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Holy Stone HS900 review: should DJI be looking over its shoulder?
12:00 pm | May 19, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Computers Drones Gadgets | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

Holy Stone HS900: one-minute review

I’ve reviewed almost every Holy Stone drone available and its latest model, the Holy Stone HS900, represents a significant improvement across the board which makes it the Chinese drone manufacturer’s best drone to date. So much so, that what’s on offer competes directly with the DJI Mini 3 and the Potensic Atom – two impressive mid-range sub-250g drones that come in at two price points.

In terms of price, the HS900 single battery kit costs $330 making it marginally more expensive than the Potensic Atom and significantly less expensive than the DJI Mini 3. Is it better than the Mini 3? No, but if you’re on a budget, it offers an enticing alternative to the Potensic Atom and also provides additional features that could be a deciding factor on which drone to choose, and firmly cements it as one of the best beginner drones available.

Holy Stone HS900 specs

Camera: Sony 1/2.3 in 48MP CMOS sensor / fixed focus f/2.6 lens
Video resolution: Up to 4K
Frame rates: 4K 30 fps / 1080p up to 60 fpsVideo transmission range: 1.86 miles / 3 kmFlight modes: Stable, Normal, Sport
Battery: 2250 mAh Li-ion / up to 30 minutes
Charger type: USB-C cable
Weight: 8.7oz / 249g
Dimensions: 5.63x3.26x2.44in / 143×82.8×62mm folded / 6.59x 8.57x2.44in / 167.4x217.8x62mm unfolded

We’ll go into much more detail later, but some of the features and functionality you can enjoy with the HS900 include a camera with a Sony 1/2.3 in 48MP CMOS sensor and a fixed focus f/2.6 lens, up to 4K 30fps video, subject tracking, time-lapse capture, cruise control, automated flight patterns and much more. Image quality is also very good, not perfect, but the minor issues here could be resolved with a future firmware update.

All-in-all, the HS900 slips into a burgeoning sub-250g drone category which is fiercely competitive, where less expensive options are now hacking at the heels of the DJI. It’s unlikely that they’ll succeed in catching up or overtaking the market leader – although DJI is facing a potential ban in the US – but with the trickle-down of features and improvements in flight performance and image quality with budget drones, it’s pilots who are ultimately benefitting from greater choice.

Holy Stone HS900: Release date and price

  • Released May 2024
  • Only available in the US at launch
  • Available in other regions soon

At launch in May 2024, the Holy Stone HS900 was initially only available in the US. The drone will become available in the UK and other regions shortly. At the time of writing, US residents can purchase the HS900 single battery kit from Amazon for $369.99 after applying a $100 voucher, although the price regularly fluctuates. For UK-based and Australian pilots, this converts to £280 / AU$550 respectively, but official pricing for these regions is yet to be announced so this price could vary.

The single-battery HS900 kit includes the HS900 drone, a controller, one smart battery, phone connection cables, a USB-C charging cable, a set of spare propellers, spare screws, a screwdriver and a carry bag. 

Dual and triple battery kits are suggested on the Holy Stone website, so we could see additional battery kits becoming available in the future. We have been told that a battery charging hub is also due to be released, allowing multiple batteries to be charged at once rather than one at a time in the drone via USB-C.

We'll update this page with any price and availability updates. 

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Holy Stone Sirius HS900 unfolded viewed from above

(Image credit: James Abbott)
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Holy Stone Sirius HS900 folded showing the top of the airframe

(Image credit: James Abbott)
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Holy Stone Sirius HS900 folded showing the bottom of the airframe

(Image credit: James Abbott)
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Holy Stone Sirius HS900 battery being slotted into the battery bay

(Image credit: James Abbott)
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Holy Stone Sirius HS900 battery

(Image credit: James Abbott)
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Holy Stone Sirius HS900 carry case

(Image credit: James Abbott)

Holy Stone HS900: Design and controller

  • Lightweight folding design
  • New controller
  • Great build quality

Most drones these days feature a folding design to reduce size for transportation and storage, and the HS900 is no exception in this regard. It’s a tried, tested and ultimately successful approach to drone design, so it makes perfect sense in every way. The dark gray drone is just 5.63x3.26x2.44in / 143×82.8×62mm when folded, with an unfolded size of 6.59x8.57x2.44in / 167.4x217.8x62mm and a weight of 8.7oz / 249g. So, all pretty standard for a drone of this type.

