UPDATE (July 2015)
I'm still very happy with my RX10, which I've had over a year. I love how it feels, how it works, it's tremendous versatility, and especially the amazing pictures you can take with it.
Sony recently announced a new version of this camera, called the RX10 II, will go on sale soon. The new features include: better EVF with higher resolution, 4K video, new sensor technology, better slow-motion video, faster shutter & frame rate, plus a few others. The new version will cost $1300.
You will still have the option of buying the original RX10, which currently costs about $900. I think this is a good option for people who don't need to shoot 4K video. The original RX10 has the same excellent 24-200mm f/2.8 Zeiss lens as the new model. The original model has the same body style, layout of controls, and excellent ergonomics as the new model. The original model's EVF is very good, though not super high-res like the one on the new RX10.
(Read more about the new RX10 version II at dpreview dot com, a site you should definitely visit to learn about cameras before buying one.)
My original review follows:
The RX10 is a nearly perfect camera for someone who wants a single, do-everything, go-almost-anywhere camera that takes excellent pictures and video in a wide variety of shooting conditions but doesn't want the expense or trouble of carrying an interchangeable lens camera body and two or more lenses.
The RX10 is nearly as large and weighs about the same as a compact consumer DSLR with kit lens. If you're coming from a compact point-and-shoot, it'll seem heavy around your neck after an hour; pick up a decent shoulder strap (like this one Fotasy NSQF Anti-Slip Sling Neck Strap with Rapid Fasten, Comfort, Ergonomic Design (Black)) and you'll be comfortable all day.
I also own a Nikon D40X DSLR with two lenses (18-55mm and 55-200mm) and two "enthusiast compact" cameras with 1/1.7" sensors (Canon S90 and Nikon P7700). The DSLR takes better pictures, of course, but has two disadvantages: (1) carrying it around and traveling with it is more trouble, and (2) you have to swap lenses when you want to switch from a wide shot to a telephoto shot; this takes time and as a result I've lost some good shots. The S90 and P7700 take much better pictures than mass-market consumer cameras with 1/2.3" sensors, and were often good enough for most of my needs. But I wanted something better.
Before buying the RX10, I seriously considered a micro 4/3 system like the Olympus OMD-EM10, which is a bit easier to travel with than a DSLR, but there's still the trouble of swapping lenses. Also, I didn't think I'd be happy with the kit lens and a cheap zoom; to realize the camera's potential, I'd want to spend a lot more on lenses. I started researching lenses and loading some into my Amazon cart, and quickly approached $2000 for the body and 2 good lenses. If you're really serious about photography, I can see spending $2000 or more on gear. I'm not quite that serious.
But I am serious enough to spend around $1000 if it's the right camera, and the RX10 is the right camera for me.
I chose it over the new Panasonic FZ1000. The FZ1000 looks like a really great camera, and will be a better option for many of you. According to most professional reviews, image/video quality and performance are roughly equal or very similar between the two cameras. But as you probably know, the FZ1000 has a much longer zoom (16X instead of 8.3X on the RX10), a fully-articulating display (whereas the RX10's can only tilt up or down), and can shoot 4K video.
For me, the FZ1000's 4K video capability is useless, while the RX10's video capabilities are truly outstanding. [UPDATE 10/27/2014: Sony released a firmware update that further improves the RX10's video quality.] The FZ1000 has a much longer zoom, which I'd love to have on the RX10. But the extra reach is a novelty I wouldn't often use, as most of my shots are well within the RX10's 24-200mm range.
I chose the RX10 because it has better build quality (it's made of magnesium alloy whereas the FZ1000 is made of plastic), the great Zeiss glass, and because the RX10 strikes me as the zoom/bridge version of the RX100 series, which is universally lauded by professional reviewers. (I seriously considered an RX100, but just couldn't see myself being happy with such a short zoom range.)
But the FZ1000 might be the better choice for you. In the first comment to this review, I've added a couple links to professional reviewers that compare the two cameras.
One common complaint I've seen in reviews of the RX10 is that zooming from 24 to 200 or back is slow. In my opinion, it's not so slow as to be even mildly annoying, and it's certainly much quicker than changing lenses on my DSLR. Besides, the zoom motor is pushing some heavy glass; I'd be surprised if the FZ1000, with similarly large glass and a huge range, zooms any faster. [UPDATE 10/27/2014: Professional reviewers say that the FZ1000's motorized zoom is also slow.]
I have one serious gripe about the RX10, and you should know about it before spending your hard-earned $$$. Sony advertises the RX10 as "dust- and moisture-resistant." Based on this statement, some professional reviews suggest that it's safe to use this camera in inclement weather, or even go so far as saying that the RX10 is "weather-sealed" (e.g. Cameralabs dot com, which is otherwise a great site for researching cameras). This claim is grossly misleading. The RX10's manual says:
"WARNING: To reduce fire or shock hazard, do not expose the unit to rain or moisture." (p.3)
"This camera is designed to be dust and moisture-resistant, but is not waterproof or splash-proof." (p.33)
"Be careful not to let sand or dust get into the camera. This may cause the camera to malfunction, and in some cases this malfunction cannot be repaired." (pp.33-34)
So, how is this camera "dust- and moisture-resistant"? I asked a Sony customer service rep via Sony's online chat. The rep didn't know (much of anything) so she looked it up or asked someone, and reported to me that this camera is dust- and moisture-resistant because it is constructed from magnesium alloy. Really??
I think it would be wise to assume that the RX10 has no special weather sealing and shouldn't be used in weather conditions where you'd be uncomfortable using a camera that was not advertised as moisture- or dust-resistant.
This is disappointing, especially since I learned about it after I shelled out $998 to buy the camera. But I don't regret my purchase at all, and I continue to recommend the RX10 quite highly. But I wanted you to know about this before spending your hard-earned money so you could have realistic expectations.
And of course, Sony isn't the first company to misrepresent or overstate the benefits of the products it sells. And it won't be the last.
