Sony crams 8x zoom in the RX100 VI, but it’s still pocketable

Sony’s RX100 series has long been praised for fitting a large 1-inch-type sensor in a pocketable camera and the Sony RX100 VI makes the biggest physical change the series has seen in years. Announced on June 5, the new advanced compact camera squeezes a 24-200mm (full-frame equivalent) lens into the same form factor as its predecessors.

The lens covers a range popular with professional shooters on full-frame interchangeable lens cameras, but one that’s usually split into two lenses: a 24-70mm and a 70-200mm. Altogether, that’s an 8x zoom range, a considerable increase over the 2.9x zoom of the RX100 V, IV, and III, which all used the same lens. In order to fit it into such a small space, however, it lacks the fast f/1.8-2.8 maximum aperture of those cameras, instead making due with f/2.8 at the widest and f/4 at the telephoto end. Giving up a stop of light for extra reach may be a worthy trade-off for many users, however.

sony rx100 vi announced photo jun 05  10 52 46 am
Les Shu / Digital Trends

Behind the lens is a 20.1-megapixel, 1-inch-type stacked sensor, continuing the stacked design Sony first introduced with the RX 100 IV. While the specs here are similar, Sony redesigned both the sensor and processor for the RX100 VI. The stacked design allows the camera to process images at a faster speed, giving the Sony RX100 VI a 24 fps continuous shooting at full resolution, just like its super-zoom cousin, the RX10 IV. What is perhaps even more impressive is that the camera can keep up that speed for 233 JPEG images — and the continuous autofocus can still keep up with that top burst speed.

A Bionz X processor, an update from the previous generation, also helps achieve that high speed. The Sony RX100 VI’s stacked sensor and upgraded processor also allows the compact camera to shoot in 4K at 24 fps, with continuous autofocus available while recording. Sony says 4K is recorded with full pixel readout without pixel binning to help keep the sharpest possible detail. Video features give professional cameras a run for their money — the RX100 VI is the first camera in the series with 4K HDR using Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) picture profiles. Additional video features include S-Log3/S-Gamut3; 120p HD video; slow-motion video at 240, 480 and 960 fps; and proxy recording.

World’s fastest autofocus

Sony continues to emphasize autofocus performance in its compact cameras, with the RX100 VI boasting a class-leading lock-on time of just 0.03 seconds in ideal conditions. The autofocus system uses 315 points covering 65 percent of the sensor for the phase detection portion of the camera’s hybrid AF system. High-density autofocus, a mode for following moving subjects, is also included. The camera’s eye detection mode for photographing people is also two times more accurate compared to the predecessor, Sony says.

An optical image stabilization system helps keeps the camera steadier in low light and at the long end of that zoom, with a stabilization rated to raise the shutter speed by up to four stops. An anti-distortion shutter helps minimize the effect of rolling shutter when using the electronic shutter.

While packing in a much larger lens, the Sony RX100 VI doesn’t stray from the series compact body style, weighing 10.7 ounces, which is only 0.2 ounces heavier than the fifth generation camera. With the lens retracted, the camera body measures about 1.7 inches deep. The lens achieves its compact dimensions thanks to its complex design, using eight aspherical elements along with two extra-low dispersion elements.

The camera body still houses a retractable electronic viewfinder with a resolution of 2.35 million dots. The tilting touchscreen also includes a touch shutter, another first for the series. Bluetooth, NFC, and Wi-Fi are all built in.

sony rx100 vi announced photo jun 05  10 52 39 am
Les Shu / Digital Trends

Also announced was the Sony VCT-SGR1, a compact shooting grip that doubles as a mini tripod. The grip attaches through the micro USB port and includes buttons to control the shutter and zoom. The grip is adjustable between 70 degrees up and 100 degrees down, while legs at the bottom will hold the grip upright on a flat surface. The VCT-SGR1 won’t begin shipping until September at a price of $100.