Build quality is very good, and there’s nothing to indicate the relatively low cost of the HS900. In fact, it looks more expensive than it actually is, even if looks don't ultimately impact performance. The drone is made of lightweight plastic so it doesn’t feel substantial in the hand, but to be fair this is the case with even the most expensive sub-250g models – it’s just a way of keeping weight down. Durability certainly isn’t an issue.

Flight times are respectable, averaging around 22 minutes in moderate to gusty wind before Return to Home was initiated at 20% battery, as opposed to the advertised flight times of up to 30 minutes. However in reality, with lower winds and warmer temperatures, flight times would likely increase. The 2250mAh battery takes just over an hour to charge in the drone via USB-C, which is quite fast, and you can also charge batteries this way using a USB power bank when out in the field.

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Holy Stone Sirius HS900 P2 controller

(Image credit: James Abbott)
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Holy Stone Sirius HS900 P2 controller with smartphone attached

(Image credit: James Abbott)
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Holy Stone Sirius HS900 P2 controller stick storage

(Image credit: James Abbott)

The HS900 uses a new P2 controller which sports a simple yet functional design with all of the direct access controls you need to control the drone, the camera and the gimbal. This includes a small joystick for adjusting specific camera settings and a dual-function Fn button that can be customized with two different functions.

For the review, I set the button to tilt the gimbal between 0-degrees and 90-degrees with a single press, and to initiate Cruise Control with a double press. The build quality of the controller can’t be faulted, and although the bottom-mounted folding phone holder arms have a slightly flimsy feel to them, they securely accommodate smartphones of all sizes, so no worries here.

Holy Stone HS900: Features and flight

  • Smooth flight controls
  • Includes subject tracking
  • Multiple flight modes

Holy Stone drones have always been pretty good flyers, but they have also lacked the finesse of more expensive drones. With the HS900, this has all changed and the flight performance on offer is greatly improved and puts the drone comfortably among its rivals. Flight controls are also smooth and responsive, so it’s possible to perform positive maneuvers when capturing video.

What’s more, the gimbal tilt, which has a range of 30 to -90-degrees, allows you to shoot upwards slightly as well as straight down, and has a smooth so you can confidently incorporate it into maneuvers for more dynamic video shots. Image stabilization is highly effective, using a combination of the 3-axis mechanical gimbal and Electronic Image Stabilization to produce shake-free video footage.

With GPS positioning, provided by GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and BeiDou systems, hovering is generally stable with drift mostly noticeable at higher altitudes. With GPS, pilots can also take advantage of Return to Home functionality which can be initiated manually by the pilot, or automatically when the battery reaches 20% charge / when the connection between the drone and controller is lost. It can also be cancelled when the battery reaches 20% if you want to increase flight time slightly.

Despite being a small and lightweight drone, the HS900 offers level 5 wind resistance, which equates to wind speeds up to 24 mph. The HS900 was flown in wind gusts of 22mph during testing and showed no signs of struggling in any of the three main flight modes/speeds, so this claim appears to be correct. The flight modes include Stable with a top speed of 11mph, Normal with a top speed of 22mph and Sport which offers the maximum flight speed of 31mph.

Being a mid-range sub-250g drone, like its direct competitors, the HS900 doesn’t offer obstacle avoidance, so you do have to take care when flying close to obstacles and when using automated flight patterns. It does, however, have a downward vision system that’s used to determine the ground in situations when a GPS signal is unavailable, such as when flying indoors.

Holy Stone HS900 Time-lapse

The automated flight patterns on offer include Point of Interest, Spiral up, Tap Fly (waypoints), Gesture Selfie, One-key Ascension and Catapult, which work as intended. Plus, there’s subject tracking where you draw a box around the subject to be followed and the drone will do just that. This works well for the most part, but there are times when the HS900 loses the subject so it’s not perfect.

