01 Sony RX10M4 aSony’s RX10IV is one of the most highly specified cameras at its price with a wide range of abilities and capabilities in line with professional cameras. Its difference at this price is a fixed zoom lens rather than interchangeable lenses. It is, therefore, a complete package for anyone who doesn’t want to lug a bagful of lenses around.

But it requires understanding. It would be easy to be scared off by its vast, clunky menus and its smallish buttons, and the information it’s supplied with is thin, not much more than a basic explanation of where the buttons are and what they do. Add to this the frustration of buying a $2599 camera to find you’ve got a battery good enough for only 400 shots.

Okay, do this: Make a cup of coffee and spend a few hours getting to know it and you’ll start appreciating just how clever it is. Although the zoom is a bit slow (both with the electronic control and the manual zoom ring) the lens is delicious; sharp and good in low light, going from 24 mm wide angle to 600 mm telephoto. This can be extended further by activating a digital zoom but picture quality drops fast.

The viewfinder is activated as the camera is lifted to the eye and the screen folds out for overhead shooting (but not much more). You can use the screen to select a focus point during composing, a great idea. The fast auto focus follows moving objects successfully and complements a burst rate of 24 frames per second. And it’s good at shooting video.

Being so flexible and so competent it’s ideal for a wide market, from adventurous amateurs who want to experiment and grow to a viable work camera that’s fast, easy and reliable while giving first class results. It fits nicely in the hand and the key controls are easily learned and within reach during shooting.

But it is hefty, coming in at just over a kilogram with battery and card. If you’re on a 20 kg bag limit this is significant.

At a street price of around $2400 the RX10IV costs serious money, but it’s a dead serious camera. You’ll need an SD card and almost certainly another battery. The test unit was supplied with a $50 discount voucher for accessories and this would go half way to buying the extra battery.

First published on smh.com.au February 2018

 

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