Sony RX100 M4: Close-Up Introduction and First Samples

Introduction | Investigations | Sample Photos | References

In progress

This page and its companion pages discuss the macro, or better, close-up, abilities of the Sony RX100 M4. Although the camera has a macro mode (allowing shots from 5 cm), I would not call these photos "macros" and therefore use the term "close-up."

This page calculates the magnification of the Sony RX100 M4 and presents sample photos that demonstrate its close-up abilities.

 

Introduction

Ricoh's small sensor cameras, including the GRs, are extremely good macro shooters. The Ricoh R and CX series as well as the Ricoh GXR S10 and particularly, P10 camera units demonstrate what is possible (see elsewhere on this site). Having a 1" sensor (size: 13.2 x 8.8 mm), the Sony RX100 M4 cannot really compete with these small-sensor cameras. On this page, I calculate the cameras magnification, will look how it fares in comparison to the Sony RX100 M1, and will provide some sample close-up photos.

 

Investigations

Sony does not disclose the maximum possible magnification for the RX100 M4 in macro mode. I took a few test shots (see some examples below) with manual focus and found a minimum object width of

That is, at the telephoto end you get a little more than a postcard, whereas at the wide end you get about half the size of a postcard. With Clear Image Zoom, you get an even smaller minimum image width of about 80 mm, that is, about the size of a credit card - however, at the expense of image quality.

Test Shots

The following informal photos measure the minimum object width (using manual focus) at the extreme ends of the zoom range using a ruler:

Photos: Horizontal sections of test photos at 24 mm (top) and 70 mm (bottom)

Photos: Horizontal section of test photos at 140 mm with Clear Image Zoom

Calculating Maximum Magnification

The above data allows me to calculate the maximum magnification for the Sony RX100 M4 (adopted from dkpeterborough, L-Camera-Forum):

This result is not impressive, but for close-up shots of flowers the close-up abilities of the Sony RX100 M1 are still useful, as the samples below (will) demonstrate.

Minimum Object Width and Zoom

Please note that the minimum object distance increases dramatically with focal length, reaching 30 cm at an equivalent focal length of 70 mm. Thus, you can only sensibly shoot close-up (or "macro") photos at a focal length of 24 mm equivalent, that is, at the wide end of the focal length range.

I also tested the minimum distance and thus, the minimum object width, for different focal lengths (equivalent). Without showing the respective photos here, I list the minimum object widths for some focal lengths:

These are just coarse numbers, because these were no "controlled" tests (done with autofocus). As a result, one might consider using the longest focal length for close-up shots, particularly if you cannot get close to the object.

By the way, with Clear Image Zoom, you can cut the minimum object width in half, that is, you get a minimum object width of about 8 cm, which less than the 10 cm for the optical zoom at 24 mm (equiv.). However, at the largest digital zoom value, image quality is affected. In the end, in some cases, this may be an option to getting "very close"...

The following "quick and dirty" photos taken with Clear Image Zoom at 140 mm (equiv.) and optical zoom at 24 mm (equiv.) demonstrate the differences that you get, particularly if you download the original files (you can see a lot of artifacts there in 100% view for the Clear Image Zoom photos):

    
Clear Image Zoom at 140 mm (equiv.), manual focus - large - original   Optical zoom at 24 mm (equiv.), manual focus - large - original
 
Clear Image Zoom at 140 mm (equiv.), autofocus - large - original   Optical zoom at 24 mm (equiv.), autofocus - large - original

The difference in perspective is also striking, with the optical zoom at the wide end the frog looks distorted.

 

Sample Photos

In preparation

 

References

 

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29.07.2017