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Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Review

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Review - The premium Sony Cyber-shot RX10 bridge camera with 1inch sensor and bright f/2.8 Carl Zeiss lens reviewed.

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Category : Compact Cameras
Product : Sony Cyber-shot RX10
Price : £1,049
Rating :
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Sony Cyber Shot DSC RX10 (4)

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 is one of the first, if not the only bridge camera with a larger than 2/3inch sensor since the Sony Cyber-shot R1 in 2005, which famously featured a 10 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and 5x Carl Zeiss lens. The Sony Cyber-shot RX10 features a 1 inch 20.2 megapixel CMOS sensor and an 8.3x Carl Zeiss lens. The RX10 will be available from the end of November.

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Features

Sony Cyber Shot DSC RX10 (5)

With a camera body that resembles a Digital SLR, and the weight to match at 755g (body only), the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 features a Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* 8.3x optical zoom lens, equivalent to 24-200mm in 35mm terms, with a constant f/2.8 aperture, which goes some way to justify the weight and size of the camera. The camera features diffraction-reducing technology, much like the technology found in recent Fujifilm X cameras, designed to maintain clarity even when using smaller apertures.

The rear features a 3inch tilting screen, as well as a 1,440k dot electronic viewfinder (with eye-detection sensor), and rather uniquely for this camera, on top is an LCD screen much like you would find on a mid to professional range Digital SLR.

Sony Cyber Shot DSC RX10 (7)

FullHD video recording is included at 60p/25p and stereo sound, and you'll also find microphone and headphone sockets on the side, which means that the camera is designed for professional video recording. The other side of the camera gives you access to the memory card slot, which accepts either Sony Memory Sticks or SD/SDHC/SDXC cards.

Key Features

  • 20.2 megapixel 1.0-type back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor
  • Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* f/2.8 24-200mm (35mm equivalent) zoom
  • 8.3x optical zoom lens with Optical SteadyShot
  • 1440k dot OLED Tru-Finder electronic viewfinder
  • 3inch tilting LCD screen, 1229k WhiteMagic
  • New BIONZ X processor with 3x faster processing speed
  • Eye-AF focuses on subjects eyes
  • Top mounted LCD
  • Multi-interface hot-shoe
  • Manual controls
  • Full HD video, 60p, 25p
  • Magnesium alloy weather-sealed body
  • All pixel-video readout (optimum IQ)
  • Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Handling

Sony Cyber Shot DSC RX10 (20)

A large rubber hand grip surrounds the right hand side where you hold the camera with your right hand, and on the back this continues all the way round to where there is a shaped area for your thumb to hold onto. Above the thumb is where you'll find the exposure compensation dial. If you hold the camera with two hands, which is recommended due to the size and weight of the camera, then the left hand side of the camera (viewed from the rear) also features a rubberised grip that goes round to the front of the camera.

On the lens you will find the zoom ring, as well as a manual aperture ring. The zoom ring controls the lens zoom, which is a power zoom, and the aperture ring lets you set the aperture between f/2.8 and f/16, making the camera feel like using a more traditional camera - the aperture clicks can be switched off, letting you smoothly and silently change aperture during video recording. You can set the shutter speed using the rear scroll wheel, for full manual control over exposure.

The top left of the camera features the mode dial, and the camera even features a sensor plane marking so you know where the sensor sits in the camera. The Sony multi-interface hotshoe means the camera is compatible with a number of Sony accessories, as well as generic devices that use the flash hot-shoe, such as LED lighting etc.

Sony Cyber Shot DSC RX10 (1)

A small pop-up flash is included, as well as a generous LCD screen (with illumination button next to it), which gives shooting information, as well as remaining shots and battery life. The shutter release features a thread for screw in shutter release cables, and there is a zoom rocker surrounding the shutter release button, with the on/off switch behind. This means you can also control the zoom with power zoom, which is important for smooth zoom during video recording.

Sony Cyber Shot DSC RX10 (11)

The tilting rear screen on the back has a high resolution, and is clear to see. The electronic viewfinder features a 1,440k dot resolution, dioptre correction, as well as an eye-detection sensor so that when it's held up to your eye it will automatically switch to the viewfinder. The viewfinder is clear and bright and updates smoothly, however did seem to pick up flicker from other screens such as monitors. 

