Sony RX100 IV Review. The Original Pocket Rocket Blasts Higher!

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Sony RX100 IV Review. The Original Pocket Rocket Blasts Higher!

By Steve Huff

You can order the RX100 at B&H Photo or Amazon!

Wow, time has sure FLOWN by since the original RX100 Mark I was released and in my hands. I remember that camera arriving to my house for review like it was yesterday. Small, fast, a 1″ sensor that performed like a larger one and the video capability that made it a perfect go anywhere small high quality camera. That RX100 did very well for Sony, so well in fact that today in 2015 we are already on the Mark IV version of the RX100. While it looks 90% the same as the old Mark I, and 100% the same as the Mark III, the new Mark IV is the best of the RX100 series to date, and while the improvements from the III to this new IV are small, if you are looking for a pocket camera, the Mark IV may be the best out there today.

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Before you start to read this review, please take a look at my previous RX100 reviews as most of what is in the Mark IV is in the Mark III so I will only be sharing some photos and some experiences I had with the new IV after mentioning the new improvements from the III. This will be a short review as I have said most of my praises in the previous reviews of this dynamite camera.

See my RX100 Review HERE

See my RX100 III Review HERE

I skipped the Mark II as I felt it did not have enough improvement to warrant a full review. 😉

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So let me start by saying the RX100 IV is still as beautiful as ever, but now we get some new improvements that keeps it as the premier pocket “do it all”  camera. Sure we have the Ricoh GR and new upcoming GRII, with a larger APS-C sensor and all but this RX100 IV will deliver some amazing features such as 4K Video shooting, Slo Motion 960 Frames shooting, 1/32,000S Shutter Speed for those bright sunny days and a new stacked sensor that offers the best IQ and ISO performance yet.

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While in my hand it feels, looks, smells and operates just like the RX100 III. We still have the pop up and out EVF that is very small nut useful on Bright Sunny days, and the swivel out LCD that gives us the best way to take selfies 😉 Let me just say right now that this is almost the perfect selfie camera. I do not care what anyone says, SELFIES are HUGE! If I am out and about in a big city shooting I see maybe 100-200 selfies being taken during the day when I am out. It is every where and we have social media to blame for this new phenomenon. It’s crazy but a reality so I love the way Sony has implemented the Selfie Mode in the RX100. Flip up the back LCD so you can see it from the front, smile, press the shutter and the screen will countdown from 3 to 1 and then snap the shot.

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You can turn off the countdown but if doing a group selfie everyone will know when the shutter will fire! So it’s a cool feature to have even if you will never use it. I messed around with the selfie mode combined with the High Contrast B&W mode…

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With the 24-70 built in f/1.8 – 2.8 lens we get  wide angle with a bit of mid telephoto and at the wide end we get f/1.8 aperture speed, so we can use this little guy in all kinds of light. As I said, it is basically the RX100 III with some enhancements to the sensor and video. Here are the specs of the Mark IV Rx100:

20.1 MP 1″ Exmor RS BSI CMOS Sensor (stacked backside illuminated sensor)

BIONZ X Image Processor

Internal UHD 4K Video & S-Log2 Gamma

Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* f/1.8-2.8 Lens

24-70mm (35mm Equivalent)

2349k-Dot OLED Tru-Finder Pop-Up EVF

3.0″ 1229k-Dot Multi-Angle Xtra Fine LCD

Slow Motion Video at 960 fps

Built-In Wi-Fi Connectivity with NFC

Native ISO 12800 and 16 fps Continuous Shooting

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So we know have a backside illuminated sensor which is giving us the native ISO capability of 12,800. We are also getting  16FPS continuous shooting and as well as slow motion video capabilities at 960 FPS. This is so cool to have in a little pocket camera. 4K video clips up to 5 minutes are now possible as well.

You can order the RX100 at B&H Photo or Amazon!

“No line skipping or pixel binning and with minimal moiré or visual aliasing. The XAVC S format is utilized to maximize high-bitrate shooting up to 100 Mbps for professional-quality video. When recording in either the NTSC or PAL video standard, creative potential is further extended with the ability to capture Super Slow Motion High Frame Rate movies at up to 40x slower than real time. These slow motion clips are recorded at 960 fps, 480 fps or 240 fps and can then be played back at 1920 x 1080, in 60p, 30p, or 24p when the camera is set to NTSC. When set to PAL, slow motion clips are recorded at 1000 fps, 500 fps, or 250 fps and can then be played back at 1920 x 1080, in either 50p or 25p. At resolutions below 4K, including Full HD 1920 x 1080p, movies up to 29 minutes in length can be saved.”

