Basic Specifications
Full model name: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV
Resolution: 20.10 Megapixels
Sensor size: 1 inch
(13.2mm x 8.8mm)
Lens: 2.92x zoom
(24-70mm eq.)
Viewfinder: EVF / LCD
Native ISO: 125 - 12,800
Extended ISO: 80 - 25,600
Shutter: 1/32000 - 30 seconds
Max Aperture: 1.8
Dimensions: 4.0 x 2.3 x 1.6 in.
(102 x 58 x 41 mm)
Weight: 10.4 oz (295 g)
includes batteries
Availability: 07/2015
Manufacturer: Sony
Full specs: Sony RX100 IV specifications
20.10
Megapixels
2.92x zoom 1 inch
size sensor
image of Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV
Front side of Sony RX100 IV digital camera Front side of Sony RX100 IV digital camera Front side of Sony RX100 IV digital camera Front side of Sony RX100 IV digital camera Front side of Sony RX100 IV digital camera

RX100 IV Summary

Sony keeps upping the ante with their RX100-series of premium compact cameras. Now on its fourth-generation model, the Sony RX100 IV introduces a host of performance-oriented improvements and new features, including 4K video capture, 16fps continuous burst shooting and a very fun high frame rate (HFR) slow-mo video mode. Overall, Sony RX100 IV is quick, nimble and capable, with tons of performance and the excellent image quality we've come to expect from a Sony RX100-series camera.

Pros

Vastly improved burst speeds with deep buffer; Great performance with very fast autofocus; Very high resolution gives lots of detail in good light; High ISO noise levels much better than most pocket camera rivals; High-quality 4K video with uncompressed HDMI out; Super-fast High Frame Rate video; Same great pocket-friendly design.

Cons

Pricey for a compact camera; JPEGs can look over-processed at higher ISOs; Lens doesn't offer as much telephoto reach; Battery life not as good as predecessor; 24-70mm-equivalent lens can feel limiting.

Price and availability

Priced at around US$1,000 or thereabouts, the Sony RX100 IV began shipping from July 2015 in the US market.

Imaging Resource rating

4.5 out of 5.0

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Sony RX100 IV Review

by , Jeremy Gray, Dave Pardue and William Brawley
Preview posted: 06/10/2015

Updates:
06/13/2015: Technical Info added
06/24/2015: First Shots posted
06/25/2015: High Frame Rate Video added
: Performance test results posted

09/04/2015: Field Test, by Jeremy Gray, posted
09/23/2015: Image Quality, Print Quality and Review Conclusion posted

---
Special update: The Sony RX100 IV was named Best Premium Compact Camera in our 2015 Camera of the Year awards!
---

The evolution of the the large-sensor enthusiast compact continues with the Sony RX100 IV, a camera with some very worthwhile improvements over its predecessor, the RX100 III. Continuing the RX100-series that has defined the category, this handsome compact retains almost exactly the same pocket-friendly body as in the earlier model, but under the skin it's more capable than ever with greater performance and a much clearer viewfinder.

Sony RX100 IV Review -- Front left view

Most of the new features in the Sony RX100 IV come courtesy of its brand-new Sony Exmor RS image sensor, which replaces the earlier Exmor R chip in the RX100 III. Featuring an industry-first stacked CMOS sensor design with embedded DRAM, this allows not only a significant improvement in burst capture rate (now up to 16 frames per second at full resolution), but also provides for electronic shutter capability up to 1/32,000 second. And impressively, Sony is claiming that high-speed readout will translate to minimal rolling shutter (or jello) effect, even when using the electronic shutter!

Nor is that all. The new sensor also allows the Sony RX100 IV to provide for 4K video capture, and high frame-rate video at up to a staggering 1,000 frames per second. And there are upgrades in other areas, too -- for example, a brand-new Organic LED display in the popup electronic viewfinder that now has double the dot count of that in the earlier camera.

