Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VI: What you need to know

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Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VI: What you need to know

The sixth and latest in Sony’s popular RX100-series, the RX100 VI is (unsurprisingly) the most powerful yet. Still pocketable, but now offering a longer zoom than any of its predecessors and an updated AF system, the RX100 VI promises to be a highly versatile camera. We’ve been poring over the specs for a while – click through this article for a closer look.

New 24-200mm (equiv) F2.8-4.5 lens

Perhaps the most obvious addition to the RX100 VI compared to its predecessors is a substantially longer zoom lens, with a

4EV of optical image stabilization. Whereas the RX100 V’s zoom topped out at a modest 70mm, the RX100 VI’s lens reaches all the way to 200mm (equivalent).

In one sense, this should make the RX100 VI a more versatile camera than its predecessors, but that additional zoom range doesn’t come for free. The RX100 VI’s maximum aperture is F2.8-4.5, which is significantly slower than the F1.8-2.8 of its predecessor, and it does not include the useful built-in ND found in earlier models.

New 24-200mm (equiv) F2.8-4.5 lens

As you can see from our equivalent aperture graph, the RX100 VI’s lens offers an equivalent (in DoF terms) maximum aperture of around F8 at 24mm, and it only gets darker from there. Whether this matters depends on several factors, not least ambient light. It’s worth noting though that subject/background separation will be more challenging with the RX100 VI compared to previous-generation RX100-series cameras. That being said, it should be noted that beyond 50mm (equivalent) the RX100 VI’s lens is significantly brighter than both the Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS200 and the older ZS100. The maximum F12 equivalent aperture on the long end should mean less diffraction-induced softening than the F16 equivalent offered by the Panasonics.

The lens itself is comprised of 15 elements in 12 groups, featuring two ED (extra-low dispersion) aspherical glass elements and eight aspherical lens elements including four AA (advanced aspherical) lenses. Sony claims that this results in ‘outstanding sharpness from corner-to-corner at all focal lengths’ and we’ll be sure to test this for ourselves as soon as possible.

Upgraded tracking and better buffer

The RX100 VI incorporates an upgraded BIONZ X™ image processor and Front-end LSI. This has resulted in several improvements, including to autofocus speed (Sony claims an AF response time of 0.03 seconds) and superior Eye AF tracking, to the tune (again, claimed) of a 2x performance increase compared to the RX100 V.

The maximum stills capture rate of 24fps is unchanged compared to the RX100 V, but the new camera can shoot for up to 233 images, compared to around 150 in the earlier model.

Full-width oversampled 4K video

As we’ve come to expect from Sony’s RX-series as a whole, the RX100 VI offers impressive video specifications, in addition to its stills capture features. The new camera can capture 4K video at up to 30p, at a maximum bitrate of 100 Mbps. 4K video is oversampled from 5K, and the entire sensor area is utilized, resulting in very clean, detailed footage. High definition 1080p footage is also possible, at up to 120fps. High frame rate modes are available, with up to 960 fps capture.

New in the RX100 VI is an HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) gamma curve option within Picture Profiles, which in Sony’s words offers ‘an instant HDR workflow solution’. HLG gamma fits the entire dynamic range of the sensor into your video. While footage will look flat on a standard display like the rear LCD, plug the camera into an HDR display and enable its HLG mode and you’ll see your high dynamic range footage, from preserved highlights to detailed shadows, with the more lifelike contrast modern TVs offer. The use of HLG and zebras in stills also allows you perfectly expose your Raws, as we covered in our a7R III review.

Sadly, the RX100 VI omits a microphone socket, meaning that external recording will be necessary for any kind of serious filmmaking.

Touch-sensitive, tilting LCD

Oh happy day! The RX100 VI is the first RX100-series model to offer a touch-sensitive LCD. This enables touch to focus and touch shutter – both nice features that we’ve been enjoying for several years on competitive cameras. It’s particularly important for the RX100 series, which has always had limited controls and particularly cumbersome methods for selecting your AF point.

Touch-sensitive, tilting LCD

The tilt angle of the screen has also been expanded, to up to 90 degrees downwards and 180 degrees upwards. You know – for selfies.

Updated Menus

Not only have menus been updated to the far more organized structure we’ve come to expect on a7/a9 cameras, a My Menu has been added. You can populate it with your most accessed menu items, in your preferred order. This, combined with the customizable Fn menu accessible on-screen during shooting, should make it easy to quickly access your most used settings. This is particularly important on a camera with so few controls.

Redesigned ‘one push’ EVF

The RX100 VI’s XGA OLED pop-up EVF is similar to previous models in the series, but once popped-up, the finder optics no longer need to be manually extended for use. This might sound like a minor upgrade, but missing a shot because you forgot to pop out the finder window is an annoyance that will be familiar to many RX100 IV/V owners.

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