To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Sony RX100 V review: The fastest shooter in the West

Sony RX100 V EVF
Our Rating :
£879.99 from
Price when reviewed : £943
inc VAT

A technical triumph, The Sony RX100 V is the ultimate compact camera for those who can afford it.


  • Outstanding image and video quality
  • Genuinely pocket-sized
  • Record-breaking performance


  • Relatively small zoom range
  • No touchscreen
  • High price


Sensor resolution: 20 megapixels, Sensor size: 13.2×8.8mm (1in), Viewfinder: Electronic (2.4 million dots), LCD screen: 3in (1,228,800 dots), Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths): 2.9x (24-70mm), 35mm-equivalent aperture: f/4.9-7.6, Weight: 298g, Dimensions (HxWxD): 60x104x41mm


Sony RX100 V review: Image quality

Image quality appears to be unchanged since the RX100 IV but that isn’t a criticism. Focus is impressively sharp in all corners of the frame and throughout the zoom range. Colours are vibrant and there’s lots of detail in highlights and shadows, both in JPEGs and even more so when processing RAW files. The bright lens helps to keep the ISO speed down. 

When very low light forced it up from its base ISO 125 setting, noise levels were kept under control up to ISO 1600. Beyond that, JPEGs exhibited a smeary quality due to aggressive noise reduction but images looked fine at modest sizes.

Automatic exposures were well judged, and I rarely felt the need to adjust the exposure level. At the risk of nit-picking, the 1/80sec shutter speed at the long end of the zoom plays it too safe. With optical stabilisation, it’s perfectly possible to use slower shutter speeds, and therefore slower ISO speeds, with a 70mm focal length. If you feel the same you can adjust settings manually.

A bigger concern – and the only significant one regarding the RX100 V’s image quality – is that the 24-70mm zoom isn’t well equipped for shooting distant subjects compared with the 24-100mm zoom in the Canon G7 X II or the 25-250mm in the Panasonic TZ100. The Panasonic has a trade-off with its smaller aperture but the Canon matches the Sony’s f/1.8-2.8.

Sony RX100 V sample 1

^ Details are impressively smooth and sharp in this wide-angle shot. The high-contrast scene is handled well, with detail reproduced clearly in both the sky and the shadows. (1/250s, f/4, ISO 125, 24mm)

Sony RX100 V sample 2

^ Midway through the zoom range, edge-to-edge focus is excellent and the subtle textures in the foliage and water are handled extremely well (1/100s, f/4, ISO 125, 54mm)

Sony RX100 V sample 3

^ No issues with focus at the long end of the zoom (1/80s, f/4, ISO 125, 70mm)

Sony RX100 V sample 4

^ Another great exposure in tricky lighting with lots of fine detail (1/100s, f/4, ISO 125, 70mm)

Sony RX100 V sample 5

^ The same shot as a RAW file processed in Lightroom 6 reveals plenty of dynamic range. (1/100s, f/4, ISO 125, 70mm)

Sony RX100 V sample 6

^ The bright f/1.8 lens captures lots of light, so the camera doesn’t need to raise the ISO speed for this indoor shot (1/30s, f/1.7, ISO 125, 24mm)

Sony RX100 V sample 7

^ Zooming in pushes the aperture to f/2.8 and means a faster shutter speed is required to avoid blur. The resulting ISO 800 setting hasn’t damaged image quality too much, though. (1/80s, f/2.8, ISO 800, 70mm)

Sony RX100 V sample 8

^ The average compact camera or smartphone would have made a mess of this dimly lit shot but image quality remains excellent here (1/30s, f/1.8, ISO 1250, 24mm)

Sony RX100 V sample 9

^ Noise reduction has smudged the fine detail in this ISO 1000 shot taken at dusk but quality remains firmly in SLR territory (1/80s, f/2.8, ISO 1000, 70mm)

Sony RX100 V sample 10

^ This shot under household artificial light isn’t print quality but it’s good enough for sharing online. (1/30s, f/1.7, ISO 3200, 24mm)

Sony RX100 V sample 11

^ There’s a distinct absence of fine detail here at ISO 6400, but it’s an astounding result for a compact camera taken under street lighting (1/50s, f/2.8, ISO 6400, 64mm)

Sony RX100 V review: Verdict

The Sony RX100 V is a stunning technical achievement. As with previous models, it captures a huge amount of light for such a small camera, which delivers the goods for image and video quality. This latest model also delivers in spades for performance.

The small zoom might prove to be a frustration for anyone who wants such fast performance, though, and the same goes for the video mode. I find it useful to be able to step back and zoom in when shooting videos so as to put your subjects at ease, but that’s not easily done with this camera. As such, video and photography enthusiasts are likely to consider this only as a second camera, in which case the £1,000 may be hard to justify when competing models such as the Canon G7 X II cost around £550. The G7 X II is slower and doesn’t support 4K video but its controls are superior and its 24-100mm lens is more versatile. The Sony RX100 V also has competition from its predecessors, all of which remain on sale with prices ranging from £320 to £680.

Still, there are people for whom the Sony RX100 V will be perfect. It’s a superb camera for parties, weddings and other social events where its small and discrete design means you can get candid shots without pointing a whacking great lens in guests faces, yet it can still deliver the goods in low light and you can rattle off loads of photos and pick out the best later.

The blistering performance is overkill for most situations but it’s great to have a camera that will always keep up with you. The slow-motion video modes are another highlight, and the extended running time in these modes is welcome. The Sony RX100 IV is a more prudent purchase at £680, but if you’re prepared to pay for the best, the Sony RX100 V is that camera.

Pages: 1 2

Sensor resolution20 megapixels
Sensor size13.2×8.8mm (1in)
Focal length multiplier2.7x
ViewfinderElectronic (2.4 million dots)
Viewfinder magnification (35mm-equivalent), coverage0.59x, 100%
LCD screen3in (1,228,800 dots)
Orientation sensorYes
Photo file formatsJPEG, RAW (ARW)
Maximum photo resolution5,472×3,648
Photo aspect ratios4:3, 3:2, 16:9, 1:1
Video compression formatMP4 (AVC) at up to 100Mbit/s
Video resolutions4K (3840×2160) at 25fps, 1080p at 25/50/100fps, 1080i at 25fps, 720p at 25fps
Slow motion video modes1080p at 250fps (1/10x), 500fps (1/20x) or 1,000fps (1/40x)
Maximum video clip length (at highest quality)29m 59s
Exposure modesProgram, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed range30 to 1/2,000 seconds
ISO speed range80 to 12800
Exposure compensationEV +/-3
White balanceAuto, 9 presets with fine tuning, manual, Kelvin
Auto-focus modesMulti, flexible spot, face detect, tracking
Metering modesMulti, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flash modesAuto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, rear curtain
Drive modesSingle, continuous, self-timer, AE bracket, white balance bracket, HDR, panorama
Optical stabilisationYes
Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths)2.9x (24-70mm)
Maximum aperture (wide-tele)f/1.8-2.8
35mm-equivalent aperturef/4.9-7.6
Manual focusYes
Closest macro focus (wide)5cm
Closest macro focus (tele)30cm
Card slotSDXC, Memory Stick PRO Duo
Memory suppliedNone
Battery typeLi-ion
ConnectivityUSB/power, micro HDMI
WirelessWi-Fi, NFC
Body materialAluminium
AccessoriesUSB cable, wrist strap
Dimensions (HxWxD)60x104x41mm
Buying information
WarrantyOne year RTB
Price including VAT£943
Part codeDSCRX100M5.CEH

Read more