Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Mark III Review

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Pros
  • Bright f/2.4 to f/4.0, 25x optical zoom lens
  • Excellent image quality
  • Excellent noise performance
  • 4K video recording
  • High speed video
  • Weather-sealed body
  • High resolution electronic viewfinder
  • High speed continuous shooting
  • Fast focus and shutter response
  • Built in Wi-Fi and NFC
Cons
  • High price
  • JPEG Super Fine not an option when shooting JPEG+RAW
  • Raw not available at the same time as creative effects
  • Quite large and heavy

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Mark III Review – We review the third version of the Sony Cyber-shot RX10, the Mark III, with a new telephoto zoom lens.

Sony Cyber Shot RX10 MarkIII (12)

The Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Mark III is the third version of the RX10 bridge camera from Sony, with the latest version featuring a 25x optical zoom lens with a bright f/2.4 to f/4.0 aperture, and a zoom range equivalent to 24 to 600mm in 35mm terms. The camera features the same “stacked” 20 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor as the RX10 Mark II, which enables high speed continues shooting as well as high speed video.

Features

Sony Cyber Shot RX10 MarkIII (5)

The Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Mark III is a premium priced ultra-zoom bridge camera with an impressively bright Zeiss 25x optical zoom lens that gives the equivalent of a 24-600mm telephoto zoom lens. Optical SteadyShot (optical image stabilisation) ensures sharp photos when shooting in low light or when using a lot of optical zoom.

The 20 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor used in the RX10 III is the latest version of Sony’s 1inch sensor, and is a “Stacked” design, which enables faster sensor readout, including high speed video, and 14fps continuous shooting. Other benefits of the new sensor include:

  • Super fast electronic shutter (1/32000s)
  • Super slow motion up to 1000fps (max 2 or 4 seconds)
  • 4K movie with full pixel read-out without pixel binning
  • Simultaneous still image recording up to 17MP during movie recording
  • 14fps high speed continuous shooting without display blackout
  • Anti-distortion shutter

If you’re looking for an ultra-zoom camera, with a larger than normal 1inch sensor, then there are a number of alternatives to consider, all featuring a 20 megapixel 1inch sensor. Compared to the Canon Powershot G3 X, Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 and Nikon DL24-500 (not yet available):

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III Canon Powershot G3 X Nikon DL24-500 Panasonic Lumix FZ1000
25x optical zoom 25x optical zoom 21x optical zoom 16x optical zoom
f/2.4-4.0, 24-600mm f/2.8-5.6, 24-600mm f/2.8-5.6, 24-500mm f/2.8-4.0, 25-400mm
14fps 7fps 60fps 12fps
3inch tilting screen 3.2inch tilting touch-screen 3inch vari-angle touch-screen 3inch vari-angle touch-screen
2359k dot EVF No EVF (optional) 2359k dot EVF 2359k dot EVF
4K video FullHD video 4K video 4K video
Wi-Fi / NFC Wi-Fi / NFC Wi-Fi / Bluetooth Wi-Fi / NFC
Weather-sealed Weather-sealed N/A N/A
Mic / headphone sockets Mic / headphone sockets Mic socket Mic socket
420 shots 300 shot battery life 290 shots 360 shots
1095g 733g 780g 780g

 

The camera offers an automatic shooting mode, numerous scene modes, plus full manual controls so that you have control over the shutter and aperture speeds. There is a manual aperture ring available around the lens, and this can be switched to clickless if required. There is side access to the memory card slot, which accepts either Sony Memory Sticks or SD / SDHC / SDXC cards.

The weather-sealed body resembles a Digital SLR (with a top LCD screen as well), and the camera has a weight of 1095g (with battery and memory card). The camera features diffraction-reducing technology, designed to maintain clarity even when using smaller apertures.

Wi-Fi and NFC is built-in so that you can connect the camera to your smartphone or tablet using Sony PlayMemories Mobile (available for Android and iOS). You can also download additional Sony PlayMemories apps, which are available either for free or a small fee. The apps add additional functionality and features that can be used directly on the camera.

4K video is available at 25fps with optical zoom and stereo sound, and you’ll also find microphone and headphone sockets on the side. High speed video is available at 250fps (1824 x 1026), 500fps (1676 x 566) and 1000fps (1136 x 384), for a limited amount of time, which can be extended when shooting at a lower resolution.

