Body and handling

The RX100 VII borrows most of its handling and design philosophy from previous models. This means it's a slim, smart-looking and compact camera, but power users may find themselves wishing for more or different controls.

Key takeaways

  • Borrows the same, flexible 24-200mm equiv F2.8-4.5 lens from its predecessor
  • Body is essentially unchanged relative to RX100 Mark VI
  • Finds room for microphone input

At first glance the RX100 VII looks very much like all the other cameras in the series. It manages to look all-but-identical to the Mark VI: you'll need to search for the mic socket on the upper right shoulder to find the difference.

It's a relatively dense-feeling little camera, presumably because Sony has squeezed so much into it, yet it doesn't feel particularly solid: the outer case doesn't feel especially thick. It doesn't flex or feel overly fragile, but it doesn't feel armor-plated.

Its control layout and feel in the hand is entirely unchanged from previous models: there's enough of a thumb rest to let you hold it single-handed, but there's a reason there's a thriving market in stick-on grips to make up for the otherwise rather low-friction front plate.

24-200mm lens

The 24-200mm equivalent lens is the same one used on the Mark VI. It offers an F2.8-4.5 maximum aperture range, which is how the camera is able to be so small, despite the impressive zoom range.

The camera's aperture drops off fairly rapidly, reaching F4.0 by about 40mm equivalent. This is already 1EV slower than the camera's brightest aperture, meaning it's letting in half as much light, which will mean an image quality disadvantage compared with anything with a brighter lens.

However, the lens is still considerably brighter than that of the Panasonic ZS200, the only other camera to offer this combination of sensor size, zoom range and compactness.

Control points

Like its predecessors, we feel the RX100 VII works best as a point-and-shoot camera. It has both a smoothly rotating control ring around the lens, which can be used to adjust a variety of settings, and a small, rather fiddly clicking wheel on the rear plate, if you do want to exercise some control.

There's also a touchscreen, but, if anything, the new autofocus system reduces the need for it; especially as it can't be used to operate the camera's Fn menu. On a camera you can simply point at your chosen subject, then half-press and recompose with a good degree of confidence that it'll keep tracking the right thing, there's little need to manually specify an AF point.

So the touchscreen is only really useful if you set the camera up to tap-to-track in video mode and, perhaps, for swiping through images when you're reviewing them.

Ports

Despite its minuscule body - which contains the sensor, room to fold up the lens, a battery, SD card slot and cavity for the viewfinder to retract into, don't forget - the RX100 VII adds a full-size 3.5mm microphone socket, next to its micro HDMI port and Micro USB socket.

Battery

The RX100 VII uses the same battery as its predecessors. There's a UHS-I-type card slot in the battery compartment.

The RX100 VII uses the same NP-BX1 battery. It's a 4.5Wh unit from which the camera derives a rating of 260 shots per charge using the LCD, per the CIPA standard testing methodology.

As always, it's not uncommon to many more shots than this, depending on your shooting habits (we often get a bit more than double the CIPA number), but the ratings are usually broadly comparable between cameras. We find a rating of around 200 shots per charge is just about sufficient for a weekend of occasional shots (where photography isn't your main focus) or half a day's committed shooting. It's low enough that it'll be worth having a recharging plan in mind.

The RX100 VII will charge or directly operate over its Micro USB type socket, so we'd recommend having a charged USB power bank of some sort with you, if you're traveling.