Sony RX100 V Review

Sony RX100 V Review by Melly Lee (mellylee.com)

I’ve picked up a new toy to add to my camera toy box: Sony RX100 V. And just to be upfront right away, this is my favorite camera to shoot with. The RX100 V packs a huge punch within its tiny aluminum body and can live comfortably in my jacket. Before the RX100 V, I’d carry my clunky DSLR setup around, use my cell phone camera, or shoot with my old Canon Powershot G7X.

Nowadays, my Sony A7R II and its lens all stay at home, my cell phone sticks to being a cell phone, and I’ve parted ways with the G7X. I’m infatuated with the RX100 V, but nonetheless it has its limitations and setbacks. After 3 months of regular use and subjecting it to extreme conditions (I took the RX100 V into below freezing weather), I feel that there’s enough experience for me to give an honest review of this little beast of a camera.

Note: Since I’m primarily a photographer, my review contains little regarding the RX100 V’s video capabilities.

 

Quick Specs:

Sensor Type 1.0″ type (13.2 x 8.8mm) Exmor R™ CMOS sensor
Effective Megapixels Actual: 21.0 Megapixel
Effective: 20.1 Megapixel
Lens ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T* f1.8 lens with 3.6x optical zoom
Image Stabilization Optical
Continuous Shooting Up to 24 fps at 20.1 MP for up to 148 frames in JPEG
Up to 24 fps at 20.1 MP for up to 71 frames in RAW
Autofocus 315 Autofocus Points with Phase Detection
Video up to 20mins, and it shoots 4k!
Viewfinder Electronic Viewfinder with Dioper Adjustent
Dimensions 4.0 x 2.3 x 1.6″ / 101.6 x 58.1 x 41.0 mm
Weight 10.55 oz / 299 g with battery and memory card

What In The Box

Sony RX100 V Review by Melly Lee (mellylee.com)

The camera comes with your standard manuals and warranty papers (not pictured), one NP-BX1 battery, a micro usb cable, a USB AC adaptor, lanyard attachments, and a wrist strap. After researching and committing to purchasing this camera I was exhilarated to open the box. My excitement was quickly met with a “Where is the battery charger?!” Priced around $1000.00 USD, you’d assume that Sony would include a dedicated battery charger with the camera. Based on what was included in the box, I assume that Sony wants you to charge the battery while it’s in the camera or purchase its separate USB Battery Charger. I’ll address this battery topic more later in the post.

 

Design + Build

Sony RX100 V Review by Melly Lee (mellylee.com)

For the most part any design or build changes made on the RX100 V is minimal compared to its predecessors. The camera feels solid in your hand, has a good weight to it, and feels like a tank compared to my old G7X.

Although I appreciate it’s sleek design, I wish it had a better front grip for your hand. The included wrist strap does help to ensure that the camera doesn’t slip and fall to its death, but the overall feel would be much more sturdy with a grip. If you’d like to remedy this situation, Sony does provide an optional grip attachment.

Sony RX100 V Review by Melly Lee (mellylee.com)

Design-wise the buttons and menus are comparable to the other cameras in the Sony family. For new users the buttons are intuitive, but the menu system will take time to get familiar with. You unfortunately have to go through the menu system to access certain functions.

Overall, I’m content with the design, but I’d like to see a touch screen in future models. That’s actually something that I miss from my old G7X. I could be much more efficient if I could tap and change settings directly on the LCD as opposed to finicking with tiny buttons, scroll wheels, and confusing menus.

Sony RX100 V Review by Melly Lee (mellylee.com)

Since the RX100 often resides in a jacket pocket or deep within a backpack, I decided to install a tempered glass screen cover onto the swiveling LCD. The swiveling LCD screen can flip up completely, which is useful for taking selfies or vlogging.