If you end up buying this camera (or the Panasonic FZ1000), you should consider some accessories. Here are some I own and recommend:
* protect your premium Zeiss glass with a filter, here's a great one:
B+W 62mm Clear UV Haze with Multi-Resistant Coating (010M)
* protect the display from scratches
Expert Shield - THE Screen Protector for: Sony DSC RX10 *Lifetime Guarantee*
* compact camera bag has built-in rain shield and room for accessories
Lowepro Toploader Zoom 45 AW (Sea Blue)
* save your neck, get a more comfortable shoulder strap
Fotasy NSQF Anti-Slip Sling Neck Strap with Rapid Fasten, Comfort, Ergonomic Design (Black)
on January 17, 2014
I purchased this camera to take on a vacation to the Amazon in South America. I did not not want to haul my heavy professional Nikon and lenses on the trip, as well as a video camera. There are many sites that review the technical aspects of this camera, and I have found them to match my experience with the camera.
However, something I never expected happened. The camera has caused me to change the way I take photos. Let me try to explain...
I spent many, many years learning how to operate the controls of a camera so that I could get the exposure and depth of field desired. When looking in the viewfinder, I could NOT see with my eyes the results of my settings, but I knew from experience what I was going to get. Moving to digital shortened the time it took to see the results of my settings, but the technical process of taking a photo did not change much.
With the electronic viewfinder of the RX-10, when I make a setting on the camera I can see with my eyes the effect in real time. What I see in the viewfinder is what I am going to get. No waiting, no guessing.
The technical aspect of taking a photo is now so darn easy, and I don't need to haul around all those lenses and a video camera.
It should be the perfect camera for what I am going to use it for!
I miss my EX1, or rather, i miss the parfocal smooth ENG zoom lens that goes with such a camera. It's something we're missing in the interchangeable lens market. At the moment, sony is the only one making decent range power zooms, but they're not even constant max aperture. The 24-200mm equivalent F2.8 lens of the RX10 was by far the most attractive thing to both myself, and probably everyone else who saw the first spec sheet. The pairing of the rx100 mark 2's sensor with such a lens sounds just amazing in theory. Now we're getting to see if it holds up to trials.
Note that i'm reviewing this camera mostly for its video abilities, it does do great photos, but i won't be focusing on that. I've uploaded some video frame grabs into amazon's gallery that i'll reference here.
No, it's not full frame, no it's not aps-c, no it's not m43, and no i seriously don't care. It's no secret i'm at odds with big sensor fanboys. Since aquiring the C100 (aps-c) my 5d mark 2 (full frame) gets very little use. And now that i have the RX10, it will be my primary walk around/vacation/stock footage camera. So what's the big deal some people make about wanting a big sensor? the two biggies are low light and shallow depth of field. Anyone whose shot an EX1 knows that with the 1/2" sensor and the f1.9 lens, you can get some nice background bokeh/separation. So imagine the RX10 which has a 1" sensor, it's much bigger than the ex1, it's bigger than the black magic pocket camera by a smidge, and many people are quite happy with the DOF abilities.
Then there's the low light performance. I do wish it were a 12mp sensor and not 20, but what's the point in nitpicking? Up to iso 1600 is great, up to 3200 can still be darn good if you have correct exposure, and above that does get you something depending on the situation. The girl with the blanket in the amazon photo gallery is iso 2000
I'm a C100 shooter, i'm used to using 12,800 iso if so desired and not taking a huge IQ hit. But there's no way i'm going to throw the same expectation towards the RX10. The most sensible way i can put it: If you're used to point and shoot cameras, the RX10 is bloody brilliant in low light. If you're used to interchangeable lens type cameras, you'll find the RX10 is satisfactory in low light. In my informal tests, i favored using a slower shutter instead of higher iso. 1/30 shutter is totally cheatable in anything but high motion scenes, and if shooting something where there's not much motion at all, sometimes a 1/15 can even work, and can help keep that ISO down.
Rolling shutter should also be noted exists but is very well controlled, i had to really try to create it to see any.
8.3x zoom doesn't sound great if you're used to 50x point and shoot cameras. And in fact, sony's marketing team are horribly brilliant with the angle they took it on, and instead of pushing an '8.3x' zoom, they marketed the 35mm equivalant range of 24-200mm, and said it's like having their 24-70 and 70-200mm f2.8 big camera lenses all packed into this tiny form factor. And of course we all went holy crap that's great, because when you put it like that, in the correct perspective of someone whose used to interchangeable lens cameras, it's just brilliant. Oh, and it's a ZEISS lens! If that doesn't mean anything to you, it just means it should be held to high standards.
Like i said, i miss having a power eng zoom lens so i can get a great zoom in or zoom out shot. There are practically zero options on the market for a fast constant aperture, wide range zoom lens that doesn't cost a mortgage for any interchangeable lens camera. People like me have been pining for one, and it's never come. Sony has made a few interesting power zoom lenses which i wish canon made for us canon shooters, but it's just never come. The lens on the RX10 is exactly that, it's a seemingly parfocal, fast, constant aperture power zoom lens which goes from reasonably wide, to reasonably telephoto, you also have an up to 2x digital crop called Clear Image Zoom, which is somewhat loss-less. It compares to the GH camera's ETC mode, which just means it's taking a smaller portion of the sensor to create the 1080 end image, and this should result in no resolution loss since these cameras are in fact photo cameras with many more pixels than is needed to make a 1080 video. I like that this extra reach is not just an on/off 2x switch, but rather similar to a point and shoot, when you activate it, it acts as a power-zoomable extension to the optical zoom, so once you hit the optical limit, it will smoothly go into the digital crop as if it were optical. It's not entirely perfect, there is an inconsistent transition between optical and digital which is expected. And while there technically isn't any resolution loss from this digital zoom, you are still effectively magnifying any noise. For this reason, i'd only recommend CIZ at lower ISOs, though it's always worth a try and if you like what you see, use it! This shot is 2x CIZ, so effectively 400mm.
And as you can see with the girl's eyes closeup in the amazon photo gallery, the CIZ can actually look fantastic, but still, only use it if you need to. For all intensive purposes in considering the 2x CIZ, you could look at this camera as a 24-400mm full frame equivalent.