Sony’s RX100 line has always matched premium features with high prices, and at $1,200, the RX100 VI certainly continues the trend. If the RX100 VI delivers images that are anything like the predecessor, it could be the best compact camera on the market, however. It is expected to be available in July.

Photography

The Black Eye Pro Cinema Wide G4 is a knockout lens for any smartphone

Where cheaper wide-angle accessory lenses add distortion, and costlier models don't always justify their higher prices, the Black Eye Pro Cinema Wide G4 offers a valuable balance of modest price and high quality optics.
Photography

Earn more likes on your photos with the best cameras for Instagram

Looking to snap better Instagrams? Instagram doesn't demand high-resolution files, but upgrading your camera can deliver better bokeh and low-light quality. Here our the best cameras for Instagram.
Photography

Panasonic Lumix S1R vs. Sony A7R III: Which pixel-shift powerhouse is better?

The Lumix S1R and Sony A7R III are different in design, but similar in performance, and both offer pixel-shift high resolution modes which pull even more detail out of their already high-resolution sensors. Here's how they compare.
Photography

Light on price but rich on features, these are the best cameras for students

Need pro-level features on a budget? The best cameras for students mix advanced features with a more palatable price point. From $2K entry level full frame cameras to $600 budget picks, here are five of the best cameras for students.
Photography

Panasonic Lumix S1R vs. Nikon Z 7: When megapixels matter, which do you choose?

The 47-megapixels Lumix S1R and 46-megapixel Nikon Z 7 are the two highest-resolution, full-frame mirrorless cameras on the market. The S1R features a high-resolution mode that can take 187MP images, but the Nikon is lighter and cheaper.
Photography

Etch-A-Snap camera puts a modern spin on one of your favorite childhood toys

Can't draw on an Etch A Sketch? Snap a photo with the Etch-A-Snap and the camera will draw out the scene for you. The weirdly cool camera designed by Martin Fitzpatrick replaces the usual LCD screen with an old-school Etch A Sketch.
Photography

Family feud: Huawei P30 Pro vs. P20 Pro vs. Mate 20 Pro camera shootout

The Huawei P30 Pro's camera has an amazing zoom mode and low light capabilities. But take these away, and how does it compare when facing its sibling phones, the P20 Pro and Mate 20 Pro, taking regular photos?
Photography

Nikon Z 7 vs. Sony A7R III: High-res mirrorless cameras compared

The Nikon Z 7 and Sony A7R III both have over 40 megapixels, but which one comes out on top? With similar image quality, the answer comes down to speed, autofocus, battery life, and design.
Deals

The Canon EOS Rebel T6 DSLR camera gets a steep price cut at Walmart

Modern smartphones can snap pretty impressive pics, but if you want pro-quality photos, you need a dedicated digital camera. The Canon EOS Rebel T6 is one of the best entry-level DSLR cameras on the market, and it’s on sale right now for…
Photography

Sweet 16: Wacom’s Cintiq 16 pen display makes retouching photos a breeze

Wacom’s Cintiq pen displays are usually reserved for the pros (or wealthy enthusiasts), but the new Cintiq 16 brings screen and stylus editing to an approachable price. Does it cut too much to get there?
Mobile

China bans selfies at gigantic Aperture Spherical Telescope

You can't take a selfie with the world's largest single-dish radio telescope anymore, as the Chinese government has banned everything from smartphones to digital cameras in the surrounding 5-kilometer area.
Photography

After controversial video, China bans ‘Leica’ on social media

A video that referenced Tiananmen Square got the name of the camera company Leica banned from the social media platform Weibo. Leica says the video wasn't an officially sanctioned promotion.
Photography

Photography News: Instagram’s disappearing likes, the best photos of the year

In this week's Photography News, see why Instagram is testing a version that excludes the number of likes a post gets. Also, see the impressive winners from two photography contests and the latest features coming to the Fujifilm X-T3.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robots that eat landmines and clean your floors

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!