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So with the new capabilities the RX100 IV is a treat and joy to use. Below is a shot taken at ISO 6400, with standard NR in an OOC JPEG. This was shot in a pretty low light environment and when I saw this on my iMac screen I was pretty impressed. Yea, there are some tell tale signs of noise reduction but this is ISO 6400 JPEG in a small tiny pocket camera!

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As I used the RX100 IV in my travels from Phoenix to Atlanta to South Florida recently the camera never gave me one issue. From the desert 110 Degree heat of the desert to the 95% humidity in Florida the RX100 IV just worked. The AF was fast as it always has been with this camera and the accuracy spot on. When I would pull it out of my pocket it would power on quickly and be ready to shoot within moments. It just worked, and worked well it did. The IQ is not going to be anything like what I get from my A7II and 50 Loxia lens but at the same time, it is much better than what my iPhone 6+ is giving me so I am happy to carry it with me. With WiFi and NFC on board it is simple to get the photos from the RX100 IV to my phone of choice.

Click images below for larger size to see how they were meant to be seen. These are all OOC Jpegs with the bottom two images using the cameras built in High Contrast B&W Mode.

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Below is a full size OOC file using HC B&W, click it to see what came out of the camera in regards to detail and rendering..

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Slow Motion Video – 960 FPS

The one feature I thought was cool on this camera is the Slow Motion video feature. I remember being teased by this super slo motion YEARS ago with the original Nikon V1. While it was allowing us to record slow motion it was playing it back in a super low resolution. With the Sony RX100 IV we can play back 960 FPS video in super slow motion in full HD. It’s a pretty cool thing. Below is a sample of how slow 960FPS shooting actually is after I talk a bit about the camera:

Press play below to see my RX100 Video including the slow motion samples!

So there yo go. The new RX100 IV is a super pocket rocket that will not disappoint. It is nice to look at, nice to hold, nice to use. It is responsive and fast just as the RX100 always has been and the image quality is about as good as it gets in a small 1″ sensor. This Sony delivers the goods yet again and for me, would be my pick for best pocket camera in 2015 EVEN THOUGH there are others with larger sensors. For me, this Sony offers me a little of everything so when I want video, I have it. When I want Slo Motion I have it, when I want super fast AF and great IQ I have it, if I want a great selfie, I have it.

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The RX100 IV is NOW available and NOW shipping.

You can order it at B&H Photo HERE

You can order it at Amazon HERE

If you do not need the new features like the new sensor tech, the new 4K video features, the 960 FPS shooting or 1/32,000S shutter speed then maybe you should consider the RX100 III, II or I as ALL are still in production and being made. Sony is offering us a level of pocket camera, so we can choose whatever we desire. I thought this was quite cool as from Version I to IV, all are fantastic and highly capable pocket cameras.

Order the RX100 V1 – $448

Order the RX100 V2 – $598

Order the RX100 V3 – $798

Order the RX100 V4 – $948

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ME, if I were buying one RX100 today for my pocket needs I would go with either Version I or IV. Version I is great as well and while it is missing the pop up EVF, the backside illuminated sensor, 4K video and other new modern day bells and whistles it still takes an amazing photo for a pocket camera. Version II and III are slight upgrades but you get the most bang going from I to IV. All are fantastic and Sony has proven that a pocket camera with a small 1″ sensor can really deliver the goods. 10 years ago this type of thing did not exist and if it did it would have cost $3000.

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Can’t wait to see what we have 10 years from now 😉

My Final Word on the RX100 IV

What you will read below is pretty much what my final word on the V III was, but updated for the Mark IV:

The newest RX100, or what I call it, “the Super Pocket Rocket 100″ (RX100 IV) is a real deal masterpiece of a point and shoot. From the design, the build, the pop out EVF, the full swivel up and down LCD to the fast lens and punchy color and pop from the files, the RX100 IV is a  joy to use and shoot with. Once again Sony hits it out of the park here, as they have been doing for years now. Sony is surpassing companies like Nikon, Canon, Leica in many areas with some of their recent cameras and they are showing no signs of slowing down or stopping. With cameras like the A7RII on the way any day now, Sony is delivering mirrorless cameras from the starter range (RX100 series to mid enthusiast range (RX10 II) to the Super Enthusiast and Pro Range (A7RII). Lenses are now plentiful with more and more coming soon.