It truly is a first for anything remotely near this market segment and price. The performance of the lens, thus far has lived up to the zeiss name. Even at wide open, it's sharp and mostly free of unwanted artifacts. Most likely there's in camera corrections happening, but that's just another benefit of the lens being non-interchangeable, it allows the engineers to really match the lens to the sensor as much as possible. Distortion is very minimal, with very true lines. You can spot some color fringing/CA'ing at longer focal lengths in high contrast situations, but most would consider it well controlled.
Lens controls and operation.
One of the things that really shows they were thinking of video people are the lens controls. You have a multi use ring which can be used for zooming or focusing, and an aperture ring which can be clicked or clickless. Starting with the multi use ring, it's very nicely dampened and smooth, but it's fly by wire, which i'm not happy about, but accept it for what it is. It means there's no real mechanical connection to you turning the ring, it's electronic. Because of this, it's not a great experience when manual focusing. If you're used to setting markers, forget it, no 2 pulls will be the same. I really hope sony refines this more, it seems like all the pieces are there to be able to make it far better than what it is, but as it is, you have to pull focus completely by eye and almost not at all by feel. Autofocus is very useful especially in decent lighting, and if you learn the settings, you can use the settable focus point to have the camera perform an admirable rack focus for you. That of course wouldn't be all that peachy for more complex situations but hey, for some simple stuff it should work pretty nicely.
So when you switch the multi use ring to zoom mode, you have two options: full zooming, or step zoom. Step zoom gives you the feel of a bag of primes, since it locks in at common focal lengths. While that's nice, i've yet to use that ring much at all for zooming, and instead opt for the zoom control lever on the handle. This is another wish i have for sony: refine this more, it is pressure sensitive, but i for the life of me haven't tamed it. I've conceded to just pushing it slightly which gives a pleasingly slow but not laborious zoom speed. Some people have shown concern over the lens's slow movement, and that they'll miss quick happening shots because of it. Well, for video i don't see this as much of a concern, as i'd rather have a zooming in shot anyway, but for photos it might be a nuisance. The lens at its fastest takes just over 2 second to fully zoom in or out. The final little drawback i've found is that if you're zoomed to 200mm, when you start to zoom back out, theres a little bit of a wobble in the image, like it's kicking back into gear or something, and while it's not a disastrous thing, it is certainly noticeable and should be kept in mind for narrative works where something like that could break the 4th wall.
Did i forget to mention this thing has an ND filter built in? Like, and actual, 3 stop ND filter! NDs are important to us video fellas, and having it in there is a great valuable feature, especially considering the aperture only goes to f/16!
If i had to pick my least favorite part of the camera, the codec would be it. Codecs are a tricky thing, and just because it says avchd 24mb/s, doesn't mean it's the same as avchd 24mb/s in the FS700, or C100, and in this case this codec seems to suffer a tid bit more from motion artifacting/macro blocking. Meaning that high amounts of motion in the image will cause blockiness in those areas. This could be solved by one simple thing: a higher bitrate. If i were to suggest something for the troops to rally around and urge sony to address, it would be to up the bitrate. I've already submitted my request to them, citing the panasonic GH3 as a reasonable competitor, who has a bitrate of 72mb/s. But you can't go in expecting them to change anything, so the question is: am i satisfied with it as it stands? The answer is yes, not an enthusiastic yes, but yes the recorded image is very satisfying especially if the motion isn't all over the place like a leafy tree in high wind. And there is a silver lining as well: They gave us clean uncompressed HDMI output, meaning you can plug in a $700 ninja-2 and get 4:2:2 prores that should be pristine, it's still 8 bit, but again we're talking about a mostly consumer oriented camera here. It should be noted though that it's an HDMI micro connector, which is tiny and easily dislodged, and i hope there's a solution out there to keep it secure other than vicious amounts of gaffers tape.
There's a little nuisance with certain sony cameras that you'll experience when dropping the files into editing: to see the full range you'll need to correct the white and black output levels from 0-255, to 15-235, which is basically bringing up the shadows, and down the highlights to where they're supposed to be. The camera records above 100 IRE, and this is especially important if you have blown out highlights, you'll be able to bring some of them back with this correction.
One of the special things about how this camera processes its video is that it doesn't skip lines like most DSLRs, instead it samples the entire sensor, which means it out-resolves most of the photo cameras out there when it comes to video. I put it up to my crappy resolution chart, and that 1000 line section of the chart is clear as day, this thing resolves 1000+ lines like a 1080 camera should. Compare that to most Canon DSLRs like the 5d mark 2, 70d, t5i, etc.. which are all resolving a good notch under 1000 lines in video mode. This is especially apparent in landscapes, i've never been satisfied shooting landscape videos with my 5d2, but the RX10 gets them nice and crisp.
It should also be noted that aliasing and moire are also very well controlled and practically a non-issue. You can easily spot it on that test chart, but no one is shooting test charts in real life. My real life test is bobby the conure, and he looks as adorable as ever, nearly artifact free. (see amazon photo gallery for the RX10)
The body and controls
Feels great, it's mostly a good strong metal and feels built more like a professional camera than it does a consumer camera. It's supposedly dust and moisture sealed, though i'm wondering just how so being that the lens does a whole lot of moving in and out for zoom. The lens when extended does have some wiggle. All the buttons and switches seem solid, though as a person with medium to large size hands, such a small camera takes some getting used to.
You get both a quality LCD and a quality EVF. The EVF is much better than my C100's, and i really like that it sticks out a bit from the body so your nose isn't smushed up against the LCD. That does create a caveat though: since the LCD can rotate to face up or down, if pointed strait up, the EVF is blocking quite a bit of it. Why Sony couldn't you use a left mounted swivel screen? But anyways, both screens are more than adequate, and feel more like something you'd find on a pro oriented camera, rather than a consumer oriented camera.
