Sony just announced a pretty substantial performance update to its superzoom camera lineup with the RX10 IV. While the new $1,700 RX10 IV doesn’t gain any extra range, that’s fine; the RX10 III already tripled the maximum zoom of its predecessor last year. It also has the same fixed f2.4-4, 24-600mm (25x optical) zoom lens with optical image stabilization. The big difference here is all about what’s inside the camera, and how Sony is bringing the RX10 in line with the crazy shooting speeds that its other cameras have become known for.
The RX10 IV, in some ways, offers the same specs of the RX100 V in a different form factor. It uses the company’s stacked 1-inch, 20.1-megapixel Exmor RS CMOS sensor, and combines that with the ultra fast Bionz X image processor to allow shooting speeds of up to 24 frames per second with autofocus and autoexposure tracking. The RX10 IV can shoot at that speed for up to 249 images before the buffer is full, too. These are all huge improvements over the RX10 III, which topped out at 14 frames per second and only allowed for autofocus tracking at speeds of up to 5 fps.
The size of the RX10 IV means there are a few solid benefits to picking it over the RX100 that go beyond the extra zoom. It has 315 phase-detection AF points that achieve focus in 0.03 seconds, according to Sony. The 1.44 million dot, 3-inch screen on the back is now a touchscreen, too, which is somehow a first for Sony’s RX cameras. And there’s a 2.35 million dot high-contrast OLED electronic viewfinder.
As for video, the new RX10 falls about square in line with the capabilities of Sony’s other RX cameras. It can shoot 4K video with full pixel readout at 30 or 24fps, 1080p video at up to 120fps, and has the same high-frame rate options as the RX100, like 960fps at slightly sub-HD quality. The camera can also capture in low-contrast S-Log3/S-Gamut3 video profiles for more professional-style footage.
Superzooms aren’t for everyone, but they make plenty of sense for people who want something a little more substantial than the compact RX100 without committing to a camera that requires multiple lenses. The price may a little bit higher for the RX10 this time around, but Sony’s effort to make the camera as silly fast as its other leading cameras might just make the cost worth it for some when it drops in October.