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Sony RX100 III Review - Top Cyber-Shot Camera

User Rating: 5 / 5

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The original RX100 was a bolt from the blue when it arrived in 2012. It was the first compact camera to use a 1in sensor – smaller than the sensors in most CSCs but much bigger in than most other compacts cameras. Paired with a wide-aperture lens, its image quality was incredibly high for such as petite, pocketable camera, especially when shooting in low light.

This third-generation model follows the same formula, but there are some big upgrades underneath its diminutive metal shell. The most surprising one is the addition of a pop-up electronic viewfinder (EVF). It's a high-quality unit, too, with a 1.4-million dot (800x600-pixel) resolution and a large viewing size. It pops up and is pulled back, but even then it doesn't extend beyond the back of the camera. That's not much of a problem for people whose right eye is dominant, but we found it a bit uncomfortable using the left eye, resulting in nose-shaped smudges on the screen. There's also something slightly comical about holding such a tiny camera up to your face. Even so, this EVF is a superb addition, and it's great to see that it hasn't pushed up the price significantly.

Sony RX100 iii

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Sony RX100 iii  Characteristics and style:

From an aesthetic perspective, not much has changed from the previous RX100 models. The RX100 III is just 3mm thicker than its predecessor in order to accommodate the larger lens. Build quality remains very good. The front and top plates are aluminum, making your $800 feeling well-spent. There's no grip on the front of the camera - which can make holding it a bit slippery - but after-market grips are available from both Sony and third parties.

While the display panel itself remains the same, the RX100 III's LCD can now flip up 180 degrees, for self-portraits. While the LCD has a total of 1.23 million dots, the actual resolution of what you see on the screen is VGA - 921,000 dots worth. The difference between those numbers comes from Sony's WhiteMagic technology, which has a fourth white pixel, which allows for both a brighter screen along with reduced power consumption.

Controls are unchanged from the previous RX100 models, which is a mixed blessing. Buttons and dials are sensibly laid out, but they're a little tightly packed on the back of the camera. The dial around the lens is a bit 'thin' and still turns smoothly, which works for movies and not so much for adjusting settings. We would've loved to have seen a clicking dial (or, better still, a dual mode dial like the one found on the Olympus XZ-2) to give more of a sense of feedback from the camera.

The user interface has been tweaked just a bit, with the customizable function menu brought over from the Cyber-shot RX10 and Alpha 6000. The RX100 III has an 'MR' spot on the mode dial, which can store up to three sets of your favorite settings.


Top of camera

On the top plate, from left to right, you'll see the EVF and flash (with stereo mics surrounding the latter) followed by the power button, shutter release/zoom controller, and mode dial. The flash is released with the switch on the top of the camera, while the switch for the EVF is on the left side.

Notice anything missing? The RX100 III has lost the hot shoe that was found on the RX100 II, though we imagine that most people will think the EVF was worth the trade-off.

As mentioned earlier, that dial around the lens turns smoothly, which is great for manual focus (particularly during video shooting), but the lack of tactile feedback when it's used to adjust settings is still disappointing.

Sony RX100 III Performance :

Like its predecessors, we found the Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 to be a capable performer, with good focus and shot-to-shot times and impressive continuous shooting speeds. The startup time is significantly improved over the M2 - taking around 1.6sec from power-on to first shot, rather than the II's 2.2sec.

The middling battery life - particularly when making extended use of the electronic viewfinder - was a minor annoyance, not helped by the need to charge the battery in the camera or shell-out for an external charger. Byond this, the only real disappointment was how the camera 'locks up' for over ten seconds when shooting a long series of JPEGs (it's not quite as bad with Raw, as the bursts are shorter).

Operational Speed

It takes about 1.5 seconds for the Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III to extend its lens and prepare for shooting. The camera can be powered on the 'old-fashioned way' or by popping up the EVF. Something that some folks may not like is that the RX100 III powers off when you put the viewfinder back down. It would be nice to have a choice in the matter.

The camera is very responsive when taking a photo, with no discernable delay between half and fully pressing the shutter release. You can fire off the next picture in just a third of a second.

AF System & Performance

The RX100 III's autofocus performance is very good in most lighting conditions. There are minimal delays, and the camera did a fine job of focus on the desired subject. Low light performance is noticeably slower, with focus times hovering just under a second. As we've seen on other recent Sony cameras, the camera is more likely to select an actual focus point with the AF illuminator turned off. Otherwise, it'll just give you a big green box,

Continuous Shooting

There are two different continuous shooting modes on the DSC-RX100 III: regular continuous and speed priority. Sony claims speeds of 2.9 fps for regular mode and 10 fps in speed priority mode, which locks exposure and focus at the first shot.

Do note that you cannot use the Xtra Fine setting when shooting Raw+JPEG. These tests were conducted using a SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-II card, rated to the U3 continuous read/write standard and capable of up to 280MB/s read speeds.

Sony RX100 III Battery Life :

The Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III uses the same NP-BX1 lithium-ion battery as its predecessors. This battery contains 4.5 Wh of energy, which translates to 320 shots per charge using the CIPA standard - the lowest of the three RX100 models. Use the viewfinder and the number drops to a much less useful 230 shots per charge. As always, using Wi-Fi will decrease that number considerably.

The battery inside the RX100 is charged internally via a USB cable (attached to a wall socket or your computer). This certainly adds convenience, making it easy to find somewhere to keep the battery topped-up, but the lack of external charger means it's difficult to keep a second battery fully chanrged. It takes 230 minutes to charge the battery in the camera.

This extra time and , it makes a lot of sense to pick up one of the BC-TRX external charger, which is considerably faster than using USB.


Highs :

  •  Excellent compact camera
  • Beautiful 20.1MP stills
  • Outstanding XAVC S videos
  • Breakthrough pop-up EVF

Sony RX100 iii screen

Product Warranty:

Sony offers a limited one-year warranty, but the company also offers an extended service plan called Protection Plus. Considering how much this camera costs, getting extra protection may be a wise investment.

How to use the Sony RX100 Mk III Wifi Connection

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Sony RX100 iii

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