Focus peaking is included which was a nice addition, but for now i've pretty much stopped using it, the dots are too darn big, making me second guess focus quite a bit. It depends on the situation, some instances it helps a lot and some i switch it off, so it's nice to have the option. You also get a digital punch in focus assist, which is a more surefire way of verifying focus, and yes you can use it while recording, and you can also move it around, making it very versatile and great.
It's also a nice touch that we get a top readout LCD, but to be honest, i've yet to use it in practice, the LCD and EVF do what i need.
Options and features
This thing is stuffed full of features. The smartphone app is neat: you can use your phone to see a live, nearly lag free image from the camera, and even zoom in and out and take photos from your phone/tablet. The big disappointment though, is that you can't control video at all. Be sure to bug sony about this. This feature has lots of potential and would be great to gain additional functionality. Sony has an API for this function, so if you're savy about that stuff, please dive in.
You also have reasonable control over the image, you can't get cinestyle onto it, but you can get a pretty flat image. I've found the portrait profile the be the flattest, but neutral, deep, and standard all are pretty similar with contrast dialed down. You get contrast, saturation, and sharpness control over each profile, but only +/- 3. The contrast control has a significant effect on the profiles, but i've found that sharpness and saturation have much less of an effect. I find that saturation and contrast at -3 and sharpness at 0 gives me the most out of it. If you've used a C100/300, i've likened it to the WideDR profile, but a tad flatter.
You also get nearly complete control over setting buttons and whatnot, they fit the most buttons one could reasonably fit into this size body. You also get a fn button for a quick settings menu which you can set a bunch of menu items to for quick access. I'm overly pleased with how i've set mine up: the main dial on the back i set for iso, so iso is changed just like aperture or shutter: just turn the dial. the C button on top i set to ND filter, and the AEL button i set to focus punch in. Shutter speed has it's own dial on back and aperture is of course set with that aperture ring on the lens.
My main use for this camera is to be my walkaround, have on me most of the time, vacation lens. I suspect that i might also use it for certain event type coverage where that parfocal zoom would get me shots that i otherwise wouldn't be able to get with my C100. If i happen to need a second camera for a shoot, i wouldn't hesitate to bring out the RX10, i'd pick it up over my 5d2 for video 9 out of 10 times.
Is it overpriced? I was willing to shell out 1300 for it, and it looks like many others were as well, so i'd say no it isn't overpriced. I think it would have been a lot more attractive at $999, but i think i got what i paid for, it doesn't exist anywhere else.
on September 10, 2014
I really enjoy using super zoom/bridge cameras. They take wonderful images and video in good lighting but are very poor in low light. I wondered if a premium bridge camera like the Sony RX10 with its 1 inch sensor could take better images and video than my current FZ200 bridge camera with a tiny sensor. For my test, I bought a used model from Amazon warehouse deals. Upon first handling the camera, I was amazed by the outstanding quality, feel and handling of the camera. The RX10, while heavier than my other bridge cameras was much lighter than any dSLR type camera I have used. The size is slightly larger than the typical bridge camera but smaller than a dSLR. It seemed perfectly sized for holding a camera securely.
The camera feels solidly built with lots of buttons and dials for quick change of settings. The OLED EVF is one of the best I have seen in a camera. Just about every setting can be viewed in the EVF and the images appear almost as good as an optical viewfinder, perhaps even better because you can see what the sensor sees. The EVF has a sensor that detects your eye so that the bright LCD screen in back shifts automatically to the EVF. The image and video quality surpassed my other bridge cameras by a wide margin. I had considered purchasing the new Panasonic FZ1000 that was announced but not yet available and had ordered it from Amazon but after one week my order for the FZ1000 was cancelled.
I love using the Sony RX10 and did not want part with it. To my amazement, my camera came with a 30/90 day warranty and Sony offered an extended warranty (3 yr) for under $50 which is a great deal considering the camera was not new. Sony support is excellent so far. Company support is very important should you have issues with your camera.
What's special about the Sony RX10 that's sets it apart from the typical bridge camera. (FZ1000 is excluded because it has very similar but several different capabilities) (Read below about new Firmware 2 update that closes the gap in video.)
1. The large 1 inch sensor captures considerably more detail and allows good low light images up to 3200 ISO. It uses the same sensor as the RX100, II and iii which are rated highly.
2. Constant F2.8 lens is equivalent to a 24-200 dSLR type lens. Outstanding Zeiss designed quality lens. Extends up to 400 dSLR equivalent
3. Magnesium Frame on front and top of camera makes camera very strong and durable. There is plenty of plastic but the metal support makes it light but very strong.
4. Outstanding OLED EVF which is bright; displays lots of information or none if desired. The EVF is much larger than typical bridge EVF so you get to see more of the image.
5. Fast focusing even in low light. The camera uses a Direct Drive SSM (Super Sonic wave Motor) which speeds up focusing. Included light assist when needed.
6. F stops start with F2.8 and goes up to F16 in 1/3 increments. Can be set for smooth or click settings on lens. The competition only goes to F8 which is an issue in bright light.
7. Pop UP Flash illuminates a large room and works well. Minimal red eye. Useful for fill flash. ADP-MAA Adapter allows use of any Sony Flash (not included) is not an advantage
8. LCD display on top adds additional info, useful when camera is on a tripod. Button on top activates the illuminated display. Nice to have but unimportant.
9. Separate control wheel for image compensation on top. Allows exposure compensation from -3 to +3 in 1/3 increments. It's very easy to reach and use.
10. All buttons seem perfectly spaced, very easy to reach and activate. Finger placement seems perfect.
11. Most controls can have different functions set for them. There are two custom settings and the camera has many scene settings.
12. A perfect feel and great handling, excellent grip, easy to hold in one hand and not too heavy.
13. Macro functions work well and focus is very easy to obtain. Image is magnified to check focus. The MF switch is placed near bottom of lens.
14. Camera is perfect for video with inputs for mike and a headphone jack. This makes it perfect for video recording. Great sound display.
15. Micro HDMI allows direct connection to display source for viewing video or images.
16. Wi-Fi enabled for limited control of some shooting functions and uploading images and video. It also includes NFC for connection to smartphone or Tablet.
