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Sony RX100 VII Camera Review

Tested using Methodology v0.10
Reviewed May 18, 2021 at 10:20 am
Sony RX100 VII Picture
7.4
Travel Photography
7.2
Landscape Photography
7.6
Sport & Wildlife Photography
7.3
Vlogging
6.8
Studio Video
5.3
Action Video
Body Type
Point and Shoot
Mirrorless
Yes
Tested Lens
Built-In Lens
Sensor Size
1-inch

The Sony RX100 VII is a versatile compact zoom camera. It offers excellent overall image quality and features a highly effective autofocus system for both photography and video. It's also lightweight and fantastically portable, making it easy to bring along with you throughout the day. Unfortunately, videos recorded in dimmer environments are somewhat noisy. Depending on your choice of settings and usage habits, its battery life is also on the short side, and its lack of a handgrip, small size, and smooth-finish body makes it tricky to maintain a secure hold.

Our Verdict

7.4 Travel Photography

The Sony RX100 VII is good for travel photography. Image quality out-of-the-box is excellent, and the camera's wide shutter speed range makes it easy to capture both long-exposure shots and stills of fast-moving subjects. Its autofocus system also does a fantastic job of tracking moving subjects and objects. Unfortunately, the camera's small size and lack of a dedicated hand grip can make it uncomfortable to use for extended periods. Depending on your choice of settings, it also has fairly short battery life.

Pros
  • Lightweight, portable design.
  • Superb autofocus performance in photography and video.
  • Excellent image quality.
Cons
  • Uncomfortable to hold.
  • Short battery life.
7.2 Landscape Photography

The Sony RX100 VII is a great option for landscape photography. Image quality is fantastic, with a fairly wide dynamic range and good noise-handling capability even at higher ISO levels, which is good if you plan on shooting in darker environments often. It also has an in-camera HDR shooting mode that allows you to capture a broader range of detail in high-contrast environments, like sunlight reflecting off the surface of a lake, though we don't currently test his feature. Its tilting and flipping screen is bright enough to be seen under direct sunlight. While the camera itself feels decently sturdy, it isn't rated as being weather-resistant, though we don't currently test that, and it can be uncomfortable to hold during long shooting sessions.

Pros
  • Lightweight, portable design.
  • Superb autofocus performance in photography and video.
  • Excellent image quality.
  • Tilting, flipping screen is bright and sharp.
Cons
  • Uncomfortable to hold.
  • Short battery life.
  • Not weather or impact-resistant.
7.6 Sport & Wildlife Photography

The Sony RX100 VII is very good for sports and wildlife photography. Its unique single burst shooting mode should allow you to capture clear stills of very brief moments, and its autofocus system does an exceptional job of maintaining focus on moving subjects. Its blackout-free shooting feature also makes it a lot easier to track the movement of subjects, as you don't have to worry about the interruption of a black frame between each shot. However, we don't currently test this feature. Image quality is also amazing, and the built-in Zeiss lens has a fairly long maximum focal length, making it easy to capture photos of far-away subjects. Unfortunately, it can be uncomfortable to hold for long periods due to the lack of a handgrip.

Pros
  • Superb autofocus performance in photography and video.
  • Single burst shooting mode.
  • Excellent image quality.
Cons
  • Uncomfortable to hold.
  • Short battery life.
7.3 Vlogging

The Sony RX100 VII is very good for vlogging. Its flipping and tilting screen allows you to monitor yourself as you record, and the camera's lightweight construction makes it easy to carry around, even for long shooting sessions. Its autofocus system also does an excellent job of tracking subjects' faces. Video quality is reasonably sharp and fairly low in noise as long as you're recording in well-lit environments. It does a good job of smoothing out camera shake in FHD and performs decently well in this regard when shooting in 4k. On the downside, depending on your usage habits and choice of settings, it can drain its battery quite quickly. You may also experience some overheating-related interruptions, even when recording in five-minute increments in 4k.

