It's no secret that the compact camera market is declining, but one area which seems to continue to perform reasonably well is the bridge camera market.
Now, the company has put that same sensor inside a bridge camera in the shape of the RX10. Not only does it have that excellent sensor, Sony has also designed a new processor, the Bionz X, which promises to deliver processing speeds which are three times faster than the equivalent found in its predecessor.
Other bridge cameras on the market generally feature a standard compact-camera sized sensor at 1/1.7 inches. This should make the RX10 a much better performer, both in terms of low-light shooting and also in helping to create attractive shallow depth of field effects.
Although the 8.3x zoom (24-200mm equivalent) lens doesn't have the mammoth zoom range of cameras such as the Canon PowerShot SX50, it does offer something which most don't; a constant fixed aperture of f/2.8. The only other bridge camera to currently offer that is the Panasonic Lumix FZ200, which includes a 24x optical zoom (25-600mm equivalent), but of course it's worth noting that the sensor size inside the Panasonic is considerably smaller.
On the back of the camera is a screen, which, although isn't touchscreen, is tiltable for those awkward angled shots. Though it's not fully articulated or 180-degree tiltable, making it less useful for self portraits or video work.
There's also a 1.4 million dot EVF. Many will groan at the thought of an electronic viewfinder, but Sony's devices generally are very good, and with a resolution that high, it seems likely that the RX10's device will not disappoint.
As is starting to become standard with cameras now, the RX10 features inbuilt Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity.
This means you can share shots you've taken instantly with your smartphone or tablet, or use one of those devices to control the camera remotely - something which will probably appeal to nature and wildlife photographers.
NFC is still a bit of a technology buzzword and basically means that if you have another device with the technology, you'll get a one-touch connection. Plenty of Android devices are packed with NFC, but Apple users still haven't been treated to the technology.
As well as an inbuilt flash, there's also a hotshoe for attaching other accessories you may want to use, such as a flashgun.
As it stands, it's difficult to find a direct competitor for the RX10. There are no bridge cameras with such a large sensor, but if we're looking at premium cameras in this market, then the Canon PowerShot SX50 and the Fuji HS50 seem like obvious choices. The Leica X Vario is also technically a bridge camera, but it features an even larger, APS-C size camera.
The biggest sticking point for this camera is likely to be the price. It is not cheap, coming in at over £1000/$1000. You could probably get three beginner DSLRs for that price. But that's not the point; to get something which offers this focal length and maximum aperture with a DSLR would cost many thousands, and, what's more, would be many times the size and weight of the RX10.
This camera joins the premium RX family, of which the RX100 II and the RX1 also belong. It's an interesting trio, all of which are unique in the marketplace. Sony is proving to be an innovative manufacturer at the moment.