An A7III in your pocket: Sony’s RX100 VI rocks AF with eye-tracking and a crazy 24-200mm zoom
posted Tuesday, June 5, 2018 at 9:34 AM EDT
Update (1pm ET): We've published our Sony RX100 VI Hands-On Preview.
Good morning, everyone! We're live in New York City, at Sony's press conference. We'll be live-streaming the event, so check out the embedded video below. We'll also be live-updating this page with product information as we receive it if you want follow along via text!
10:08AM ET: And we're live, after a brief technical delay!
10:10AM ET: Brief intro video, then Sony announced a new grip. The shooting grip is designed for RX0 and RX100 series of cameras and includes easy camera controls, free angle shooting with an adjustable head and a built-in tripod. Available in September for $100.
10:11AM ET: Now, for more news about the RX series, Tsutomu Hamaguchi, Senior General Manager of DSC and CAM business is taking the stage.
10:12AM ET: Premium compact camera market trend: Since 2011, the premium camera market has increased every year save for 2016. It has increased again in 2017. Sony continues to hold a dominant number one position in this category. There was a big jump in 2012, why? Sony introduced the original RX100. Pocket-sized professional performance. This model created the premium compact camera market. Since then, the RX100 series has continued to evolve with "world's first innovations."
10:12AM ET: Introducing the newest RX100 camera. Showing a video now.
10:13AM ET: The video highlights: Sony RX100 VI, "close in on the action"! Extending your reach with a 24-200mm lens (f/2.8-4.5), 1.0-type stacked CMOS sensor, 0.03s phase detect AF, 24fps with AE/AF, 4K HDR video, 960fps/1000fps super slow motion.
10:15AM ET: Two lenses combined into one: wide and telephoto. 24-200mm f/2.8-4.5. High-magnification, high zoom ratio lens. A lot of engineering has gone into the optics. To draw out the maximum potential of the camera, the lens needed a large maximum aperture throughout the range. All done without sacrificing the compact form factor.
10:16AM ET: Image stabilization is rated for up to four stops of correction, even at 200mm. Fast, tenacious AF: world's fastest AF at 0.03s, Eye AF has twice the tracking performance compared to the RX100 V, and there is now a touchscreen, including touch AF and touch shutter functionality.
10:17AM ET: Intuitive controls and features for smooth operation: 4K HDR (HLG) workflow, one-push access to the built-in electronic viewfinder (XGA OLED Tru-Finder), and a tiltable LCD. It can tilt 180-degrees upward and 90-degrees downward.
10:18AM ET: The target audience is professionals, enthusiasts and vloggers. Noting the vloggers, this ties in with the earlier announcement of the new camera grip. "Designed to be the 'one and only camera for everyone.'"
10:19AM ET: To cover more details, Mark Weir, Senior Technical Manager at Digital Imaging for Sony is now on the stage.
10:20AM ET: Digging deeper into the lens: The RX100 V was all about speed. The RX100 VI is about the lens. The camera continues to be the same thin form factor. The lens is about half of an inch retracted. The camera is not just about the lens, however, there are also speed improvements thanks to lessons Sony learned with the Sony A9.
10:21AM ET: The lens is about an 8x zoom. The 24-70 and 70-200mm and very popular lenses for a reason, Sony wanted to pack both of them into the same pocketable camera.
10:22AM ET: How? Extra high density design and construction. In addition to the breakthrough lens design, other components have been optimized to make room for the new lens. Practically the same size as the Mark V. Size of flash reduced, new EVF access. Speaking of the one-touch EVF access, the eye-level viewfinder instantly pops up with a touch of the lever. Push, up it pops, push again, down it goes again. There are many refinements in the design and construction.
10:23AM ET: Continuing to deep dive on the new lens: It's a collapsible structure. Six different aspherical elements, ED glass, newly-developed. It's officially a Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 24-200mm f/2.8-4.5.
10:24AM ET: MTF graphs show good consistent performance. Sony is highlighting the edge performance, particularly at the wide end. Promising excellent "corner-to-corner" performance.
10:25AM ET: At telephoto, maintaining high contrast and low aberrations. MTF charts continue to look quite good.
10:26AM ET: Moving on to image quality: Showing off sample images now, highlighting the image quality but also the improved autofocus, particularly with respect to autofocus tracking. The images are wide open at 200mm, looking impressive. But it's not just for action, the background blur is good enough for portraiture work as well. Sony really hammering on the versatility of the camera.
10:28AM ET: Autofocus and speed: Promising performance that is similar to a pro full-frame ILC. Showing a live view shot, the camera tracked a face at 24fps from the distance to right in front of the camera. "Not bad, huh, from a fixed lens pocket camera," Weir says. With Eye AF, the performance is "doubled" as well. A moving subject turning his head and moving through the frame, the camera was able to retain eye focus and even pick it back up when the subject turned away and then back toward the camera. Bionz image processing, leveraging technology from the Sony A9 with its autofocus.
10:29AM ET: Summary of RX series: The Alpha series technology is being shared with the RX series and vice versa. Highlighting autofocus and speed, image quality, movie functionality and optics/actuators. The best camera is the one you have with you and Sony wants to ensure that the camera in your pocket can do it all and do it well.
10:30AM ET: The detail you've all been waiting for -- releases in early July for $1,200 USD ($1,600 CAD)
10:30AM ET: The highlights: 20.1-megapixel Exmor RS stacked CMOS sensor, high-speed 0.03s hybrid AF, 315 AF points, high density tracking AF, continuous eye AF, 24fps with AE/AF, 4K XAVC S at 30fps. Watch this space for our preview, coming shortly!