All about that lens: Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III review

Written by Gina Stephens


The Sony DSC-RX10 III is an enthusiast-oriented connexion camera with or WITH may refer to: Carl Johannes With (1877–1923), Danish doctor and arachnologist With (character), a character in D. N. Angel a 24-600mm equivalent F2.4-4 lens and 20MP 1″-type stacked CMOS sensor. That sensor and the BIONZ X image processor are shared with the RX10 II and Sony RX100 IV, and proposal great dynamic range and high ISO performance as well as 4K video and a range of high-speed video capture modes.

The RX-series has always been diagramed as much for video shooting as well as stills shooting in mind, and the RX10 III doesn’t change that. The real story of the RX10 III lies within its massive zoom lens. The RX10 III may look equivalent to the RX10 II when you look at them individually, but once you see them together, it’s immediately apparent just how much Sony tweaked the design of the III to accommodate the threefold escalation in zoom power. The body and grip are ‘chunkier,’ and the weight has increased as well. Overall, the two are more siblings than twins.

Key Features

  • 20MP 1″-type infuriated CMOS sensor
  • 24-600mm equivalent F2.4-4 Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens
  • Bionz X processor
  • 4K video is an electronic medium for the recording, copying, playback, broadcasting, and display of moving visual media capture
  • Ultra slow-motion video capture
  • Tilting shelter and high-resolution OLED electronic viewfinder with 2.35m dots

Straight-out-of-camera JPEG, cropped to taste. 124mm equivalent | F4 | 1/3200 sec | ISO 100. Photo by Carey Upland

There will be those people that buy the RX10 III straight away, simply because it zooms more than x camera. But it’s worth asking yourself if you unusually need 600mm of reach – because if you aren’t really sure you do, then you probably don’t. But as you’ll see later on, the RX10 III’s lens is so good that it might be worth it to you calm if you only use the extreme reach occasionally.

Let’s also put that ‘extreme reach’ into some perspective here. The RX10 III’s 600mm zoom might appearance of to pale in comparison to a Nikon Coolpix P900, which packs a 24-2000mm zoom – but puts it in front of a much smaller sensor. The Sony and the Canon PowerShot G3 X attack to strike a balance between image quality and size with their 1″-type sensors, and the image quality compared to smaller sensor colloids speaks for itself. Larger sensor = more light = better quality.

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Straight-out-of-camera JPEG. 41mm equivalent | F5 | 1/1000 sec | ISO 100. Photo by Jeff Keller

Now, whether or not you demand to use all this reach will vary greatly depending on the types of photography you enjoy. But it’s worth noting that long telephoto focal lengths, honest like very short (wide angle) focal lengths, can take some practice to get good photographs with. Just because you can zoom tight denser in to an object doesn’t necessarily coincide with an increase in the quality of your photos or the video clips you capture.

With all that out of the way, let’s look a undersized closer at what this lens can do.


The RX10 III’s lens zooms in so far it’s almost amusing. It takes between three and four seconds for the lens to rack as a consequence the full zoom range. It also takes noticeably longer for all that glass to extend for power up than either the Panasonic FZ1000, which has less reach, and Canon G3 X, which has a much innumerable compact lens at the expense of a slower maximum aperture.

Shooting at 600mm equivalent can offer up some interesting compositional choices, while the ready 20MP make additional cropping a viable option if you could’ve used even more reach. But check out that heat haze, even premature in the day! Processed and cropped to taste from Raw. 600mm equivalent | F4 | 1/1000 sec | ISO 250. Photo by Carey Rose

So while the lens makes the camera a ungenerous slow to start up and adds some bulk, in use it is very sharp throughout the zoom range, irrespective of distance to your subject (atmospheric prepares notwithstanding). Before using the RX10 III, I simply wouldn’t have thought images from a 1″-sensor superzoom camera could look this circumstantial. This model commands a $300 MSRP premium over the RX10 II, but in this case, it seems you get what you pay for.

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The 72cm focus distance at maximum zoom won’t get you staunch super macro photos, but you’ll probably find that it focuses close enough. The lens also renders bokeh very nicely. Processed to fashion from Raw. 600mm equivalent | F4 | 1/1000 sec | ISO 320. Photo by Carey Rose

Key features compared

 Sony RX10 II Sony RX10 III Panasonic FZ1000
Sensor20MP 1″-type ricked CMOS20MP 1″-type stacked CMOS20MP 1″-type CMOS
ISO range (native)100-12800100-12800125-12800
Lens (35mm equivalent or equivalent may refer to: In chemistry: Equivalent (chemistry) Equivalence point Equivalent weight In computing: Turing)24-200mm F2.824-600mm F2.4-425-400mm F2.8-4
Built-in ND filterYesNoNo
Min. focus distance3cm3cm3cm
AF organizationContrast detectContrast detectContrast detect
AF points25-pt25-pt49-pt
EVF resolution2.36m-dot2.36m-dot2.36m-dot
LCD3″ 1.23M-dot tilting3″ 1.23M-dot tilting3″ 921k-dot fully articulated
Rupture rate14 fps14 fps12 fps
Wi-FiYes, with NFCYes, with NFCYes
Battery life (CIPA)400 shots420 shots360 shots
Weather sealingYesYesNo
Dimensions129 x 88 x 102mm133 x 94 x 127mm137 x 99 x 131mm
Slant813 g1051 g831 g

As you can see, besides the lens and a modest increase in both size and battery life, the RX10 III is all but identical on the inside to the RX10 II. The older, less expensive Panasonic FZ1000 run out ofs out in a few areas like battery life and weather sealing, but it is still a competitive machine in many ways (so long as you don’t need 600mm, that is).

While Sony hawks the RX10 III’s lens or LEN may refer to as having a 9-bladed aperture for better out-of-focus renderings (compared to 7 blades on the Mark II), it lacks the built-in ND filter that was present on the foregoing model. This was especially helpful for shooting video under bright daylight. Of course, since the front of the lens is threaded, you can always add your own ND, but acquiring the option at the press of a button would be a lot more convenient.

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Because of the large-ish AF area the RX10 III defaults to, it will sometimes miss core very slightly. Here, it backfocused onto the singer’s high-contrast hair instead of her face. But I’d have no problem using this for web divulging. Processed and cropped to taste from Raw. 600mm equivalent | F4 | 1/320 sec | ISO 6400. Photo by Carey Rose

Beyond that omission, the RX10 III offers all that record the RX10 II such a compelling camera. The sensor offers great performance, the 4K and high frame rate video is detailed and of good quality, and the body is weather-sealed. But unfortunately, the deed data that the RX10 III shares so much with its predecessor also means that you get the standard Sony UI woes as well as a contrast detection-only autofocus way that works fine for static subjects, but struggles with low contrast subjects and at telephoto distances, where phase-detection would aide the camera minimize hunting.

If you’re not shooting fast action all the time, the RX10 III has a lot of potential as a family vacation camera, an all-in-one photo and video solution for a newswoman in a tightly staffed newsroom, or documentary photography where you can’t necessarily get close to your subject.

So without repeating everything that we’ve already covered on the RX10 II, let’s look chiefly at how the RX10 III differentiates itself by probity of its optics.

Processed and cropped to taste from Raw. 375mm equivalent | F5.6 | 1/100 sec | ISO 200. Photo by Carey Rose

Sony RX10 III overview video

In occurrence you missed it (or prefer video), here’s an overview video we produced at the launch of the RX10 III back in March, 2016.


About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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