A fun and easy to use feature is Time-lapse, with manual control over the interval and video length, plus exposure and shutter speed to maintain consistency in your videos. Unlike DJI's Time-lapse feature, the HS900's version works independently from flight and you simply hover instead. If you wish to create a moving sequence, also known as a hyper-lapse, you have to judge flight distance and speed yourself, which is extremely tricky. It’s much easier to simply select a composition and shoot with the drone in a hover.

Cruise Control is another useful feature and one that, as the name suggests, allows you to set the drone on a course and maintain it without having to hold the control sticks. This provides greater consistency for videos thanks to a consistent speed. I did try to use Cruise Control when shooting a Time-lapse, but each time it adjusted the gimbal tilt making it unusable in this situation, unfortunately.

Holy Stone HS900: image quality

  • Sony 1/2.3 in CMOS sensor
  • Up to 48MP photos
  • 4K 30 fps & 1080p 60 fps video

Holy Stone Sirius HS900 close-up of the camera and gimbal

(Image credit: James Abbott)

Once again, like overall performance, the image quality produced by the HS900 beats all other Holy Stone drones hands down. The camera features a Sony 1/2.3-inch 48MP CMOS sensor with a fixed focus f/2.6 lens providing a 100-degree field of view, and sharp video and photo quality. 

Fixed focus may sound like a step down from autofocus, which it is in a way, but it uses the principle of hyperfocal distance to provide the maximum depth-of-field possible for the combination of focal length and aperture – meaning much of the scene will be in sharp focus.

Overall image quality is very good for both photos and videos, which can be captured with the camera set to auto or manual exposure. Image quality is best in brighter conditions, like all drones with a small image sensor, but white balance is a little quirky and could benefit from adjustments in a future firmware update. The white balance presets are a little off what you would expect, with Auto providing the best, yet not always perfect results.

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Photo of a pier taken with the Holy Stone Sirius HS900

(Image credit: James Abbott)
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Photo of a coastal town taken with the Holy Stone Sirius HS900

(Image credit: James Abbott)
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Photo of a beach and groyne from above taken with the Holy Stone Sirius HS900

(Image credit: James Abbott)
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Photo of a circus from above taken with the Holy Stone Sirius HS900

(Image credit: James Abbott)
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Photo of a cirus tent in a field taken with the Holy Stone Sirius HS900

(Image credit: James Abbott)
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Photo of a bridge from above taken with the Holy Stone Sirius HS900

(Image credit: James Abbott)
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Photo of an industrial area taken with the Holy Stone Sirius HS900

(Image credit: James Abbott)
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Photo of a town taken with the Holy Stone Sirius HS900

(Image credit: James Abbott)
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Photo of a water treatment facility taken with the Holy Stone Sirius HS900

(Image credit: James Abbott)

Photos can be captured in 4K resolution  (3840x2160 pixels) and 48MP with image dimensions of 8192x4608 pixels – these are in 16:9 format rather than the more common 4:3 format used for drone photos. 

Photo capture is currently only available in JPEG format, but raw capture will be added in a future firmware update. Video can be captured in 4K at 30 fps and 1080p at 60 fps in a Normal/Standard color profile for straight-out-of-camera use, and is saved in MP4 format. A flat color profile for increased dynamic range and color grading is, unsurprisingly, unavailable.

My short wish list for a firmware update would be to build on the well-featured camera control by including a histogram and Automatic Exposure Bracketing (AEB). The former is invaluable for assessing exposure, while the latter makes shooting in high-contrast situations, such as around sunrise and sunset, much easier because you can capture bracketed exposures for HDR photography.

Holy Stone HS900 video in 4K / 30 fps

Should I buy the Holy Stone HS900?

Holy Stone Sirius HS900 unfolded on concrete

(Image credit: James Abbott)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

How I tested the Holy Stone HS900

  • Several days and flights
  • Used in mixed weather, including moderate wind
  • Various flight modes and video and photo settings

The Holy Stone HS900 was tested over several days of flying in a range of locations, environments and weather conditions (excluding rain) to test flight performance, flight features, overall handling and image quality for both photo and video capture. All testing is conducted in a way that meets local aviation laws and restrictions to ensure that all flights are safe and legal.

Drones are always tested using manual flight patterns for video that are typical of professional aerial video capture to shoot visually interesting footage. This also provides the opportunity to test aspects such as the connection between the drone and controller, latency between the two and the accuracy of the controls and flight in general.

