Sony RX100 V Tech Info
Sony RX100 V Technical Info
by Mike Tomkins | Posted 10/06/2016
For the fifth straight generation, resolution from the Sony RX100 V's 20.1-megapixel, 1"-type, backside-illuminated image sensor is all but unchanged from that of the previous model, suggesting that Sony is happy with the sweet spot it has found in terms of resolution and sensor size.
However, it's not the exact same sensor used in the RX100 IV. This time around, Sony has added on-chip phase detection autofocus pixels, allowing for a super-speedy new hybrid autofocus system, which we'll come back to momentarily.
As in earlier models, the Sony RX100 V's Exmor RS-branded image sensor has a 3:2 aspect ratio. The total pixel count is unchanged from that of the RX100 IV, at 21.0 megapixels. Compared to prior models, it's just fractionally higher than their 20.9-megapixel total counts.
Output from the Sony RX100 V's brand-new image sensor is handled by the current-generation BIONZ X-branded image processor, which was also used by the earlier RX100 III and IV. However, unlike those cameras the RX100 V also sports a new front-end LSI chip which helps raise performance to even higher levels. If this feature seems familiar, that's because we saw it first in the interchangeable-lens Sony A99 II, incidentally.
Together, the pairing of image sensor and processor produce the exact same ISO sensitivity range offered by the RX100 III and IV.
For still imaging, the Sony RX100 V offers everything from ISO 125 to 12,800 equivalents by default, with the option to extend the lower end of the range to ISO 80 / 100 equivalents. Movie capture allows the same standard sensitivity range, but not the extended sensitivities.
You can also reduce noise levels for relatively static subjects using a Multi-Frame Noise Reduction function. When enabled, this allows a maximum sensitivity of ISO 25,600 equivalent.
While the sensitivity range hasn't changed, there's been a gigantic step forwards in terms of burst capture performance. (And the RX100 IV was already much faster than earlier models, so that's really saying something.)
Where Sony rated the RX100 III for a modest 2.9 frames per second, and the RX100 IV for a more reasonable 5.5 frames per second, the RX100 V is now capable of a truly stellar 24 frames per second capture. That's more than four times the performance of its predecessor, and it's important to note that this manufacturer-supplied performance rating -- which was borne out by our lab testing -- includes both autofocus and autoexposure adjustments between frames.
In fact, to give you an idea of the magnitude of the improvement here, it's worth considering the fact that even with autofocus locked from the first frame, the RX100 IV was still a full eight frames per second slower than the RX100 V's performance rating with continuous autofocus tracking active!
Once again, Sony has retained the same ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T*-branded, 2.9x optical zoom lens featured in the RX100 III and IV for the followup RX100 V. It's very bright, with a maximum aperture of f/1.8 at wide angle, falling to f/2.8 by the telephoto position. It's also a bit shorter than the lenses of the RX100 and RX100 II, however, with a 35mm-equivalent focal range of 24-70mm.
Just as in the earlier cameras, it has a 10-element, nine-group design with nine aspheric elements, including one crafted from two Advanced Aspheric elements cemented together. There's also a seven-bladed aperture iris, a Zeiss T* coating, and a built-in, three-stop neutral density filter that can be automatically or manually enabled or disabled.
Also just as in the RX100 III and IV, the Sony RX100 V's lens also includes SteadyShot optical image stabilization for still images. When shooting movies, the more powerful Intelligent Active SteadyShot stabilization is used, and it's coupled with electronic compensation as well.
The Sony RX100 V uses a new hybrid autofocus system, pairing both on-chip phase-detection AF pixels with a contrast-detection AF system. The former is used to determine the distance and direction of adjustment required to achieve an approximate focus lock, and then the latter steps in to fine-tune the focus adjustment.
In total, the phase-detection system sports a generous 315 focus points covering 65% of the image frame. In addition, there are 25 contrast-detection AF points.
The Sony RX100 V has a minimum focusing distance of five centimeters at wide angle, or 30 cm at the telephoto position, just as in the RX100 III and IV. Autofocus options are the same as in the RX100 IV, with a choice of Wide, Center, and small, medium or large Flexible Spot autofocus modes, as well as an Expanded Flexible Spot AF mode. And of course, you can still opt for single, continuous or Direct Manual Focus servo modes, as well as fully-manual, fly-by-wire autofocus.
Like the RX100 III and IV before it, the Sony RX100 V has a clever popup electronic viewfinder that adds relatively little to the size of the camera body, but which adds much to its versatility. The display used in this viewfinder is the exact same model as in the RX100 IV. It's deployed using a switch on the left side of the body (when viewed from the rear), and based around a 0.39-inch Organic LED panel with a resolution of 2,359,296 dots, which equates to a 1,024 x 768 pixel array.
When the viewfinder is raised, the camera will power itself on automatically if need be. You then manually pull the rear element of the finder backwards a little to lock it in position. Sony rates the viewfinder at 100% coverage with 0.59x magnification and a 20mm eyepoint. It also has a five-step auto / manual brightness control, and a -4 to +3 diopter adjustment for eyeglasses wearers.
On the rear side of the Sony RX100 V is a 3.0-inch, 4:3 aspect Xtra Fine TFT LCD panel. It has the same dimensions and dot count -- 1,228,800 dots -- as that used in the RX100 III and IV, and is quite likely the very same panel. It also still has a five-step brightness adjustment plus a Sunny Weather mode for better visibility in direct sunlight. As in the RX100 IV (and unlike the RX100 III), there is no Auto brightness setting, however.
