Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 Review

4.5
November 22, 2013 | Mark Goldstein |

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#1 Red

First of all you need to correct that typo in first sentence of review. This camera has 28-200mm zoom and not 28-20 as it says on front page.

Secondly just read this sentence again:
“The headline grabbing f/2.8 constant maximum aperture makes it easy to throw the background out of focus throughout the range, especially at the telephoto focal lengths, although it can’t quite achieve DSLR-like levels of bokeh.”

And WHERE ARE THOSE sample images where we can actually see what the he** you are talking about ?
Besides those bookshelf images (really,bookshelf was the best you could do?)ther are tons of other thing but NONE of that shallow depth of field that you are rambling about. It really helps if you are not drunk or high when reviewing and writing you know.

1:31 am - Friday, November 22, 2013

#2 Rick

Red: What a rude comment. This site provides a free service and you should be grateful that the people running it are doing their job as well as they are.

3:25 am - Friday, November 22, 2013

#3 areo

Red is right and rude,Rick.

8:36 am - Friday, November 22, 2013

#4 Tom

When the second sentence in a review is totally wrong why should I waste my time to read the rest of the review?

8:40 am - Friday, November 22, 2013

#5 Steve

Red: I second Rick. Your comment is rude.

To continue in your vein:

First of all you need to correct that typo in your fourth paragraph.

Secondly, just read this phrase again:
‘ther (sic) are tons of other thing (sic)’.

Thirdly, in your fourth paragraph, spaces after punctuation marks please. I wouldn’t usually make a comment on that sort of thing, but your rudeness invites it.

I find bookshelves quite useful for a quick and easy check on overall IQ.

9:03 am - Friday, November 22, 2013

#6 Tom

Thanks for the nice write up, I have my hopes high, I’ll read a few more reviews as they come out and then try to play with an RX10 live before I commit big $$. The RX100 was worth the extra cake, maybe the RX10 will be too! Red, get a handle on basic social skills, Rick is right, you were pretty rude.

9:20 am - Friday, November 22, 2013

#7 Brian G

Typos aside, this is an interesting review of a very interesting camera. Owning an RX100 I know the sort of IQ that can be achieved with this sensor.

However, looking at the product photos, I can’t help thinking that the “PASM” mode and the exposure compensation dials (without locks) look as if they could be vulnerable to accidental knocks causing the settings to change. Did you have any such problems during the testing period?

Secondly, could I make a plea for some more interesting test images? I know these are supposed to represent everyday use, but a wet autumn day in Brixton doesn’t result in the most exciting images from a location that can hardly be described as photogenic. At one time I seem to recall that you used shots taken around City Hall and Tower Bridge, which, although those areas are shot to death, produces images are far nicer for comparison.

9:45 am - Friday, November 22, 2013

#9 tanaka

In Japan, it was estimated severely that there was no value which is 1200 dollars into which evaluation is divided.

1:01 pm - Friday, November 22, 2013

#10 Aventador

@RudeRed
First of all you need to correct an error in the first paragraph:
Focal range of the RX10 is 24-200 and not 28-200. Big difference!

3:56 pm - Friday, November 22, 2013

#11 Johan

The 1” sensor is pretty optimal (as I’m sure Nikon would agree), the constant f/2.8 is marvellous, but a superzoom it sure aint - 200mm is just not enough in a fixed-lens. And besides its way too expensive.

6:37 pm - Friday, November 22, 2013

#12 Eric Ouellet

Thanks for your quick and nice review. I agree with some peoples that the depth of reviews here is little bit less than some other web sites but there is a lots more on the positive side… Here, there is a lot more camera reviewed and reviews are out very fast, you don’t have to wait 6 months before having a review like dpsomething. Having a review when a newer model is out is kind of not very useful (to me).

@Red, I could easily be aggressive like but you need to gauge if it really worth it. I actually searches Bocked pictures too but I think that emailing author would have been more appropriate, or at least be a little less rude. Good luck in your own life :-) ! Being a little bit less exigeant would make your and others life happier, and I know what I’m talking about!

