Sony RX10 III
Sony RX10 III
Sony’s RX series is the top of the line for their compact cameras, and the RX10 III is the latest addition to the family. It looks identical to the RX 10 II, but is just a bit larger and heavier overall, measuring 133 x 94 x 127mm to the RX 10 II’s 129 x 88 x 102 mm body and coming it some 238g heavier than the RX 10 II, at 1051g.
Size and weight aside, the biggest change with the RX10 III is of course, the headlining zoom capabilities. The f/2.4-4.0 zoom lens covers a range of 24-600mm, and focuses down to a mere 3cm at full wide, and 72cm at full tele. Meaning you can attempt macro- type shots like close-ups of flowers with good detail.
Like the RX 10 II and the RX 100 IV before it, the RX 10 III uses a stacked 1.0” BSI CMOS sensor with DRAM chip and Sony’s BIONZ X image processing engine. The combination allows for an ISO range of 64-12,800, and the ability to support super slow-motion recording at up to 1,000fps in High Frame Rate (HFR) mode.
The camera also retains the ability to do in-camera 4K (3,840x2,160) recording without pixel binning, and you will get the same set of movie functions like Picture Profile, S-Gamut/ S-Log2, Gamma Display Assist, enhanced Zebra function, clean HDMI output, TC/UB, REC Control, Dual REC, and Marker function. Evidently, the RX10 III is set up to be a very capable performer for both stills and video!
New on the RX10 III, are triple rings on the lens which allow you to adjust focus, zoom and aperture right from the lens. That’s certainly better than using a single dial to adjust both aperture and shutter, but we do think that the focus-by-wire system could respond better. As it is, there seems to be a bit of lag between turning the ring and seeing the focus adjust. It also seems like the camera shifts between a zoomed-in display and focus peaking intermittently, without settling into one or the other, making it a little difficult to see the exact plane of focus. What’s worth nothing is that Sony has also provided a standard zoom lever under the shutter button, allowing you to use powered zoom while doing video.
Meanwhile, the handgrip has been redesigned to give you a better grip, and there’s now a new Focus Hold button on the lens barrel to lock the focus distance. You’ll also find two more custom function buttons on top of the body, and one behind, so you can get your most commonly used functions at a single touch.
In terms of optical performance, the most impressive thing was the fact that we were able to get images without shake at 1/10s at focal lengths above 500mm; thanks in large to the implementation of Sony’s Optical SteadyShot.
The camera also oﬀered great autofocus performance in low light. We took the camera into the Owl enclosure at the Jurong Bird Park, and were amazed to see how the camera was able to get focus in dim light when even some ILCs (Interchangeable lens cameras) had failed previously. In general, autofocus is fast and accurate with this camera, so we’d try to use that over manual focus mode as far as possible.
Overall, we must say Sony has got their stacked sensor technology right, as the RX10 III produces great images in good light, with detail that could probably rival what you might get from older ILCs with smaller than full-frame size sensors. Our only concern is price, as $2,299 places it in the same playing field as ILCs with larger sensors. That’s excluding the cost of an equivalent zoom lens of course, but not everyone will appreciate the reach.
AT A GLANCE
1.0” stacked CMOS sensor with DRAM chip
approx. 20.1 megapixels
24–600 mm (35mm equivalent)
132.5 x 94.0 x 127.4mm
approx. 1051g (Body Only)