Sony RX100 VII Announced – Hands on First Look

July 25th, 2019

Sony RX100 VII has been announced and we were lucky enough to take if for a short spin. It has been a bit over a year since Sony introduced its predecessor, the RX100 VI, and now they there’s a new member for its ever growing RX100 family, the RX100 VII. But is it any better for filming? Is the new camera worth being considered especially by Vloggers? Please bare with me while I’m exploring the video capabilities of this new tool.  

Sony RX100 VII – Same focal length as before

It’s almost the end of July and some of you lucky people already having a vacation (or are you just about to take one?). Now, we know how it is before leaving. You would like to take your trusted camera along, while for your life partner, it looks like a complete waste of time (and space), so it won’t be long before this question is asked: “Darling, don’t you have something smaller to take with you?”

Now it looks as if Sony was aware of the situation and for that exact reason (or not) they created the RX100 family of cameras…Well, maybe I went a bit too far and this family of cameras was actually created to cater the needs of Vloggers. So let’s jump in and take a closer look at what is new.

The Evolution – A slide from Sony’s presentation

Sony RX100 VII Improvements Over its Predecessor

Having a new CMOS sensor and a BIONZ X processing engine surly helped achieving a more precise autofocus performance. In addition, the 4K HDR video is achieved through full pixel readout without pixel binning. (With 1.7 times oversampling technology). On top, Sony enhanced the video stabilisation performance of the camera although I have to admit, I wish it was even stronger. Last but not least, you can now film vertically. When doing so and transferring the video to your phone (or editing system), the metadata will follow too so one can start editing vertically instantly if needed.

Sony RX100 VII – The much requested mic input jack

Sony RX100 VII new Features

With its latest offering, Sony took another step forward in creating the ultimate Vloggers camera. The two major advantages over the RX100 VI are the 3.5mm microphone input, and the enhanced autofocus system. Now real time tracking and real time Eye autofocus are supported (Human/Animal). What wasn’t addressed is our wish for a headphone jack, internal ND filter and, easier menu to navigate with.

Sony RX100 VII – Ready for vlogging

Sony’s new accessory holder

In the field

In terms of ergonomics and lens focal lengths, Sony kept the same measurements as with the previous model. Some will appreciate the very long tele lens, others (like me) would have preferred to have a wider lens like the one Sony had in generation V. The camera itself is small and it always takes me a few minutes to adjust my shooting style when filming with it. The optical stabilisation mechanism is doing a fine job especial when you are NOT moving. When walking (and talking) “Vlogging style”, there is still room for improvement. The picture coming out of that very compact camera is fine. Also, because of its zoom range it is easy to  create a shallow depth of field when needed. The main obstacle when filming outdoor with this camera is again the  absence of internal ND filters. If you are a hobbyist, you will probably keep your exposure on automatic mode (but will you buy such an expensive camera just  to have one in your pocket?) and if your are serious about creating more engaging visual content, well, you will have to find creative solutions to work around this limitation. When it comes to audio (which is of course extremely  important when vlogging), I find the preamps too loud. Currently it is not so difficult to distort the sound. You will have to lower the recording audio levels quite a lot in order to achieve satisfactory results. On top, monitoring audio is part of our daily  filming  routine. I hope Sony will take a note of it when planning the next revision. Last but not least,  the menu structure of this camera (like with most other Sony cameras), is, simply put, dreadful. Sorry for the harsh words but we are at the point that the menu is simply hurting the functionality of the camera. Lots of useful features are buried somewhere inside and at times, to make one function work well (or as expected), one will  have to jump between few different menu categories in order to activate that. A real pity.

Sony RX100 VII – The EVF is still there

Conclusion

The Sony RX100 VII is a fabulous technical achievement. It’s small and packed with technology inside it. Now the question is, can it serve vloggers well? It can, if one is fine to work in automatic exposure mode and risk not monitoring the sound output.

Last but not least, one of my remarks when the Sony RX100 VI came out was about its price tag. Back then I was asking if  $1200 is not too high for the market Sony is approaching. (Vloggers). With the new model, Sony chose to keep the price the same so the explanation I can think of is that this type of camera is very popular among a certain audience who can justify it.

What do you think about Sony’s latest offering? Can the RX100 VII be your next vlogging camera? Please share with us your thoughts in the comment section below.  

Music is courtesy of MusicVine. Get 25% off your next music license with code C5D25 (valid for one use per customer).

Full disclosure: Johnnie and other media representatives were guests at Sony Europe’s RX100 VII launch event in Dublin, Ireland. Sony paid the transport and accommodation for this two-day trip, but there was no other payment involved whatsoever.

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Jeff Mac
Jeff Mac
Guest
September 26th, 2019

What’s the model # for Sony’s new accessory holder? I’m looking to purchase but it may not be available in the U.S. yet. Thanks!

Frank Feng
Member
July 26th, 2019

What is upsetting about the RX100VII release is Canon-like handicapping and pricing, caused by complacence of progress and lack of competition.
For $1200 prosumers can get an A6400 + 18-135 kit that is at least a stop faster and more versatile.
For $750 prosumers looking for backup pocketable option can get a brand new 2-year-old RX100V with a faster lens and internal ND, which matter more for serious vlogging and 95% of hybrid shooting, especially in low light.
For $400 casual vloggers can get DJI Osmo Pocket that can shoot 4K60p with a built-in gimbal.
For $100 anyone can just afford a DJI Mobile that can be used with any smartphone they have.

Charbax
Guest
July 27th, 2019
Reply to  Frank Feng

For $1200 you can get the Panasonic G9 with 12-60mm Leica lense it shoots unlimited 4K60 (with the hack) has far superior IBIS, dual SD card slots, flip to the side display with cold shoe for shotgun on top (thus much more compact and much more usable with shotgun anyway). Stronger battery, headphone jack, much better menu. The only thing Sony has going for it is better video autofocus, if Panasonic just had that they’d be untouchable.

Jeremy Lawrence
Jeremy Lawrence
Guest
October 16th, 2019
Reply to  Frank Feng

But none of them will easily fit in a trouser pocket. Which is a key reason I got a RX100 a few years back.
There are other uses for camera other than vlogging too. I have one for stills work.

 Tim Shoebridge
Member
July 25th, 2019

Ah, I still remember the days when Sony were inventive and innovative! ;)
Great job Johnnie, always nice to have your very honest and professional opinion.

Peter Benson
Peter Benson
Guest
July 26th, 2019
Reply to  Tim Shoebridge

Sony has constantly demonstrated a weird, selfish if not arrogant “here’s some new features while we take others away” mentality with new releases of much of their A/V hardware. Don’t you agree?

Roy Boersema
Roy Boersema
Guest
July 25th, 2019

People forget that the RX100 IV already had an internal ND filter.

Facts Ahoy
Facts Ahoy
Guest
July 25th, 2019

“you can now film vertically”

NO. Nobody should be supporting stupidity like this.

Guest
July 25th, 2019
Reply to  Facts Ahoy

What is it stupid about having an extra option?

baba
baba
Guest
July 25th, 2019
Reply to  Facts Ahoy

Why would anyone purposely shoot in portrait mode? You could always create that in post if you wanted to. But to shoot that way????

imajez
imajez
Guest
October 16th, 2019
Reply to  baba

Portrait video is often used for advertising purposes.
Cropping to portrait in post is not a good solution.

Hey Now
Hey Now
Guest
July 25th, 2019

Does it still fit in Sony’s underwater housing?

Their $300 housing is of good quality and an excellent value.

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