There’s stiff competition in the premium compact market, so can the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V do enough to pack a punch? Michael Topham reviews the latest pocket wonder
Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V review: Verdict
If someone told me a few years ago that pocket compacts would be able to shoot full-resolution 20-million-pixel files at 24fps for up to 150 frames I wouldn’t have believed them. Sony has taken the RX100 V into new territory with regard to shooting speed and has achieved this by quite a margin. As pocket compacts go, the RX100 V packs a lot of power for it size and complements this with a fast and responsive hybrid autofocus system that’s by no means out of its depth when asked to track moving subjects or acquire fast focus in poor lighting conditions.
As amazing as it is to see phase-detection autofocus and 24fps continuous shooting being offered in such a small camera, but its utility could be lost on a vast majority of users who don’t regularly shoot action, sports or subjects that demand these features. The improvements have seen the price rise considerably and the extra demands that are asked of the sensor and processor have a major affect on battery life to the point where you’re always fretting about running out of power. Whether you take full advantage of the RX100 V’s slow-motion recording, 4K video, burst shooting and Wi-Fi functionality, or just use it for general shooting when a larger camera feels too cumbersome, you’ll find the battery level drops in next to no time. To prevent your shooting experience being cut short it’s essential to pack a few spare batteries or keep a powerbank and USB cable nearby.
The overall performance and image quality is excellent, but the RX100 V is still far from being the perfect pocket compact and it’s slightly disappointing that Sony hasn’t concentrated its efforts on improving what we’ve pulled previous RX100-series models up on before. The RX100 V is calling out for a touchscreen to bring it in line with the competition, which would also make it easier to refine the position of the AF point and improve the user experience of reviewing images in playback mode. The RX100 V’s tiny buttons, lack of a grip and convoluted menu system are other areas that leave a lot to be desired.
To summarise, the RX100 V is a very capable premium pocket compact, but once again we’re left saying it has the potential to be even better. If you don’t require the blazing speed of this new model, you could save yourself some serious money by looking at one of the four previous models in the RX100 series, all of which are still available to buy new. If 4K video and slow-motion recording isn’t for you, but you’d like a viewfinder and superb image quality, the Sony RX100 III remains a great choice. Best of all it’ll save you £400 by not splashing out on the expensive RX100 V.