Sony RX100 M4: Configuration

Introduction: Overview of What Can Be Configured | The Configuration Options in Detail | How I Use the Configuration Options | Conclusions | Links and Books | Appendix: A Demonstration of the Settings Screens

On this page, I describe how you can configure the Sony RX100 M4. I demonstrate the basic configuration options for this camera, but I cannot guarantee that my list of configuration options is complete... I also describe my configuration choices.

Note: I got somewhat crazy about how to write the Sony terminology. Books and manuals differ in many ways. I will write names (on buttons, in menus, etc.) in upper case and italic (or example: the Focus Tracking function, in short, Focus Tracking) and most other things in lower case (even though Sony writes "Control Ring" - but control wheel...). Please note that I am not a native speaker and that there will be many errors...

 

Introduction: Overview of What Can Be Configured (or Configures the Camera...)

In the following, I will describe the options that the Sony RX100 M4 offers for configuration. Configuration means in this case that you can configure certain camera controls (dials, levers, buttons) to behave in different ways, for example, to allow you to set different things (for example, to set exposure, focus, or dynamic range).

Buttons that set variants or modes of a certain function will, on the other hand, not be regarded as configurable here (for example, the flash button that cycles through different flash modes). But some entities may be "borderline cases"...

Note that I might also have chosen to simply list all the menus and their options, but then I would have just replicated the camera manual.

Overview of the RX100 M4 Controls

    

Top view (from left to right to bottom)

  • Mode dial (right)
  • Shutter (release) button
  • Zoom lever (around shutter button)
  • POWER button (ON/OFF)
  • Flash (pop-up)
  • Release button for the flash
  • Control Ring (around the lens) (C)
  • Viewfinder (pop-up; for the release button see below)
     
 

Rear view (from top to bottom)

  • Movie button (MOVIE) (C)
  • Function/Rotate button (C)
  • Menu button
  • Control wheel (turnable, C) with
    • Top: Display (DISP) button (C)
    • Left: Self-timer/Drive Mode button (C)
    • Right: Flash Mode button (C)
    • Bottom: Exposure Compensation/Creativity Style button (C)
    • Center: SET button (C)
  • Playback button
  • Custom button (C)
     
 

Side/rear view

Pop-up viewfinder and release button for the viewfinder at the side (close to the top)

(C) Configurable (more or less...); the former Help/Delete button (? symbol) is now also configurable (in contrast to the RX100 M1) and therefore called Custom button (C symbol).

 

The Configuration Options in Detail

Control Sub-Control Text/Symbols Options Default

My Settings

Control Ring    

Standard: Performs one function that is specific to the selected shooting mode (e.g. P: program shift, A: aperture, S: shutter speed)

Can be set in the Custom menu, Custom Key Settings > Control Ring to one of the following functions:

  • Exposure Compensation, ISO, White Balance, Creative Style, Picture Effect, Zoom (shows the focal length in the display, can be set to step zoom), Shutter Speed, Aperture, Not set (no effect unless you activate a function that requires the use of the control ring, such as manual focus)

The following options always have priority:

  • Press the Fn button: Is used to select the value for the active setting (the same as the control wheel)
  • MF/DMF: Is used to adjust the focus
Standard Zoom (Step Zoom)
Fn Button

 

Fn

Offers twelve slots (in two rows), which can be assigned in the Custom menu, Function Menu Set. to one of the following functions:

  • Too many options (34 plus Not set) to be listed here...

Review: Image rotation

1: Drive Mode
2: Flash Mode
3: Focus Mode
4: Focus Area
5: Exposure Comp.
6: ISO
7: ND Filter
8: Metering Mode
9: White Balance
10: DRO/Auto HDR
11: Smile/Face Detect.
12: None

1: Drive Mode
2: Flash Mode
3: Focus Mode
4: Focus Area
5: Aspect Ratio
6: ISO
7: ND Filter
8: Metering Mode
9: White Balance
10: DRO/Auto HDR
11: Peaking Color
12: Peaking Level

Control Wheel Top button DISP

In the Custom menu DISP Button you can define, which screen types are shown (in cyclic order). There are two options, Monitor and Finder:

  • Monitor: Graphic Display, Display All Info., No Displ. Info., Histogram, Level, For Viewfinder
  • Finder: Graphic Display, Display All Info., No Displ. Info., Histogram, Level
unknown Monitor: Display All Info., No Displ. Info., Histogram, Level, For Viewfinder
Finder: Display All Info., No Displ. Info., Histogram, Level
Left button Self-timer, Drive Mode

Can be assigned in the Custom menu, Custom Key Settings > Left Button to one of the following functions:

  • Too many options to be listed here (50 options or Not set)...
Self-timer, Drive Mode AF/MF Control Toggle
Right button Flash (Mode)

Can be assigned in the Custom menu, Custom Key Settings > Right Button to one of the following functions:

  • Too many options to be listed here...
Flash Mode AEL toggle
Bottom button Exposure Compensation, Creativity Style

Depends on the selected mode:

  • Intelligent Auto (IA), Superior Auto: Photo Creativity Style
  • PAS, Movie, Panorama: Exposure Compensation
  • M: Control wheel toggles between setting aperture and setting shutter speed
Depends on the selected mode Exposure Compensation
Center button SET (no text)

Can be assigned in the Custom menu, Custom Key Settings > Center Button to one of the following functions:

  • Too many options to be listed here...