17. Bright 3 inch 1.3 MP LCD display is easily viewable in bright light. Can articulate up or down only. It's great for shooting overhead or Low to the ground.
18. Good Battery life. Battery life is shone in percent left in number form and works with unbranded batteries.
19. Lens hood is included. Standard 62 lens size easily fits lens protector or polarizer filters.
20. Remote control through old fashioned opening on top of shutter? Old shutter release cables work fine. Wireless and wired remote control possible.
21. Power zoom is slow but steady and quiet for video. See disadvantages
22. Quick menu is very easy to navigate. If you own an RX100, this camera is a snap to operate.
23. Excellent images up to 3200 ISO with a little loss of detail but it is usable and great in low light.
24. AVCHD with multiple settings MP4 recording too and both allow HD video.New 60P with faster bit rates than the Panasonic GH3
25. Weather resistant but not weather sealed but covers are well sealed and solid construction. Separate SD slot.
26. Camera has level for horizon control and levels for controlling audio in video scenes. Easily viewed.
27. Mechanical shutter and an Electronic shutter setting makes camera silent, no audible sound in video. Electronic shutter works up to maximum ISO.
28. Excellent image stabilization. Allows sharp images at slower shutter speed and smooth video.
29. Built in Neutral Density filter works up to 3 stops It works great in bright light and low F stop images.
30. High speed burst possible at lower MP
31. Overall construction quality and feature set you expect in a premium camera.
32. Sony customer support, easy to reach and will support problems.
33. New lower pricing at under $1000 makes this camera a great value for what you get. It still seems pricey but good glass is expensive and you get the camera thrown in.
34. Thank Panasonic for their new FZ1000 which made Sony re-price the $1300 RX10, to the great value that it is today at just under $1000. It's even a better buy used considering the warranty Sony will provide for their cameras. Call first to verify availability!
35. The RX10 is a perfect do everything travel camera. It's best to buy and carry extra batteries and separate charger too.
36. UPDATE 9/30/14 New Firmware version 2.0 adds significant faster bitrates and the new Sony XAVC S Codecs. This newer codec is a subset of MP4 and significantly improves AVCHD with mind blowing bit rates. It supports 4K video which is not included with the update.
From Wiki: XAVC S supports resolutions up to 3840 × 2160, uses MP4 as the container format, and uses either AAC or LPCM for the audio.
Software that will support XAVC-s include Adobe Creative Suite 6, Avid, Final Cut Pro X, Grass Valley's EDIUS Pro 7, Quantel, Rovi MainConcept SDK, and Sony Vegas Pro 12
To better understand XAVC-s be sure to check Wikipedia and Sony has an excellent PDF explaining this complex codec.
What is included is:
Xavc S 120 FPS 60P at 50 mbs, 60P at 50 mbs, 30P at 50mbs, 24P at 50mbs
AVCHD 60P at 28 mbs and 24P at 24 mbs
MP4 1440 by 1080P at 12 mbs, not 4k but higher resolution at a slower bit rate
Bottom line for Sony RX10 video users is significantly improved video that was excellent before and now exceeds some cameras that a few years back were pro video cameras. Videos taken at the new high bit rate and codecs will appear even more silky smooth. There is a big catch, you need the fastest SD cards to use the faster codec's. the very minimum is 50 plus mbs card. You can still use you "fast yesterday" SD cards for all images and the lower bit rate videos.
Recording at 120P when processed at 24P will produce beautiful smooth slow motion. This is another new feature to equal the FZ competition.
Customers asked Sony for even better video using faster bit rates and Sony delivered it in a big way. No 4K video yet. 4K video produces so much heat it can damage a plastic camera if used for very long videos. The metal frame on the RX10 could dissipate the enormous heat from 4K video but it may require extra processing power and firmware space not available in the RX10. If it's possible, we could see it in V3.0 or in Sony's next version of the RX10 if it chooses to continue this great camera series.
What's not so great? No camera is perfect and the RX10 has room for lots of improvement. Sony Delivered some with new Firmware 2
1. Camera is not weather sealed or weather proofed at all. It's well constructed but not moisture or dust proof. You need to treat this camera like any other. Avoid rain and if wet dry before using it again.
2. The Lens is extremely heavy, lots of beautiful glass and when fully extended it wobbles if you are moving quickly you notice the movement. I am unaware of lens movement except while moving.
3. Sony uses a proprietary flash connection that requires an adapter for many Sony Flashes and another for non-Sony flashes. Sony flashes are good but expensive.
4. LCD Display screen is sharp and movable but just for up and down shots, no swivel screen that allows selfie's.
5. SD slot is quite narrow. To remove SD card, you need to grab edges to remove. Some people complain about this. It's a little annoying but you get used to it.
6. Supplied charger requires charging the battery in the camera. Solution: Buy Wasabi charger and batteries. They work fine in camera.
7. AVCHD and MP4, no MOV like GH3 or 4K video like FZ1000 or GH4 if that's important to you.
8. Limited remote control and wireless capability. It's there but not comprehensive.
9. You can add filters but not change lenses. WYSIWYG. However you do get a premium lens.
10. Camera is close to the size of a small dSLR or MFT but lighter, is not pocket able at all.
11. Supplied strap is too narrow to wear comfortably all day. Replace with wider one that will make camera feel comfortable using all day. Optech has a wide strap with cushion. Another good choice is a hand grip.
12. HDMI output is a micro HDMI slot which works well but is not considered as reliable as mini HDMI slot found on FZ70 and GH3.
Please note that the weather resistant design is just marketing hype for quality camera. I wouldn't expose the RX10 to rain, dust or very moist conditions because the zoom lens is vulnerable. No camera with a built-in lens can be made water sealed unless the lens is fully enclosed in a housing. The camera could be used in a very light mist or rain if covered and the camera is allowed to fully dry before use again. Wet circuity will fry if turned on when wet and is not covered in any warranty except if drop and spill coverage is purchased. A disposable woman's shower cap provides emergency protection and is easy to carry.
