Someone needs to tell Sony they shouldn’t try to market the RX10 IV as an equivalent of the a9. It’s not, nor will it ever be. It was a rather disjointed conference from the start. Will give props to the marketing for having non-crazy music – Nikon – but that’s about it.

When the North American head came on and said you could get similar images with interchangeable lens system, but could you hold it your hand? You read that right. That’s a Sony exec asking why buy the a9 when this fits in your hand. Brother, you know the Sony a-series are the flagships of the company’s camera business, right?

Besides the miscues of the presentation, the camera itself looks to be a misfire. And not because of its features. It’s pretty stacked when it comes to that. No, the problem is the price. $1700. For a point-and-shoot? Ouch. You are heading towards the realm of the Panasonic GH5 or even the Sony a7sII. The Sony a7sII is a full-frame with all the video capability in the world. Odd look for the company. Especially comparing a one-inch sensor to full-frame. Then there is the line of Sony APS-C cameras.

Sony RX10 IV example shot

Sony RX10 IV

Now, if you do want a powerhouse point-and-shoot, it looks like the top of the line. The one-inch stacked CMOS sensor is rated at 20.1 megapixels. The selling point is it has the fastest AF of any fixed lens camera, no matter the focal length. And it can reach out and touch someone with the Zeiss 24-600mm (35mm equivalent) f/2.4-4 fixed zoom lens.

Here’s Sony’s take on the new RX member:

“For the first time in a Cyber-shot camera, the RX10 IV model employs High-density Tracking AF technology,” Sony says. “This advanced technology, which had only been previously available in a select few of Sony’s acclaimed line of α interchangeable lens cameras, concentrates AF points around a subject to improve tracking and focus accuracy, allowing even the most unpredictable subjects including fast-moving athletes and birds in flight to be captured with ease.”

Sony, you’re cannibalizing your damn a-6000 series. Great features, but awful messaging.

In-camera optical stabilization helps with 4.5 stops of shake compensation. That’s a must when it stretches out to 600mm.

Sony RX10 IV focal lengths

Other features include 24fps, an OLED screen viewfinder, a 3-inch, 1.44-million dot LCD touchscreen. Damn impressive.

Video

Those hoping for 4K60p can look away. It’s not happening and will probably be reserved for the a9s or the a7sIII. It does handle 4K video with full pixel readout and over samples by 1.7x. The hybrid AF system makes an appearance here. XAVC S9 codec (a data rate of up to 100Mbps), 120p recording in Full HD mode, Picture Profile, S-Log3/S-Gamut3, Gamma Display Assist, Proxy recording, Time Code / User Bit, microphone in, headphone out, and up to 960fps slow motion.

All great features, but damn it Sony, 4K, 60 frames per second. The iPhone is about to have that feature.

Who Would Want the RX10 IV?

The easy answer is tourists who want to capture amazing images. It would make for a handy backup camera for professionals. But most have an interchangeable lens camera body waiting in the wings. An a9 owner might have an a6500 in their bag just in case. Maybe an a7rII. Being around enough photographers, I’ve yet to see one pull out a point-and-shoot with a giant fixed lens. The crop factor is too severe. Now a Sony RX100V? That you see quite often because of the sheer portability.

Sony RX10 IV example shot 2

Sony, where’s the good stuff?

Today was billed on rumor sites as game-changing, but any tech company would be insane to compete with Apple for press. Today is international iPhone Day. When will we see the next big leap forward?

Two paths of thinking. Around the October release date of the RX10 IV, we should see a big event for the a-series. Rumors are it’ll be an a7iii – think nerfed a9, and you’re on the right track. Or, we see Sony drop the hammer to counter Nikon’s D850 megapixel beast with the a9r. Being a smart ass, they could announce the a6700 and piss everyone off. I’m kidding. I think…

One item that’s lacking is lenses. Sony may be growing the market, but it lacks the library of lenses Nikon and Canon depend on.

Wrapping up the presentation, I can see why they held back. Today is Apple’s day. Just facts of life. Why announce an a9r or something amazing when Jony Ive is prepping to rain all over your parade. Sound off on what you think of the announcement.

Preorders have begun at the usual suspects: B&H

Be sure to check out our guides on the best drones, mirrorless cameras, DSLR cameras and vlogging setups.

Images are from Sony, and you can view the EXIF data on its website.


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