The Sony RX10 IV Is An All-In-One Bridge Camera With A Miniature SLR Look.
A high-end all-in-one bridge camera featuring a 20-megapixel 1-inch sensor and a long-range 24-600mm equivalent zoom, the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV. It costs £1799. It has a compact DSLR-like design.
The Sony RX10 IV is an all-in-one bridge camera with a miniature SLR look.
All-in-one bridge cameras have historically offered a way to achieve a large zoom range in a reasonably small and affordable device. Nevertheless, the most of them have incredibly small image sensors, thus despite being made to resemble little DSLRs, their image quality is noticeably inferior.
All of that changed when Sony introduced the first RX10 in 2013. With a 24-200mm equivalent f/2.8 zoom lens and a much larger 1-inch-type 20-megapixel sensor than previous bridge versions, it provided far better image quality and was comparable to APS-C DSLRs.
By including a 24-600mm equivalent f/2.4-4 lens, the RX10 III from last year achieved another significant advancement. With its enormous zoom range, you could capture practically any subject, from faraway wildlife to expansive landscapes.
When set to 600mm equivalent, the lens of the RX10 IV stretches significantly.
Sony has now totally redesigned the internals with the RX10 IV, integrating the stacked-CMOS sensor and Bionz X engine previously found in the RX100 V pocket camera.
As a result, the RX10 IV is able to shoot at a mind-boggling 24 frames per second while maintaining continuous autofocus. No DSLR comes close in terms of the numbers, while the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ2000, the RX10 IV’s closest direct competitor, tops out at half the speed. Even Sony’s own Alpha 9, the fastest mirrorless model, only achieves 20 frames per second when using autofocus.
All this technology comes with a price, and the RX10 IV’s £1799 asking price is rather high for this class of camera. It’s also a big beast by bridge camera standards, weighing 1095g more than some entry-level DSLRs and measuring 133 x 94 x 127mm. The Nikon D7500 with the Tamron 18-400mm lens is the closest SLR-based alternative for a comparable price, but it’s also a fair bit bulkier.
The RX10 IV has a roomy grip that is comfortable in your hand.
All of this functionality in one compact camera may seem too good to be true, but Sony has recently done an amazing job of pushing the boundaries of what is technically feasible. So how does the RX10 IV perform in comparison to using a DSLR or mirrorless camera, and what are the trade-offs?
1. Characteristics of the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV
The 20.1-megapixel Exmor RS sensor in the RX10 IV has a stacked design that allows for incredibly fast readout speeds thanks to on-chip memory and image processing. This enables a silent high-speed electronic shutter with speeds as high as 1/32,000sec, which is much quicker than the typical mechanical shutter’s peak speed of 1/2000sec and virtually eliminates subject distortion from rolling shutter imperfections.
RX10 IV by Sony
Two control dials and a number of buttons are located on the back of the camera.
Significantly, the sensor now features 315 focus points that cover 65% of the image area and on-chip phase detection for focusing. For optimal accuracy, a moving subject can be surrounded by a cluster of microscopic focus points thanks to Sony’s high-density AF tracking technology.
You may either switch to flexible spot mode, which lets you define the AF point yourself, or you can let the camera select the focus region on its own. Moreover, face detection is possible, and you can narrow your focus to only your subject’s eyes. At just 0.03 seconds, according to Sony, the focus speed is the fastest in camera history.
The cutting-edge 24 frames per second shooting mode is powered by Sony’s newest Bionz X processor, which also boasts an amazing 110 RAW or 249 JPEG buffer. The camera can be configured to shoot at 10 or 3.5 frames per second if you don’t need that much speed, which, let’s face it, is the most of the time. The ISO 100 to 12 800 sensitivity range includes extended ISO 64 and ISO 80 choices.
The top-plate LCD of the Sony RX10 IV Am SLR exposes important settings quickly.
Although the Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* zoom’s 24-600mm equivalent has a maximum aperture of f/2.4-4, the drop-off through the zoom range is quite pronounced. It reaches an aperture of f/2.8 at 28mm equivalent, f/3.2 at 35mm, f/3.5 at 60mm, and then maintains an aperture of f/4 from 100mm through to the 600mm end.
