CAMERAS Sony RX100 VI

Sony RX100 VI

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Sony RX100 VI

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Sony RX100 VI Review

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VI 8x zoom: Fast, compact and powerful with a large sensor – Compact 8.3x zoom camera with a large image sensor

With the RX100 VI, Sony introduces a compact zoom camera of superlatives for the first time. The 8x zoom in the 43 mm flat housing covers a small picture equivalent focal length range of 24-200 millimetres at a speed of F2.8 to F4.5. The 20 megapixel resolution 1″ CMOS sensor captures Full HD video at up to 24 frames per second at full resolution. In addition, an improved electronic pop-up viewfinder and a touch screen that can be folded up 180 degrees for Selfies (for the first time in an RX100) have been installed.

Short evaluation

Pros

  • Large zoom range in “pocket size”, suitable for everyday use
  • Overall good image quality up to ISO 800 with usable ISO 1.600
  • Extremely fast continuous shooting function
  • Fast autofocus, even with subject tracking

Cons

  • Short battery life
  • High price
  • Rapidly decreasing light intensity and missing ND filter
  • Due to the compactness somewhat fiddly operation

With the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VI, the Panasonic Lumix TZ101 and TZ202 are facing competition for the first time. The 24-200mm zoom is designed to cover the most common DSLR focal lengths 24-70 and 70-200mm in one lens. But with the fast 1″ stacked CMOS sensor and the more compact case, Sony’s price is in a completely different league than Panasonic’s competitors. Our test shows whether the Sony’s performance ultimately justifies this and what the picture quality is like.

 

The Sony RX100 VI combines the popular zoom lenses 24-70 and 70-200 mm in a 43 millimeter flat and 300 gram light body. Sony has managed to combine a 24-200mm zoom with a 1″ sensor in the RX100 VI’s extremely compact, 300 gram case. [Photo: Sony]

For comparison: The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ101 zooms from 25 to 250 mm in the 44 mm flat housing, thus offering a bit more telephoto, but with F2.8 to F5.9 it is clearly weaker with longer focal lengths. The Sony lens is a Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* with 15 elements in twelve groups and an eightfold zoom range of 9-72 millimetres or (rounded) 24 to 200 millimetres in 35mm equivalent (24.3-194.4 mm in 35mm equivalent in real terms). Two ED (Extra-low Dispersion) aspherical glass lens elements and eight aspherical lens elements including four AA (Advanced Aspherical) lenses are used, whereby the optical image stabilizer compensating up to four f-stops is not missing. The T* coating is designed to minimize reflections and ghost images and provide high contrasts.

The Sony RX100 VI is the first camera in the RX100 series to feature a touch screen for precise focusing and triggering. It can be folded down 90 degrees and up 180 degrees. The 7.5-centimeter touchscreen occupies almost the entire back of the Sony RX100 VI. Unfortunately it doesn’t offer automatic brightness control and glows too dark in bright environments as long as you don’t activate the sun mode. [Photo: Sony]

Like the RX100 V, the sixth generation also features an ultra-fast image sensor based on the latest technology. This means, above all, a 13.2 x 8.8 millimeter CMOS sensor with backward exposure for increased light sensitivity with copper lines for higher conductivity and thus associated reduced susceptibility to interference (image noise) and integrated DRAM as a buffer. The front-end LSI located between the CMOS sensor and the image processor serves as a further buffer memory, which also supports the image processor during data processing. In concrete terms, this means fast readout at 24 frames per second at full resolution for 233 frames in a row, while the autofocus is also continuously adjusted. Thanks to the electronic shutter, short exposure times of up to 1/32,000 seconds are possible, while the rolling shutter effect has been reduced to a minimum. If necessary, however, a mechanical shutter, even if only up to 1/2,000 seconds fast, is also available. It works almost as noiseless as the electronic shutter and also allows flashes, whereby the performance of the integrated pop-up flash is only very low.

 

In addition to a (low-power) pop-up flash, the Sony RX100 VI also has an electronic pop-up viewfinder. [Photo: Sony]

Also the videos profit in several respects from the fast image sensor processor team. Even at 4K resolution the sensor is completely read out, which should lead to a better image quality. The 4K videos are even recorded in HDR, thanks to the HLG standard they can be played directly on 4K HDR televisions. While the frame rate in 4K is limited to 30 frames per second, up to 120 frames per second are possible in Full HD. The Sony also allows super slow motion recording at 250, 500 or 1,000 frames per second, but the Full HD resolution is interpolated from a maximum of 1,824×1,026 to a minimum of 912×308 pixels, depending on the frame rate and recording function.

 

The viewfinder of the Sony RX100 VI, which enlarges 0.59x in 35mm equivalent size, reacts faster than its sister models. [Photo: Sony]

For both videos and photos, the autofocus works with 315 phase autofocus measuring points integrated on the image sensor. They cover 65 percent of the sensor area and, in combination with the contrast autofocus, should focus within just 0.03 seconds. New High Density Tracking technology allows more autofocus points to work around the active autofocus point to help track the subject, doubling performance over sister models. It can also focus directly on the eyes for sharp portraits. The combination of the relatively large image sensor, the very fast lens and the long focal length even allows a real bokeh effect with a blurred background.