Keep in mind, the RX100 IV will not and can not replace an APS-C or full frame camera (get the same results) as you just do not get the dynamic range, ISO performance or depth of field possibilities with the smaller sensor RX100. What you do get is a camera that is perfect for family use, vacations, world travel, and every day shooting. I have seen images from the RX100 (original) that blew away images I have seen from large DSLR’s, but that was from a VERY talented photographer. It seems that if you really know what you are doing then the RX100 of any variety (1, 2, 3, or 4) will reward you with its capabilities. I have noticed the DR is not up there with larger sensors as highlights can get blown, but it is not a big deal or deal breaker. The files from the RX100 IV are sublime and as good as you can get from a camera of this sensor size.

The lens is fast with a versatile and normal 24-70mm range. With an aperture starting at f/1.8 and slowing down to only 2.8, the camera is highly capable even in low light. The EVF works great and stays out-of-the-way until you need it. It is not the largest thing ever but it works and works well. The design is genius! The RX100 IV also has a built in ND filter which will automatically activate when needed though with a 1/32,000S shutter speed, you may never need it. You have all of the Sony usual tricks here as well like panorama, color modes, art modes and intelligent auto modes. This camera can be used by amateur and pro alike. In other words, Sony makes it easy to either pick up and shoot in full auto or delve into the camera and use manual features.

 

With the new sensor tech, the new 4K features and the new Slow Motion features and added high ISO capability this is the best Rx100 to date, hands down. What is really cool though is Sony is keeping all four models current and in production, so if you want to spend less, get an RX100 V1, want the best of the lot, spend a bit more for the IV!

VS Go Pro? I was recently going to purchase a new GoPro 4 and the full setup with camera, accessories, extra batteries, charger, etc was going to cost me around $800. After using this Sony RX100 IV I realized I may be able to use this camera for my on the go video needs and would have better quality footage, better audio, more features and a much nicer camera for stills. Sure, I lose the small GoPro design, the underwater capabilities and ultra wide lens but I gain IQ, Features, Sound Quality and Capabilities. What this tells me is that the RX100 V4 is pretty damn cool and able to double as a still camera, blogging camera, and even high quality B roll video footage capture to compliment my A7II and A7s.

All in all, this is indeed the best pocket camera ever made in the digital world. The price is steep at $950, but if you want the best/most feature packed and capable P&S available and do not want to mess with lens swapping and larger bodies, this is one way to go that will leave you satisfied. Another winner from Sony.

YOU CAN ORDER THE RX100 V4 AT B&H PHOTO HERE, OR AMAZON HERE!

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77 thoughts on “Sony RX100 IV Review. The Original Pocket Rocket Blasts Higher!

  1. Hi,
    nice article. I have one question. I just bought new RX100M3 and I am gonna travel through SE Asia during the wet period. Do you think this camera can survive the humidity? I will take care about it, but not sure if I should take it with me. Thanks a lot.
    Take care
    Andy.

  2. In recent years, mobile messaging has been exploded in a huge way. There are various apps for every kind of messaging from secret to sultry and from the public to subversive.

  3. Hi Steve, I got a GoPro 4 Black last year for Christmas and this year I have a bug for the RX 100–4 pocket point and shoot. My other camera is an older (7 years) Canon DSLR that I rarely use. I find myself mostly using my iPhone 6+ to take pictures mainly because I always have it with me, and although the pictures are decent, it is definitely lacking. Does it make sense to invest the money in the RX 100–4? And in using this particular camera do you find yourself missing a touch screen?

  4. Steve, LOVE your website!

    So if you were looking to buy this type of camera today but have no interest in the video features would you still buy the IV over the III?

      1. The one thing that’s really got my interest is being able to set the auto ISO minimum level besides what was offered in the III. I typically always shoot in auto mode and thought this would make a significant difference as I’ve often heard the previous generations had a slow auto ISO setting when used in automatic. Along with the electronic shutter and improved EVF.

