Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III Compact Camera

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82%
The breadth of the RX100 III's capabilities, from its bright, flexible lens and handy viewfinder, through to its class-defining image quality and well-supported, high-quality video capture mean there's nothing to really match it.”

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Key Features

  • 20.9 MP 1"-type Exmor R CMOS sensor
  • 24-70mm equivalent F/1.8-2.8 lens
  • Continuous shooting up to 10 FPS
  • Pop-up electronic OLED viewfinder with 1,440,000 dots
  • ISO 160-12800, expandable ISO 100, 125, and 25,600
  • 3.0 inch tiltable TFT LCD with 1,229,000 dots
  • 1080 60p/24p HD video with full exposure control (MPEG-4/AVCHD)
  • Raw/JPEG/ Raw+JPEG
  • Steady-Shot image stabilization
  • Rear control dial and customizable front control ring
  • Built-in WiFi and NFC for sharing and remote camera control

Product Description

The RX100 III is the most premium of pocketable premium enthusiasts compacts from Sony. Built around a 1" CMOS sensor and a 24-70mm equivalent F1.8-2.8 Zeiss lens, it promises sharp images even in low light. Other than the redesigned lens, the Mark III differs from its other RX100 siblings by including a built-in and retractable OLED viewfinder with the same T* coating as the camera's lens to reduce flare and ghosting. The RX100 III also features built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity for both wireless image sharing and camera control via smartphone, and a multi-angle WhiteMagic LCD display. The new compact is the first Cyber-shot model to offer high-resolution HD video recording in the XAVC S format, which allows for full HD recording at a data rate of 50 mbps with lower compression for improved video quality.

Specs

Body type
Body type Compact
Sensor
Max resolution 5472 x 3648
Other resolutions 3:2 mode: 3888x2592, 2736x1824; 4:3 mode: 4864x3648, 3648x2736, 2592x1944, 640x480; 16:9 mode: 5472x3080, 2720x1528; 1:1 mode: 3648x3648, 2544x2544, 1920x1920
Image ratio w:h 1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels 21 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors 20 megapixels
Sensor size 1″ (13.2 x 8.8 mm)
Sensor type BSI-CMOS
Processor Bionz X
Image
ISO Auto, 125-12800
White balance presets 9
Custom white balance Yes
Image stabilization Optical
Uncompressed format RAW
JPEG quality levels Extra fine, fine, standard
Optics & Focus
Focal length (equiv.) 24–70 mm
Optical zoom 2.9×
Maximum aperture F1.8 - F2.8
Autofocus
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Multi-area
  • Center
  • Selective single-point
  • Tracking
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
Digital zoom Yes (5.8x)
Manual focus Yes
Normal focus range 5 cm (1.97)
Macro focus range 5 cm (1.97)
Number of focus points 25
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCD Tilting
Screen size 3
Screen dots 1,228,800
Touch screen No
Screen type WhiteMagic TFT-LCD
Live view Yes
Viewfinder type Electronic
Viewfinder coverage 100%
Viewfinder magnification 0.59×
Viewfinder resolution 1,440,000
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed 30 sec
Maximum shutter speed 1/2000 sec
Aperture priority Yes
Shutter priority Yes
Manual exposure mode Yes
Subject / scene modes Yes
Built-in flash Yes
External flash No
Continuous drive 10 fps
Self-timer Yes (2 or 10 sec, self-portrait, continuous)
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Spot
Exposure compensation ±3 (at 1/3 EV steps)
AE Bracketing ±3
WB Bracketing Yes
Videography features
Resolutions 1920 x 1080 (60p/60i/24p), 1280 x 720 (60p/30p/24p/120p), 1440 x 1080 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
Format MPEG-4, AVCHD, XAVC S
Videography notes Supports XAVC S with 50MBps bit rate
Microphone Stereo
Speaker Mono
Storage
Storage types SD/ SDHC/SDXC, Memory Stick Pro Duo/ Pro-HG Duo
Connectivity
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMI Yes (micro-HDMI)
Microphone port No
Headphone port No
Wireless Built-In
Wireless notes 802.11b/g/n with NFC
Remote control Yes (with RM-VPR1 wired remote)
Physical
Environmentally sealed No
Battery Battery Pack
Battery description NP-BX1 lithium-ion battery & USB charger
Battery Life (CIPA) 320
Weight (inc. batteries) 290 g (0.64 lb / 10.23 oz)
Dimensions 102 x 58 x 41 mm (4.02 x 2.28 x 1.61)
Other features
Orientation sensor Yes
Timelapse recording No
GPS None