Update...Since I purchased the RX10, I purchased a Panasonic GH3 and Panasonic GX7 which are micro four third cameras with a larger sensor than the RX10. I also bought a super wide angle zoom lens, which is amazing and some prime lens to go with these cameras. Unfortunately as great as the RX10 is it has limitations because of the fixed zoom lens These other cameras along with the excellent lenses produce a wider range of images and more versatile video. The GH3 has outstanding video and video options and the GX7 is small and light weight and both are rugged cameras, perfect for travel. The RX10 does amazing well when comparing images and video with these other great cameras with highly rated lenses. The RX10 is a little heavier then these MFT models. The RX10 remains the most complete camera and I find it the most fun to use. It is the first camera I grab for the quick photo. It's definitely a must bring camera for travel photography.
I bought the RX10 initially to try out but found it matched the performance of my better cameras with kit lenses and was a real joy to use. It's now is a favorite camera because it works great, is relatively light in weight and easy to use. It's perfect for travel and it is a great value for what it offers. Is the Sony RX10 better than the Panasonic FZ1000, yes and no; yes if you want a better quality fixed zoom camera and no if you want 4K video and the slightly longer zoom on the FZ1000. RX100i, ii, and iii users will find the camera although quite different, extremely easy to use. I'm glad I bought the RX10 and after nine months of heavy use, It is still a favorite camera. If you appreciate an easy to use quality camera that takes equally great images and video this camera can be perfect choice for travel and family images. There are a lot of great camera choices out there to explore, for many this could be the perfect choice.
on November 3, 2014
The Sony DSC-RX10 is a great alternative to large DSLRs, and has outstanding low-light performance.
I've been shooting on Nikon DSLRs for the past 10 years and I've loved the creative options that all the manual controls give me. Yet, those DSLRs (first the Nikon D70 and then the Nikon D7000) are relatively large cameras (although not full-frame) and a kit with several lenses can take up a lot of space and can be relatively heavy. And, in order to always have options for different types of shooting I've always kept a Sigma 30mm HSM 1.4 normal as well as a wide-to-zoom lens like the Nikon 18-300mm.
So when I saw the Sony DSC-RX10 I thought that maybe that great-looking Zeiss 24-200mm constant 2.8 just might be an all-in-one solution as a smaller travel camera.
And I was a right. It's terrific all-around, smallish, camera.
1) Relatively small size.
Sure, it's not a pocket camera, but that's not what I wanted anyway. Yet, it fits in a small, padded case and it's light-weight.
2) Big, light-gathering lens for a relatively small camera.
It's amazing how much light this thing gathers. Holding a constant 2.8 f-stop throughout the entire 24-200mm range is a feat of engineering that isn't normally seen in a camera this small or this relatively inexpensive. Combine that with Sony's excellent SteadyShot and I can hand-hold night shots that I never thought possible.
3) 20.2 MP photos give you plenty of room for HD-like detail and allows you to safely crop photos without worrying about a loss of resolution.
4) Mirrorless design has no mechanical mirror pistoning up and down to create camera shake or eventually wear out.
5) Quality aluminum body that is sealed for dust and moisture resistance. Instead of changing lenses and risking the introduction of dust into the interior, I'm hoping this camera will remain dust-free. Also, the feel of the body and--frankly--everything about his camera is the feel of solid, quality construction.
6) Full manual controls. Yep, do anything you want that's DSLR-like. Like full manual? It's yours. Like aperture of shutter-priority? No problem.
7) Crazy-fast frame-rates if you want them. One mode allows you to take bursts of shots up to 10 frames per second. That's mighty fast.
8) Wireless transfer of photos to a smartphone (including iPhone and Android).
9) Incredible, Sony-quality video with SteadyShot. This camera doubles as an easy-to-use HD video camera. In any mode just press the video button and you'll instantly be making beautiful HD.
1) Wireless transfer of photos is clunky with an iPhone. It works, but it's not what you'd consider smooth, effortless, or quick.
2) The zoom is motorized and a bit slow--but worse than that it locks in place when the focus locks. So, if you're trying to quickly change composition (zoom in, zoom out), it's not quick and it will (frustratingly) lock the zoom until you take your finger off the shutter release. If there is an "off" setting for this, I haven't found it yet.
This is a spectacular camera, one of the best Sony has ever put out. I say that from the vantage point of one who has purchased and used a large number of the various models Sony has put out over the past 15 years (I won't list them all here for you to save you time time). As a true successor of the venerable Sony DSC-R1 (released in 2006), this camera actually outpaces that model, even though it does not have the full size sensor than the R1 had (this one uses the one-inch sensor format that is mid-way in size between APS-C and the tiny sensors typically used in compacts, but it's actually closer to the larger-sized sensor when you consider the actual area of the 1 inch sensor format). This is because of the combination of a stellar lens, a very advanced back-lit sensor, and excellent build quality.
The camera is built in China, but you would never for a minute guess it. With a full magnesium allow body, this thing just screams solidness when you pick it up. No squeaks, no rattles, excellent button and knob controls, and a very stable tilting mechanism for the display screen. It's not a light camera, but its not nearly as heavy as most DSLRs, and the only reason it is a bit heavier is because of its lens.
And although Sony will want to draw your attention to the marvels of its special backlit sensor here, it seems out of order to do so before talking about the RX10 lens. This Carl Zeiss lens opens up to a wide 24mm and zooms all the way to 200mm, with a CONSTANT F/2.8 aperture through the entire zoom. I find it difficult to even say that, but its true. Yes, you can shoot at F/2.8 even when you are zoomed all the way to 200mm. Try finding that on ANY lens of this range for ANY DSLR (and I have purchased plenty of DSLR lenses for all the major brands over the years). And the Zeiss heritage clearly comes through on this camera: shots are vivid, sharp, and with very little distortion; the lens is also T-coated to minimize glare. In fact, some of the shots I've taken with this camera just shock me to think they are being taken with anything less than a APS-C sensor. That's just how good the lens is.
Of course, a lot of the photo quality is coming as a result of Sony's special sensor which they use in many of the "RX" models right now. And rather than just repeat all the information that you can read above from Sony's own advertising for the sensor, let's just say that this thing produces extremely good images. The sensor is the latest in Sony'r work in backlit sensors, which improve low light capabilities and improve s/n ratios under most conditions.
