Sony’s RX10 series has delivered premium paradigm quality in a fixed-lens, bridge photographic camera design since its introduction. The fourth edition, the RX10 4 ($1,699.99), upgrades the image sensor to include phase detection focus, so information technology can shoot at up to 24fps while tracking subjects. That’s a big plus for sports and wild fauna photographers who desire to pack light—the camera has 600mm reach. Information technology delivers prototype quality that’south ameliorate than superzooms with small sensors, and also offers best in course capture speed and autofocus. Not everyone needs this type of power, however, and yous can save a few hundred dollars without sacrificing image quality by opting for our Editors’ Choice RX10 Iii. Merely if yous don’t mind paying some extra money for boosted speed, the RX10 Four is worth the premium.
The RX10 4 ($one,698.00 at B&H Photo Video)(Opens in a new window)
is nearly physically identical to the RX10 III. It’southward designed in a bridge style—the torso is similar in size and shape to an SLR, simply the lens is integral to the design rather than interchangeable. It measures 3.7 past 5.2 by five.vii inches and weighs 2.four pounds. The body is black, with a mixed polycarbonate, rubber, and metal exterior and an internal magnesium blend chassis. It’s a weather condition-sealed pattern, with plenty protection to apply in rainy or dusty environments without worry.
The fixed lens is the same 8.8-220mm (24-600mm equivalent) f/2.4-4 blueprint used past the RX10 3. Information technology’southward tied for the longest in the grade—the RX10 III uses the same one, and the Canon PowerShot G3 X sports a 24-600mm f/ii.8-5.half-dozen zoom, dimmer and slower to focus than the RX10 IV. To get an thought of the range of the 24-600mm zoom, take a look at the paradigm below: the left one-half is 24mm and the right one-half is 600mm, a tight shot of the full moon.
Other superzooms have longer designs, like the 65x Canon PowerShot SX60 HS. Merely they employ smaller image sensors and narrower apertures. The RX10 Iv uses a i-inch sensor design with a surface area that’s four times that of the 1/2.3-inch designs used in more than affordable span models.
In addition to the 25x zoom ratio, the lens doubles as a capable macro. It focuses to i.2 inches at the wide angle and to two.4 feet when zoomed all the mode in, practiced enough for ane:two magnification. There’due south a focus limiter switch on the barrel; when turned on information technology disables macro capture, but focusing on subjects farther than x feet (3 meters) away. It speeds focus when photographing afar subjects.
1 Cool Affair: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV
Optical stabilization is rated to 4.5 stops by CIPA and I found it to piece of work a piffling flake better than that. I was able to capture consistently well-baked images at 1/13-2nd when shooting at 600mm, better than five stops of compensation. The lens doesn’t have an integrated neutral density filter (included in the shorter zooming RX10 and RX10 Ii). If you lot’re a fan of long exposure photography, or want to keep your video shutter speed lower to maintain a traditional shutter bending, you’ll want to invest in a ready of 72mm ND filters to attach to the front end of the lens when needed.
In improver to the limiter switch, the barrel has a focus hold button; when held in it prevents autofocus from activating. The lens itself has a physical aperture band; information technology can be set from f/two.4 through f/16 in third-finish increments or to plough freely without detents. Knurled metallic zoom and manual focus rings are as well on the barrel. The zoom band can be set to brand small-scale adjustments or step zoom to the 24, 28, 35, l, 70, 85, 100, 135, 200, 300, 400, 500, and 600mm positions.
The focus adjustment toggle rounds out the front controls. It can exist gear up to AF-S (Single), AF-A (Auto), AF-C (Continuous), or DMF (Direct Manual Focus) modes. AF-A switches between single and continuous focus based on the scene, and DMF allows you to override autofocus at whatsoever time using the manual focus band.
Up tiptop, starting at the left, is the Mode dial. Information technology turns freely, without any sort of locking mechanism. The hot shoe is centered behind the lens and pop-up wink; y’all’ll want to remove the lens hood when shooting at 35mm or wider with the flash, as the hood can create a shadow at the bottom of your image.
The mechanical wink release is just to the right, in a row of buttons that too includes the top LCD backlight control, and the programmable C1 and C2 buttons. Behind the row you’ll find the monochrome information LCD and a defended EV adjustment dial with 3rd-cease adjustments from -3 to +3 EV. The shutter release (threaded and then you can use a mechanical release cablevision), zoom rocker, and On/Off switch are at the top of the handgrip.
