Sony RX10 review: This bridge camera beauty could change your mind about interchangeable lenses


posted Tuesday, November 26, 2013 at 1:52 PM EDT


Last month, Sony's announcement of the 20.2-megapixel Cyber-shot RX10 bridge camera was met with a mixture of excitement and confusion. Some immediately saw the Sony RX10 for what it was, and were absolutely thrilled. Others were confused by the pricing and design: Weren't the days of thousand-dollar-plus bridge cameras long gone? What was the point of a smaller sensor than a mirrorless or SLR camera, but in a body of similar size? And just whom was this thing for?

Although it seemed to have a lot to offer on paper -- not least a 24-200mm equivalent, f/2.8 constant aperture zoom lens -- we shared some of these initial concerns, as well. After spending several weeks shooting with the RX10, though, we now better understand where it fits into the market, and why it makes a lot of sense. With the RX10, Sony has essentially created a new market segment, one in which it faces no competition, but in which there's a clear need to be fulfilled.

Compared to its mirrorless and SLR rivals, the Sony RX10 is significantly more compact and a whole lot more affordable, once you factor in the lenses you'd need to match that built into the RX10. It's also weather-sealed, something that's not too common in affordable, compact interchangeable-lens cameras and their optics. And it offers swift performance coupled with a seriously capable movie mode.

On the other side of the coin, the Sony RX10 might be a lot more expensive than its bridge camera rivals, but it's in a totally different league when it comes to image quality, thanks to a great lens and a much larger image sensor. Compare it to Panasonic's Lumix FZ200, for example. Both might have constant-aperture f/2.8 zooms (admittedly, the Lumix lens with a lot more telephoto reach), but the sensor in the Sony RX10 has four times the area of that in the Panasonic -- and it's a more sensitive backside illuminated chip, to boot.

The Sony RX10 is truly unique, and for our money, among the most exciting cameras announced so far this year. That's not to say that we didn't have any concerns about its design, though, as you'll see in our review. But do those concerns outweight the RX10's many positive attributes, and especially its awesome constant-aperture zoom lens? Read our in-depth Sony RX10 review, and find out!