What’s the point of the Sony RX100 VI?

The new Sony RX100 VI looks brilliant in every way, but I can’t think of a single reason why I’d buy one.

On paper, this camera ticks more boxes than we even knew were boxes. It’s a camera small enough to fit in your pocket, yet has a 24-200mm equivalent zoom. It shoots 4K video, it shoots stills at 24 frames per second with a buffer capacity that’s bigger than ever, so what’s to complain about?

Well, here’s just a couple of observations:

  • It’s got a 20-megapixel 1-inch sensor. Make no mistake, that’s good for a pocket-sized compact camera. It is not, however, unique, because Canon and Panasonic make these too.
  • It’s now got a 24-200mm zoom. Well, that’s great, but the Panasonic TZ200 got there first with a bigger zoom in a camera that’s the same size but costs less.
  • It shoots 4K video. Good, well, so do other pocket-sized cameras. And your phone.
  • It can shoot extended stills bursts at 24fps. This is the part I have most trouble with. If I want to shoot something at 24fps it’s probably something important that I’ll want to capture with a bigger-sensor camera and a proper telephoto lens, not a pint-sized superzoom compact.
  • At launch it costs £1,149 in the UK and $1,198 in the US. Whaaaat?

The RX100 series seems to be the darling of reviewers everywhere, but while the early models were probably great (I’ve never really warmed to them), these latest models seem to heading in a weird (and expensive) direction. The longer zoom is good but the high-powered stacked sensor arrangement seems unnecessary and the price has just gone through the roof.

If money is no object this looks a decent enough travel camera, as long as you don’t know about the Panasonic TZ200, but it really hard to see where Sony is going with this.

The problem for camera reviewers, of course, is that if you gave an earlier version a great review and the new camera is demonstrably better still, you don’t have much choice but to give it the same rating or higher, do you?

I might change my mind if I ever spend any time with an RX100 VI, but that doesn’t look likely any time soon.

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