It is about the time when most of us are hoping to start the New Year with new adventures and hobbies.
And if you have caught the shutterbug fever and decided to delve into the world of photography, it could be a challenge to look for your first ‘proper’ camera (disregarding smartphone cameras as actual photography).
With the various options to choose from; digital point-and-shoot, DSLR, mirrorless, medium format and etc, it could bring you into world of confusion.
Not to worry as Tech Side Tales may have the perfect camera for you to start shooting just in time for 2018.
So let us delve and explore the Sony DSC RX10 III.
What is the Sony DSC RX10 III?
To begin, the Sony DSC RX10 III is a “bridge” camera – a bridge camera is alike to any other digital camera which has some degree of manual control (like DSLRs and mirrorless), a non-interchangeable long range zoom lens and a viewfinder.
Additionally, it can be considered as a combination of a point-and-shoot camera and a DSLR.
On first impressions, you will find the Sony RX10 III to be larger than its predecessor, the Mark II as this is to accommodate the extra zoom of the lens.
While some may say that size matters, personally, I do not necessarily think it is a bad thing – but the RX10 III (which weighs at 2.3lbs with battery and SD card) is comparably around the same size of mid-range DLSR.
And despite the lens may be large , it has the ability to cover covers the same focal range of a DSLR or much larger – making it an ideal camera for travel or holiday trips.
With its large body, a large and chunky grip comes along with it where it is actually comfortable to hold, especially when using the camera’s viewfinder at eye-level.
The grip is textured and coated and is indent to help your middle finger rest comfortably.
Meanwhile, around the lens, there are three rings where one controls the aperture, the other to extend the zoom length of the lens and lastly the third to adjust its focus.
Additionally, there is a switch around the shutter release to extend and retract the zoom, if that is your preferred choice.
On the side of the lens, there is a customisable button where there is various functions assigned to it. One in particular is the “Zoom Assist” where it assists you to zoom out when the subject is out of frame to find it again.
Underneath the lens, there is a switch to change between between focusing mode, single continuous, manual and Direct Manual Focus (DMF).
DMF allows you to make fine manual adjustment to focus after the autofocus has locked on.
The exposure compensation dial is placed strategically where your thumb can reach while gripping the camera, while the button to pop-up the in-built flash and two other custom buttons which can be assigned to variety of functions.
Meanwhile, a small LCD is on the top of the camera which it display the key settings; aperture, shutter speed, remaining shots, battery status and etc while there is a button to lighten the screen for low-light situations.
Sony has taken a minimalist approach for the back of the Sony RX100 as an additional custom button work as a delete button when in playback mode.
The menu button is located on the left-hand side of the viewfinder, while the other buttons are placed on the right-hand side which make easy quick-changes.
Additionally, Sony added the Fn button which brings up a quick menu to access most of the common features that you will use frequently.
The menu is also customisable as you can add or remove any functions to match your preference.
However, if you look at the main menu, it is slightly more complex and you would need to spend some time to get use to it.
This is because some of the settings can be quite difficult to find but you will definitely get used to it once you start using the camera more.
Meanwhile, other buttons on the back include the playback button, an AEL button and a dedicated video record button.
There is also a small scrolling dial where it can be used to adjust the shutter speed while another scrolling dial is used to change autofocus point, scrolling navigating through menus or viewing images in playback.
One thing that stood out for the Sony RX100 III is the viewfinder which has a built-in sensor which detects and swiftly transition when lifted to your eye between the screen and the viewfinder.
There is no lag experience during the transition and images seen on the viewfinder are bright and sharp.
Moving down the viewfinder is the Sony RX100 III’s three-inch screen which can be pulled out from the body where it can be tilted upwards or downwards.
This feature enables shooting at some awkward angles, but the screen is not as flexible as compared to full-articulating screens.
The screen is, however, not a touch-screen, though it is not something that is required of such.
Personally, the autofocus on the Sony RX10 III’s both shine and disappoints.
Its autofocus shines while at wider focal lengths, working well for both still and moving subjects but at the longer end of its range, the AF is rather disappointing as it is really slow, even for still subjects.
That said, the autofocus is accurate and once it has found its target, but the lens is very prone to hunting.
At the same time, if you’re the type who shoot fast-moving subject at longer distances, you will find it a struggle for the Sony RX 10 III to capture.
Sony’s SteadyShot image stabilisation is useful, alongside the Auto ISO, it enables you to set a minimum shutter speed where you are also able to customise the settings to ensure camera shake will not be an issue.
Additionally, Sony has included various scene modes, creative styles and pictures effect which can be fun to use.
Meanwhile, video enthusiasts are not left out as Sony provided an excellent range of filming options with including 4K and HD modes and the ability to extract 8MP stills from 4K footages.
The High Frame Rate feature works great too as it enables you to create slow-motion videos; it also shoots well in mixed and contrasting lights.
Performance and Image Quality
Sony RX100 III images display crisp and clarity throughout its focal length – while softening slightly at the further reach of the lens, however not to a point where the image quality is affected.
The colours are bright and vibrant – displaying a good amount of liveliness which does not make its too unnatural.
The noise performance and detail resolution are good in JPEG images throughout its range as it becomes noticeable from around an ISO of 1,600.
However, it isn’t detrimental to the image quality.
At the same time, the all-purpose metering works well where it is able to produce accurate exposures in the majority of conditions.
Lastly, the Sony’s Dynamic Range Optimiser has become a useful tool to help bring out the detail in shadows in JPEG images that may otherwise be lost.
Meanwhile, the camera’s automatic white balance is good as it produces images with accurate colours despite under artificial lighting.
Yes, there are plenty to like about the Sony RX10 III, however, at the price of RM6,599.00 – there are many other but more affordable models in the market.
Though, to get a camera with a lens set which covers the focal range such as the Sony RX100 III, would most definitely cost you more than its asking price.
So it’s a matter of your own perspective to view its value.
And if you’re someone who enjoys travelling and looking for a camera without hassle (changing lens) which is relatively light, then the Sony RX100 III would be a good option for you.
However, its image quality may not be on par as compared to either DSLR or mirrorless camera, though it it still has the capability to produce detailed images where it works well even in low-light situations.
The main selling point of the camera is its 600mm zoom range and its maximum aperture from f/2.4 to f/4 at 100mm.
That said, its focal range of f/4 is considerably quite good. However, some may be disappointed as the maximum aperture can’t be maintained for a while longer.
The 4K video recording is also a great feature for avid photographers who are into minor videography as it has the ability to grab stills from a video where it is useful to capture fast moving action or spontaneous moments.