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Sony RX100 VII focuses on video and speed improvements

Sony's updated $1,200 flagship compact wants a cut of your vlogging budget.

The RX100 VII Shooting Grip Kit will ship later this year for $1,300. Mic not included.

Taking direct aim at Canon's G7 X III, Sony's refocusing the marketing of its top-end RX100-series compact on vloggers and adding features from its A9 sports-shooting and new A7R IV mirrorless models; these include an improved autofocus system with real-time tracking and real-time Eye AF for video (in addition to stills), a mic jack, vertical recording and improved stabilization for shooting video.

Sony plans to ship the camera in August for $1,200 (£1,200, directly converts to AU$1,725). That was the launch price of the previous model, which remains at that nominal price, at least for now. Later this year, it will deliver the Shooting Grip Kit, which includes the grip, an accessory bracket and two batteries for an extra $100. You'll definitely need the extra batteries if you plan to record for more than 40 minutes.

Read: Best vlogging cameras and accessories for YouTube  

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With the exception of the mic jack the design stays the same as previous models. On the inside, it has a new version of the 1-inch 20.1-megapixel sensor and most recent Bionz X processor. The sensor has a faster readout speed, more phase-detection AF points and the more modern contrast autofocus system, which enables many of the new capabilities, plus a faster refresh rate in the viewfinder (Sony claims no blackout) and a 90fps seven-shot mode. 

Though its 20 frames-per-second continuous shooting speed is a drop from the earlier version's 24fps, that's a pretty trivial difference at that level.

It's an attractive set of capabilities for a compact, but $1,200 has always been pretty steep for a 1-inch sensor model -- especially when the price of the RX100 VI inevitably comes down after this model ships.