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Sony RX10 IV Review: The Best All-in-one Camera from Sony?

What’s up guys, Sagi here with another Tech Gear Talk. Today we’re going to look at possibly the best all-in-one photography and videography camera from Sony, the RX10 IV. This is a very unique camera, and Sony was able to combine kind of a crazy range of features into a single camera.

The RX10 mark IV is the next iteration of the really popular mark III and it’s a good camera for casual sports, action and wildlife photographers, and also a great camera to take with you when you travel or go on family vacations. And if you’re interested in video and are looking for a high-quality all-in-one option, give this camera a look.

My goal with every product review is to give you a detailed overview of the product features in a way that relate to real life use. If you find it helpful please let me know by giving it a like and hitting the subscribe and notification v for more camera and tech reviews.

This will be a pretty detailed review of the RX10 mark IV, every camera has pros and cons so if you’re serious about ytggour research, I recommend that you take the time to watch this video to the end.

This camera has a really unique set of specs so let’s start by looking at some key features before we jump into the detailed review.

Sony RX10 IV Highlights

  • The RX10 IV is a bridge camera that has a 20.1MP 1” CMOS Sensor with 315 phase detection autofocus points.
  • It has the new Bionz X image processor which improves speed and performance and also the image quality.
  • It’s capable of continuous shooting at 24 fps for up to 249 images and that’s with autofocus and autoexposure
  • You can shoot 4K video at up to 30fps and Full HD or 1080P at up to 120fps.
  • Sony paired the RX10 IV with a 25x zoom Zeiss lens with a 35mm equivalent focal range of 24-600 which is bonkers, and then on top of that they added image stabilization.
  • There is also a super cool high frame rate feature which lets you do slow motion at up to 960 fps at Full HD, or 1080P
  • Another nice feature for video users is the 3.5mm mic input which lets you use an external microphone for better audio.
  • And it also has Wi-Fi with NFC so that you can easily move images to your mobile device and even control the camera using an app.

So let’s jump into the features in a little more detail.

Sony RX10 IV Body and Camera Type

I want to start out by talking about the camera type. The RX10 IV is what we call a bridge camera. And it’s a general name that we give digital camera that a level of control similar to that of DSLRs, they come with a long-range zoom lens and a viewfinder, but usually they don’t allow for interchangeable lenses. So essentially they are somewhere between a point and click and a full DSLR.

One thing I want to point out is that aperture is changed using the ring on the lens, rather than any of the buttons or wheels on the back. I don’t exactly understand why this is because if you shoot in P or Shutter Priority exposure modes, the camera is able to make the aperture adjustments manually, regardless of where the ring is.

Sony RX10 IV Sensor size and Processor

The RX10 IV comes with a 20.1MP 1” CMOS sensor that is backlighted and stacked. And that means that the DRAM is built into the chip itself and it gives it more processing power. Without getting too nerdy this processor contributes to some of the features we’ll talk about later on. Things like super slow motion, 4K video and faster and more precise autofocus.

In the past, these type of bridge cameras had really small sensors, so the image quality wasn’t very good, but Sony added a 1″ sensor here which is really nice. Sony paired up this sensor with BIONZ X image processor and front-end LSI which together allow for a continuous shooting rate of 24fps.

This new processor does a pretty nice job at reducing noise, and increasing readout speeds which is great for video. The extended buffer on the RX10 IV lets you shoot 249 JPEG images continuously and that’s with autofocus and autoexposure for each image. So that’s more than 10 seconds of continuous shooting. If you can’t get 1 good shot out of 249, I’m not sure I’d blame the camera.

The new processor also makes the camera very responsive and fast to operate. The menu functions are fast and it also turns on really fast you’re ready to shoot pretty much right away. For both photography and video this is a very versatile camera which is something you’ll see now that we get into more of the specs and features.

