Conclusion

What we like What we don't
  • Hugely flexible lens range with good quality throughout
  • JPEGs with good color and detail
  • Excellent dynamic range
  • Highly detailed video
  • Eye-AF makes portraiture simple
  • Class-leading autofocus tracking
  • 24 frame per second shooting
  • Very good viewfinder
  • Genuinely small
  • USB charging is handy
  • Complex user interface
  • Overcomplicated and confusing autofocus system
  • Low light performance limited by lens
  • Under-utilized touchscreen
  • Lack of ND filter restricts video shooting
  • Lack of Mic socket undermines video
  • No in-camera Raw conversion
  • No external charger included

Overall conclusion

The RX100 VI is something of a departure for the RX100 series: offering a more extensive zoom range but giving up some of its large sensor's low light ability by pairing it with a less bright lens. This makes it much more of a do-everything family camera and travel zoom, rather than an enthusiast photographer's pocket camera.

This change of role suits the camera, to some degree. We've never felt the RX100 user interface encouraged the hands-on, engaged style of shooting we want from an enthusiast compact but its 'trust me / only make occasional changes' approach makes more sense for owners more worried about getting the shot than engaging in the process.

The RX100 VI's lens gives you real flexibility, in terms of what you shoot and how you frame your subject. Out of camera JPEG.
(Left) ISO 160 |1/400th | F3.5 | 40mm equiv.
(Right) ISO 250 | 1/400th | F4.5 | ~200mm equiv.

The autofocus sets a new bar for what a compact camera can do (it'll embarrass a fair few DSLRs), its video can be stunning and its lens is remarkably consistent across its range. Every aspect of its specification is class-leading and, video limitations aside, its performance generally lives up to the promise of that spec, making it a spectacularly capable travel camera.

But (and I suspect you knew a 'but' was coming), the RX100 VI is expensive. Mid-level DSLR or mirrorless expensive. And, while you can argue that it shoots faster, probably focuses better and shoots video just as well (all while fitting in your pocket), it can't match them when it comes image quality.

A spectacularly capable travel camera.

Squeezing such a large zoom range in such a small body comes at a cost. The RX100 VI's lens lets in between 2/3 and 1/3 as much light as the RX100 V's and that means noisier images, especially in low light but also if you're using fast shutter speeds to capture action.

So, while the RX100 VI is more likely to get the shot you want than its compact peers, it's not going to offer the image quality you'll get from other cameras costing a similar amount of money. You have to really want this combination of capability and compactness to justify its combination of image quality and cost.


What we think


Carey Rose
Reviews Editor
Whether the RX100 VI will be a good match for you depends largely on what you’re looking for from a ‘carry everywhere’ camera. There's no denying the appeal of such an incredible zoom range that fits into a (large-ish) pocket, nor the fantastic autofocus and burst speeds. In the end, if you’re looking for great image quality in this segment with minimal fuss, the RX100 VI is a great fit. But if you’re a photographer that likes to take more control over the picture-taking process, you may find the RX100 VI to be disengaging to use and may be served better by an alternative with more robust controls.

Richard Butler
Technical Editor
For my own use, I prefer the short, bright lens of the previous three RX100 cameras, but it's hard not to be impressed by the Mark VI. The extra reach on the lens extends it out to classic portrait focal lengths and beyond, making it a more flexible camera, especially when combined with this level of autofocus capability. However, although the user interface is improved, I'm still not sure the combination of limited direct controls and complex functions (such as the multi-layered AF system) is a good match for many users.

Compared with other high-end compacts

Sony Cyber-shot DSC RX100 V: Yet again, Sony's naming system ends up risking confusion between very different cameras. The longer zoom on the RX100 VI makes it a very different beast than the shorter, much brighter lens in its predecessors. The one-step operation of the viewfinder is a nice benefit, as are the improvements in both autofocus and JPEG color, but none of these are as significant as the differences between the lenses. The longer zoom means the VI is more flexible in terms of what you can shoot but the reduction of low light capability from the less bright lens limits when you can shoot.

This longer lens also sets the RX100 VI apart from the likes of the Panasonic Lumix LX10 and Canon Powershot G7X II, which forego the 'do-everything' appeal of the 24-200mm equivalent zoom range but in return offer brighter lenses for better low-light capability. If you don't need the full 200mm equivalent reach, then the Canon is worth a look. It can't shoot as fast as the Sony, nor are its autofocus or video in the same league, but its price isn't, either.

The RX100 VI is more flexible in terms of what you can shoot but the less bright lens limits when you can shoot it.

Panasonic Lumix DC ZS200: The Panasonic outguns the Sony by offering the even more impressive-sounding 24-360mm equiv lens. However, this lens lets in still less light and we've yet to see a copy that's really impressed us. Across the board the specs are lower, whether it's the field-sequential viewfinder, the cropped video or the less capable autofocus, but it's up to you to decide whether you're willing to pay nearly double for that extra ability.

Panasonic Lumix DMC ZS100: This is probably the RX100 VI's most serious rival. Like its bigger brother it lags behind the Sony in every key respect, but it costs less than half as much. As a result, the Panasonic is a less capable family camera but still makes a pretty credible travel companion. The Sony is demonstrably better but you should ask yourself whether it's more than you need.


Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category. Click here to learn about the changes to our scoring system and what these numbers mean.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VI
Category: Enthusiast Large Sensor Compact Camera
Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Features
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Optics
Performance
Movie / video mode
Connectivity
Value
PoorExcellent
Conclusion
The RX100 VI is a very capable camera, combining a flexible zoom range with impressive autofocus. However, the small maximum aperture required to keep the size down limits the image quality in some situations. The relatively high price means you have to really want its unequaled combination of capability and size.
Good for
Anyone needing fast AF, good video, sharp images and a flexible zoom range in a pocket-sized package.
Not so good for
Anyone seeking the best possible image quality in dim light or with moving subjects.
83%
Overall score