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Sony Cyber-Shot RX10: What's hot, what's not!

December 01, 2013 10:20 IST

Sony Cyber-Shot RX10: What's hot, what's not!

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Reviews42.com

For what it does, the RX10 is an incredibly good choice regardless of your requirements

We’ve seen plenty of DSLRs in the past few months, with some of them looking to revolutionise the way we view auto focus such as the Canon EOS 70D. There have even been smart cameras such as the Samsung Galaxy NX which seek to merge the gap between smartphones and professional cameras. But there haven’t been too many cameras like the Sony Cyber-Shot RX10, which seeks to bridge the gap between a DLSR and a point-and-shoot camera.

On one hand, the obvious audience for the former are professional photographers seeking the highest quality possible. The latter’s audience includes your average layperson who only wants to capture quality images without needing to fiddle too much with settings. As such, they also look for the best price. Can a bridge camera like the RX10 -- which is priced high enough to compete with most professional DSLRs -- cater to both segments?


Image: Sony Cyber-Shot RX10
Photographs: sony.co.in

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Sony Cyber-Shot RX10: What's hot, what's not!

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Design

If you’re used to a rugged design that mirrors that of DSLRs in look and feel, then you’ll like the Sony Cyber-Shot RX10. It has a feel similar to most Nikon cameras, with a textured, rubber grip on the right hand side of the device and a magnesium alloy body. It’s pretty heavy at 812 grams, which makes it less than portable for your usual consumer and professional lensman alike. One can’t fault the benefits of moisture and dust resistant seams and seals though.

Nonetheless, it’s easy to handle overall.

Other similarities to DSLRs can be seen with the addition of exposure dials, the ability to zoom in using a switch or with the lens,  a “C” button which acts as a sort of shortcut for altering single settings on the fly (though an Fn button is provided for the same) and more. The usual LiveView and record buttons are also present.

An LED screen is present on top for viewing options in the dark, which comes in handy.

The 3-inch LCD display is especially interesting since you can pop it out and adjust it either 84 degrees upwards or 43 degrees downwards. This allows you to compose shots from elevated or lowered positions without much problem. Articulating screens are nothing new in this day and age, but it would have been better if the RX10’s screen could be shifted left and right as well. It’s a bit limiting compared to most other professional cameras.

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Image: Sony Cyber-Shot RX10
Photographs: sony.co.in

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Interface

The Sony Cyber-Shot RX10 is a fairly straightforward device to operate.

It lacks a touchscreen, so you’ll be using the standard dials and pads to select options. One criticism is the autofocus settings, which need to be adjusted using these same buttons and it quickly becomes cumbersome. It’s otherwise easy to change settings on the device, from the different scene modes (Portrait, Anti Motion Blur, Sports Action, Macro etc.) to the white balance, colour temperature, metering and exposure settings.

You can also lend different filters to give a bit more of a playful touch to images with Soft Focus, Retro Photo and many more. Panorama, HDR and other options are also available for different types of images. Optical SteadyShot is the go-to option for optical image stabilisation.

Other options include connectivity via Wi-Fi and NFC, which helps in sharing images to Android and iOS smartphones and tablets using the PlayMemories Mobile Version 3.0 app. The device also includes an electronic view finder, which presents an extremely clear image when snapping images and video.

You can also choose to switch your finder to the display in case the viewfinder isn’t doing the job. The 3 LCD display allows for Continuous Live View while shooting and can also display a grid (with different settings for Rule of Thirds, 4x6 Square, etc.), histogram, digital level gauge and more.

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Image: Sony Cyber-Shot RX10
Photographs: sony.co.in

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Specs and image quality

The Sony Cyber-Shot RX10 features a 20.2 megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor with a 35 mm equivalent Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar lens and a constant aperture of f/2.8. It also has an optical zoom of 8.3x and overall zoom of 16.6x.

ISO ranges from 100 to 12800 on Auto with a maximum shutter speed of 30 seconds and minimum shutter speed of 1/3200th of a second on Shutter Priority.  There are several settings for auto focus, with the multi-point AF relying on 25 points for focussing.

Video recording in full HD is available with options for 50p AVCHD progressive or 25p frame rates. This is topped off with the new BIONZ X image CPU that reportedly allows for three times the processing speed when capturing still images and video. Storage options include SD, SDHC and SDXC memory slots, and there is a USB 2.0 port and HDMI output port present as well.

The question then is how the camera fares when it comes to still images and video. The answer? Extremely well.

Whether it’s in the form of macro imaging of day-time shots, the Cyber-Shot RX10 delivers exceptional performance. The auto-focus is responsive and works well with the fast shutter speed. Low light settings are also well done, even if they’re a hair or two below the best in their class, with negligible noise visible as the ISO range is cranked up. Even at higher ranges such as ISO 3200, you can still make out a good amount of detail. Images normal settings are otherwise sharp and deliver excellent colour quality.

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Photographs: sony.co.in

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Verdict

For its price, set at Rs 84,990, and the number of options it offers, the Sony Cyber-Shot RX10 delivers on almost every possible front. Our only issue is that it might be out of reach for most casual photographers, while professionals will go with the more tried-and-true range of DLSRs from Nikon and Canon.

Nonetheless, for what it does, the RX10 is an incredibly good choice regardless of your requirements.

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Image: Sony Cyber-Shot RX10
Photographs: sony.co.in

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