Sony has also included plenty of firmware tweaks in the RX100 IV. These include a new expanded flexible spot autofocus function, and an additional self-timer option of five seconds duration. And when shooting in Program or Aperture-priority modes, you can now access the longest shutter speed of 30 seconds that was previously restricted to only Shutter-priority or Manual shooting. Add in seven new Picture Profile options that allow you to control things like black level, gamma, black gamma, knee, and plenty more besides.

All of these new features sit alongside the same 24-70mm equivalent, f/1.8-2.8 optical zoom lens with SteadyShot image stabilization as in the earlier camera. Also retained are an ISO sensitivity range of 125 to 12,800 equivalents (extendable down to ISO 80), a BIONZ X-branded image processor, 3.0-inch LCD monitor with tilt articulation, and a built-in popup flash.

Priced at US$1,000 or thereabouts, the Sony RX100 IV began shipping from July 2015 in the US market.

Sony RX100 IV Slow Motion Video

Wow, this camera is a blast to use! (An actual blast, in a couple of our clips!) If you've never had a chance to play with super slow-motion video, you're in for a real treat!

Sony RX100 IV High Frame Rate Sample Video
1,920 x 1,080, MPEG, 24 fps
Download Original (490.4MB MPEG)

Given the pocketable nature of this little camera, the capabilities and image quality of the high frame rate (HFR) videos is quite impressive. Unlike most cameras, while there's some cropping depending on the frame rate and duration of the clip, the RX100 IV processes the video internally to deliver 1,920 x 1,080 video as the final product. So the highest-speed videos will look softer on playback, but the quality loss didn't detract from the fun we had with it in the slightest.

Sony RX100 IV slow motion: Capture frame rate ÷ file frame rate = Slow-mo factor

The Sony RX100 IV lets you choose the capture frame rate and the movie file frame rate separately, so you have a wide range of slow-motion effects available to you. The capture frame rate is pretty self-explanatory, it's the number of times per second the camera will be capturing new frames, with options of 240fps, 480fps, and 960fps. (If you set the camera to PAL video timing, the corresponding rates are 250fps, 500fps, and 1000fps.) The file frame rate is the frames/second that the resulting movie will be played back at, with options of 24/30/60fps in NTSC timing or 25/50fps in PAL mode.

The amount the action is slowed down is the ratio between the capture and file frame rates. For instance, at the low end of the scale, 240fps capture played back at 60fps would give a slowdown of 240/60 = 4x. At the other extreme, 960fps played back at 24fps gives a slow-motion factor of 960/24 = 40x. In between, there's quite a range of options, with choices of 4, 8, 10, 16, 20, 32 and 40x for NTSC videos. The corresponding factors for PAL timing are 5, 10, 20, and 40x. For more details on the various HFR modes available, see our Sony RX100 IV Technical Info page.

The video above has examples shot at 480 and 960 fps, played back at 24fps, so the slow-motion effects are 20x and 40x, respectively.

Sony RX100 IV Field Test

Plenty of power in your pocket

by Jeremy Gray |

Sony RX100 IV field test photo New sensor design brings new features.
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV may look identical to the RX100 III, but there are numerous internal changes that lead to much improved capabilities and results, particularly for high speed photography and movie recording. The RX100 IV uses a new 1-inch-type CMOS sensor that features a stacked design, which allows for much higher speed shooting than the previous RX100 III.

Small form factor causes some issues with camera handling.
Like the three versions of RX100 before it, the RX100 IV is very small and light. The RX100 IV weighs only 10.5 ounces (298 grams) with a battery. When the camera is off and the lens is retracted, it can even be carried in a pants or jacket pocket. The electronic viewfinder is built-in, but uses a pop-up design, which helps to keep the camera small. A pocket-friendly camera comes with some compromises, however, such as not having much to hold onto and its buttons being small and close together.

Sony RX100 IV Technical Info

A look inside the fastest RX100-series camera to date!

by Mike Tomkins |

Sony RX100 IV tech section illustrationSensor
Although it has the same size and effective resolution as that in the RX100 III, the Sony RX100 IV's 1.0"-type, 20.1-megapixel image sensor is brand new, and radically different in design to everything that precedes it. The Sony Exmor RS CMOS chip is still backside-illuminated, but it now features a stacked design that layers DRAM memory and A/D converters beneath the light-sensitive surface.

