I've used a few superzoom cameras down the years. Also known as bridge cameras, their big selling point is the zoom range of the built-in lens that covers just about every eventuality. Macro, landscapes, telephoto wildlife and sports. You name it.
However, in reality I've known superzooms as cameras with uninspiring image quality and unusable telephoto lens settings. This all changed with the Sony Cyber-Shot RX10 series and the fourth iteration Sony RX10 IV is hands down the best superzoom camera around.
Asides from its predecessor and to some degree the Panasonic Lumix FZ2000, the RX10 IV is in a league of its own.
What impresses me most is the lens. It's a 24-600mm f/2.4-4 unit with up to 4.5EV optical stabilization built-in. The image quality it produces across the focal range is nothing short of astounding.
Coupled with the new on-chip 315-point phase detection autofocus, you get what for me is the most useable telephoto settings of a superzoom camera ever.
I've been able to get sharp 20.1MP pictures at 600mm in low light. Remarkable.
When using f/4 and f/5.6 apertures, detail is sharp from centre all the way to the corners, with only a fractional softness in the very edges. All lens distortions are handled very well - that's fringing, vignetting, barrel & pincushion distortion. And I'm talking about images taken at any focal length.
Features wise there is the burst shooting mode which can sustain 24fps for around 10 seconds with full-time AF. Say whaaat?
I haven't even touched on video yet. The 4k videos at 30fps and 100Mbps are really sharp, being taken from 1.7x oversampled footage. High Frame Rate (HFR) video modes offer slow-motion at 250, 500 and 1000fps. It's processing these files where I experienced the only lags - you'll have to wait anything up to a minute for a 1000fps sequence to finish processing and you can't use the camera during this time.
All in all, I've been blown away by the Sony Cyber-Shot RX10 IV. Before I would see a superzoom camera giving me versatility over quality. In the RX10 IV you get both.
Sure you pay for the pleasure. At £1,800, the Sony RX10 IV is more than 3x the price of its competitor and a good bit more than its predecessor. I never thought I'd see the day that a superzoom camera would cost £1,800.
Yet I really do believe that the RX10 IV could prove to be all the camera you ever need and for that reason its price could be seen as good value.