With 315 phase AF points, the Sony RX100 VI should focus within 0.03 seconds and be able to follow subjects twice as fast as its sister models, even at fast 24 continuous frames per second. [Photo: Sony]

For the first time in a camera of the Sony RX100 series a touch screen is used. This allows not only focusing on a motif detail with a fingertip, but also triggering. The 7.5-centimeter screen has a resolution of 921,000 pixels and can be folded down 90 degrees and even 180 degrees. This allows not only frog and bird perspective shots, but also selfies. The screen is supplemented by the electronic pop-up viewfinder with a resolution of 2.36 million pixels, which is at least 0.59 times larger in 35mm equivalent. Compared to the predecessor models, the reaction speed is said to have increased. Even a diopter correction from -4 to +3 dpt. is offered by the viewfinder, which also has a T* coating.

Thanks to NFC, Bluetooth and WLAN, the RX100 VI communicates with smartphones and tablets. For example, the GPS signal of the smartphone can be used, but image transmission and remote control including live image is also possible. In the current month (June 2018) the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VI will be available at a price of almost 1,300 Euro. To come back to the comparison with the TZ101: For that you get two pieces of the Panasonic and still have some money left or a TZ101 and a zoom stronger TZ202. The high performance in the extremely compact case can therefore also be paid accordingly by Sony.

Ergonomics and workmanship

The metal housing of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VI is extremely compact with just about ten times six times two and a half centimeters, but the lens barrel protrudes out of the housing by a further 1.5 centimeters. However, as this is an opulent eightfold zoom of approx. 24-200 millimetres corresponding to 35mm, which “illuminates” a 13.2 x 8.8 millimetre 1-inch sensor, the Sony can definitely be described as extremely compact. It disappears without a problem in a jacket or handbag, only a trouser pocket is dented by it. After all, the RX100 VI weighs just over 300 grams, which is not a lightweight considering its size. The camera is full of technology and glass.

When switched on, the lens moves out of the housing by a minimum of three and a maximum of five centimeters. Zooming is done by means of the small ring rocker, which is arranged around the trigger embedded in the housing. Depending on the mode or setting, you can also zoom via the lens ring, optionally in fixed steps with typical “fixed” focal lengths such as 24, 28, 35, 50, 70, 85, 100, 135 and 200 millimetres. The light intensity, which is not too high anyway compared to the “smaller” RX-100 models, decreases extremely quickly. Already at 40 millimeters 35 mm equivalent one loses a whole aperture step (F4 instead of open aperture F2.8 at 24 millimeters). After all, the RX100 VI offers an effectively working optical image stabilizer. However, you won’t find a filter thread, even the practical retractable ND filter has unfortunately not been accommodated by Sony. Here, one could only make do with third-party accessories, such as magnetic filters.

The Sony RX100 VI is the first camera in the RX100 series to feature a touch screen for precise focusing and triggering. It can be folded down 90 degrees and up 180 degrees. The 7.5-centimeter touchscreen occupies almost the entire back of the Sony RX100 VI. Unfortunately it doesn’t offer automatic brightness control and glows too dark in bright environments as long as you don’t activate the sun mode. [Photo: Sony]

The other control elements are also very neatly integrated into the case, but are quite fiddly due to the small size. Up to the first pressure point, for example, the trigger is very spongy and smooth-running. You can like that for a “soft” release, but it doesn’t feel precise and high quality. Due to the flat case, there is no handle at all, not even a small rubber grip was attached to the front of the Sony. Here one must fall back on accessory solutions such as subsequently adhesive grip rubbers (approx. 15 euros original from Sony). Only on the back side you can find a small, rubberized thumb cavity, which also lacks a clear “edge”. A small wrist strap or a safety strap for the wrist is almost obligatory.

The rear keys are hardly bigger than pin heads. After all, there are meaningful presettings, but for a really reasonable operation without excursions into the menus there are definitely missing control elements. After all, you can freely assign the center key of the four-way cross and the delete key (C key in exception mode). The RX100 VI’s menu, on the other hand, is in no way inferior to that of a full-grown camera; the little Sony can do practically everything its big siblings can do. Practical if it serves as a second camera for a Sony photographer, but for occasional photographers and beginners the menu is quite confusing just because of the many setting options. Some help can be found in the “My Menu”, which you can “feed” with your favorite functions. Once the camera is reasonably busy with the camera and it is basically configured, the adjustment is quite easy. Important functions for which you do not want to enter the menu, but for which the keys are not sufficient, can also be found in the configurable Fn menu.

The 7.5 centimetre touch screen occupies most of the back. With 1.04 million pixels, it offers a sufficient resolution and can be folded down 90 degrees and up 180 degrees. This keeps the mechanism compact while still providing the freedom of movement needed for close-up shooting and even selfies, for which the RX100 VI even offers special functions. The maximum brightness of 670 cd/m² is also good against bright sunlight, but this mode has to be activated especially, without it the screen is a bit dark in sunlight. Too bad that the monitor brightness is not adjusted automatically. The touch functionality is limited to very few functions, such as the touch autofocus and, if desired, triggering with a fingertip. The menus and other settings, on the other hand, can only be operated at the touch of a button, which is a pity.

