Basic Specifications
Full model name: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV
Resolution: 20.10 Megapixels
Sensor size: 1 inch
(13.2mm x 8.8mm)
Lens: 25.00x zoom
(24-600mm eq.)
Viewfinder: EVF / LCD
Native ISO: 100 - 12,800
Extended ISO: 64 - 25,600
Shutter: 1/32000 - 30 seconds
Max Aperture: 2.4
Dimensions: 5.2 x 3.7 x 5.0 in.
(133 x 94 x 127 mm)
Weight: 38.6 oz (1,095 g)
includes batteries
Availability: 10/2017
Manufacturer: Sony
Full specs: Sony RX10 IV specifications
20.10
Megapixels
25.00x zoom 1 inch
size sensor
image of Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV
Front side of Sony RX10 IV digital camera Front side of Sony RX10 IV digital camera Front side of Sony RX10 IV digital camera Front side of Sony RX10 IV digital camera Front side of Sony RX10 IV digital camera

Sony RX10 IV Review -- Now Shooting!

by and Jeremy Gray
Preview posted: 09/12/2017
Last updated:

Updates:
09/13/2017: Gallery posted
10/10/2017: First Shots posted
10/11/2017: Performance posted
11/29/2017: Field Test Part I posted

Sony RX10 IV Review -- Product shot

In the dying days of 2013, Sony launched the RX10, a camera which was lauded for bringing together the heady mix of a powerful, fixed zoom lens, and a much larger-than-average 1-inch type image sensor, as seen previously in its pocket-friendly RX100 II compact. Now, with the fourth-generation Sony RX10 IV, the company continues to hone that design, turning its large-sensor, long-zoom camera into an even more capable sports shooter.

To continue to our overview for more info on what's new and what's not, click here. For the results of our real-world field testing of the Sony RX10 IV, read on below!

 

Sony RX10 IV Field Test Part I

The large-sensor, long-zoom love affair continues...

By | Posted:

Sony RX10 IV review -- Sample photo

159mm-equivalent, 1/160 sec. @ f/4.0, ISO 100

Right from its very beginning, I've been a big fan of Sony's RX10 camera family. I've personally reviewed every single camera in the series to date, and I've found the RX10 line of cameras to be great all-rounders, capturing everything from family and pet photos and travel shots to sports, nature, portraits and more with equal aplomb.

The original Sony RX10 single-handedly created the large-sensor, long-zoom camera market, and the followup RX10 II -- of which I personally own a copy -- further refined the experience while adding a performance boost. Last year's RX10 III brought even more performance and a new, much further-reaching zoom lens, albeit with a noticeable increase in heft. And now, some four years after I first reviewed the original RX10, the new Sony RX10 IV aims to take the RX10 III design to the next level courtesy of major autofocus and performance improvements which it shares with Sony's pocket-friendly RX100 V compact.

Suffice it to say that I've really been looking forward to getting my hands on the Sony RX10 IV ever since its announcement in mid-September 2017 -- and now that I've done so, I'm happy to be able to bring you the first in my three-part, real-world test of the RX10 IV!

Sony's RX10-series cameras pair great image quality with long-zoom versatility

The key to the Sony RX10-series cameras has to be their combination of sensor and lens. Sure, their shared 1-inch sensor size might not offer quite the same low-light image quality you'd get from an even larger APS-C or full-frame sensor, but the RX10 series nevertheless still captures great photos in a wide range of conditions, day or night. And they're certainly head and shoulders above what you could expect from photos shot with a small-sensored travel zoom, let alone your smartphone..

Sony RX10 IV review -- Sample photo

74mm-equivalent, 1/250 sec. @ f/3.5, ISO 100

Yet unlike larger-sensored options, the RX10-series cameras don't require that you to deal with the hassle of swapping lenses back and forth to match your subjects. The Sony RX10 IV I'm reviewing herein offers a staggering 24-600mm equivalent focal length range right out of the box, on tap and available any time you need it. If you wanted similar reach from an APS-C or full-frame camera body, you'd need to carry a moderately-sized lens bag everywhere you go.