Pros
  • Lightweight, portable design.
  • Superb autofocus performance in photography and video.
  • Good overall video stabilization performance.
  • Tilting, flipping screen is bright and sharp.
Cons
  • Short battery life.
  • Mediocre video quality in dim environments.
  • Can overheat fairly easily.
6.8 Studio Video

The Sony RX100 VII is decent for studio video. Video quality is okay overall, though footage recorded in FHD and 4k can look a little soft and noisy in poorly-lit environments. Its menu system is also somewhat harder to use. Out-of-the-box, the camera only records 4k video in five-minute increments, but this extends to 30 minutes if you change its 'Auto Power OFF Temp.' setting to 'High'. However, we don't currently test this configuration, and using it this way can result in the camera overheating, though it can also overheat during shorter recording sessions. Thankfully, the autofocus system is superbly effective when it comes to tracking moving subjects. The camera also supports Log shooting profiles, yielding a wider dynamic range while recording video and greater flexibility when color-grading your footage, though we don't currently test this. It also features a relatively wide assortment of ports, with a mic jack and a clean HDMI output for using an external recorder without any overlays.

Pros
  • Superb autofocus performance in photography and video.
  • Relatively wide assortment of inputs and outputs.
Cons
  • Mediocre video quality in dim environments.
  • Can overheat fairly easily.
5.3 Action Video

The Sony RX100 VII isn't designed for action video. While it's small, lightweight, and decently sturdy, it isn't meant for mounting on a chest or a helmet rig, and the camera isn't rated as being water or impact-resistant, though we don't currently test for that. It's also incapable of shooting at more than 30 fps in 4k, which isn't conducive to recording smooth action video, but it can record at up to 120 fps in FHD. It also does a good job of smoothing out camera shake overall.

Pros
  • Lightweight, portable design.
  • Good overall video stabilization performance.
Cons
  • Short battery life.
  • Not weather or impact-resistant.
  • Mediocre video quality in dim environments.
  • 7.4 Travel Photography
  • 7.2 Landscape Photography
  • 7.6 Sport & Wildlife Photography
  • 7.3 Vlogging
  • 6.8 Studio Video
  • 5.3 Action Video
  1. Updated Sep 16, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.10.
  2. Updated Aug 05, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.9.
  3. Updated Apr 22, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.8.
  4. Updated May 18, 2021: Review published.
  5. Updated May 14, 2021: Early access published.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Sony RX100 VII only comes in one color variant: 'Black', and you can see its label here.

Let us know in the discussions if you come across another variant, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Cameras

Sony ZV-1

The Sony RX100 VII and the Sony ZV-1 are very similar compact cameras. They share the same 1-inch sensor, use the same battery, and both use Sony's fantastic autofocus, as well as being similar in size and weight. That said, the ZV-1 is geared more specifically to vloggers, with a fully articulated screen, small hand bump that makes it easier to hold securely when the camera's facing you, and a dedicated video recording button. The RX100 VII, on the other hand, has a small pop-up viewfinder, tilting screen, and a built-in flash. Its built-in lens also has a longer focal length range, giving it a bit more versatility. Otherwise, the two cameras perform very similarly.

Sony ฮฑ6000

The Sony α6000 and the Sony RX100 VII are different cameras suited to different uses. The RX100 VII is a compact fixed-lens camera, making it a great choice for travel or if you just want a simple but versatile point-and-shoot. Because of its compact form factor, it doesn't have a handgrip and isn't as comfortable to shoot with, and its fixed lens is more limited than the plethora of lens options you get with an interchangeable lens model like the α6000. The α6000 also has a larger APS-C sensor, giving it greater dynamic range as well as better noise handling and low-light performance, and longer battery life. 

