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Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Hands-On Review

We go hands-on with the new Sony Cyber-shot RX10 - the premium bridge camera with 1 inch sensor.

| Sony Cyber-shot RX10 in Compact Cameras
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Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Hands-On Review: Sony Cyber Shot RX10 (16) (Custom)

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 RX10 Hands-On Review: Sony Cyber Shot RX10 (17) (Custom)

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.

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Hands-On Review: Sony Cyber Shot RX10 (11) (Custom)

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.

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
  • 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
  • All pixel-video readout (optimum IQ)
  • Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Handling

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Hands-On Review: Sony Cyber Shot RX10 (9) (Custom)

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.

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Hands-On Review: Sony Cyber Shot RX10 (6) (Custom)

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. 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.

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Hands-On Review: Sony Cyber Shot RX10 (4) (Custom)

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 RX10 Hands-On Review: Sony Cyber Shot RX10 (19) (Custom)

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. 

Focus is quick 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.

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Hands-On Review: Sony Cyber Shot RX10 (14) (Custom)

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.

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Other sample images

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Verdict

The camera 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.

While it may be too soon to say how the camera will perform, if the sensor and image quality from the lens matches the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II, which also features the same 20.2 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor, then we would expect performance to be very good. We will update as soon as we have a full production camera in for review. 

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Specifications

Max Aperturef/2.8
35mm equivalent24mm - 200mm
Optical Zoom8.3x
Image Sensor
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
Min Focus3cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Spot
  • Multi
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/3200sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Bulb modeYes
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Program Variable
  • 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
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 640x480 VGA
  • 1440x1080
Video FPS60p, 50p, 25p
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • Memory Stick (Sony)
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeNP-FW50 Lithium Ion
Battery Life (CIPA rating)420shots
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

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Photographs taken using the Sony Cyber-shot RX10

The caveOn the look out for nuts.On the mossy bank.Up the treeSparrow on the wireDamaged wingLacewingProboscis out.MothOuch!SapoPeacockSilverback The Band.Chewing the grass!Good view from up here.

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pjbw Avatar
pjbw 11 United Kingdom
20 Oct 2013 12:29PM
My 2006 DSC-R1 may not last for ever.
It is great that there may at last be a replacement out there with hopefully at least as good a lens. A worry is that LCD display on top. I will miss the see-everything mode out of the three modes of the R1's truly live EVF and matching screen. I hope it has what I call the exposure mode with histogram and over-exposed areas indicated and that I can see the effect of such as different white balance settings before I take the photo. I will also miss the sideways swivelability of the R1's screen. Hopefully the RX10 will have much faster focusing and metering though.
SmilePlease dear Photozine reviewer please give an accurate indication of the geometric (barrel) distortion at the 24mm wide end (The R1's is only noticeable at f2.8 below about 4 feet). I do a lot of architectural photography in dimly lit buildings where flash/triipods are forbidden and it is essential that the photos have no geometric distortion. Interesting that the lens on the R1 is at its physical shortest at 28mm equiv. and extends again going to 24mm.
maiurb Avatar
maiurb 9
13 Nov 2013 11:19AM
Hi, where is the focus ring, it is the same as the zoom ring and is it possible to save profiles?

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