Introduction
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Introduction

There have now been seven variants of the RX100 series, with at least six of them still considered to be 'current' models. This variety of choice and the similarity of the names can make them difficult to tell apart, or choose between, so we're going to look at the differences.

Lenses

The biggest differences are the lenses: the first two versions were built around a 28-100mm equivalent lens with a bright maximum aperture at the wide end but one that's much slower at the telephoto end.

The Mark III saw a move to a wider, shorter and much brighter lens: a 24-70mm equivalent zoom with F1.8-2.8 maximum aperture, bringing significant benefits in low light and allowing shallower depth-of-field than before.

Most recently, the Mark VI moved to a slower but much more flexible 24-200mm equivalent zoom. This puts the RX100 into travel zoom territory for the first time.

Beyond this, we've tried to summarize the development of the series in terms of spec:

RX100 RX100M2 RX100M3 RX100M4 RX100M5A RX100M6
$370
£330
€330
$550
£500
€510

$650
£500
€590

$800
£680
€700
$1000
£870
€1000
$1200
£1050
€1300
20MP
CMOS
20MP
BSI CMOS
20MP
BSI CMOS
20MP Stacked CMOS 20MP Stacked CMOS 20MP Stacked CMOS
28-100mm
F1.8-4.9
28-100mm
F1.8-4.9
24-70mm
F1.8-2.8
24-70mm
F1.8-2.8
24-70mm
F1.8-2.8
24-200mm
F2.8-4.5
Fixed screen Tilt: Up 90° down 40° Tilt: Up 180° down 40° Tilt: Up 180° down 40° Tilt: Up 180° down 40° Tilt: Up 180° down 90°
1080p60
AVCHD
Line-skipping
1080p60
AVCHD
Line-skipping
1080p60
XAVCS
4Kp30
XAVCS
Oversampled
4Kp30
XAVCS
Oversampled
4Kp30
XAVCS
Oversampled
10 fps with AF-C 10 fps with AF-C 10 fps with AF-C 16 fps with AF-C 24 fps with AF-C 24 fps with AF-C
Pop-up flash Pop-up flash
Hot-shoe
Pop-up flash Pop-up flash Pop-up flash Pop-up flash
Optional EVF
3.6M dots
Pop-up EVF
1.4M dots
Pop-up EVF
3.6M dots
Pop-up EVF
3.6M dots
One-touch pop-up EVF
3.6M dots
Wi-Fi
NFC
Wi-Fi
NFC
Wi-Fi
NFC
Wi-Fi
NFC
Wi-Fi
NFC
Bluetooth
Accessory mic available
Built-in ND filter Built-in ND filter Built-in ND filter
PlayMemories in-camera apps PlayMemories in-camera apps
Touchscreen
330 shots /charge* 350 shots /charge* 320 shots /charge* 280 shots /charge* 220 shots /charge* 240 shots /charge*

*CIPA battery ratings don't necessarily indicate how many shots you'll get, but give an impression of the comparative battery life. All models can be charged and powered over USB.

Viewfinders

The RX100 II added the option to attach an external viewfinder, while for the Mark III Sony found the space to squeeze a pop-up viewfinder into the body. The resolution of the finder was updated in the Mark IV and the refresh rate increased in the Mark V(A) and VI. The Mark VI also saw the finder mechanism redesigned, so that it can be deployed or stowed with a single button press.

Video

The RX100 IV gained a Stacked CMOS sensor with memory built into the chip. This allowed much faster readout, allowing 4K video and an electronic shutter mode, widening the range of lighting conditions in which the camera's wide apertures can be used. The IV, V and VI can also shoot High Frame Rate video at up to 1000 fps, taken from increasingly low res crops of the sensor then blown up to 1080p.

The small body of the camera limits its ability to dissipate heat. This sees 4K video capture limited to around 5 minutes. The cameras will also dull their rear screens to minimize heat build-up as they approach this limit, which can make outdoor video shooting difficult in warmer climes.