Sony RX10 M3/4: FAQ

Overview of Questions | Answers | References

On this page, I collect some questions regarding the Sony RX10 M3 and M4.

Note: I use the Sony RX10 M3/4 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 incomplete...


Overview of Questions

Latest Questions / Updates

General, Body (M3/4)

Firmware, Manuals (M3/4)

Specialties (M3/4)

Flash (M3/4)

Lens (M3/4)

Focusing (M3/4)

Exposure, ISO, Modes (M3/4)

Display, LCD Screen, Optical Viewfinder, ... (M3/4)

Exif Data (M3/4)




What is the "true" weight of a Sony RX10 M3 when used in practice?

"In practice" can mean a lot of things, of course. In my case, the Sony RX10 M3 is equipped with a battery, an SD card, a screen protector, the original shoulder strap, lens cap and lens hood when I walk around with it. Our kitchen scale measured 1177g for all this.

What is the "true" weight of a Sony RX10 M4 when used in practice?

"In practice" can mean a lot of things, of course. In my case, the Sony RX10 M4 is equipped with a battery, an SD card, a screen protector, the Peek Design shoulder strap, lens cap and lens hood when I walk around with it. Our kitchen scale measured 1206g for all this.

Firmware, Manuals

Where can I find information about firmware updates for the Sony RX10 M3/4?

M3: You can either directly visit the UK or German support pages for the Sony RX10 M3 or my page, which, however, may not always be up-to-date...
M4: You can either directly visit the UK or German support pages for the Sony RX10 M4 or my page, which, however, may not always be up-to-date...

Which is the latest firmware update version for the Sony RX10 M3/4?

M3: So far, no firmware update has been published for the Sony RX10 M3.
M4: So far, only one firmware update has been published for the Sony RX10 M4, namely version 2.00: See the UK or German support pages under "Downloads" or my page, which, however, may not always be up-to-date...


How can I configure the Sony RX10 M3/4 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) for the RX10 M3, 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, flexible AF field).

In the meantime, I also created a respective page (Configuration) for the RX10 M4.

Flash (M3/4)

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

Yes, the Sony RX10 M3/4 has indeed a button for this on the top plate (the pop-up flash is also indicated):

How can I fire the inbuilt flash?

First, you have to activate the flash in the Flash Mode menu (for the M3, go to the Shooting menu, page 3/for the M4, go to the Shooting1 menu, page 9; choose any available mode except for Off). You also have to release the inbuilt flash manually by pressing the Flash button. The flash does not fire if the flash is not relased (this is different from the Sony 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 Sony RX100 M1.

Lens (M3/4)

The Sony RX10 M3/4 has a variable aperture lens. How does maximum aperture change across the focal range?

I determined the following maximum aperture values (equivalent focal lengths):

Focal Length (mm)
24 28 35 50 70 85 100 135 200 300 400 500 600
Actual* 8 10 12 18 25 31 36 49 73 110 146 183 220
Maximum f-stop*
2.4 2.8 3.2 3.2 3.5 3.5 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0

*) As indicated by the camera

Does the Sony RX10 M3/4 lens have a filter thread?

Yes. The lens does have a 72 mm filter thread for attaching filters or close-up lenses, which is rather large. Of course, I do not have filters, lenses, or adapters with with diameter...

What are the different zoom modes of the Sony RX10 M3/4?

The Sony RX10 M3 offers three different types of zoom functionality:

  1. Optical Zoom: 24-600 mm equiv., 1 x - 25 x)
  2. Clear Image Zoom (electronic): 600 - 1200 mm equiv., 25 x - 50 x
  3. Digital Zoom (electronic): 1200 - 2400 mm equiv., 50 x - 100 x

Note: If both electronic zoom variants are enabled, Clear Image Zoom takes precedence within its range (25 x to 50 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.

Smart 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 840 mm equiv. (but less pixels than with 20 Megapixels), that is, with this image size, the Sony RX10 M3 behaves like a 10 Megapixels camera with an optical zoom range from 24 to about 840 mm equiv. (Clear Image Zoom: about 1200 mm equiv., Digital Zoom: about 2400 mm equiv.). For 5 Megapixels, you get even 1200 mm equiv. (but with even less pixels than with 20 Megapixels), here the camera behaves like a 5 Megapixels camera with an optical zoom range from 24 to about 1200 mm equivalent. Sony calls this feature Smart Zoom. It crops the image and thus, you get no image deterioration at the expense of less resolution as long as the Smart Zoom is involved.

For details, see page Zoom Modes for the RX10 M3. For the Sony RX100 M1, I also tried, among others, to find out whether the claimed better image quality of the Clear Image Zoom is visible. There you can also find sample photos. It think that this applies to the RX10 M3 as well.

Focusing (M3/4)

How can I focus manually?