8:05 pm - Friday, November 22, 2013

#13 derek

I greatly enjoy your website and reviews, but I think you need to be a bit more critical when evaluating image quality. If the RX10 has an image quality of 5, what does the Nikon D800 have or the whole group of cameras (many lower priced) with better sensors than the RX10? Another likely knock is that it’s unlikely that such a long-range zoom lens can match the quality of shorter zooms or prime lenses. I realize this is not an interchangeable lens camera, but given its high price (and somewhat larger sensor) its competitors are the compact system cameras and dSLRs—not the superzoom snapshot cameras. You can get a Nikon D5300 with an 18-140 mm lens for about the same price as the RXC10, and I would expect the image (especially noise levels) to be much better on the D5300.

Nonetheless, I do find the RX10 an intriguing camera, but I’ll have to wait for a review that takes a more technical approach to image quality before deciding whether it’s for me. Sites like dxomark.com show that the sensor used in RX10 (same as used in RX100 II) trails most of the sensors used in compact mirrorless cameras and dSLRs.

Otherwise, thanks for your work and charge ahead.

8:56 pm - Friday, November 22, 2013

#14 Eric Ouellet

I agree a little with Derek.
I red the image quality relative to the sensor size but I wonder if it would not be nice to have an absolute rating of image quality ? But I think it is also not very easy to make everybody happy. Some people will want to know quality with camera with similar specs, others will want image quality with camera of same price range ???
Probably that absolute image quality would do solve every problems because you can compare against any other model and have constant evaluation criteria. It would belongs to the buyer to evaluate if the image quality fits its own requirement in regards with others required aspects.

Anyway, I greatly appreciate your work and it is always a pleasure to come to your website to read your reviews. Thanks for sharing that for free!

12:38 am - Saturday, November 23, 2013

#15 Michael V

Actually, this site provides the BEST and most thorough review
of the RX10 I’ve seen anywhere. Just saying’. No agenda here.

1:24 am - Saturday, November 23, 2013

#16 Johan

I agree 100% with Derek & Eric - its never a good idea for a welterweight to get into the ring with the heavyweights.

7:36 am - Saturday, November 23, 2013

#17 Realll

#14 Eric Ouellet

Anyway, I greatly appreciate your work and it is always a pleasure to come to your website to read your reviews. Thanks for sharing that for free!


+1

9:00 am - Saturday, November 23, 2013

#18 Brian G

Johan,
Please be careful when you refer to “The 1” sensor.”
There has been so much criticism of this term in the past that Nikon and Sony no longer use it, instead now preferring to call it a ‘Type 1’ sensor.
With dimensions of 13.2 x 8.8 mm the sensor is nowhere near 1 inch, even on the diagonal.

9:03 am - Saturday, November 23, 2013

#19 pjbw

Jessops tell me that they will have an RX10 in my local in about a fortnight.
If the lens/sensor/software is as good if not better than my 2005 Sony R1 then it will be halfway there. It will also need to have an as good or better truly live EVF and matching screen.
All that video and stuff will be a bonus on top of my two basics above and maybe persuade me to part with my hard-earned cash.
Keeping my fingers crossed…

3:08 pm - Monday, November 25, 2013

#20 Johan

Hi Brian
The sensor size nomenclature/designation is generally very poorly understood. The ‘Type’ designation given to today’s sensors harks back to a set of standard sizes given to TV camera tubes in the 50’s. These sizes were typically 1/2”, 2/3” etc. The size designation does not define the diagonal of the sensor area but rather the outer diameter of the long glass envelope of the tube. Engineers soon discovered that for various reasons the usable area of this imaging plane was approximately two thirds of the designated size. This designation has clearly stuck (although it should have been thrown out long ago). There appears to be no specific mathematical relationship between the diameter of the imaging circle and the sensor size, although it is always roughly two thirds.
I’m sure there must be any number of reputable websites & other sources that will provide an equally clear explanation about sensor size designations, but the essence of the explanation above was gleaned from http://www.dpreview.com/news/2002/10/7/sensorsizes.
So what it comes down to, is that the the 1” sensor of the Nikons & the RX10 is no less or no more physically 1” in any of its measurements than the 1/2.3 or 1/1.7 or micro 4/3rds or any of the other sensors are, with respect to their nominal (designated) sizes.
I hope you can follow the explanation although its complicated, because the subject matter is convoluted.
So you see its not a matter of being careful, its a matter of living with a given, established but weird nomenclature as best you can.