Sony Cyber Shot RX10 MarkIII (6)

Key Features
  • 20.1 megapixel 1inch BSI CMOS sensor
  • 25x optical zoom lens, f/2.4-4.0, Optical Steadyshot
  • 24-600mm equivalent in 35mm terms
  • Tilting 3inch 1288k dot screen
  • Electronic Viewfinder (XGA OLED)
  • 14fps continuous shooting
  • 3cm close macro performance
  • Electronic shutter (up to 1/32000s)
  • 4K UHD video recording (3840×2160)
  • High speed video recording
  • Triple lens ring (focus, aperture, zoom)
  • Dust and moisture resistance
  • Wi-Fi / NFC connectivity

Handling

Sony Cyber Shot RX10 MarkIII (4)

Build quality and handling is excellent with the camera featuring a large rubber hand grip surrounding the right hand side where you hold the camera, and on the back this continues all the way round to where there is a shaped area for your thumb to grip. Above the thumb is where you’ll find the exposure compensation dial. Holding the camera with two hands is recommended due to the size and weight of the camera which is now 1095g. The left hand side of the camera (viewed from the rear) also features a rubberised grip that goes round to the front of the camera. There is also a focus hold button on the left hand side of the lens.

The Mark III features one custom mode (“Memory Recall”), plus an “HFR” mode, which stands for High Frame Rate (Video) on the mode dial. The delete button is customisable as the third custom button (C3), with two customisable custom buttons on top (C1 and C2).

Surrounding the lens is the focus ring, zoom ring, and a manual aperture ring. The zoom ring controls the power zoom lens, and the aperture ring lets you set the aperture between f/2.8 and f/16, making the camera feel like a more traditional camera. In addition the aperture clicks can be switched off, letting you smoothly and silently change aperture during video recording. You can set the shutter speed using the rear scroll wheel, for manual control over exposure.

Sony Cyber Shot RX10 MarkIII (7)

The top left of the camera features the mode dial, and the camera features a sensor plane marking so you know where the sensor sits in the camera. On this side you’ll also find the covered microphone and headphone sockets, as well as the Multi(USB) connection and HDMI port. The Sony multi-interface hotshoe means the camera is compatible with a number of Sony accessories.

A small pop-up flash is included, as well as a good size LCD screen (with illumination button above it), which gives shooting information, as well as remaining shots and battery life. The shutter release features a thread for a screw in shutter release cable, and there is a zoom rocker surrounding the shutter release button, with the on/off switch behind.

Sony Cyber Shot RX10 MarkIII (9)

On the back, the tilting rear screen has a high resolution of 1288k dots, and is clear to see, with a recessed gap to make it easier to pull the screen out when you want to tilt it. The electronic viewfinder features a 2360k dot resolution, dioptre correction, as well as an eye-detection sensor so that when it’s held up to your eye it will automatically switch to the viewfinder. The viewfinder is clear and bright and updates smoothly and is of a good size, even when wearing glasses.

The menus are clearly laid out and resemble the menus from other Sony Cyber-shot / Alpha cameras, making it easy for anyone familiar with other Sony cameras to switch over to this camera. The function button brings up a set of options on screen, that can be quickly changed without having to go into the menu system, and these options can be customised.

On top are two custom buttons that can be customised, and the 4-way direction pad on the rear can also be customised, along with the AEL button, Delete / C3, and control wheel on the back. The focus point can be set over a wide area of the screen, almost into the far corners, although this would be made easier if the screen was a touch-screen.

Wi-Fi features – The body features NFC (Near Field Communication) and built-in Wi-Fi so that you can simply touch the camera to a compatible NFC enabled smartphone to setup the connection. The Sony PlayMemories Mobile app will then allow you to remotely control the camera, as well as download and share photos from the device. You can download additional apps to use on the camera, and there are a number of free or paid apps available.

Sony Cyber Shot RX10 MarkIII (10)

Battery life – Battery life is rated at 420 shots according to Sony / CIPA test results, which is a slight improvement over the RX10 Mark II. The camera battery is charged using a MicroUSB cable with the battery in the camera. This means you can easily find somewhere to plug in and charge the camera, although if you wanted to charge a spare battery you’d need to buy a separate charger.

Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Speed – We took a number of shots to test the camera’s responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response <0.05secs
Wide – Focus / Shutter Response 0.1secs
Full zoom – Focus / Shutter Response  0.125secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.9secs
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.3secs
Shot to Shot with Flash 0.9secs
Continuous Shooting – JPEG
(shots before slow down)
12fps (45 shots*), 12s to clear
Continuous Shooting – Flash 0.8s
Continuous Shooting – RAW 7fps (31 shots*) 14s to clear

Focus speeds are very quick, and continuous shooting is fast, particularly when shooting JPEG images. *Before slowdown.