In the Standard setting, the center button activates focus tracking - or the movement of the flexible spot if this focus mode is activated. If the focus magnifier is active, the center button toggles between magnifications.

Also used to set (confirm) values.

Standard Standard
Wheel   Used to select values by turning the control wheel clockwise or counter-clockwise. n.a. n.a.
Custom/Delete Button   C Too many options to be listed here (50 options or "Not set")... In-Camera Guide Focus Magnifier

Note that many of the controls perform additional tasks such as moving the AF area, switching between functions, etc. Moreover, half-pressing the shutter button cancels playback and magnifications modes and exits menus and help screens.

In the table above, I also list my current configuration, but do not take that information too seriously. My assignments may change over time and according to my changing needs and habits - and I may forget to update our assignments here...

 

How I Use the Configuration Options

On this page, I more or less describe the "mechanics" of the configuration options for the Sony RX100 M4. For ways of using them, I would like to point you to some books where this topic is dealt with (see links below).

Nevertheless, I tried to use the configuration options so that I can achieve certain functionalities more easily. I describe this in the following. On page Sony RX100 M1: Custom Settings, I describe several ways how you can configure the camera controls. I do not want to repeat this here, and instead will only present my current solution and possible variants. On the RX100 M4, there is one more configurable button available, namely the C (custom) button. This seemingly small difference makes indeed things a lot easier on this camera, compared with the RX100 M1.

Overview of the Configuration

On the RX100 M4, I use the left and right buttons for the AF and AE lock functions, whereby the AF/MF Control Toggle function "simulates" an AF lock and at the same time also toggles between AF and MF. The center button remains in the Standard setting, which enables focus tracking (AF Area set to Center or Wide) or moving the flexible AF spot (AF Area set to Flexible Spot or Expand Flexible Spot). The custom button is also configurable on this camera and can be used for activating the Focus Magnifier function, as I currently do. This is not possible on the RX100 M1. All this leads to the following assignments:

Note: I assigned the overwritten default functions of the control wheel buttons (Self-timer/Drive Mode and Flash Mode) to positions in the Fn menu (see table above).

Configuration of the Custom Keys

The Custom Key Settings are done in the Custom menu, page 5:

         

The Custom Key Settings menu item in the Custom menu (page 5) allows you to assign functions to the custom keys

 

The Custom Key Settings (page 1 of 1...), Control Ring selected

 

Example of a submenu, here for the control ring; other submenus are similar but may show different functions.

In the following, I describe the settings for the custom keys, except for the control ring, which is dealt with further below.

AEL (Automatic Exposure Lock, Right Button)

Implementing an easy access to AE lock is simple because there is already such a function available, namely AEL toggle. You simply have to assign it to a configurable button. In my case, I assigned this function to the right button of the control wheel.

    

Figures: AE lock is indicated at the bottom right of the screen by an asterisk (right); it is a toggle function (left: AE lock not activated).

AFL (Autofocus Lock, Left Button)

AF lock, however, is not directly available as a function, and you need a work-around to simulate this functionality. In the end, this work-around is even more powerful than a simple AFL function. The work-around is provided by the AF/MF Control Toggle function, which does what its name says. The important trick, however, is that when you switch from AF to MF, the camera sets MF to the distance (or focus) that AF had set before. Thus, if you toggle from AF to MF you effectively lock the focus - as long as you do not change the focus manually. The latter might even be an option if you think that the focus needs some improvement (for example, if you are not quite sure, whether AF really set the focus to infinity see below). That's why I wrote that the work-around is even more powerful than a simple AFL function.

All you need to make the AF/MF Control Toggle function easily accessible, is to assign it to another configurable button - I use the left button of the control wheel for this purpose. Of course, you can reverse the arrangement (that is, exchange the functions that you assigned to the left and right buttons).

By the way, on the RX100 M4 it is possible to set the distance to infinity thanks to the distance scale that briefly appears on the screen, when you focus manually (that is, when you turn the control ring). Particular for infinity, you no longer need to point the camera to a distant object as is necessary with the RX100 M1, because it is at then end of the scale. And if you are unsure about in which direction to turn the control ring, the distance scale will also tell you whether you are right or wrong...

