First Look: Sony DSC-RX10 III03/29/2016
Sony is expanding the reach of its respected RX-series of point-and-shoots with the 25x optical zoom of the Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 III Digital Camera. Sporting a 24-600mm equivalent Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* zoom lens with a bright maximum aperture range of f/2.4-4, it will satisfy shooters in a wide variety of situations. Besides the new glass, much has remained the same compared to its predecessor, including the fast 20.1MP 1" Exmor RS Stacked BSI CMOS sensor and BIONZ X processor combination, which supports 14 fps raw stills and UHD 4K video recording.
With such a vast range of 24-600mm, the RX10 III is a great option for travelers, wildlife, and sports photographers and documentary filmmaking, since it lets you capture wide landscapes and distant action with ease. Ensuring optimal image quality, this zoom lens has a bright f/2.4-4 variable aperture and incorporates eight ED glass elements, including two ED aspherical and one Super ED element, and one advanced aspherical element, which combat aberrations for crisp, clean imagery. A Zeiss T* anti-reflective coating further improves image quality by reducing flare and ghosting for high contrast in all lighting.
The 24-600mm equivalent zoom also benefits greatly from Optical SteadyShot image stabilization that can compensate for up to 4.5 stops of shutter speed. An added feature of this lens is the ability to get as close as 1.2" at 24mm or 28" at 600mm for magnifications of 0.42x or 0.49x, respectively. And, a circular nine-blade diaphragm ensures super smooth bokeh throughout the commonly used f/2.4-11 aperture range.
While internally the camera isn’t much different from its predecessor, there are many points worth mentioning again, especially the UHD 4K video recording options and Fast Intelligent AF system. On the stills front, the camera will focus as quickly as 0.09 seconds and it can shoot raw photos continuously at a rate of 14 fps with reduced blackout. It also has an Anti-Distortion Shutter and Silent Shooting setting that allows users to shoot at incredibly fast shutter speeds up to 1/32,000-second without any noticeable rolling shutter artifacts.
Videographers and filmmakers will benefit from the RX10 III's inclusion of UHD 4K recording at up to 100 Mbps using Sony’s XAVC S format. It also incorporates S-Log2 gamma for wide dynamic range scenes. Another benefit is slow motion in Full HD with standard recording options at up to 120 fps. Super slow motion up to 40x, or 960 fps, is available at lower quality for more specialized applications. A built-in stereo microphone and external mic jack will support high-quality audio capture while a headphone jack will assist with monitoring.
Externally, the RX10 III is very similar with a 2.36m-dot 0.39"OLED Tru-Finder EVF and a tilting 3.0" 1,228.8k-dot LCD screen. Also, it has a plethora of physical buttons and dials, many of which can be customized as needed by the shooter. The lens barrel itself is equipped with three separate rings, one each for focus zoom, and aperture, for the ultimate in tactile control. The aperture can also be de-clicked for smooth operation in video. The magnesium-alloy body is designed to be durable with moisture- and dust-resistant construction, and it has the Multi Interface Shoe for attaching flashes and other accessories.
Many other features are packed into the compact body, including Wi-Fi with NFC connectivity for wireless connection to a tablet or smartphone, various focus and shooting assists such as peaking, Eye AF, and more. The RX10 III will be an appealing camera for many photographers looking for excellent image quality and long zoom in a compact, durable form.