Point-and-shoot compact cameras are dead, right? Not according to the Sony RX100 VII, which continues the series’ tradition of shoehorning high-end camera tech into a pocket-sized body – and this time, Sony’s gone all-out on its video skills.
One of the main frustrations about the RX100 VI, at least if you fancied using it for video, was the lack of a microphone jack for plugging in an external mic. Well, Sony’s now fixed that in the RX100 VII, making it a potentially excellent travel vlogging compact.
The addition of a mic input isn’t the only video boon – Sony’s also added Movie Eye AF, which automatically keeps eyes in focus during video, and some improved Steadyshot image stabilisation for its 4K video. We’ll need to test this out fully, but the early signs are promising, if not quite up to the gimbal-like heights of GoPro’s Hypersmooth.
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The RX100 VII is still a formidable stills compact with some refined shooting skills. Its one-inch sensor, which is larger than the one you’ll find in any flagship smartphone, has a new stacked architecture taken from the Sony A9, its £3,400 mirrorless flagship.
The combination of this with the latest Bionz X processor gives the RX100 VII some A9-esque speed and AF power. It has 20fps blackout-free continuous shooting with AF-tracking on your subject, 357-point phase detection AF that covers 68% of the frame (a small improvement on the RX100 VI) and real-time subject tracking that should be similar to that seen in the Sony A6400.
One thing that hasn’t changed from the RX100 VI is the lens – it has the same 24-200mm f/2.8-f/4.5 lens as its predecessor, which gives you the equivalent of 8.3x optical zoom. This lens is slower than the f/1.8-2.8 zoom seen on the Sony RX100 V, so if you don’t need that extra zoom and mostly shoot in low light that model (or the RX100 IV and III) might be a better bet given their significantly lower price tag.
But it’s those new video powers that are the big pull of the RX100 VII, with 4K HDR, improved stabilisation and real-time Eye AF making it an attractive option for well-heeled vloggers, as well as its usual crowd of hobbyist photographers looking for DSLR-like power in a small body.
You’ll be able to buy the Sony RX100 VII for £1,200 in August 2019 and we’ll bring you our full verdict on how it compares to its predecessor very soon.