Sony RX100 V Review – Exploring Slo-Mo and 24fps Continuous Shooting Mode

A bit over a week ago I was kindly invited along with other respected journalists to a Sony Europe press event for the presentation of the new Sony RX100 V and Sony a6500. Although we were not allowed to insert an SD card inside the a6500, we gained full access to the RX100 V. To be honest, though, the actual time I could spend with the camera was rather limited, so I asked Sony to send me this little state-of-the-art piece of equipment in order to closely inspect the one feature that interested me most: its “High Speed Continuous Shooting mode”.

RX100 V. A pocket size wonder?

Before diving into my experience with this mode, I would like to state that the video functionality and quality of the new model is very similar to the RX100 IV (but a faster auto focus which is truly nice to have!), and as such, most if not all of the concerns I wrote about in my previous review still stand for the new model, so I’ve decided NOT to fully review the normal video functionality of the new camera. For those of you who prefer a short summary of my mentioned review, here it is: “It is only when starting to use the camera, that one will notice the RX100 IV will function best as a “home shooting device”. The advanced user will suffer the shortcomings and limitations as soon as the shooting requirements get a bit more demanding”.

So instead of using the video mode, I chose to concentrate in exploring the Continuous Shooting mode, and of course there isn’t a better way to do so but producing a short home video… In the above video you can see a mixture of short clips shot in two modes. The slow motion (fun) clips were shot in HFR “High Quality 250fps” mode (shutter at 1/500), while the normal speed clips were shot in “Hi Speed Continuous Shooting Mode”. So, why on Earth was I so interested in this function? During Sony’s press event, I learned that RAW and JPEGs can be captured simultaneously in manual photo mode with the current specification:

  • 5.5K resolution.
  • Up to 6 seconds in 24fps (150 continuous shoots).
  • If needed, S-log is also available (important for JPEGs and irrelevant for RAW).
  • Obviously no sound is recorded in this photo mode.

Needless to say that with those kind of specifications and the 1″ sensor on the Sony RX100 V, my imagination got busy thinking if and how this mode could be deployed to do some creative professional work. It was only when I got back from the event and sat down to edit my footage that I found out that my photo burst mode clips were not actually recorded at 24fps but rather at somewhere between 18-20fps, and in addition, I couldn’t open the RAW photos I took with any of the software I usually use. (RX100 V RAW is currently not supported by Adobe Lighroom/Photoshop).

So after receiving the Sony RX100 V and having a second chance to explore, here is what I learned about this Hi Speed Continuous Shooting Photo mode: 

  • One should always use a minimum of 1/250 shutter speed in order to capture all 24fps.
  • Because of the higher shutter speed, be prepared for a stuttering look.
  • Check your focus setting BEFORE starting to shoot (a good piece of advice in any case). If working in autofocus mode, make sure you choose a setting that does not breathe otherwise the sequence will become unusable.
  • Battery life is reduced in this Hi Speed Photo Burst mode.
  • The buffer time after taking 150 shots (equivalent to 6 seconds of video) is very long. There is no way to shoot spontaneous video in this mode.
  • The high resolution JPEGs are noisy and not as clean as I needed them to be. (in this particular photo mode and its bace 1600 ISO). This was very evident in the skin tones. Maybe when shooting with a different picture profile other then S-log 2,  better results can be achieved. (not tested).
  • At times, I got a “multiple frame effect”, causing the video to momentarily freeze.
  • Even to my small hands, the Sony RX100 V felt extremely small . Secure it to your hand or better yet, put it on a tripod.
  • Once imported to Premiere as a sequence, it is very easy to export as a movie clip and manipulate in post.

While on the subject of operating the Sony RX100 V, please note the following: 

  • No charger is supplied with the camera. You will need to charge the battery inside your camera, which will prevent you from shooting unless you have an additional battery pack.
  • In video mode, the minimum aperture possible with the attached lens is f11. In a sunny day when shooting S-log 2 at the minimum 1600 ISO with the internal ND engaged, it won’t be enough to expose correctly. Attaching an external ND filter to the lens is possible by using Sony’s filter adapter
  • The menu structure is not the advanced one that was introduced with the a6500 and a99II.