And the time you spent swapping those lenses to suit your subjects wouldn't be the only sacrifice you made in the name of image quality, either. The overall kit of body and lenses would be significantly bulkier and heavier than is the Sony RX10 IV.

Sony RX10 IV review -- Sample photo

144mm-equivalent, 1/160 sec. @ f/4.0, ISO 100
Getting a feeling for daylight image quality with a couple of afternoon shoots

Like the pocket-friendly RX100 V -- which I also reviewed last year -- the Sony RX10 IV upgrade is all about speed, and make no mistake: I plan on testing that speed out for myself soon. But given that my colleagues Jeremy Gray and Dave Etchells have already turned in a great round of gallery photos with some very active subjects, I decided that it'd be best to start my own shooting with something a little more serene.

Sony RX10 IV review -- Sample photo

184mm-equivalent, 1/200 sec. @ f/4.0, ISO 250

For my first real-world shoot, my son and I headed to Mead's Quarry, part of Ijams Nature Center. It's usually a pretty peaceful location, despite being only minutes outside of our hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee, and offers an interesting variety of subjects in a relatively compact space. And since it's pretty close to downtown, it paired up nicely with a photo walk there too, although as it happened an unexpected change of plans meant I had to curtail the latter expedition. I followed up a few days later with another photo walk around the nearby resort town of Gatlinburg, TN instead, where there was loads of color on display as always.

A familiar friend returns for a second generation

Having already shot with the earlier RX10 III with which it largely shares its body design, I pretty much knew what to expect from the Sony RX10 IV in terms of its layout and handling. There are, after all, only two changes to the overall control and hardware layout.

If you're more familiar with the original, shorter-zooming RX10 and RX10 II, though, you'll find that the RX10 IV is noticeably larger and heavier than those earlier cameras. It's about a third heavier than were the RX10 and RX10 II, and has a much wider lens barrel than those models, as well as being both deeper and just slightly taller than either.

That's not to say it's unduly bulky, mind you. The Sony RX10 IV is still pretty compact and portable when one takes into account its far-reaching zoom lens. In my earlier RX10 III review, I felt the same basic body design compared well to some of the smallest and lightest DSLR and mirrorless cameras on the market.

Sony RX10 IV review -- Sample photo

220mm-equivalent, 1/250 sec. @ f/4.0, ISO 320

The Canon SL1 DSLR and a selection of consumer-grade lenses together offering a shorter 20x zoom range are a good 50% heavier than the RX10 IV, and much bulkier. And while a really small Micro Four Thirds body like the Panasonic GM5 with lenses providing a 21x zoom range would be similarly bulky but a bit lighter, it wouldn't offer the SLR-like handling, comfort and profusion of controls found on the Sony RX10 IV.

Just two dedicated control tweaks since the Sony RX10 IV's immediate predecessor

So what are the changes since the RX10 III? Both are to be found nestled side-by-side on the lens barrel and the bottom left corner of the Sony RX10 IV's front deck (as seen from the rear). There's a new focus range limiter switch that allows you to restrict the focus range to a minimum of three meters, instead of the default 3cm at wide angle or 1.4 meters at telephoto.

Sony RX10 IV review -- Sample photo

131mm-equivalent, 1/320 sec. @ f/4.0, ISO 100

Interestingly, Sony's user manual notes that this switch doesn't prevent focusing to closer than three meters unless you have also zoomed in past a 150mm-equivalent (55mm actual) focal length. And in my own testing, I found that I could focus to as close as 2.4 meters even if I zoomed all the way in to the maximum telephoto focal length of 600mm-equivalent. But while the three-meter figure might be a bit loose, the function certainly does help prevent racking focus at the longer focal lengths.

Sony RX10 IV review -- Sample photo

79mm-equivalent, 1/250 sec. @ f/4.0, ISO 100

The other tweak to the Sony RX10 IV's control layout is to its focus mode switch. In place of the four-position switch on the RX10 III, you'll find a five-position switch on the RX10 IV. So what's the extra position? A handy new auto mode which will select between single-servo or continuous-servo autofocus operation as appropriate for your subject. That could save a good bit of fiddling with the switch if you're shooting a mixed selection of active and static subjects!

