Sony introduced the original Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 in June 2012, and since that time the company has unleashed four updated models, each one an improvement over the last. What’s interesting is that all five versions of Sony RX100-series cameras are still available on the B&H website. Why? Because despite the refinements added to each successive model, each remains a terrific camera in its own right and offers stellar image quality and features within a wider range of prices.
The original Sony RX100 was among the first cameras to feature Sony’s 20.2MP 1" Exmor CMOS sensor. Other features found in Sony’s aluminum-bodied point-and-shoot include a 28-100mm equivalent Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* f/1.8–4.9 lens, full manual control, optical image stabilization, a BIONZ imaging processor, Full HD 1080p video at 60 fps, a 3" 1,229K-dot LCD, 10 fps burst shooting, and sensitivities up to ISO 6400.
Fast-forward a half dozen years and we have the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 V, which greatly resembles the original on the surface but is far from identical under the hood. The most notable improvement, in my book, has been the addition of a 2.36m-dot OLED pop-up EVF, which makes the camera that much easier to use when shooting in bright light. It is also a sharper and more refined version of the 1440k-dot pop-up EVF introduced in the RX100 III. The rear screen on the RX100 V still measures 3", but it now packs 1.23m-dots and, unlike the fixed screen on previous models, tilts upward 180° for selfies.
The camera sensor has been upgraded to a 20.1MP 1" Exmor RS BSI CMOS sensor, which has a far wider dynamic range than Sony’s original sensor, and much faster readout, due to the stacked architecture that features an integrated DRAM chip. A newer 24-70mm equivalent f/1.8-2.8 lens, which was first found in the RX100 III, takes in a wider and shorter zoom range but is notably faster on the long end, for added usability.
Other improvements found on the RX100 V include a hybrid autofocus system with 315 phase-detect points, internal UHD 4K video with S-Log2 gamma, an HFR mode for up to recording video at up to 960 fps, sensitivities up to ISO 12800, and 24 fps burst shooting, all of which is made possible, in part, by the implementation of the BIONZ X processor and a front-end LSI.
Sony’s Cyber-shot DSC-RX100-series cameras continue to sell because they continue to innovate and lead their class in image quality and features, not to mention that any one of them can fit into your pocket and will outperform any smartphone. To survive in today’s camera market, you have to make a camera that resonates with consumers on a number of levels, which is something the Sony RX100-series cameras continue to do.
The “Things We Love” series articles are written by B&H Photo Video Pro Audio staff to talk about products and items that we love. Opinions expressed in the articles are those of the writers and do not represent product endorsements from B&H Photo Video Pro Audio.