The Menu push button is at the top left corner of the rear plate, to the left of the EVF eyecup. Tape and the rear control wheel are to the right of the EVF. The AE-L and Fn buttons are just below the wheel, in between the LCD and pollex residue, and in that location’south a apartment command dial with a center push button and four directional press controls below the 2 buttons. Play and Delete/C3 buttons circular out the rear controls, below the flat dial.
All of the C buttons are programmable, every bit are the right, down, and left directional presses on the flat command punch. Pressing Fn launches an on-screen overlay card, also customizable, with boosted control options. Sony’s bill of fare arrangement is quite extensive, and not perfectly organized, and so it is worth it to spend some time setting upwards the photographic camera to customize its controls and Fn bill of fare to arrange your needs. There’s as well a customizable My Menu page, a good identify to put unremarkably used functions so you don’t have to scroll through dozens of carte pages to discover the ane you lot want to accommodate.
The LCD is a 3-inch, one,440k-dot panel with impact support. Information technology’due south bright and abrupt, and tilts up or downwardly, but it doesn’t swing out from the trunk or face all the manner forward. That’s a shame when you consider how good of a video photographic camera the RX10 IV is.
Touch functionality is also express. You lot can tap to set a focus bespeak, but y’all tin’t navigate menus via touch. Sony does include Bear upon Pad focus aligning. When the photographic camera is to your centre you lot can slide your finger across the LCD to move the agile focus betoken. It works, but not likewise equally a dedicated focus command.
The electronic viewfinder is big, bright, and abrupt. It boasts a 0.7x magnification factor, an OLED design, and a 2,359k-dot resolution. There’s an eye sensor, so it turns on and off automatically as you bring the camera to your center, and Sony has eliminated the sensitivity issue that plagued the first two RX10 ( at Amazon)(Opens in a new window)
models; it’s difficult to accidentally trigger the heart sensor with your torso, and it doesn’t work at all when the screen is tilted out.
Connectivity and Power
The RX10 4 includes Bluetooth, NFC, and Wi-Fi. It can pair with Android and iOS devices in order to transfer images or videos or for remote control. Image transfers are quick—the camera resizes images to 2MP to speed things up—just video transfer, especially if you’re shooting at 4K, tin can have a while, even when using a meridian-end smartphone.
Concrete connections include the multi-interface hot shoe, which can accommodate an external wink or Sony’s XLR audio adapter, 3.5mm headphone and microphone jacks, micro HDMI, and micro USB. The battery charges in-camera via USB; Sony doesn’t include an external charger with the RX10, just a cable and a USB-to-AC adapter. The included battery is good for near 400 shots using the rear LCD, 370 shots with the EVF, or up to 75 minutes of video per CIPA standards, which should go you through a total day of shooting. Only if you want to invest in a spare battery, it’south wise to buy an external charger at the same time—that manner yous can use the RX10 Four as you recharge the spare bombardment, or charge one in-camera and one out of camera at the aforementioned time.
The memory carte du jour slot is on the right side, split up from the bottom-accessible bombardment compartment. It’s a single slot with support for SD, SDHC, SDXC, and Retention Stick Duo formats. Its speed rating tops out at UHS-I, so you can’t take advantage of the speed offered by the latest ultra-fast UHS-II SD cards.
Operation and Autofocus
Because its lens has to extend to start shooting, the RX10 IV is a little irksome to power on, focus, and capture an image—it takes about two.three seconds to practise then. That’s par for the course for a superzoom photographic camera. Only its autofocus system is very speedy, locking on near instantly when shooting in brilliant light, and managing a 0.four-second focus lock in very dim weather condition.
And it’southward the autofocus system, and burst rate, that really set up the 4 apart from the RX10 III ($1,298.00 at Amazon)(Opens in a new window)
. While you can shoot JPGs at 14fps and Raw images at 8fps with the 3, the IV ups the outburst rate to a staggering 24fps, even in Raw format, and adds on-sensor phase detection for better subject area tracking.