With nearly 30 years of photographic experience and 15 years working as a photography journalist, I’ve been covering drones in terms of shooting and editing techniques, alongside writing drone reviews for a number of years. As well as flying most consumer and prosumer models, I’ve previously held a PfCO (Permission for Commercial Operations) issued by the Civil Aviation Authority in the UK, and now fly under an A2 CofC (A2 Certificate of Competency).

First reviewed May 2024

OnePlus 12 to debut Sony Lytia dual-layer stacked CMOS sensor
12:57 pm | November 1, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Mobile phones news | Tags: | Comments: Off

Leaks and teasers for the OnePlus 12 have been popping up left and right and we now have official confirmation for the upcoming phone’s main camera sensor. OnePlus has partnered with Sony to bring its new Lytia dual-layer stacked sensor on the OP 12 marking the global debut of the new sensor. Sony Lytia and OnePlus stacked CMOS sensor annoncement The new stacked CMOS sensor with 2-layer transistor pixel technology features separate layers for the transistor and photodiode layers which allows for physically larger diodes and more light capture. Fellow BBK brands Oppo and vivo also...

Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VII review
8:24 pm | October 18, 2019

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Compact Cameras Computers Gadgets | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Editor's Note

• Original review date: October 2019
• Most recent instalment in Sony's RX100 line
• Launch price: $1,198 / £1,200 / around AU$1,725
• Official price now: $1,299 / £1,049 / AU$1,569

Update: May 2024. Starting where the RX100 VI finished, the seventh iteration of Sony’s premium compact proved impressive in our original review. We continue to rate it highly today: thanks to its solid feature set, impressive performance and pocket-friendly design, we think it remains one of the best compact cameras you can buy. One of the major drawbacks at launch was its price, and the RX100 VII is still an expensive option in 2024. Sony has only offered minor reductions to its RRP in Australia and the UK, while the price has actually increased in the US. With no sign of a direct successor, we think its popularity is likely to endure for some time, which means its price will probably do the same. Seasonal discounts are also relatively rare, with any reductions usually limited to around $100 / £100. If you want to save on the RX100 VII, your best bet is to look for a second-hand model in good condition.

It's hard to think of another camera series that has made it through to its seventh iteration, but the popularity of Sony's RX100 line goes some way to explaining how we got here.

Previous RX100 models have found their way into many photographers' hands, both as backups to interchangeable-lens models or as primary cameras for those not wishing to be burdened by a larger and heavier system. It's also one of the best travel cameras. But with asking prices now firmly into four-figure territory, some may find the more recent offerings harder to justify.

Even so, with its most recent models sporting longer lenses and inheriting key features from Sony's Alpha line of mirrorless cameras, while keeping the bodies just as portable as before, the compact camera series still appears to be moving in the right direction. So what tricks does the Sony RX100 VII pull off that we haven't seen before? 


  • 20.1MP 1-inch stacked CMOS sensor with DRAM chip 
  • 20fps with AF/AE and up to 90fps without
  • 4K video recording to 30p

While the first five RX100 models maintained a relatively restrained zoom range and a wide maximum aperture, the RX100 VI swapped it for a lens equivalent to 24-200mm in 35mm terms, and the RX100 VII retains this optic. The fact that Sony squeezed this lens into a body no larger than before was impressive, but the trade-off was a reduction in maximum aperture.

The lens has aspherical, advanced aspherical and extra-low dispersion glass on the inside to help keep things rosy, while Optical SteadyShot technology has also been included to keep thing stable. 

It's very unusual for a camera to have the same sensor resolution throughout seven consecutive models; however, the sensors haven't been the same this whole time, and it's no surprise that the RX100 VII has been blessed with a new one, albeit one that still conforms to the same 1-inch dimensions and stacked architecture as before.

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It also still has a separate DRAM chip to help crunch through all the data from the sensor at speed, and it now works with the latest version of the company's BIONZ X engine – and that partnership provides some pretty staggering burst-rate figures. 

Indeed, this is one of the big shifts from the RX100 VI, and brings what Sony claims to be performance in terms of speed that's on a par with its A9 model, which is still the flagship mirrorless camera in the Alpha family.