    1. Depends on if you want a pocket camera or a mirrorless ILC (interchangeable lens camera). Do you want the simplicity and smallness of an RX100 series cam or the versatility and performance of a mirrorless that you can change lenses on. Two different types of camera.

  5. Hi Steve!

    now i have an x-e1 with xf35 1.4..
    i’m thinking about change system and pass to sony rx100m4 for portable, better auto focus and video..
    i like very much the xf35 for the 1.4 (for bokeh and lowlight aperture..)…
    would you recommend to change from fuji to sony?
    Image quality will be the same or there is a big difference?
    P.s. i like to shoot in A mode and i like the EV selector…

    many thanks!

    1. The RX100 is a Point and Shoot and the Fuji is a mirrorless system. Two totally different cameras that would compliment each other more than they would challenge each other. All depends on what you like and enjoy.

  6. Can you get a 4K still photo from the mark iv, like you can on the LX100 ? If so how exactly. What about adding ND and other filters onto the lens, is this possible ? Love your reviews and the comments you make about the cameras you use and test, brings a real world reality to reviews.
    Thanks Steve !

  7. I’m going to buy my first camera… Should I buy this one (pocketable, video, fast electronic shutter) or the a6000 + Zeiss Touit 32 (better IQ, Depth of field, hotshoe, ability to add more lenses) they’re almost the same price. Going to use it for street, portraits, and landscape.

  8. hi Steve, what do you think about RX100 (1,2,3,4) vs OMD EM10?. If you must choice between them, what do you prefer and why?

      1. Sure! I’ve read all your reviews 🙂 . But….. I can not decide between the two, OMD is a system, Sony point and shoot. So, very different. There are many differences in IQ, color rendition ecc.?

  9. Great review. I am torn between the Version 1 and the Version 4 or a Fujifilm X30 / X20. I live overseas and can get a really good price on a Version 1, but I hate cameras without viewfinders. Version 3/4 address that but they are pretty expensive over here.

    1. You just answered your own question “I hate cameras without viewfinders” – SO you should not buy the Version 1 as you will always regret not going with the one with the EVF. 😉 Between 1 and 4, I prefer 4 without a doubt but 1 is also fantastic.

  10. Hi just want to ask if i can use this rx100iv while charging or can i use it while charging in power bank charger?thanks!

  11. My favorite is the RX 100 ii. I need to be able to take videos and stills at the same time, because I take pictures for a PreSchool and this way I do not miss a single great picture. The Rx 100 iiii has this ability plus claims it can do it Automatically. I have followed all the directions and can not make it work Automatically. Also the lesser zoom makes me crazy. I will be returning to B & H unless somehow I can figure out how to solve the issue with taking video and stills Automatically at the same time. Any help would be appreciated.

    Also have the A7ii and still in the process of trying to understand all its bells and whistles.

    Love Sony!!!! But frustrated with the RX 100 iiii

  12. I remember your review on Olympus Ep1 and I still have it with Lumix 20mm f1.7. Now I am in market to upgrade and Rx100 mkIV fits my bill.
    Pulled the trigger using your link through amazon. Quite expensive but in the end I will take more good moments as I will take it everywhere. Your review led me to the purchase. Thanks.

    One quick question though: Can you shoot Full HD video then switch to slomo 960fps then go back to Full HD in one seamless file?

  13. i have the rx100m3 I think that only major difference software wise between that one and this one are this one has 4K,Super Slow MOTION,16 FPS Faster Shutter Speeds And Slightly better HIgh ISO. Besides that it pretty much seems like the same camera. I really wish Sony would offer Play Memories Apps to give the Rx100m3 all those features. They could realistically make money off the people that probably wont upgrade to the 4. Also give the people with the 3 a chance to use those features..Although by the time my daughter starts crawling I may want to have 1000 fps and 32,000 shutter speed. As for now I will probably wait a couple months and see if I see any amazing deals on one.

  14. I have a Mk2. I use the voigtlander mini 28/35 finder on it. Tiny and unobtrusive. The hotshoe should never have been removed.

    One correction Steve, I don’t think the original rx100 had a backside illuminated sensor. This plus a lot of improvements (articulated screen, wifi, hdmi better location, etc) came on the V2.