Encounter How We Test Digital Cameras
Shooting fast-moving action—a soccer match for instance—is something you lot can do more effectively with the RX10 IV than with the Iii, even if shooting at 24fps is an overkill for many subjects—and can fill upwardly your retentiveness carte more quickly. Y’all can yet have advantage of the faster focus system when dialing the flare-up rate down to a more reasonable 10fps past setting it to medium instead of high.
The shooting buffer is large plenty to hold 105 Raw+JPG, 106 Raw, or 228 JPG shots when shooting at 24fps. Clearing it to a retention card does take some time—70, 50, and 75 seconds respectively, when paired with the fastest UHS-I card we had, rated at 95MBps. I wish the slot was UHS-II, which could cutting buffer clear times past a third, as you can’t offset recording a video if there are any images left in the still buffer.
You have some different options in terms of focus area. The default setting is Broad, which covers about 65 percent of the sensor with phase and contrast detection points. You can couple this with EyeAF (you lot’ll need to plow information technology on in the menu; I mapped it to the rear center push to match the operation of Sony’southward a7 and a9 mirrorless camera family) for the best results when photographing people. It will endeavor and find and focus on your subject’s optics, and falls back to standard face detection if it can’t identify an middle.
Yous can override the Wide area by tapping on the rear screen; it changes the focus mode to Flexible Spot, which only looks for focus in a minor area of the frame. You can also set the camera to use the Flexible Spot at all times (with Small, Medium, and Large options available for the spot size), Center point just focus, or Lock On Flexible Spot. The latter is only available in Continuous focus fashion; it identifies the subject nether the spot you select and tracks information technology as it moves through the frame. In any focus style, pocket-size green dots trip the light fantastic in the viewfinder to let you know what the photographic camera is focusing on.
I tend to utilize the Wide focus area when shooting with the RX10 Iv, in combination with EyeAF when photographing people. The camera does a practiced job picking the focus point, simply of course there are times when you want to control it completely. Using the Bear on Pad AF function to move the focus area around works, only I don’t think it’s as responsive equally information technology should be. It can take a few swipes to movement the betoken from the right to left side of the frame. You tin opt to set it Absolute positioning, which means that tapping to the left of the touch area (configurable via the menu) moves the point to the left immediately, but I found that even more than frustrating to use than the default Relative mode.
I’d love to see Sony add together a dedicated focus joystick control to the body, as it has with its latest full-frame mirrorless cameras. Information technology would get a long way to improving this one aspect of functioning. Perhaps we’ll see information technology in the inevitable RX10 V.
At that place’s too a bit of a drawback for dedicated sports shooters, depending on which sport you cover. Basketball game photographers, for example, will likely detect the ability zoom lens to be a scrap of a downer. Fifty-fifty when gear up to its faster operation mode, it takes much longer to adapt than you would with a mechanical zoom SLR lens. If you’re sitting nether the net and a actor is driving toward you lot for a layup or dunk, information technology’s harder to keep them tightly framed than it would be with an SLR lens—yous’re better off shooting a bit wide and cropping later if you lot want the whole sequence. Keep this in mind if you need to change the focal length quickly and regularly when capturing sports or similar action.
The 20MP i-inch image sensor is about 4 times the physical size of the sensors used by most superzoom cameras. It measures 13.2 by 8.8mm, for a surface surface area of 116mmtwo. To put it in more perspective, that’s nearly a tertiary of the size of the APS-C sensor you find in consumer SLRs.
I used Imatest(Opens in a new window)
to analyze its operation when capturing images at diverse ISO settings. The RX10 4 has a native range of ISO 100 through 12800, with low extended settings available at ISO 64 and 80. ISO 25600 is supported, but only when using Multi-Frame capture and blending.
When shooting JPGs at default settings the camera keeps noise under one.5 percent through ISO
3200, about what we expect from this sensor type—the 20MP 1-inch design is used in many premium compact models, including competing options from Canon and Panasonic. But only Sony has this stacked blueprint with on-sensor phase detection.
There is certainly some noise reduction going on to net these results. To my heart, images shot through ISO 800 are perfectly well-baked, with no prove of noise reduction or grain. At ISO 1600 the very tiniest details of our exam image lose some crispness, merely are still singled-out. There’s some
visible smudging at ISO 3200, so these lines outset to run together a bit. The smudge effect is more than pronounced at ISO 6400, but nonetheless fine for web resolution and smaller prints. It gives mode to a more blurred wait at the summit standard setting, ISO 12800.