What does that mean in figures? It means 60 autofocus and auto-exposure calculations per second, which allows for burst shooting at 20fps with autofocus and auto-exposure working throughout, without any blackout of either the viewfinder or the LCD.

While that's impressive enough, if you're willing to sacrifice adjustments to autofocus and auto-exposure and call on the Single Burst Shooting drive mode, you can shoot images at 30fps, 60fps or a ridiculous 90fps at their full resolution – the other catch is that all of these modes can only be used to capture seven frames at a time.

Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VII specs

Sensor: 20.1MP 1-inch Exmor RS CMOS sensor

Lens: 24-200mm f/2.8-4.5 (35mm equiv.)

Screen: 3.0-inch tilting touchscreen, 921,600 dots 

Viewfinder: EVF with a 2.36 million-dot resolution

Burst shooting: 20fps (up to 90fps in Single Burst Shooting mode)

Autofocus: Hybrid AF: 357 phase-detect AF points and 425 contrast-detect AF points  

Video: 4K to 30p; Full HD to 120p

Connectivity: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

Battery life: 260 (LCD), 240 (EVF)

Weight: 302g (including battery and card)

Videos are once again recorded to 4K UHD quality at a maximum 30p, with no pixel binning and the option of 4K Active SteadyShot, which is said to be eight times more effective at steadying footage than the more conventional 4K Standard SteadyShot.

If you don't need 4K recording, you can knock this down to Full HD at frame rates up to 120p. Various super-slow motion options lie on top of this, with frames rates of up to 960fps achievable, and it's also now possible to bypass the default five-minute recording restriction when shooting in 4K.

All of this is supported by a strong secondary video feature set, with a 3.5mm microphone port at the camera's side, S-Log2, S-Log3, S-Gamut3.Cine and Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) modes, and the usual focus peaking and zebra options we've seen in many previous Sony models. The camera can also detect when you're shooting vertically, and preserves this orientation after footage has been offloaded. 

The big change with video is that the RX100 VII offers Real-time Tracking and Real-time Eye AF while recording. Up until now, these have only been made available for stills in the A9 and A6400 (and now the more recent A6600), although here it's on hand for both stills and movies – and we'll be exploring exactly what these allow and how well they work in a second.

Many things, however, haven't changed from before. The electronic viewfinder still neatly hides in the top plate when it's not required, and pops up into position with a single flick of the catch at its side, and this presents a feed with the same 2.36 million dots and 0.59x magnification (in 35mm terms) as before.

The 3-inch LCD touchscreen beneath this is also the same, with 921,600 dots. Once again, this is mounted on a relatively long bracket, which allows it to swing downwards to sit at a 90-degree angle to the camera, or upwards to face the front – perfect for vloggers, which is a key audience for the RX100 VII.

The battery provides 260 frames per charge, or 240 if you tend to use the viewfinder – a modest improvement of 20 frames on the RX100 VI

The battery provides 260 frames per charge, or 240 if you tend to use the viewfinder – a modest improvement of 20 frames on the RX100 VI. These figures hardly thrill, but they're somewhat expected for a camera with such a small body (and thus, a tiny battery). In any case, as is the case on all cameras, the average user will enjoy a higher battery life than these CIPA figures suggest in real-world use because of how they are determined – and USB charging helps here too.

Next to the battery is a single slot for SDHC and SDXC cards, which are supported to the UHS-I standard. That means you can still use the faster UHS-II cards, although you won't see any performance advantage in doing so.

Build and handling

  • Very compact and solid metal body
  • Lack of grip and only a little rubber used
  • De-clicked control ring around lens

The RX100 design has barely changed since the start of the series back in 2012, and with the exception of some minor cosmetic differences the Sony RX100 VII looks identical to the RX100 VI, while the metal body feels just as solid as those of previous models.

It's impressive when you consider the raft of features Sony has managed to pack inside that small body, not least that optic. But this also means the same criticisms can be aimed at the new model as were leveled at its predecessors, such as the lack of a grip around the front, and only a small square of rubber on the back plate where the thumb falls.

This makes it less comfortable to handle than rival models, such as the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III; it's clearly a camera that's designed to be as compact as possible, although you can get an optional grip if you decide you need one.

