The RX100 V Announcement in Review – Sony Shocks Everyone Part 2.

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Note: I posted Part 1 of this story (the SONY a6500 announcement) earlier, click here to read it.

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.

rx100-v-a

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).

rx100-v-c

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. The 4K video with no pixel binning is great, and this will undoubtedly produce some very sharp video, that’s a very nice feature.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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