5:35 pm - Monday, November 25, 2013

#21 Brian G

Yes Johan, I’ve seen all that garbage about sensor sizes which originated back in the stone age, but it doesn’t alter the fact that neither Sony nor Nikon call theirs a 1 INCH sensor anymore, preferring to use the term “Type 1” or in Nikon’s case a CX sized sensor.
It’s about time manufacturers agreed a way of specifying sensor sizes that relates to the real world, rather than using a system that was obsolete about 30 years ago.
A simple diagonal measurement in mm would suffice.

12:20 am - Tuesday, November 26, 2013

#22 Johan

Hi Brian
Yes I agree its archaic & confusing, but sadly its the only universally accepted naming convention we’ve got at the moment.
It should change to something simpler (diagonal or surface area would do), but for all & sundry to go off on their own tangent now & giving their sensors names that give no clear indication of its size not only doesn’t help, it just compounds the confusion.
In the meantime, manufacturers can call their cameras & sensors what they like, but they can’t expect the rest of the world to follow suit just because they feel like it. By current naming practice/convention, their sensors are 1”, end of story.
Incidentally, the diagonal of the 1” sensor in Nikon’s 1 series CSC’s is 22,5mm & its an unusual 3:2 format (following the original full frame 35mm film & current DSLR format), not the more conventional 4:3 format.

6:58 am - Tuesday, November 26, 2013

#23 Brian G

“Incidentally, the diagonal of the 1” sensor in Nikon’s 1 series CSC’s is 22,5mm & its an unusual 3:2 format (following the original full frame 35mm film & current DSLR format), not the more conventional 4:3 format.”

Johan, with respect, I think you need to check your measurements.
The diagonal of the type 1 sensor is approximately 16mm. (http://www.dpreview.com/glossary/camera-system/sensor-sizes)

Personally, I dislike the 4:3 aspect ratio since it does not suit the majority of the subjects I shoot (mostly landscapes and buildings) my preference is for 3:2, which I have with my SLR.

9:37 am - Tuesday, November 26, 2013

#24 Johan

Brian, my mistake, I quoted the micro four thirds diagonal; the Nikon 1’s diagonal is 15,86mm, i.e. approx 16mm as you say.
The 4:3 ratio possibly resulted from the fact that you can pack more pixels (bigger area) into the same diagonal size. Some advantage to the fact that you can still crop it down to 3:2 of course, with some added cropping flexibility.

10:40 am - Tuesday, November 26, 2013

#25 Lars

That’s excellent image quality?!

Not trying to be rude here but you should consider going to see an optician, there may be a problem with your eyes.

6:56 pm - Tuesday, November 26, 2013

#26 Waldman

Thanks for this speedy review, like Eric stated.
To me it is more important to get an objective and speedy review, covering the important stuff, than waiting for DPR to give an outdated and totally boring review, just before a replacement for that model is announced.
Per example, DPR still to this day has not done a review on the Fujifilm X-S1. Whats up with that?
I now own the X-S1 after reading the review on photographyblog and I am happy with my decision.
I think that DPR is doing the manufacturers a disservice with their lack-luster review releases and they are also loosing me along the way - 6 months after a camera is released, just does not cut it anymore, for me anyway.
Long lives photographyblog !

8:24 pm - Wednesday, November 27, 2013

#27 Martin Heilbronn

Thanks for the nice review. A very impressive camera indeed BUT: it is far from a super-zoom. I know there is no official definition for this concept, but 200 mm equivalent at the long end is a little bit short. If it had been say 24-480 in the same package (okay, I know, it would have been physically impossible - at least in 2013) or even 24-300, I would have bought it no matter what the price. But you can’t state in your conclusion that “the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 is the best super-zoom camera currently on the market” because it is not a super-zoom.