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
9.2
Design
Portability
Height
2.3" (5.8 cm)
Width
4.1" (10.4 cm)
Depth
1.7" (4.4 cm)
Volume
16.2 inยณ (264.9 cmยณ)
Weight
0.66 lbs (0.30 kg)
Weight With Lens
0.66 lbs (0.30 kg)
7.0
Design
Build Quality

  • Made of smooth-finish metal
  • Most buttons are small but offer good physical feedback, except for the Record button, which is easy to accidentally press on
  • Customizable lens ring rotates smoothly
  • Pop-up viewfinder is sturdy
  • Screen mechanism feels solid
  • Back dial is a little loose, which can make it easy to skip past a setting or incremental adjustment
  • Zoom dial is sensitive, making it hard to fine-tune focal length
  • Edges of the mode dial are sharp to the touch, which can make it uncomfortable to spin
  • Pop-up flash is a little fragile but is easy to push back into its housing
  • Input and outputs are covered by hard plastic flaps
  • SD card and battery compartment is covered by a solid locking hinged door

Design
Body
Body Type
Point and Shoot
Water Resistance
No
Mirrorless
Yes
Rugged
No
Hot Shoe
No
Customizable Button
Yes
Command Dial
2
Tripod Mount
Yes
Lens Mount
No Lens Mount
Built-In Flash
Yes
Design
In The Box

  • Sony RX100 VII camera
  • Wrist strap
  • Strap adapter
  • 1x Sony Np-BX1 battery
  • USB charger
  • AC adapter
  • Startup Guide

6.0
Design
Ergonomics & Comfort
Hand Grip: Small Hand
No Hand Grip
Hand Grip: Medium Hand
No Hand Grip
Hand Grip: Large Hand
No Hand Grip
Hand Grip: Extra-Large Hand
No Hand Grip

  • Lack of a grip at the front of the camera and smooth finish makes it difficult to keep a secure hold
  • Back of the camera does have a rubberized thumb grip, but it's quite small
  • Its small size makes it slightly uncomfortable to use even for users with small hands
  • Pop-out viewfinder isn't comfortable to press your eye against, but is a useful feature
  • Lens dial is useful, but not particularly responsive
  • Can't use the touchscreen to adjust most parameters
  • Memory card can't be changed when the camera is mounted on a tripod

Design
Viewfinder
Viewfinder Type
Electronic
Advertised Coverage
100%
Advertised Resolution
2.36 million dots
Advertised Magnification
0.59
7.7
Design
Screen
Screen Articulation Type
Tilt And Flip
Screen Max Brightness
745 cd/mยฒ
Advertised Resolution
0.92 million dots
Size
3.0" (7.6 cm)
Touchscreen
Limited
6.5
Design
Menu System
Guide Mode
Yes
App Name
Imaging Edge Mobile

  • Most functions are difficult to find within the menu system, with quite a few settings being buried within sub-menus
  • Menu can only be navigated with the physical click wheel, which is somewhat unintuitive
  • Interface is a little more intuitive when using the Tile Menu
  • Guide mode is useful in explaining some core functions
  • Lens dial, back wheel, and some buttons can be remapped to better-suit your ergonomic preferences
  • Fn sub-menu can be extensively customized, and you can setup your own custom menu too

6.8
Design
Lens
Lens Type
Built-in
Maximum Aperture
2.8 - 4.5
Max Aperture (Full-Frame Equivalent)
f/7.6
Tested Lens
Built-In Lens
Minimum Focal Length
9 mm
Maximum Focal Length
72 mm
Max Focal Length (Full-Frame Equivalent)
200 mm
Optical Image Stabilization
Yes
Luminance
77.9%
Light Falloff
61.2%
Design
Sensor
Sensor Type
Stacked BSI CMOS
Advertised Effective Pixels
20.1 MP
Sensor Size
1-inch
Processor
BIONZ X
Extended ISO Minimum
64
Native ISO Minimum (Base ISO)
100
Native ISO Maximum
12,800
Tested Firmware
Ver. 1.0.0
5.7
Design
Battery
Battery Type
Sony Np-BX1
USB Charging
Yes
Use When Charging
Yes
Advertised Battery Life In Photo
260 photos
Tested Battery Life In Video
54 min

Note: Out-of-the-box, this camera records 4k video in 5-minute intervals to protect against overheating, but this limit can be extended to 30 minutes if you change its 'Auto Power OFF Temp.' setting to 'High'.

