

Low gentle
Another space the place Sony’s RX100 VII and its 1-inch sensor are going to have a leg up in your smartphone is in sub-optimal lighting situations. Bigger sensors imply larger pixels and fewer noise, with higher blacks and shadows. Sony can also be utilizing a bottom illuminated stacked sensor, and there’s built-in optical picture stabilization, which implies you may take sharper photographs at decrease shutter speeds, letting in additional gentle for clearer photos.
In apply, what you get are fairly good low-light photographs, particularly open air with ambient gentle current, or in decently well-lit indoor settings. In poorer lighting situations or once you’re attempting to freeze motion in low gentle, you’re going to get pretty noisy outcomes, particularly when in comparison with an APS-C or full-frame digicam. Sony’s tech can do rather a lot to profit from lower than preferrred photographic situations, however in some unspecified time in the future, it runs up in opposition to the boundaries of what’s potential.
Sony additionally doesn’t get fairly as aggressive with computational photographic methods for digitally compensating for decrease accessible gentle, as do the Pixel telephones and the newest iPhone 11. That’s not essentially a foul factor, although — the pictures from the RX100 VII current extra correct night time and indoor photographs, by comparability, and you’ll nonetheless get significantly better indoor photos with the RX100 VII than you may with any smartphone.

As you may see within the gallery above, the digicam does extraordinarily effectively so long as there’s one well-lit topic or ingredient in body. It’s much less efficient when the picture total is uniformly dim, however should you’re searching for nice photographs in these situations, you must most likely take into account upgrading to a bigger digicam with a bigger sensor.
Movie maker
The RX100 VII’s biggest energy may simply be how good it’s at capturing video for a tool this dimension. Video out of the digicam with very minimal adjustment from the default capturing settings produces extremely usable outcomes, for each residence video lovers and for YouTubers or vloggers seeking to produce great-looking content material with out lugging a complete movie manufacturing studio together with them on their travels.
Once once more, the versatile zoom vary actually shines right here, and you’ll even shoot on the tele finish of the zoom handheld and get completely usable footage, offered you’re a bit cautious about motion, as you may see within the third clip within the sequence beneath, which was shot on the 200mm vary. Low-light footage appears nice, as is clear from the second clip in sequence, and on the extensive finish you may seize sweeping panorama vistas or flip up the display screen and switch the digicam round for selfie-style video.

The added microphone port makes it an much more highly effective filmmaking device, and should you decide up their elective VCT-SGR1 capturing grip, mixed with a small shotgun mic or one thing just like the Rode Wireless Go, you’ve obtained every little thing it’s worthwhile to create very compelling journey diaries in an extremely light-weight bundle that can have the ability to produce high quality and get zoom and extensive pictures which are unattainable on a smartphone.
Bottom line
The RX100 VII is a delight of a digicam and a straightforward suggestion to make. There’s nothing that compares on this dimension class by way of the vary of options, autofocus capabilities, video prowess and efficiency as a basic all-rounder. This is the do-everything journey digicam that you possibly can actually solely dream of 5 years in the past, and it’s turn into extra preferrred for this use with each technology that Sony introduces.
Whether you’re seeking to step up your photographic potentialities out of your smartphone, otherwise you need to complement your skilled or superior fanatic tools with a pocket digicam that’s accessible as a b-camera for video or to seize a couple of alternative stills, the RX100 VII is difficult to prime. Its solely draw back is that $1,200 asking value, which is certainly above common for a compact digicam — however on a price foundation, $1,200 isn’t in any respect costly for every little thing this digicam has to supply.
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