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Additional thoughts about the RX10 IV

Jock Elliott

Hall of Famer
Jan 3, 2012
124
Troy, NY
Progress report.

There is a great deal to like about the Sony RX10 IV. The autofocus is the best I’ve ever experienced; the Zeiss optics are superb; the fit and finish are excellent; it shoots both stills and video; the one-inch sensor is a serious step up from the small superzoom sensors I had been using; it packs a whole lot of goodies into a package that is no bigger than a medium-sized DSLR with a medium telezoom, and it weighs just 2.5 pounds.

At the same time, the Sony RX10 IV is a camera of almost astonishing complexity. Sony’s Advanced Manual for the camera is just shy of 600 pages long. For shooting stills, I found Stephen Ingraham’s recipes for general wildlife, birds in flight, and scenic photography a useful shortcut, and they can be found here: Sony RX10iv for Point and Shoot Nature Photography Guide

Operationally, the RX10 IV makes me happy. I like the big, chunky grip with its textured, rubbery surface. With the EVF (very nice) pressed to my eyeglasses, and my left hand under the lens barrel, I find I can hold the Mk IV pretty steady for both stills and video. I also like that there are no knobs or buttons that can be easily moved as I pull the camera out of its shoulder bag.

The implementation of manual focus is particularly slick. As there should be, there is a ring on the lens barrel for manual focus. With the focus switch selected to DMF/MF, if you rotate the ring, it manually focuses at normal view. If you press the shutter button halfway down, autofocus works normally, but if you also rotate the focus ring, the view is magnified for critical focus.

The MK IV offers a lot of video options, including both microphone and headphone plugins, as well as a tournament selection of various settings, and I have explored almost none of them. For the video below, I simply pressed the video button to record, and the camera did a creditable job of autofocusing as needed.

For a video sample, check this out --
(With the exception of the last shot, in which I obviously twitched, I think that is a reasonable job of shooting handheld video)

The camera also offers HFR – high frame rate – which translated into English means a native slo-mo mode at 10x, 20x or 40x slow motion. I used the native slo-mo in the video above. One of the tricks that I haven’t used yet but promises to be extremely useful is the ability to capture slo-mo with a “look-back” function by specifying an end point.

Here’s what I mean: let’s suppose you want to capture an event in glorious slo-mo, like your daughter flipping off the high diving board, or Tom shoving a cream pie in Tony’s face. You put the RX10 IV in slo-mo mode, specify end point, and keep the camera pointed at the subject. As soon as the event happens, you punch the video button, and the camera captures THE PREVIOUS TEN SECONDS. It’s like having a time machine, and I can imagine it would be very helpful for all kinds of video applications. The RX10 IV can also shoot lower-resolution stills while shooting video.

So far, I have found only one potential “gotcha” in the operation of the RX10 IV. There is a focus limiter switch on the lens barrel that allows you to switch between full and 3 meters-infinity. The second setting speeds autofocus at a distance.

I shot a friend’s flower arrangement, and it had a dreamy, painterly look to it . . . I had left the focus switch in the 3 meters/infinity position and was shooting close.

Perhaps the biggest endorsement of the RX10 IV comes from … of all sources … the better half (aka the spotter-in-chief). We were talking with folks about shooting the eagles on Peebles Island when I caught my bride bragging about how good the new camera is! (And she knows full well how expensive it was.)

Cheers, Jock
 
Last edited:

Jock Elliott

Hall of Famer
Jan 3, 2012
124
Troy, NY
Not really surprising that you are pleased with the RX10 iv.
You're not going to have a heart attack and die from that surprise?? :biggrin: You're absolutely right; I am a huge fan of superzooms. In fact, the big question going into the purchase of the RX10 IV was: "Is it really worth nearly four times the cost of the HX400V?" For me, the answer is yes.

The curious thing, so far, is that this camera inspires me to try to shoot and edit more video. In a galaxy far, far away, long, long ago, I ran a two-man industrial documentary production unit. But the tools are soooo much better now . . . wow!

The RX10 IV does a number of things well, but the "killer app" in this camera is the autofocus. I am not an expert, but as nearly as I can tell, if you want comparable performance, you're going to get it only in a high-end DSLR or a mirrorless like the Sony A9. Maybe folks with extensive experience with the "big guns" can set me straight if I'm wrong.

Cheers, Jock
 

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