So, in addition to the a6500, SONY also announced the RX100 V today. This is the fifth iteration of the RX100, and this was of particular interest to me, because I’m still using the M2 (second version), which I love dearly. I haven’t had a strong reason to upgrade to version 3 or 4, and they’re not exactly cheap, but I’ve been keeping a close eye out for rumors about the Mark 5. Now that it’s here, I’m going to run over the specs, and also provide some commentary and my thoughts.
First off, let’s go over the specs of the new model.
- The RX100 V has a 21MP sensor (still 1 inch sensor size of course), with 20.1 effective MP. This is the same as the RX100 IV.
- It looks almost identical to the RX100 IV.
- The lens is the exact same Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar f1.8-f2.8 24-70mm (that’s the 35mm equivalence of course).
- It has 315 AF points, and boasts the world’s best phase-detection coverage. They say it autofocuses in 1/20 of a second, which is the same speed as the new a6500.
- It offers 24fps continuous shooting, for up to 150 shots, with AF/AE tracking. Pretty impressive.
- There’s a silent mode that mutes the camera and uses electronic shutter.
- The 4K video uses the entire sensor, with no pixel binning, for the best quality video.
- The Mark 4 had 960fps slow motion, and that’s still here, but you can film for twice as long with this new version.
- And then blah blah, a bunch of boilerplate stuff, which amounts to SONY bragging about how fast their processor and sensor are.
- Street price is $998 – the same as the current RX100 IV is selling for. Looks like it will ship later this month, no word on if Europe will be a month later (as in the case of the a6500).
So as I mentioned, I’ve been keeping my eye out for this camera, and I’m fairly opinionated about small compact cameras in general, so here are my thoughts:
- A lot of these specs are fairly similar to the a6500. Obviously the cameras are much different – this one is much more compact, and the a6500 allows for interchangeable lenses. But just know that in many ways, these cameras are siblings.
- While the a6500 was quite a step up from its predecessor, the RX100 V feels like more of an evolution than a revolution. However, a lot of the reason for that is that the previous version already had stabilization. Also they seem to be using the same sensor as the RX100 IV here (but it’s a fine sensor).
- The 4K video with no pixel binning is great, and this will undoubtedly produce some very sharp video, that’s a very nice feature.
- Silent mode is an under-rated thing in cameras. What I found sort of interesting on the official SONY page for the RX100 V is that they illustrate its usefulness by showing a sleeping cat. Saying “you won’t wake up your cat with silent mode” is a far different way of selling silent mode than the “you won’t make noise at a wedding”, which is the example that 99% of people use to explain why silent mode is great. Of course, this all makes perfect sense, because a wedding shooter isn’t going to be using the RX100 V, but it’s just an interesting touch and shows you who they’re aiming this at.
- The $998 price makes this essentially a replacement of the Mark 4 version. This is, I believe, the first time that they’ve introduced a new RX100 at the same price point as the previous model – up until now, they’ve raised the price with each camera. I think this price reflects the fact that there wasn’t that much room to drastically improve the RX100 IV, and also there’s probably a mental barrier where people just aren’t going to pay a price in the four figures. Maybe they’ve done some market testing that showed them $998 was the highest they could go.
So all in all, I really thought I’d have a stronger opinion on this camera. It’s a fantastic camera, and it has some great improvements, but it’s not the most drastic leap forward. Of course, I’m not sure how they could make a drastic leap, the enhanced 4K and faster shooting were some of the only things I could even imagine them adding.
The RX100 V will undoubtedly be an incredible compact, as all the previous RX100s have been. SONY clearly are only worried about creating a premium compact with this line – price seems to just be a small factor when they design these. I look forward to trying out this fifth version when it comes out later this month.