The RX10 line has al­ready wel­comed three pop­u­lar mod­els, but with a sky-high ask­ing price, this lat­est it­er­a­tion must im­press

Digital Photograper - - Contents -

Is this re­cent up­date worth the high price tag?

Al­most a dop­pel­gänger of its Mark

III fore­bear on the out­side, Sony’s lat­est RX10 Mark IV builds on the suc­cess of that model with an up­dated BIONZ X pro­ces­sor, a tilt­ing touch­screen, 24fps burst shoot­ing and an AF sys­tem that fea­tures 315 phase-de­tect AF points cov­er­ing around 65 per cent of the frame.

It main­tains the 20.1MP one-inch sen­sor from be­fore, and also car­ries over the same ZEISS Vario-Son­nar T* 24-600mm (equiv) f2.4-4 op­tic. Nat­u­rally, we also get 4K video record­ing and an as­sort­ment of video-spe­cific con­trols, such as ze­bra and Log pro­files.

That mas­sive lens is fur­nished with three lens rings, one each for zoom, fo­cus and aper­ture, some­thing that will no doubt please tra­di­tion­al­ists af­ter a de­cent level of phys­i­cal con­trol. There’s only a touch of de­lay be­tween turn­ing the aper­ture ring and the cam­era regis­ter­ing this, al­though its prox­im­ity to the zoom ring means it’s easy to in­ad­ver­tently knock the lat­ter out of po­si­tion.

The cam­era can take a good few sec­onds to start up and fully power down de­pend­ing on when it was last used and what po­si­tion the lens is in, but it typ­i­cally gets to work faster. Op­er­a­tion on the whole is very good; it takes around two and a half sec­onds to zoom be­tween each end of the fo­cus­ing lens, re­gard­less of the po­si­tion of travel. This

pro­vides a good bal­ance be­tween speed and ac­cu­rate po­si­tion­ing, al­though you can ad­just this pace if you need to.

The rub­ber around the grip and the rear of the cam­era al­lows you to get a very good hold, and the grip is just deep enough to sup­port the weighty op­tic at its full ex­ten­sion. Some of the buttons also have a cer­tain hol­low­ness when pressed, al­though the de­fined ex­po­sure com­pen­sa­tion dial turns well and bears clear mark­ings. The menus are sen­si­bly or­gan­ised and colour-coded, al­though a hand­ful of ab­bre­vi­ated op­tions can eas­ily con­fuse those not ac­quainted with Sony’s GUI.

There’s very lit­tle de­lay when al­ter­nat­ing be­tween the EVF and LCD, and the EVF it­self presents a high-qual­ity re­pro­duc­tion of the scene, al­beit one that’s a lit­tle on the neu­tral side. For­tu­nately, its colour tem­per­a­ture can be tweaked if de­sired. The LCD pulls away clear from the EVF’s pro­trud­ing eye­cup to remain vis­i­ble when the cam­era is held low down, and it per­forms well in all but the bright­est con­di­tions. When the touch­screen is en­abled, how­ever, it’s easy to knock the cor­ner with your nose when us­ing the viewfinder.

The fo­cus­ing sys­tem does very well, and at the tele­photo end the cam­era gets to work quickly in good light (al­though there is some­times a brief pause for the IS sys­tem to fully kick in). In low light the AF as­sist light is read­ily de­ployed, and the cam­era does a very good job when left to auto.

Im­ages cap­tured at low sen­si­tiv­i­ties show very good de­tail and clar­ity, and those at higher sen­si­tiv­i­ties re­tain their bite. When shoot­ing JPEGs be aware of the de­fault level of noise re­duc­tion, whose ef­fects can be seen in ar­eas of lit­tle de­tail. High-ISO RAW im­ages can eas­ily be cleaned up and used at mod­est sizes, while a built-in pro­file for cor­rect­ing chro­matic aber­ra­tion and dis­tor­tion means you only typ­i­cally see a touch of the for­mer in JPEGs. Aside from a slight ten­dency to over­ex­pose im­ages dom­i­nated by darker sub­jects, the me­ter­ing sys­tem can be re­lied upon, and the auto white bal­ance sys­tem can gen­er­ally be trusted too. Mixed light­ing con­di­tions can lead to mi­nor shifts, but this is some­thing that taxes any cam­era.

4K videos dis­play very good de­tail, and the IS sys­tem no­tice­ably lends a hand when trav­el­ling to longer fo­cal lengths. Sound qual­ity is fine, al­though wind noise can be an is­sue, so it’s best to ei­ther ac­ti­vate the wind fil­ter in­cam­era or use an ex­ter­nal mi­cro­phone.

“Im­ages cap­tured at low sen­si­tiv­i­ties show very good de­tail

and clar­ity”

AboveZOOM CON­TROLS You can zoom with the lens ring or the pow­er­con­trol col­lar

TopAF MODES You can al­ter­nate be­tween AF modes through a dial on the front plate

LeftLENS ABERRATIONSThe worst of these are ironed out by the pro­file built into RAW filesBe­low NOISENoise re­duc­tion is ev­i­dent through­out im­ages, but this can be ad­justed

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