And if you're coming from the earlier RX10 or RX10 II, you'll find that the Sony RX10 IV's controls will feel very familiar, as well. The basic layout is much the same, although with a new top-deck control arrangement and an extra top-panel custom function button taking advantage of the extra room provided by the thicker body. And there's also an extra button on the left side of the lens barrel which defaults to a focus hold function, but which I personally like to switch to controlling the eye AF function instead, as I find it more useful to have on tap for quick access.

The new, higher-res LCD is definitely crisper, and it's still just as bright as ever

When we first published our RX10 IV preview, we noted that Sony appeared to have switched from a lower-res WhiteMagic LCD monitor in older models to a higher-res (but non-WhiteMagic) screen in the RX10 IV. We based that assertion on the company's stated dot count for the display, however now that I've had the chance to compare the new camera to my earlier RX10 II side by side, it seems that the RX10 IV's display is in fact itself a WhiteMagic type.

Sony RX10 IV review -- Sample photo

177mm-equivalent, 1/320 sec. @ f/4.0, ISO 100

Looking through a strong magnifying glass, I can see that the new and old screens have an entirely different pixel arrangement, but I definitely see red, green, blue and white subpixels on both screens. And comparing them side by side outdoors, I'd have to give a slight edge in brightness to the RX10 IV, although both cameras' displays are reasonably easy to see even in full sunlight.

Finally! Touch-screen control makes for much more intuitive autofocus

At least, that's true so long as they're not too covered in smudges from fingerprints and noses, anyway. And with the Sony RX10 IV now being a touch-screen camera, that was immediately a concern for me, as you're going to be putting your fingers on the screen even more often now.

Sony RX10 IV review -- Sample photo

58mm-equivalent, 1/500 sec. @ f/4.0, ISO 100

Thankfully, the RX10 II's screen was already fairly fingerprint-resistant, and that on the RX10 IV seems to be even more so. Making a direct comparison, while it wasn't impossible to leave a mark on the screen with my fingers, it was certainly harder to do so than on my own, older model. You may still want to keep a lens cleaner handy to wipe the screen now and then, though, as I found it easier to make a smudge using my nose -- and since the viewfinder is directly centered over the display, it's similarly likely to happen regardless of whether you are left or right-eye dominant.

Sony RX10 IV review -- Sample photo

74mm-equivalent, 1/80 sec. @ f/3.5, ISO 2000

And the addition of a touch screen is really great news when it comes to autofocusing, because it's so much more intuitive to select your subject by tapping on it. And that's true even if you're shooting through the viewfinder, as you can switch the display to touch pad mode, framing through the viewfinder while using a finger or your thumbtip on the screen beneath to drag your focus point around the image frame. And the touch functionality is pretty responsive, as well, tracking your fingertip quite quickly and accurately.

A roomy, bright and responsive electronic viewfinder, but it needs a more generous eyecup

Sony has also tweaked the RX10 IV's viewfinder since the previous model, telling us that viewfinder lag has been decreased. The company didn't provide any figures for the improvement, and I have to admit I didn't detect a big difference shooting side-by-side with my earlier RX10 II.

However, with that said I'm satisfied with the Sony RX10 IV's viewfinder in most respects. It's responsive, bright, roomy, crisp and has good color to boot. Really, my only concern is that the viewfinder eyecup -- which is essentially unchanged since the original RX10 -- is still just not generous enough.

It's made of quite hard rubber, or perhaps a rubberized coating over hard plastic. Either way, it doesn't conform to your face, and only extends a few millimeters beyond the eyepiece lens as well. The result is that if the sun's in just the wrong place, you end up having to use a hand to shade your eye even when shooting through the viewfinder. But in other respects, I'm a huge fan of this viewfinder design!

Sony RX10 IV review -- Sample photo

390mm-equivalent, 1/250 sec. @ f/4.0, ISO 250

The Sony RX10 IV has great image quality overall in daytime shooting

I have to say that thus far, after looking at my daylight photos shot with the Sony RX10 IV, I've found myself very impressed with its image quality for the most part. Admittedly, that's not really much of a surprise, as its predecessors also had ample image quality.

For the most part, exposures were very accurate, with only occasional and slight exposure compensation needed for scenes with more challenging lighting, in situations where most any other camera would likewise need a gentle nudge in the right direction.

