Not surprisingly, the Mark V looks a whole lot like its predecessors. It continues to use a 1″-type 20.1MP sensor (more on that in a minute) and 24-70mm equiv. F1.8-2.8 lens, and sports the same pop-up viewfinder with 2.36M-dot OLED panel as the RX100 III and IV. The big improvements are all under the hood.
The RX100 V’s sensor is of a similar stacked design to the Mark IV’s but gains 315 phase-detection AF points covering 65% of the frame. Combined with a front-end LSI chip, the RX100 V’s AF system is capable of acquiring focus in as little as 0.05 sec.
The main benefit of phase detection elements on the sensor is that they give the camera an understanding of the depth and where your subject exists in the scene. This not only means faster focus but should also allow more reliable subject tracking, since the camera has additional information to help it determine your subject and its location.
That on-sensor phase detection isn’t only useful for continuous shooting but it should come into its own when the continuous AF and continuous drive are used in conjunction with one another.
The camera can continue to use PDAF even at its top full-res burst speed of an impressive 24 fps. On top of this, its buffer is now deep enough that it can keep firing away for 150 shots, even with Raw.
PDAF plus 4K
The RX100 V’s 4K video mode certainly looks good on paper: the camera uses a 5028 x 2828 pixel region to create UHD video, meaning it oversamples by 1.3x in each dimension. And with faster sensor readout, there’s less rolling shutter to worry about.
The ability to use phase-detection autofocus while recording 4K video is a benefit, since it reduces the risk of the camera missing focus and having to hunt (and ruining your clips in the process). Sadly, without a touchscreen it’s not quite as useful as it could be.
There’s still plenty to make a video enthusiast happy: a 960 fps slow motion mode (that’s upscaled to 1080/30p) for up to 8 sec, 1080/120p and S-Log profiles are all here.
Look but don’t touch
On that note, here’s a look at the RX100 V’s LCD, and multi-tasking DPR staffer Carey Rose. The 3″ 1.3M-dot screen flips up to a selfie-friendly 180-degrees, and also tilts downward by 45 degrees. Like we said, it’s still not a touchscreen, and that’s a shame.
Wi-Fi on board
Wi-Fi and NFC haven’t gone anywhere, but you’ll find a new way to initiate the connection between the camera and your mobile device: QR codes are available for those of us without NFC, or next-to-useless NFC (we’re looking at you, Apple.)
All the advancements under the hood appear to have taken a toll on battery life: the RX100 V’s battery is CIPA-rated to 220 shots compared to the RX100 IV’s 280 shots. Most users will of course get much better performance than that in real world use (since the testing makes more use of flash and image review than most photographers). And there is good news – the RX100 V we’ve been using for initial shooting has performedway over the CIPA rating. Still, a spare battery wouldn’t be the worst idea with an RX100 V purchase.
New waterproof housing
Sony has also unveiled an underwater housing compatible with the entire RX100 series, called the MPK-URX100A for those keeping score at home. It’s rated to a depth of 40m/130ft and includes loads of control points to access settings with the camera locked safely inside. The housing will go on sale in November for $350.
Innovation doesn’t come cheap
A long feature list commands an equally impressive price tag – the Sony RX100 V will retail for $1000 when it goes on sale in October. For the moment that’s the same price as the Mark IV, but it seems highly likely that its price will come down before too long.