Sony RX100 IV Footage – First Impressions and Review

July 1st, 2015

Sony RX100IV upEarlier this month Sony announced a bunch of new 4K cameras and the RX100 IV is the first to land on our desk for a test. Sony RX100 IV footage is nice because the camera has internal 4K (UHD) video and slow motion up to 960fps.

Before continuing, it is important for me to note, that all the slow-motion footage you see in the video above was upscaled to 4K in order to match the rest of the 4K footage on the timeline, so obviously it is softer. Also, the “flickering” when recording slow-motion is NOT a camera malfunction but is due to the electric circuit’s frequency. This can usually be overcome by using “flicker free” light fixture. At the location I wasn’t allowed to turn off the shop’s lighting.

0J8K3973Back to the camera. When you look at it you know this is one of those modern super compact wonders. 4K internal recording, various slow motion speeds (the 250fps with a sensor readout of 1,824 x 1,026 effective pixels is my favourite), a good lens, nice EVF and good LCD screen just to name the big ones, but if you look closer you will see that here’s another camera by Sony that suffers from an “identity crisis”.

Mostly it looks like Sony haven’t decided what they want this camera to be. If it is a photo camera, then why bother with pro features like S-log2 and internal ND filters? On the other hand, if it is a tool for the serious video shooter be it an advanced hobbyist or a pro, why is there no proper audio connectivity and only internal audio recording?

It is only when starting to use the camera, that one will notice the RX100 IV will function best as a “home shooting device”. The advanced user will suffer the shortcomings and limitations as soon as the shooting requirements get a bit more demanding.

5S6A0585

 

If you decide to use this camera in the field you should be aware of the following:

  • Battery life is very limited. If you intend to use HFR (slow-motion) mode, the battery will drain even faster.
  • It is not possible to connect the camera to the mains and continue recording while the battery is “dead”.
  • Due to extensive processing, the camera has to buffer the recorded slow motion images. This prevents you from recording the next desired shot immediately. You will always have to wait until buffering is complete.
  • When entering “slow motion buffering mode” no further adjustments in manual mode are possible. You cannot change aperture, focus or ISO.
  • There’s evident rolling shutter in 4K.
  • There’s a limit of up to 5 minutes recording time in 4K.
  • The camera has the tendency to overheat. During my test I got a “warning”, but the camera did not stop recording.
  • Last but not least is the horrible connectivity/battery/SD card placement this camera has to offer. You can clearly see that it was not designed with the filming experience in mind and probably a mindset of “why do we need an external HDMI connector anyway?”. Otherwise I could not explain the awkward placement of those. Note that the REC button functionality can be set to button “C”, but still the HDMI placement on the right hand side is a design flaw in my opinion.

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On the positive side: (in no particular order)

  • 1 inch sensor size (16mm equivalent).
  • Although the camera is somewhat limited in zoom range (24-70mm), the lens is fast (f1.8w-f2.8).
  • Custom button placement is possible.
  • Lowlight recording is fine for a 1 inch sensor.
  • Pop-Out EVF.
  • Additional professional video features like Zebra, peaking, built-in ND filter, S-Log2/S-Gamut.
  • Minimal moire in the Sony RX100 IV footage.
  • Various slow motion rates all being recorded in 1080p. Note the effective pixel readout of the sensor reflects the true picture quality which degrades with higher frame rates. In “Quality Priority”: 240fps/250fps (1,824 x 1,026), 480fps/500fps (1,676 x 566), 960fps/1,000fps (1,136 x 384)
  • In HFR mode you can choose ‘start trigger’ to begin recording once button is pressed or ‘end trigger’ to record footage up until the button is pressed.  The ‘end trigger’ mode lets shooting begin 2 to 4 seconds before the movie button is pressed so you can actually record “lost moments” in slow motion after they happened.
  • 100 Mbps 4K recording (3840×2160) and 50 Mbps during full HD.
  • “Take anywhere with you” sized camera.
  • PAL/NTSC switchable.
  • FN button is highly customizable.

0J8K3971

Final thoughts:

  • Personally I have no problem with the 5 minutes 4K recording limitation this camera has as I can not see myself shooting  anything lengthy with it.
  • The slow motion this camera offers is its main selling point! In the right lighting conditions it can produce beautiful effects. For the money, this is the best option currently available. 
  • I love working with small cameras and despite its weaknesses, I will buy the RX100 IV because of its pocket size, 4K recording and slow-motion capabilities. It can serve as a great family companion and “throw in the bag” second camera for my productions. After all, life in slow motion never looked so beautiful before (for less than $1000) …

Camera settings for the above video: File format XAVC S 4K, 25p, PP7 (S-LOG 2), ISO 1600 (camera default present in this mode),  HFR settings: 25p 50M, frame rate 250fps, Quality priority,

Edited in Adobe Premiere CC 2014. LUTs: Rocket rooster.

Music: The music bedWhat a day SUHONEN

Special thanks to Ilya and Ivan from Brothers’ Barbershop Vienna.

Johnnie Behiri is a freelance documentary cameraman/editor/producer working mostly for the BBC and other respected broadcasters. He is also co-owner of cinema5d.com

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Stefan Krösbacher
Stefan Krösbacher
GuestJuly 1st, 2015

phew, cameras getting better and cheaper by the minute….

