Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 Review
Sony has a long history of making interesting cameras and has, in recent years, produced some of the most innovative products and technologies. Not all of these developments have caught on but we've admired its pioneering spirit, even when we haven't always loved the products.
The Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 combines aspects of two of the company's most imagination-catching cameras - the current RX100 II zoom compact and the near-legendary R1 from 2005. It revives the large-sensor, long-zoom concept of the R1, but utilizing the RX100 II's 1"-type BSI CMOS sensor, meaning it can offer a balance of high image quality and long zoom in a sensibly sized package. In this case it means the RX10 is able to offer a 24-200mm equivalent F2.8 lens.
That relatively big sensor means the RX10 is not a small camera - it's about the height and width of a small DSLR. Its body is slimmer than a DSLR but its 8.3x lens adds a stout, weighty bulk to the proceedings.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 key features
- 20MP 1"-type BSI CMOS sensor (13.2 x 8.8mm)
- 24-200mm equivalent stabilized F2.8 lens
- Weather-sealed magnesium alloy body
- Manual zoom and aperture rings
- Tilting 1.23 million dot rear LCD
- 1.44M dot OLED viewfinder
- ISO 125 - 12800 (expandable down to ISO 80)
- Built-in 3EV Neutral Density filter
- Approx 10 fps continuous shooting in 'Speed Priority mode'
- 1080/60p video with full-sensor sampling, uncompressed HDMI output
- Wi-Fi with NFC
Of course, a lot of time has passed since the R1 was launched, so it's no surprise that the RX10 is a more capable camera. However Sony says it has added a lot over even the RX100 II launched earlier this year. For example by using the same Bionz X processor as the Alpha 7 and 7R, it gains more sophisticated image processing. Significantly it also gains a built-in 3EV neutral density filter, meaning you can make use of that F2.8 maximum aperture, even in bright light.
The RX10 also becomes the first Sony to feature a 'Direct Drive SSM' focus motor, which uses piezoelectric materials to position the focus element, rather than linear motors. The company says this allows the lens to be both moved and stopped more accurately - reducing focus times. The lens also has a pretty reasonable close-focus distance, that increases from 3cm at the wide-angle end to 30cm at the other extreme (giving magnification ratio of 0.45x and 0.38x respectively).
And Sony appears to have been thinking about more than just stills when it made this cameras - the RX10 offers one of the most extensive lists of features for videographers we've seen on any camera. The big news here is that the camera uses every pixel on the sensor to create video (instead of sub-sampling), which dramatically reduces moiré. Other video features include step-less aperture control, headphone and mic sockets, focus peaking, zebra exposure warning, and uncompressed video output.
The only problem is likely to be trying to convince anyone to spend so much on a compact camera. Because, while it was relatively easy to make the argument that the RX100 was worth nearly twice as much as a Canon PowerShot S110 (given it had a sensor three times larger) it's a little harder to explain to people why they should pay $1299 for a zoom compact - no matter how capable.
That's always a problem with camera trying to carve out its own niche: you don't have easy reference points to compare it to. So, while the RX10 is rather large and expensive compared to other compacts, it's also a camera that offers a unique combination of capabilities, for shooting both video and stills. The question is whether that combination of needs exists.
So what's the big deal?
Part of the problem with trying to explain why the RX10 costs so much (and we're still not sure why it costs quite so much), is that it requires you to understand not just the equivalent focal length range and aperture, but also the effect of sensor size.
This understanding isn't necessarily helped by the use of F-numbers to describe aperture. In terms of exposure (and by definition), F2.8 = F2.8 = F2.8. However, that doesn't tell the whole story. In terms of depth-of-field and total light projected onto the sensor (which is a major determinant of image quality), you also need to consider sensor size - otherwise the 24-200mm equivalent F2.8 lens on this camera doesn't sound any more impressive than a camera half the size and, more importantly, less than half the price.
|Equivalent focal length||Maximum aperture range||Sensor size||Equivalent aperture range|
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200||25-600mm||F2.8||1/2.3"-type||F15.5|
|Canon PowerShot G1 X II||24-120mm||F2.0-3.9||1.5"-type||F3.8-7.5|
|Nikon Coolpix P7800||28-200mm||F2.0-4.0||1/1.7"-type||F9.5-19|
|Olympus Stylus 1||28-300mm||F2.8||1/1.7"-type||F13|
|Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10||24-200mm||F2.8||1"-type||F7.6|
So, while at first glance the Olympus Stylus 1 looks most impressive, the equivalent aperture figures tell a very different story. Equivalent apertures tell you how the lens compares to a full frame lens with similar characteristics - much as the more familiar 'equivalent focal length' does. However, rather than telling you which lens has a comparable field-of-view, it tells you which full frame lens would provide the same control over depth-of-field and the total light hitting the sensor.
So, while it might initially appear that the Olympus Stylus 1 offers a comparable lens in a much smaller body (and for much less money), the truth is quite different.
|This chart plots equivalent aperture over focal length (35mm equiv.) As you can see, the Canon PowerShot G1 X II bests the RX10 at their equivalent focal lengths.|
Two superzooms that advertise 'fast' lenses really aren't, when put into perspective. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 and Olympus Stylus 1 are never in the race - the RX10 is effectively 1.5 - 2.0 stops faster at all focal lengths. One compact camera that does compete very well is the Canon PowerShot G1 X II. It doesn't cover the same focal range (it's 24-120mm), but its large sensor allows for better low light performance (in theory) and more control over depth-of-field.