11:47 am - Saturday, November 30, 2013

#28 Martin Heilbronn

And btw I fully agree with Waldman (although DPR is a serious and useful site where I have learned quite a lot of things). Apart from the fact that PB review new stuff without delay, I like the fact that they review also e.g. smaller point-and-shoot compact cameras. Long live photographyblog! indeed.

12:01 pm - Saturday, November 30, 2013

#29 Sonygunner

Found that there is a better more complete instruction manual online. Live chat sent me the link as follows:

http://docs.esupport.sony.com/dvimag/DSCRX10_guide/en/index.html

Otherwise, if you don’t ask, the English online version is just 40 pages, which is grossly inadequate for this feature-loaded camera.

———————————————————
Checked with Costco to see if they would sell the RX10. Answer is a firm NO.

Apparently, SONY has fixed price policy, even to not allowing the retailer’s opportunity to offer it as a bundle with other equipment, to enhance the value. Not sure that demanding retailers to sell at a fixed price is legal in the USA. Thought that got struck down many years ago in our courts.

Regardless, folks, looks like the RX10 will remain selling at MSRP price (at least until SONY Japan realizes that consumers in the USA don’t like to pay retail.) However, the good news is that this does open up possibilities of gray market purchases to save money. Let’s see how the price cutters get around this.

————————————————————————

The RX 10 might not be the camera for many people, due to its construction. Personally, I live in Texas, so I probably cannot buy this camera. Plus, anybody in Southern states also should pay attention to the SONY cautions. People in the Midwest also will need to keep the RX10 out of their cars during summer months.

More on the climate conditions warnings from SONY for the RX10, quoted as follows from the SONY manual:

Do not use/store the product in the following places
· In an extremely hot, cold or humid place
In places such as in a car parked in the sun, the camera body may become deformed and this may cause a malfunction.
· Storing under direct sunlight or near a heater
The camera body may become discolored or deformed, and this may cause a malfunction.
· In a location subject to rocking vibration
· Near strong magnetic place
· In sandy or dusty places
Be careful not to let sand or dust get into the product. This may cause the product to malfunction, and in some cases this malfunction cannot be repaired.

On operating temperatures
Your product is designed for use under the temperatures between 0°C and 40 °C (32 °F and 104 °F). Shooting in extremely cold or hot places that exceed this range is not recommended.

On moisture condensation
· If the product is brought directly from a cold to a warm location, moisture may condense inside or outside the product. This moisture condensation may cause a malfunction of the product.
· If moisture condensation occurs, turn off the product and wait about an hour for the moisture to evaporate. Note that if you attempt to shoot with moisture remaining inside the lens, you will be unable to record clear images.

5:57 pm - Wednesday, December 11, 2013

#30 pjbw

I found a 481 page 2.2MB PDF manual for the RX10. I saved the PDF but unfortunately not the URL. I started reading at page 90 which escaped all the indexes.
I will have to do some more research to see if it will really be an improvement still-photo-wise on my R1. This sample photo though may help to persuade me:
http://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/Cybershot-RX10-5311/highres/Sony-Cyber-shot-RX10-Wide-DSC00250_1385113159.jpg

8:06 pm - Wednesday, December 11, 2013

#31 Ed Form

In you review you said…

“Zooming the RX10 from 24mm to 200mm takes around three full turns of the zoom ring, a rather slow and awkward process. Alternatively you can also use the finger-operated switch on top of the camera, which takes a slightly quicker 5 seconds to progress through the full range.”

This is not correct. Zooming the lens from 24 to 200mm takes precisely half a turn. If you try to turn the ring too fast it ‘slips’ and does not give full control. Try this test: Turn on the camera which will set the zoom to 24mm. Now grip the zoom ring with the thumb and forefinger of your left hand, thumb at 9 o’clock and finger at 3 o’clock with your palm below the lens at 6 o’clock. Now smoothly rotate your hand round to 12 o’clock without changing you finger grip. The lens will now have zoomed to 200mm in just over 2 seconds.
For smaller zoom ranges, just judge the relative angle of hand movement and the lens will zoom where you want it.

In series of tests with the mechanical zoom ring of my Sony DSC-R1, trying to zoom any faster than I can with my RX10 gave only wasted shots because of camera shake - in real world situations the RX10 zooms more quickly.