The lens of the Sony RX100 VI protrudes strikingly from the otherwise flat body. Besides the pop-up viewfinder on the far left and the pop-up flash in the middle there was unfortunately no more room for a flash shoe. [Photo: C. Andersson]

The integrated pop-up viewfinder, which is now even easier to activate than in the predecessor models, has been known and brilliantly solved since the RX100 III. You don’t have to pull the eyepiece back anymore, it extends mechanically by spring tension. When the camera is turned off, it is even enough to unlock the viewfinder to pop it up and turn the camera on. To turn it off, simply press it down again. Occasional viewfinder photographers can disable this functionality. The viewfinder itself offers a decent 0.59x magnification, the resolution is adequately fine with 2.36 million pixels. Even the large dioptric correction cannot be complained about. Thanks to a proximity sensor, the live image even changes automatically from the screen to the viewfinder as soon as you take it to the eye. However, you can’t see it completely with glasses and an eyecup is missing to shield him from side light.

Due to the pop-up viewfinder and pop-up flash, the Sony RX100 VI does not offer a flash shoe. Also otherwise it is equipped rather sparingly with interfaces. It only offers a Micro-HDMI and a Micro-USB connection behind quite flimsy looking covers. Practically, the small lithium-ion battery can be recharged via USB, but an external charging cradle is not included with the camera and costs 80 euros extra. The low battery life of 220 images makes the purchase of a second battery (almost 50 euros) a must if you don’t want to connect the RX100 VI to a USB power bank on the go. Both the battery and the memory card are removed on the underside of the camera. Unfortunately, the metal tripod thread is not only right next to the flap, but also outside the optical axis. Even the smallest quick-change tripod plates block access to the battery and memory card. Unfortunately, Sony cannot part with its proprietary Memorystick Duo, which can be inserted as an alternative to an SD card. However, this prevents compatibility with UHS II. But even the RX100 VI doesn’t take advantage of the UHS-I standard, as the maximum data transfer rate for image storage was only 40 megabytes per second, which leads to enormously long storage times, especially after longer JPEG image series, but more about this below.

Equipment

The program selector wheel offers both beginner and ambitious amateur photographers everything their heart desires. The automatic mode, for example, takes over the complete shooting configuration including the selection of the subject program on the basis of a live image analysis. But if you want, you can just as easily select the motif program yourself or go deeper into photography in the creative programs P, A, S and M and take full control of the shooting parameters. The Sony even offers an ISO automatic in manual mode. The pan panorama mode allows simple panoramic views, but doesn’t resolve too high and can cause skidding for subjects that are too close to the camera.

The Sony RX100 VI’s case has no front handle for ergonomic support.

We recommend the HDR mode, which automatically composes a new image from two differently exposed images. However, it mainly emphasizes the shadows, so that it is recommendable to help with the exposure correction for subjects with few highlights and many dark areas, which leads to more balanced images. If you want, you can also use the extensive exposure bracketing function to compose your own HDR images on the PC. With up to one EV exposure distance, nine shots are possible, with three EV exposure distances still five shots, which corresponds to an overall even larger dynamic range.

What unfortunately does not exist, however, is an interval recording function. If you want, you can spice up your shots directly with creative filters, such as the toy camera effect, a black and white or a sepia mode and many more. However, these functions cannot be applied to the photos afterwards, as neither the menu offers image processing functions, nor are there any apps that can be installed afterwards, as in the past, as Sony unfortunately deleted this function again.

In addition to the home PC, the smartphone can also be used for image processing. The Sony RX100 VI is pleasantly sociable. It not only has NFC, but also Bluetooth and WLAN. Thanks to the power-saving Bluetooth function, the camera can take over the position data of the smartphone and store it directly in the metadata of the photos during recording. In addition, images can be transferred for editing on the smartphone and sharing on social networks. In addition, the RX100 VI can be remote controlled via app including live image transmission.

The RX100 VI cheats a bit during autofocus, because the pre-AF is switched on by default, which improves performance and is also practical, as the live image always appears sharp. In fact, the Sony without pre-AF takes about 0.25 to 0.32 seconds from pressing the shutter button to the actual release, depending on the focal length including focusing from infinity to two meters. This is fast, although not record-setting, but above all without outliers downwards. This is pleasing in that earlier cameras with a large zoom often had problems with slow focusing, especially at the long end of the telephoto lens. The pure release delay after pre-focusing is even only 0.02 seconds, which is extremely fast and surpasses even the most expensive DSLRs. Here, the advantages of the non-existent oscillating mirror, the physically small aperture and of course the central shutter come to the fore.

The tripod thread of the Sony RX100 VI is not only located outside the optical axis, but also right next to the battery and memory card compartment, which is blocked by even the smallest quick-release plates.

In wide-angle, the closest focusing distance is eight centimeters, which allows considerable macro magnifications. The minimum field of view is only 1.9 x 1.3 centimeters. In telescopic position, however, the minimum shooting distance increases to one meter, macro shots are unfortunately not possible. Manual focusing is intuitive thanks to the lens ring. Thanks to focus loupe and focus peaking, it is also easy to find the focus point. In addition, the distance is shown on the display or in the viewfinder by means of a bar chart, but can only be read off quite inaccurately with this. Speaking of screen displays: A digital spirit level and a grid can also be displayed.

