Sony has just updated its flagship Cyber-shot RX10 III bridge camera with the Sony RX10 IV (DSC-RX10M4).
Looking at the key specification of the new camera, it looks like most of the improvements are to the camera’s autofocusing and processing. The new camera takes the 24-60mm f/2.8-4 lens of its predecessor and combines it with the sensor of the RX100 V to offer unparalleled 0.03 second AF speed. This is thanks to the on-sensor phase detection autofocus, which can also be used when shooting 4K video.
Let’s take a quick look at what is new in the RX10 IV and what remains from its predecessor.
Sony RX10 IV: What’s new
A first for the RX10 series, the RX10 IV features Sony’s Fast Hybrid AF system. Hybrid AF systems use both phase detection and contrast detection AF.
In this case, the camera has a 315-point phase detection AF module that covers 65% of the frame. When combined with the 25-point contrast detection AF system, the camera is able to lock focus in 0.03 seconds, which Sony claims is the world’s fastest.
Sony also states that focusing in the RX10 IV’s 4k video recording mode is twice as fast as in the RX10 III. The camera records the full readout of the sensor, with no pixel binning. This footage is then downsampled to 4K resolution.
Other AF technologies inherited from Sony’s best Alpha cameras include High-Density Tracking AF. This technology concentrates AF points around a subject to improve tracking and focusing accuracy.
Eye-AF, Touch Focus and Focus Range Limiter have all been refined, while the AF-ON, AF-S, AF-C and AF-A settings can now all be assigned.
The camera’s buffer has been improved, enabling faster shooting rates and a reduction in the EVF display lag experienced in the RX10 III.
Users can now shooting up to a maximum 24fps in the continuous high shooting mode with full-time autofocus and auto exposure, for up to 249-images. That’s up from 14fps in the RX10 III. Impressive stuff. Sequences taken in this mode are now grouped together in image playback.
Sony’s latest 3.0in tilt-touchscreen is included, with 1.44-million-dot resolution and Touch Focus/ Touch Pad functionality.
Sony RX10 IV: What’s the same
Asides from AF speed and operability, the key features of the camera are largely the same.
Not strictly the same so says Sony, but you have a 20.1-million-pixel Exmor RS stacked CMOS sensor. We believe it is the same sensor as found in the RX100 V, which has the same resolution as the RX10 III. The camera is powered by the Bionz X processor.
As we’d expect from Sony, the video specification is excellent – the RX10 IV will satisfy filmmakers as much as it does photographers.
Again, 4k video recording with full pixel readout without pixel binning is possible. The camera captures 1.7x the required information for 4k to ensure sharp detail. The fast readout speed of the sensor also means that there should be minimal rolling shutter, although we will wait and see just how well this is dealt with when shooting at the 600mm equivalent focal length.
Further video recording modes include 120fps at full HD 1080p, plus the super slow motion modes remain, such as the 250fps, 500fps and 1000fps with quality and shoot time priority modes.
Likewise, the 24-600mm f/2.4-4 lens remains, offering built-in optical stabilisation to 4.5EV.
Images can be composed through the same 2.35-million-dot EVF, and again shared wirelessly through Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC.
Sony RX10 IV: Quick verdict
All in all, it seems as though in the RX10 IV, Sony has stuck with the tried and tested features of the RX10 III, specifically the lens and photo/ video resolution.
Most of the improvements are in the handling of the camera, specifically through its autofocusing and speed of operation. These are very welcome improvements and we expect the RX10 IV to provide an excellent all-round user experience.
Whether or not the changes are significant enough to entice RX10 III users to upgrade, time will tell.
Sony RX10 IV: Pricing and availability
The Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV is available for €2000 from October 2017.
More information about the camera can be found on the product page of Sony’s UK website.