Although in some modes it won’t go past f/11, the aperture may be closed down in 1/3 steps all the way to f/16. You won’t want to go over f/8 on a 1-inch sensor anyway because of significant diffraction blur.
It should come as no surprise that the lens is complicated with its 18-element, 13-group design, which includes one super-ED element and eight extra-low dispersion (ED) glass elements to reduce chromatic aberrations. Two of the six aspheric elements used are constructed of ED glass. According to Sony, optical stabilization included into the camera enables hand-holding at shutter speeds up to 4 stops slower than would otherwise be possible without resulting in blurry photos from camera shake.
The packaging includes a bayonet-fit, petal-style lens hood.
The capacity to get close is adequate. The lens’s minimum focus distance at wide angle is only 3 cm, and it drops to 72 cm at the tele end, where it provides about a 2:1 equivalent magnification. Nevertheless, oddly, the minimum range extends a little more in the center of the zoom range, reaching 140 cm at the 250mm setting.
The lens is also devoid of an integrated ND filter. Videographers who want to use slow shutter speeds to capture motion that looks smooth in strong light may find this to be a difficulty. The Panasonic FZ2000 might be more beneficial for them. However, a bayonet-fit cover is provided and a regular 72mm thread can be used to mount screw-in filters.
A good selection of photographic features have been added by Sony, including the auto-stitching Sweep Panorama mode, multi-shot noise reduction, and high dynamic range options. For beginners, there is a traditional full auto mode as well as a condensed yet logical selection of subject-specific scene settings.
Nonetheless, quite a few typical traits are absent. Features include an intervalometer, time-lapse movie creation, in-camera RAW conversion, and even several aspect ratios for stills photography (you only have the option of 3:2 or 16:9). These are some rather obvious omissions on a camera this ambitious. You cannot install additional features on the RX10 IV since it is incompatible with Sony’s add-on software, unlike certain other models.
Built-in Wi-Fi enables remote operation of the camera using Sony’s free PlayMemories Mobile app on a smartphone or tablet. This provides a respectable level of manual control, but strangely does not let you adjust the aperture remotely. Instead, it respects the position of the aperture ring, which would make more sense if the exposure compensation dial setting could be overridden.
On a more upbeat note, you may quickly share your favorite photos by just tapping the Fn key while the video is playing. Also, you can use the newly added Bluetooth LE of the RX10 IV to geotag your photos as you take them using the GPS on your phone. It’s only a shame that, unlike Canon cameras, this link can’t be used for additional purposes like remote control.
Sony has supplied its customarily extensive range of video options. While Full HD video may be recorded at a variety of frame rates and resolutions up to 100fps and 100MBps, the RX10 IV can record in 4K resolution (3840 x 2160px) at 25fps and bit rates of 100MBps or 50Mbps. To help with focusing and exposure judgment, peaking and zebra pattern displays are provided, and Sony’s Picture Profiles are built in. S-Log gamma is also included for simpler color grading in post-production.
There are also USB and HDMI ports, as well as headphone and microphone jacks for the Sony RX10 IV.
There are built-in microphone and headphone jacks for recording sound, and footage can be broadcast by HDMI to an external recorder. Even more convenient in-field editing is made possible by the camera’s simultaneous output of low-resolution proxy footage utilizing relatively low-powered devices like cellphones. Moreover, 8-megapixel stills can be taken from 4K video.
Moreover, Sony has added a special slow-motion video mode, denoted by the letters HFR (for High Frame Rate) on the mode dial. With successively smaller pixel sizes, this enables you to record at 250, 500, or 1000 frames per second, giving you the option of 5x, 10x, or 20x slow motion.
The camera locks up for a time as it records the film to card, and its UI is noticeably unintuitive. Focus is also fixed at the beginning of recording. Still, this is a really compelling feature to have when capturing subjects like animals.
2.Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV: Construction and Use
The size and SLR-inspired design of the RX10 IV contribute to its excellent handling. The broad lens barrel fits well in your left hand, and the handgrip is wide and pleasant.
Uniquely, shot-to-shot operation is distributed evenly between your hands thanks to the lens’ three control rings for the aperture, zoom, and manual focus. The aperture ring can be configured to operate without clicking using a switch under the barrel, which will please videographers. You can also decide which of the two lens rings is used for zoom and focus, as well as the direction in which they move.