The central shutter operates absolutely silently and also allows flash synchronization with all shutter speeds of up to 1/2,000 seconds. Shorter exposure times are realized by the electronic shutter, up to 1/32,000 second is possible. Extending the exposure time for creative effects in a lot of light, however, is not possible due to the lack of built-in ND filters. The flash must be unlocked mechanically and only offers the most important basic functions such as auto, long time sync, flash at the end instead of at the beginning of the exposure and flash exposure correction. However, the guide number is only four, which is quite meagre. If you would like to flash creatively, you should look for another camera.

The Sony RX100 VI is perfect for capturing sports and action scenes. At full resolution and with an electronic shutter, it takes almost 24 continuous shots per second, whether in raw or JPEG. With its 315 phase autofocus sensors, it permanently adjusts the sharpness, and the exposure is also constantly adjusted. Thanks to the large buffer memory of approx. four gigabytes, you can take 109 raw or 224 JPEG shots at this high speed, before the serial frame rate falls miserably to two or less frames per second. The memory card interface, which writes a maximum of 40 megabytes per second, proves to be a real bottleneck. With JPEG it is even much slower than with raw, because the preparation of the image data takes considerably more time and acts as an additional bottleneck. It takes a full 105 seconds to empty the JPEG buffer again, for raw images it is “only” about 50 seconds. After all, many functions can still be called, but not all. Also, switching off the camera is delayed until the buffer is emptied again.

It’s really fast in HFR mode. Here the Sony records short video sequences with up to 1,000 frames per second. The higher you set the frame rate, the lower the resolution will be. However, the camera always interpolates up to Full-HD resolution. In normal video mode, the Sony RX100 VI operates at a maximum of 4K resolution (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) at 24, 25 or 30 frames per second. The data is stored with a high quality of up to 100 Mbit per second. In 4K shooting, only the optical image stabilizer works, so freehand video looks blurred compared to Full HD shooting, because the latter also uses an electronic image stabilizer. In any case, the 4K video recordings are very limited, because depending on the outside temperature, the camera warms up quite quickly, so that it switches off after a few minutes to cool down.

In addition to the micro-HDMI interface, the Sony RX100 VI also offers a micro-USB port for charging the battery. The covers, however, look cheap and not very durable.

In Full HD resolution, however, the problem hardly exists. Here the videos are even more fluid with up to 60 frames per second. The maximum recording time is then just under 30 minutes. The sound is recorded in stereo via the integrated microphone, an external one cannot be used due to lack of connection. The autofocus works quickly, the exposure is adjusted and the zoom can also be used well and almost noiselessly in soft, slow mode. The video function does not meet professional requirements, but it offers good quality and many interesting functions for the hobby filmmaker without professional ambitions.

Picture quality

In practice, the Sony RX100 VI delivers very attractive, crisp, but not over-edited images. Especially in the wide angle, a drop in sharpness towards the edges of the image becomes noticeable when zooming in a little. In backlighting there are occasional reflexes, which can also be rainbow-like, but the contrasts remain quite high. The RX100 VI tends to have a somewhat ample exposure, here one can gladly make use of the exposure correction and, if necessary, use the HDR mode to brighten the shadows. Less impressive is the bokeh, which is quite harsh. You should therefore avoid highlights in the blur area when taking portrait photos, for example. However, the RX100 VI is not so predestined for clipping due to its less powerful lens. From a focal length of 40 millimeters equivalent to a small picture, the maximum aperture is only F4, from 110 millimeters even only F4.5. Thus, with the typical portrait focal lengths in the range of 85 to 135 millimeters, you only get a moderate light intensity, so that the background for a strong blur should be far away despite the not quite so small 1″ sensor.

Thanks to NFC, Bluetooth and WLAN, the Sony RX100 VI can easily be paired with smart devices, for example to receive position data or transmit images. Remote control is also possible.

As with the predecessor models, optical errors in the JPEG format in which the laboratory test was performed are largely ironed out. Thus, despite the large focal length spectrum, there is practically no distortion, even the edge darkening is minimal and plays no role. The situation is different with chromatic aberrations, which can become visible at the two focal length extremes, especially towards the edge of the image. This was demonstrated not only in laboratory measurements, but also in practice.

In terms of resolution, the RX100 VI even sets a new record for the 20-megapixel 1″ image sensor: At wide-angle it achieves a maximum of up to 66 line pairs per millimeter (lp/mm) in 35mm equivalent, but only in the center of the image. Towards the edge of the picture, the resolution decreases considerably and drops to a good 30 lp/mm with an open aperture. This is loosely enough for sharp pictures in DIN A4 format, but for larger printouts it becomes more critical. When dipping down, the image resolution in the image center decreases due to diffraction, but at the edge of the image it increases to a good 33 lp/mm up to F4. But only beyond F5.6 the resolution decreases more clearly, further than F8 one should not dim down.

The RX100 VI achieves the highest edge resolution at an average focal length of around 70 millimetres (35 mm equivalent), and already at an open aperture of over 40 lp/mm, which, as already mentioned, is only F4 at this focal length. In the center of the image it is enough here for just under 50 lp/mm – a good value. If you zoom further, the resolution decreases both in the center and at the edge of the image. At the maximum not more than 40 to 31 lp/mm are possible. In telescopic position you get the lowest resolution, but it is still sufficient for many applications. Above all, the edge drop here, at least in relative terms, is pleasingly low and similar to that at medium focal length.