First Impressions

We've only had a brief chance to handle the RX100 III, though we've been promised another opportunity soon. The most obvious thing to note is how much, for better and worse, it feels like its predecessors. The extra depth of the camera isn't particularly noticeable though it restricts, still further, the number of pockets into which the camera will comfortably fit. Even so, it's still a small camera and it's remarkable that Sony has managed to fit an electronic viewfinder, flip-out screen and Wi-Fi into a camera that's only a smidgen larger than the original, technology-dense RX100.

Our first impressions of the viewfinder are very positive. It's a little fiddly to extend the eye piece once the finder has been popped-up, since there's not a lot to grab ahold of, but once in use it's detailed and easy to see. The pre-production units we handled had a small amount of 'give' as we pulled on the eye piece, which made some of us a little nervous about longevity, but it's reasonable to assume that an expensive piece of electronics will be treated with a suitable amount of care.

The other factor that split the DPReview team was the lens range. Around half of us said they'd have preferred the RX100 III to offer a more consistently fast version of the 28-100mm equivalent range, since it would have added classic portraiture to the camera's capabilities. However, an equal number of us were delighted to see the range of the lens expand out to 24mm equivalent, which boosts the camera's flexibility to just as significant a degree.

Read the entire First Impressions Review on dpreview.com.

Reviews

DPReview Conclusion

Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category at the time of review.

Score Breakdown
Poor Excellent
Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Features
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Optics
Performance
Movie / video mode
Connectivity
Value
82 %
Overall Score

The RX100 III is the most capable compact camera we've ever seen. With its built-in viewfinder and more consistently fast lens, there's nothing that can provide better image quality in such a small package. It's not the perfect camera to take shot-to-shot control over, but its capability means it justifies its high price tag.

Good For

Getting excellent quality images and video, on the go.

Not So Good For

Users wanting to engage with the camera's every setting.

User Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
  • Jon Ingram, Jun 25, 2014 GMT:
    Sony Rx100 III: My Initial Impressions

    After reading some criticism regarding the handling of the RX 100 III, I was truly worried. However, after receiving and using the camera for a day, I can say my worries have been put to rest. My background: I generally shoot Nikon Dslr's for event photography. I've never found a use for a compact camera before now. Handling Overall: Heavy for it's size, in a good way. Feels reassuring in the hand. Super-small. Coming from Dslr's, it's so small that I had to practice how to hold my hands to ...

    Continue Reading

  • M4schler, Jun 26, 2014 GMT:
    The little wonder

    OK, I'm not a professional, but in my journey from cheap glass and cameras to the highest quality Canon L glass you can buy I've been on a constant search for "the" image, no matter where I shoot. From Kansas City to Bangkok, I've not found a more capable camera than this one. This would be my equivalent of "on a deserted island and could take only one thing" camera. It just does it all - quickly, quietly, and effortlessly. Shooting one handed in the Chinese markets of Bangkok? Check. ...

    Continue Reading

  • Aero1, Jun 30, 2014 GMT:
    Lovely little travel companion

    Bought the Mark 3 to replace the Mark 1. Compared to my usual heavy DSLR kit this is a real joy to use and the new EVF is wonderful. I've never been convinced by cameras which only have rear screens for composing and reviewing. The Sony allows you to compose and shoot easily in bright sunlight and adds a degree of steadiness to the shot with the camera held against the eye rather than stretched out in front of you and subject to the problems of extended arm shake! Image quality is good and ...

