It might seem odd to bring out a Sony RX100 V refresh right now having just announced the RX100 VI. One would simply assume that the RX100 VI would be the RX100 V replacement, but apparently not.
It looks like the newly announced Sony RX100 VA is its real replacement. Essentially the same as the RX100 V, it does see some updates. It includes the processor and firmware from the RX100 VI but does miss some of the hardware improvements.
Despite the other differences between the RX100 V and RX100 VI, the biggest change with the was the new 24-200mm 35mm equivalent zoom lens. This increased zoom range requires a smaller variable aperture of f/2.8-4.5. The RX100 V has a shorter range 24-70mm equivalent with a brighter f/1.8-2.8 variable aperture.
It’s that 24-70mm equivalent (8.8-25.7mm in reality) f/1.8-2.8 lens that sets the RX100 VA apart from the RX100 VI, and why the RX100 VI isn’t a true replacement for the RX100 V.
The RX100 VA does inherit the CPU from the RX100 VI, though, and some of the firmware tweaks, although it lacks some key features that may or may not be important to you.
Improvements of the VA over the V
- Bigger buffer (233 files vs 150)
- Proxy movie mode (captures 720p footage for proxy editing alongside 4K footage)
- “Zone” AF area mode
- Variable sized spot metering, entire screen average and highlight spot metering
- Add ratiings to images
- Three auto WB options (Std, Ambience or White)
The proxy movie mode isn’t something I expected to see in a camera like this, although it does make a lot of sense. The RX100 V is extremely popular with vloggers, but editing 4K is very demanding. You can go with proxy editing (edit a lower resolution file and then render from the high res images), but converting 4K to 720p yourself takes time. Time that many vloggers simply don’t have. This makes that process much faster.
But the RX100 VA does lack a number of features of the further reaching RX100 VI.
- No improved one-touch viewfinder
- No touchscreen
- The rear screen tilts down only 45° not 90° (kind of a big deal for vloggers)
- No Hybrid Log Gamma
- No S-Log3 Footage
Other differences also may come out over time as the RX100 VA gets in peoples hands and things are spotted. Sony didn’t actually send a press release announcing the new camera, it’s simply appeared.
The RX100 VA is available to pre-order now for $998. If you don’t need the bigger buffer and are editing on a more powerful system that doesn’t need low res proxies, then the RX100 V is still available for $898 with $100 instant savings. No telling how long this instant discount will last or when supplies will run out.
The RX100 VI is available to buy now at a premium $1,198. An awful lot for a point and shoot if you ask me, even if it is a very good one.
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