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