The Sony’s DSC RX10 series was introduced in 2014 with the introduction of the original DSC RX10. Since then three other RX10’s have been launched: the RX10 II, III and IV.
Today, we’re doing a Sony RX10 comparison between the original and the Sony RX10 III vs IV.
How much improvement have we seen in the Sony RX10 III vs Sony RX10 IV? And what about the original RX10? Are the older cameras still relevant?
We’re about to find out!
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Sony RX10 Comparison: Sensor
Any Sony RX10 comparison would be incomplete without a mention of the sensor. So here’s the scoop:
All three cameras have a 1” Exmor back-side illuminated sensor (BSI). However, the DSC RX10 II and RX10 IV feature a stacked design BSI sensor. The advantage of a stacked BSI being they gather a larger quantity of light. As a result, the images are less noisy. Additionally, the circuitry itself is faster.
Their megapixel sizes are also slightly different.
The DSC RX10 (original) and the RX10 II are 20.2-megapixel sensors. Whereas the RX10 III and the RX10 IV are 20.1-megapixel sensors.
There are other important changes between each of the cameras.
Sony RX10 Comparison: How About The Build Quality?
To be honest, there’s not much discrepancy between the different build models here.
The original RX10 features a sturdy magnesium alloy construction. And the same true of the RX10 II, III, and the IV.
All of the cameras are weather sealed, ensuring you can use them in inclement weather.
Sony RX10 Comparison on Shooting Video
Video resolution is an important point in this Sony RX10 III comparison. And also where we start noticing some bigger improvements.
The original DSC RX10 shot full HD at frame rates of either 60i and 24p.
All the later versions shoot UHD / 4K at a frame rate of 30 fps. So, if you need UHD resolution videos you should look at the later versions.
Additionally, the RX10 II, III, and IV have S-log2 Gamma. This is useful for a flatter picture control. Plus, you have a greater degree of control when color correcting your footages.
Still performance across the board is very good. In terms of details and resolution as a whole, the Sony RX10 III vs IV is pretty equal. In fact, all four cameras are equally matched.
One thing I can say is the two newer versions of the camera handle noise reduction and sharpening better. Mainly, the RX10 version IV. This is most likely to the new noise reduction and sharpening algorithm that was introduced on this model.
All four cameras use a contrast detection auto-focusing mechanism. However, there’s a significant difference in the number of AF points.
The original RX10 had only 25 AF points. The same as Version II and III. Version IV has 315 AF points.
Pretty big difference, huh?
But what really limits the Sony RX10 III vs IV is the autofocus. The autofocus on the IV is tough to beat! More on that…
Related: Sony DSC-RX100 (Compare the Latest V vs. IV Model)
There are two types of auto-focus systems:
- Contrast detection auto-focusing (CDAF)
- Phase detection auto-focusing (PDAF)
CDAF is commonly found in mirrorless systems and small compact cameras. These smaller cameras generally, don’t have phase detection sensors in them. So they have to be content with CDAF which is slower, but still reliable. The only time it struggles is when the ambient light is very low or when there’s no discernible contrast in the scene to lock focus on.
But the RX10 IV boasts a PDAF system making it a much better camera in terms of auto-focusing prowess.
Continuous Still Shooting Speed
Continuous shooting speed of the RX10 has improved with each generation. The original RX10 shot at 10 fps. The next two shot at a maximum frame rate of 14 fps. The latest RX10 IV shoots at a frame rate of 24fps–more than double the original model.
Combine the frame rate improvements with the auto-focusing technology on the RX100 version IV and you’ve got yourself one heck of a camera. Based on our Sony RX10 comparison, we confidently suggest the IV for action shots.
The latest version is by far the best when it comes to shooting fast action and sports.
BUT! There is one caveat related to the high-speed continuous shooting…
The DSC RX10 IV has a slower than expected buffer. You’ll have to wait longer between bursts for images to be written to the memory card thus clearing the buffer. This could cause you to miss out on some shots as the buffer clears.
The lens is where the magic happens when it comes to shooting images. The first thing we notice in a compact camera is how good the lens is.
The original DSC RX10 and version II feature a 24-200mm lens (35mm format equivalent).
What about the Sony RX10 III vs IV?
Well, both have a 200-600mm (35mm format equivalent) telephoto zoom lens.
Clearly, the later versions are better suited when it comes to long zoom requirements. If you want to photograph things like birds, wildlife, distant objects the RX10 IV is your best best.
The physical lens barrel is bigger too. The older versions I and II used a 62mm filter thread. The newer versions III and IV uses a 72mm filter thread.
The most important feature is the maximum aperture. The original RX10 has a maximum aperture of f/2.8. So does version II. The version III and IV have an aperture range of f/2.8 to f/4.
With the latest versions of the DSC RX10 you get a longer zoom but you have to be content with a smaller amount of light. The maximum aperture at the tele-end is small.
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The RX10 IV has the best noise performance among all four cameras. The camera does not seem to be adding much digital noise. Even at higher ISOs.
That said even the original DSC RX10 performed admirably in low light conditions.
Together, with noise reduction, the RX10 IV has an advanced sharpening algorithm applied. Resulting in the IV retaining a higher amount of detail compared to the previous versions.
When it comes to the rear LCD screen, we found some notable differences in our Sony RX10 comparison.
The latest RX10 IV has the best unit among the four. The two oldest cameras have a normal 3” 1228K-dot tilting Xtra fine TFT LCD screen. Neither have touch properties.
On III, the screen improved to a 1.228m-dot resolution. But still no touch properties. The IV has a 1.44m-dot tilting LCD screen with touch properties.
The advantage of the touch functionality is that you can now use it to focus. This is a much easier process than having to manually select a different AF point using the navigation buttons.
Final Words On The Sony RX10 Comparison
Based on our Sony RX10 comparison, the RX10 IV stands out as the best camera of the lot. If you’re looking for your first digital camera, the RX10 IV definitely makes sense, especially when you’re considering the Sony RX10 III vs IV.
It’s an all-around good camera with still and video shooting capabilities. It stands out with its 325 point on-chip phase detection auto-focusing system. Add to it the S-log2 Gamma and touch to focus capabilities, and wow!
That said, if you already own any of the previous versions of the RX10, it probably doesn’t make sense to upgrade to the latest RX10 IV. There are plenty of other more capable cameras out there. Sony’s more advanced mirrorless systems would be great options if you want to upgrade.
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