Operational performance is good, too, with reasonably quick on and off times, nearly completely silent shutter actuation, and controls that are laid out well enough that you can get to most things relatively quickly while you shoot. One thing that takes a little getting used to is the fly-by-wire zooming, which is not mechanically linked to the camera, as it is in DSLRs (the ring also doubles as a manual focus ring, when you are in that mode). It's not as fast as its mechanical counterparts, and can be a bit disappointing at times, but once you get used to it, its not that big of a deal. On the plus side, the zoom ring is non-linear: if you turn the dial faster, the zoom occurs at an increased rate. You can also zoom with a T-W swivel switch at the top of the camera (and which is pretty fast in operation). The ring is also used for manual focus when you are shooting in that mode.
A really nice touch is the top display LCD screen, sadly missing on so many cameras today, which allows you to look down on the top of the camera and check settings. The back, 3" view screen is top notch, and the electronic viewfinder, though not as expansive as Fuji's X-T1, is very well implemented. The view screen also pivots on one axis, so you can lay it out flat if you prefer to shoot waist high (although the viewfinder protrudes a bit across the screen when shooting in this manner.)
There are a plethora of extra shooting features, too, for customized settings, special effects, and so on. You can also shoot in A and S modes, plus set a series of custom settings and save them for easy recall.
This is simply an amazing camera. It may not satisfy the most ardent DSLR shooter, but I suspect many of us will still be impressed with this camera, and find all kinds of ways to use it when we don't want to carry a DSLR around. And people moving up from compacts will discover a whole new level of photography at their fingertips here. And the build quality just begs you to want to pick it up and use it. I truly was impressed by my R1 all the years I used it, and doubted Sony would ever be able to best it; I was proven wrong here. Wow. Five stars.
++ Very good image quality, rivaling most DSLR's
++ HUGE 24mm - 200mm lens range, which is quite wide and its widest and pretty zoomed at its farthest
++ CONSTANT F/2.8 across the entire zoom range, which is simply extraordinary
++ Mechanically linked aperture ring (but zoom/manual focus ring is drive-by-wire)
++ Zoom ring doubles as a manual focus ring, when you are in that mode
++ Superb build quality; I hate to say it, but it feels like it was made in Japan
++ One piece magnesium-alloy body
++ Beautiful tilting 3" LCD screen
++ Very good electronic viewfinder
++ Top display LCD window shows current settings (very rare on cameras these days)
++ Plethora of customizable features, settings, adjustments, and effects
++ Excellent lens cap that clicks on and off in reassuring manner (Fuji, are you listening?)
++ Reasonable battery life
++ Not cheap, but not unreasonably expensive when it is on sale
++ Sony's case is reasonably priced, unlike many of their previous cases
++ Gorgeous, glossy black finish that is much more attractive than the finish on most cameras (if you see it in person, you'll see what I mean)
-- Battery charging is in-camera, via USB; you have to purchase a separate battery charger to charge the normal way
-- Batteries are not cheap (true of all camera companies, I'm afraid)
-- Drive-by-wire zoom ring will not be to everyone's tastes, and takes a little getting used to
-- Tilting screen, while useful, could have benefited from additional range of motion (cannot be flipped all the way backward for "selfies," and does not rotate sideways)
-- A bit heavier than you might expect (but much lighter than a DSLR)
-- Not cheap
on February 4, 2015
I never write any reviews, but for I feel like I should do it for RX-10 for those people who are looking for a camera, but not quite sure what to get because the choices are many. I've had this camera for over a year now. I wasn't sure if this was the right camera to buy when I was shopping for one back in September 2013 before RX-10 came out. I read about it, and read some more. I wanted good features, splash proof, good zoom, not interchangeable lenses, but good quality and light weight. I waited to see what people would say after it came out and finally I chose RX 10 over Canon D70 which I was also considering in about December 2013. I'm very glad I did. This camera is very light, I never feel the weight of it on my shoulder or neck after walking around taking pics for any length of time. The longest I've done working the scene was 3 hrs so far. I didn't want to get caught in buying the lenses game as I would had I bought Canon. I was also worried about the possible absence of background blur at large apertures if I want a shallow depth of field, but RX-10 gives enough blur for portraits. This camera has a great zoom. I extended it by setting it to "clear digital" which doesn't affect quality that much, but extends the reach to 2x magnification after the max optical of 200mm equivalent. The greatest things that I enjoy about RX-10 are:
1) I can shoot through the view finder or by looking at the screen without having to do anything (there's a sensor in the view finder that automatically switches from the screen view to the view finder view as soon as you bring your eye to the view finder);
2) In any mode (P, A or S) the camera can take macro without my having to switch to macro;
3) Continuous shooting modes (3fps and 10 fps) allowed me to catch great moments when photographing people and wild life. I also use it to shoot landscapes when I'm a passenger, but can't stop to take a proper pic - roll down the window, set it to 3fps (because at 3fps focus tracking works automatically, but at 10 it doesn't unless you set it) and shoot 5-6 exposures. 1 to 2 pics are guaranteed to look good;
4) Tilting screen saves me from having to go on my belly for low angles;
5) Splash proof body;
6) Some people complained about auto-focus and lens wobble. My RX-10 has no issues. Focus is almost instant and wobble is very tiny. I'd never even notice it had I not read about it;
7) Picture quality is awesome. Day or night. It could be a little noisy if you shoot in P mode at night without tripod, but only if you look for the noise. Pics are sharp and the colors are just great. Makes it hard to decide which pics are keepers based on quality alone;
If you do decide to buy this camera, make sure to also get the book "Photographer's Guide to RX-10". Very easy read and makes your use of RX-10 much more enjoyable.
Here's some pics. I only showcase continuous shooting at very close range and at max zoom, but I've taken hundrends of awesome pics of every kind - nature, mountains, flowers, people and sun sets.
1) Bee is set to small focusing area (you can adjust that too) at 10 fps about 10 inches from the flower.
