Sony RX100 M4: Configuration

Introduction: Overview of What Can Be Configured | The Configuration Options in Detail | How to Use the Configuration Options | Conclusions | Links and Books

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

 

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

In the following, I will describe the options that the Ricoh GR offers for configuration. Configuration means here that you can configure certain camera controls (dials, levers, buttons) to behave differently, for example, to allow to set different things (for example, to set exposure, focus, or dynamic range).

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

Note that I could also have chose to simple list all the menus and their options, but then I would have simply 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: Center (SET) button (C)
  • Playback button
  • Help ("C") (C)/Delete button
     
 

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 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 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 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: Exposure Comp.
6: ISO
7: ND Filter
8: Metering Mode
9: White Balance
10: DRO/Auto HDR
11: Smile/Face Detect.
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 display info, Histogram, Level, For viewfinder
  • Finder: Graphic display, Display all info, No display info, Histogram, Level
DISP Monitor: Display all info, No display info, Histogram, Level, For viewfinder
Finder: Display all info, No display 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

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

  • Standard, AEL toggle, AF/MF control toggle, Focus magnifier

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 Button   C Too many options to be listed here... 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 buttons cancels playback and magnifications modes and exits menus and help screens.

 

How to 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).

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 our changing needs and habits - and I may forget to update my assignments here... Nevertheless, I tried to use the configuration options so that I can achieve certain functionalities more easily. I will describe this in the following.

Left (or Right)/Custom Button: Using Manual Focus

To make using manual focusing easier for me, it is possible to configure the left and Custom button of the control wheel as follows: The left button is assigned to the AF/MF toggle function (you may also use the right button), whereas the Custom button is assigned to the Focus magnifier function (note: If you would assign the AF/MF toggle function to the center button, the left and right buttons are used to move rectangle that represents the magnified section of the screen, and there is no chance to toggle the AE Lock function at least, as long as focus magnification is active).

Note: I assigned the overwritten default function of the control wheel buttons (drive mode/self-timer or flash mode, depending on whether you use the left or right button for the AF/MF toggle function) to a position in the Fn button menu (see table above).

What is the Benefit of this Assignment?

Assigning the AF/MF toggle function to a configurable button makes it easy to set the camera to manual focus (and back to AF again - AF-S to be precise). While you can enable manual focus assist (magnification) and focus peaking, it is often disturbing for me that I can activate magnification only by turning the control ring. Often, however, I set MF to the minimum focus distance and do not want to turn the control ring (usually, I forget in which direction In have to turn it; luckily, the M4 shows a distance scale, which helps - the M1 does not) to activate magnification. I prefer to activate magnification using a button. This means that I have to use the focus magnification function instead of the focus assist function (you can also leave the focus assist function on), which is a little more complex but also offers more options.

With this assignment, I can easily switch to manual focus, adjust the focus with or without magnification and peaking, and turn magnification on as needed.

Left/Right Button: Using AE Lock/AF Lock (and Manual Focus Support!)

You can configure the left and right buttons of the control wheel to achieve something like AE Lock (AEL) and AF Lock (AFL). By the way, this is compatible with the settings above, meaning that you get the lock functions as well as manual focus support.

AEL is easy because there is already such a function available: AE Lock, which is a toggle function. You simply have to assign it to a configurable button for easier access. 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, 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). 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. And as described above, 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 button).

I found out that it is best, to assign the Focus magnifier function to the Custom button - it should not be assigned to the left or right button. If you assign one of the toggle functions to the center button, the left and right buttons are used to move rectangle that represents the magnified section of the screen. This "blocks" those buttons for other purposes, and there is no chance to toggle the original function (as long as focus magnification is active).

Note: I assigned the overwritten default functions of the control wheel buttons (drive mode/self-timer and flash mode) to positions in the Fn button menu (see table above).

What is the Benefit of this Assignment?

With this assignment, you never need to half-press the shutter button to lock exposure or focus, which is somehat "finicky." But you can also lock one of the two first and then the second by half-pressing the shutter button. Often, however, you need to lock just one of the two, anyway. In any case, this assignment provides a lot of flexibility and also allows you to use the Custom button for the Focus magnifier function for easier manual focusing.

A Variant for Flexible Spot Users - Center Button on "Standard" and as Support for the Flexible Spot

If you want to use autofocus with the flexible spot for higher precision (for example for close-up and macro shots), you are in trouble when you assign the focus magnifier funtion to the center button, because it is cumbersome to enter the state for moving the flexible spot (it is possible, but requires to call the Fn menu...) with the above-mentioned assignments. Thus, if you can do without the manual Focus magnifier function on the center button (you can still use the control ring for manual focusing, which activates the focus magnifier automatically), you can set the center button to "Standard" and use the center button to enter end leave the state, in which you can move the flexible spot. I found out that this works well for me when shooting close-ups and macros using autofocus on the RX100 M1. On the RX100 M4 there is one more button that you can use for custom functions, namely the Custom button. On this camera, I simply assigned the focus magnifier function to the Custom button.

A Demonstration of the Settings Screens...

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

    
     
 
     
 

Note that on screen2 and 5 you can see the assignments that I describe above (left, center, and right button on the control wheel)

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

 

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 makes 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

 

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27.07.2017