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One advantage the RX100 VII has over some rivals, however, is that the rear control dial can be rotated without the thumb constantly bashing into the side of the LCD screen, on account of it having a thin profile and being flush with the back plate. This is often a challenge on such small bodies, but here it's only really a small issue once the LCD is extended out from the body a little.

The electronic viewfinder springs up easily from the top plate when you release the catch at its side, and, as on the RX100 VI, you no longer need to pull the viewfinder back before you can use it.

One advantage the camera has over some rivals is that the rear control dial can be rotated without the thumb constantly bashing into the side of the LCD screen

The control ring around the lens has a knurled finish that makes it nice to operate. It's de-clicked, and provides no physical feedback as standard, although the camera does make small clicking sounds as it's rotated to make up for this. The fact that it's de-clicked makes it more suitable to use during video recording, where the camera would otherwise pick up operational sounds, although it's a minor annoyance that there's a slight lag between the dial being turned and settings being registered.


  • Real Time Tracking and Real Time AF
  • 357 phase-detect point and 425 contrast-detect points
  • Excellent face and eye detection

The RX100 VI packed a great autofocus system, but that didn't stop Sony making better autofocus one of the priorities in the RX100 VII. The AF systems on recent Alpha models, together with firmware updates to older cameras, have ramped up performance across that line, and now Sony is looking to bring same magic to its  Cyber-shot range.  

So what's new? Well, there are now more phase-detect AF points for a start, up from 315 on the RX100 VI to 357 here, and these cover 3% more of the frame than before. The previous 25-point contrast-detect AF system has also been ramped up to a 425-point system, with Sony promising that the camera can focus in as little as 0.02 seconds.

The biggest change autofocus-wise is Real Time Tracking, which uses AI-powered tools to automatically switch between standard autofocusing when tracking a moving subject and face/eye tracking when the system detects a person's face. This should make it easier to quickly focus on what's key as people step in and out of the frame, or change position in relation to the camera.

The biggest change is Real Time Tracking, which uses AI-powered tools to automatically switch between standard autofocusing when tracking a moving subject and face/eye tracking when the system notices a person's face

Partner this with continuous autofocus and you have a very powerful combination. The availability of usefully broad focal range shows just how impressively this can work, as you can zoom to the telephoto end, have the camera pick out a very small subject in the distance, and watch as it sticks with it. 

The face detection system doesn't need to have too big a face in the frame for it to recognize what it's shooting, although subjects do need to be a little closer in order for the system to start detecting and tracking the eye (eye detection is fairly pointless with more distant subjects anyway). When this does kick in, it manages to track eyes very well, even when the subject is side-on to the camera.  

This system works impressively well during video recording too, where the camera stays with a human subject both as they move across the frame and as they move closer to or further away from the camera. Sony has shouted loudly about this feature, and you can see why. 

There's little doubt that this is the best autofocus performance you can get on a compact camera right now, and this would make the RX100 VII a particularly strong choice for families – trying to keep a lock of a moving child can be quite the test for any camera.


  • Image stabilization system appears very effective
  • Viewfinder performs well
  • Touchscreen could do with more work

Sony has received some stick for its menu systems in the past, which are somewhat overflowing with options, although color coding has made them easier to navigate in recent models. 

What we have on the RX100 VII is much the same as before. There's a lot to wade through, but the option to set up a tab with your own options is a saving grace, although there's still the odd annoying abbreviation here and there.

The touchscreen works well for setting the focusing point, being nice and responsive to even lighter touches, and you can also use the screen as a touch pad when using the viewfinder – always handy in lieu of a joystick-type control. 

The screen can also be used to zoom into, and move around, captured images, but that's about it. It doesn't appear that anything has actually changed from the RX100 VI, which means the screen is fine for basic tasks, but it does place the camera behind its peers elsewhere; it would be good to see touch control come to the Fn menu at the very least in future models.

The viewfinder is a fair bit smaller than what we're used to on mirrorless models, but this is to be expected; the main thing is that it's relatively bright and sharp. While the lack of any kind of eyecup normally makes such viewfinders a bit of a pain to use in brighter conditions without cupping your hand around them, the RX100 VII's finder maintains very good visibility even when you don't.