The RX100 VI makes up for its lack of light with good image quality up to higher ISO ranges, as long as you don’t compare it with faster cameras of the same sensor size. The signal-to-noise ratio is in the range of over 40 dB up to ISO 200 and only falls below the critical 35 dB mark above ISO 1,600. The image noise is surprisingly fine-grained over the entire sensitivity range of up to ISO 12,800, which provides a subjectively good image impression with natural noise. While color noise plays practically no role, brightness noise from ISO 3,200 becomes visible.

The small lithium-ion battery of the Sony RX100 VI is only sufficient for 220 shots. The SD memory card slot is unfortunately not compatible with the fast UHS II standard, resulting in long storage times for the 24 fps fast image series.

Noise suppression is particularly effective above ISO 800 and visibly reduces image details. At ISO 1.600, however, the image quality is still good. ISO 3.200, on the other hand, is already very borderline, many fine image details are already missing here. The input dynamics are good in a similar sensitivity range. At ISO 125 it is just over eleven f-stops, at ISO 1.600 the value drops just below ten f-stops. If the sensitivity is further increased, the input dynamic decreases comparatively more than at lower sensitivities. At ISO 3.200 there are only nine f-stops, at ISO 6.400 only eight.

The tonal value curve is typically a bit flatter in the range of the ISO 100 and 80 sensitivity, which has been extended downwards. From the basic sensitivity of ISO 125, it is a bit steeper for a crisp picture impression, but without appearing exaggerated. The sharpness artifacts are also limited. One can therefore say that image processing intervenes as much as necessary, but as little as possible, which also leaves a subjectively good image impression in practice. The images look crisp, but without looking too heavily edited, even a light image editing is in principle possible, but the raw data format is the much better basis for it. The output tonal range decreases relatively linearly and starts at almost perfect values. Up to ISO 200 there are over 224 of 256 possible brightness gradations, up to ISO 400 the value remains very good with over 192 levels and at ISO 1.600 there are still good just under 160 levels.

Sony, however, deviates a little from the above-mentioned principle when it comes to colour preparation. The colour accuracy is not the best, many colours differ significantly from the original. This primarily concerns colour saturation in yellow, red and even stomach areas. But also some shades are slightly shifted, like the green tending towards yellow. Sony would have liked to have taken a little more privacy here. However, there are hardly any complaints with the white balance. The manual measurement works perfectly and the automatic one also delivers good results, thanks to the choice between colours that are as neutral as possible or those that maintain the lighting mood. The actual color depth is very good, at ISO 125 the RX100 VI reaches over eight million color nuances, up to ISO 400 it is over four million and even at ISO 3,200 it is still two million, which is still a perfectly sufficient value.

Compared to the competitor models TZ101 and TZ202, the Sony RX100 VI offers a partly significantly higher resolution in the image center as well as at the edge of the picture with simultaneously lower sharpness artifacts. But above all at higher sensitivities from ISO 800, the Sony has its nose clearly ahead, especially in the detail resolution, which one can also expect in view of the considerably higher price.

As with the predecessor models, optical errors in the JPEG format in which the laboratory test was performed are largely ironed out. Thus, despite the large focal length spectrum, there is practically no distortion, even the edge darkening is minimal and plays no role. The situation is different with chromatic aberrations, which can become visible at the two focal length extremes, especially towards the edge of the image. This was demonstrated not only in laboratory measurements, but also in practice.

In terms of resolution, the RX100 VI even sets a new record for the 20-megapixel 1″ image sensor: At wide-angle it achieves a maximum of up to 66 line pairs per millimeter (lp/mm) in 35mm equivalent, but only in the center of the image. Towards the edge of the picture, the resolution decreases considerably and drops to a good 30 lp/mm with an open aperture. This is loosely enough for sharp pictures in DIN A4 format, but for larger printouts it becomes more critical. When dipping down, the image resolution in the image center decreases due to diffraction, but at the edge of the image it increases to a good 33 lp/mm up to F4. But only beyond F5.6 the resolution decreases more clearly, further than F8 one should not dimming.

The RX100 VI achieves the highest edge resolution at an average focal length of around 70 millimetres (35 mm equivalent), and already at an open aperture of only F4, it achieves over 40 lp/mm. In the Bildzentrum it is enough here for just under 50 lp/mm – a good value. If you zoom further, the resolution decreases both in the center and at the edge of the image. At the maximum not more than 40 to 31 lp/mm are possible. In telescopic position you get the lowest resolution, but it is still sufficient for many applications. Above all, the edge drop here, at least in relative terms, is pleasingly low and similar to that at medium focal length.

ISO Sensitivity and Noise

The RX100 VI makes up for its lack of light with good image quality up to higher ISO ranges, as long as you don’t compare it with faster cameras of the same sensor size. The signal-to-noise ratio is in the range of over 40 dB up to ISO 200 and only falls below the critical 35 dB mark above ISO 1,600. The image noise is surprisingly fine-grained over the entire sensitivity range of up to ISO 12,800, resulting in a subjectively good image impression with natural noise. While color noise plays practically no role, brightness noise from ISO 3,200 becomes visible.

