Image quality

The RX100 VII sports a new 1"-type stacked CMOS sensor with the same pixel count as its predecessor - but with a wider AF spread and faster readout - and the same 24-200mm equiv. lens. The result is similarly-impressive image quality between these two cameras.

Out-of-camera JPEG
ISO 400 | 1/500 sec | F4.5 | 44mm equiv.
Photo by Jeff Keller

Key Takeaways:

  • Very good image quality whether shooting Raw or JPEG, on par with the RX100 VI
  • JPEGs retain fine detail, even in low light thanks to well-judged noise reduction
  • Lens is sharp and consistent throughout zoom range, but be aware of copy variation
  • Slow maximum aperture limits low light capability

Studio Scene

Our test scene is designed to simulate a variety of textures, colors and detail types you'll encounter in the real world. It also has two illumination modes to see the effect of different lighting conditions.

Raw image quality appears comparable with the RX100 VI despite the VII having a 1/3-stop lower base ISO. In fact, Raw performance across the board is quite similar for this crop of 1"-type sensor cameras, although the RX100s do lag a little bit at high ISOs - strange given the similar sensors.

The lens on the RX100 VI and VII appears a good bit sharper than that of the Panasonic, but a hair softer than the Canon at the 85mm equiv. we tested. It's important to note, lens variation can be a significant factor here.

The JPEG engine also appears to be the same as the RX100 VI, emphasizing fine detail capture thanks to well-judged sharpening and noise reduction. Skin tone renderings seem accurate and greens and reds are pleasingly rendered. Blues continue to have a bit of a magenta cast which affects sky rendition. Yellows seem like they may have been slightly improved compared to the RX100 VI, appearing more like Canon's yellows and less greenish, like Panasonic's (they're still no match for Nikon yellows though). Noise reduction does a good job hanging on to detail, but all these cameras struggle as the ISO increases, at which point available aperture and the ability to keep the ISO down becomes critical.

Dynamic Range

Our ISO invariance test looks at how much noise a camera is adding by assessing the difference between underexposing at base ISO and increasing the brightness in post vs. shooting at a higher ISO. With the RX100 VII, there's only a slight noise penalty for shooting ISO 100 and pushing 4-stops vs shooting ISO 1600, suggesting it's adding very little noise to its own files. In turn, this gives some scope for underexposing a low ISO setting to protect highlights, then brightening later.

Our exposure latitude test takes a look at shadow noise and how it is impacted by pushing increasingly-underexposed image, essentially lifting increasingly deep shadows to see how usable they are. The RX100 VII's deepest shadows appear a tad less noisy than the RX100 VI, likely due to receiving 1/3 EV more light due to its lower base ISO. However, the Mark VII appears a bit noisier than the G5 X II, despite it receiving 1/3EV more light.