To focus manually on the Sony RX10 M3/4, first set Focus Mode to MF using the Focus Mode dial (there does not seem to be another way to do this...).

Focusing manually is done using the focus ring at the lens. There are two rings at the lens, and you can decide whether you want to use the front lens ring (default) or the rear lens ring.

On the Sony RX100 M1, I never know, which direction to turn the focus ring (which is the coontrol ring) and where I am on the distance scale. Except for the sharpness of the screen, this camera does not provide any information on the set distance. The RX100 M4 is better here and displays a coarse distance scale, which helps a lot because I still cannot remember, in which direction to turn the control ring (you have to turn it left for moving towards infinity...). The distance scale appears as soon as you turn the control ring and disappears 2 or 3 seconds after you stopped turning the ring. The RX10 M3/4 tops this by offering you the choice in which direction you want to turn the focus ring. So you can select a direction that feels "natural" to you can can be remembered. I set it so that turning the ring right moves towards infinity.

How is manual focusing supported by the camera?

Since there is no dedicated macro mode on the Sony RX10 M3/4, focusing manually is the same for all target distances. The camera offers two tools that are meant to make manual focusing easier:

Here is how the magnification types work

Moreover, the four direction buttons of the control wheel (and turning the wheel) allow you to change the position of the enlarged section within the image. Pressing the C3 button resets the section's position. This is valid for both types.

For details see page Manual Focusing and Focusing Support.

Is it possible to have both AE Lock and AF Lock independently available on the Sony RX10 M3/4?

Yes. While there is no explicit AF lock function available for the Sony RX10 M3/4, you can use a work-around that allows to have both functionalities available. In the following, I describe how I achieve this.

I configured Focus Hold button at the lens to achieve something like an AF lock (AFL). AEL is easy because there is already such a function available: AE Lock toggle. And there is already a predefined (but configurable) button available for easier access, the AEL button.

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 a configurable button. And as described above, I use the left button of the control wheel for this purpose. Of course, you can use any other configurable button.

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 RX10 M3/4 offers a coarse distance scale with an infinity setting at on end for manual focus. Thus, using the AF/MF Control Toggle function or switching to MF with the dial at the lens and turn the distance ring until infinity is reached. 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).

But note that there are some issues with this approach, particularly on other cameras with more zoom range. The the infinity marker is alreay "beyond" infinity and you will get fuzzy photos if you turn the ring until distance is at infinity (usually, there is not limit, and you can turn and turn...). O the RX10 M3/4, the optimal position seems to be "somewhere" before the "infinity marker" on the distance scale. Simply turning the focus ring to the "infinity marker" on the distance scale therefore definitely delivers fuzzy results. Thus, it is nearly impossible to focus on stars at night, whereas it is possible to focus on the moon because there is something to focus on in the EVF or on the LCD screen. I found a somewhat similar behavior for the Sony RX100 M4, but to a lesser degree, and on the Panasonic TZ202, but there it is somewhat more consistent.

It is possible to move and resize the AF field on the Sony RX10 M3/4?

Yes. This feature is offered by one of the Focus Area options and called Flexible Spot. You activate it via the Focus Area menu item, either in the Shooting menu on page 4, or you add it to the Fn menu as well, as I did, and access it from there. The latter is useful whenever you want to change the autofocus area from time to time.

The Flexible Spot is particularly useful when using the camera on a tripod where you cannot move it for focusing. The smaller AF area may also be helpful in cases where autofocus does not find a target (alternatively, you can resort to manual focus in this case).

For details see page Focusing with the Flexible Spot.

Exposure, ISO, Modes (M3/4)

How can I set the different exposure modes on the Sony RX10 M3/4?

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/AE 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 RX10 M3/4 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 turning the control dial (at the camera back). If you shift the shutter speed/aperture combination, a scale with aperture and exposure values appears that quickly vanishes. Afterwards, program shift is indicated by an asterisk next to the P symbol at the upper left of the screen.

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.

AEL and AFL do not interfere with program shift.

How can I set aperture and shutter speed in M mode in the case that I assigned the Control Ring to a specific function or use manual focusing?

This is an issue of other Sony cameras, which does not exist for the RX10 M3/4. There is an aperture ring around the lens, and shutter speed is set using the control dial on the back side of the camera.

By the way, there is no Control Ring on the Sony RX10 M3/4...

Display, LCD Display, Optical Viewfinder, ... (M3/4)

Does the Sony RX10 M3/4 support an electronic viewfinder (EVF)?

Yes. The RX100 M4 provides an in-built EVF with high resolution and a fairly large image. It is, however, not tiltable, which I would have prefered. It is a:

Exif Data (M3/4)

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 yet take a closer look at the Sony RX10 M3/4's Exif data.



Sony RX10 M3

Sony RX10 M4


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