Sony RX100 III vs RX100 IV vs RX100 V: Viewfinder and LCD
- RX100 III: 3in tilting LCD, 1.229m dots; EVF with 0.59x mag. and 1.44m dots
- RX100 IV: 3in tilting LCD, 1.229m dots; EVF with 0.59x mag. and 2.36m dots
- RX100 V: 3in tilting LCD, 1.229m dots; EVF with 0.59x mag. and 2.36m dots
All three models feature built-in electronic viewfinders that offer 100% coverage of the scene. The only main difference here is that the RX100 III's viewfinder has a resolution of 1.44million dots, whereas the two newer cameras have improved 2.359million-dot panels.
All three models also have the same LCD screen that tilts 45° downwards and 180° upwards – ie all the way around to face the front. None of the LCD screens are touch sensitive, although Sony has recently added this to its RX10 and Alpha lines, so it seems like a logical feature on any upcoming Sony RX100 VI –
especially given the new on-sensor phase-detect AF system.
Sony RX100 III vs RX100 IV vs RX100 V: Build and design
- RX100 III: 290g (inc. battery and card); 102 x 58 x 41mm
- RX100 IV: 298g (inc. battery and card); 102 x 58 x 41mm
- RX100 V: 299g (inc. battery and card); 102 x 58 x 41mm
There's very little to split these three in terms of build and design.
The tough, aluminium bodies have an identical control layout, with precisely the same dimensions and no discernible difference in weight between them. The fact that all three lack a grip of any sort doesn't sit well with everyone, but optional grips do exist for the benefit of those that fall into this camp.
Given that the only real difference between these three is the Roman numerals after the RX100 symbol, this is clearly a design Sony believes in.
Sony RX100 III vs RX100 IV vs RX100 V: Other features
- RX100 III: Wi-Fi and NFC; single SD/MemoryStick card slot; built-in flash
- RX100 IV: Wi-Fi and NFC; single SD/MemoryStick card slot; built-in flash
- RX100 V: Wi-Fi and NFC; single SD/MemoryStick card slot; built-in flash
Once again, we're looking more at similarities than differences when it comes to features.
All three have Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity, and all three lack Bluetooth and GPS. Time-lapse shooting isn't possible on any of the three straight out of the box, although a paid-for app that enables this is available through Sony's PlayMemories store.
The RX100 III is the only one of the three that does not have an option to set the minimum shutter speed when using Auto ISO, a useful feature that's included in the RX100 IV and RX100 V.
The fastest shutter speeds vary between the cameras too. You’re limited to a maximum 1/2000sec with the RX100 III, but the later two models each offer a maximum shutter speed of 1/32,000sec.
All feature a built-in flash, HDMI and USB ports, and a single card slot that accepts SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards (and Sony's own MemoryStick format). There's no hotshoe on any of these three – a feature dropped after the RX100 II – so it's not possible to physically mount any accessories on top of any of these cameras.
Sony RX100 III vs RX100 IV vs RX100 V: Battery life
- RX100 III: NP-BX1 battery, 320 shots
- RX100 IV: NP-BX1 battery, 280 shots
- RX100 V: NP-BX1 battery, 220 shots
It seems as though one downside of certain new features introduced with successive models is their hunger for power.
All three use the same NP-BX1 battery unit, but the older RX100 III has the best battery life of the three, with 320 shots per charge. This is fairly respectable for such a small camera, and the 280-shot battery life of the RX100 IV isn't too far behind, although this figure drops to just 220 frames on the RX100 V.
If you think this might be an issue, you may wish to either invest in another battery or carry a powerbank with you so you can recharge the battery, inside the camera, while on the move.
Sony clearly found a formula that worked with the original Cyber-Shot RX100, and the following iterations adhere to a very similar core feature set.
Each version has been tweaked, with new features added (and, on occasion, removed) that continually make the cameras in the RX100 series among the most compelling on the market.
In these latest three versions, the changes have mainly reflected Sony’s innovations in video, sensor design, autofocus and processing power.
What you get in the RX100 V is the fastest RX100 camera yet, with a 315-point phase-detect AF system, 24fps high-speed shooting with full-time AF and the most comprehensive video set yet. In fact, the video specs of the RX100 V are so impressive that the camera can even cater for video professionals in certain contexts.
If stills photography is your thing, and you don't imagine shooting too much action, there's little reason to buy the later models, save for the improved focusing system on the RX100 V. All three are very capable for cameras of their kind, and well worthy of the enthusiast's attention.
Read more: The best cameras under £500 right now