fox peeks above a snowy ridge with just its eyes showing

Wild Encounters

Süha Derbent

With over 30 years as a professional photographer, Süha Derbent has travelled the world photographing some of the most amazing creatures on the planet and his photographs can be purchased from Getty Images. For his latest adventure, he left his usual camera kit behind and swapped it for the powerful Sony RX10 IV to photograph foxes in temperatures down to -28C.

suha derbent
Foxes are capable of hearing the footsteps of mice roaming in their tunnels beneath the snow. The fox can walk all day long, but when they hear the noise of a mouse under the ground, they cock their ears. As soon I see a fox tilt its head, I know that it has heard noise and is getting ready to hunt.
suha derbent sony rx10IV fox jumping in the snow © Süha Derbent | Sony RX10 IV | 1/1000s @ f/4.0, ISO 80

His usual choice of camera is a Sony α7R III interchangeable lens camera, however on his recent adventure to photograph foxes in the freezing temperatures of Kars, Turkey, he shot from dawn to dusk with the Sony RX10 IV premium compact camera.

suha derbent sony rx10IV fox walking across the snow while looking at the photographer © Süha Derbent | Sony RX10 IV | 1/1000s @ f/4.0, ISO 80
I make long journeys to reach wildlife,” he explains, “and it’s a real challenge to carry heavy equipment. So the RX10 IV is ideal, as it is so slight and eliminates the tedious and exhausting travel process of carrying heavy kit. Plus, the camera’s 20.1 megapixel 1.0-type Exmor RS sensor means I don’t have to compromise on image quality.
suha derbent sony rx10IV fox peers above a snowy ridge with just its eyes showing © Süha Derbent | Sony RX10 IV | 1/8000s @ f/4.0, ISO 200

Driving, hiking through forests and encountering foxes at a variety of different distances required a camera that would allow Süha to be very flexible with how he worked. Whilst the size and weight make the Sony RX10 IV an agile camera to use, it is the 24-600mm equivalent, optically stabilised lens that is the star of the show.

It’s this lens that enabled Süha to capture the incredible images of the foxes, without the large telephoto lenses that he would usually use when on safari. “Zooming from 24mm to 600mm is already a great comfort, but like the α7R III that I use normally, the RX10 IV has a very fast autofocus system. The speed of the autofocus tracking is really impressive.”

suha derbent sony rx10IV fox sitting in the snow next to its tracks © Süha Derbent | Sony RX10 IV | 1/6400s @ f/4.0, ISO 250

But the impressive lens is only part of the story; if you want to capture the action, you need a camera that can react quickly. “Shooting wildlife,” he explains, “we always use our cameras in continuous shooting mode, and with a burst shooting rate of 24fps, the RX10 IV is blisteringly fast. Imagine you’ve travelled for miles, found the animal in harsh natural conditions and it is doing exactly what you expect, but your camera can’t keep up with this speed. I don’t even want to think about it! But using the RX10 IV means you’re practically guaranteed to not miss any of the action.”

suha derbent sony rx10IV fox digging with its snout in the snow © Süha Derbent | Sony RX10 IV | 1/640s @ f/4.0, ISO 80

Süha’s project in Kars was his first time using the RX10 IV in extremely cold weather, and he was a little apprehensive about how the camera would perform in the low temperatures and the high altitude of the city, however he need not have worried. “I was shooting in very harsh conditions - down to -28 degrees - and, in my experience, you need to keep the camera and batteries as warm as you can. But I was amazed that with a full charge in the morning, I found I could easily shoot all day with a single battery!”

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