Sony DSC-RX100 Mk III
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Top, Sony DSC-RX100 Mark III.
Back, Sony DSC-RX100 Mark III. The LCD flips. bigger.
Sample Images top
The Sony RX-100 Mk III is a very popular pocket camera with serious photographers because it has a larger sensor than most other point & shoot cameras, so it usually performs better, especially in low light.
Its "one inch sensor" only measures 8.8 x 13.2mm (0.35" x 0.52" or a 3x crop factor), which is much smaller than a DSLR sensor, but bigger than a cell phone camera's sensor. Therefore its technical image quality falls somewhere in between the two.
It's very similar to Canon's PowerShot cameras, with a lens that has to crank out and then back in after every photo. These complex and delicate lenses eventually break or get jammed. The lens has a concave front element.
Once the lens motors into position, it is very quiet.
It is made in China and charges via USB.
8.8 ~ 25.7mm (24-70mm equiv.).
Close focus: 2" (5 cm) at wide; 12" (30 cm) at tele.
8.8 x 13.2mm, deceptively marketed as "one inch," which it is not.
5,472 x 3,648 pixels native.
ISO 125-12,800. (as low as ISO 80 in a trick mode).
Stereo microphone built in.
Still: JPG and/or raw.
Video: AVCHD, MP4, XAVC S.
Audio: AAC LC, AC3, Dolby Digital 2 channel, Linear Stereo PCM.
1/2,000 to 30 seconds plus Bulb in Shutter Priority.
Only to 1 second in Program mode.
Only to 4 seconds in Auto mode.
Only to 8 seconds in Aperture priority mode.
SD, SDHC and SDXC.
Various Sony Memory Stick formats.
Sony RX100 Mk III folding screen. bigger.
Micro USB 2.0.
Micro D HDMI.
Operating: 0 ~ 40º C (32 ~ 104º F).
Storage: -20 ~ +60º C (-4 ~ +140º F).
NP-BX1 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery.
3.6 V, 1240 mAh.
Charges via USB. If you have no USB source, Sony includes a model AC-UB10 AC -> USB adapter.
Bottom, Sony DCS-RX100M3 bigger.
Made in China.
4.0 x 2.3 x 1.6 inches WHD.
101.6 x 58.1 x 41.0 millimeters WHD.
10.2 oz. (290g) with battery and card.
$800, June 2014.
Sony RX100 Mk III box. bigger.
Color and Tone
Colors and exposure look great, best I've seen so far from Sony.
Auto White Balance also works great in every condition I tried it.
Its programming opts for extremely high ISOs in dim light.
At ISO 8,000 and above the images start looking like paint-by-number paintings because noise reduction does that to try to fight the noise from its small sensor. As a plus to this, this also removes wrinkles from peoples' faces whether you want it to or not.
The lens is super-sharp; no news here. Actually, it's sharper than most of Sony's DSLR lenses, which are pretty bad!
It has few sunstars, unless stopped all the way down to f/11:
Sunstars at f/11, Sony RX100 Mk III. bigger.
Autofocus is fast and sure, even with the annoying AF illuminator turned off.
Face recognition works while shooting; it will find faces and focus on them.
The finder pops-up from the body.
It works very well, but unfortunately a design flaw ensures that the finder will usually require refocusing after you've carried it. It usually gets pushed-in a little and demands you fiddle with its focus lever, unless you go through a two-stage process to pop it back in after shooting, and then go through another two-stage process to unfold it every time you want to take a picture.
You can set the menus through the finder, but you have to set other things like ISO and color settings by looking only at the rear LCD.
The screen can tilt up or down, but cannot swing left or right.
The LCD is anti-reflection coated.
The lens only motors to fixed zoom settings; you cannot adjust it to every possible focal length, only the several provided by Sony.
There are no real strap lugs, just little holes for a tiny threaded wrist strap.
You cannot wear it around your neck unless you rig up something on your own. I carry mine in a big pocket.
It has the same graphics and general operation for the menus and settings as in Sony's larger still cameras.
There is a tiny pop-up flash. Slide a lever on the top and it pops right up, and push it back in to turn it off. Good.
It works at up to 1/800 sync speed to try to give the little flash a fighting chance in daylight.
Recycling is slow outdoors where it has to fire at full power each time; you'll have to wait and plan your shots carefully.
It does balance very well for fill-flash, presuming you're close enough for it to have enough power as shown above.
The battery arrived mostly charged.
The power button has a tiny, dim amber LED to indicate charging, which turns off when done. It's green when turned on.
There is a battery icon, but I never found a percentage indicator.
Cards are not formatted properly. They are titled as "NO NAME" when formatted, not as SONY_RX or similar.
New cards require you to let the camera diddle around creating a "picture registry" in the card.
Formatting cards takes a long time.
Vertical shots are not really rotated; they are merely flagged hoping that your software will recognize the flag and rotate it.
The automatically-selected ISO in Auto ISO reads perfectly in Phase One Media Pro.
Turn the ring at the base of the lens to change the exposure settings in Program mode.
It does other things in other modes; don't forget it's there.
Press the rear DISP button while either the rear LCD or the finder are active to select among their various display options.
The LCD and finder may be set to different kinds of displays, and each rememebers your setting as you use the other.
Just hold the PLAY button for a few seconds and it will wake directly in play mode without needing to erect the lens.
The Sony RX100 Mk III is a great pocket camera, especially if your iPhone won't do.
Personally, I haven't used a dedicated pocket camera like this ever since I got an iPod Touch with a camera back around 2010. With my iPhone 6 Plus today, I either carry a real camera, or use my always-ready iPhone, and have no need for something in-between like this RX100.
The RX 100 Mk III lens is sharp, but has only a very limited zoom range. It never seems to be able to zoom long enough, as other pocket cameras can. This is a big negative.
For family travel and people pictures, I prefer my Fuji X100T, which has a much larger (true DSLR) sensor for much higher image quality and works even better in low light, as well as being able to sling around my neck with a regular strap, and without any need to motor a lens in and out for every shot.
My personal biases aside, the RX100 Mk III is a fantastic point-and-shoot camera quickly and easily making great photos in any light, and its larger-than-most point-and-shoots sensor giving sharper, cleaner images than cell phones or most other pocket cameras.
If you think you want one, get one. This is a very popular camera for good reasons.
When you use those or any of these links to approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live, it helps me keep adding to this free website — but I receive nothing for these efforts if you take the chance of buying elsewhere. Sony doesn't seal its boxes so you have no idea if you're actually getting a used product if you risk buying at retail. Never buy at retail.
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