If you opt to shoot in Raw format you tin can get clasp more clarity out of photos at higher ISOs. There’s more than grain in shots captured at ISO 1600 than with a JPG, but details are clearer. That holds true as speed ramps up; details are notably crisper in the ISO 3200 Raw image. Noise cuts into prototype quality at ISO 6400, and then yous become a grainier image with a little scrap more particular than the JPG, as is the case at ISO 12800.
The RX10 IV has a brighter lens than many other supezooms. Information technology captures more than lite at every equivalent angle of view when compared with the Canon G3 X (f/2.8-5.vi)
and small sensor SX60 HS (f/3.four-6.5) ($479.00 at eBay)(Opens in a new window)
. But the lens isn’t simply bright, information technology’s as well really precipitous.
At 24mm f/ii.four it scores 2,362 lines per pic height on a center-weighted sharpness test. Almost of the frame meets or exceeds the average score, although edges (one,809 lines) fall behind. They still match the i,800 lines we desire to come across at a minimum from a 20MP camera, however. Narrowing the discontinuity improves border quality—they show one,986 lines at f/2.8 and 2,345 lines at f/4. The boilerplate as well improves—2,601 lines at f/ii.8, 2,925 lines at f/4, and 2,856 lines at f/5.6. After that diffraction sets in and limits epitome quality; you lot should avoid shooting at f/11 (1,852 lines) and f/xvi (one,215 lines) when possible.
At 50mm the maximum aperture has narrowed to f/3.2. Sharpness is strong, 2,803 lines, with edges that aren’t far backside (2,559 lines). You become a chip more resolution at f/iv (2,912 lines) and f/5.six (2,836 lines). Image quality drops at f/8 (2,502 lines), f/eleven, (ane,809 lines), and f/sixteen (1,206 lines).
Past 100mm the lens has narrowed to f/four, simply paradigm quality doesn’t accept a step dorsum. We run into two,839 lines on average, with first-class operation from centre to edge (2,632 lines). There’s non much change at f/5.vi (2,843 lines) or f/viii (2,573 lines), merely we see a big drop at f/11 (i,768 lines) and f/sixteen (i,203 lines).
Nosotros see very similar functioning at 200mm and 300mm. At f/4 and f/5.6 the lens resolves about 2,800 lines on average with strong quality from edge to edge. Narrowing to f/8 drops the resolution to nearly 2,500 lines, and we see just 1,750 at f/xi and 1,200 at f/16.
There’s a dip in border performance at 400mm f/4 (1,618 lines), but the average remains very good (2,390 lines). Stopping down to f/5.half dozen improves the overall score to 2,589 lines, and you lot notwithstanding go good results at f/viii (two,334 lines). Skip f/xi (1,682 lines) and f/16 (1,174 lines).
Results aren’t that far off at 500mm. At f/iv the average score is 2,433 lines, with meliorate edge quality (one,828 lines) than at 400mm. The story is near the aforementioned at f/v.half-dozen. At f/viii we become better edges (2,037 lines) and a strong average (2,356 lines), before diffraction kills clarity at f/11 (one,710 lines) and f/16 (1,145 lines).
Zooming all the way in to 600mm does take its toll. At f/4 the lens scores 2,121 lines on average, simply edges are weak (i,480 lines). Stopping downwardly to f/5.half-dozen improves the periphery (1,861 lines) and average (ii,405 lines). Edges are better at f/viii (1,931 lines), but there’s a hitting on the boilerplate score (ii,241 lines) as center resolution drops a bit. Again, f/11 (i,549 lines) and f/16 (1,082 lines) are best forgotten most.
Yous don’t take to worry about distortion or darkened corners. The RX10 Four applies corrections to both Raw and JPG images to remove both. Most Raw converters will recognize the corrections, although you may exist forced to make them yourself if you stray too far from Lightroom or Capture 1.
Overall the lens is an excellent performer, better than one with a vivid design and 25x zoom power has any right to exist. But that’s what you expect from a camera that costs this much. You can get the Canon G3 X for a lot less coin, just its lens doesn’t concord upwards as well when zoomed all the fashion in, nor does it capture as much light. (And the G3 X is plagued past slower autofocus, making action shots difficult.)
