Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV Camera – Review

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV - Review - Camera Review

Introduction

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV is the fourth generation in their RX10 series of cameras. As in their previous generations, this new camera incorporates some of the best advancements in camera technology. Among these changes speed and capabilities in autofocus with the ability to shoot 4K video and high quality still, photos stand out.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV - Review - Camera Review

Body

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV looks much like its predecessor in design but much has been improved on the internal components of the camera. From standpoint of view of ergonomics and design, this camera is more of an advancement in technology rather than external design.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV - Review - Camera Review

Autofocus

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV has a new on-sensor phase detection autofocus with 315 phase-detection points covering 65% of the total sensor area. When compared to Sony’s previous model RX10 iii, this is a major improvement in autofocus capabilities, virtually eliminating the need for the camera to hunt for focus as the phase-detection points cover much of the center of the frame.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV - Review - Camera Review

New Processor

When Sony announced their flagship camera A9, it took the camera market by storm with its ability to capture up to 20 frames per second due to its ultra efficient processor. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV has the same processor as Sony A9 which uses the same autofocus algorithms for continuous tracking and improved Eye AF mode.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV - Review - Camera Review

Continuous shooting

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV’s new processor allows the camera to shoot 24 frames per second in continuous autofocus mode allowing up to 112 raw and 249 fine Jpeg images to be captured in a single take. The previous generation RX10 can capture only 14 frames per second. Sony prudently included the ability to select the number of frames in continuous mode the option to choose either ten fps or 3.5fps.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV - Review - Camera Review

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV improved electronic also now permits the shutter speed of 1/32,000 sec. When 24fps of the continuous mode is selected, the camera automatically engages electronic shutter mode to capture images improving the life span of the shutter mechanism.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV - Review - Camera Review

Touchscreen

In the predecessor cameras in Sony RX10 line, all menu navigation had to be done through button and cursors, Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV is about to change all that by including a tilting 3.0″ 1.44m-dot LCD touchscreen. This would make Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV the first camera in RX series to have a touchscreen menu making it an easy to access menu via scroll and tap.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV - Review - Camera Review

When video capture mode is engaged, touchscreen offers the ability to smoothly transition between focus points virtually eliminating the need to use manual focusing. The touch screen also serves as an active autofocus touchpad when the camera is raised to eye level with the option of limiting the active area of the display to one of nine regions of the rear panel which can be divided into top, bottom right and left quadrants.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV - Review - Camera Review

Sony has also made autofocus a sync by allowing the user to select the autofocus areas by “absolute” or “relative” in which different areas can be selected for AF or by swiping left autofocus can be chosen anywhere on the screen.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV - Review - Camera Review

4K and proxy shooting

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV has some of the best video capabilities in its market segment with the ability to shoot 4K video using the full width of its sensor. In order to reduce moire and rolling shutter, the 4K video is processed and downscaled to provide a very clean footage.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV - Review - Camera Review

The camera can record, at 30, 25 or 24p in either 100 Mbps or 60 Mbps using the XAVC S codec but not 60 fps which we would probably find in the next generation of RX series cameras. When filming in full HD (1920 x 1080) mode, the option to capture video in  120p, 60p, 30p and 24p frame rates in possible. Those who wish to work with AVCHD format can find 60i option also available in video mode.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV - Review - Camera Review

Of course, what makes Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV unique is the log gamma picture profiles, S-Log 2 and S-Log 3 for video which would some videographers make the leap in purchasing a well priced mid range camera for vlogging purposes.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV - Review - Camera Review

However, the touch focusing on the touchscreen which can aid in “rack focus” is a definite plus for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV camera with the option to select three different speeds for transitioning between focus points. But, Sony’s latest camera is not without limitations, for example, in 4K video shooting mode Lock-on autofocus option is grayed out, meaning it can’t be used and focus tracking is still has issues with hunting for focus on the selected subject. For those who are happy to use only 1080p / HD mode, these issues are of lesser concern, but HD is falling out of favor with most videographers.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV - Review - Camera Review

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV now offers a ‘Proxy’ shooting mode that captures a 720p stream of video along with 4K footage allowing it easier to add in post production especially when S-Log gamma profiles are used. Since the S log gamma options are require computing power video, it would make editing and color grading a lot easier when low-resolution video files are used. These files are later swapped for the 4K ones for the final footage.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV - Review - Camera Review

High frame rate HD shooting

Although Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV does not have high frame rates for 4K video capture, the option to film in HD / 1080p is still a viable option for videographers. But for those who want to capture video in even slower motion the ability to shoot at frame rates of 240, 480 or 960 is made possible by increasingly low-res crops from the sensor (250, 500 or 1000 fps in PAL modes), which can then be output as 60, 30 or 24p super slow-mo footage (50 or 25p in PAL).

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV - Review - Camera Review

Focus Peaking

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV has a much-improved focus peaking which comes very handy when exposing for video capture. Sony has incorporated three intensity settings to make focus peaking to achieve in brightly lit environments and to ensure the different exposure areas are easily distinguishable on screen.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV - Review - Camera Review

Focus Limiter Button

The new DSC-RX10 IV camera also has a new focus limiter button which limits the focus range between the whole focus range or 3 meters to infinity allowing the camera’s autofocus to operate more efficiently.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV - Review - Camera Review

New AF-A Mode

Sony has also introduced an “AF-A” mode that will select between AF-S and AF-C based on its assessment of subject movement.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV - Review - Camera Review

Connectivity

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV comes with a Bluetooth connectivity that allows the user to share location data with the camera.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV - Review - Camera Review

Battery Life

As the new Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV improves the demands on its battery life is increased, so the battery life has been shortened to 400 shots from 420 per charge.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV - Review - Camera Review

Lens

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV has perhaps one of the best lenses in the industry, thanks to Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens which spans a 24-600mm equivalent focal length range, and has a variable maximum aperture of f/2.4-4 for adept performance from wide-angle to super telephoto. Sony has not made any changes to this very capable lens from its previous generation RX camera.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV - Review - Camera Review

Due to the crop factor, this lens will provide an equivalent aperture range of F6.5-10.9 making it a rather slow lens to photograph in low light circumstances. When compared to an APS-C size sensor camera, Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV’s sensor has less light gathering capabilities which are mostly compensated through excellent noise reduction software in the camera.

The lens has a thread for 72mm filters for polarizer, UV or ND filter adaptations.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV - Review - Camera Review

Stabilization

One of the most important features of Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV is its IS – internal stabilization which allows the user to photograph when the lens is used in the telephoto range. Sony claims that the camera has 4.5 stops of vibration reduction and in this new version the IS system has been improved for at the telephoto range (long focal range) allowing the camera to capture better images.  

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV - Review - Camera Review

Verdict

Sony has set the price of The lens is threaded for 72mm filters at $1698, shy of $1700 to make it competitive in the market. As a lens and camera combination that delivers a 24-600mm focal range with 4.5 stop vibration reduction, an accurate autofocus system that allows for 4K video capture, Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV camera makes a reasonable investment.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV - Review - Camera Review

If you are an entry level videographer or someone who wants to capture high-quality 4K or HD video for vlogging or blogging purposes or simply want to shoot some footage of your travels or family without going into complicated video editing, then Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV camera is ideal for it.

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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV Camera - Review
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