The Sony RX100 VI is very compact, but sacrifices the high luminous intensity of previous generations for a larger, more travel-friendly zoom range. [Photo: Sony]

Noise suppression is particularly effective above ISO 800 and visibly reduces image details. At ISO 1.600, however, the image quality is still good. ISO 3.200, on the other hand, is already very borderline, many fine image details are already missing here. The input dynamics are good in a similar sensitivity range. At ISO 125 it is just over eleven f-stops, at ISO 1.600 the value drops just below ten f-stops. If the sensitivity is further increased, the input dynamic decreases comparatively more than at lower sensitivities. At ISO 3.200 there are only nine f-stops, at ISO 6.400 only eight.

Image processing and colors

The tonal value curve is somewhat flatter in the area of the ISO 100 and 80 sensitivity, which has been extended downwards. From the basic sensitivity of ISO 125, it is somewhat steeper for a crisp image impression, but without appearing exaggerated. The sharpness artifacts are also limited. One can therefore say that image processing intervenes as much as necessary, but as little as possible, which also leaves a subjectively good image impression in practice. The images look crisp, but without looking too heavily edited, even a light image editing is in principle possible, but the raw data format is the much better basis for it.

With the exception of the color fringes, the optical errors of the Sony RX100 VI lens are very well corrected. The image resolution is extraordinarily high in wide-angle, but only in the center of the image and drops significantly towards the edge of the image. [Photo: Sony]

Sony, however, deviates a little from the above-mentioned principle when it comes to colour preparation. The colour accuracy is not the best, many colours differ significantly from the original. This primarily concerns colour saturation in yellow, red and even stomach areas. But also some shades are slightly shifted, like the green tending towards yellow. Sony would have liked to have taken a little more privacy here. However, there are hardly any complaints with the white balance. The manual measurement works perfectly and the automatic one also delivers good results, thanks to the choice between colours that are as neutral as possible or those that maintain the lighting mood. The actual color depth is very good, at ISO 125 the RX100 VI reaches over eight million color nuances, up to ISO 400 it is over four million and even at ISO 3,200 it is still two million, which is still a perfectly sufficient value. The output tonal range decreases relatively linearly and starts at almost perfect values. Up to ISO 200 there are over 224 of 256 possible brightness gradations, up to ISO 400 the value remains very good with over 192 levels and at ISO 1.600 there are still good just under 160 levels.

The RX100 VI cheats a bit during autofocus, because the pre-AF is switched on by default, which improves performance, but is also practical, as the live image always appears sharp. In fact, the Sony takes about 0.25 to 0.32 seconds to release, depending on the focal length including focusing from infinity to two meters. This is fast, although not record-suspicious, but above all without outliers downwards, which is pleasing, because earlier cameras with a larger zoom range often had problems with slow focusing, especially at the long end of the telephoto lens. However, the pure release delay after pre-focusing is only 0.02 seconds, which is extremely fast and surpasses even the most expensive DSLRs. Here, the advantages of the non-existent oscillating mirror, the physically small aperture and of course the central shutter come to the fore.

F2,8 F4,0 F4,5 F5,6 F8,0 F11,0
25 mm Center of image 66,4 lp/mm 62.8 lp/mm 53.6 lp/mm 44.8 lp/mm 35,8 lp/mm
25 mm Image edge 29,9 lp/mm 32,9 lp/mm 31,4 lp/mm 28,2 lp/mm 23.1 lp/mm
72 mm Center of image 50,5 lp/mm 48,9 lp/mm 39,8 lp/mm 31,3 lp/mm
72 mm Image edge 41.2 lp/mm 39.0 lp/mm 35,1 lp/mm 31,1 lp/mm
200 mm Image centre 39,3 lp/mm 40,0 lp/mm 34,6 lp/mm 25,8 lp/mm
200 mm Image edge 30,9 lp/mm 31,4 lp/mm 27,4 lp/mm 22.8 lp/mm

Overall, the Sony DSC-RX100 VI delivers a good to very good image quality with slight weaknesses in the edge resolution, the color fringes and the color accuracy and thus fits seamlessly into the good image quality results of the Sony 1″ cameras. It should not be forgotten, however, that luminous intensity has been sacrificed in favour of the zoom range, which affects its suitability for environments with little light. Especially the zooming should be avoided in such situations, especially as the light intensity drops quite rapidly.

Bottom line

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VI can probably be described as currently the best compact 1″ sensor camera with at least 8x zoom. It offers very good features in an extremely compact housing paired with a zoom range suitable for everyday use and a high image quality. However, the camera has a proud price of 1,300 Euros and therefore does not necessarily have the best price-performance ratio, especially not if, for example, you don’t need the high serial frame rate with the large buffer memory at all. The movable touch screen and the practical pop-up viewfinder are extremely useful and also suitable for everyday use, with some limitations due to their compactness, although there is still room for improvement in the use of touch functionality and brightness control, for example. Ergonomics suffer most from the compact dimensions, although Sony would also like to sacrifice some design in favour of ergonomics, for example with a small, perhaps removable handle.