Note: I assigned the overwritten default function of the control wheel button (Self-timer/Drive Mode) to a position in the Fn menu (see table above).

Focus Magnifier (Custom Button)

I found out that it is best, to assign the Focus Magnifier function to the custom button so that the center button can be used for the purposes described below. Use the center button to run through the magnifications, but note that this ends the magnification after a magnification of 17 x (in contrast to the RX100 M1, which cycles through the magnifications).

Note: I assigned the overwritten default function of the control wheel button (Flash Mode) to a position in the Fn menu (see table above).

Center Button on Standard: Support for the Flexible Spot or for Focus Tracking

If you set the center button to Standard, the behavior of this button can depend on some other camera settings, for example, of the Autofocus Area setting. I found the following two further assignments quite useful:

Note: At the moment, I use the assignments with Autofocus Area set to Center, so that the center button activates the default function of Focus Tracking. Whenever I want to use the flexible spot, I set the Autofocus Area to Flexible Spot.

Configuration of the Fn Button

The Fn button offers twelve slots (in two rows), each of which can be assigned in the Custom menu, Function Menu Set. to one of 34 functions plus Not set. That is, you can not only assign these functions to the 12 slots, but you can also determine the positions of the functions. This can be handy in case that you often change the same functions (for example, ISO and DRO/HDR). If you place them to nearby slots, changing their attributes is easier as if you place them at opposite ends of the two-row table.

The following screens demonstrate how functions are assigned to the slots of the Fn button menu:

         

The Function Menu Set. menu item in the Custom menu (page 5) allows you to assign 12 function to the Fn menu slots.

 

The assignment is done on two pages, one for the upper slots...

 

... and one for the lower slots.

         

Since I do not need the Smile/Face Detect. function...

 

... I assign the DRO/Auto HDR function the the fifth lower slot...

 

..not seeing that it had already been assigned to a slot...

          Note that the assignments shown here are not my current assignments!

So I set the fifth slot to Not set for the moment...

 

As can be seen on this page

 

 

And here is how the Fn button menu looks:

    

Fn button menu, DRO/HDR Auto selected

 

The DRO/HDR Auto settings

Differently from the RX100 M1, the Fn buttons enters and exits the menu. The four control wheel buttons move you through the menu table, and the control wheel itself (or the control ring) is used to select options. You can also press the center button to enter a selection screen with its own rules as shown in the right figure above. Sony engineers...

Above, I listed the following "personal" assignment of functions to the Fn button menu slots:

  1. Drive Mode
  2. Flash Mode
  3. Focus Mode
  4. Focus Area
  5. Aspect Ratio
  6. ISO
  7. ND Filter
  8. Metering Mode
  9. White Balance
  10. DRO/Auto HDR
  11. Peaking Color
  12. Peaking Level

This is the current state, and it will take some time before I really know, which functions I use often and should therefore be added to the Fn button menu. And the positions are also preliminary (and inspired by the original state of the menu).

Configuration of the Control Ring

Usually, the control ring is set to Standard and performs one function that is specific to the selected shooting mode (e.g. P: program shift, A: aperture, S: shutter speed). I set the control ring, however, to Zoom to utilize the Step Zoom feature, because I like to use "default" focal lengths (24, 28, 35, 50, 70 mm), and there are also some additional benefits to this. This requires some additional settings to be made, which are described on the page about zoom modes and repeated here:

First, you have to enable zooming with the control ring (Custom menu, page 5, Custom Key Settings > set Control Ring to Zoom):

         

The Custom Key Settings menu item in the Custom menu (page 5) allows you to select Zoom as operation for the control ring (default: Standard)

 

Control Ring selected (page 1) ...

 

... and set to Zoom

Secondly, in the Custom menu, page 5, you can enable or disable the Step Zoom feature:

         

The Zoom Func. on Ring menu item in the Custom menu (page 5) allows you to select Step Zoom or a faster version of the continuous zoom (Quick).

 

Step Zoom selected

 

Step Zoom is indicated on the LCD screen (or in the EVF)

 

Conclusions

The Sony RX100 M4 looks like a highly customizable camera. At a closer look, however, I felt more constrained than with, for example, the Ricoh cameras. The options look fairly complex at first sight, and the minor differences between some options make configuration also a little bit confusing. Nevertheless, I found out that it is possible to overcome some limitations of the camera by using the configuration options, which is good news, after all.

 

Links and Books

 

Appendix: A Demonstration of the Settings Screens

In the following, I show the settings screens that you will find in the camera's Custom menu:

         
         
   

Note that on screen 5 you can see the assignments that I describe above (left, center, and right button on the control wheel, custom buttom, Fn menu button, control ring)

Many of the menu items have sub-menus (and these may also have sub-menus...).

Note that the settings shown may or may not correspond to my own choices (most of them do, but currently I use a 3 x 3 grid)...

 

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22.10.2017