While it wouldn’t be unreasonable to say that the smartphone has “killed” the point-and-shoot camera because for the most part, I think that’s completely true. However, some point-and-shoots aren’t like the others–some point-and-shoots are like the brand new Sony RX100 VII, which is absolutely insane.
Sony’s renown RX100 series has been around for some time now, and each iteration has made them more and more capable without ever losing the ability to basically fit in your back pocket. And that’s truly an incredible thing because where on Earth are they finding the space?
In any case, the RX100 VII, is easily the company’s most insane point-and-shoot camera yet because it packs high-end features from their flagship A9 camera into this tiny body. Although the sensor is still a 20MP 1-inch unit, and the lens is still the same 24-200mm equivalent zoom lens with an f/2.8-f/4.5 aperture that debuted on the RX100 VI, Sony’s actually upgraded their sensor to a stacked CMOS unit.
This is what you would find in their current A9 camera that’s designed for high-speed performance when capturing fast-moving subjects like in sporting activities. That means, this new RX100 VII is capable of shooting 20fps burst with no viewfinder blackout and full AF/AE capabilities. And if you thought that’s crazy, there’s also a high-speed burst mode (yes, higher speed than 20fps) that allows the camera to shoot a burst of 7 photos at 90fps.
While this sounds great for stuff like jump shots, you can’t just hold down your shutter button and spray and pray because it only does 7 photos. At 90fps, 7 photos only takes a fraction of a second so you will need to time your shutter properly but if you do it right, you will have more granular control to choose the perfect shot.
With the new stacked sensor and DRAM chip built-in, the RX100 VII also gets access to the utterly incredible autofocus performance of the Sony A9. This means that it has a combination of 357 phase-detect and 425 contrast-detect AF points, real-time tracking and real-time eye autofocus for both humans and animals, plus up to 60 AF/AE calculations per second. Translation: It focuses real fast and real good–at least, it should.
But beyond being an incredible camera for stills, Sony’s also upped the ante in the video recording department by adding one of the most requested features: A microphone jack. If you listen closely, you can actually hear as millions of vloggers collectively sigh “finally”.
No longer will you need to stick bits of cotton over the built-in microphones on the Sony RX100 cameras because you can now stick your very own microphone into this tiny thing and get proper audio. But, I suspect that this setup will look a little ridiculous if you pair this camera with something like a huge Rode Videomic Pro. Nevertheless, this will undoubtedly be a valuable feature for any videographer looking to shoot with this.
Personally, the 24mm equivalent lens on the RX100 always felt a little too narrow for vlogging. I have to hold it way further from my face, or use a really long bendy tripod to get it at an angle that I’m happy with. I definitely prefer something along the lines of a 16mm equivalent or wider for vlogging, but maybe that’s a personal thing.
One thing I think we can all agree on though is that more stabilisation is usually better. That’s why Sony’s equipped their new point-and-shoot with upgraded SteadyShot. It’s called 4K Active SteadyShot and it combines electronic image stabilisation (EIS) and optical image stabilisation (OIS) to apparently give you up to 8X more stabilisation than the existing 4K Standard SteadyShot. Stabilisation is a little bit of a hit-or-miss sometimes because you can get warping at the edges, so I’m pretty interested in testing this out should I get my hands on an RX100 VII.
In any case, the RX100 VII is looking like a truly capable camera. Sony’s been slaying it in the camera game (well, except for the fact that there is still no A7S III) and the RX100 VII looks like it will be continuing that legacy. The only pain-point here is that with all this high-end tech, the RX100 VII is also a very expensive point-and-shoot camera. In the US, it will retail for USD1,200 (~RM4,944) and that’s a lot of money.