The RX100 VII's 90fps burst capabilities are one of the main things that separate it from the previous model – and indeed, every other compact camera. It's certainly impressive that the camera is able to reach these heights and spit out full-resolution images, but the fact that its buffer depth is just seven frames makes you wonder just how practical it is.

In use, the camera will capture the first seven frames as you depress the button, and discard anything afterwards. Seven frames at 90fps equates to less than 0.8 seconds of reality being captured (though it'll be more if you use the 30fps or 60fps options), so you need to have pretty sharp reflexes to nail the perfect moment. 

Were the camera able to offer deeper buffer depths at its 60fps and 30fps settings, this burst rate would perhaps be more usable; but it can't, and presumably there's a technical reason for this, possibly the lack of UHS-II support. Ultimately, it ends up being impressive to play with, but potentially of limited use in reality. 

Most people would be better off using the more standard burst mode, which can chomp through a still respectable 20fps with autofocus and auto-exposure working throughout. Using the fastest UHS-I card we could get our hands on, the camera was able to capture round 100 raw and JPEG frames simultaneously, although, as you'd expect, these can take a little time to fully write to the card.

Image quality

  • Great details throughout, though corner softness visible
  • Great noise control at moderate ISO settings
  • Detailed 4K footage with effective face detection and tracking

We were impressed with the image quality from the previous RX100 VII, so does the Sony RX100 VII live up to our expectations?

In short, the camera manages to produce strong images across a range of conditions, with minimal intervention required. Detail is excellent overall, and what's particularly good is how well this is maintained when using ISO settings towards the middle of the sensitivity range; plenty of detail lurks in slightly noisier images, so it's just a case of removing this noise. 

On the whole, details are great in the center of the frame, and are generally well maintained to the edges, with just slight softness in the corners at both ends of the lens. This appears to be worse at the wide-angle end than at telephoto lengths, although it does improve a little as you stop down the aperture. 

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Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VII at 24mm, f/4, 1/30sec, ISO160

Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VII at 24mm, f/4, 1/30sec, ISO160 (Image credit: Future)

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Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VII at 41.9mm, f/4.5, 1/125sec, ISO250

Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VII at 41.9mm, f/4.5, 1/125sec, ISO250 (Image credit: Future)

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Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VII at 50.7mm, f/4.5, 1/160sec, ISO1250

Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VII at 50.7mm, f/4.5, 1/160sec, ISO1250 (Image credit: Future)

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Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VII at 24mm, f/5, 1/160sec, ISO3200

Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VII at 24mm, f/5, 1/160sec, ISO3200 (Image credit: Future)

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Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VII at 24mm, f/5.6, 1/800sec, ISO100

Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VII at 24mm, f/5.6, 1/800sec, ISO100 (Image credit: Future)

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Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VII at 24mm, f/3.2, 1/30sec, ISO320

Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VII at 24mm, f/3.2, 1/30sec, ISO320 (Image credit: Future)

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Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VII at 24mm, f/4.5, 1/30sec, ISO400

Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VII at 24mm, f/4.5, 1/30sec, ISO400 (Image credit: Future)

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Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VII at 49mm, f/4, 1/100sec, ISO100

Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VII at 49mm, f/4, 1/100sec, ISO100 (Image credit: Future)

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Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VII at 41.9mm, f/4.5, 1/125sec, ISO250

Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VII at 41.9mm, f/4.5, 1/125sec, ISO250 (Image credit: Future)

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Exposures are generally sound, although scenes with a relatively wide tonal range – if you're shooting indoors with windows in the frame, for example – will see a loss of detail in their highlights. Some of the details in these areas can be brought back with careful raw processing, though. 

Colors are very nice on standard settings, and there's a particularly broad range of color options in-camera if the default Standard mode isn't quite to your taste. It's a shame, however, that the absence of in-camera raw processing means these can't be tweaked post-capture without recourse to a computer.

Some lateral chromatic aberration can be seen in images, although the worst of this is lifted away from JPEGs in-camera, and it can be removed from raw files fairly effortlessly.

Video quality has impressed on previous RX100 models, and it continues to shine here. Detail is abundant, and rolling shutter is kept to a minimum as the camera moves around the scene. As with pretty much any compact camera like this, wind noise is easily picked up by the built-in microphones, although the fact that you can hook up an external mic gives the RX100 VII an advantage over many other models.