Photo General
Photo General
Photo Features
JPEG File Format
Yes
Raw File Format
ARW
Shutter
Electronic and Mechanical
Slowest Shutter Speed
30 s
Fastest Shutter Speed
1/2,000 s
Silent Shooting
Yes
HDR
Yes
Time Lapse
Yes

Note: Like the Sony ZV-1, this camera has a 'Beauty Effect' feature that allows you to apply a filter intended for portraits that smooths the skin of subjects' faces and applies selectable color tones, but we don't currently test this feature. The camera also offers blackout-free continuous shooting, which makes it easier to track the movement of your subject even as you hold the shutter down.

7.7
Photo General
Photo Shooting Speed
Low Speed Continuous
6 fps
High Speed Continuous
20 fps
Silent Shooting Continuous
22 fps
Raw Buffer Size
81 Photos
JPEG Buffer Size
175 Photos
Buffer Empty Time
52 s

Note: This camera features a single burst shooting mode that allows it to capture seven shots at speeds of 30 fps, 60 fps, or 90 fps to capture clear stills of quick moments. However, we don't currently evaluate the performance of this feature.

8.8
Photo General
Photo Autofocus
Object Tracking Success Rate
95%
Face Tracking Success Rate
60%
Face Detection Distance
163" (414 cm)
Eye Detection
Yes
Advertised Coverage
68%
Advertised Focus Points
357

Note: This camera has a few specialized autofocus modes and features for different uses, though we don't currently test these functions. You can configure the 'Subject Detection' mode to track people or animals, like a cat or dog.

7.6
Photo General
Photo Image Stabilization
Minimum Shutter Speed Achieved
1/15 s
In-Body Image Stabilization
No
Photo Image Quality
6.2
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Dynamic Range
Dynamic Range At Base ISO
8.3 f-stops
Dynamic Range At 1/500s Exposure Time
7.2 f-stops
Dynamic Range At 1/2000s Exposure Time
5.7 f-stops
Dynamic Range At 1/4000s Exposure Time
4.6 f-stops
6.9
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Sharpness
Vertical Edge MTF50 At Base ISO
1,466 LW/PH
Horizontal Edge MTF50 At Base ISO
1,538 LW/PH
9.0
Photo Image Quality
Photo JPEG Noise
SNR 18% At Base ISO
40.65 dB
SNR 18% At ISO 800
38.96 dB
SNR 18% At ISO 3200
34.38 dB
6.3
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Noise
RAW SNR 18% At Base ISO
39.06 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 200
36.83 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 400
34.46 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 800
31.69 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 1600
28.84 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 3200
25.84 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 6400
24.1 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 12800
20.2 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 25600
N/A
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 51200
N/A

Note: This camera needed to have its aperture set to f/10.0 to maintain a stable shutter speed of 1/2000 when shooting at ISO 12800. This differs from the standard test methodology, in which aperture is set to f/8.0, so test results at ISO 12800 may not be fully comparable with other cameras.

