Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV review

It's expensive, but it's virtually in a league of its own

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Best in Class

Our Verdict

For those looking for a powerful all-in-one solution, the RX10 IV is the best camera out there. It comes at a price, but there's nothing else quite like it.

For

  • Excellent and fast 24-600mm lens
  • Superb stills and video quality
  • High-quality EVF and tilting touchscreen
  • Excellent high-ISO performance
  • Advanced AF system

Against

  • Pricey compared to rivals
  • Touchscreen control limited
  • Relatively large and heavy

The Cyber-shot RX10 IV is Sony's latest high-end bridge camera, aimed at the enthusiast who wants an advanced all-in-one camera that doesn't compromise on performance.

It wasn't long ago that bridge cameras were a dirty word in photography – they may have looked like DSLRs, but their performance and image quality were anything but. But, thanks to the likes of the original Cyber-shot RX10, with its 1-inch sensor, that all changed.  

Four generations on we arrive at the RX10 IV, and while at first glance it may appear that little has changed from the RX10 III, Sony has furnished its latest camera with a host of new features. Packing a long, fast zoom lens, large sensor (for and bridge camera at least), and performance that, on paper at least, would make some advanced DSLRs blush, is this the ultimate bridge camera? 

Features

  • 1.0-inch CMOS sensor, 20.1MP
  • 24-600mm f/2.4-4 zoom lens
  • 4K video capture

Like the previous generations of the RX10 series the RX10 IV sports a 20.1MP 1.0-inch sensor, but takes advantage of Sony's latest EXMOR RS CMOS stacked sensor design. This, combined with the BIONZ X image processor borrowed from the Alpha A9 and front-end LSI, delivers a serious bump in performance. 

The RX10 IV can now rattle off an impressive 24fps (and that's with full autofocus and auto exposure functionality active), and can focus in 0.03 seconds, while the sensitivity range runs from ISO100-12,800, and is expandable to 64-25,600.

The lens design remains the same, with the RX10 IV using the same Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 24-600mm f/2.4-4 optic. The combination of a massive zoom range with a fast variable maximum aperture certainly makes this a versatile proposition for many photographers, allowing you to shoot everything from broad vistas to tightly framed action and wildlife images.

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The RX10 IV's zoom range starts at 24mm...
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...and tops out at 600mm

Such an extreme focal length introduces a serious risk of camera shake when you're shooting, and to compensate the RX10 IV features Sony's built-in Optical SteadyShot image stabilization system to enable the use of shutter speeds 4.5 stops slower than would normally be required to achieve a sharp shot.

The RX10 IV keeps the same 2.35 million dot EVF, but the arrival of the new BIONZ X processor means display lag during continuous shooting has been improved. The 3.0-inch tilt-angle display has also been revised, with resolution getting a modest boost to 1.44 million dots, while touch functionality is now featured, with Touch Focus supported. 

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The RX10 IV also becomes the latest RX series camera to offer 4K (QFHD 3840 x 2160) movie recording at 24/30p, while Sony reckons its Fast Hybrid AF system (more on that in a bit) offers focusing speeds twice as fast as the RX10 III when shooting video. If you're happy with 1080p footage, this can be captured at up to 120fps, while S-Log2/S-Gamut 2 and S-Log3/S-Gamut3 are also supported. The RX10 IV can also capture a 720p stream alongside the 4K footage to help speed up editing.

There's a mechanical shutter with a maximum speed of 1/2000 sec, while the RX10 IV also employs Sony's electronic high-speed Anti-Distortion Shutter, which is designed to eliminate the ‘rolling shutter’ effect commonly experienced with fast-moving subjects. When this is engaged the RX10 IV can shoot completely silently a maximum shutter speed of 1/32,000 sec.

Finally, there's the full range of connectivity options to choose from, with Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth offering hassle-free transfer of images to your smart device via the PlayMemories Mobile app.