Autofocus performance

With some caveats, the RX100 V can keep up with moving subjects ably, whether you keep a manually positioned 'Flexible Spot' over your subject, or let the camera do its own tracking, and whether you're shooting single frames or around 24 frames every second. Here's what that looks like when you make it into a video and have it loop a few times.

Perhaps most notably, autofocus performance doesn't seem to change whether you're shooting at the mid-burst rate of 10fps, or at the max of 24fps. That means the AF algorithms are working fast, thanks in no small part to the stacked sensor and front-end LSI that helps siphon data off the image sensor at incredible speeds.

The bike test

Okay, for our actual bike test evaluation, we're going to be selecting every seven frames to show you how the camera does.

When just sticking to the center area, the camera does, as expected, very well: easily keeping up with the approaching Dan. And remember: this is every 7th frame, which means there are 6 more in-focus frames in between each of these. Impressive.

Now for the weaving, where we've selected every third frame from near the end of a run using Lock-on AF: Flexible Spot M.

Like most mirrorless cameras in this test, focus begins to slow down as you approach minimum focus distance, but in all, the RX100 V puts up DSLR-like performance in center AF mode, and solid performance with Lock-on AF subject tracking - once it actually locks on, that is. As stated on the previous page, it was frustrating trying to get the camera to actually lock on to the intended subject in the first place.

Granted, with a limiting reach of 70mm, Dan didn't start out terribly large in the frame, but the camera would often refuse to start tracking anywhere near him, even when we had the flexible spot right over his torso. It would often just jump off and pepper the bushes off to the camera's right with autofocus points without any real rhyme or reason. Since the camera tended to ignore where we placed my flexible spot to initiate tracking with alarming regularity, even in the real world, we almost never used it.

Real world performance

The obvious benefit to having a camera that can autofocus during incredible bursts like the RX100 V is that you have the opportunity to catch just the right moment at just the right time. Of course, that the lens only goes to 70mm means this isn't the best camera for shooting sports from the sidelines, but for, say, photographing an excitable child, it's a godsend. Just point. And. Shoot.

The 24fps burst rate is great for catching just the right moment, and the autofocus can keep up even if you or your subject are moving. 24mm, ISO 160, 1/125 sec, F1.8. Photo: Rishi Sanyal

So while it's a shame that Lock-On is still kind of a pain, shooting the RX100 V in 'Wide' AF area mode with face detection, or jamming the Eye AF button in AF-C, was easy and performed very well. So well as to challenge some of the best DSLRs.

The RX100 V isn't just great for parental photographers: hard drive and memory card manufacturers are going to like it, too. During Sony's shooting event in New York after the RX100 V's announcement, we captured almost three thousand images on one card (and one battery) in less than two hours. Yikes. One of us even turned the camera down to its 'mid' burst rate of 10fps, which was often fast enough.