Sony RX100 M4: Introduction

Purpose of My Sony RX100 M4 Pages | How I Became A Sony RX100 M4 Owner | Now I Am A Sony RX 100 M4 Owner... | Would I Recommend A Sony RX100 M4 to You?

 

Purpose of My Sony RX100 M4 Pages

My Sony RX100 M4 pages are intended as an information source for existing and prospective Sony RX100 M4 owners. However, there is no intention to offer a complete or even up-to-date information source, because I do not have the time for such a project. The focus of my pages is on presenting my personal experiences with this camera and thereby providing one or the other useful tip for others.

Note: I use the Sony RX100 M4 mostly in P mode, sometimes in A mode. I will therefore, not cover any of the following modes or specialties: Intelligent Auto mode, Superior Auto mode, Scene mode, Creative style, Picture effect, and many of the other gimmicks. Probably, this list is incomplete...

 

How I Became A Sony RX100 M4 Owner

Actually, I own already quite a few cameras, but I always read in forums that other photographers struggle with this problem as well and tend to own too many instead of too few cameras. Well, I discovered a supposed "gap" in my equipment, a compact camera with a zoom lens, an electronic viewfinder, and good picture quality for the holidays and for "quick shots." My Ricoh GR with its fixed focal length of 28 mm (equiv.) is often too inflexible, while my Leica X Vario (28-70 mm equiv.) and the Ricoh GXR with 24-85mm module often seem too bulky to me.

I would have liked a camera with a focal range of 24-100 mm (equiv.) and more, but 28-100 mm would have been OK for me. My wife's Sony RX100 M1 offers exactly this focal range, but unfortunately lacks a viewfinder. Briefly, I considered buying the RX100 M2, but, together with the viewfinder, this camera would amount to 900 Euros - far too much for me. So I then decided to drop the idea of "more tele range" and wavered between the M3 and M4. The former is significantly cheaper, the latter offers an electronic viewfinder with higher resolution and is overall faster. This finally made me buy the RX100 M4.

Figure: The Sony RX100 M4

Panasonic also offers compact cameras with 1" sensor in this focal range (and far beyond), but the lenses are rated lower and the viewfinder is tiny or there is none. Briefly, I also considered a Panasonic Lumix FZ1000, a bridge camera with 25-400 mm focal length (equiv.), but this is a completely different "beast" of camera and rather "bulky" and heavy. The electronic viewfinder and the autofocus speed impressed me, when I tried the camera in a store. However, I am not convinced of the the camera's image quality (the Sony's is reported to be better) and searching the Internet for opinions on this did not help me much. At least, I have found another gap in my camera collection, but did not close it...

A Few Words About the Sony RX100 M4

The first version of the Sony RX100, so to speak, the "original" and now called "M1" or "i", was released in 2012 as one of the first compact cameras with a 1" sensor on the market. It was soon widely regarded as the best camera in its class. This role was then taken over by each of its successors, as soon as it had been released. This is my wife's current camera.

The Sony RX100 M2 (or RX100ii) was released in 2013, offered a background-illuminated sensor (which was said to improve low light performance), a tilting screen, and an accessory shoe that could also accommodate an - expensive and good - electronic viewfinder. The last two characteristics make the camera a little larger and thus less suitable to pant pockets in comparison with its predecessor. In addition, the acquisition of an optical viewfinder was financially hardly viable - and if you plug-on the viewfinder, this is nothing for your pockets. Otherwise, there were a number of smaller improvements, which led testers usually to prefer this model to the original one. One important element, however, remained the same: the lens.

When we bought my wife's camera, the Sony RX100 M3 (or RX100iii) was the current model, which was published in 2014 and brought some more fundamental changes: The focal length range shifted to the "wide-angle" (from 28-100 mm to 24-70 mm equivalent), the display was even more tiltable to also allow shooting "Selfies," the hot shoe was gone, and now the camera featured an electronic "pop-up" viewfinder that is usually hidden. This is ideal to keep the camera small, but its resolution is not quite as high as that of the M2's EVF, and it also seemed to be a bit notchy (at least, for some users). The menus were re-arranged and were now more like the menus in other Sony cameras, which was generally regarded as an improvement. Overall, all these changes almost doubled the price of the camera compared with the current price of the original RX100 (which is much lower than when the camera was released). This, as well as the changes in the focal length range, made my wife refrain from the latest model. Moreover, several sources say that the M3's image processing is too "harsh" - its predecessors are less "harsh" in this respect. This is an issue that would deter me from buying the M3 ...

Mid-2015 the next model in this series appeared: the RX100 M4 (or RX100iv). Outwardly nearly unchanged, it offers more speed thanks to a new sensor, 4K video, slow motion, and a higher resolution for the electronic viewfinder. The price has also risen considerably! And finally, the RX100 M5 (or RX100v) was released in October 2016 and marked the current end point of the evolution of the RX100 camera series. And the M1 is still available...

 

Now I Am A Sony RX100 M4 Owner...

But only for a short period of time. And therefore, I cannot make any statements on this here for the moment...

 

Would I Recommend A Sony RX100 M4 to You?

It is far too early for me to think about recommending the camera to others...

 

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10.10.2017