Sony RX10 IV review -- Sample photo

424mm-equivalent, 1/250 sec. @ f/4.0, ISO 640

The Sony RX10 IV's white balance was also spot on for most daytime shots, and colors were quite realistic, too. If anything, a little more so than is typical of cameras in this class, with images from the RX10 IV being a bit less crunchy and over-saturated than is typical of a camera aimed at consumer use.

Sony RX10 IV review -- Sample photo

46mm-equivalent, 1/50 sec. @ f/3.2, ISO 400

A slight tendency for the Sony RX10 IV to pick shutter speeds too slow to handhold

Really, my only concern with my first batch of images was that I noticed some slight blur from camera shake in some shots. It wasn't a terribly common, affecting just a small fraction of my overall shots (and typically at the longer focal lengths), but nonetheless it was a little more frequent than I'd like to see.

Of course, thus far I've only shot in the daytime. I look forward to seeing how the Sony RX10 IV performs at default settings once the sun goes down, and gathering enough light for a good photo becomes more of a challenge. And it's also worth noting that all of this is at default settings. You can -- and if it proves a continuing concern in lower light, I will -- set the RX10 IV's ISO Auto function to aim for a faster shutter speed than the default when selecting the correct sensitivity for a shot.

Blisteringly fast autofocus and good performance in other respects, too

Thus far, I'm seriously impressed with the Sony RX10 IV's performance. Obviously I've not yet shot very many active subjects, so I've not really begun to stretch its burst-shooting and autofocusing capabilities. 95% of my shooting so far has been in single-servo mode, and no more than perhaps a few quick bracketed series in succession.

Sony RX10 IV review -- Sample photo

300mm-equivalent, 1/250 sec. @ f/4.0, ISO 4000

But with the subjects I've shot thus far, the Sony RX10 IV has focused very quickly and yet quite precisely on the first attempt the overwhelming majority of the time. And it hasn't kept me waiting on the buffer yet, either. And you can rest assured that I'll be looking at performance more closely in my second field test.

More to come in my second and third Sony RX10 IV field tests!

And that about rounds things out for this first field test. Watch this space for two further field tests to come! In the first, I'm planning on finding some more active subjects, as just noted. I'll also be taking a look at low-light image quality, both at higher sensitivities and with long exposure times. And In the third and final test, I'll be looking at movie capture, as well as the RX10 IV's updated wireless connectivity.

Got any requests for anything you want to see tested? If so, sound off in the comments below!

Sony RX10 IV review -- Sample photo

207mm-equivalent, 1/250 sec. @ f/4.0, ISO 100

 

Sony RX10 IV Overview

By and Jeremy Gray | Posted: 11/29/2017

The power of the RX100 V in an SLR-like package that's infinitely more versatile

The Sony RX10-series might have been much larger than the diminutive RX100-series -- the company refers to it as being palm-sized, and it's similar in size to a DSLR with a short-zooming kit lens -- but it has nevertheless hit a sweet spot, providing great image quality in an extremely versatile package. And we profess to being big fans of the formula, having awarded all three previous generations of the Sony RX10 the coveted Dave's Pick title, despite a pricetag that was hefty, to say the least.

With the Sony RX10 IV, the company has clearly put a big focus on performance, just as it did with the fifth-generation of the RX100 series, the Sony RX100 V. But where all of that performance didn't necessarily always make sense in such a pocket-friendly camera, it will be a whole lot easier to make the best advantage of the power underlying the RX10 IV thanks to its much more powerful zoom lens.

Sony RX10 IV Review -- Product shot

The Sony RX10 IV's body and lens are almost unchanged from its predecessor

Take a quick glance at the Sony RX10 IV, and you could very easily confuse it with its predecessor. The entire body design is retained almost unchanged, as is the whopping 24-600mm equivalent, f/2.4-4.0 zoom lens which lends it the look of a DSLR camera with the lens attached. (But unlike a DSLR, this lens is permanently fixed in place, giving Sony advantages in packaging that have allowed far, far more zoom reach than you'd expect to find in an SLR camera with a similarly-sized lens.)

