I recently purchased the Sony RX100V and I’ve now spent two days with the camera. Unfortunately, the first day was quite cloudy, but you can see those photos here. It was a rare day of sunshine in Seattle on Friday, so I spent my lunch break in Seattle’s Volunteer Park which is a quick walk from my house. The first thing I noticed was the image quality was immediately better than the day before. The 1″ sensor in the RX100V needs quite a bit of light to get the best results. The difference between the two days is almost polar opposites.
As I stated in the previous article, the new Sony RAW files are not supported by any Adobe products yet. This means I had to manipulate the jpegs in Lightroom. The results weren’t perfect, particularly with bright clouds as the image began to break apart once edited. However, the overall quality was extremely nice for a compact camera. I’m confident this won’t be an issue once you can edit the RAW files.
After the first day shooting, I was so disappointed in the camera that I considered returning it. It was that bad. The newest photos have changed my mind. It has shown me that in the right lighting conditions (pretty much everywhere except Seattle), this camera can do great work.
My major gripe is that the quality of jpegs straight out of the camera is abysmal. Awful. Perhaps this is the case for all 1″ cameras or maybe it’s a problem unique to Sony. I doubt it as 1″ cameras lack the light-gathering capabilities of its bigger sensor siblings. My experience working with the Panasonic ZS100 is biased as I used it in very bright, sunny conditions and only over a few days versus owning the camera long-term.
Back to the jpegs. I thought they were hopeless when I first opened them from the memory card. Please keep in mind I have all camera settings set to default. I have not had time to research ideal in-camera picture settings or experiment with my own. Take this criticism with a huge pinch of salt.
Once I began editing the Sony RX100V images in Lightroom, my worries began to slowly evaporate. This is a very capable small camera!
There has been much press and hype surrounding the new autofocus system. Sony claims it’s the fastest in the world. I would have to agree. It’s extremely fast, BUT what it chooses to focus on may be incorrect. In the photo below, I tried repeatedly to focus on the group of berries closest to me. The camera doesn’t have a touchscreen, so I couldn’t simply touch to focus. I tried pressing the shutter button a few times to get it to refocus on the foreground, but no luck. I also tried pointing the camera away from the objects and then coming back to recompose the photo. It would still focus on the bunch in the back versus the foreground. I found this to be a common problem regardless of what I was shooting. Perhaps the minimum focus distance is quite large, but I was still far away from this tree and zoomed in to the maximum 70mm reach of the camera. It shouldn’t have had an issue with focusing on the foreground.
Here are some shots of the water tower in Volunteer Park. I feel they turned out really nice and showcase the RX100V’s image quality in good lighting conditions. Click on the thumbnails to expand the photos.
I’ll continue to post my impressions with the camera over the coming weeks and months that I own it. Did I mention it can take selfies? Isn’t that all we really need? I still need to test out the video functions such as stabilized 4k shooting and high frame rate video. Right now, it’s safe to say I have a new take-everywhere daily camera and an excellent second camera to my GH4 or GX85 to use while traveling. I’ll finish this up with a few more photos and the promise that additional articles on the camera are forthcoming.