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Sony Cyber-shot RX100 IV: A premium compact camera

By Ian Chee & Liu Hongzuo - 25 Aug 2015

Performance Test & Conclusion

Performance test

It's no surprise that the RX100 IV pulls through again with great shots in a tiny package. To test out this camera, we used our indoor photography test area and used Photoshop Elements 7.0 to check the white balance and the sharpness of the images. These photos are not edited or modified in terms of appearance.

Once we reviewed the results, we found that the photos from this camera were sharp, with little to complain about. Color is accurate, and details are well preserved, up till ISO 1,600. Interestingly, we found that this camera produces very usable photos (for online use), even at ISO 12,800.

RX100 IV, ISO 100, f/4.0, 1/3 seconds exposure, focal length 15mm (42mm for 35mm equivalent), no flash.

ISO 400.

ISO 800, and image quality is still going strong for the RX100 IV.

Up to ISO 1,600, image quality is excellent and the loss of detail is quite negligible – things only start to get noisy at ISO 3,200, where sharpening in post cannot salvage the finer lines or minute words on  signage and labels. 

At ISO 1,600, smaller text in the image begin to lose detail.

Here's a 100 percent crop of the bottom right. While not exactly sharp, you can still make out the words.

At ISO 3,200 however, minute details are lost and the text has become incomprehensible.

Bumped up to ISO 6,400, noise becomes noticeable, but the image holds up fine nonetheless.

At ISO 12,800, noise is highly noticeable, but you can still make out the small text found on the vodka bottle. Quite impressive for a 1-inch sensor.

A 100 percent crop into the text on the vodka bottle at ISO 12,800. Pretty neat.

Sample images

These photos were taken using the RX100 IV. The photos have not been post-processed and are copyright to SPH Magazines. They are provided for your reference only and we ask that you do not reproduce them elsewhere. Click for the full-resolution images.

24mm, f 2.8, 1/640s, ISO 800.

44mm, f 9.0, 1/160s, ISO 800.

A 100 percent crop of the above photo.

33mm, f 2.8, 1/15s, ISO 800.

Here' a 100 percent crop of the above photo.Details of the building are fairly well preserved.

24mm, f 1.8, 1/15s, ISO 800, street lighting.

24mm, f 1.8, 1/320s, ISO 6,400.

A 100 percent crop of the above photo. Again, details are well preserved.

52mm, f/9.0, 1/13s, ISO 6,400 - The image stabilization is pretty impressive!

 

Conclusion

If you want a high-end compact camera today, it's hard to beat the RX100 IV. This is a camera that produces high-quality stills with a large 1-inch sensor, with leading-edge features like high-speed shooting and high frame-rate video. It gives most people an easy way to get great pictures, while offering the experienced user full manual controls to fine tune exposure settings.

Those who already own a previous edition of an RX100 will want to think twice before upgrading. Even with all the new features, we still find RM3,799 for a high-end compact, tough to stomach. Also, considering the higher price tag, you'd think Sony would at least bundle an external charger with the camera, but no, all you get is a single USB cable.

For those looking for an alternative, the best candidate would be its predecessor, the RX100 III. If you don't fancy the high-speed photo shooting or slow-motion video features, the RX100 III is still a very capable camera, and its priced should have dropped by now. The RX100 III's battery life is also rated for a longer 320 shots per full charge, which is slightly better than the 280 shots per full charge on the RX100 IV.

In a nutshell, the RX100 IV is a very impressive camera. If you've got the means to get this camera, then you should. If your budget is a little tight, then you'll want to seriously consider the RX100 III instead. 

9.0
  • Performance 9.5
  • Design 9
  • Features 9
  • User-Friendliness 8.5
  • Value 8.5
The Good
Exciting video features
Faster shutter speed options
All-around a great premium compact
The Bad
The price just keeps going up and up
Battery life is lower than previous model