Sony RX10 IV Resolution and Framerates

Next I want to jump into resolution and framerates. The RX10 IV can record UHD 4K video at 24 and 30fps, and full HD or 1080P at up to 120fps. And this is pretty sweet for this type of a bridge camera. Choosing a fps setting has to do with what you want your final video to look like. If you want a more cinematic, softer look, go with 24fps, if you want a sharp and super crisp video then shoot at 60fps. I shoot my videos at 30 fps because I like for the image to be somewhere in the middle.

The 4K video, essentially records footage that is 4x the size of full HD. So you’re getting that many more pixels to work with on each frame of the video. And this has several advantages. I don’t want to go into them in too much detail here but I’ll put a link in the description and up in the corner to another video where I explain why you might want to shoot in 4K.

Next let’s talk about slow motion and even super slow motion which is something you don’t see very often at this price point. The RX10 IV can shoot full HD video at 120 fps which is a really nice feature to get in a camera at this price point. Depending on what your final video’s framerate is, this gives you a lot of flexibility with slow motion.

For example, I edit my videos at 30 fps, so if I slow down 120 to 30, I’m actually slowing things down by a factor of 4.

If that’s not enough for you, the RX10 IV has a High Frame Rate (or HFR) mode that lets you shoot at up to 960fps. There are 3 options for HFR, 240, 480 and 960 fps, so in theory if your output file is at 24fps this is slowing things down by a factor of 40!!

To be honest, the quality of the 960fps footage is too low for me, personally, to use in my videos. You can see it’s super noisey. At 480fps it’s definitely better, I might use it if I really needed it to be that slow. But 240 is really nice and is definitely something I would use. So that’s 10x slow motion at 24fps and 8x slow motion at 30 frames per second.

Sony RX10 IV Lens Options

Ok, let’s move on to the lens. The RX10 IV has a built-in 25x zoom lens. This is a 24-600 Zeiss Vario-Sonnar lens that has the T* coating on it. T Star multi-layer anti-reflective coating from Zeiss that allows more light to pass through the lens and produces color that is more true to what our eyes see. This is a really impressive range that we’re working with here from a focal length standpoint. 24-600. I’ll show you some examples of what that actually means in terms of zoom.

So 24 is fairly wide but then 600 is just insane. I don’t have any other lenses that give me that much telephoto range. Traditionally people may look at built in lenses as a limitation but I think in this case Sony definitely covered, and exceeded, the range most people are looking for. I mean, if you want to shoot wildlife, this is a really compact setup for such a really nice range.

Sony RX10 IV  Autofocus

Ok, that brings us to the next topic which is autofocus. And I’ll discuss this for both photography and video. The RX10 IV uses a 315-point phase-detection system which Sony says can focus in as little as 0.03 seconds. And you can also use this system to track moving subjects as they move through the frame. What’s nice about all of these focus points is that you can easily set off-center focus areas and then compose images with the subject being off-center without having to get focus and then reframe.

You can use the touch screen to tap on an area and set it as the focus point. There is also a continuous autofocus feature that you can use for photography so you can select a subject and the camera will follow it throughout the frame and keep it in focus. So check out how this system works, I can click on a subject then keep shooting it and the RX10 IV will re-acquire focus for each exposure.

For video, you can select any point on the screen as the static point of focus which is really nice if your subject if off-centered. This works for both fixed and continuous autofocus. You can also select an object and then let the RX10 IV follow it and keep it in focus.

You can also frame a shot with multiple layers and then tap to focus while recording, and the RX10IV will automatically switch focus points. It does a pretty good job at shifting focus. It’s pretty fast and very smooth.

Overall the autofocus system for video is pretty good.If you’re shooting video, vlogging or creating content for youtube, it’s going to work really well for you.

One of the things that I found frustrating and this is the same for the Sony a6500 is that the indicator of the focus point is a middle to dark gray square, so after selecting a spot, which you’ll see that if I drag it turns orange, it then goes back to gray and I found that it is difficult to see in various lighting conditions. I wish that there was a setting where I could change that color, or that they would keep it orange or white.