There's no doubt that the Sony RX100 VII is an impressive camera. Given the strong performance and huge popularity of previous models it was likely that any changes Sony made here would only make it a better performer – and that's pretty much the case.

Special praise goes to the autofocus system, which is not only fast but remarkably good at keeping track of moving subjects, noticing faces at a distance and switching between face/eye detection and more standard tracking as the subject changes in distance and orientation. While some rival models aren't bad for speed by comparison, the fact that some are still based on contrast-detect AF alone means it's unlikely they'll be able to catch up with what Sony is doing here until that changes.

On top of that there's the excellent image quality, detailed 4K video, and considerable control over both. The retractable viewfinder and fine LCD screen make for a perfect partnership, while the body's high build quality and small size – especially when you consider the lens and inclusion of the viewfinder – make it easy to carry around and slip into a pocket, and be confident it will survive the odd bump and scrape. 

So there's lots to love about the RX100 VII – but lots that could be improved too. There's still no grip, which makes for less-than-ideal handling, nor is there the option to process raw images in camera. The touchscreen is still underdeveloped, and while the lack of an ND filter may be explained by the longer-than-usual lens, it still makes capturing videos in bright light more difficult. The option to shoot at up to 90fps sounds impressive, and in a way it is, but the shallow buffer depth makes this feature somewhat impractical. 

And that fact that all of this comes at a considerable cost makes you realize Sony's logic in keeping all of the previous RX100 models available. Many people either don't need this level of performance or are better served by the shorter, brighter lenses of previous models. Those expecting sharpness right to the corners of the frame, or flexibility in low light, may be better served by one of those cameras – but in terms of performance, those are the only major things to bear in mind. 

So, while this isn't a camera for everyone, and while its omissions make it less than ideal – even for those that are drawn to it – in terms of packing a whole lot of tech and generally solid performance into such a small body, it's impossible not to be impressed with what Sony has achieved here. For all its foibles and its lofty price tag, the RX100 VII is easily one of the most accomplished and desirable compacts on the market right now.


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(Image credit: Sony)

Sony RX100 VI

The RX100 VII's closest competitor is arguably the previous Mark VI iteration, given how similar the spec sheets of the two models are. The key differences are in the sensor, crazy-high burst speeds, autofocus systems and the fact that the newer model offers a mic port – but if you're happy with the rest of the spec sheet, you can save yourself a little cash by going for a camera that we still rate very highly.

Read our in-depth Sony RX100 Mark VI review 

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(Image credit: Panasonic)

Panasonic ZS200 / TZ200

The ZS200 also sports a 1-inch sensor with 20.1MP, and is similarly fronted by a superzoom lens, although the one here reaches a little further than the RX100 VII's, stretching between 24-360mm in 35mm terms. It matches the RX100 VII is providing 4K video and has a small electronic viewfinder, and while it lacks a mic port and can't shoot at the lofty heights of 90fps, it's a hell of a lot cheaper.

Read our in-depth Panasonic ZS200 / TZ200 review

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(Image credit: Future)

Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II

With a 20MP 1-inch sensor, a pop-up electronic viewfinder and 4K video squeezed into a pocket-friendly shell, Canon very much has the same kind of audience in mind for its PowerShot G5 X Mark II as Sony does for its own model. It's considerably cheaper, and has a grip that makes handling far nicer, but its lens doesn't reach anywhere near as far and its autofocus system, while perfectly capable, can't touch what the RX100 VII is packing.

Read our in-depth Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II review

Hands-on review: Samsung EX2F
4:31 pm | September 25, 2012

Author: admin | Category: Cameras | Tags: , , | Comments: None

Hands-on review: Samsung EX2F

Samsung announced its 12MP smart camera, the Samsung EX2F, in July, improving on the original Samsung EX1 by adding Wi-Fi capability to it, for easy i[……]

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Hands-on review: IFA 2012: Samsung Galaxy Camera
4:30 pm |

Author: admin | Category: Cameras | Tags: , , , | Comments: None

Hands-on review: IFA 2012: Samsung Galaxy Camera

With a 4.8-inch Super HD Clear LCD touchscreen, the Samsung Galaxy Camera isn’t likely to be the smallest compact camera you’ll ever see, but it feels[……]

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