Sony RX100 M4: FAQ

Overview of Questions | Answers | References

On this page, I collect some questions regarding the Sony RX100 M4. For the convenience of the readers, some questions may be redundant with items listed on my other Sony RX100 M4 pages.

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 like soft skin effect or auto portrait framing. Probably, this list is imcomplete...

 

Overview of Questions

Latest Questions / Updates

General, Body

Firmware, Manuals

Specialties

Flash

Lens

Focusing

Exposure, ISO, Modes

Display, LCD Screen, Optical Viewfinder, ...

Exif Data

 

Answers

General

What is the "true" weight of a Sony RX100 M4 when used in practice?

"In practice" can mean a lot of things, of course. In my case, the Sony RX100 M4 is equipped with a battery, an SD card, a screen protectir, and the original wrist strap when I walk around with it. Our kitchen scale measures 304 g for all this.


Firmware, Manuals

Where can I find information about firmware updates for the Sony RX100 M4?

You can either directly visit the UK or German support pages for the Sony RX100 M4 or my page, which, however, may not always be up-to-date...

Which is the latest firmware update version for the Sony RX100 M4?

The latest firmware update for the Sony RX100 M4 was firmware update Ver.2.00 for DSC-RX100 (Mac/Windows) and was released on 30/03/2017.


Specialties

How can I configure the Sony RX100 M4 so that it suits my needs?

There is no easy answer to this question, particularly, since I do not know other people's needs and preferences. Nevertheless, I prepared a page (Configuration), on which the configuration of the camera is briefly described using a tabular overview. I also make a few proposals for configuring the camera that suit my needs (AE/AF lock, manual focusing).

What can the Memory Recall mode do for me and how can I use it?

The Sony RX100 M4 offers three registers in which you can store sets or groups of camera settings (no configuration settings, though). The Memory Recall mode allows you to access these settings and thus, set the camera, according to your current needs, to a specific shooting mode, such as macro, indoor shooting, or manual focus. This feature saves you from having to do all the settings work over and over. Of course, you have to think about which sets of settings you really need and what the specific values for the respective options should be. This requires some head work and is probably the reason why most people do not use this great feature. Regrettably, the sets are only numbered and cannot be given "speaking" names.

On page Custom Settings (in preparation), I describe how you can recall the sets or groups of custom settings and how you can create and store the sets. At the moment, however, I do not have any practical experience with this feature.


Flash

Is there a specific button or lever to release the in-built flash?

Yes, in contrast to the M1 it has indeed a lever for this on the back of the top plate:

How can I fire the inbuilt flash?

First, you have to activate the flash in the Flash Mode menu (any available mode except for Off). You also have to release the inbuilt flash manually by moving the Fash lever. The flash does not fire if the flash is not relased (this is different from the RX100 M1).

How can I prevent that the flash is released automatically?

Do not release the flash and/or set Flash Mode to Off. The flash does not pop up automatically as it does on the RX100 M1.


Lens

The Sony RX100 M4 has a variable aperture lens. How does maximum aperture change across the focal range?

You can assign the zoom function to the control ring at the lens. When you then turn the control ring to zoom in or out, not only the factor but also the equivalent focal length is displayed. Using this approach, I determined the following maximum aperture values (equivalent focal lengths):

Does the Sony RX100 M4 lens have a filter thread?

No. But there is an n adapter available from Lensmate that can be glued to the lens so that you can attach filters and close-up lenses (fairly) easily (the Sony adapter is not compatible with this model).

What are the different zoom modes of the Sony RX100 M4?

The Sony RX100 M4 offers three different types of zoom functionality:

  1. Optical Zoom: 24-70 mm equiv., 1 x - 2.9 x)
  2. Clear Image Zoom (electronic): 70 - 140 mm equiv., 2.9 x - 5.8 x
  3. Digital Zoom (electronic): 70 - 280 mm equiv., 2.9 x - 11 x

Note: If both electronic zoom variants are enabled, Clear Image Zoom takes over within its range (2.9 x to 5.8 x).

The electronic zoom variants are enabled/disabled in the Custom menu (page 3).

Clear Image Zoom is a digital zoom that offers better image quality at a lower zoom range than the so-called Digital Zoom.

