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May 16, 2014 • Gear Bits, News

The Sony RX100 III Is Pricey but Oh So Awesome

I absolutely love my Sony RX100 camera. It looks like a small point-and-shoot, but it takes amazing pictures thanks to its huge sensor and performance optics. Now Sony has announced a successor to the RX100s successor. The new Sony RX100 III will be arriving in June, and it offers a nice host of updates. At $800 it is pricey, though!

RX100 III rear hand 1200

The new model features a large-aperture ZEISS 24-70mm lens1, a built-in OLED viewfinder with ZEISS T Coating, a BIONZ X processor, and more. The camera has the same high-resolution 20.1 MP 1.0-type back-illuminated CMOS image sensor as the RX100 II it replaces. The powerful BIONZ X processor it has is the same one that is found in several high-end Sony cameras, including the full-frame ?7, ?7R and ?7S models.

Sony RX100 III

As Patrick Huang, director of the Cyber-shot business at Sony Electronics notes,

Sony continues to push the modern limits of engineering and innovation with our Cyber-shot RX family of products. With the new RX100 III model, we’ve added a brighter, wider aperture lens and an impressive retractable OLED EVF, while also utilizing the latest Sony imaging technologies to boost the camera’s processing speed and efficiency. And we’ve done this without sacrificing any of the true ‘pocketability’ of our RX100 line, creating an especially unique compact camera unlike anything else in market today.

RX100 III Top wide 1200  1

That’s really the key here. The RX100, RX100 II, and now the RX100 III all offer amazing power in a camera that is truly pocketable. The big news here is the ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T 24-70mm1 F1.8-F2.8 lens and the impact it promises.

The unique new ZEISS lens on the RX100 III camera covers the popular 24 -70mm1 focal length with a wide F1.8 – F2.8 aperture. This is particularly noteworthy at the 70mm telephoto end of the lens, where the maximum F2.8 aperture allows it to gather about twice as much light as the RX100 and RX100 II models (at 70mm), ensuring that portrait subjects can be captured against beautiful background defocus. The wide aperture also allows the lens to capture moving subjects clearly without any blur due to camera and/or subject shake.

Sony RX100 III Features

RX100 III Rear EVF 1200  1

  • Clear, High-Precision Built-in EVF with ZEISS T Coating: Largely based off of customer feedback on existing RX100 series cameras (RX100 and RX100II), the new RX100 III adds a versatile, high-quality OLED Tru-Finder™ electronic viewfinder. The EVF has an impressive 1.4 million dot resolution, adding exceptional brightness and clarity to the overall framing and viewing experience, and handily pops in and out of the top of the camera body based on shooting preferences. This allows the camera to operate in the traditional ‘rangefinder’ style without sacrificing any of its portability or compactness.

RX100 III Skelton 1200  1

  • Exmor R CMOS Sensor and BIONZ X Processor: The powerful new Sony RX100 III camera shares the same critically acclaimed 1.0-type back-illuminated 20.1 MP Exmor R CMOS image sensor featured in the RX100 II and RX10 cameras. With approximately four times greater image capture area than the 1/2.3 type image sensors commonly used in compact cameras, the sensor takes in significantly more light, translating into brighter, clearer images and sharper Full HD videos that capture all of the finer details of a scene. The high-resolution sensor is paired with the evolved BIONZ X image processor introduced in the ?7, ?7R models this past fall. Around three times faster than the BIONZ processing engine in the RX100 and RX100 II models, it employs detail reproduction, diffraction-reducing and area-specific noise reduction technologies that allow the camera to produce amazingly detailed images and Full HD videos in all types of lighting conditions.
  • Pro-Quality Full HD Video Capture: The new RX100 III model is equipped with a host of HD video capabilities to satisfy the most demanding enthusiasts. 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. Additionally, with the power of the BIONZ X processor, the camera is able to read, process and output data from all of the sensor’s pixels during video recording, ensuring that it produces the highest quality video possible by eliminating aliasing, moiré and false color artifacts. Other video features include a ‘clear’ HDMI output for reviewing footage on an external monitor, 120 fps recording at 720p HD resolution and zebra pattering on the LCD and built-in EVF. The camera also has dual video recording capability (XAVC S / AVCHD files4 along with MP4 files), which allows users to shoot a high bit-rate video for storage or editing purposes while also recording a lower bit rate video that’s optimized for sharing via Wi-Fi®.
  • The camera also has Intelligent Active Mode: another first for Cyber-shot RX series cameras – which utilizes Sony’s frame analysis technology and 5-axis compensation to dramatically reduce the effects of camera shake while shooting movies.
  • Camera Design, Customizability and Control: Despite its small “pocketable” size, the new RX100 III features many opportunities to adjust common shooting settings, including a ‘Fn’ key, customizable control ring and a “C” custom button with more than 40 assignable functions.

Sony RX100 III

The new RX100 III model also has an articulated LCD that can tilt upward by about 180 degrees; this is great for selfies. It also tilts all the way down for “hold-the-camera-over-your-head” high-angle shots. Of course the new camera also has Wi-Fi, and it works with Sony’s PlayMemories app.

The Sony RX100 III compact camera will be available in June for about $800. Read all the details and see a video demo here.

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