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

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.

The header image is a substantially slimmed-down-in-quality-for-the-web shot, but otherwise unedited. This is quite a good camera.

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