We just started testing cameras, and our test bench v0.7 is rather simplistic, so we decided to launch without text in the test boxes. If you have any suggestions on what to improve, let us know here. As we gather your suggestions, we plan on making more frequent changes to our methodology and we'll be able to add text to the reviews in the near future.

Sony RX100 VII Camera Review

Tested using Methodology v0.7
Reviewed May 18, 2021 at 10:20 am
Sony RX100 VII Picture
7.7
Travel Photography
8.0
Landscape Photography
7.8
Sport & Wildlife Photography
7.8
Vlogging
7.2
Studio Video
5.6
Action Video
Body Type
Compact
Mirrorless
Yes
Sensor Size
1-inch
Tested Lens
Built-In Lens

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

7.7 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.
8.0 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.
7.8 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.
7.8 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.
7.2 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.
5.6 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.
  • 7.7 Travel Photography
  • 8.0 Landscape Photography
  • 7.8 Sport & Wildlife Photography
  • 7.8 Vlogging
  • 7.2 Studio Video
  • 5.6 Action Video

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 in³ (264.9 cm³)
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
Water Resistance
No
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

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

Design
Viewfinder
Type
Electronic
Advertised Coverage
100%
Advertised Resolution
2.359 million dots
Advertised Magnification
0.59
7.7
Design
Screen
Screen Articulation Type
Tilt and Flip
Screen Max Brightness
745 cd/m²
Advertised Resolution
0.92 million dots
Size
3.0" (7.6 cm)
Touchscreen
Limited
Design
Sensor
Sensor Type
Stacked BSI CMOS
Advertised Effective Pixels
20.1 MP
Processor
BIONZ X
Extended ISO Minimum
64
ISO Minimum
100
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'.

6.8
Design
Lens
Lens Type
Built-in
Maximum Aperture
2.8 - 4.5
Max Aperture (Full Frame Equivalent)
f/7.6
Minimum Focal Length
9 mm
Maximum Focal Length
72 mm
Max Focal Length (Full Frame Equivalent)
200 mm
Luminance
77.9%
Light Falloff
61.2%
Photo
Photo
Photo Features
JPEG File Format
Yes
RAW File Format
ARW
Shutter
Electronic and Mechanical
Minimum Shutter Speed
30 s
Maximum Shutter Speed
1/2,000 s
Silent Shooting
Yes
HDR
Yes
Focus Peaking
Yes
Zebra Pattern
Yes
Histogram
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.

7.6
Photo
Shooting Speed
Low Speed Continuous
6 fps
High Speed Continuous
20 fps
Silent Shooting Continuous
22 fps
Raw Buffer Size
81 RAW Photos
JPEG Buffer Size
175 JPG 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.

9.0
Photo
Autofocus
Advertised Coverage
68%
Advertised Focus Points
357
Manual Focus Assistance
Yes
Face Detection Distance
163" (414 cm)
Eye Detection
Yes
Face Tracking Success Rate
68.6%
Object Tracking Success Rate
94.5%

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
Image Stabilization
In Body Image Stabilization
No
Minimum Shutter Speed Achieved
1/15 s
8.5
Photo
Image Quality
Dynamic Range At ISO 100
9.77 f-stops
Color Accuracy (dE2000)
7.74
JPEG SNR 18% At ISO 800
38.58 dB
JPEG Sharpness At ISO 800
2.122 pixels
JPEG SNR 18% At ISO 1600
37.49 dB
JPEG Sharpness At ISO 1600
2.011 pixels
JPEG SNR 18% At ISO 3200
33.4 dB
JPEG Sharpness At ISO 3200
2.492 pixels

ISO Setting Sample Photo
ISO 100 Photo
ISO 200 Photo
ISO 400 Photo
ISO 800 Photo
ISO 1600 Photo
ISO 3200 Photo
ISO 6400 Photo
ISO 12800 Photo

6.1
Photo
Luminance Noise
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 100 38.29 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 200 36.11 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 400 33.79 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 800 31.1 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 1600 28.1 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 3200 25.06 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 6400 23.3 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 12800 21.42 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.

Sample Gallery
Sample Gallery
The Skate Park

Format Link
JPEG Photo
RAW Photo

Sample Gallery
The Polish Church

Format Link
JPEG Photo
RAW Photo

Sample Gallery
The Studio

Format Link
JPEG Photo
RAW Photo

Sample Gallery
The Stairway

Format Link
JPEG Photo
RAW Photo

General Video
General Video
Video Feature
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
General Video
Audio
Audio Test Sample
Audio Recording
Stereo
Microphone Level Display
Yes
General Video
Video Exposure Assistant
Zebra Line
Yes
Histogram
Yes
Waveform
No
General Video
Recording 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 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
Crop At Max Available fps
1.1 x
9.5
4k Video
4k Video Autofocus Performance
Eye Detection In 4k
Yes
Face Detection In 4k
Yes
Face Tracking In 4k
8.7
Object Tracking In 4k
10

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 Stabilization
In Body Video Image Stabilization In 4k
No
Walking Test In 4k
14.15 pixels/frames
Running Test In 4k
25.65 pixels/frames
Crop
1.12 x
5.7
4k Video
4k 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 bits
Record Time Limit 5 min
Overheat Recording Interruption
Yes
6.6
4k Video
4k Video Quality
Low Light Capability In 4k
6.0
Test Scene Extract In 4k
7.5
4k Rolling Shutter
4.57°
Full HD Video
9.5
Full HD Video
FHD 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
Crop At Max Available fps
1 x
9.4
Full HD Video
FHD Video Autofocus Performance
Eye Detection In FHD
Yes
Face Detection In FHD
Yes
Face Tracking In FHD
8.7
Object Tracking In FHD
10

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.

7.7
Full HD Video
FHD Video Stabilization
In Body Video Image Stabilization In FHD
No
Walking Test In FHD
5.29 pixels/frames
Running Test In FHD
12.62 pixels/frames
Crop
1.23

Note: This camera features an Intelligent Active stabilization mode that can only be used while recording FHD video at 24 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps. However, we don't currently evaluate this camera's stabilization performance with this feature activated.

8.3
Full HD Video
FHD Internal Recording
Bitrate Maximum In FHD
95 Mbps
Bitrate Minimum In FHD
13.8 Mbps
Chroma Sampling In FHD
4:2:0
Bit Depth In FHD
8
Record Time Limit 780 min

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

6.6
Full HD Video
FHD Video Quality
Low Light Capability In FHD
6.5
Test Scene Extract In FHD
7.1
FHD Rolling Shutter
3.56°
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
Input / Outputs
USB
Micro USB
HDMI
Micro (Type D)
Headphones
No
Microphone
Stereo
Wi-Fi
Yes
Bluetooth
Yes

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.

Discussions