Sony’s soups up compacts for slow-motion, readies 4K capture

Ultra HD movies aren’t set to arrive on 4K ready Blu-ray until next year, but you can always be your own Ridley Scott and make your own, and Sony hopes to help with two compacts that’ll make that a possibility, with both featuring support for slow…motion… video.

This week, Sony has come out with two cameras geared at getting would-be photographers and filmmakers off their chairs and into making things for a 4K TV, which could be handy if they have one and are struggling to find content for that 4K TV.

We’ve written about this at length, but available content right now — as of June 2015 — is practically nil, with no native 4K video game consoles and very little 4K TV shows and movies, with only a handful appearing on Netflix provided you have a super fast download connection, which most Australians don’t.

So the answer appears to be making it yourself, the “DIY” angle so to speak, and while this area has more or less been available before, you generally had to invest in a camera system to make it happen, like the Micro Four-Thirds system from Panasonic’s G7 or GH4, or Samsung’s NX1 and NX500 cameras. Or even something bigger.

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Sony’s answer to this problem appears to bed with a couple of compacts that are getting announced this week, with the RX100 IV and the RX10 II.

As the names suggest, these are the fourth and second (respectively) iterations of these models, and they take the form-factors set out by the previous generations and upgrade the electronics considerably, bringing in better optics and stronger slow motion, with more support for extended video options.

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Let’s tackle the RX100 IV first, because it’s the sort of small bodied camera we’d normally keep with us simply because of how small it is. This one packs in a compact 24-700mm lens running from F1.8 to F2.8, providing a fair amount of low-light support in a tiny body.

This camera boasts a 1 inch stacked Exmor RS sensor to keep elements of the sensor apart for better light penetration and fast electronic speeds, with this sensor delivering 20 megapixel images most of the time, but also capable of grabbing 16 megapixel images while the camera is shooting 4K, which it can, too. The 4K UHD movie capture can handle video at 100Mbps, while Full HD drops down to 50Mbps, which should grab the attention of would-be filmmakers.

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In fact, the capture technology used in the RX 100 IV is very similar to what can be found in the RX10 II (above), which is a bigger camera taking the look and feel of an advanced compact with a larger lens. That lens is large enough to boast 24 to 200mm in range with F2.8 through the barrel, meaning the camera will get you a little closer than its pocketable sibling.

While the lens is different, the tech inside is the same, with that same 20 megapixel stacked sensor with 4K capture, and a bunch of other bits that we haven’t mentioned between them, such as a super slow-motion mode that will let video makers grab footage at an astonishingly slow 960 frames per second, though the quality and size may drop with it.

Outside of that ultra-fast frame rate, you’ll find 240 and 480 frames per second too, just in case 960 is a little too slow-mo for you.

A speedy autofocus system has been introduced and is present in both cameras, capable of grabbing focus lock in around 0.09 seconds, with the image later on being able to be transferred using the SD card slot, or a wireless transmission system (WiFi) if you like.

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Unfortunately, pricing for neither has been announced, but you’ll see the Sony RX100 IV and RX10 II available in stores from July and August respectively.

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