08 Sony RX100-6Sony’s new RX100-6 is an impressively compact camera. Hey, for the features on offer it’s tiny, and it’s well thought through with a screen that tilts from selfies to overhead, a textured thumb rest to improve handling and grip and a zoom ring around the lens, in addition to the less precise lever control around the shutter button.

You’ll like the menus too, which are a big improvement over previous models, and you can put your most-used adjustments into a ‘my menu’ option. Touch-screen focusing and shutter control is new too.

It shoots 4K video and the finished result looks way better on a good television that on the camera’s rear screen, but there’s no microphone or microphone socket. There’s a tiny flash that admittedly works best for fill given that the lens is not particularly fast. I loved the control wheel that as well as selecting left, right, up, down and enter, can also be turned with your thumb to select aperture and shutter speed.

The RX100-6 takes up less room in your pocket or bag than a phone but it weighs substantially more, so pants pocket or a wrist strap works best.

A big attraction is the Carl Zeiss lens, stretching from 24 mm wide-angle to 200 mm telephoto, a far longer stretch than any of the previous RX100 incarnations, but while Sony claims ‘outstanding sharpness from corner-to-corner at all focal lengths’ this was not my experience. Photographs of a collection of vinyl records showed the spine print beautifully focused across the whole frame at 200 mm, but at 24 mm the spines were blurred at the edges of the image.

Sony has built its front-end CMOS sensor into this and it yields fast autofocusing and impressive tracking at up to 24 frames per second.

The pop-up viewfinder is handy, but it bugged me that the camera automatically turns off when it’s pressed back into its hidey hole.

At $1699 the RX100-6 is for committed hobbyists and travel loggers, and with a 233-shot battery you may need a second in reserve ($69).

First published by smh.com.au September 2018.



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