Price: $1200 (street price)
Still the one
THE LOW-DOWN: The fourth iteration of the Sony RX100 looks and feels like its predecessors (no bad thing) but has two standout new features. One is the very high resolution pop-up electronic viewfinder and the other is the new “stacked” sensor. (See tinyurl.com/qa5s7hk for technical details). What this means for the user is faster processing, a higher burst rate – 16fps – and incredible slow motion video shot at 1000fps. To use the 4K video function a 64Gb SCXD memory card is mandatory. The tough, elegant little aluminium body is unchanged, which means that the buttons and knobs are still tiny. The excellent Zeiss-branded 24—70mm f1.8/2.8 lens is as good as we remember it.
LIKE: The programmable lens-concentric ring is an excellent feature, particularly when used for manual focus with focus aids turned on for enlargement and focus peaking. Image quality is good, with one exception (see below). 4K video is brilliant.
DISLIKE: We found that using the Standard picture profile with default settings resulted in gross over-saturation of reds, with colour bleeding overwhelming all fine detail. We changed to Neutral and wound saturation down two notches and that improved things, but there is no excuse for the default settings.
VERDICT: Right from the first release of the Sony RX100 we have regarded it as the best compact and version IV is still the one to beat. The price is now very high for a compact, even one with the larger-than-usual 2.5cm sensor. The Canon Powershot G7X matches the Sony, spec for spec on all points except that it has no viewfinder, and costs $800. The Canon won’t do 4K video but for most people that will not be a deal-breaker. The verdict is that the Sony is best, but at a pause-inducing premium.