Sony RX 100 V. Max aperture, f11

Conclusion:

In my opinion, the Sony RX100 V remains a camera with a split identity. On the one hand, it is a technological wonder which integrates the same engine as Sony’s a99II flagship camera in a tiny space. Additionally, it offers a feature-rich video manual control options including some that are hard to find in even more expensive and advanced devices from other respected manufacturers. Also, the improved autofocus in video mode is a pleasure to work with. On the other hand, many functions are “almost there”. A body with a mic interface but no headphone jack, HFR with almost HD quality and continuous shooting mode that might be great for photographers but almost useful to videographers. I’m fully aware that this is not a professional shooting device, and for now it can serve as a great family companion and second camera to just throw in the bag and keep handy for any production. But with a little extra attention and open ear to video enthusiasts, (especially when sales graphs are proving that video professionals would like to use that type of equipment),  this camera could have become a real gem!

Camera settings for the above video: HFR “high quality, 250fps” mode (shutter 1/500), Photo mode: M, Drive Mode: Continuous Shooting (Hi), Image size: L17M, Aspect Ration: 16×9, Quality: Extra Fine. Editing and colour correction: Adobe Premiere Pro CC latest edition. Material was edited on a 1080 timeline. Transition effect: by Chung DhaMusic: Art-list, Elevating Burst by Ian Post – Made in Europe

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Marcelo Pereira Reply
Marcelo Pereira October 27, 2016

Hi Johnnie, nice shots!
What SD cards was used?
Do you happen to know the minimum sd card speed thats able to sustain the 150 raw burts?
Thanks for the very informative job you guys are providing.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri October 31, 2016

Hi Marcelo.

I used SanDisk Extreme Pro card. (280MB/s SDXC II U3)

This is my default SD card when doing all those video reviews. Never had a problem working with it.

In regards to your question, sorry I can’t help with an answer. I’m sure it can be found somewhere in Sony’s publications.

Thank you!

Johnnie

Joachim Richter Reply
Joachim Richter October 28, 2016

As it is most difficult to get natural looking colors, I would appreciate to forget artistic color grading in videos which try to present a specific look of a camera.

After several years of working with digital cameras, I must say, that in common automatic white balance is not working very well. It would be very informative for me to point out this aspect in further discussions and videos.

I enjoy the emotions in your videos.

Thanks!

Reply
Johnnie Behiri October 31, 2016

Hi Joachim.

Thank you for your building criticism!.

Usually I’m uploading two video versions. One with my “artistic” interpretation and the other is “flat” for people to download and “play with”.

I didn’t think it is necessary in this specific test, but happy to send you an ungraded version if you like me to.

Thank you!

Johnnie

Joachim Richter Reply
Joachim Richter October 31, 2016

Hi Johnnie,
I am not a huge fan of criticism but like to give a frank feedback as I felt that Cinema5D seems to be interested in users’ opinions. I know that my comment is not at the right place below your article, to mention this aspect was more or less a spontanious reaction.

I really do appreciate your work.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri October 31, 2016

Joachim, all good!

I (we) are absolutely interested in our audience opinion.

Thank you again for being open and direct.

Johnnie

Henry Shephard Reply
Henry Shephard October 28, 2016

Great review! Do you mind me asking how you done that zoom in video transition that you used a few times? If you could point me towards a tutorial of what the effect is called that would be much appreciated. It’s similar to the twitch plug in from video copilot.

Thanks,
Henry

Reply
Johnnie Behiri October 31, 2016

Hi Henry.

At the end of my article I credited Chung Dha for creating those smooth transitions for Adobe. Here is the direct link: http://www.chungdha.nl/?p=3997 (his explanation is a bit long, but when you get it, it is very easy to excecute).

Thank you!

Johnnie

Henry Shephard Reply
Henry Shephard October 31, 2016

Thanks Johnnie! I really appreciate that! u da man!

Reply
Christian DaCosta October 28, 2016

You can actually attach a variable ND to the lens. Philip Bloom shared a post last year after the IV was released. It actually is a very handy setup with a quick release system for the ND.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri October 28, 2016

Christian, you are right!

Article was edited accordingly.

Thank you for noting it out.

Johnnie