    My choice is still the Mk2.

    Great series of reviews. Thanks

  15. Hi, I’ve not been able to find this anywhere: I know that we can record high speed videos with a limit of 2 or 4 seconds, but would anyone know know if the less demanding 120fps and 240fps videos have got any time limits on this camera? Thanks.

  16. Steve, bit off topic but looking for comparison of Sony RX10 vs Leica VLUX 114. Similar price point, 1″ sensor. The new RX10 mark 2 has the same sensor as the RX100 iv, I believe. Thanks to any/all for opinions.

    1. Id go RX10 II in a nano second. It’s quite amazing, as was the Mark I. Mark II just makes it better. The VLux is a Panasonic FZ1000 with a Leica badge. I prefer the Sony.

      1. Hi, Steve! I’m currently torn between rx100 iv and rx10 ii. Portability aside, what’s the distinct edge of rx10 ii over rx100 iv? 🙂

        1. The lens is better and offers FAR FAR FAR more reach! 600mm on the RX10II, the video capabilities are better as well. But that 600mm reach with a great quality lens is what it is all about. Its also about 4X the size of the RX100IV which is meant to be a pocket camera.

  17. Steve , I think this Sony RX iv has improved your photography !! 🙂 the pics were fantastic accompanying this review .

      1. Forgot to say thanks for the excellent review! I bought the Mark I when it first came out and think I will upgrade now. It will be really nice to have an EVF so that I can hold the camera properly and steady it against my face.

  18. My Mk1 is still plugging after 3 years of major use and abuse. I have to say one of the major use cases I see overlooked is Landscape shots. It’s a big expense to get a 24mm lens for the A7 that performs as well as the one on the RX100 does (even if its software corrected)- and the 1″ sensor gives you tons of depth of field. The dynamic range isn’t the same as my a7 but in 3 years I’ve very rarely run into it being a problem. In many of those insanely high contrast scenarios the bracketing function was able to produce a series of shots that merged into HDR seamlessly (even handheld), and now LightroomCC merges to HDR and edits as a regular DNG file. For anyone who isn’t printing images larger than 14″ I doubt you’d see any improvement in using a full-frame sensor. I haven’t made true side by side comparisons, but all my 12×18″ prints from the RX100 mk1 have met my expectations for quality. To end my rant here is a 10-frame panorama (taken handheld ON A BOAT) that yielded a 15000×5000 cropped image that printed nicely at 12×36″…its a great camera, buy one already!
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/ewestpheling/19700053322

  19. I took a deep breath and left my A7ii behind for my spring vacation this year taking only the RX100iii. It performed extremely well and going so light was a real joy.

    Next time, I’ll probably try going with the A7ii and just the 35 f2.8 plus a flash for daylight fill. Bigger for sure, but still pretty minimal in terms of size and weight.

    However, crazy as it sounds, I’m tempted to upgrade to the RX100IV mostly for the little bit better viewfinder and faster operation because this camera really can produce very nice results. I enjoy Manual mode with auto ISO. No other camera has this pocket friendly form factor, good IQ, and just about every other feature one could want.

    I’m going to try the high contrast black and white.

  20. How would you rate the mk IV against the original Hasselblad version? The prices are more or less the same now…..

    1. Id still take the Stellar for the uniqueness MOST LIKLEY. IQ wise, they are about the same. I have no issues with 1-4 in IQ. The EVF is nice to have as is the swivel LCD. Tough call. The IV is the better camera, but the Stellar is gorgeous IMO and feels better in the hand. In 10 years the Stellar will be semi collectable as not many are around, and looks wise, is unlike anything else. At the end of the day, both will take a great shot. The IV will just get you there with more pleasure. If you do selfies or want better video, go with the IV 😉 If mainly shooting stills, and no need for the EVF or swivel LCD, you could go with the Stellar. All personal pref.

    1. Isn’t the intro price of this series like $500 since this review says they still offer the previous 3 models as current models, based in your needs?

  21. Thank you Steve for confirming why I still love my Sony RX100 v1 – which is of course 28 – 100mm at 35mm equivalent, not 28 – 70mm of the vIV. I pimped it long ago to take 49mm filters (usually has an ND on it) and added neat and perfect finger grip to the front. Goes to work virtually everywhere I do! It doesn’t replace the A7ii or M9, but does, as you say, a pretty cracking good job and very discretely so, when called upon.