In terms of image quality, the RX100 VI fits seamlessly into the good image quality results of Sony’s 1″ cameras and shows only slight weaknesses, such as the edge resolution in the wide angle, the color fringes and the color accuracy as well as the not too beautiful Bokeh, because the light intensity was sacrificed in favor of the zoom range, which also suffers the suitability for environments with little light. Especially the zooming should be avoided in such situations, especially as the light intensity drops quite rapidly. But Sony is clearly one or two steps ahead of its direct competitors in terms of image quality, not only for the sensor and the performance at high ISO sensitivities, but also for the lens, which justifies the high price.

Fact sheet

Fact sheet
Manufacturer Sony
Model DSC-RX100 VI
Sensor CMOS 1″ 13.2 x 8.8 mm (Crop factor 2.7
)21.0 Megapixel (physical)
20.1 Megapixel (effective)
Pixel pitch 2.4 µm
Resolution (max.) 5.472 x 3.648 (3:2)
Video (max.) 3.840 x 2.160 30p
Lens F2,8-4,5/24-200mm
Filter threads
Video viewfinder EVF, 100 % field coverage, 2,359,296 pixels resolution, 1.59 times magnification (sensor-related), 0.59 times magnification (KB equivalent), diopter compensation (-4.0 to 3.0 dpt)
Monitor 3.0″ (7.5 cm)
Disbandment 921.600 pixels
tiltable yes
rotatable
swivelling
Touchscreen yes
AV connector HDMI Output Micro (Type D)
Fully automatic yes
Automatic motif control yes
Motif programmes 13
Program automation yes
Program shift yes
Aperture priority yes
Aperture priority yes
Manual yes
Bulb long time exposure yes
HDR function yes
Panorama function yes, Sweep panorama
Exposure metering Multi-field, Centre-weighted Integral, Spot
fastest shutter speed 1/2.000 s
Flash built-in
Synchronous time 1/2.000 s
Flash connection
WLAN yes
NFC yes
GPS external, permanent smartphone connection
Remote release yes, remote control via Smartphone/Tablet
Interval shooting
Storage medium
Memory Stick (Duo, Duo Pro)
SD (SDHC, SDXC, UHS I)
Sensitivity
automatic ISO 125-12.800
manually ISO 80-12.800
White balance
automatic yes
manual measurement yes
Kelvin input yes
Fine correction yes
Autofocus yes
Number of measuring fields 315 Line sensors25
Contrast sensors
Speed 0.25 to 0.32 s
AF auxiliary light LED
Dimensions (WxHxD) 102 x 58 x 43 mm
Weight (ready for operation) 302 g
Tripod socket outside the optical axis
Zoom
Zoom adjustment Lens ring (motorized), ring rocker (motorized)
Battery life 220 images according to CIPA standard
– = “not applicable” or “not available”

Short evaluation

Pros

  • Large zoom range in “pocket size”, suitable for everyday use
  • Overall good image quality up to ISO 800 with usable ISO 1.600
  • Extremely fast continuous shooting function
  • Fast autofocus, even with subject tracking

Cons

  • Short battery life
  • High price
  • Rapidly decreasing light intensity and missing ND filter
  • Due to the compactness somewhat fiddly operation

Sony DSC-RX100 VI Datasheet

Electronics

Sensor CMOS sensor 1″ 13.2 x 8.8 mm (crop factor 2.7
)21.0 megapixels (physical), 20.1 megapixels (effective)
Pixel pitch 2.4 µm
Photo resolution
5.472 x 3.648 pixels (3:2)
5.472 x 3.080 Pixel (16:9)
4.864 x 3.080 Pixel
3.888 x 2.592 pixels (3:2)
3.648 x 3.648 pixels (1:1)
3.648 x 2.736 pixels (4:3)
3.648 x 2.056 Pixel (16:9)
2.736 x 1.824 Pixel (3:2)
2.720 x 1.528 pixels (16:9)
2.592 x 1.944 pixels (4:3)
2.544 x 2.544 pixels (1:1)
1.920 x 1.920 pixels (1:1)
Picture formats JPG, RAW
Colour depth 24 bits (8 bits per color channel), 36 bits (12 bits per color channel)
Metadata Exif (version 2.3), DCF standard (version 2)
Video resolution
3.840 x 2.160 (16:9) 30 p
3.840 x 2.160 (16:9) 25 p
3.840 x 2.160 (16:9) 24 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 1000 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 960 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 500 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 480 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 250 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 240 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 120 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 100 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 60 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 60 i
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 50 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 50 i
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 50 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 50 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 30 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 25 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 25 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 25 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 24 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 30 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 25 p
Maximum recording time 20 min
HDR video yes
Video format
XAVC S (Codec H.264)
AVCHD (Codec H.264)
MP4 (Codec H.264)

Lens

Focal length 24 to 200 mm (35mm equivalent
)8.3x Zoom9
to 72 mm (physical)
Digital zoom 5.8x
Focus range 8 cm to infinity (wide angle
)100 cm to infinity (telephoto)
Apertures F2.8 to F11 (wide-angle
)F4.5 to F11 (telephoto)
Autofocus yes
Autofocus mode Phase comparison autofocus with 315 sensors (315 line sensors), contrast autofocus with 25 measuring fields
Autofocus Functions Single autofocus, Continuous autofocus, Tracking autofocus, Manual, AFL function, AF Assist Light (LED), Focus Peaking, Focus Magnifier (11x)
Focus control Depth of field control, Live View