As in its recent predecessors, the Sony RX100 V's LCD monitor is mounted on an articulation mechanism. It's not our favored side-swivel design, which is by far the most versatile option, but it's still much more useful than a fixed-position LCD. It allows the display to be tilted upwards a full 180 degrees for selfie shooting, or downwards by 45 degrees for shooting over your head.
Exposure modes in the Sony RX100 V are much as they were in the RX100 IV, but with one small change: There are now four Memory Recall modes instead of three, allowing you to save one additional group of settings, with a proviso: the first three Memory Recall modes can be stored in-camera, but four MR modes can be stored on the current memory card. Operating modes include Auto (either Intelligent Auto or Superior Auto), Program, Aperture / Shutter Priority, Manual, Scene, Panorama, High Frame-Rate, Movie and the aforementioned Memory Recall modes.
Exposures are determined using multi-pattern, center-weighted or spot metering modes, and shutter speeds range from 30 to 1/2,000 seconds with a mechanical shutter, or as fast as 1/32,000 second with an electronic shutter. There's also a bulb mode function limited to a maximum of 30 seconds, and you can tune metered exposures with +/-3EV of exposure compensation in 1/3 EV steps.
If you need a little more light cast on your subject, a built-in flash strobe is provided. It's exactly the same as that in the RX100 III and IV, with a range of 0.4 to 10.2 meters at wide-angle, or 0.4 to 6.5 meters at telephoto using auto ISO sensitivity.
We mentioned the panorama mode of the RX100 V a moment ago, but there are quite a few other creative options to choose from, as well. Most of them will be immediately familiar to Sony camera owners, including dynamic range optimization, multi-shot modes like Handheld Twilight and Anti Motion Blur, bracketing for exposure, white balance and DRO, and so on. And of course, you can tune images to your tastes with picture effects and creative styles.
Just as did its predecessor, the Sony RX100 V has received a significant upgrade in the movie department.
You can still record 4K videos (3,840 x 2,160 pixels at up to 30 frames per second), but these now gain the benefit of the new hybrid autofocus system, and they also now use almost the entire sensor width with no pixel binning or line skipping. That translates to a 1.7x oversampling of the image, which is downsampled automatically as it is captured to 4K resolution. As in the RX100 IV, 4K footage is limited to just five minutes per clip, likely due to the difficulty of getting heat out of such a small body.
The Sony RX100 V also retains its predecessor's high frame-rate modes, but clip length has been doubled from either two or four seconds to four or eight seconds. NTSC / PAL mode sensor readouts as follows:
1,824 x 1,026 pixels
240 / 250 fps (quality priority, four-second clip length)
1,676 x 566 pixels
480 / 500 fps (quality priority, four-second clip length)
240 / 250 fps (shoot time priority, eight-second clip length)
1,136 x 384 pixels
960 / 1,000 fps (quality priority, four-second clip length)
480 / 500 fps (shoot time priority, eight-second clip length)
800 x 270 pixels
960 / 1,000 fps (shoot time priority, eight-second clip length)
HFR clips are upsampled to Full HD size (1,920 x 1,080) before being saved in XAVC S format with selectable playback speed options of 60p, 30p or 24p (50p or 25p in PAL mode).
The four and eight-second capture length limits may not seem like much, but keep in mind capturing eight seconds at 960 fps with a playback rate of 24 fps results in over five minutes of playback.
Standard speed movies include stereo audio, recorded courtesy of an on-board microphone on the top deck of the RX100 V.
Like its predecessor, the Sony RX100 V includes both Wi-Fi and NFC wireless connectivity, allowing file transfer and remote control with Android or iOS smart devices, not to mention easy bump-pairing with Android. For iOS devices, or those rare Android devices without NFC connectivity, QR code pairing is also possible.
As well as its wireless connectivity, the Sony RX100 V also sports both a Type-D Micro HDMI port for high-def video output, and a Multi Terminal Micro USB port that provides a USB 2.0 High Speed data connection to your computer. The Multi Terminal also supports an optional RM-VPR1 wired remote control and tethered remote shooting from a Windows or Mac computer running Sony's Remote Camera Control utility.
Images and movies are stored on a single slot compatible with either Secure Digital or Memory Stick Duo cards, and this is also compatible with SDHC, SDXC and UHS-I SD cards, not to mention PRO Duo, Pro Duo High Speed or PRO HG MS Duo cards. However, UHS-II cards are not supported, and so will fall back to UHS-I operation at reduced speeds.
Note that if you plan to capture XAVC S video clips, a Class 10 SDHC or SDXC card is required, and if you want to record 100 Mbps video, a UHS Speed Class U3 card is required.
Power comes courtesy of a rechargeable NP-BX1 lithium-ion battery pack, the same type used in all earlier RX100-series cameras, and the battery is charged in-camera via the Multi Terminal Micro USB port. Sony rates battery life as 220 shots using the LCD monitor, or 210 shots with the electronic viewfinder, to CIPA standards. That's a fair bit less than the RX100 (330 shots), RX100 II (350 shots), RX100 III (320 shots) and RX100 IV (280 shots), so you'll definitely want to pick up a second battery pack.