The one setup that consistently beats the DSC-RX10 is Sony's a6000 mirrorless camera mated with its 18-105mm F4 lens. It doesn't quite cover the same range as the RX10 (and we don't think the user experience is as good), but it costs less and is more expandable.
|Street Food 2017 by ziggyzag|
from Your City - Fast Food
|Running free by LassiM|
|Treacherous Land- "Dune " by Frank Herbert by Domenick Creaco|
from Sci-Fi or Fantasy Film Titles
|1969 Oldsmobile 442 Resto-Mod by J Warren|
from O is for...
A report from the National Endowment for the Arts shows that photography and photo-finishing services contributed $10.2 billion to the US economy in 2015.
According to unnamed sources, Google will acquire Lytro's technology and patents, with Lytro employees already having left the company.
Our review of the Sony a7 III is well underway and, as part of this, we're publishing our studio test scene. We'll be building out the review in the coming weeks as we test and shoot the camera in a series of situations.
The new ExaDrive offers a three times higher capacity than the previous largest SSD, a 30TB model by Samsung.
A pair of images show what may be the upcoming DJI Phantom 5 drone featuring an interchangeable lens camera. Update: Comparing this image to the size of previous DJI lens mounts, and noting the 3:2 aspect ratio of the sensor, we're confident the leaked image shows a 1"-type sensor
We were saddened to hear of the death last week of Chuck Westfall, a 35-year veteran of Canon USA, and a legend in the photography industry.
Nikon looks to be positioning its D850 as a serious video rig with today's announcement of its D850 Filmmaker's Kit. The kit includes the body, 20/35/85mm F1.8G lenses, an Atomos Ninja Flame external recorder, two microphones and an extra battery.
Photographers shopping around for Lightroom alternatives have likely encountered Alien Skin's Exposure X3. Here's an overview of its organization and editing controls, and how they differ from the competition.
Alien Skin has released a significant update for its Exposure X3 image editor, adding greater precision to adjustment tools and more printing capabilities, among other improvements.
The FAA has ordered helicopter pilots and operators to halt certain doors-off flights in the wake of a tragedy that killed five passengers.
Analysts TechInsights have torn down a Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus to have a closer look at the device's internal components and their cost.
Oppo's new high-end phones bear an uncanny resemblance to the iPhone X, with features like face unlock to a portrait lighting mode.
Recently we visited the 2018 CP+ show in Yokohama, Japan and as usual, we booked interviews with senior executives from several major manufacturers, including Sigma.
At this year's CP+ show in Yokohama, we sat down with senior executives from several major manufacturers, including Canon. Topics of conversation included Canon's ambitions for high-end mirrorless cameras, and the importance of responding to the demands of the smartphone generation.
We were recently able to follow local frame builder Max Kullaway as he created one of his AirLandSea bikes. Here are our picks of the photos we got, as the project progressed from bare tubes all the way to rideable bicycle.
On paper, the Sony a7 III is a tempting option for photographers who've been considering a switch to full-frame mirrorless. But how does its image quality stack up? We compare it to the Mark II and a few of its other peers.
Erez Marom shares the details behind this beautiful aurora photograph, captured on Haukland Beach in the Lofoten Islands, Arctic Norway, on a moonless evening.
Google Lens uses artificial intelligence and 'computer vision' to identify and provide information about businesses, landmarks and other objects using your phone's camera. And now it's available for iPhone users, too.
The company posted a record quarterly revenue of $2.08 billion for the first quarter of the 2018 fiscal year. That represents incredibly healthy year-over-year growth of 24 percent.
In the job posting, the Times' describes this role as "one of the most important and high-profile jobs in visual journalism." If you're looking for a high profile job in photojournalism, you could do a lot worse than being Photo Director at The Gray Lady.
According to a recent report out of South Korea, Samsung is increasing production of its ISOCELL image sensors in a bid towards market leadership for image sensors. To reach this goal, Samsung will have to dethrone current market leader Sony... no small task.
In this video, large format photographer Ben Horne shows off the incredible resolving power of 8x10 slide film by pixel peeping a massive 709.6-megapixel drum scan of one of his landscape shots. And you thought 100MP medium format was big...
Photographer Wendy Teal tells the heart-breaking story of a wedding she shot at a hospital on just 24-hours notice. The mother of the bride had been given one week to live, and Wendy responded to the couple's desperate social media plea for someone to capture their special day.
This tiny little plug-and-play VR/AR camera for Android phones uses a pair of greater-than-180° FOV fisheye lenses to offer both 360° video/photo capture and 360° livestreaming at 1440p resolution.
Syrp has announced the Magic Carpet Pro: a slider that offers filmmakers an 'infinitely extendable' range thanks to built-in track levers that let you connect lengths of track without the use of tools.
At CP+ we sat down with executives from several major manufacturers. Among them was Kenji Tanaka, of Sony, who talked to us about the a7 III as well as its plans to attract more pro shooters – without ignoring APS-C and entry-level customers.
How do you shoot macro photography on an 18x24cm large format wet plate camera? You 'connect' two large format cameras together! That's how wet plate photographer Markus Hofstaetter did it, and you can read about the whole process in this article.
The Fujifilm X-H1 is a top-of-the-range 24MP mirrorless camera with in-body stabilization and the company's most advanced array of video capabilities. We've tested the X-T2's big brother extensively to see how it performs.
Motorsports photojournalist Jamey Price recently flew to Canada with Lamborghini for the car company's Winter Accademia 2018, where clients get to drive the latest Lamborghini supercars on snow and ice. Yes... it is exactly as awesome as it sounds.
For the Pixel 2 smartphone's Motion Photos feature, Google built on its existing Motion Stills technology by adding advanced stabilization that combines software and hardware capabilities to optimize trimming and stabilization.