Viewfinder and Monitor

Monitor 3.0″ (7.5 cm) TFT LCD monitor with 921,600 pixels, touchscreen, anti-glare, brightness adjustable, tiltable 180° upwards to 90° downwards
Video viewfinder Video viewfinder (100 % field coverage) with 2,359,296 pixels, magnification factor 1.59x (0.59x KB equivalent), diopter compensation (-4.0 to 3.0 dpt)

Exposure

Exposure metering Center-weighted integral measurement, matrix/multi-field measurement, spot measurement
Exposure times 1/2,000 to 30 s (Automatic
)1/2,000 to 30 s (Manual)Bulb function1/32
,000 to 30 s (Electronic)
Exposure control Fully automatic, Program automatic (with program shift), Aperture priority, Aperture priority, Manual, Scene automatic
Bracketing function Bracket function with maximum 9 shots, step size from 1/3 to 3 EV, HDR function
Exposure compensation -3.0 to +3.0 EV with step size of 1/3 EV
Sensitivity to light ISO 125 to ISO 12.800 (automatic
)ISO 80 to ISO 12.800 (manual)
Remote access Remote control via Smartphone/Tablet
Motives Fireworks, Landscape, Macro, Night Scene, Night Portrait, Portrait, Sunset, Food, Sports/Action, Animals, 3 additional scene modes
Picture effects HDR Effect, High Key, High Contrast Monochrome, Miniature Effect, Monochrome, Retro, Selective Color, Softer, Toy Camera, 4 more Image Effects
White balance Auto, Clouds, Sun, White balance bracketing, Fine tuning, Shadow, Flash, Underwater, Fluorescent lamp with 4 presets, Incandescent lamp, from 2,500 to 9,900 K, Manual 3 memory locations
Color space Adobe RGB, sRGB
Continuous shooting Continuous shooting function max. 24 fps at highest resolution and max. 233 stored photos
Self-timer Self-timer 10 seconds apart, features: 5 or 2 seconds; 3-5 consecutive shots; bracketing with 10, 5 or 2 seconds delay
Shooting functions AEL function, AFL function, live histogram

Flashgun

Flash built-in flash (hinged)
Flash range 0.4 to 5.9 m at wide angle1
.0 to 3.1 m at teleflash range
at ISO autoflash sync time
1/2,000 s
Flash functions Auto, Fill-in flash, Flash on, Flash off, Slow sync, Flash on second shutter curtain, Red-eye reduction by pre-flash, Flash exposure compensation from -3.0 EV to +3.0 EV

Equipment

Image stabilizer optical image stabilizer
Memory
Memory Stick (Duo, Duo Pro)
SD (SDHC, SDXC, UHS I)
Panorama Swivel panorama
12.416 x 1.856 pixels
5.536 x 2.160 pixels
8.192 x 1.856 pixels
3.872 x 2.160 pixels
GPS function GPS external (permanent smartphone connection)
Microphone Stereo
Power supply Power supply unit connectionUSB continuous power supplyUSB charging function
Power supply 1 x Sony NP-BX1 (lithium ion (Li-Ion), 3.6 V, 1,240 mAh
)260 CIPA-standard images
Playback Functions Image rotation, Protect image, Highlights / Shadow warning, Playback histogram, Playback magnifier with 10.7x magnification, Image index, Slide show function
Face recognition Face recognition, smile recognition
Picture parameters Sharpness, Contrast, Saturation, Noise Reduction
Grid can be faded in during recording yes
Special functions Electronic spirit level, orientation sensor, zebra function, live view, user profiles with 7 user profiles
Ports Data interfaces: Bluetooth, USBUSB type
: USB 2.0 High SpeedWLAN
: available (type: B, G, N)
NFC: availableAudio output
: noAudio input
: noVideo output
: yes (HDMI output Micro (type D))
Supported direct printing methods DPOF, Exif Print, PIM
Tripod socket 1/4″ not in optical axis
Features and Miscellaneous BIONZ X Image ProcessorMulti-Frame Noise Reduction
(ISO125-25600)
Dynamic Range Optimizer (incl. Bracket)
DRO BracketCreative
Styles (14 Settings)
Picture Profile (10 Settings)
Bravia SyncHFR Video

Size and weight

Weight 302 g (ready for operation)
Dimensions W x H x D 102 x 58 x 43 mm

Other

included accessories Sony AC-UUD12 AC AdapterSony
NP-BX1 Special Battery Strap
, Micro-USB Cable, User Manual
optional accessory Sony AG-R2 (Handle
)Sony LCS-RXG BagSony
LCS-RXK BagSony
NP-BX1 Special BatterySony
VCT-SGR1 (Handle)
USB
USB 2.0 High Speed (Micro-USB)
Previous articleSony NEX 5N Review
Next articleNikon D40 Review
Peter Dench
I am Peter Dench. Digital Photographer, born in London 1972, currently living in Deerfield, near Chicago. I have numerous photography expositions and also working in model photography. In this website, PhotoPoint, I usually review cameras provided by local dealers in Illinois and by the manufacturers. Sometimes I, Peter Dench, review lenses too, but only when I have a suitable camera for them. Please let me know in the comments if I can improve any of these articles.

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