RX10 IV: Lord of the Zoom

Shooting a little surf video impression with the RX10 IV.

So this is the 4K on factory default, no tweaking and both AF and white balance on full auto. This is shot in pretty windy conditions without a tripod and despite some jittering even at 600mm (220mm real lens size) 35mm equivalent. All things considering: the image is pretty good and I would say usable for jobs.

It does remind me a bit of the EX3: it is a bit video but has a decent dynamic range and nice natural colours. So I will need to explore the Picture profiles a bit more in the future to see how much you can match it with something like the FS5 or A7S.

Video focus speed

It does take a while in video mode for the AF to acquire focus with the foamy mess of the sea around the subjects. There is no real hunting going on, just a slow focus, perhaps a video setting so it doesn’t have this typical nervous focus look of the older Af cameras.

walking towards the camera

When it does find a face, it tracks really well as demonstrated by the shot at 0:33 seconds: the guy with his surfboard walks towards the camera. Bot examples are not perfectly sharp despite the 4K video because of the jitter from the wind / 600mm zoom and 50th/sec shutter speed.

Cropped both frame-grabs equally to show how well the camera tracks the surfer walking towards the camera. If you want faster focus: pre-focus in photo mode does grab a face almost instantly and will keep track of it when you press the Movie record button. 1:31 shows you how long it takes for the camera to acquire focus in video mode.

Tracked to close up


This almost feels like an old-school 14X ENG zoom with its 24-600mm zoom range. The F-stop also looks really good with F2.4 to F4, but I do find that F-number a bit misleading. If you imagined like I did, you would get something like 100mm F2.8: You are wrong. It’s F4 from something like 38mm and up. Which is a shame because in low light you need all the wide open you can get.

At the end at 1:47 is a nice demo of how smooth it zooms and instantly tracks someone’s face. It is a pretty good smooth zoom considering this isn’t a big pro lens and I can control it pretty well with a decent start and end. Obviously, anyone using such a long zoom would only do so ironically, because we all know zooming during a shot is real ‘not done’ unless your video is supposed to be shot in the 1980’s.


Real Buttons

One of the nice things about the RX10 IV is that it comes with actual buttons: Focus modes, focus hold and focus limit button on the bottom left, a proper thumb button to start video recording. For the video, I have only used the AF to see how well it picks a subject out of such a messy chaotic image and can track it.

It also has one of my favourite buttons: the exposure compensation one. Many people seem to hate it or think it is useless, I think it’s very handy if you want to keep your settings half automatic. The video was shot at 1/50th because the end result is 25P and with auto ISO and auto aperture having the option to tweak, useful when shooting a video of perverts in black rubber surrounded by white foam, it makes for speedy correction.

Not as useful for photography perhaps, although right now neither Bridge / Adobe camera raw nor Capture ONE (October 4th, 2017) can read the raw file format of the RX10IV. So I’m actually using Aurora to edit pictures into those lovely over-processed 500px style postcards.

So far so good, the image from the RX10IV is pretty good, usable for short impression videos, not sure about the low light performance, will have to give that a try. The image is a bit noisy, perhaps something to do with my settings, but I don’t remember the RX100 ever being that noisy.

Close call

Just a little bit of surf info: At 0:30 a girl just escaped what could have been a bad accident when a board POPS straight in front of her, imagine getting hit in the face with that much force! It could have been an instant nose job, always a good idea to keep some distance between yourself and anyone with a soft top surfboard.

The surf video was not really planned and just happened after I went for shooting Deer in the dunes, will write-up my experience with the RX10IV as a photo camera another time. A few other things to try to make the video experience more complete: using the XLR Mi hot-shoe adapter to see how sound works, picture profiles, and putting it on a tripod!

Author: maarten

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  1. I’m highly interested in the RX10 Mark IV for mostly stills of nature. The video looks very, very good, considering the nature of the camera: bridge. That lens is nice, but what a bummer that it slows down at the very low end of the range. A lot of money for a “third” camera. A travel and nature zoom as opposed to my DSLR and Mirrorless with assorted lenses. This fits a very long-standing “want” of mine. That cost is a big one to swallow. If the image quality all around is “good enough”, I will likely buy. Thank you for sharing your experiences with this beast.

    • Hi Matt, Thanks, I’m also pretty impressed with this lens. It is a bit disappointing most of the zoom range is F4, but outside in the sun it won’t be a problem. I have written a bit more about my photography experience with the camera, mostly nature shots and some surf shots: http://www.maartentoner.net/filmmaking/gear/rx10-iv-set-phase-detection-on-stun/ The autofocus on this camera really is something to experience, for travel and just walking around photography it’s a real pleasure to use. I also agree it is a lot of money for a third camera and it has it’s specific uses. It was a long time want for me as well and this package was so complete I just had to go for it. Thank you for your comment and I hope you find the other info useful. If you end up buying one I would love to see the results you come up with!

      • Thank you Maarten. I’ve read your comments on your gallery of images taken with the RX10 Mark IV. That bokeh of the buck photograph is particularly illuminating of the trade-offs made with a small sensor and long focal range. The noise I’ve seen so far doesn’t distress me so far. I too, would love to see what a raw conversion could make of these, especially in low-light and high-contrast situations. I’ll be following your journey with this camera. I might rent it for an upcoming vacation, although the cost of that would help just buy the dang thing. Decisions, decisions….. Thanks again.

        • Thanks Matt, glad the info is useful. I agree: the bokeh and trade-off with the smaller sensor was the first thing that sticks out for me as well. Planning a shoot out with the A6500 + Canon 100-400mm, and the RX10IV. Should be interesting, both 600mm equiv. Both good AF and might take the A7RII to throw some full frame in the mix just for kicks 🙂


  1. Tested: RX0 at 1000fps - sonyalpharumors sonyalpharumors - […] Wrote up my experience with the RX10IV and example pictures: http://www.maartentoner.net/filmmaking/gear/rx10-iv-set-phase-detection-on-stun/ And a short example of video with this…

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