When you think of cameras as a professional photographer you are always thinking Canon or Nikon. Both companies have a very high standing in the market and both produce some pretty good cameras time to time. Canon has the 5D Mk III and Nikon has the D810. Both top of the range full frame cameras.
While those 2 companies are hogging all the market for pro shooters, Sony is slowly trying to catch up to them with a range of SLRs. The A7S when released was a camera that could churn out 4K video of the highest quality but also has a capability of 8K which means its future proof. But recently Sony released the RX100 IV, the RX10- II and the A7R-II.
Each of these 3 cameras have a bit of spunk in them. A7R-II is a full frame camera which shoots 29 minutes of 4K video and has 399 Autofocus points and ISO that reaches a cool 102400. The RX100-IV is powered with the world’s first 1.0-type Stacked CMOS sensor and shoots 4K video for 5 mins and slow-motion video upto 960fps which translates to 40x slower than normal. Both are priced at 11999 Dhs and 3699 Dhs respectively
The 3rd and final was the model we received called the RX10-II and we have given out review as follows below:
I quite don’t understand why SLRs designs are so mundane. I would love to see some innovative designs since the amount of models are increasing day by day.It does bore me to see an all black SLR with the same cluster of buttons and similar design features across multiple vendors. So coming back to this its the usual standard SLR design. Only thing is its compact and lightweight and unlike most SLRs, this one has a fixed lens which means it slots into a Semi-SLR type of category.
The quirks they have made with this camera and is in very few models according to my knowledge is that they have a proximity sensor on the viewfinder and the switch between that and LCD is automatic. The LCD is 3in and can be tilted.
The other quirk i found was if your focus was on either AF-S or AF-C then you could use the manual focus ring to zoom like an SLR. in Direct Manual and Manual mode the ring will retain its primary function of focus. The other thing they have done is since the focus ring can do 2 jobs and zoom can also be done like a digicam with the W & T lever, for Aperture Control they have added a ring instead of dial. The aperture ring sits where your zoom ring will be for most SLRs.
In Manual Focus mode and when you use the LCD or viewfinder the camera is programmed to automatically zoom into the subject so that focus is easier to sharpen before clicking. Display wise when the shutter dial is used the LCD will show the shutter speed scale with zoomed numbers for easier reading.
Features wise this camera has the best of both the other 2 cameras. 4K which is prominent in all 3 but also has (40x) Slow-Motion which is in the RX100-IV. Also it has WiFi and NFC connectivity to transfer to your laptop or smartphones. Its battery was the same one that i use for my Sony Nex 3 so it was like I had 3 batteries available, but for most 1 will do just fine unless you shoot more than 400 shots and videos too in a single day.
Photo and Video Quality:
You can never really write too much about photo and video quality of a camera. Its all in the visual content that is put up by which one can judge whether is it really that good or is it a marketing bluff. But nevertheless here are some written specs which will be supplemented with some photographic shots that i took in the 2 weeks. Photography wise you can shoot in Extra Fine or Fine JPEG or even RAW for that matter. Aspect Ratio choices are a lot 4:3 16:9 1:1 3:2. Its a 20.2 MP camera so with the right combination of aspect ratio and image type you can use the full 20 else it restricts. Apart from that the ISO can go up-to 12800 and shutter speed that can go to 1/32000.
The above pictures were taken by me and my two friends Rahul Stanley and Anzuma Akther who also said that this camera is pretty neat and the photo quality is good.
Videography wise it can take 4K videos and 40x Slow Motion as mentioned in the features section. Unfortunately couldn’t get my hands to try those 2 because of not having the right SD Card size and type. This camera can only shoot 4K for a maximum of 29 mins at a time so keep that in mind.
Link for 4K : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9v_m6QrKrnk
Link for Slow Motion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03gZqAR9SDQ
Pricing and Availability:
Pricing is at approximately 4999 Dhs which is like a middle price of the lower rated RX100-IV and the top rated A7R-II. Its available in the market already in Sony stores.
The few drawbacks i will say are:
No provision for Compact Flash Cards
It requires a minimum 64GB Class 10 SD-XC cards to use the slow motion and 4K video features.
It requires Camera Raw 9.1.1 on Photoshop CS6 and/or Lightroom 6.1 to recognize and display RAW format (.ARW)
If not for possible overheating issue during shooting, 4K recording could have had unrestricted shooting allowance only directly related to SDXC card space.
Lots of Menus to scroll through. Also because of a compact body the buttons look clustered.
There was 1 instance where we tried NFC and it took too much time to get it right.
To conclude this review I will state that this camera is pretty good in what it does and what it stands for. SLR quality photographs with the added spunk of 4K recording and Slow Motion. The price though is quite discouraging at 4999 Dhs because in that much you can always get a Canon or Nikon SLR and also an extra lens for it. But for now Sony holds the edge with 4K and Slow Motion in SLRs but that is only till Canon comes with its 5D MK IV which will support 4K. So if you want to stick to Sony then this model can be considered for purchase depending on whether you are willing to shell out the stated amount.