I have been closely following the reviews of the RX10 since they first reached the hands of the various testers and every review has contained the same substantial error in respect of zoom control -giving the same poor impression of the behaviour of the camera. I suppose the lack of a quality manual from Sony with a clear description of the servo action of the zoom ring did not help but if a newbie like me can work out how to use it, I’m a bit suprised that experts such as you failed.

Zooming on the RX10, with its ultra light control ring, is actually easier and quicker than on most lenses I have used.

Ed Form

6:07 pm - Friday, December 13, 2013

#32 Boris

Mark,

Thank you for the review. It is this kind of post that allows me to see the camera without actually using it.

I have to differ with you on the competitor list. I purchased and returned the Panasonic FZ200. The image quality was terrible past ISO 100. Even at the base ISO it was nothing to right home about.

The RX10 on the other hand, from what I have seen, is a serious contender. I do not expect it to replace my high end cameras but the video alone and the lens are worth the price.

I wanted to get this for my brother to photograph and video tape my little nieces. I am going to CES next week and hopefully if the camera is at the Sony booth, I will get to try the it in person.

I hope to confirm that Sony has hit a home run with this package. It is perfect? Probably not. Is it a capable package? I would say a big YES.

Thank you again for an excellent review.

3:09 pm - Friday, January 3, 2014

#33 Dan DeLion

When shooting RAW and using Sony’s “Image Data Converter” to produce Tiff’s, are the various lens corrections (CA, Distortion…) applied as they are to the Jpg output?

10:46 pm - Tuesday, January 7, 2014

#34 Brian G

It’s been a while since I used Sony’s “Image Data Convertor” but I seem to remember that it applied lens correction to my RX100 raw files.
These days I use Lightroom, which not only provides lens correction, but also does a better job processing the raw files.

11:51 pm - Tuesday, January 7, 2014

#35 Tina Edwards

This is a question for any of the Photographyblog reviewers (or anyone who owns or has used both cameras)- discounting the obvious advantage of the RX-10’s constant f/2.8 aperture how would you say this camera’s image quality compares with that of the Pentax K-50 + 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6?

Both cameras cover the same focal length yet the Pentax has a larger sensor and, from what I’ve read, better weather sealing and costs about £300 less than the Sony.

Has anyone, to your knowledge, done a comparison of these two cameras’ image quality? And, by the way, this isn’t a dig at Sony. Serious answers appreciated.

3:21 pm - Monday, January 13, 2014

#36 Boris

This is in response to Tina’s question and a follow up to my earlier post.

I did make my way to CES to check out the Sony RX10 in anticipation of getting it for my brother to replace his new Pentax k500. I am also secretly longing for one myself. Do not tell my wife as I already own Canon and Pentax DSLRs!

Mind you that K500 and K50 share the same sensor and other than weather sealing and a few other differences they produce the same image quality. I have shot with my brother’s camera with the kit lens and my Limited FA primes. So I have a good idea what the Pentax can do.

On to the Sony adventure.

I shot with the RX10 both in still and video mode at CES.

My impressions coming from a DSLR shooter’s point of view:

1. I did not like the EVF. It is not the same as an optical viewfinder.  It looked ok but when I tried to do some tracking shots, the camera missed almost all of the shots. I took a few static shots and for those type of shots, the EVF was fine and the images came out pretty good.

2. I shot JPEGs and RAW but can only see the JPEGs as my Photoshop cannot read the RAW files yet.

3. I have seen a lot of negative comments on the zooming speed. It did not hit me until I went to video mode to realize that you need a slow, smooth zooming in video mode. If you want a speedy zoom for stills, this is not the camera for you.

4. Overall I would give the photo experience to the DSLRs.

5. But when it comes to video, this camera is a BEAST. I would get it if it was for video only. The quality is spectacular. Autofocus is a blessing (vs. manual focus on most DSLRs).
The tilting screen is a life saver for high and low angel shots
Zooming is smooth as it should be for video
Lens quality is second to non
Mic input, headphone out
On/off switch to click or declick the aperture ring (clever touch)

I shot the video on the loose camera on the stand with my own SD card and viewed the results later on my computer.
I also got to see the image produced by this camera on the tripod where they are pointing at models and a set for comparing different Sony cameras. On the tripod the output of the camera was fed to a 4K monitor and the images were STUNNING even at 3,200 ISO!