The RX10 series has ever been capable for video, even with the first model that was released in the 1080p era. Every iteration since then has supported 4K capture. The 4 captures 4K footage at 24 or 30fps, with your pick of lx or 100Mbps XAVC S compression. If you’re happy with 1080p you tin capture video at 24, 30, 60, or 120fps at bit rates ranging from 16Mbps (to salvage space on the menu) through 100Mbps (for all-time quality), also in XAVC South. There are besides AVCHD options available, even though the format isn’t widely used in 2018.
It’s not just well-nigh resolution. The RX10 Iv adds SLog3 to its laundry list of movie profiles (the RX10 Three supports SLog2). Shooting in a log format reduces contrast, so more dynamic range is preserved in your video. But information technology requires you to apply a color grade using software to make the footage expect skillful—if you’re a pro who knows how to color correct, you’re familiar with the process.
In improver to pro-level video profiles, the RX10 IV supports an external microphone. Vloggers and travel videographers volition be happy with an on-camera shotgun microphone connected via 3.5mm. But for more serious piece of work you lot can buy Sony’s $499 XLR add-on and connect a balanced microphone.
The photographic camera can likewise go beyond 120fps if you need slower boring-motion. It has an HFR setting on the Style dial—Loftier Frame Charge per unit. You lot can set information technology to record footage at 240, 480, or 960fps and to play back at 24, xxx, or 60fps, giving you a varying range of slow downwardly. I’m a large fan of 240fps at 24fps, a 10x effect. There are a bevy of options for HFR, including when to start the prune and the quality of the capture—the loftier quality manner captures iv seconds of real life, and the lower quality option extends that to seven seconds.
All HFR is output at 1080p quality, but not all 1080p is created equal. The 240fps looks the sharpest, and the 960fps is a fleck soft and also cropped. You also need a ton of light to shoot at 960fps—the camera needs to use at to the lowest degree a 1/960-second exposure for each frame in order to reach that speed.
At that place are a couple of caveats for using HFR. One, the photographic camera needs to buffer footage earlier it can first recording. You tin starting time the buffering process well in accelerate of starting the video, but focus and zoom are locked once the buffering starts. Second, and most annoying, is the corporeality of time that it takes to render the video. If yous are shooting at 240fps and playing back at 24fps, a full prune is near 45 seconds—which is how long information technology takes to save the picture file to the card.
The biggest downside to HFR is the amount of time it takes to return out a video. After y’all’ve captured your tedious seconds of video you need to expect a full 45 seconds while the camera renders the footage. If you’re shooting at 960fps you tin wait for more than than two and a half minutes for the video to be ready when shooting in high quality mode. When it’s processing yous tin can’t use the camera for anything else, although you lot tin can cancel at any time.
Merely, for the right scene, the effect is worth the wait. And y’all tin can always shoot at 120fps 1080p in standard mode for a more than modest dull-move issue without the stringent requirements of HFR capture.
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV is the most feature-filled, and nigh expensive, variation of the photographic camera even so. It keeps the aforementioned 24-600mm f/two.4-4 lens every bit the RX10 Iii (at present priced effectually $1,400), just adds on-sensor stage detection for quicker focus and a staggering 24fps burst capture rate, even in Raw mode. It goes beyond what other span cameras tin can do, delivering a zoom range that covers all simply farthermost telephoto shooting, 20MP of resolution, and the epitome quality of a one-inch sensor, which is beyond what smaller sensor cameras can deliver.
It wraps it all upward in a tough, weather-sealed torso, with a crisp EVF and tilting affect LCD. Video features are too strong, with both crisp 4K capture and farthermost slow-motion at 1080p available. The RX10 4 is the finest span camera coin can buy.
But it takes a lot of coin to buy information technology. There’southward no doubtfulness information technology is more fully featured than the RX10 Iii, simply it doesn’t replace it in Sony’southward lineup. We keep to recommend the RX10 III to most photographers searching for a high-finish bridge model. It is more than enough camera for well-nigh purposes, and costs $300 less. But if you lot’re not as sensitive to cost, or shoot subjects where an improved flare-up rate and focus system volition come in handy—typically sports and wildlife—spend the extra coin on the RX10 IV.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV
The Lesser Line
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 4 camera delivers an incredible zoom range and uses a stacked sensor design and phase detection focus for 24fps paradigm capture.
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