As before, that lens includes Sony's Optical SteadyShot image stabilization technology, which has a 4.5-stop corrective strength, a must when shooting towards the telephoto end of its mighty range, especially in low-light conditions. But while both lens and stabilization system are unchanged, we understand that Sony has rethought how the latter works, making it more active during framing for a better shooting experience.

Sony RX10 IV Review -- Product shot
A couple of minor control tweaks in the autofocus department

On the outside of the camera body, if you ignore the change in the model number, there are only two significant differences to be found. Both hint at an area which was key to the redesign beneath the skin: Autofocus. On the side of the body at the base of the lens barrel is a brand-new focus range limiter switch, allowing you to switch between the full focus range or to limit the Sony RX10 IV to focusing at distances greater than 10 feet (3m).

As before, you'll be able to focus to as close as 1.2 inches (3cm) at the wide-angle position, or 2.4 feet (0.7m) at the telephoto end of the range, incidentally, giving the RX10 IV quite good macro capabilities for such a long-zooming camera. And the adjacent focus mode switch has sprouted a new "A" position, which is used to access a new auto-servo focus mode that chooses between single or continuous autofocus as the camera deems appropriate.

Real-world handling thoughts on the Sony RX10 IV

Now would seem as good a time as any to hand things over to our Reviews Editor Jeremy Gray, who's on the ground in New York for the official launch of the Sony RX10 IV, to give us a little insight into the camera's handling. Take it away, Jeremy!

Sony RX10 IV Review -- Hands-on Product shot

While you can capture excellent images from 24 to 600mm with gear from nearly all manufacturers, it's something special with the Sony RX10 series to be able to shoot crisp images across that entire range in a single camera, much less a camera that is comfortable to hold and weighs in at just 2.4 pounds (1,095g) loaded and ready to shoot.

Regarding the comfort of the newest model, the Sony RX10 IV feels quite nice in the hands, although it doesn't have the same robust, rugged feel you might expect from a camera that costs nearly US$2,000. With that said, the new three-inch display, which is still tilt-capable for framing high or low shots, looks great, and now offers Touch Pad AF and Touch Focus functionality. The 2.35-million dot XGA OLED electronic viewfinder looks very good too and is nice to use thanks to its reasonably large size. (The Sony RX10 IV has a manufacturer-rated 0.70x magnification, speaking in 35mm-equivalents.)

Sony RX10 IV Review -- Hands-on Product shot

Like its predecessor, the Sony RX10 IV allows you to control the zoom via the switch beneath the shutter release or by rotating one of the three rings on the lens (in order they are focus, zoom and aperture rings). In both cases, the RX10 IV is somewhat slow to zoom from 24 to 600mm, although it did feel better to use the zoom ring. While the camera is one built for speed, zooming is not an area where the RX10 IV feels fast.

The aperture ring is a nice touch, allowing easy user control over the f-stop. The ring has a lot of resistance, which is great for making precise adjustments, but not so good for making large adjustments quickly. You can adjust the aperture ring to be de-clicked as well, which is perfect for making quiet aperture adjustments, which could prove useful to videographers.

Sony RX10 IV Review -- Hands-on Product shot

If you're familiar with its predecessor, the RX10 IV will feel very familiar. It maintains its general DSLR-substitute body style, meaning that there are numerous controls on the camera body itself and it is well served as a complement to an A7-series or A9 camera or as a person's sole camera. In both cases, it should feel capable and familiar.

The big news is to be found on the inside of the Sony RX10 IV

So... the body we all know and love from the RX10 III remains almost unchanged. It's what is to be found on the inside that's the really big story here. And if you've been paying attention to the way Sony's engineers and designers think, you won't be surprised in the least to find that the Sony RX10 IV is based around the exact same 20.1-effective megapixel image sensor as in the pocket-friendly Sony RX100 V. (We understand that the image processing algorithms used to process its output have been updated to those used in the Sony A9 mirrorless camera, though, bringing the potential for another step forward on the image quality front.)

Sony RX10 IV Review -- Product shot

The Sony RX10 IV's sensor still yields a maximum image size of 5,472 x 3,648 pixels, identical to that of the earlier camera. The important change here isn't one of resolution or pixel size, but rather of the new Sony Exmor RS sensor's performance and provision for on-chip AF.