Photo Image Quality
Test Scene Pictures Download
JPEG Picture At Base ISO Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 400 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 800 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 1600 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 3200 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 6400 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 12800 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 25600 N/A
JPEG Picture At ISO 51200 N/A
RAW Picture At Base ISO Download
RAW Picture At ISO 400 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 800 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 1600 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 3200 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 6400 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 12800 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 25600 N/A
RAW Picture At ISO 51200 N/A
Pictures Sample Gallery
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Skate Park Picture
JPEG Skate Park Picture Download
RAW Skate Park Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Polish Church Picture
JPEG Polish Church Picture Download
RAW Polish Church Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Studio Picture
JPEG Studio Picture Download
RAW Studio Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Stairway Picture
JPEG Stairway Picture Download
RAW Stairway Picture Download
Video General
Video General
Video Features
Full HD Video
Yes
4k Video
Yes
6k Video
No
Clean HDMI Output
Yes
Advertised Max Chroma Sampling Over HDMI
Not Advertised
Advertised Max Bit Depth Over HDMI
N/A
Log Picture Profile
Yes
Recording Light
No
Video General
Audio
Audio Test Sample
Audio Recording
Stereo
Microphone Level Display
Yes
Video General
Video File Format And Compression
MP4 H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
No
MP4 H.265 / HEVC
No
MOV H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
No
MOV H.265 / HEVC
No
AVCHD H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
Yes
All-I Compression
No
4k Video
6.1
4k Video
4k Video Frame Rate
240 fps In 4k
No
120 fps In 4k
No
60 fps In 4k
No
30 fps In 4k
Yes, with a Crop
24 fps In 4k
Yes, with a Crop
4k Crop At Max Available fps
1.1 x
4.9
4k Video
4k Video Internal Recording
Bitrate Maximum In 4k
96 Mbps
Bitrate Minimum In 4k
56 Mbps
Chroma Sampling In 4k
4:2:0
Bit Depth In 4k
8 Bit
Record Time Limit In 4k
5 min
Overheat Recording Interruptions in 4k
3
9.7
4k Video
4k Video Autofocus Performance
Object Tracking In 4k
9.7
Face Tracking In 4k
9.5
Face Detection In 4k
Yes
Eye Detection In 4k
Yes

Note: This camera's 'Subject Detection' mode can be configured to track people or animals, like a cat or dog. This camera can also only record 4k video at 30 fps with a bitrate of 50 mb/s, which differs from the standard test parameters of having a bitrate of 100 mb/s.

7.0
4k Video
4k Video Quality
Low Light Capability In 4k
6.5
Test Scene Extract In 4k
7.5
6.8
4k Video
4k Video Rolling Shutter Effect
4k Rolling Shutter
4.7ยฐ
Full HD Video
9.5
Full HD Video
FHD Video Frame Rate
240 fps In FHD
No
120 fps In FHD
Yes
60 fps In FHD
Yes
30 fps In FHD
Yes
24 fps In FHD
Yes
FHD Crop At Max Available fps
1 x
8.3
Full HD Video
FHD Video Internal Recording
Bitrate Maximum In FHD
95 Mbps
Bitrate Minimum In FHD
14 Mbps
Chroma Sampling In FHD
4:2:0
Bit Depth In FHD
8 Bit
Record Time Limit in FHD
780 min

Note: This camera can record for a maximum of five minutes when recording at 120fps.

9.7
Full HD Video
FHD Video Autofocus Performance
Object Tracking In FHD
10
Face Tracking In FHD
9.3
Face Detection In FHD
Yes
Eye Detection In FHD
Yes

Note: This camera's 'Subject Detection' mode can be configured to track people or animals, like a cat or dog. This camera can also only record 4k video at 30 fps with a bitrate of 50 mb/s, which differs from the standard test parameters of having a bitrate of 100 mb/s.

6.6
Full HD Video
FHD Video Quality
Low Light Capability In FHD
6.0
Test Scene Extract In FHD
7.1
7.0
Full HD Video
FHD Video Rolling Shutter Effect
FHD Rolling Shutter
4.0ยฐ
Storage And Connectivity
Storage And Connectivity
Storage
Card 1 Slot
SD Card UHS-I
Card 2 Slot
No 2nd Card Slot
7.8
Storage And Connectivity
Inputs / Outputs
USB
Micro USB
HDMI
Micro (Type D)
Headphones
No
Microphone
Stereo
Wi-Fi
Yes
Bluetooth
Yes

Discussions