The lens’s dials will naturally fall to your left hand.
The shutter speed is controlled by a recessed dial on the back, which sits precisely beneath your right thumb. The focus mode slider for choosing between single-shot or continuous focusing, as well as an A mode that shifts between the two if it senses subject movement, are located on the front of the camera. Furthermore, manual focus and Sony’s Direct Manual Focus mode, which enables full-time manual override of AF, are accessible from this location.
Your index finger naturally rests on the shutter button, which operates in the typical two stages with a half-press to activate autofocus. A zoom lever is in front, and the power switch is located behind it. It may seem strange that the camera has two zoom controllers, but once you realize that they function at various speeds, it makes sense.
The ring around the lens allows you to accurately fine-tune composition, while the lever around the shutter button is perfect for swiftly adjusting the correct focal length. Zoom Assist is a useful feature that momentarily zooms the lens out so you can quickly reacquire the subject if you lose it while panning. I configured the lens’ side button, which is by default set to AF stop, to control this.
The rest of the body is covered in buttons and dials by Sony, many of which may be adjusted to the user’s preferences. I left the C2 button in its original drive mode, but I configured the vertical rear dial to directly alter ISO instead of using the awkwardly situated C1 button.
Also, I set its center button to activate focus area selection. I found the RX10 IV to be incredibly usable with this configuration and the ability to change the AF area using the touchscreen as well.
Yet the touchscreen itself feels incredibly underused. In playback, it can only be used to double-tap to zoom in on the image and then scroll the screen. It cannot be used to enter the menu or modify any settings.
The camera adopts the most recent version of Sony’s menu design, which was previously used on models like the Alpha 9. This indicates that some settings have been rearranged and grouped differently from the RX10 III, and the various top-level menu tabs have been highlighted in different colors. Yet, everything is still somewhat disorganized and crowded, and despite my substantial recent experience shooting Sony cameras, I frequently had trouble fast locating things. As a result, the recently added My Menu is really useful because it enables you to create a personalized menu with all of the options you usually need to update.
3.Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV – Screen and viewfinder
The RX10 IV offers two different viewing options thanks to its SLR-like design: an eye-level electronic viewfinder or a tilting back screen. At 0.7x equivalent magnification, the 2.36-mdot electronic viewfinder provides a view that is comparable to that of most full-frame DSLRs. With exact color rendition and little latency, it is bright and clear. It precisely previews depth of field and exposure, which greatly aids in modifying your shooting settings.
As per normal, you may overlay a vast number of shooting data; nevertheless, it is frustrating that you cannot simultaneously display a live histogram and electronic levels. As the entire camera is designed to be used with an EVF, I found myself doing so practically constantly, especially while utilizing the long end of the zoom.
As an alternative, you can use the 1.44-mdot 3in screen, which has a dual-hinge design and can be tilted 41 degrees downward for high-angle photos or 109 degrees up for shooting from waist level. Only in landscape format, but useful for shooting from strange angles. The camera is worthless when held in portrait mode; I much like the fully articulated kind seen on the Panasonic FZ2000.
Automatic switching between the EVF and LCD is made possible via an eye sensor, which is usefully disabled when the screen is pulled away from the camera body. I seldom ever utilized the screen for shooting, but I discovered that it was very effective for reviewing images during playback and providing a true portrayal of the pictures that were produced.
This evaluation was first published on Trusted Reviews.
4.Autofocus on Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV
With its most recent lineup of cameras, which includes the Alpha 6500 APS-C and Alpha 9 full-frame mirrorless models as well as the RX100 V compact, Sony has made significant advancements. But has it been able to translate this to its bridge camera with a long zoom?
I utilized a precise focus point to cut through the vegetation and isolate the heron’s eye in this instance. 1/2000 sec. at f/4, ISO 3200; equivalent to 485mm
The RX10 IV quickly, silently, and accurately autofocuses when presented with static subjects. No matter how much you zoom in or where you set the focus, as long as you don’t move it outside of the phase-detection region at the corners of the frame, it will do so. It also functions admirably well in dim light; it just operates more slowly.
So in a way, this isn’t really the issue that concerns us. Instead, whether the continuous AF performs well enough to justify the £400 price difference over the RX10 III is the key question. Yes, with a few restrictions, is the response.