Fast Hybrid autofocus with blinding performance and high-density AF tracking

As in the previous RX10 III (not to mention the RX100 III and IV), the Sony RX10 IV's image sensor uses a stacked design which combines embedded DRAM memory to allow for extremely swift full-resolution capture. It also now includes 315 on-chip phase-detection autofocus points, just as in the RX100 V, allowing for swift and accurate hybrid autofocus, where the RX10 III had to make do solely with contrast-detection.

Sony RX10 IV Review -- Product shot

These 315 PDAF points are broadly distributed across 65% of the image frame, ensuring that your subject should be adequately covered no matter where you want to place it, or to track it around the frame. (It's not often that you'll find yourself wanting to place the point of focus much closer to the edge of the frame anyway, for compositional reasons.)

And when it comes to tracking, the Sony RX10 IV debuts a Cyber-shot first, inheriting the same high-density tracking AF system which we've seen previously in the Sony A6300 and A6500 mirrorless cameras, while the autofocus algorithms are borrowed from the Sony A9. The result should be exceptionally swift autofocus, and very capable AF tracking that uses information not just from the user-selected autofocus point, but also from many of those which surround it, helping the RX10 IV to more accurately determine what constitutes the subject itself.

Sony RX10 IV Review -- Product shot
And there are plenty more autofocus system tweaks, besides...

Nor is that all on the autofocus front, either. For one thing, as we mentioned earlier there's now a focus limiter function that will prevent the camera from racking through the focus range into macro territory if you are dealing with a particularly challenging subject. There's also a new automatic AF mode, as we said, which chooses between single-servo or continuous autofocus by itself, if you're not sure which will be best for a given subject, or are shooting an erratic mixture of moving and static subjects.

Sony has also upgraded the Eye AF algorithms in the RX10 IV, and it will now better handle the task of focusing on moving faces, or those for which you only have a three-quarter view looking to one side of the camera, rather than a full face looking more directly at the lens. And as Jeremy noted earlier, there are also new possibilities thanks to the newly-added touch-screen panel. You can now focus by tapping directly on a subject when using live view on the main LCD, or use the LCD panel as a touch pad for focusing while framing your subject through the electronic viewfinder.

Sony RX10 IV Review -- Product shot

There's also a new AF-On function, and while it doesn't have its own dedicated button, you can assign it to one of the user-configurable function buttons yourself, if it would prove useful for your chosen subject matter. And you can also register a focus point or area for quick recall from a function button, which will prove very handy if you're shooting a somewhat predictable subject which requires that you frequently want to change and then revert the focus point -- say, a tennis match, for example.

In fact, you can now go even a step further and recall whole custom settings groups, including not just the AF point, but other details like the exposure and drive modes, shutter speed, sensitivity or exposure compensation with a single button press, if you want.

The Sony RX10 IV boasts so much performance it might just blow your mind

Although the image processor at the heart of the Sony RX10 IV still carries Sony's Bionz X branding, just as in the earlier RX10 II and III, there's clearly a whole different level of power on tap here. We understand that the image processor in the RX10 IV, as well as its supporting LSI chip, are both identical to those used in the flagship Sony A9 mirrorless camera, and that gives this fixed-lens model truly epic shooting performance.

Where the Sony RX10 III was capable of an already-swift 14 frames per second burst capture, the RX10 IV unlocks the same mind-blowingly swift 24 fps capture that we've seen previously in the pocket-friendly RX100 V. And that's with a JPEG buffer depth that's manufacturer-rated at a whopping 249 frames, enough for a full 10+ seconds of continuous burst shooting at the maximum rate.

Sony RX10 IV Review

Now, we should note here that Sony specs this figure not at the highest-quality Extra Fine JPEG mode, but rather at the next step down in Fine JPEG mode. We will of course be testing the performance for ourselves, both in the lab and the real world, as soon as we get the chance, but in the meantime IR founder and publisher Dave Etchells gave it a quick test at the press event in New York, and in Fine JPEG mode saw a buffer depth of 251 frames, just slightly besting Sony's spec, while he also recorded a 114-frame raw burst, and a 110-frame raw+JPEG burst.

