As a person with a little bit of knowledge about cameras and a lot of experience spending far too much money on them, I often get asked: “Hey Alex, what’s the best point-and-shoot camera I can buy?”
For years, a very good answer to that question has been Sony’s remarkable RX100 series. With its latest iteration, the Sony RX100 V, that holds true — but there’s a catch.
The RX100 V packs a remarkable feature set into a pocketable camera, provided you have sizable pockets. Most notably, it has a stellar 1-inch sensor along with a solid 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 Zeiss lens. It can record images at a blistering 24 frames per second, while an improved autofocus helps get subjects in focus near-instantly in most situations. It’s also capable of recording 4K video, which is crucial if you’re interested in going beyond still photography. A tilting rear screen is handy for getting otherwise difficult shots.
In practice, all of that jargon translates to a camera that’ll blow your smartphone out of the water. That’s mostly thanks to the 1-inch sensor — generally speaking, the bigger the sensor, the better the quality (the iPhone 7, by contrast, has 1/3-inch and 1/3.6-inch sensors.) Big sensors also help DSLRs and similar high-end cameras produce the creamy background blur that smartphones can only attempt to replicate through algorithmic trickery. Of course, lenses play a huge role in image quality as well, and the RX100 V’s glass is thankfully no slouch.