Sony RX100 V versus Sony A6500
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 V and the Sony Alpha A6500 are two digital cameras that were announced in October 2016. The RX100 V is a fixed lens compact, while the A6500 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an one-inch (RX100 V) and an APS-C (A6500) sensor. The RX100 V has a resolution of 20 megapixel, whereas the A6500 provides 24 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.
Body comparison: Sony RX100 V vs Sony A6500
The physical size and weight of the Sony RX100 V and the Sony A6500 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the RX100 V – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A6500 is notably larger (36 percent) than the Sony RX100 V. It is noteworthy in this context that the A6500 is splash and dust-proof, while the RX100 V does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX100 V has a lens build in, whereas the A6500 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can find an overview of optics for the A6500 and their specifications in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Camera Body Specifications|
|Sony RX100 V»||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||299 g||220||n||Oct 2016||999|
|Sony A6500«||120 mm||67 mm||53 mm||453 g||350||Y||Oct 2016||1,399|
|Canon G9 X Mark II« »||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||206 g||235||n||Jan 2017||529|
|Canon M5« »||116 mm||89 mm||61 mm||427 g||295||n||Sep 2016||979|
|Canon G9 X« »||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||209 g||220||n||Oct 2015||529||-|
|Canon G3 X« »||123 mm||77 mm||105 mm||733 g||300||Y||Jun 2015||999|
|Leica Q Typ 116« »||130 mm||80 mm||93 mm||640 g||300||n||Jun 2015||4,249|
|Nikon D5500« »||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||420 g||820||n||Jan 2015||899||-|
|Olympus PEN-F« »||125 mm||72 mm||37 mm||427 g||330||n||Jan 2016||1,199|
|Panasonic GX8« »||133 mm||78 mm||63 mm||487 g||330||Y||Jul 2015||1,199||-|
|Sony RX100 VI« »||102 mm||58 mm||43 mm||301 g||240||n||Jun 2018||1,199|
|Sony A9« »||127 mm||96 mm||63 mm||673 g||650||Y||Apr 2017||4,499|
|Sony A6300« »||120 mm||67 mm||49 mm||404 g||400||Y||Feb 2016||999||-|
|Sony RX100 IV« »||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||n||Jun 2015||999||-|
|Sony RX100 III« »||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||290 g||320||n||May 2014||799||-|
|Sony A7« »||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||474 g||340||Y||Oct 2013||1,699||-|
|Sony RX100 II« »||102 mm||58 mm||38 mm||281 g||350||n||Jun 2013||749||-|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The RX100 V was launched at a lower price than the A6500, despite having a lens build in. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
Sensor comparison: Sony RX100 V vs Sony A6500
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Sony RX100 V features an one-inch sensor and the Sony A6500 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the A6500 is 216 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.7 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 24MP, the A6500 offers a higher resolution than the RX100 V (20MP), but the A6500 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 2.41μm for the RX100 V) due to its larger sensor. It is noteworthy in this context that the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation.
For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the A6500 offers substantially better image quality than the RX100 V (overall score 15 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.7 bits higher color depth, 1.3 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.3 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Sony RX100 V»||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.4||586||70|
|Canon G9 X Mark II« »||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.9||12.5||522||65|
|Canon M5« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.4||12.4||1262||77|
|Canon G9 X« »||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.5||12.3||495||63|
|Canon G3 X« »||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.4||12.3||521||63|
|Leica Q Typ 116« »||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.7||2221||85|
|Nikon D5500« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||14.0||1438||84|
|Olympus PEN-F« »||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||1080/60p||23.1||12.4||894||74|
|Panasonic GX8« »||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||23.5||12.6||806||75|
|Sony RX100 VI« »||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||-||-||-||-|
|Sony A9« »||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.9||13.3||3517||92|
|Sony A6300« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.4||13.7||1437||85|
|Sony RX100 IV« »||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
|Sony RX100 III« »||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67|
|Sony A7« »||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||14.2||2248||90|
|Sony RX100 II« »||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.5||12.4||483||67|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).
Feature comparison: Sony RX100 V vs Sony A6500
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under consideration are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the RX100 V offers a slightly higher resolution than the one in the A6500 (2359k vs 2300k dots). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Sony RX100 V and Sony A6500 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.
|Sony RX100 V»||2359||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||2000||24.0||Y||Y|
|Canon G9 X Mark II« »||-||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||2000||8.2||Y||Y|
|Canon M5« »||2360||n||3.2||1620||tilting||Y||4000||9.0||Y||n|
|Canon G9 X« »||-||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||2000||6.0||Y||Y|
|Canon G3 X« »||-||n||3.2||1620||tilting||Y||2000||5.9||Y||Y|
|Leica Q Typ 116« »||3680||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||2000||10.0||n||n|
|Nikon D5500« »||optical||n||3.2||1037||swivel||Y||4000||5.0||Y||n|
|Olympus PEN-F« »||2360||n||3.0||1037||swivel||Y||8000||10.0||n||Y|
|Panasonic GX8« »||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||8000||10.0||n||Y|
|Sony RX100 VI« »||2359||n||3.0||1229||tilting||Y||2000||24.0||Y||Y|
|Sony A9« »||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||8000||20.0||n||Y|
|Sony A6300« »||2300||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||4000||11.0||Y||n|
|Sony RX100 IV« »||2359||n||3.0||1228||tilting||n||2000||16.0||Y||Y|
|Sony RX100 III« »||1440||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||2000||10.0||Y||Y|
|Sony A7« »||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||8000||5.0||n||n|
|Sony RX100 II« »||-||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||2000||10.0||Y||Y|
Both the RX100 V and the A6500 are current models that good online retailers will have in stock. You can check the latest prices, for example, at amazon. The RX100 V replaced the earlier Sony RX100 IV, while the A6500 followed on from the Sony A6300.
Review summary: Sony RX100 V vs Sony A6500
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Sony RX100 V or the Sony A6500 – has the upper hand? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 V:
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 922k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (24 vs 11 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens build-in, whereas the A6500 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 120x67mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a build-in lens (unlike the A6500).
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a build-in lens.
Advantages of the Sony Alpha A6500:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 20MP), which boosts linear resolution by 10%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (15 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.7 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.3 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.3 stops ISO advantage).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (4000/sec vs 2000/sec) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (350 versus 220) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A6500 is the clear winner of the contest (10 : 6 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the RX100 V and the A6500 in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.
|Sony RX100 V»||HiRec||83/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2016||999|
|Sony A6500«||HiRec||85/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2016||1,399|
|Canon G9 X Mark II« »||-||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||529|
|Canon M5« »||Rec||82/100||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979|
|Canon G9 X« »||HiRec||-||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||529||-|
|Canon G3 X« »||Rec||-||4.5/5||3.5/5||4/5||Jun 2015||999|
|Leica Q Typ 116« »||-||80/100||4.5/5||-||4.5/5||Jun 2015||4,249|
|Nikon D5500« »||Rec||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||899||-|
|Olympus PEN-F« »||-||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||1,199|
|Panasonic GX8« »||Rec||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2015||1,199||-|
|Sony RX100 VI« »||-||83/100||-||-||-||Jun 2018||1,199|
|Sony A9« »||HiRec||89/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Apr 2017||4,499|
|Sony A6300« »||Rec||85/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2016||999||-|
|Sony RX100 IV« »||HiRec||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999||-|
|Sony RX100 III« »||HiRec||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||799||-|
|Sony A7« »||HiRec||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,699||-|
|Sony RX100 II« »||HiRec||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||749||-|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when refering to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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