Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III

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OUR VERDICT

The 24-600 mm Zeiss lens from the RX10 III, combined with the outstanding 1-inch sensor from Sony, delivers top image quality. Its feature for 4 K and HD video is also great. However, it’s a big, comparatively heavy and expensive camera and is dropped in some cases by its autofocus efficiency.

FOR

  • Excellent and fast 24-600mm lens
  • Superb stills and video quality
  • High quality EVF and tilting LCD screen
  • Excellent high ISO performance

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In March this year, less than a year after the RX10 II which, according to Sony, does not substitute the new camera, the Sony RX10 III was announced. The most noticeable difference is the inclusion of a mega zoom lens with a variable aperture (f/2.4-4) reaching 600 mm (25x optical and 100x digital zoom), resulting in a significant rise in size and weight.

Like the RX10 II, the RX10 III is directed at the market’s severe enthusiastic end – photographers in a bridge-style package seeking ultimate picture quality and telephoto reach.

Features

  • 1.0-inch CMOS sensor, 20.1MP
  • 24-600mm f/2.4-4 zoom lens
  • 4K video capture

The RX10 III is equipped with the same 20.1MP1-inch Exmor CMOS sensor and offers the same excellent 4 K video functionality as the RX10 II. In fact, most features and functions are identical, with the large and impressive 24-600 mm Zeiss lens being the main point of discussion. Only the Canon Powershot G3 X has the same reach when we compare other bridge cameras with 1-inch sensors, whereas the much older Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 is only 400 mm.

Single shot autofocus (AFS), ongoing concentrate (AFC), direct manual focus (DMF) and complete manual concentrate (MF) are accessible, making the latter simple to use with Sony’s highly efficient focus magnification and focus peak options.

Both the EVF and the tilting back LCD are of high quality; the latter is not a touchscreen but would not be particularly practical considering the size and weight of the camera unless you are using the camera on a tripod.

There’s no way around the bulk of the Sony RX10 III. It’s very well made and comfortable in the hand, but I suspect that many more casual users will be dissuaded by its size (and cost) and if they want to achieve such a lengthy photoshot, they can opt instead for the Canon Powershot G3 X or potentially the Panasonic LumixFZ330/FZ300, which has a lower sensor but also provides 4 K shooting, and surprised us last. Comparatively, the Canon suffers from a slower lens and no EVF included, but the Lumix FZ330/FZ300 benefits from a steady f/2.8 aperture, although with a much lower sensor.

However, if you want the ultimate image quality in a bridge camera, it’s difficult to look beyond the class-leading results of the Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens from the RX10 III, and I’m sure lovers are looking for more reach and that will attract a strongly defined camera. Another matter is whether they will be willing to pay the £ 1,250 ($1,500, AU£2,150) price tag. That price is likely to drop after launch, but the cost of both the G3 X and the Lumix FZ1000 is about double at the time (the Lumix FZ330/FZ300 is cheaper again). That said, in some ways the RX10 III is in a league of its own, so it is likely to discover a niche market.

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