Sony Cyber Shot DSC RX10 (15)

As will other recent Sony cameras, the body features NFC (Near Field Communication) and built in Wi-Fi so that you can simply touch the camera to a compatible NFC enabled smartphone to setup the connection. The Sony PlayMemories Mobile app will then allow you to remote control the camera, as well as download and share photos from the device. At the time of testing the Sony PlayMemories Mobile app hadn't yet been updated to include support for the RX10, however we were able to control the camera remotely and transfer photos.

The menus are clearly laid out and resemble the menus from other Sony Alpha cameras, making it easy for anyone familiar with another Sony Alpha camera to switch over to this camera. The function button brings up a set of options that can be quickly changed without having to go into the menu system, and these options can be customised. On top is a custom button that can be customised, and the 4-way direction pad on the rear can also be customised, along with the AEL button and control wheel on the back.

Sony Cyber Shot DSC RX10 (18)

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 420 shots according to Sony / CIPA test results, and as the camera uses a Sony Info-Lithium battery you know exactly how much battery life is left as it is shown as a percentage, e.g 57%. Charging is performed with the battery inside the camera using the provided USB cable and USB charger.

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

  Sony Cyber-shot RX10
Shutter Response <0.05
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.1
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.1
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.9
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.6
Shot to Shot with Flash 1.1
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
8fps (26 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash 1fps
Continuous Shooting - RAW / RAW+JPEG 6fps (9 shots)

Focus and shutter response are both extremely fast, with a focus assist light helping in low light conditions. The focus can be set using a front switch which gives the option of single, continuous, direct-MF, and manual focus. Class 10 SD Card used.

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Sample Photos


Sample Photos - There is no red-eye in the flash portrait photo, and the camera captures the blurred background well. The camera features eye-AF to automatically focus on a subject's eye, and the 8.3x optical zoom lens and bright f/2.8 aperture means you have the versatility to capture pleasing portrait photos either close up or from afar. Exposure is reliable and the camera produces bright saturated images straight from the camera with pleasing colours.

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Lens test images


Lens Performance - Detail captured by the camera is impressive, whether shooting at the wide-angle end of the lens or using full optical zoom, and quality is good across the image. There is slight chromatic aberration towards the edges of the image in contrasting areas. The lens is quite resistant to flare with some appearing when the sun is in the frame, and the camera does a good job correcting any distortion. Closest focus is 3cm from the front of the lens when shooting wide-angle, or 30cm from the front of the lens when shooting at full optical zoom.  

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 ISO test images


ISO Noise Performance - Noise is very low at ISO80, ISO100, ISO200 and ISO400. There is a slight increase in noise at ISO800. At ISO1600 detail starts to drop off, and at ISO3200 fine detail is lost as noise increases. ISO6400 shows more noise again and you can see the quite strong noise reduction when viewed at 100%, however images may still be usable. ISO12800 shows more noise, and colour saturation suffers. ISO25600 is available with multi-frame noise reduction, however these last two ISO settings are probably best avoided if at all possible.

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 White-balance test images


White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs quite well under tungsten lighting with a slightly warm result and for more accurate colour using the tungsten preset has improved the image. AWB performs quite well under fluorescent lighting as well, and the fluorescent presets give a different colour cast depending which you choose. For the most accurate results using manual white balance or correcting the raw images would be recommended.

Sony Cyber Shot RX10 Panoramic DSC00117 | 1/500 sec | f/5.6 | 8.8 mm | ISO 125
1/500 sec | f/5.6 | 8.8 mm | ISO 125

Panorama mode - Panoramic sweep lets you press the shutter release button and pan the camera from one side to the other, with the camera automatically stitching the photo together. This works reasonably well, although it can take a couple of times to get the speed right.

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Outdoor images


Dynamic Range Optimisation (DRO) takes one photo and adjusts the levels to bring out more detail in shadow areas. High Dynamic Range (HDR) mode takes three photos at different exposures and automatically combines them in camera to produce images with extended dynamic range.  DRO can be set to auto or Level 1 to 5 depending on how strong you want the effect to be. Similarly HDR can be set to auto or EV1 to 6 giving you control over the effect. When shooting with the HDR mode, RAW is not available, however the camera does save a standard JPEG image as well as the HDR version.