The focusing on the RX10 IV is quick enough to follow soaring birds. A 146-shot 20 fps burst with this frame at frame 118. ISO 250, 1/1000 sec. at f/5.6, and 600mm equivalent
In order to test how well the AF-C system performs with both predictable and irregular movement, I shot trains and wildlife. Similar to the Alpha 9, I discovered that it worked best when the camera was in wide-area AF mode, allowing it to first recognize and then track the moving target.
It achieves this without difficulty when the subject is large and well visible, keeping almost perfect focus over long bursts. The tightly packed green AF squares that follow a moving subject across the screen are mesmerizing to see dance around the viewfinder.
Wildlife in the area is simple to photograph thanks to the quick AF and long zoom lens. comparable to 424mm, 1/2000sec with f/4, and ISO 6400
The camera performs remarkably well even when dealing with erratically moving wildlife. Its success rate in capturing pixel-perfect images isn’t quite as great. Instead, it frequently appears to lose focus for three to four frames before coming back into perfect focus for a sequence of same length. Even so, those somewhat out-of-focus images could be used for social media or tiny prints.
The RX10 IV’s biggest drawback is that, in comparison to DSLRs or high-end CSCs, it seems to cease working sooner when light levels drop, failing to capture moving subjects, especially when they are set against complicated backgrounds. When the going gets really difficult, it won’t replace a high-end DSLR kit with a 600mm lens, but if you shoot in generally good lighting, it will do well. For a bridge camera, this is a tremendous accomplishment.
5. Performance of the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV
The RX10 IV also performs admirably in almost all other areas. After flipping the power switch to the on position, the lens extends and starts up briefly before responding almost immediately to any control input. You’ll have to push the camera pretty hard before it even approaches slowing down because of the enormous buffer. In fact, I noticed that it only made me delay while I was writing footage to a card in the HFR video mode.
6.Video from the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV
The RX10 IV appears to be a very capable video camera on paper, with a feature list that is as long as your arm. You have complete manual exposure control, the ability to zoom or refocus while recording, and S-Log gamma modes compatibility, which is ideal for post-processing. It also captures superb video that is rich in detail because to Sony’s full-frame readout, which oversamples each and every frame.
Ironically, the Sony focusing lack of control is the biggest source of annoyance. The camera always employs continuous-AF, readjusting focus as necessary, unless the focus mode option is set to manual.
The touchscreen can be used to change the focus to a different object, but you have limited control over how quickly it does so. In theory, the AF Drive Speed menu item offers three settings—fast, standard, and slow—but the readjustment speed differs greatly depending on the preset. Sometimes it moves slowly and thoughtfully, while other times it moves quickly.
A little more predictability in this regard would be helpful. Naturally, the majority of professional videographers will probably employ manual focus anyhow.
Picture quality of the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV
The 20-megapixel 1-inch sensor used in the RX100 V by Sony is quite similar to that in the RX10 IV and is also found in a number of other tiny cameras from different manufacturers. It functions similarly to those other cameras and is now a largely known quantity.
Detail is great when using a wider lens and a low ISO level. 1/500 sec. @ f/5.6, ISO 100, and 24mm equivalent
The sensor can capture incredibly fine detail at low ISOs without an optical low-pass filter, yet it still gives respectable results at ISO 1600 or higher. Importantly, however, the enormous long 24-600mm lens keeps up, just as long as you don’t stop down too much because at f/8 and higher, there will be apparent diffraction blurring.
The 20-megapixel sensor captures much of detail at low ISO, reaching 3400 l/ph at ISO 64. But, as the sensitivity is increased, noise has an ever-increasing impact, causing resolution to drop to about 3100 l/ph at ISO 400 and maybe 2900 l/ph at ISO 3200.
The camera achieves about 2700 l/ph at the highest ISO setting of 12,800. The focal length and aperture settings on a fixed-lens camera matter as always; for these experiments, we selected the 50mm equivalent setting and f/4. Even at an aperture of f/5.6, there was evident diffraction softness.
Despite its sheer level of accomplishment, I do have a couple of reservations about the RX10 IV. If you prefer to shoot using the LCD, then the Panasonic FZ2000’s fully articulated touchscreen is much more useful than the Sony’s tilt-only unit, especially given the latter’s extremely limited touch controls.