Greg Hammond Images | The All-in-One Sony DSC RX10 IV Bridge Camera

The All-in-One Sony DSC RX10 IV Bridge Camera

May 15, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Stick FigureStick FigureHorseshoe Bend Slot Canyon After I quit shooting medium and 35mm film formats, but before compact phone cameras could produce decent images, I spent a few years shooting with bridge cameras: the all-in-one cameras, usually with a fixed wide-range zoom lens. I think I may have tried a Canon and a Nikon, but I always stuck with the Lumix brand made by Panasonic. Although the JPEG processing engine of those cameras [called the Venus engine, I believe] was a bit over-vivid as a starting point, the optics by Leica were decent, and you couldn't beat that zoom range. My first had about 10x, and the last I used had an 18x optical zoom. By today's standards, the optics were nothing to write home about, but at the time, they were quite good; and for something you could carry around all day, or set on your lunch table without having to tip the waiter extra, they were pretty impressive. Fast forward to now: bridge cameras are still being made, but they are being squeezed by the mirrorless full frame revolution from above, and increasing quality in the phone category from below. For a lot of people, it's difficult to make the use case for carrying around a second PITA box.

For me, the use case is different. if I want to go ultralight, I will just pack the iPhone X and a couple of Moment lenses, if that. But if I want to supplement either the medium format [Cambo or Phase One] or full frame [Nikon D850] kits, I want something that need not be stuck on a tripod, taking a lengthy exposure. Maybe it's wildlife, or a fleeting change of light in the opposing sky. Or a stick I missed when setting up the Cambo for a different shot, and the light was fading fast. Maybe it's a portrait, or just being a tourist. A light, quality, do-it-all camera that won't send you to physical therapy can be a real asset. Enter the Sony Cybershot DSC-RX10 IV [really Sony? Between the godawful menu system and the dumb names, one could easily think you don't know what you're doing]. It's a heckuva Swiss army knife of bridge cameras. Cheap it ain't, but it's difficult to match it feature-for-feature with anything else. That could change, but given the constricting market, it might not. If you are in the market, check out the DPReview review. Worth the read.


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