RX10 IV custom settings preferences

Started Dec 12, 2017 | Discussions thread
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AlwynS Veteran Member • Posts: 4,096
RX10 IV custom settings preferences

I have seen several threads with posts on custom settings but no thread dedicated to settings for the camera. I may have missed it but I searched on "RX10 IV settings" and manually scrolled through three weeks' posts without luck.

In some recent threads people have asked about settings so I thought I would start a thread on this topic. And note: this really should not be just about my settings as i) a lot of people have different requirements that the settings I will be describing do not address and ii) there must be ways to improve upon what I will be describing.

To set the ball rolling: I have two principle genres that account for far and away the majority of my photographs: Perched Birds and BIF. So the settings I will describe are for those situations.

1. Opening credit

I just recently migrated from Panasonic (FZ1000) to the RX10 IV, so I started with massive ignorance in what works with Sony's in general and this camera specifically. Horacecoker David has done some sterling work in this regard and my settings largely (totally?) mirror his, so he needs to get the credit for most/all of what I will be describing.

2. Camera characteristics

One of the biggest things that struck me is that one should be aware of the strengths and limitations of a camera to really get it set up acceptably well do do what you want it to. Some of the key considerations for me with the Mk IV:

* Its lens is very, very good wide open. I have not done any testing to allow me to categorically say that it is best wide open, but I really believe that is the case.

* The 1" sensor is way better than a 1/2.3" sensor at slightly elevated ISO's but it is no FF sensor. I personally feel that up to 400 ISO it is still great, 800 is fine and 1600 and up is best avoided unless there is no alternative.

* PDAF is a major innovation in this camera and one of its biggest strengths. For moving subjects you MUST ensure that you use PDAF.

* The 24FPS burst mode is wonderful in aiding tracking rapidly moving subjects and also to increase the probability of getting one or more really good images. I think it is essential for photographing rapid action/movement.

* The 24FPS burst mode is wonderful in generating masses of files in no time flat! In other words: use with care! I personally generally take rather short bursts, recompose (and gather my thoughts!) and do a next short burst. I frequently have <5 images in a burst and virtually always <10.

So without further ado: my settings for in flight and perched birds with some reasons / justifications why. And common to both is the fact that I use shot in JPG, 20MP extra fine and AF-C. I also have Steadyshot on: more about this later.

3. BIF

Principal requirements: high shutter speed for eliminating/reducing motion blur and minimising effect of camera shake. High burst rate for more chances at success and better tracking.

* Mode:

I use Aperture priority and selected F4 as I think this is very important to get the highest possible shutter speed and the best image quality: what's not to like about that combination? If needed I can always very quickly override the F4 setting by turning the control wheel on the lens.

A word of warning: you can very easily accidentally turn the aperture control wheel on the lens and end up with an aperture you were not expecting. Don't ask me how I know....

* Drive mode:

High speed burst mode (24FPS) is to my mind absolutely essential to allow you to better track rapidly moving birds.

* ISO:

I use auto ISO with minimum 100 and maximum 400. If push comes to shove I can quickly override this as I have programmed the right hand position on the control wheel to change ISO.

There is an option to select the "Auto ISO minimum shutter speed": I selected "Faster" as I want to keep the shutter speed up for BIF.

* Focus area

I use "Wide" as I think it is practically impossible to keep a flying bird sufficiently close to the centre of the frame to ensure that the camera focuses on the bird and not something else. I have also found the camera's ability to discern and follow the bird in this mode to be very, very good.

* Metering

I have tried "Multi" but have now settled on Large Spot. With Large Spot hopefully I frequently have the subject in the spot to get good exposure. If not I am no worse off than with Multi.

Note that I find that metering with BIF requires manual intervention" in the form of EC quite often. The background (sky) is frequently significantly brighter than the subject so it is prudent to dial in some positive EC.

That about covers it. I have programmed this into Custom Memory 1 and this is the setup I normally use when I walk around.

The one thing that I need to experiment with is Steadyshot. I do not really think it helps under the rapid panning and my less-than-perfectly-smooth panning movement and I think it could introduce some blur. I need to run some testing on this.

Now for the next:

4. Perched birds

Principal requirements: This is actually a simplified situation compared to BIF. So no surprise: I modeled this on the BIF configuration and "dumbed it down" where applicable. Biggest changes are that tracking and rapid burst mode is not essential and it is important to have as small as possible focus area to avoid the effect of branches/twigs etc that get in the way.

* Mode:

After having used a different setting I thought about this again and came to the conclusion the the BIF configuration is actually pretty darn good for perched birds as well. SO I left it that way, ergo:

Aperture priority and F4. Same comments as before

* Drive mode:

Medium speed burst mode (10FPS). I consider using burst mode together with AF-C to be very important for ensuring you get good results. Reasons? Birds move: burst mode and AF-C minimises the potential blurry shots. Also: sometimes the camera misses the focus on the first shot. If it is your only shot you have a blurry image. If you use burst mode with AF-S you have several blurry images.

* ISO:

Based on what I did with my FZ1000 I plugged in ISO200 and left it there. Then, after I changed the ISO on the BIF setup I started wondering why I would not use the same. And could find no reason! So same as BIF: Auto ISO with minimum 100 and maximum 400 with "Auto ISO minimum shutter speed"= Faster

* Focus area

This is where I digress from BIF. As mentioned I want the smallest possible focus area to ensure I focus on the bird and nothing else. Ergo: I use the smallest possible flexible spot in the middle of the frame. And I have never felt the need to move it.

* Metering

Another digression from BIF. I use Standard Spot as I am only interested in the exposure on the bird. I don't want to say I don't care about the rest of the frame.... but really I don't care about the rest of the frame!

I have programmed this into Custom Memory 2. I have also programmed this into Custom Hold 2 and assigned Custom Hold 2 to the "Focus hold" button on the lens. The reason for this is that I use the BIF setting for walking around and sometimes want to quickly go to the perched bird setting. Seeing as this happens quite often I wanted the easiest to use button to hold: Focus hold is it!

5. Other buttons:

* I use one other custom setting that I have programmed to Custom Memory 3: this is for general/landscape use. I have set up a similar configuration as Custom Hold 3 with the AEL button to access this. This is the second most common "hold" I will use so I programmed it to the second most comfortable button to press while using the shutter release.

* Because I quite often want to jump between custom configurations I have programmed Memory Recall into the first Fn button location. To switch between configurations I press the Fn button, press enter (to select memory recall), scroll left or right to memory 1, 2 or 3 and press enter.

* On the rear control wheel I have:

- Left: AF area

- Down: Burst mode

- Right: ISO

Phew, glad that is done. Will still have to check for errors and omissions. Logic errors and dumb mistakes expected!

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 AlwynS's gear list:AlwynS's gear list
Nikon Coolpix P610 Sony RX10 IV
Panasonic FZ1000 Sony RX10 IV
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