Mind you this was in an exhibit hall with all sorts of weird lighting. This is no indication of the camera’s capability in a real life situation.

I rally wanted to love this camera. It seemed to be the holy grail for people who are tired of carrying bag full of camera and lenses… Including myself.

For the asking price, I would get it for the video capabilities in a heart beat. For stills, I am going to stick to my DSLRs for now.

My overall conclusion… I need to see more from the still side to render a buy or pass conclusion for me.

I hope my comments help in some way without confusing the issue more.

4:32 pm - Monday, January 13, 2014

#37 pjbw

4 what it’s worth!
I decided not to change my Sony R1 for an RX10.
See my thread in the ‘Cambridge in Colour’ forum ‘Comparing lens resolutions’. I was worried about double the pixels on a sensor 1/4 the size and the amount of in-camera processing needed for the constant f/2.8 aperture throughout the zoom range.
Ok 8 years later and waiting for the DPReview.

4:51 pm - Monday, January 13, 2014

#38 Ed Form

An example for Tina.
Look at this post in the DPReview forums. The Pentax camera is a K5 but the lens is the one you’re interested in. For image quality there is no real contest - the RX10 wins easily - but that might not be the deciding factor if you want large prints.

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/52800375

Ed Form

5:27 pm - Monday, January 13, 2014

#39 Gilles

Nice review but ... did you try it at indoor or sports ? Theses “one lens” cams are a solution to “camera policy” limitations of stadium sport. But no-one tests them in those conditions.  Landscapes and portraits are one thing, speed and low light are two other.
I’ve read elsewhere that the RX-10 AF is very ... random.
Funnily enough, many compact, bridges and small camera are never tested at mobile target or bad lighting.
I would be interested to know that.

10:03 am - Wednesday, January 15, 2014

#40 Maik

@Gilles : in videomode, the low light is perfect.

https://vimeo.com/groups/rx10/videos/82412211

10:12 am - Wednesday, January 15, 2014

#41 Sonygunner

Local store had RX-10, so I drove there to actually touch one. Within seconds the battery died and camera went black. We tried to give it life with the included battery charging cord. Wouldn’t work. After reading the instruction book, I found that an accessory item, not included, is required to operate the camera by plugging into the AC wall plug. For the price of the RX-10, that should have been included. SONY is doing nickel-dime routine on it’s customers. Plus how much more would it have cost SONY to include the charger/operation adapter than the charger-only cord? My guess is about 25 cents in Chinese currency.

4:12 pm - Wednesday, January 15, 2014

#42 Tina Edwards

To those people who replied to my posting above and for the links and info. - I was aware that reviews of the Pentax 18-135mm lens have been less than complimentary (or some of them at least.) Plenty to think about! Thanks.

12:46 pm - Thursday, January 16, 2014

#43 Antoine

Great review, yet does an 8.3X zoom classify as a super zoom, as reported on the first page?

3:29 pm - Thursday, January 23, 2014

#44 Antoine

Great review, yet calling this camera a super-zoom is a bit far fetched!!  If 8.3X zoom is a super-zoom, than what would you call 50X zoom available on many older cameras?

3:37 pm - Thursday, January 23, 2014

#45 Antoine

OOopps meant to say on the “Ratings and conclusion” page, plus noted that this point has been picked up earlier…

3:49 pm - Thursday, January 23, 2014

#46 Tord S Eriksson

Seems to be one of those cameras that is pretty impressive, but not quite! Hardly a super zoom, as quite a few today have 40+ zooms!

9:35 pm - Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, review, 1080p, wide-angle, test, wi-fi, sony, wireless, super-zoom, wifi, tilting, 10fps, 28mm, 20 megapixel, f2.8, nfc, cybershot, bridge, tilt, superzoom, panorama, ultra-zoom, tiltable, 200mm, 24p, 25p, high-zoom, high zoom, rx10, Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 Review, ultrazoom, 8.3x, dsc-rx10, dsc rx10

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