More thoughts on the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV camera performance

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV camera is an excellent companion for any birdwatchers especially travelling birders and despite having its weaknesses, it delivers decent photos in good light conditions. Last June I posted some results and thoughts on the capability of this camera and now I add some more below.

Autofocus

The Sony RX10 IV is the first compact camera using High-density Tracking AF Technology which activates AF points only around the subject for higher focusing accuracy and consistency. A stunning 65% of the image area of the sensor is covered by autofocus points. It has 315 points Phase-detection AF coverage and 25 points Contrast-detection AF coverage.

Greylag Goose, College Lake, Tring, United Kingdom. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly
Greylag Goose, College Lake, Tring, United Kingdom. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly
Greylag Goose, College Lake, Tring, United Kingdom. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly
Greylag Goose, College Lake, Tring, United Kingdom. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly
Greylag Goose, College Lake, Tring, United Kingdom. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

A series of photos above shows the tracking perfection of the Sony RX10 IV camera. The Greylag Goose took off from the lake for the feeding grounds just in front of me. The continuous autofocus locked on the goose and kept the focus on even if it was flying behind the trees. This is one of the impressive features of the Sony cameras.

ISO sensitivity and sharpness

Pied Avocet on a cloudy day at Titchwell RSPB Reserve, Norfolk, United Kingdom. Sony RX10 IV, 1/1,250s, f/4.0, ISO 400. © Gyorgy Szimuly
Audouin’s Gull flying along the Mediterranean coast of Spain under an overcast sky. Sony RX10 IV, 1/1,250s, f/4.0, ISO 320. © Gyorgy Szimuly
Northern Gannet over the English Channel. Sony RX10 IV, 1/1,600s, f/4.0, ISO 320. © Gyorgy Szimuly

In low lights at high ISO settings, images are losing quite a bit of detail and sharpness but up to ISO 400, it creates acceptable images (e.g. Pied Avocet or Audouin’s Gull images above). In perfect lights at ISO 100, the outcome is a crisp and sharp image (see the Black-headed Gull below).

Black-headed Gull standing on the roof of a parking car at Minsmere RSPB Reserve. Sony RX10 IV, ISO 100, 1/1,000s, f/4.0. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Shooting speed

The powerful BIONZ X image processing engine (same as in the Sony a9!) makes ‘High’ Continuous shooting with accurate tracking possible at 24 frames per second (RAW) and at 249 fps if fine JPEGs is selected. Amazingly, most of the photos in any burst are keepers unless I make some mistakes.

Northern Fulmar above the Hunstanton Cliffs, Norfolk, United Kingdom. This is one of the multiple shots I took in a single burst. Sony RX10 IV, ISO 160, 1/4,000s, f/4.0. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Bokeh and reach

The Sony RX10 IV camera sports a stunning 24-600mm equivalent ED lens with 2.4-4.0 aperture and optical stabilisation. The 600mm alone is an ideal focal length for bird photography but the 20.1 megapixel allows plenty of cropping possibilities if the 600mm is not quite enough.

The bokeh is wonderfully creamy if the background is far enough from the subject. I took some pleasant looking shots to show the bokeh performance of the Sony RX10 IV.

A perching Dunnock at the College Lake Visitor Centre, Tring, United Kingdom with the reedbed and lake of the reserve in the background. Sony RX10 IV, ISO 100, 1/1,600s, f/4.0. © Gyorgy Szimuly

European Herring Gull portrait with the port of Dunkirk in the blurry background. Sony RX10 IV, ISO 100, 1/2,500s, f/4.0. © Gyorgy Szimuly

All in all this camera is a superb tool for documenting wildlife and in some cases, it can be more than that. In the social media era, 99% of the images are published in postcard-sized digital format for what purposes, the Sony RX10 mark IV bridge camera can produce wonderful images. I might test how professional prints would look like.

Source for technical details: https://www.sony.co.uk

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3 thoughts on “More thoughts on the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV camera performance

  1. Nice to read comments from a birder concerning this camera. I am also considering to purchase it but one thing that deters me from doing so is the, apparently, three seconds it takes the lense to zoom from 24mm all the way to 600mm. That may cost you a fly-by short-toed lark, for instance! How did you experience the zoom velocity?

    Regards,

    Herman, The Netherlands.

    1. Herman, I always leave the zoom out on 600mm and that makes the process a little faster. I know it drains the battery but a spare one is always handy. So far, I did not have any issue with slower zooming and I guess all camera lenses need a bit of time for zooming on and finding the subject. I can live with that compromise.

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