REVIEWED: Sony Cybershot RX100 IV

Is this the ultimate space-saving compact camera for travel photographers?

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If landscapes are everything to you, you’re probably still travelling with a bulky DSLR in tow. That’s sensible – nothing else gives you quote so much creative control. But the gap is closing between a DSLR and an expensive compact, with several ‘bridge’ cameras now coming out that boats just enough manual controls.

Best of both

Forget smartphones – they just don’t deliver the quality just yet. Is that controversial? Perhaps, but it’s only marketing that has convinced you otherwise. The bottom line is that if you’ve swapped to taking photos only on a smartphone, your travel photos now are not as good as they used to be. Cue the RX100 IV, which tries to be the best of both worlds.

Luxe compact

The latest luxe compact manual from Sony offers full control over exposure, aperture and shutter speed – and on our trip to Japan it proved an absolute revelation. From night-time shots of the stars to careful studies of landscapes, we got some great results. And it weighs a mere 298g.

Video star

However, the RX100 IV is as focused on video as on photos. Not only is it able to record video in slo-mo and in Ultra HD (which offers about four times the detail than Full HD – and is what your next TV will display), but still photos can be gotten from the video, too.

Close enough?

The RX100 IV doesn’t get you as close as it could – or as close as rivals do. Its 2.9x optical zoom, f/1.8 24-70mm lens is high quality, however, coping well with all kinds of light levels (and particularly sensitive and noise-free at night). It also features a pop-up electronic viewfinder that helps save battery while on the move, and uses a superbly clear OLED screen inside.

New generation

In the last couple of years there has been a collective realisation that the DSLR camera still has a lot going for it, but if only it could be shrunk to pocket-size. That demand has given birth to a new generation of lightweight compact camera with full manual controls and super-zoom lenses. Just updated is the fourth version of the original DSLR-killer, the RX100 IV is the best yet.

Price as reviewed: £918

Buy the Sony Cybershot RX100 IV