Sony RX100 VI – What Were They Thinking?
Sony just announced the Sony RX100 VI and it is a real head scratcher. To be completely honest it is probably the biggest let down I have seen come from Sony in the last few years. Considering the absolute home run release of the Sony A7iii with huge positive reviews, you have to wonder what the heck the Sony engineers where thinking. What Sony essentially did was open up a huge gap for other competitors like Panasonic, Canon, Fiji and Nikon to not only take advantage of the situation, but really gain some ground. I am quite certain these companies were jumping for joy.
Back in 2015 Sony released the RX100 Mark IV model. A year later they released the hugely popular Sony RX100 V. As 2018 rolled around there was a lot of anticipation as to what would be coming for the RX100 Mark 6. The Sony Mark iV and V were improvements upon earlier version, yet the Mark 6 seems to be a completely different camera.
What makes things really confusing and quite irritating is the continuation of the RX100 model line, when the camera is literally a totally different design. For some reason Sony’s engineers or whoever was running the show, felt a longer reach lens was needed, when in fact the major Sony users were asking for something completely different.
Why The Let Down On The Sony RX100 VI?
The Sony RX100 V, which was Sony’s flagship compact camera just needed some tweaks to make it a killer compact camera. Instead Sony totally re-engineered it and didn’t address any of the main issues specifically
- Image Stabilization
- Wider Field Of View
- No Built built-in neutral density ND Filter
Sony RX100 Audio Problem
Simply put, most if not all compact camera’s suffer from good audio. Sony is no exception. Without a 3.5mm audio port, videographers, vloggers and filmmakers are left to their own devices to capture quality audio. Most will end up using some type of external digital recorder like the Zoom H4 or H5. While this isn’t a bad alternative, it does add extra post processing time, since you are working with multiple files and have to sync up the audio with the video. It also requires multiple devices, namely the camera and a audio recorder. For vloggers, adding extra steps into the mix cost time, which isn’t always a luxury to be had, especially if you are vlogging on a regular basis.
From my perspective Sony has been absolutely tone deaf when it comes to adding a 3.5mm input. It is probably the biggest complaint / most needed request coming from Sony users.
Sony Image Stabilization
Sony falls behind competitors including Panasonic, Canon and GoPro when it comes to in camera stabilization and the hope was Sony would improve it. From everything I have seen, there doesn’t appear to be any significant stabilization advancements.
The New RX100 VI features what Sony calls Optical SteadyShot™, so that at 200mm the stabilization is equivalent to raising the shutter speed 4.0 stops.
I own both the GoPro 6 and a Canon GX7 and the image stabilization on both are much better than the Sony RX100 V and now probably VI even with the new enhancements.
Sony Wider Field Of View
The Sony RX100 V is equipped with a 8.8-25.7mm lens translating into an optical zoom ratio of about 2.9x. This means the RX100 V had a 35mm-equivalent focal range of about 24-70mm, which is a great focal length for a vast amount of shooting situations. The RX100 V also came with a 1.8 – 2.8 aperture. With the new RX100 VI the starting aperture is 2.8 and goes out the 4.5. What this mean is the Rx100 mark 6 is not as good in low light conditions. It also means that stellar bokeh effect is essentially hampered with the larger aperture.
After using the camera RX100 V, many vloggers wanted a wider lens. Something in the range of 18 to 20mm. Instead, they loose the low light capability of the Mark V and still are stuck with a 24mm lens, which does nothing to address their wider field of view requests.
Removes Built In ND Filter
Sony removed the built-in neutral density (ND) filter of the mark V, which severely limits the Sony RX100 VI’s ability to take great video.
Why would a Vlogger want the RX100 VI vs RX100 V?
Sony did make a few updates that vloggers could appreciate, specifically the LCD screen where it now can be setup 90 degrees for selfies, rather than 45 degrees for the Mark V.
Having a longer lens certainly can come in handy, depending where you are.
Overall though, the camera isn’t a RX100 V replacement, instead it’s an altogether different camera that really doesn’t address what vloggers wanted.