Sample Photos

Lens test images

ISO test images

White-balance test images

Digital filters

Video – 4K video looks great on a 4K display, but also lets you take single frames and use them as 8 megapixel images. The camera records 4K Video at a resolution of 3840 x 2160 at 25fps, with stereo sound and optical zoom available, with optical image stabilisation helping keep video stable. Video compression options include pro-grade XAVC S codec at 100mbps, and you can record slow motion videos at 1000fps. To record 4K video you need to use a UHS:I, U:3 memory card. ISO12800 is available as the highest ISO setting available.

Standard video resolution and compression options are:

  • XAVC S 4K – 25p, 100Mbps, 25p, 60Mbps
  • XAVC S HD – 1920×1080 50p, 50Mbps, 25p, 50Mbps, 1920×1080 100fps, 50Mbps
  • AVCHD – 50i, 24Mbps, 50i 17Mbps, 50p, 28Mbps, 25p, 24Mbps, 25p, 17Mbps
  • MP4 – 1920×1080, 50p, 28Mbps, 1920×1080, 25p, 16Mbps, 1280×720, 25p, 6Mbps

High speed video can be recorded at 250, 500 and 1000fps, at differing resolutions, and is then upsampled to a resolution of 1,920×1,080.

Specifications

Manufacturer Sony
Lens
Max Aperture f/2.4 – f/4
35mm equivalent 24mm – 600mm
Optical Zoom 25x
Image Sensor
Pixels 20.2Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W) 5472
Pixels (H) 3468
Sensor Type Back-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)
Sensor Size 1inch
Sensor Size (width) 13.2mm
Sensor Size (height) 8.8mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 3:2
  • 4:3
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor 3in
Screen resolution 1,228,800 dots
Touch Screen No
Focusing
Min Focus 3cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Spot
  • Multi
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest 1/32000sec
Shutter speeds longest 30sec
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Program Variable
Metering
  • Centre-weighted – Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity 64 – 12800
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
Exposure Comp +/-3
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting 14fps
Video
Movie mode Yes
Video Resolution
  • 1920×1080 FullHD
  • 640×480 VGA
  • 1440×1080
  • 4K
Video FPS 60p, 50p, 50i, 25p, 100p FullHD
Stereo Sound Yes
Optical Zoom with Video Yes
Other Features
Image Stabilisation Yes
Interface
HDMI Yes
USB USB 2
Wi-Fi Yes
Storage
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • Memory Stick (Sony)
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery Type NP-FW50 Lithium Ion
CIPA Rating 420
Box Contents
Box Contents Rechargeable Battery Pack NP-FW50, AC Adaptor AC-UB10 / UB10B / UB10C / UB10D, Micro USB cable, Shoulder strap, Lens cap, Shoe cap, Lens hood, Eyepiece Cup, Instruction Manual
Dimensions
Weight 1095g
Width 132.5mm
Height 94mm
Depth 127.4mm

Low Key | 1/250 sec | f/4.0 | 47.9 mm | ISO 160

Value For Money

The Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Mark III is available for £1549/$2323, which makes it the most expensive camera available with a 1inch sensor. Originally announced with an RRP of £1250/$1875, the price has recently increased. If you can live with a 16x zoom, then the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 (f/2.8-4.0) is available for £599/$898, and includes 4K video, or if you want a 25x optical zoom lens and don’t mind the lack of 4K video, then the Canon Powershot G3 X (f/2.8-5.6) is available for £599/$898. Or why not buy both, you’d still have £350/$525 leftover.

Verdict

The Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Mark III offers a unique 25x optical zoom Zeiss lens with a bright f/2.4 aperture at the wide-angle end of the lens, and a bright f/4.0 at the telephoto end of the lens. The use of a 1inch, high-speed 20 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor means you’ll able to shoot at high speeds, whether shooting still photos, high speed video or 4K video. Image quality is excellent, with the lens performing well, producing images with good colour and detail.

There are a wealth of options, controls and settings, and the camera is suitable for stills or video use. The camera is weather-sealed, and has both a microphone and headphone socket, which will make it more appealing to those looking for a camera suitable for both outdoor photography, as well as professional quality video.

If you are looking for an all-in-one solution with a lot of zoom and high-speed shooting, and don’t want to carry a range of telephoto zoom lenses and an interchangeable lens camera, then the RX10 Mark III would be an excellent option, particularly if you have the budget available. If you can, then it’s worth having a look at the camera in person if you have the option, as it’s quite large and heavy.

(ephotozine.com, https://goo.gl/YZUBXg)

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