    1. Thanks! Yea, the V1 is still a “stellar” choice 😉 The new lens is 24-70 and the old is 28-100 so we gain a little at the wide end and lose at the long. But this camera is my fave pocket cam. Any version really.

  22. Dear Steve,
    I’m also impressed of this camera. Why don’t you say in your review; I have a dream, the camera house should look and have the size as Ricko GR and then perfect!
    When I mention GR, I’m dreaming of a viewfinder as per Sony RX100 IV.
    The articulated screen I can live without however useful for some people.
    The zoom feature as per RX makes the camera not so ‘pocketable’ as the GR and ’28mm’ fixed lens is educating and gives exercise for the human body…hahaha…

    1. Can not say how much technically but yes there is. One of the improvements is the high ISO capabilities with a native 12,800 max. I noticed a difference but is it huge? Prob not.

  23. I enjoyed that. Super images to accompany the text. I note your winkie after explaining that the Mk2 was not a sufficient improvement over the original to warrant a review but, for me, the Mk2 was a huge leap forward for the model. A new BSI sensor improved auto focus speed and low light performamce while improvements to the optics transformed image quality at widest apertures (the original had soft edges). The Mk2’s 28-100mm equivalent zoom range (for me) is far more useful than the current 24-70mm. I also struggle to see any improvement in RAW image quality over the ISO range in DPReview’s comparator since the Mk2. So, apart from the improved autofocus speed, I can’t see too much to entice me to buy a Mk4 over another Mk2 if I wear this one out.

    1. Id take the IV over the 1 or 2, but would keep the III if I had one (would not sell to get the IV). I prefer the swivel LCD, EVF and 24mm wide end. I also see a difference in ISO (I bet DP review still is using in camera NR for their comparisons) especially when NR is off, as it should be.

  24. I have owned the RX100 v1and I loved it. But look at the price of the version IV it has more than doubled. At that price point $948,– I Would buy an Olympus OMD E-M10 with the 14-42 kit lens and the 45mm F1.8 prime along …… better kit 🙂

      1. No the OMD E-M10 is not as pockatable as the RX100. Is the RX100 as pocketable as my iPhone? No it isn’t. It all depends what type of shooting you’re doing at that moment and the gear that’s needed for that.

    1. Great remark Chris. I m still looking to replace my old Canon S90. I do believe the Olympus OM10 is a better choice and more option on lenses.
      Steve was also very impressed on his review.
      But I still wait for the Sony7R version 2 in comparisson with Olympus price/ picture results wise.

      1. The E-M10 and Sony A7RII are complete opposites 😉 A7RII will be the most powerful mirrorless camera on the market – a full frame resolution and video beast. The E-M10 is a mini E-M5 with a 4/3 Sensor (half size).

  25. Hi Steve,
    Does the camera turn itself off automatically when one press the EVF down to it original position?

  26. Steve, nice review!

    Could you post more out-of-camera color photos, maybe some portraits? I’d really like to see how the skin tones look.

  27. Hi Steve,

    How would you compare it to the Canon G7X?

    I have it as well as the RX100 MII, but never managed to really love the Canon… Just using the Canon because of the swivel LCD and wide-angle compared to my RX100.

    And thanks for one more review, love the site.

  28. Steve the IQ won’t be better than the A7 II and the loxia but better or equal to a 4/3 system with a good prime? What are your thoughts?

    1. No, can not compete with full frame or Micro 4/3. Different camera for different uses. You will not get the look of any larger sensor system from the RX100 series. IQ from A7 or E-M1/E-M5 II will be better in all ways, as it’s mostly about the glass and sensor size.

    1. Well, with the GR you will have an APS-C sensor, which will allow you a tad more shallow DOF, even though with 28mm there is not much to be had. I would take this over the GR for everything else it offers but the GR is a fine camera.

  29. Good review. Interesting compare/contrast with the GoPro. Does anyone make a waterproof case for the Sony RX? Not a plastic pouch but a serious hard plastic case. Something like a Meikon.

    1. yeah, Meikon makes one now for about $250. looks good. They’re on amazon and I’m sure elsewhere too. 4k underwater for a total of $1250 is pretty attractive.

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