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Digital filters


Digital Filters - Picture effects include: Toy camera, Pop Color, Posterization, Retro Photo, Soft High-key, Partial Color, Retro Photo, Soft High-key, Partial Color, High Contrast Mono., Soft Focus, HDR Painting, Richtone Monochrome, Miniature, Watercolor, Illustration. When shooting JPEG+RAW, the JPEG quality is set to JPEG Fine, and JPEG X. Fine is not available.

Video - The RX10 offers full HD video at 60p, 25p and 24p with stereo sound. There is a clean HDMI output, as well as microphone and headphone sockets on the side. Quality is very good, although audio is susceptible to wind noise when using the internal microphone. Additional videos can be found on the ePHOTOzine YouTube channel.


Value For Money

The Sony Cyber-shot RX10 is available for £1049, with the nearest compact camera competitors with a bright zoom lens being the Panasonic Lumix FZ200 with 24x optical zoom lens and f/2.8 aperture at £375, and the Olympus Stylus 1 with 10.7x optical zoom lens and f/2.8 aperture at £550, although neither feature a large sensor or weather sealing.

The nearest you will get to the RX10 with a large sensor is a digital SLR or CSC such as the Panasonic Lumix GH3 (£800), 12-35mm f/2.8 (£849), and 35-100mm f/2.8 (£1099), with a total of roughly £2750, or alternatively a Nikon D7100 (£765), 17-55mm f/2.8G (at roughly £1065) and 70-200mm f/2.8G (at £1579), coming in at around £3400.

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Verdict

The RX10 feels extremely well built, with a solid body and ample rubber grip, making it feel comfortable to hold in hand. The large number of manual controls on the camera, such as aperture and exposure compensation makes the camera feel like a real camera, rather than just an electronic gadget, and the build quality and large high quality lens goes a long way to justify the price of the camera.

The RX10 features the same excellent sensor and image quality to match the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II, and performance is excellent whether using the useful 24mm wide-angle equivalent, or using the full 8.3x optical zoom. The bright f/2.8 constant aperture makes it possible to create pleasing background blur, and noise performance is excellent. The camera is quite large for a bridge camera, but considerably smaller than the DSLR equivalent, and certainly delivers outstanding image quality. 

The Sony Cyber-shot RX10 is expensive for a compact camera, although could be considered somewhat unique, featuring a bright zoom lens, and a larger sensor, which makes the value for money rating difficult, and if you compare the price you'd pay for a f/2.8 lens for a DSLR then it makes it seem like very good value for money, and for many the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 will be just the camera they've been looking for. 


 
  The Sony Cyber-shot RX10 features an excellent f/2.8 8.3x optical zoom lens and image quality to match.

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Pros

Excellent f/2.8 8.3x optical zoom lens
Excellent noise performance
Excellent image quality
Top illuminated LCD screen
Mic/Headphone sockets
Aperture ring - clickless option
Good quality EVF and screen
Built in Wi-Fi and NFC
Very fast focus speeds
Weather-sealed body
8fps continuous shooting

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Cons

USB battery charging in-camera
JPEG X-Fine not available with JPEG + RAW
Price is (justifiably) quite high

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Specifications

ManufacturerSony
Lens
Max Aperturef/2.8
35mm equivalent24mm - 200mm
Optical Zoom8.3x
Image Sensor
CCD pixels20.2Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)5472
Pixels (H)3468
Sensor TypeBack-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)
Sensor Size1inch
Sensor Size (width)13.2mm
Sensor Size (height)8.8mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 3:2
  • 4:3
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution1,228,800 dots
Touch ScreenNo
Focusing
Min Focus3cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Spot
  • Multi
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/3200sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Program Variable
Metering
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity80 - 25600
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
Exposure Comp+/-3
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting10fps
Video
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080
  • 640x480 VGA
  • 1440x1080
Video FPS60p, 50p, 25p
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Interface
HDMIYes
USBUSB 2
Wi-FiYes
Storage
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • Memory Stick
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeNP-FW50 Lithium Ion
CIPA Rating420
Box Contents
Box ContentsRechargeable Battery Pack NP-FW50, AC Adaptor AC-UB10 / UB10B / UB10C / UB10D, Micro USB cable, Shoulder strap, Lens cap, Shoe cap, Lens hood, Eyepiece Cup, Instruction Manual
Dimensions
Weight755g
Width129mm
Height88.1mm
Depth102.2mm

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Photographs taken using the Sony Cyber-shot RX10

Hydrangea in my back gardenHead of hydrangea
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Comments


Niknut e2
4 644 63 United Kingdom
22 Nov 2013 4:57PM
Ooooo...what a cracking piece of kit !!

