Overview of Sony RX10

Have you heard about the 5K Sony Cybershot with video? According to Imaging Resource, the new RX10 can read all 5K data from it’s sensor in video mode. This is due to a new Bionz X processor. So the camera is shooting 5K video? (Exciting!)

Sony Cyber shot DSC RX10Well, let’s circle back around to that in a sec.

The camera has a fixed Zeiss zoom lens with 35mm zoom equivalent to a 24 to 200 zoom. That’s cool – until you add in the constant f/2.8 max aperture – a 2.8 throughout the zoom is awesome! Yeah, it’s fixed, but it’s still a Zeiss lens, which is a manufacturer known for quality. Add to this an advanced video auto focus and there is a lot of possibility in this camera.

Sony RX10 Has a One Inch Sensor

The one inch sensor is kind of a strange size in my opinion, but it’s a fixed lens so you don’t have to do any of that messy math stuff. Actually I’m kidding here – Sensor conversion isn’t as hard as it initially seems…

The camera can shoot up to 60 fps video, which gives you even some slow motion options if you need it.

The Good Features of the Sony RX10

  • Zeiss 24-200 f/2.8 constant aperture zoom lens.
  • Bionz X processor for full sensor utilization.
  • Continuous 10 FPS 20 MP stills.
  • Video auto focus.
  • Sony tends to have pretty good AVCHD implementation.
  • Accessory module with XLR audio inputs.

The Not-So-Good Features of the Sony RX10

  • Fixed lenses aren’t everyone’s cup of tea (but hey, it’s a Zeiss lens).
  • $1,300 is a lot for a fixed lens camera.
  • It still uses the AVCHD codec.

The Different

Let’s go back to the 5K thing. Does the RX10 shoot 5K video?

No. It doesn’t…

So where does the 5K come from?

For a second, let’s think about a few other cameras. If you’re familiar with the RED Epic, you might know that it shoots various resolutions by cropping in on the sensor, which affects the effective lens viewing angle. If you look at Canon DSLRs, however, pull 1080P images from their sensors by skipping some of the horizontal lines of the sensor. This can cause some issues such as moire, but that is part of what lead to the DSLR video revolution.

Sony_RX10_BackWhat does this mean for the RX10? It can read the full 5,000 (ish) lines of resolution – so it shoots in 5K, right? Well, yes and no. It does use the entire sensor in video mode, which means there is no line skipping or cropping on the image. However, it takes the full 5K sensor data and uses it to output 1080P video.

This means you’re still only getting 1080P video ( and I can’t believe I’m saying “only” 1080P – most movie theaters project at 2K, which is only slightly larger then a 1920x1080p HD video), but it will be some great looking 1080P video that should avoid some image quality issues that can affect DSLR video.

Final Thoughts on the The Sony RX10 – 5K

It’s pretty cool. If you are looking to move into DSLR-style video shooting, this is a pretty good looking and reasonably priced video-capable camera. Sample images have shown that great resolution in the video images. Professional audio inputs available are also a plus for the normally dual-system DSLR shooting setup, and this saves a step in post. Find out more about the Sony RX10 here.

Keep Shootin’!

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Michael Head is a filmmaker and full-time geek living the the Dallas-Fort Worth Metromess. Follow him at @michaeldhead.

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