None of this can be directly compared with our in-house testing figures, as these use an intentionally hard-to-compress test subject for a real-world, worst case scenario, but they certainly body well for the Sony RX10 IV's real-world performance. Unfortunately, flash card write speeds still look set to be an Achilles heel for the RX10 IV, as Dave also noted a card clearing time of 48 seconds for Fine JPEGs once the buffer filled, and a leisurely 67 seconds for raw+JPEG buffer clearing. Solely raw buffer clearing was the best of the bunch at around 34 seconds, but you should bear in mind that this is for less than half as many frames as in JPEG mode.

Watch this space for more formal performance testing at a future date, just as soon as we're able. And if you don't actually need this much performance, note that lower rates of 3.5 or 10 frames per second are also optionally available.

A faster electronic viewfinder and a higher-res (but possibly less bright) main LCD panel

Although the hardware of the Sony RX10 IV's electronic viewfinder, which Jeremy mentioned earlier, looks to be much the same as in the previous RX10 III, we understand that it now has lower lag than in the previous-generation camera. (Sony hasn't yet quantified the scope of this improvement, however.)

Sony RX10 IV Review -- Product shot

It's still based around a 1,024 x 768 pixel Organic LED panel with a 0.39-inch diagonal, and has a 0.7x magnification (35mm equivalent with a 50mm lens at infinity), as well as an eyepoint of 21.5mm from the eyepiece frame, and a -4 to +3 diopter corrective capability. Sadly, unlike that in the Sony A9, the RX10 IV's electronic viewfinder is not blackout free, so it won't be quite as useful for framing fast-moving subjects. (But in this class, there's no camera offering that feature, so it's perhaps an understandable omission nevertheless.)

Sony has given a little and taken a little with the LCD monitor, however. Total resolution has increased from 640 x 480 pixels to 800 x 600, and there's now a touch-screen overlay, as noted previously. But where the previous Sony RX10 II and III used Sony's WhiteMagic LCD technology for a brighter (yet lower-powered) display, the Sony RX10 IV seems to have returned to a standard LCD panel technology, likely in the interests of saving cost.

Now, we should note that we haven't yet had the opportunity to compare the RX10 III and IV side by side, so it's perhaps possible that LED backlight technology has improved sufficiently in the meantime to negate this difference, but even if so, that improvement could likely have been even more significant with use of WhiteMagic technology, which couples the traditional red, green and blue pixels with white ones, allowing its desirable characteristics.

Oh, and there is of course still an info LCD panel on the top deck, which is handy for quickly checking your remaining shots and exposure basics.

Sony RX10 IV Review -- Product shot

The Sony RX10 IV should be an even more capable long-zooming movie camera, too

The preceding RX10 III was already a fairly capable movie camera in its own right, especially by fixed-lens camera standards. The Sony RX10 IV looks to be even more impressive in this respect, though. It retains its predecessor's ability to shoot ultra-high definition 4K or high-def 1080p videos in XAVC S or AVCHD formats using the full sensor width without line-skipping, and at a maximum sensitivity of ISO 12,800-equivalent.

But now, it offers in-camera proxy recording capability, shooting both a UHD 4K clip and a simultaneous HD (720p) clip which can be used in its place for faster editing in your non-linear editor of choice, before substituting in the much higher-res 4K footage for a better-quality result at render time. (And this works not only for 4K clips, but also for lower-res Full HD / slow-motion footage.)

There's also a choice of S-Log2 or S-Log3 gamma curves to suit your post-production workflow, where the RX10 III only offered S-Log2. (Not sure what this means? Sony gives you a quick rundown on S-Log here.)

We also understand that focus peaking has been improved in the Sony RX10 IV, which will be great if you want to focus manually. And if not, you can now use touch AF during movies, as well, and take advantage of the on-chip phase-detection pixels for smoother focus transitions from one subject to another in your scene.

