Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV Review

August 24, 2015 | Amy Davies |
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Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 20 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 6Mb.

As usual for the RX100 range, Sony has created something which is capable of producing some stunning images, and it’s fair to say that the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV is the best to date. A satisfying amount of punch and vibrance can be seen in JPEG images, while the ability to use different Creative Styles gives you some good options for different types of scene. Detail is well reproduced throughout the sensitivity range and you can get usable images all the way up to ISO 6400. It’s even true to say that ISO 12800 is pretty impressive, too, if you don’t mind a bit of noise in your images.

Automatic white balance performs well under a range of different lighting conditions, including artificial lighting. As usual, a variety of more specific white balance options are available should you need them. Leaving the camera on multi-purpose metering usually results in good exposures most of the time, and the RX100 IV is not easily fooled by high contrast situations. You can use the DRO Optimiser too to help balance out images, but be careful of using at its highest (Level 5) setting as it tends to create slightly HDR like images.

Both 4K and 1080p HD video recording results in good quality images, while the slow motion video is fun to experiment with. It’s worth noting that if you use the 1000fps setting though, quality is reduced and you won’t be able to use the video at a large size.

Noise

There are 9 ISO settings available on the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting for both JPEG and Raw formats.

JPEG Raw

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

iso80.jpg iso80raw.jpg
   

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso100.jpg iso100raw.jpg
   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso200raw.jpg
   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso400raw.jpg
   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso800raw.jpg
   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso1600.jpg iso1600raw.jpg
   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

iso3200.jpg iso3200raw.jpg
   

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

iso6400.jpg iso6400raw.jpg
   

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

iso12800.jpg iso12800raw.jpg

Focal Range

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV's 3x zoom lens offers a fairly versatile focal range, as illustrated by these examples:

24mm

70mm

focal_range1.jpg focal_range2.jpg

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are just a little soft and ideally benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. Alternatively you can change the in-camera sharpening level.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

sharpen1.jpg sharpen1a.jpg
   
sharpen2.jpg sharpen2a.jpg

File Quality

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV has 3 different image quality settings available, with Extra Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

Extra Fine (8.32Mb) (100% Crop) Fine (3.98Mb) (100% Crop)
quality_extrafine.jpg quality_fine.jpg
   
Standard (2.54Mb) (100% Crop) RAW (19.7Mb) (100% Crop)
quality_standard.jpg quality_raw.jpg

Macro

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV allows you to focus on a subject that is 5cms away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro

Macro (100% Crop)

macro1.jpg macro1a.jpg

Flash

The flash settings on the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV are Auto, Forced Flash, Slow Syncro, No Flash, with a Red-eye Reduction option in the Main menu. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Suppressed Flash - Wide Angle (24mm)

Forced Flash - Wide Angle (24mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Suppressed Flash - Telephoto (70mm)

Forced Flash - Telephoto (70mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Forced Flash setting or the Red-Eye Correction option caused any amount of red-eye.

Forced Flash

Forced Flash (100% Crop)
flash_on.jpg flash_on1.jpg
   

Red-eye Reduction

Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

flash_redeye.jpg flash_redeye1.jpg

Night

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV's maximum shutter speed is 30 seconds in the Manual mode, which is great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 30 seconds at ISO 100.

Night

Night (100% Crop)

night1.jpg night1a.jpg

Dynamic Range Optimizer

D-Range Optimiser (DRO) is Sony's solution to improve shadow detail in photos taken in contrasty light.

Off

LV1
dro_01.jpg dro_02.jpg
   
LV2 LV3
dro_03.jpg dro_04.jpg
   

LV4

LV5
dro_05.jpg dro_06.jpg

Picture Effects

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV offers an extensive range of thirteen creative Picture Effects.

Off

Toy Camera

pictureeffectoff.jpg pictureeffecttoynorm.JPG
   

Pop Color

Posterization

pictureeffectpopcolor.JPG pictureeffectposterizationbw.JPG
   

Retro

Soft High-key

pictureeffectretrophoto.JPG pictureeffectsofthighkey.JPG
   

Partial Color (Green

High Contrast Mono

pictureeffectpartialcolorgreen.JPG pictureeffecthighcontrastmono.JPG
   

Soft Focus

HDR Painting

pictureeffectsoftfocusmid.JPG pictureeffecthdrpaintingmid.JPG
   

Rich-tone Mono

Miniature

pictureeffectrichtonemono.JPG pictureeffectminiatureauto.JPG
   

Watercolor

Illustration

pictureeffectwatercolor.JPG pictureeffectillustration.JPG

Sweep Panorama

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV allows you to take panoramic images very easily, by 'sweeping' with the camera while keeping the shutter release depressed. The camera does all the processing and stitching and even successfully compensates for moving subjects.

Standard
panorama.jpg