Since the original release of the Sony RX100 back in 2012, the company has been pushing updates to the camera and releasing one new iteration every year. Which means that as of today, we have had a total of 6 such releases: RX100, RX100 II, RX100 III, RX100 IV, RX100 V and RX100 VI. Sporting a 1″ sensor and superb optics from Zeiss, these point and shoot cameras have been widely popular among photographers. And thanks to their compact size and low weight, the RX100 series cameras have been highly regarded as very capable, and yet pocket-able cameras that are perfect for such needs as travel photography. Unfortunately, due to the number of the RX100 series cameras, their differences in pricing and features, it has become increasingly difficult for potential buyers to understand the main differences between these cameras. In this article, I will be comparing the key features and specifications of the RX100-series cameras, which will hopefully make it easier to see what has changed between all the releases we have seen so far.
Below is a table that we put together for our readers, showing each iteration of the Sony RX100 cameras, along with their key specifications. Please note that we have marked the superior features in darker blue, while the key missing features are marked in light red.
|Specification||Sony RX100 I||Sony RX100 II||Sony RX100 III||Sony RX100 IV||Sony RX100 V||Sony RX100 VI|
|Sensor Type||CMOS||BSI CMOS||BSI CMOS||Stacked CMOS||Stacked CMOS||Stacked CMOS|
|Sensor Resolution||20.2 MP||20.2 MP||20.1 MP||20.1 MP||20.1 MP||20.1 MP|
|Sensor Size||13.2 x 8.8mm (1″)||13.2 x 8.8mm (1″)||13.2 x 8.8mm (1″)||13.2 x 8.8mm (1″)||13.2 x 8.8mm (1″)||13.2 x 8.8mm (1″)|
|Native ISO Range||125-6400||160-12,800||125-12,800||125-12,800||125-12,800||125-12,800|
|Image Processor||Bionz||Bionz||Bionz X||Bionz X||Bionz X||Bionz X|
|Phase Detection Autofocus||No||No||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Phase Detection Autofocus Points||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||315 AF Points||315 AF Points|
|Lens Focal Length||10.4-37.1mm||10.4-37.1mm||8.8-25.7mm||8.8-25.7mm||8.8-25.7mm||8.8-74.0mm|
|Focal Length in 35mm Equiv||28-100mm||28-100mm||24-70mm||24-70mm||24-70mm||24-200mm|
|Optical Image Stabilization||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes (up to 4 stops)|
|Integrated ND Filter||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/2000 sec||1/2000 sec||1/2000 sec||1/32000 sec||1/32000 sec||1/32000 sec|
|Startup Time||2.8 sec||2.8 sec||2.0 sec||2.0 sec||2.0 sec||2.0 sec|
|Anti Distortion Shutter||No||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Auto ISO Min Shutter Speed||No||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|EVF||N/A||Optional||1.44 Million Dot EVF||2.36 Million Dot EVF||2.36 Million Dot EVF||2.36 Million Dot EVF|
|Continuous Shooting Speed||10 fps||10 fps||10 fps||16 fps||24 fps||24 fps|
|Buffer Size||13 JPEG / 13 RAW||13 JPEG / 13 RAW||48 JPEG / 26 RAW||48 JPEG / 26 RAW||150 JPEG + RAW||233 JPEG + RAW|
|LCD Screen||3.0″ Fixed||3.0″ Tilting, +90°/-40°||3.0″ Tilting, +180°/-45°||3.0″ Tilting, +180°/-45°||3.0″ Tilting, +180°/-45°||3.0″ Tilting, +180°/-90°|
|Video Recording||1080p, up to 60 fps||1080p, up to 60 fps||1080p, up to 60 fps||4K, up to 30 fps||4K, up to 30 fps||4K, up to 30 fps|
|4K HDR Video Recording||No||No||No||No||No||Yes, with HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma)|
|Slow Motion Video||N/A||N/A||Yes, Up to 120 fps||Yes, Up to 960 fps||Yes, Up to 960 fps||Yes, Up to 960 fps|
|Slow Motion Video Duration||N/A||N/A||29 min||4 sec||8 sec||8 sec|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||330 shots||350 shots||320 shots||280 shots||220 shots||240 shots|
|Current Price (as of 06/05/2018)||$368||$548||$648||$848||$948||$1198|
As expected, the latest generation Sony RX100 series cameras are obviously going to have the richest feature-set and specifications compared to their predecessors. With a superior Stacked CMOS sensor capable of producing excellent images that surpass all the previous generation RX100 cameras, faster Bionz X processor capable of handling up to 24 fps shooting speed, 315 phase-detection autofocus points, 4K video recording at up to 30 fps (and now with 4K HDR on the RX100 VI), excellent OLED EVF and very respectable slow motion video recording capability up to 960 fps, this is a point-and-shoot powerhouse. The latest RX 100 VI packs a 24-200mm equivalent lens, offering the best reach among the RX100 series cameras. Keep in mind, however, that this comes at the expense of slower maximum aperture – f/2.8-f/4.5 compared to f/1.8-f/2.8 seen on the previous III-V models. Sony says that the new OIS is supposed to be excellent though (compensating up to 4 stops), so perhaps the camera won’t suffer as much in low-light conditions.
The newest Sony RX 100 VI is priced pretty highly compared to its predecessors, especially the first three models that can still be bought today from B&H and other retailers. Which begs the question – is the latest and greatest really worth spending so much more money on? I guess it depends. If you really need more reach, faster and more accurate autofocus, ability to shoot 4K / 4K HDR / slow motion video, the RX 100 VI might be worth the price premium. However, if you are just looking for a solid point-and-shoot camera, I would say the previous generation models are worth looking into. The RX100 and RX100 II are obviously great bargains, but for a reason – they are a bit longer on the wide end (28mm vs 24mm is a huge difference in field of view), their image quality is not as great as on the latest models, they lack built-in viewfinders and their LCD screens are not as versatile. So keep all this in mind when deciding what route to take.