Hands On with the Sony RX100 Mark IV

Last week, I got given the chance to review the Sony RX100 Mark IV, 2015’s successor to the RX100 Mark III.

It features the World’s First Stacked 1.0" BSI CMOS sensor with a DRAM memory chip, which in layman's terms allows for Super Slow Motion Capture (astonishingly up to 1000 frames per second!), 4K Video Shooting, high speed shooting and much more in a pretty diminutive package.

Most of the camera's capability increase comes from the improved speed of the sensor. This gets you incredibly fast continuous shooting (16fps) and high frame rate video (up to 1000 fps). 

With the electronic shutter mode turned on, there's a less of a delay between starting to read the sensor and finishing: meaning rolling shutter effect is almost eliminated. 

Basically it means you don’t get results like this…

This picture shows the High-speed Anti-Distortion Shutter in use (1 with, 2 without)
A bonus side effect of the sensor's fast speed is that the camera's autofocus is able to assess the scene more quickly than the mark three could.

This is used to further improve focus tracking, which enables the camera to do some cool autofocus tricks, such as focusing on your subject's eye continuously, even in continuous shooting.

The slow motion video is pretty impressive, its shoots at 100fps, 250fps, 500fps, and 1000fps.

Below is a video of it in action - not one of mine frustratingly as I forgot to get the right memory card for this! (Explanation below).

All of this new speed (and in turn increased file size),  means you need to use an SDXC card to get the most out of the camera.

It doesn't matter how fast your card is or if it uses a UHS interface: if it says SDHC on the front, it won't allow you to use the high-speed modes.

The leaf shutters of compact cameras are already quiet, but completely silent shooting is quite nice, as the subject never knows when a shot is taken. When a subject has no idea when a shot is being taken, you can often get more candid pictures.

The RX100 IV uses the same lens as the RX100 III. Sony has chosen to have a balance between brightness and zoom range, offering a much brighter lens, but losing some reach to avoid the camera from becoming too big.

The maximum aperture is variable from f/1.8-2.8 - this is excellent because you can get those pictures with a shallow depth of field (blurry background) which brings out the subject more. It is also rather helpful in low light situations, such as parties or when photographing fireworks.

You can see the depth of field that
can be achieved with this camera.
The 24-70mm (3x optical zoom) lens may sound restrictive, especially when compared to the mega zooms that cameras such as the HX90 offer (24-720mm/ 30x optical zoom), but it covers the same range as one of the most popular zoom lenses that DSLR users tend to buy, so it may not be quite as limiting as it sounds.

I also found the lens itself to be really quite sharp, even wide open. Of course it wasn't as sharp as when at f/5.6 – f/8 but that’s to be expected.

Ergonomically, this camera also performs well. The buttons are really easy to access whilst in use. The popup viewfinder is also very easy to use, with just two movements to use it. It packs well inside the camera and has a smooth finish when not in use.

I don’t know if this was an intentional feature by Sony, but the popup flash is brilliant. It can be tilted up and down to bounce the flash of the ceiling or the floor. Great if you want softer light. The screen is also tiltable, allowing you to adjust and avoid the glare that often gets in the way of this type of shooting.

One other feature of this camera that I really liked was the sweep panorama, it is so easy to use! The stitching of pictures is done automatically and is done very well. I scanned the pictures manually looking for stitch marks and couldn’t find any.

The RX100 IV has some great features such as high frame rate and 4K video but it's the smaller features that most impressed me. Continuous eye tracking fast burst modes with AF, and the anti-distortion shutter along with other things makes the Mark IV the most pleasing RX100 yet. It's the most expensive in the series but is unmatched in terms of capability.

You can try out the Sony RX100 Mark IV in either our Burgess Hill or London stores. Alternatively, you can give us a call on 01444 23 70 70 or visit www.parkcameras.com.

If you've got a question about this camera, please write in the comments box below and we’ll do our best to answer them for you.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV key specifications:

  • 20.1MP 1"-type stacked CMOS sensor
  • 24-70 f/1.8-2.8 Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens
  • Optical image stabilization
  • 1/32000 sec max shutter speed
  • 16 fps continuous shooting
  • Slow motion video recording up to 1000 fps
  • 4K video recording
  • Dual recording captures 17MP stills while recording up to 1080p video
  • Tilting 3" LCD (great for selfies!)
  • Pop-up OLED electronic viewfinder
  • Built-in ND filter (with Auto mode)
  • Wi-Fi with NFC

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