Smallish, though heavy for what it is ?.....but a great specification, & ideal lens
range for my type of work !

The test images are exquisite....so smooth & crisp, up to 1600iso !

Check out the White Balance studio shots....click on the 'hi-res' button, then click on
the + button to zoom in very close.....look at the area around that red Nikon compact
& marvel at the smooth detail, particularly in the material of the Crumpler Bag......!!!

VERY impressive !!

Great review of this superb camera....Sony are getting it 95% right at long last !!

The only minor beef is why hasn't it got a 2.4M dot EVF ??.....for 1000 +, I'd expect
only the very best spec., if they can fit one to the NEX6, for about 600, then this
beauty should have the same !!!!!!!!!

Gonna save my pennies, & persuade my missis that I need another camera ??..ooooer !!

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22 Nov 2013 10:53PM
Thanks for review. Looks like a very interesting camera.
A couple of questions:
How many stops equivalent is the optical image stabilisation good for?
I've read (rightly or wrongly) that the image stabilisation in the Sony RX100 is only equivalent to about 2 stops, compared to 3-4 for competitors and some other Sony lenses.

Any comments on how the image quality from the lens compares to that from something covering a roughly similar range, like the Nikon 18-140mm (27-210 mm equiv) f3.5-5.6 APS-C lens?
I think the f2.8 lens on a 1" sensor is roughly equivalent to an f4 lens on APS-C (?)

I'm very tempted to buy the RX10 - some good points for my usage are the lens range, fast-ish lens for the sensor size, weather-resistance, video performance, and weight compared to the capabilities.
23 Nov 2013 3:45PM
photo quality look great.
I've had mine for a couple of days now and think it's great!

The main thing is the handling and feel of the camera (obviously combined with the spec which seems spot on to me).Smile
Niknut e2
4 644 63 United Kingdom
23 Nov 2013 7:56PM

Quote: I've had mine for a couple of days now and think it's great!



Now I'm jealous !!!!!!!!.Smile
26 Nov 2013 2:38PM
Looks interesting yet to be released in India though .. Grin
27 Nov 2013 2:37PM
"Charging is performed with the battery inside the camera using the provided USB cable and USB charger."

Is this the only means of charging the battery, or does it have a battery charger as well?
joshwa e2
4 603 United Kingdom
27 Nov 2013 3:08PM

Quote: "Charging is performed with the battery inside the camera using the provided USB cable and USB charger."

Is this the only means of charging the battery, or does it have a battery charger as well?

No, it does not, you get a USB cable, and USB power adapter that can be plugged into the wall socket, the battery stays in the camera while the battery is charged. A lot of manufacturers are doing this, and if you want a normal battery charger it's an optional extra.
KeithOT 8 10 United Kingdom
27 Nov 2013 5:55PM
I've got a Sony DSC-R1 which I've had for a long time really because I've not seen anything I would replace it with - until now, but 1000 mmm now I'm a pensioner I think it will have to wait. I suppose the price is the equivalent of the DSC-R1 in 2007. Twitch twitch!
MikeBe 7 United Kingdom
4 Jan 2014 4:28PM
Once the price drops to sub 800 I'm in!
Now that I've paid off my tax arrears I'm hoping to be able to upgrade my photographic gear later this year. The RX10 is definitely on my wish list, but I wonder, as it only zooms to 200mm, is it really a bridge camera? Though I'm mainly into photographing landscapes, I also like to take telephoto shots of birds, ships etc. I encounter on my wanders. The RX10 has a superior digital zoom, but is it capable of producing a 50% better image of a 100,000 ton oil tanker at a distance of 3 kilometers than my Coolpix is? Reviewers, unfortunately, rarely explore the digital zoom capabilities of cameras they are testing. In the case of most compact cameras the results are going to be predictably awful anyway. However, for me the competence of the RX10s digital zoom extension is the decision making criterion for buying or not buying it.
MikeBe 7 United Kingdom
2 Jul 2014 3:19PM
Price in UK is now down to 725 (after cash back) so is now comparable to the new Panasonic FZ1000 in price. Overall I still prefer the Sony to the FZ1000 so will be placing an order now it is well below my magic figure!

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