    Continue Reading

  • numerix, Jun 30, 2014 GMT:
    Now I only use this one. Great camera !

Questions & Answers

QUESTION

What are my options here?

So my girlfriend has a Fuji X20 and has basically outgrown its functionality. She'd like to move up to an ILC system. Since I have a bunch of M43 lenses that we could share, it makes a lot of sense for that system to be M43. Her requirements are: 1. Integrated EVF 2. Small, no bigger than a GX7 (doesn't like the DSLR size or stylings of GH or OM-D series cameras) 3. Prefers 2 control dials, but not mandatory So what options does that leave? Can be an older body to save a bit of cash. How do some of these compare to the newer sensors? Is it a fairly large generational leap? She would use the camera for travel and birding, mostly. Appreciate any help you guys could offer. Thanks.

DonnCath asked
2 days ago

ANSWERS

GX7 is pretty much it. Continue Reading

pocketpygmy answered
2 days ago

Olympus EM10 ( I won the EM1). Continue Reading

2 days ago

yeah except Continue Reading

pocketpygmy answered
2 days ago

QUESTION

RX100 III lens question

Short stupid question to the owners of rx100 iii: Yesterday I received mine and wondered why the frontal glass of the lens seems to be bent inwards. This may be correct, it is in your cameras as well? Could not find the answer here. Thank you.

14 hours ago

ANSWERS

Same here. Just lens design not too uncommon on a zoom that can go wide. -- 'I am ze locksmith of love, no?' Stephen Reed Continue Reading

Pepe-Lepue answered
8 hours ago

Thank you, that answered my question. First test shots look good, too. So camera seems to be OK :) Continue Reading

flying hacker answered
6 hours ago

QUESTION

RX100 iii – stabilization improvement or not?

Where does Sony explicitly claim that RX100 iii stabilizer is improved over the other models? I have read here and there, and some folks repeat it, that there is a 5 axis stabilization system, or more correctly, 3 (optical) + 2 (digital). As far as i know the first RX100 had this as well. This is not the Olympics 5 axis stabilization. So, what is improved here factually? I assume that the 24mm appears less shaky due to wider angle. So stabilization is improved indeed.

zoranT asked
2 months ago

ANSWERS

An IS extends the time you can hand-hold a sharp image, whatever you are able to achieve without. You are missing the point here. Continue Reading

falconeyes answered
2 months ago

The 5-axis thing is firmware-based, only applies to video, and has nothing to do with the physical OSS that gets used for stills. Read the Imaging-Resource preview if you want this more officially. I haven't seen a single word from Sony itself, or from anyone reporting on what Sony is saying, that indicates that improved OSS is one of the Mk3's features. Anecdotal accounts from those, like Vince, who have used the pre-production untis are all we'll have to go on until review sites and users have hands-on experience with production copies of the camera. Continue Reading

Dale Cotton answered
2 months ago

We don't know yet. Where I've read it, it always was in the context of video. Wrt to efficiency, CIPA established a norm how to measure #stops improvement. After release, it made many SLR vendors lower their claims by 1 stop (what used to read 4 stops now reads 3 stops etc.). Only very recent expensive Canikon glass and Olympus seems to be able to do 4 stops. I observe that Sony omitted the CIPA rating for stabilization while they put the CIPA battery rating. That's no good sign. It probably means stabilization is as bad as 2 or even 1 stop. Unfortunately, the only service I know which tests stabilization on a regular base (French Labo Fnac) excludes this test from their compact dossier which includes the RX100. But many tests show an effect of stabilization only for long shutter times like 1/15s or less. This points to a lack of precision hardware  (gyro sensors or lens motor) in said cameras. Continue Reading

falconeyes answered
2 months ago
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