The RX10 IV suggests that Sony has listened to the main criticism levelled at the RX10 III, namely the slightly frustrating autofocus performance, and delivered an excellent bridge camera.
The AF performance now does justice to the camera, making it a viable option for shooting wildlife and action, especially if you want to rattle off images at 24fps – while we found that burst rate to be overkill, there will certainly be some applications where it's useful.
Stills and video image quality are impressive from the 1-inch sensor, while handling is very good. There's still room for improvement though – the arrival of some touchscreen functionality is welcome, but this could be integrated even further.
The biggest sticking point that's likely to deter potential purchasers is the price. The RX10 IV is almost twice the price of its closest direct competition, while there are also several tempting DSLR and mirrorless rivals to consider. However, you'd find it impossible to get a similarly-capable camera and lens combination to match the RX10 IV for a similar amount of money – and when you take that into account the price starts to look less outrageous.
It's also the case that not everyone wants to invest in a system with multiple lenses, and for those looking for a powerful all-in-one solution, the Sony RX10 IV is the best camera out there. It comes at a price, but there's nothing else quite like it.
Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III
If you can live without the advanced AF system and other performance advantages, the RX10 III is still worth a look. The design is pretty much identical to the RX10 IV, and you've got the same 24-600mm f/2.4-4 lens, but you miss out on the AF performance gain, and the touchscreen interface.
Read our in-depth Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III review
Panasonic Lumix FZ2000 / Lumix FZ2500
The Lumix FZ2500 (known as the FZ2000 outside the US) also sports a 1-inch sensor, but the zoom tops out at 480mm equivalent. It may not offer quite the same performance levels as the RX10 IV, but it's considerably more affordable, making it one of our favorite bridge cameras right now.
Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V
Like the idea of a high-performance compact, but don't want the bulk of the RX10 IV? It's still pricey, but the RX100 V offers similar performance, including 24fps burst shooting and 4K video capture, but in a smaller body. The zoom range is a much more modest, however, with the RX100 V featuring a 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 lens.
Read our in-depth Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V