Thursday, October 17, 2013

New Sony DSC-RX10 - the Panasonic Killer?

I am really excited by the new Sony DSC-RX10's potential for video. Announced at the same time as the full frame A7, this camera has received less recognition - but may be more significant. Perhaps as significant as the moire-resistant GH1 was in 2009.

I especially like the RX10's "de-clicked" 8.3x constant f2.8 power zoom combined with the proven RX100 sensor.  This is essentially a cinema lens on a point and shoot camera.

Add the built-in ND filter, focus peaking, 31 step manual audio level control, audio meters and headphone jack, and you have a serious video camera.

The dust and moisture resistant magnesium alloy body is nice too.

If Sony has really dealt with the line-skipping/moire problem, as this hands on preview from Imaging Resource suggests, I guess I'll have to buy this camera. I had been saving up for the FZ200 to replace my wife's FZ150 - now I'll need to figure out a way to scrape together another $800.

Pricey, yes. But the 1" sensor and 20.2MP still resolution mean the competition for this camera isn't really the FZ200 - it is the G6 and the GH3.

You'd have to buy a $699 Panasonic G6  - plus $1100 12-35mm and $1350 35-100mm constant f2.8 lenses to match the $1298 RX10 in micro 4/3 world.  Compared to $3149 for a plastic camera body and two unpowered zoom lenses, $1298 for a metal body and a power zoom is a real bargain.

And with the G6, you'd still be missing the weather-sealing, the built-in ND filter and the headphone jack.

If you wanted weather-sealing from Panasonic, you'd have to pay $300-$400 more for the GH3. Yes, you'd gain multiple codecs and higher bit rates, but you'd lose focus peaking.

If I were Panasonic, I would be very very worried about this camera.

You can pre-order the new RX10 for $1298 from Amazon or Adorama. These cameras will be very hard to get before Christmas unless you get in line now.

Your card won't be charged by either of these great retailers until your camera ships.  As usual, if any of this has helped you to reach a buying decision, please order through one of the links above or the display ads below or in the margins. It won't cost you anything extra, and it will help keep these posts coming.  Thanks so much.


  1. Did you ever get one? I am thinking very hard about getting this camera. I am a video person so want my upgrade to do useable video and audio. I have been using a canon mega zoom, but has lot much to be desired in the video department. The advice I am getting is to get a DSLR or DSLT for the same money as the RX10. But really I'll be getting a mediocre lens at that price. I'm not ready to go in debt for the Lumix GH4 and Leica lens. so thinking this is a good place to start. and have a useable 2nd video camera as well. Your thoughts would be appreciated. YakinKate

    1. Hi Kate - I apologize for not following up on this post sooner. I rented the RX10 a few weeks ago and went out and shot a comparison video with my GH3. The GH3 won on image quality and lens flexibility - but the RX10 won on ease of use, size and convenience. You've just given me the incentive to sit down this weekend and edit that review! My bottom line - with the GH4 about to ship, you can get a GH3 for less than $900 from Amazon or Samys via eBay. Add a classic 14-140 to get started (on sale right now), and you'll have the best still/video camera short of the GH4 - for about the same price as the RX10. Hope that's helpful!

    2. I would be very interested to read that review, too. As a director interested in shooting quality mini-docs and B-roll footage with a minimum of fuss, the RX10 looks pretty much ideal.

    3. Thanks, Peet. Flying to Vegas for NAB this weekend, but I promise I'll take my laptop with me and edit that review!