Sony RX10 IV Review -- Product shot
Improved wireless connectivity, with the same battery / accessory support carried over

In most respects, the Sony RX10 IV's power, storage and connectivity features are unchanged from the RX10 III. In some respects, that's a great thing. For example, if you're upgrading from an earlier RX10-series model, you'll be able to use the same NP-FW50 lithium-ion rechargeable battery packs that you already have on hand. And the same is true of your Multi Interface Shoe-compatible accessories, as well as your micro HDMI and micro USB cables. You'll also be able to use the same external microphones and headphones you could since the RX10 II. Speaking of batteries, CIPA battery life is down just slightly with the new LCD to 400 shots versus 420 for the predecessor. It remains the same with the EVF, at 370 shots.

However, it also means that the Sony RX10 IV still lacks support for UHS-II memory cards, just as did its predecessors. They'll still work in the RX10 IV body, but they'll fall back to UHS-I compatibility mode, which is slower. (And this goes some way towards explaining the still fairly sedate buffer clearing times of the RX10 IV, a shortcoming it shares with its predecessors.) Our understanding from speaking with Sony about this is that there were constraints in terms of both pricing and packaging which prevented Sony from including UHS-II support in the form factor and at the pricepoint it wanted.

Sony RX10 IV Review -- Product shot

The good news, though, is that the already great Wi-Fi + NFC connectivity of the Sony RX10 III has been supplemented with a Bluetooth Low Energy (aka Bluetooth 4.1) radio in the newer camera. This allows the Sony RX10 IV to piggyback off your phone's GPS receiver and clock, keeping its time up to date through time zone changes and automatically geotagging your photos with their capture location as they're captured without the need for its own built-in GPS receiver. And since Bluetooth 4.1 has relatively minimal power requirements, it should be able to do so without destroying your smartphone's battery life, something which has caused us to turn this feature off in many past cameras.

The Sony RX10 IV carries a very steep pricetag, but let's face it: There's no real competition

And now we come to the part you've all been waiting for. (Unless you caught Jeremy's allusion to it in his hands-on report, that is.)

The Sony RX10 and RX100-series have always been known for their steep pricetags at launch, and the same is true of the Sony RX10 IV. If anything, even more so. Slated to go on sale in the US market this October, the RX10 IV carries list pricing of right around US$1,700. That puts it another US$200 above the already-bracing pricetag of the preceding RX10 III.

Sony RX10 IV Review -- Product shot

Yes, it's a big ask, there's no question about that. However, it has to be said that there really isn't another camera on the market with these features, and so it's perhaps understandable that Sony expects a premium pricetag for what is, essentially, a unique camera. If you need its pairing of image quality, zoom range, performance and video capabilities, well... Your choices are either to pay that price, or to wait for a rival to catch up. (And thus far, they've arguably not even caught up with the previous-generation RX10 III yet, so you may be waiting a while.)

Much as we'd love to see the RX10 IV at a lower pricetag, we can't blame Sony too much here. Developing cameras like these costs a lot of money, and that's money which is hard-fought over in the modern camera market. Rather than asking Sony to lower its price in the face of minimal competition, we'd sooner ask of Sony's rivals... What are you waiting for? Catch up already! If you can...

 

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$1298.00 (31% less)

20.1 MP

Also has viewfinder

Similar size

25x zoom

RX10 IV vs RX10 III

$997.99 (70% less)

20.1 MP

Also has viewfinder

16% larger

2x zoom (25% less)

RX10 IV vs FZ2500

$1212.67 (40% less)

20.1 MP

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10% larger

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20.2 MP

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25x zoom

RX10 IV vs G3X

$755.31 (125% less)

20.1 MP

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RX10 IV vs FZ1000

$1198.00 (42% less)

20.2 MP

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12.1 MP (66% less)

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$398.00 (327% less)

20.4 MP

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5x zoom (50% more)

RX10 IV vs HX400V

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6x zoom (58% more)

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33% smaller

24x zoom

RX10 IV vs FZ200

$337.49 (403% less)

16.3 MP (23% less)

Also has viewfinder

11% smaller

6x zoom (58% more)

RX10 IV vs WB2200F

$297.99 (470% less)

16.1 MP (25% less)

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Also has viewfinder

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10.7x zoom (134% less)

RX10 IV vs Stylus 1s

$256.95 (561% less)

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$322.89 (426% less)

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RX10 IV vs G1X Mark II

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