Sony RX100 V Review by Melly Lee (mellylee.com)

Sony RX100 V Review by Melly Lee (mellylee.com)

Sony RX100 V Review by Melly Lee (mellylee.com)

 

 

Electronic Viewfinder (EVF)

Sony RX100 V Review by Melly Lee (mellylee.com)

A feature that happily surprised me was the RX100 V’s OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF). Initially, I expected myself to frame the shot through the LCD and then click! Instead I’m finding it much more natural to compose a shot using the EVF. Similar to other mirrorless cameras, the RX100 V’s EVF displays all the data and settings on the camera. It also displays live changes as adjust settings.

Sony RX100 V Review by Melly Lee (mellylee.com)

Like traditional viewfinders, the RX100 V’s EVF has a diopter adjustment knob for calibrating to the user’s vision. The EVF is one of the biggest highlights on the camera, primarily because under bright sunlight the LCD is useless. It’s difficult to shoot when the LCD catches obtrusive, blinding glares from the sun.

 

Battery Life

Sony RX100 V Review by Melly Lee (mellylee.com)

To be honest, the battery life blows and a battery charger isn’t included in the box. Sony claims their battery life to be:

Still Images:
Monitor: Approx. 220 shots / Approx. 110min., ViewFinder:Approx. 210 / Approx. 105min.

Video:
Monitor: Approx. 35min., ViewFinder:Approx. 35min. (In [MP4 28M] mode, max. continuous shooting time is approx. 20 min. and max. file size is 4GB)

For someone who is always on the go, 200 some images and roughly half an hour of filming isn’t substantial. Luckily the RX100 V has a USB input on the side of its body, which would allow you to plug the camera directly into an AC outlet or into a external battery pack. Plugging directly into an external battery pack is particularly handy whenever you’re shooting long exposures at night.

Sony RX100 V Review by Melly Lee (mellylee.com)

Sony RX100 V Review by Melly Lee (mellylee.com)
Connected is an Anker Powercore 20100

Sony RX100 V Review by Melly Lee (mellylee.com)

I ended up buying a combo pack from Wasabi Power that included 2 spare batteries and a USB dual charger.

Autofocus + Continuous Shooting

Wow that’s the same volcano shot taken a bunch of times

These two updated features are the reasons why I committed to picking up the RX100 V. All I want to do with a point-and-shoot camera is point and shoot. This is something the RX100 V does exceptionally well. With 315 autofocus points and a Hybrid AF system which combines focal-plane phase-detection AF and contrast-detection AF, you can grab your shot within 0.05 seconds. The camera’s BIONZ X™ image processor also gives the RX100 V a massive image buffer:

  • Up to 24 fps at 20.1 MP for up to 148 frames in JPEG format
  • Up to 24 fps at 20.1 MP for up to 71 frames in raw format

What all this means is that you could spray-and-pray and go trigger happy until you’ve captured the exact moment you were looking for.

Mount Taranaki by Melly Lee (mellylee.com)
70mm 1/80 f/2.8 @ iso 100

 

Image Quality

Bryce Canyon by Melly Lee (mellylee.com)
70mm 1/2500 f/2.0 @ iso 100

Hands down, I absolutely love the photos from this camera.  The images are sharp and the raw files have an impressive dynamic range. With proper exposure, the .arw files contain enough data for me to manipulate and play with in post.

Oh, and the RX100V can see and photograph the stars!

Jessika Van by Melly Lee (mellylee.com)
65mm 1/1000 f/3.5 @ iso 100
Self Portrait by Melly Lee (mellylee.com)
70mm 1/320 f/2.8 @ iso 100
Peter Adrian Sudarso in Auckland by Melly Lee (mellylee.com)
24mm 1/40 f/1.8 @ iso 1600
Wharariki Beach by Melly Lee (mellylee.com)
24mm 1.3s f/1.8 @ iso 100
Milky Way in Golden Bay by Melly Lee (mellylee.com)
24mm 30.0s f/1.8 @ iso 3200

Final Thoughts

Sony RX100 V Review by Melly Lee (mellylee.com)

As of March 2017, the Rx100 V is my favorite camera. I’m smitten because it fits in my jacket pocket and doesn’t cause a commotion when I want to shoot. The photos it delivers are outstanding, and I get a little ego boost whenever people are shocked that one of my photos came from a point-and-shoot. This camera alone has gotten me to photograph things simply for fun again.