This design is, says Sony, a world's first, and it allows a significant improvement in performance. And not just in terms of burst shooting rate, either. It also allows for 4K video capture, an impressively swift 1/32,000-second electronic shutter function, *and* a huge reduction in the level of rolling shutter (or jello effect) when using the electronic shutter.

(Sony's marketing materials are suggesting that rolling shutter is basically eliminated; our understanding from talking to company reps is that rolling shutter will still be present, but at such a low level as to effectively make it a non-issue.)

Want to know more about what separates the Sony RX100 IV from its siblings?

Find out in our Sony RX100 IV technical info report!

Sony RX100 IV Walkaround

A look at Sony's latest RX100-series pocket camera

by Mike Tomkins |

Sony RX100 IV walkaroundSony has retained almost exactly the same body design it used in the RX100 III for the followup Sony RX100 IV. Indeed, body dimensions are identical to those of the earlier camera, and weight is only increased by a scant eight grams.

Look closely, though, and there are a few subtle differences here and there.

Look at the front of the camera, and there's no way to tell the Sony RX100 IV apart from its predecessor. The lens still dominates the front deck, and there are no controls visible save for the front of the zoom rocker that protrudes from the top deck. There's still an AF assist lamp just above and to the right of the lens (as seen from the rear), and all of the same badges and markings remain just as they were in the RX100 III.

Sony RX100 IV Image Quality Comparison

The RX100 IV goes head-to-head against the competition

by William Brawley |

Sony RX100 IV image qualityHere we have crops comparing the Sony RX100 IV against the Sony RX100 III -- its immediate predecessor -- as well as the Canon G7X, Fuji X30, Nikon J5, and Panasonic LX100. All of the models in this comparison are either direct competitors to the RX100 IV in the premium, large-sensor compact camera market, or otherwise, such as with the Nikon J5, which shares a similarly sized 1-inch-type sensor.

NOTE: These images are best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction and using the camera's actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings). Clicking any crop will take you to a carrier page where you can click once again to access the full resolution image as delivered straight from the camera.

Sony RX100 IV Conclusion

An ultra-portable but somewhat pricey powerhouse pocket camera

by William Brawley |

Sony RX100 IV image quality Sony's supercharged premium pocket cam.
Sony keeps upping the ante with their RX100-series of premium compact cameras. Now on its fourth-generation model, the Sony RX100 IV introduces a host of performance-oriented improvements and new features, including 4K video capture, 16fps continuous burst shooting and a very fun high frame rate (HFR) slow-mo video mode.

While the RX100 II introduced a new backside-illuminated sensor for improved low-light and high-ISO performance, the RX100 IV introduces yet another new sensor: a stacked CMOS design with embedded DRAM. This new 20.2MP chip is designed not so much for improved image quality, but rather vastly improved speed and throughput performance -- giving the RX100 IV it's impressive 4K and HFR slow-mo video capabilities, plus an electronic shutter with speeds up to 1/32,000s with very little rolling shutter artifacts!

 

In the Box

The Sony RX100 IV retail box ships with the following items:

  • Sony RX100 IV camera
  • NP-BX1 lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack
  • AC-UB10C USB charger (charges battery in-camera)
  • Wrist strap
  • Shoulder strap adapter
  • Micro USB cable
  • Instruction manual
  • Warranty card

 

Recommended Accessories

  • Extra NP-BX1 lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack for extended outings
  • BC-TRX battery charger, so you can charge a spare battery while using the camera
  • Large capacity SDHC/SDXC memory card. Given the high resolution and large file sizes of the RX100 IV, 32GB is a good tradeoff between cost and capacity for shooting stills. But if you plan to capture XAVC S video clips, a 64GB or larger SDXC card with UHS Speed Class U1 is required, and if you want to record 100 Mbps video, a 64GB or larger UHS Speed Class U3 card is required.
  • AG-R2 attachment grip, or one of Richard Franiec's excellent accessory grips
  • Small camera bag or medium to large pocket. ;-)

 



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