The RX100 III strikes a balance much more like that of Panasonic's LX series - a more consistently fast lens and wider angle starting point, with the trade-off of less reach at the...
The RX100 III strikes a balance much more like that of Panasonic's LX series - a more consistently fast lens and wider angle starting point, with the trade-off of less reach at the telephoto end. On the RX100 III, Sony is using a new 24-70mm equivalent F1.8-2.8 lens, which is both faster and wider than what was on its predecessors, though at the expense of telephoto power. When you combine its fast lens and larger-than-averag e sensor size, the RX100 III promises stronger low light performance and shallower depth-of-field at the telephoto end than most other enthusiast compacts.While the lens is no doubt impressive, the feature that will probably get the most attention is the RX100 III's pop-up electronic viewfinder which, as far as we know, has never been done before. Not only is it 'cool,' but it gives you the flexibility of having an EVF available at all times, without adding significant bulk to the camera. The inclusion of a viewfinder puts the RX100 III in very select company, even amongst enthusiast compacts.Key Features:20.1 megapixel 1-type Exmor R BSI-CMOS sensor24-70mm equiv. F1.8-2.8 Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lensPop-up SVGA OLED electronic viewfinder with 1.44M dots3-inch tilting WhiteMagic LCD with 1.23M dots1080/60p video with full sensor readout and 50Mbps XAVC S supportClean HDMI outputZebra pattern and focus peakingCustomizab le front lens ring3-stop neutral density filterWi-Fi with NFC and downloadable apps320 shots per charge (CIPA standard)As mentioned above, the lens on the RX100 III is considerably faster than its predecessors, though the telephoto end of the lens now stops at 70mm, instead of 100mm of the RX100 Mark I and II. What's impressive, though, is how Sony was able to create a much faster lens with only a small increase in camera size.To allow those bright maximum apertures (along with the lower levels of diffraction and shallower depth-of-field they bring) over a broader range of circumstances, Sony has managed to fit in a neutral density filter. This can be engaged in bright light, when the 1/2000 sec maximum shutter speed isn't sufficiently fast. It also allows the use of wide apertures when using the long exposures that movie shooting requires.There's a lot more to the RX100 III than just the lens and EVF, though - especially when it comes to video. The RX100 II was certainly no slouch in that department, and the Mark III offers some major improvement. The first is full sensor readout, which allows for higher resolution video than your typical compact (or interchangeable lens) camera, a feature we first saw on the Cyber-shot DSC-RX10. The RX100 III also supports the XAVC S codec, allowing for 1080/60p recording at 50Mbps, which is a considerable improvement over the 24 and 28Mbps rates on the Mark II. The RX100 III can also output 'clean' HDMI video over its HDMI port.Something we didn't particularly care for on the previous two RX100's was the shooting experience. The user interface, cluttered controls, and, in particular, the 'clickless' wheel around the lens that gave no tactile feedback just took the 'fun' out of using the RX100 Mark I and II. While the EVF should make outdoor photography more pleasant and there have been minor tweaks to the UI, there hasn't been as much change as we were hoping for.