There is also another possibility to extend the range of the optical as well as of both electronic zooms: to reduce the Megapixel count from 20 Megapixels to 10 Megapixels or less. For 10 Megapixels, you get a longest focal length of 140 mm equiv. (but no more pixels than with 20 Megapixels), that is, with this image size, the Sony RX100 M4 behaves like a 10 Megapixels camera with an optical zoom range from 24 to about 100 mm equiv. (Clear Image Zoom: about 200 mm equiv., Digital Zoom: about 400 mm equiv.). Sony calls this feature Smart Zoom.

For details and sample photos, see page Zoom Modes for the RX100 M1. In my experiment, I tried, among others, to find out whether the claimed better image quality of the Clear Image Zoom is visible. It think that this applies to the RX100 M4 as well.


Focusing

How can I focus manually?

Focusing manually is done using the control ring at the lens. Some people say that this is intuitive and provides a focusing experience similar to an camera with manual focus. Others, however, say that the experience is rather "indirect", since focusing is "by wire," and turning the wheel is rather tedious because there are no stops at the end (which a manual lens provides). All in all, I have to agree with the latter. I more or less hate manual focusing with the RX100 M1, but less so with the M4.

For example, with the RX100 M1 I never know, which direction to turn the control ring and where I am on the distance scale. And except for the sharpness of the screen, the camera does not provide any information on the set distance. I discuss this further on the M1 pages. The RX100 M4 displays a coarse distance scale that offers at least three advantages: (1) I can see in whioch direction I should turn the control ring, (2) I can easily set distance to infinity, (3) I can easily set distance to the shortest possible distance for maximum magnification. On the other hand, you cannot really use it to set certain fixed distances.

How is manual focusing supported by the camera?

Since there is no dedicated macro mode on the Sony RX100 M4, focusing manually is the same for all target distances. The camera offers two tools that are meant to make manual focusing easier:

How can I configure the camera controls to make manual focusing easier?

To make using manual focusing easier for us, I configured the left and center button of the control wheel as follows: The left button is assigned to the AF/MF Control Toggle function (you may also use the right button), whereas the center button is assigned to the Focus Magnifier function.

Note: I assigned the overwritten default function (Self-time/Drive Mode or Flash Mode) to a position in the Fn button menu.

What is the Benefit of this Assignment?

Assigning the AF/MF Control 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...) to activate magnification. I prefer to activate magnification using a button. This means that I have to use the Focus Magnifier function instead of the Manual Focus Assist function (you can also leave the Manual 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.

But read also the following question for a more complete configuration.

Is it possible to have both AE Lock and AF Lock available on the Sony RX100 M4?

Yes. While there is no explicit AF lock function available for the Sony RX100 M1, you can use a work-around that allows to have both functionalities available. In the following, I describe how I achieve this.

I configured 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. AEL is easy because there is already such a function available: AE Lock toggle. 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.

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).

You can still use the center button for Focus Magnifier so that you have all options of version 1 with these assignments, plus the AF and AE lock functions

Note: I assigned the overwritten default functions (Drive Mode/Self-timer and Flash Mode) to positions in the - button menu.

What is the hyperfocal distance and how can I calculate or determine it?

The hyperfocal distance is useful for shooting with manual focus and aperture. When you set a lens to the hyperfocal distance, everything will be sharp from half the hyperfocal distance to infinity. Sharpness is defined by the circle of confusion (coc). Sony sets is set to 0.011 mm for the RX100 M4's 1" sensor.

The hyperfocal distance depends on three factors: (1) focal length (the exact length, not the equivalent length), (2) aperture, (3) circle of confusion.

You can calculate the hyperfocal distance for a given focal length and aperture using DOFMaster. Set the circle of confusion to 0.011 mm for all focal lengths.

Examples:

For the Sony RX100 M4, you can also determine the hyperfocal distance "after the fact" by inspecting an image's Exif data using ExifTool or other tools that display the Exif data. Please note that Sony assumes a circle of confusion of 0.011 mm. The values listed in the Exif data seem to correspond to those calculated with DOFMaster.

See page Hyperfocal Distance for a calculation of the hyperfocal distance for the Sony RX100 M4.

Is it possible to use hyperfocal distances (HFD) on the Sony RX100 M4?

No, at least not without some effort. Since you cannot set focus manually according to a "usable" distance scale this is not possible. Of course, you might use a ruler or simply estimate distances and focus manually on "ersatz" targets to set the HFD more or less precisely (as described below for zone focusing).

