Ladies and gentlemen, what you are looking at is one of the most versatile point and shoot cameras on the planet. This is Sony’s RX 100 IV. It may be small, but don’t let its size fool you. There are a good amount of reviews that will give you every spec and detail about this camera, but I have one simple question: Is this the ultimate compact video/YouTube camera?
First, if you’re not familiar with my work, I run a YouTube channel so I live and breathe video. Because of this, my review will be focused on the video side of things, but make no mistake, this camera captures excellent stills as well. I’ve been using this camera for a wide variety of things over the past few weeks. It’s small enough to fit just about anywhere, but packs features that put it in the same league as basic DSLRs. I’ve used it as a B-cam in some of my videos and even a main camera.
With the RX100 IV you’re getting a stacked Exmor RS sensor that’s capable of up to 20.1-megapixel photos, UHD video recording up to 100mbps, and even high frame rate or slo-mo video up to 960 frames per second.
As far as design goes, if you’re familiar the the RX100 III, you won’t find much different here. It’s packing a 24-70mm equivalent lens with an aperture of f1.8 to 2.8 and 2.9x optical zoom, a pop-up electronic view finder, and a pop-up flash. The 3-inch non-touch display on the backside is adjustable, but its range of motion is slightly limited as we’ve seen with previous iterations.
Check out our Sony RX100 IV video review below:
Along the top side we have the dial for the various modes available, a zoom toggle, shutter button, and the on/off button. The back is where you’ll find most of the controls for the camera. This is where you’ll navigate through the menus, change settings, and start recording video. The ring around the lens on the front can be set to perform a variety of custom functions including zoom, but can also be used as a focus ring when manual focus is enabled.
Enough with the spec talk though, let’s discuss video quality. I’m very satisfied in this department. UHD video is very clean and the stabilization works great. You could easily pass this off as a much more expensive camera given the features it has such as a built-in ND filter. [also the lens is wide and microphone is good enough to be used as a vlogging camera if that’s something that you’re into, but unfortunately, there’s no microphone input so you’ll have to make-do with what’s inside or use an external audio recorder.
The only downside here is that the 4K video recording limit is capped at 5 minutes and if you record repeatedly for longer periods of time the camera will eventually shut down due to overheating. It’s not really a deal breaker, but I’ve noticed it on more than one occasion. If you’re recording shorter clips than say back to back 4-5 minute recordings, you shouldn’t run into this issue and hopefully firmware can fix this in the future, but it’s definitely annoying.
UHD video recording will also impact available recording time and battery life as you’d expect. It’s important to note that if you plan on recording UHD video with the RX100, you’ll need a minimum of a 64GB U3 SD card to make it happen. As for battery life, the good news is that this little guy accepts the same batteries as its predecessor, which you can find for dirt cheap if you go for some of the off-brand batteries.
Jump down to 1080p and none of these restrictions are present. The RX100 even has better stability options in lower resolution as well. When it comes to low light performance, this thing is a beast. In my opinion, it performs better than Panasonic’s GH4 in this department. I’ve put together a short low light test as well that you can find here.
For all of you color enthusiasts, the RX100 can even record in flatter profiles such as S-Log 2 which can be found listed as picture profile 7. High frame rate video is cool as well and as mentioned records at 960 fps and is upscaled to 1080p.
I’ll keep this video short and sweet. This is the best pocket camera your money can buy. That being said, it’ll cost you a bit of money. You can pick it up for $950 via B&H Photo. I have no regrets with this purchase. I’m not one to review a lot of cameras, but this one gets my seal of approval without a doubt. Instead of telling you how nice this camera is, I think it’s best to show you. Check out the review video above for a look at some sample footage.