Fast Five: Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V Review
Sony revised the spec of the RX100 V in July 2018, you can read about the changes here. Whichever you choose, be aware of the existence of two variants and make sure you're getting the one you want.
The Sony RX100 V is the company's newest addition to its lineup of premium compact cameras. As with the previous two versions, it has a 1"-type sensor, 24-70mm equivalent F1.8-2.8 lens but gains 24fps burst shooting in both JPEG and Raw with full autofocus and autoexposure(!), oversampled 4K video recording, and plenty more. In short, the RX100 V has an incredible amount of technology stuffed into an easily pocketable package - but despite major increases in performance, we find that some of its more peripheral qualities could still use some attention.
- 20MP 1"-type stacked BSI-CMOS sensor
- 24-70mm equiv. F1.8-2.8 zoom lens
- 24fps burst shooting in JPEG + Raw, with full AF and AE
- 315-point phase-detection autofocus system
- Detailed 4K video capture with well-controlled rolling shutter
- Good quality high frame rate video capture
Where to begin, besides the original? The first RX100 made quite the splash when it was released back in 2012, and rightly so - it was the first camera to take a reasonably large, 1"-type sensor and place it within a camera body you could easily put into a pocket. There were, of course, pocketable compact digital cameras before it, but the RX100's much larger sensor was the key here for really allowing it to stand above the crowd.
The original RX100 brought us one significant step closer to the diminutive, high-quality 35mm film compacts of the 1990s. The RX100 V is a fitting member of the RX100 line in this regard, offering very good image quality and impressive capability in a camera that you can easily forget is in your purse or daypack.
The RX100 V becomes the world's first fixed-lens compact (at least, the first you can actually buy) to offer a 1" sensor with phase detection autofocus, and it does so across 65% of the frame with a total of 315 points. As far as video, the RX100 V shoots oversampled 4K clips, resulting in impressively detailed footage.
Sony's launch presentation for the RX100 V showed that this series of cameras is increasingly being chosen by existing mid-to-high-end DSLR shooters looking for a carry-everywhere compact. The RX100 V works exceedingly well as a capable point-and-shoot camera, but as with previous models, we've found ourselves frustrated when trying to take greater control over it for decisive-moment shooting.
That is, frankly, a shame. For all that Sony has done to make this a worthy upgrade from the Mark IV, it's also the things they haven't done that bear mentioning as well. There are still just too few controls on this camera, there still isn't a touchscreen (to more easily take advantage of that snazzy new PDAF system), the user interface is still unfriendly and the sluggish speed at which the camera reacts (or doesn't react) to some inputs stands in stark contrast to how unbelievably fast it can pull images off the sensor.
|Lens range (equiv)||24-70mm||24-70mm||24-100mm||24-72mm|
|Autofocus||315-point phase detection||Contrast detection||
|Control dials||Lens ring (stepless)
|Lens ring (stepless)
Aperture ring Command dial Lens ring (stepless)
|Rear screen||Tilt up/down||Tilt up/down||Tilt up/down
|Tilt up touchscreen|
|Built-in ND Filter||Yes
(Auto for stills)
(Auto for stills)
(Auto for stills)
|Burst Shooting||24 fps||16 fps||8 fps||10 fps|
|Battery life (CIPA)||220||280||265||260|
Here, you can clearly see Sony's focus for this new model - speed and autofocus (regarding pricing, Sony has recently dropped the cost of the Mark IV to $899 from its original MSRP of $999, which the Mark V has launched at). However, you can see the extra processing has had a fairly detrimental effect on its rated battery life. More on that later.
One of our earlier posts stated that the RX100 V has the potential to be just about all the camera any enthusiast might ever need. We still think that rings true, but as usual, there's some caveats to take into account. Let's take a closer look.
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