First Impressions: Sony RX100 V

In addition to the Sony a6500, Sony also announced the upcoming release of the all-new Sony RX100 V. Continuing in the lineage of great RX100 camera, the V includes a bevy of new features including blistering fast autofocusing and unmatched tracking ability. We got a change to play with the camera at Sony’s private event and even got to put it through it’s paces shooting performers. We came away ecstatic about this tiny powerhouse to say the least.
Tech Specs
  • 20.1MP 1″ Exmor RS BSI CMOS Sensor
  • BIONZ X Image Processor & Front-End LSI
  • Internal UHD 4K Video & S-Log2 Gamma
  • Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* f/1.8-2.8 Lens
  • 24-70mm (35mm Equivalent)
  • Fast Hybrid AF System with 315 Points
  • HFR Mode for Full HD Video up to 960 fps
  • 0.39″ 2.36m-Dot OLED Pop-Up EVF
  • 3.0″ 1.23m-Dot 180° Tilting LCD
  • ISO 12800 and 24 fps Continuous Shooting

Ergonomics
The RX100 series is reknown for it’s compact size and nothing has changed here. It’s still the same pocketable little camera that packs a punch in the image quality department. Given it’s miniscule size, ergonomics do take a bit of getting used to. After being used to a larger DSLR and Mirrrorless camera, trying to use the RX100 V in a similar fashion came with a bit of a learning curve. However, once I wrapped my head around using this tiny camera, I eventually fell into a groove and was able to crank out shot after shot as I do with my regular camera.

The controls remain relatively the same as in the previous model of the camera. If you have larger hands, hitting the tiny buttons (or trying not to) can be somewhat of a challenge. It’s just one of those compromises you have to make with a camera this size. The sleekness of the body, while it gives the camera a beautiful finish aesthetically, is somewhat cause for concern when it comes to holding the camera without some sort of strap. It just feels like it will slip out the hand if you’re not holding on tight.

Despite those minor considerations, the camera is easy to use. Buttons are placed logically, the eye level EVF is easy to access and quite useful, and the 180° LCD great for selfies but also highly useful for both composing and reviewing your images.

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Build Quality
In the build quality department, the RX100 V is solid. Despite it’s small size, there’s a sense of heft to the camera that makes it feel like it could take a bump or two without a problem. One guy at testing the camera at the event dropped his by mistake onto a hard concrete floor. Everyone gasped thinking the worse, but surprisingly the camera was still flawless. I wouldn’t suggest you drop test it yourself, but it may be a bit reassuring that the camera can take a bit of a beating.

The overall design and feel of the camera exudes quality. This isn’t just a simple throwaway point-and-shoot. It feels like a serious tool and a camera meant to last you through years of use.

Autofocus
Here’s where things get really interesting. The autofocus in this camera is rated as the world’s fastest and also comes with the world’s most AF Points and world’s fastest Continous Shooting for a compact camera. That’s quite a few world records Sony is toting, but after using this camera, those accomplishments aren’t simply marketing jargon. This little camera kicks absolute butt in the autofocus department.

At the demo event, I got to practice using the camera on performers including jugglers, dancers, and martial artists. No matter what crazy movements these talented artists pulled off, the RX100 V tracked them and nailed focus nine times out of ten. It didn’t matter if it was lateral or frontal movement, it could keep up. This was very liberating as I could focus solely on my composition and let the camera take care of the rest. There was one sequence where the juggler was juggling knives. I set the camera in Continuous High Burst Mode and let it rip. I capture the coolest sequence and could see every frame as he effortlessly juggled these sharp objects. You’ll probably never miss a moment with this camera unless it’s in your bag!

Ease of Use
Another area the RX100 V excelled in was easy of use. Similar to some of Sony’s recent camera models, the RX100 V has somewhat of a revamped menu. It’s deep with plenty of options for the advanced user. The camera turns on in a second and is ready to go in a variety of modes. I found myself using Shutter Priority to test out the action capturing capabilities of the camera. Changing modes or settings was a breeze, especially if you’re already familiar with Sony’s system.

I’d wager anyone that spends 5-10 minutes with it could be up to speed fairly quickly. For the advanced user, you can spend a few hours customizing and setting the camera up exactly how you’d like to shoot.

Image Samples

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Update 11/17/2016: more samples

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First Impressions
I don’t normally use a point-and-shoot, but the RX100 V has me strongly considering adding it to my kit. I imagine it being useful for sports photographers who want a small “just in case” camera as a backup. It epitomizes the term “point-and-shoot” because you can literally just point and hold the shutter down and take amazing pictures. Just let the buffer run out and pick out the selects later! It’s solidly built, has blazing fast AND accurate autofocus, great image quality, and fits in your pocket. Definitely on my wish list for this year!