2) Whale is at max zoom with clear digital zoom at 10 fps. How else can you catch a whale. Good luck using a single shot. Everything happens so fast in whale watching. Continuous shooting is truly my favorite feature.
on November 29, 2013
Better than the RX100 for the lens, and dials, but that's it.
1. Relatively simple to use, and feels more like a camera than my RX100 (albeit 5x the size).
2. Construction seems well done, but still slightly plasticy feeling.
3. Faster aperture over most of the zoom range.
4. Sharp lens, better than the RX100 on the longer end of things (>70mm eq.)
5. Tiling screen is nice to have, but could have been touch capable at this price.
6. Real lens hood and cap (familiar and perhaps preferred, to those used to slr types of camera).
7. Great EVF. Really, this one is as good as, or better than the EM-5 IMO.
8. Shutter button feel is great.
9. Aperture ring the hails to a time when we used such things. Nice touch.
10. Detents available on the aperture ring (but more on this later).
11. Smooth and relatively even zoom, although slow (more on this later).
12. Well balanced in your hand(s), even with the zoom fully extended.
13. UI is pretty simple to navigate, and to find what you expected/needed to find.
14. Weather sealing is a nice feature, but I don't anticipate shooting in a down pour very much.
15. When sounds are disabled, the shutter is virtually silent. Great work Sony.
1. Squeaky tilt screen (yeah, it squeaks when moving into the down low shooting position).
2. Sloooooo....oooow zoom. Too slow IMO. The linkage/communication should be more direct between the ring and the movement of the lens.
3. The aperture ring, while an excellent idea, only has the knurled portions in two areas of the ring. This makes it so that I constantly turn the switch that controls the detent function, into the off position. When you grab it where the knurled areas are not, you simply cannot turn it very well as your fingers impact the fingers that hold the grip. Poor design there.
4. Write times are decent, but you hit the buffer and it gets very slow. It clears reasonably quickly tho, so not too bad.
5. No AF-on style button, or function. Major oversight.
6. Bug in the software: This means that if you accidentally plug the camera in to your computer (while the computer is in sleep mode) to charge your battery,and the camera's power switch is in the on position, it will disable your camera's ability to connect to your computer. You then have to use a card reader. Silly bug, and it needs a fix.
7. Average responsiveness in the AF dept., although it does hit the target most of the time. This is actually unacceptably slow for me after trying for two days.
8. Battery life: Real world use is not what they claim. If you plan to use the camera to frame your image, or review many of your images, be prepared for something like 200 shots or so. Not terrible, but not great either. (Caveat: I am using the EVF mostly).
Overall then, this is a solid bit of kit, but not the one I had hoped for when placing the order. It lacks some of what I expected it to accomplish easily.
What I feel are missing: The refined movements/operation of a high end camera, and the AF performance anticipated by the much touted new AF system. It lags behind my RX100 for AF speed by about half the speed.
The battery charging in the camera has caused some frustration, and caused the camera to malfunction. This occurred/occurs, when inadvertently connected to a USB then to your Mac, while the Mac is "asleep". Dumb oversight Sony. Get that fixed please.
In the hand, its just about tall enough to feel like a real camera, but not quite tall enough to really "hold" like one. I have medium sized hands, so that is for my grip. Another of the tactile things is that the buttons seem lost on the back of the camera when you have it to your eye (which you will probably find yourself doing with this EVF). You can probably find the buttons ok, by training yourself to go to the horizontal wheel, then carefully moving your thumb down till you feel them. Also, the lens rattles at the front end, whether its turned off, on or fully extended. Not a lot of rattle, but I noticed it "clicking" around as I moved about and bumped my elbows into objects for stability.
What it does well (esp. considering the size of sensor) is to capture and retain shadow and highlight details. As with the RX100, I found myself setting a negative 1/3 stop of exposure for most automated shooting. I played with processing a few jpeg images, and even they held up pretty well. The images will do better keeping details in the shadows, than in highlights though. So keep your highlights in check, your ISO's lower, and you can recover a healthy amount from those shadows.
This lens is very, very good. I shoot with the Nikon 70-200/2.8 and have had the Canon version of that lens some years ago. Neither of those lenses can out perform this one for its purpose. Unlike those lenses, this one does pincushion pretty severely, but when you consider the other end (25mm), its totally acceptable IMO. Very nice job.
So then, is it a keeper? I really want to, but I am fighting with myself.
On the one hand I REALLY want a one stop bridge camera like this. On the other hand, it holds back in some areas that feel like Sony were not quite paying attention. I probably will keep it as it does most of what I hoped it would, and frankly, I can probably learn to work around the "issues" I have with it.
Nice but not quite there. Perhaps the" version II" will address these few bugs. Just need some more beta testers like me to speak up until they listen, as they did with the RX100/RX100 II.
I have a 5DIII full frame and a 70D for aps-c and love my SLRs, and the SLR capabilities. I wanted a compact bridge camera with the SLR touch and this delivers in spades. I tried and still have the sony HX300 and HX200V for a compact zoom carry around option, and a nikon underwater p&s. the sony HX left me feeling extremely disappointed at image quality if they were the only camera i take along on trips. This one, really truly is a satisfactory replacement for my DSLRs. I don't miss them or the pounds of weight at all for family trips since this tiny package covers the range of my two fav all purpose dslr lenses, the 24-105 and 70 - 200 L lenses. Gives me Dslr like control over the photo and the EVF is amazing in letting me see exactly what I will get! So now, unless I am out birding, or on a wildlife specific trip, this is everything I need.
on February 13, 2014
I have owned several point and shoot cameras and entry level DSLRs, but none of them come close to the RX10. Quality construction, easy to use menus, and unbelievable image quality. It's not cheap, but once you start using it you'll realize that it's worth every penny. The constant f/2.8 aperture and 200mm zoom range of the amazing Zeiss lens coupled with the 1" BSI sensor makes this camera the most versatile fixed-lens shooter ever created. 10 stars.
If you've got the cash to spare, buy this. You won't regret it.