Sony’s small miracle? The new RX100 V brings phase detect AF to small sensor cameras

RX100V image7 Large

The tiny RX100 series with their 1-inch sensors with their integrated lenses have been popular with shooters looking for a carry everywhere pocket camera. The previous RX100 IV brought in 4K recording as well as high frame rate shooting in HD. Today Sony updated the camera again with the RX100 V, this time bringing Fast Hybrid AF with phase detection from the a6300 and new a6500 to the RX line. This has led to the claim by Sony that the camera has the World’s fastest AF for a compact camera (1.0 inch type).

The phase detect system also works in video mode and Sony have published the short video below to show it in action. You can vary the tracking speed in the camera’s menu.

Judging by its performance it may just be the video journalist’s best camera option for a small camera yet. It might also be perfect for handheld brushless gimbal operation. One thing it does lack is the touch AF function of the a6500 which would have been nice to have.

The RX100 V top view
The RX100 V top view

Also improved is the high frame rate capability. Using an end trigger function the RX100 IV had the ability to record 240 or 250 fps Full HD burst for 2 seconds in its highest quality and 4 seconds in lower quality. The new camera can now shoot for 3 seconds in the highest quality and 6 in reduced. Sony have published a pretty convincing video to demonstrate just how good it is.

Overall the image from the RX100V looks convincing from Sony’s sample videos (although they are currently only in HD). The sensor has a full pixel readout from a 14 megapixel read which is then down sampled 1.7x with no pixel binning. Impressive for such a small camera. Recording is the same as the RX100 IV – using the XAVC-S codec at 100 Mbps during 4K recording and 50 Mbps in full HD on SD card (UHS-1 U3 for 4K). You can also shoot at 100fps in HD continuously.


On the gamma and colour front all the usual Sony profiles are there as well as S-Log2/S-Gamut, but not S-Log3.

The lens looks to be the same as its predecessor (which is not discontinued) and there is still a built-in ND filter which is handy for video shooting.

The physical size of the camera is similar to the RX100 IV and the battery is the same too. Separately available is a new Sony made underwater housing for the camera. The MPK-URX100A looks like a useful option for the more adventurous shooter.

As with the a6500 Sony have not said anything about whether the RX100 V has been improved to better cope with overheating. I guess this is one thing that we’ll just have to wait to see.

The camera will go on sale in October for $1000 US or 1200 Euro.

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