Sony RX10 IV Audio

Another great feature of the RX10 IV for video is that it has a 3.5mm mic input. I like the ability to improve the production value and use an external microphone. The RX10 IV does come with microphones located at the top and they are pretty good if you’re very close to the camera or if you’re just trying to record some ambient sound. But there is no question that you’re going to want to use an external microphone if you want sound that is much more rich and full.

So you can easily connect a shotgun mic and mount it on top of the camera on the hot shoe and you’re good to go. You can use it for vlogging or for recording interviews or anything else where you want to pick up directional sound instead of using the omnidirectional mic that is on the camera and would pick up sounds.

This isn’t a super light setup because the RX10 IV is bigger than most of your vlogging cameras, so I don’t’ know that you want to be walking around handholding it for a long period of time, but it is doable. But it’s perfect for travel and you can just set it on a small tripod and off you go. We do have audio level on the screen which is something that I love when I’m behind the camera because I don’t need to go into a menu area to check levels.

But because the screen doesn’t flip, I can’t see the levels when the camera is facing me. I have to point the mic in the other direction, then test, then flip it back and hope that it’s the same. It’s not an ideal workflow but it works, but I wanted to mention it because I think these are the types of real-life situations that make a difference when you’re actually using the camera.

Now I can also use a lavalier microphone if I don’t mind being tethered to the camera. Or, I can even take it to the next level and go wireless by using my Sennheiser AVX with an XLR to 3.5mm adapter. Now I am getting the performance of a lavalier mic and I’m completely free to move around and still get perfect audio. It’s also easier for me to set the audio levels because I can walk behind the camera and see them before I start recording, since the distance between me and the microphone doesn’t change as I move around.

I can now get different types of shots without having to change anything about my audio. Another thing that videographers are going to love is that Sony included a headphone jack so you can now monitor audio while recording. That’s really awesome, because it makes it super simple to identify audio problems early on and correct them, rather than shooting a whole scene and then realizing there was a problem when you get to editing.

Sony RX10 IV Size, Weight, Build

I would call the RX01 IV is a medium sized camera. It’s not the size of full DSLR like the Canon 5D here but also isn’t as small as something like the mirrorless Sony a6500. It’s a magnesium alloy body and it has pretty unique, sharp lines that you don’t see on many other cameras. The design is both dust and moisture resistant which lets you use the RX10 IV in relatively harsh environments.

The grip is super deep so I can get my entire hand on the camera. Sony covered the right side with rubber so you can always get good friction and you don’t have to worry about it slipping out of your hand.

Sony incorporated a REALLY BRIGHT, high-resolution XGA OLED Tru-Finder electronic viewfinder. You can use the viewfinder to both preview the image and see all the settings. The image quality is outstanding. It’s really bright and crisp, it’s definitely a high-level EVF. .

Sony RX10 IV Screen

Now we’re going to take a look at the new 3 inch screen. The image quality on it is really nice and it can be tilted down for doing overhead shots. It can also be tilted up for when the camera is on a slider or whenever you’re operating it from a higher angle. Unlike the screen on the a6500, the RX10 IV can always be set to the the Sunny Weather mode, even when you’re recording in 4K so that’s something that I like because the screen is so bright..

Let’s talk about my issues with this screen. First, it can’t be flipped 180 degrees up or to the side to face the front. So it’s pretty much useless when you’re in front of the camera like I am now.

This may or may not matter to you, but if you’re using this camera as a content creator and you plan on being in front of the camera, take that into account because you can’t really tell if you’re framed well or are in focus. Of course you can use an external monitor to preview the shot but I’ll talk more about that later.

Second issue with this screen is that it’s only touch-screen for a few functions. You can tap or drag to focus, but you can’t use the screen to operate any of the menus or functions of the camera. So you always have to use the dial and button on the side for that. You can use touch screen to zoom in and move around when you’re in playback. I really wish it was a full touch screen, Sony clearly invested in a touch screen, why not just make it work for everything?