 

Is it Worth the Money?

I have to say that the RX100 V is a photographer’s point-and-shoot camera. It packs a punch and is capable of performing in extreme conditions. Those who enjoy editing raw files will also have field day with this camera. However, despite my overwhelming love for the RX100 V, there are a few things that could use some work. For instance, at a $1000.00 price tag, where is my battery charger?! Where is my touch screen?! Tap to focus?!

While still considering the cost, there’s that question “Is the Sony RX100 V worth the money?” Its most recent predecessors, RX100 IV and RX100 III, are both still available to purchase on the market and have near identical specs.

 RX100 VRX100 IVRX100 III
Price$998$848$698
Resolution20.1 MP
5472 x 3648
20.1 MP
5472 x 3648
20.1 MP
5472 x 3648
Sensor1" BSI-CMOS1" BSI-CMOS1" BSI-CMOS
Lens24-70mm/1.8-2.824-70mm/1.8-2.824-70mm/1.8-2.8
ISO125-12800125-12800125-12800
Continuous Shooting24fps16fps10fps
Battery Life220 shots (sucks)280 shots (still sucks)320 shots (sucks less)
AutofocusContrast Detection and Phase DetectionContrast DetectionContrast Detection
ViewfinderElectronic - 2,359k dots
100% Coverage
Electronic - 2,359k dots
100% Coverage
Electronic - 1,440k dots
100% Coverage
Video4k4k1080

There is no doubt that the RX100 V is an amazing camera; however, when you take into consideration the unchanging hardware and design, at the end of the day you’re paying for its impressive autofocus. The substantial difference between the RX100 V and RX100 IV’s autofocus and image buffer was enough for me to bite the extra $100 bullet. If you’re on a budget, I’d recommend getting the RX100 III or the Canon G7x II ($679.)

 

What I Liked:

  • Simplicity
  • Travel friendly size
  • Dynamic Range
  • Hyperspeed Autofocus
  • Spray-and-Pray Buffer

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Battery Life
  • No touch screen
  • Lack of a front grip
  • Price tag $$$

Who Would Like This:

  • Minimalist
  • Photographers who are tired of carrying their giant cameras around
  • Travelers

Who Wouldn’t Like This:

  • People that like to be seen with big cameras
  • Anti-Sony People

SUPPORT THE BLOG

The Sony RX100 V featured in this post was purchased by me.

If you find content like this review helpful, please consider purchasing gear from B&H or any of my other my affiliate links. Anything you purchase after clicking through these links helps keep the lights on for the blog –and you get to treat yourself to a new toy!

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8 Comments

  • Great review, Melly! Entertaining and informative. And with you – instant Fred. Btw. Love the captions and illustrations.

  • Hi, I just wanted to say thank you for your review — and your entire blog for that matter. You’re super inspiriting. I went out to buy a rx1000 m5 yesterday, you def sold me! Can’t wait to take it out to Havasupai Falls next week.

  • Great review! I’ve had the camera for just over a month, and haven’t touched my DSLR since receiving it. It’s fun to shoot with and the results are stunning. I’ve blown people away with the in-camera B+W settings alone. I just need to lie to myself about how much I spent!!

  • First time stumble on you blog and I was amazed. Thanks for the review on the photo side of the camera. 98% of this camera review are praising it’s 4K and super slow motion. And I always love to hear gear review from other side of the gender. We see different things and take the same thing differently. Love that starry sky shot and the hand drawn highlight in the photos btw. Have been looking into a super compact since spring but still could decided on RX100 m4 or M5 or G7X mk2.
    Always shoot with Canon and Fuji.

    • Thanks for reading and leaving your thought Felix! If you’re still in the market for a compact point and shoot, perhaps the next course of action for you would be to go to a camera store and physically feel out each camera to see if you like them. At the end of day a camera is just a tool, see which one feels right to you. Cheers!

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