If you want to invest some effort, you can use page Hyperfocal Distance to find the hyperfocal distances for some aperture values (for example f/4, f/5.6, and f/8) and focal lengths, then set the camera to these manual distances and store the distances in one to three of the three memory locations. If you are interested in the details, see page Manual Focusing and Focusing Support > Locking Focus, Setting and Storing Fixed Distances.

Is it possible to do zone focusing with the Sony RX100 M4?

No if you are strict, because the Sony RX100 M4 displays neither "usable" distances nor DOF scales. Sort of, if you follow book author Alexander White. He writes of "zone focusing" when describing the following focusing approach: First focus on a target that is at the same distance as your expected target using AF. Then toggle to MF using the AF/MF toggle function. This fixes the focus at the distance that the AF set (you may adapt it manually to your needs afterwards). So now the focus is fixed at a certain distance, but you neither know the distance nor the associated depth of field. For many purposes, though, this approach will do...

Is it possible to set the focus quickly to infinity?

Ricoh cameras have an "infinity" setting among the focus options, which is very handy. You can activate it, for example, when there are objects in the foreground that might distract the AF or when the AF does not find focus when the camera is directed against the sky.

The Sony RX100 M4 offers a coarse distance scale with an infinity setting at on end for manual focus. Thus, using the AF/MF Control Toggle function or the Focus Mode function you can switch to MF and turn the control ring until a distance of infinity is set. This is fairly fast if you assign the AF/MF Control Toggle to a configurable button (I assigned it to the left button of the control wheel.


Exposure, ISO, Modes

How can I set the different exposure modes on the Sony RX100 M4?

That's an easy question. Simply turn the mode dial on the top right of the camera to the desired position. We only use the PASM modes, the panorama (sweep) mode, and the video mode. We also use the memory recall mode for a specific close-up setting.

How can I use the program shift function? Can it be combined with AF/exposure lock?

The program shift function is available in P mode only and allows you to change the shutter speed/aperture combination while maintaining a constant exposure value (EV). This allows you to adapt the shutter speed or aperture to your needs if you do not agree with what the P mode selected.

In contrast to the Leica X Vario and the Ricoh GR, where you have to briefly press the shutter release button, the Sony RX100 M4 measures exposure continuously. Thus, you just point the camera at the scene and set the desired shutter speed/aperture combination if needed. You can do so by either turning the control wheel or the control ring if this is set to Standard. If you shift the shutter speed/aperture combination, this is indicated by an asterisk next to the P symbol at the upper left of the screen (full information display only).

The first method has the advantage that you can recognize when you return to the original values: the asterisk is removed in this case. The second method does not indicate this, but provides a graphical display of the shutter speed and aperture combinations. I find the first method more useful, though.

Program shift is kept after you took a photo, but is cancelled after you switched mode, turned on the flash, turned off the camera, or after the camera awakens from sleep mode.

As with other cameras, you cannot use the program shift function as long as you half-press the shutter release button. So what can you do if you want to use BOTH the AF/metering lock AND program shift? My suggestion is as follows and packaged into a small "procedure":

This sounds more complicated than it actually is. Sometimes, I do not half-press the shutter release button correctly when re-framing, and the exposure values change. Then I have to redo the procedure.


Display, LCD Display, Optical Viewfinder, ...

Is it possible to have an aperture preview with the Sony RX100 M4?

According to book author Martin Vieten, the Sony RX100 M1 always measures exposure using "working aperture." The same should be true for the RX100 m4. Thus, half-pressing the shutter button to let the camera measure exposure and distance also provides you with an aperture preview, which is particularly useful for manual focusing (the focusing aids are available if enabled).

Does the Sony RX100 M4 support an electronic viewfinder (EVF)?

Yes. The RX100 M4 provides an in-built pop-up EVF.


Exif Data

Are there any Sony-specific data in the Exif data that the camera stores together with the images?

Yes, there are, and you best visit the ExifTool Website:

Personally, I did not take a closer look yet at the Sony RX100's Exif data. The only important thing that I know is that the focus mode is stored (e.g. whether it was AF or MF). Regrettably, I could not find out up to now, whether the digital zoom type (Clear Image Zoom versus Digital Zoom) is stored in the Exif data.

 

References

 

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11.10.2017