Sony RX10 IV  WIFI/BLUETOOTH/NFC

The RX10IV has built in wi-fi with NFC (near field communication) which lets you pair it with a mobile device and then easily transfer images and movies and also control the camera. Transfering files is pretty easy, you can just go to the menu and then hit send to smartphone, then connect to the phone and the images or video will be transferred. For remote control, the play memories app does give you control over some of the things you need.

For video I could set a exposure mode, changes the shutter speed, ISO, do exposure compensation, white balance and then either shoot or start and stop video. For images, for some reason I could do all the same things except for change the exposure mode, which was strange.

For both photography and video, I couldn’t set focus or even see where the focus is set which was not great. I also couldn’t change aperture because the aperture is changed using a a manual ring on the lens. Now I don’t exactly get this because as I mentioned if you shoot in P or Shutter Priority modes, the camera can digitally make that selection. That’s really not that big of a deal for me but if you went this far, just finish the job.

This is more functionality than we saw for the Sony a6500 using the same app and I hope that at some point Sony adds focus control and then I would be super psyched. And if they get around to it, do the aperture control too 🙂

Sony RX10 IV Required Skill Level

I want to talk a little about the skill level required to use this camera. This camera is really easy to use and beginners should have no problem just picking it up, selecting one of the more automated settings and immediately starting to shoot. Honestly, the first thing that stumped me was the aperture control on the lens, so old school.

More advanced users are going to love the level of control that the RX10 IV offers for both photographers and videographers. There really is just so much that you can do with this camera even without it being a full on DSLR. The focal length range is obviously outstanding so there is a lot of flexibility there and it’s a great camera to take with you when you’re traveling or if you just want to go out and shoot.

You don’t need a bulky bag, no addition lenses, just put this in a small bag or throw it over your shoulder with a nice camera strap and off you go.

Sony RX10 IV  Final Thoughts

  • Alright, so the RX10 IV is an awesome all-in-one camera for anyone who wants to own one camera and use it for everything.
  • The 20.1MP 1” sensor and the new processor are capable of excellent image quality and good low-light performance.
  • You can record 4K video at up to 30fps and Full HD, 1080P at up to 120fps and even use the HFR function for even more impressive slow motion.
  • It has an excellent 24-600mm equivalent Zeiss lens and has the ability to shoot continuously at 24fps
  • The RX10 IV uses 315 phase detection autofocus points which work great with continuous autofocus for both photography and video.
  • There is a mic input which lets you connect an external microphone and get great audio without having to record it separately and then sync it in post production and a headphone jack which lets you monitor audio while recording.
  • The touch screen is limited is great for autofocus and for displaying current selected attributes and settings, but can’t be used to actually control the camera or navigate the menu.
  • The built-in Wi-Fi let’s you move images from the camera to a mobile device and even have pretty good remote control of the camera using the PlayMemories Camera App.

The RX10 IV sells for right under $1698 and I’ll put links in the description to all of the items I discussed in this video and the links will always be updates with the lowest prices whenever there are any specials, rebates and discounts.

I really hope this video gave you a good overview of the Sony RX10 IV. If it did, please let me know by giving it a thumbs up, tweet it, share it and if you haven’t yet, hit the subscribe and notification buttons

You can also find me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @techgeartalk.

Good luck and see you soon.

Buy the Sony RX10 IV Camera + Free Accessory Kit

Gimbals for Bridge Cameras:
ikan MS-PRO Beholder 3-Axis Gimbal Stabilizer
Zhiyun-Tech Crane v2 3-Axis Handheld Gimbal Stabilizer
Beholder DS1 Handheld Stabilizer 3-Axis Brushless Gimbal
DJI Ronin-M 3-Axis Handheld Gimbal Stabilizer (I use this one)

Vlogging Tripod:
Joby Gorillapod SLR-Zoom

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