Gum Bum
Gum Bum
MemberJuly 1st, 2015

It’s feature packed, but cheaper? It’s a $1000 point’n shoot.

Martin Bleazard
MemberJuly 1st, 2015

Awesome Johnnie, I think this is an incredible pocket camera, the slo-mo, s-log and 4K make not having an audio connection almost ok, I wish it had a Hot Show instead of the flash, and it it had the pro audio connection in the hot shoe even better. But I’m used to sep audio with a recorder and lav mic, so works with my workflow anyway. Do you know if it can be charged via the USB? and if it can, can it charge and record?

Gum Bum
Gum Bum
MemberJuly 1st, 2015

I haven’t been this excited about a camera for a long long time.

Gum Bum
Gum Bum
MemberJuly 1st, 2015

I have downloaded the 4K version and I have a question. Have you added film grain in post or is the noise from the camera?

Gum Bum
Gum Bum
MemberJuly 1st, 2015

Also..and I’m sorry to keep spamming…did you film this in S-Log and is there any way you can be persuaded to upload the ungraded footage?

Sebastian Wöber
MemberJuly 1st, 2015

Hi Gum Bum,
The ungraded footage is in Johnnie’s article. Please check.

Gum Bum
Gum Bum
MemberJuly 1st, 2015

Oh yeah. Don’t know how I missed that. Thanks.

Emiliano Arganaraz
MemberJuly 1st, 2015

Great article! I’m looking forward to the RX10 II. Quick question: How does the dinamic range (in S-Log) compares to the a7S??? thanks in advance….

James Bailey
MemberJuly 2nd, 2015

Hey, what is the base ISO for slog footage, is it ISO 3200 like with the A7S?

John Sandoval
John Sandoval
MemberJuly 2nd, 2015

Beautiful footage. You mentioned noticeable rolling shutter artifacts in 4k but what about lower resolutions like 1080p?

Andre Graziano
Andre Graziano
MemberJuly 2nd, 2015

Nice work, thank s! Sony Rx100IV, Rx10II or Panasonic G7? What do you recommend.

Luke Holley
MemberJuly 2nd, 2015

Nice, work Johnnie as always. Do you know if the Sony XLR-K2M works with as does with A7 series as that would resolve some of the shortcomings that you mention? Can’t wait to pick this one up myself.

Anonymous
Anonymous
GuestJuly 2nd, 2015

Yikes iso 1600 for slog2 on a super16 size sensor. How noisy did your original footage look. I’m guessing its better to use a profile with a lower base iso.

Clayton Moore
MemberJuly 3rd, 2015

Your work Johnnie is always clean and visually pleasing and good story telling.

Every camera video review Johnnie posts demonstrates how its the camera operator that makes all the difference. If you want to know what a camera is capable of, put it in the hands of someone like Johnnie. As usual its an informative and visually pleasing review.

Philip Bloom
MemberJuly 3rd, 2015

Lovely job Johnnie. Agree with almost everything you say. Finding the slog2 too noisy in Hfr but lovely little cam

matt puckett
matt puckett
MemberJuly 4th, 2015

As an owner of the 1st gen RX100, this is amazing footage–thanks for the review. Just curious if you can share a little about the focusing capabilities of the video, and wondering whether this was shot just hand held using the eyepiece shown above, it’s really smooth!

Tomasz Pasiut
MemberJuly 6th, 2015

Hi Johnnie,

great work (as always from You)! Do you think rx100 IV is MUCH better than Panasonic LX100 (considering price – LX100 is cheaper camera)?

Sebastian Lotz
Sebastian Lotz
MemberJuly 19th, 2015

I like the review.
What viewfinder did you use?

Seb

Ray Meese
MemberAugust 25th, 2015

Great video… nice review. Thanks for putting this together. I’m left with a rather deep-in-the-weeds question. What frame rates are available when recording MP4?

Pedro Cordeiro
MemberSeptember 23rd, 2015

Great article! Just one correction, I have the RX100IV and at least with mine, you can shoot with the external USB power cord plugged in. You probably connected it to a computer… But if it’s connected just to power source it will work!
I’m in the process of testing the camera, trying to figure out the best settings, before going on a trip to india.
My main doubt is to use or not to use the S-log 2…
For now I´m impressed by shooting in 100p/100M, and slow it down as the camera movements get really smooth.

Sarah Creighton
MemberOctober 28th, 2015

Hi Johnnie, What SD card do you recommend for filming in 4k? i’ve tried a few that are meant to meet the criteria but still don’t work. any help?

Miltos PAVLOU
MemberNovember 4th, 2015

Dear Johnnie,

Great small film and review there!
Now I own a Sony RX100IV and I mounted a LCDVF on it.
BUT, when the LCD is on its first position and attached to the camera (so not flipped up) the LCD image is upside down! Once I flip a mm the LCD screen the image is back again to normal. Did you have any similar incidents? Any ideas about how to deal with that?

Monty King
MemberMarch 28th, 2016

What format is the 1.6 gig raw footage in available to download from the Vimeo page? It just downloads as a number file with no extension. Thanks.

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