A DSLR can take a great photograph, but sometimes their sheer size will see them left at home in the hope your smart phone will capture any priceless moments that may arise. While they’ve come a long way, that tiny lens on the back of your phone still can’t quite produce the quality image that mirrorless and DSLRs can. Manufacturers are tapping into this market gap with numerous compact camera options capable of producing some seriously impressive photos. The RX100-V is Sony’s latest plug, and it should be taken very seriously.
Coming into its fifth iteration, the new RX100 holds onto some key features from its predecessors, while introducing some new tricks as well; setting this camera toward the head of the pack.
The RX100 V is the first fixed lens camera available to the market that has a 1” sensor with phase detection autofocus. With 315 autofocus points, capturing fast moving objects within fractions of a second is made easy (0.05 of a second for those wanting the details). This is especially handy when you need to take any impromptu shots that require your immediate attention.
The image quality is some of the best we’ve seen in a compact camera. The RX100 V shoots in 24fps in both JPEG and Raw formats. The dynamic range features are also quite immersive; any presets that may produce a less than desirable image can be remedied here.
Sony has introduced a new LSI chip to the camera; this makes for some hefty video capabilities when paired with the sizeable 1“ sensor. The RX100 V can shoot in 4K, and up to 960fps in super slow motion, albeit at a lower res. Our time with this setting was used mostly throwing treats to the neighbour’s dog, then analysing its lack of coordination. It did a stellar job of capturing this and we’re confident it’s capable of much more.
If shooting your beloved pooch or feline is your thing, sound deactivation alongside the electronic shutter will help you preserve the more tender moments. If you’re taking the RX100 V into the great outdoors, happy snaps of any unassuming wildlife will get you up close and personal sans detection.
Coming in at 24fps, continuous shooting mode also gets an upgrade. The beauty of this is that unlike other compact cameras, the 20.1 MP resolution isn’t affected. The improved autofocus tracking also means you can shoot up to 150 frames without losing your focal point.
The V stays true to the RX style with a simple industrial aesthetic. As usual, there are minimal physical buttons. Some will rejoice in this, while others will criticise due to the lack of functions.We were personally impressed with the RX100 V’s ease of use; there are a plethora of complex DSLR options out there for those who want to get technical, anyway.
Like many, we were hopeful that Sony would finally integrate a touchscreen into the RX100 V. Unfortunately, they haven’t delivered on this version. There are a few obvious missed opportunities here, most notably would be tapping in the desired focus point – something that’s been long found in other compact cameras.
Like previous models, the battery life is still relatively impressive. Our testing period saw the camera run out of juice at around 240 shots. This number has dropped a little from the past, however, the feature-laden updates are worth the slightly reduced battery life.
The Wrap-Up – Sony RX100-V Review
The point and shoot concept rings all too true with the Sony RX100 V. The image quality is second to none, as is video.
While there are a few differences the professional eye may notice between photographs from a DSLR and a compact camera, the gap is certainly closing and it’s ever so evident in the RX100 V.
You will be paying for all of these advanced features packed into such a small package, though. At A$1,699, you’ll want to make sure that the size is just as important as its capabilities.