Posts Tagged ‘RX10’

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV review

14 Nov


The Sony DSC-RX10 IV is premium superzoom bridge-camera (DSLR-like form factor) with a 24-600mm F2.4-4 equivalent zoom lens and a 20MP 1″-type stacked BSI-CMOS sensor: the same used by the Sony RX100 V. This new sensor brings phase detect autofocus to the RX10 series for the first time, adding the depth-awareness that is important for focusing long lenses. The camera is also faster than its predecessor and can shoot at 24 fps with AF and auto exposure (compared to 5 fps).

The processor is borrowed from the flagship Sony a9, which should mean excellent subject tracking. In short, this camera packs speed, AF ability and lens reach into a convenient package, not to mention 4K video. So is it the most capable all-in-one camera on the market? Read on…

Key specs:

  • 20MP 1″-type stacked BSI-CMOS sensor
  • 24-600mm equivalent F2.4-4 stabilized zoom lens
  • 24 fps burst shooting in JPEG + Raw, with full AF and AE
  • 315-point phase-detection autofocus system covers 65% of frame
  • Detailed 4K video capture with well-controlled rolling shutter
  • High frame rate video capture
  • Touchscreen
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Updated menus

We feel like this camera will appeal to a variety of users including those seeking an all-in-one camera with serious reach for casual shooting, travel or vacationing. But advanced videographers may also find this camera tempting thanks to a laundry list of video features and good quality UHD capture.

Key features compared

The body is almost identical to that of its predecessor, using the same outstanding lens. However the RX10 IV offers a touchscreen that can be used as a touchpad for placing AF points with your eye to the finder or for selecting a point of focus in still or video mode. There are a few other minor differences between the two cameras as well:

Sony RX10 IV Sony RX10 III Sony RX10 II Panasonic FZ1000 Panasonic
MSRP $ 1699 $ 1499 $ 1199 $ 899 $ 1199
Sensor 20MP 1″-type stacked CMOS sensor 20MP 1″-type stacked CMOS 20MP 1″-type stacked CMOS 20MP 1″-type BSI-CMOS 20MP 1″-type BSI-CMOS
ISO range (native) 100-12800 100-12800 100-12800 125-12800 125-12800
Lens (35mm equivalent) 24-600mm F2.4-4 24-600mm F2.4-4 24-200mm F2.8 25-400mm F2.8-4 24-480mm F2.8-4.5
Built-in ND filter No No Yes No Yes
AF system Phase detect Contrast detect Contrast detect Contrast detect Contrast detect
AF points 315-point 25-pt 25-pt 49-pt 49-pt
Fastest shutter speed

1/32,000 sec
(e-shutter), 1/2000 (mechanical)

1/32,000 sec
1/2000 (mechanical)

1/32000 sec
1/2000 (mechanical)

1/16000 sec
(e-shutter), 1/4000 (mechanical)

1/16000 sec
(e-shutter), 1/4000 (mechanical)

EVF resolution 2.36m-dot 2.36m-dot 2.36m-dot 2.36m-dot 2.36m-dot
LCD 3″ 1.44M-dot tilting 3″ 1.23M-dot tilting 3″ 1.23M-dot tilting 3″ 921k-dot fully articulated 3″ 1.04M-dot fully articulating
Touscreen Yes No No No Yes
Burst rate 24 fps 14 fps 14 fps 12 fps 12 fps
Video 4K/30p 4K/30p 4K/30p 4K/30p 4K/30p
High-speed video Up to 960 fps @ 800 x 270

Up to 960 fps @ 800 x 270 Up to 960 fps @ 800 x 270 120 fps @ 1920 x 1080 120 fps @ 1920 x 1080
Wi-Fi Yes, with NFC and Bluetooth Yes, with NFC Yes, with NFC Yes Yes
Battery life (CIPA) 400 shots 420 shots 400 shots 360 shots 350 shots
Weather sealing Yes Yes Yes No No
Dimensions 133 x 94 x 145mm 133 x 94 x 127mm 129 x 88 x 102mm 137 x 99 x 131mm 138 x 102 x 135 mm
Weight 1095 g 1051 g 813 g 831 g 915 g

As you can see, the RX10 IV stacks up nicely next to its siblings and direct competitors. For someone primarily concerned with stills, the RX10 IV seems like the obvious choice, especially if you plan on shooting action: it’s got the fastest burst rate of the bunch and is the only camera in its class with phase detection.

But for videographers, the FZ2500 with its fully-articulating touchscreen, built-in variable ND filter and similar zoom range might make it the more sensible choice, especially given its lower price point (though we found its lens performance inferior to its Sony counterparts). You don’t get the cool, super-high-speed frame rate options offered by the Sony cameras, but 1080/120p is not too shabby.


The RX10 IV is available now for an MSRP of $ 1699.

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Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV sample gallery updated

10 Oct

Where better to take a 24-600mm equivalent superzoom than on a trip to the mountains? With a zoom range ideal for travel, our Sony RX10 IV review unit headed north to Whistler, BC almost as soon as it arrived. Take a look at our expanded sample gallery.

See our updated Sony RX10 IV gallery

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Why should you care about the Sony RX10 IV? Phase detection autofocus, that’s why

16 Sep

The Sony RX10 IV is a fixed lens camera with a 1″-type sensor and 24-600mm equivalent lens that can shoot 4K video or stills at 24 fps, but that’s not what we think is interesting about it. The addition of phase detection autofocus is pivotal to all of those features. If you have a little over a minute to spare, we’ll tell you why. And for bonus points, we shot this video entirely hand-held with an RX10 IV and continuous AF turned on.

Sony RX10 IV impressions, sample images and more

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Sony announces new Cyber-shot RX10 IV with phase-detect AF and 24 fps bursts

12 Sep

Sony has announced the RX10 Mark IV, a high-speed addition to its long-zoom 1″ sensor compact lineup. It can shoot at 24 fps with AF and AE and can shoot for up to 112 Raw images. Its 0.03 sec AF-lock speed is claimed to be the World’s fastest.

It features the same 24-600mm equiv. lens as its predecessor and is the first RX10 camera to include on-sensor phase detection, with 315 AF points covering 65% of the frame. It’s also the first Cyber-shot to include Sony’s “High Density” AF Tracking system, and the company says that Eye AF has been improved.

Naturally the lens has optical image stabilization built-in, with an estimated 4.5 stops of shake reduction. A focus range limited has been added to the Mark IV.

The RX10 IV also has a tilting, 1.44M-dot touchscreen LCD with “touchpad AF” as well as a 2.36M-dot OLED electronic viewfinder. Sony claims that the increase in processing power has dramatically reduced EVF display lag.

It also captures UHD 4K 24p/30p video with phase detection autofocus, taken from oversampled capture for high detail levels. It can also shoot 1080p footage at up to 120 fps. Video enthusiasts will also appreciate support for S-Log3/S-Gamut3, Gamma Display Assist, and Proxy recording.

Battery life has dropped slightly, from an estimated 420 shots per charge on the Mark III to 400 on the Mark IV, using the same NP-FW50 pack as before.

It will cost around $ 1699 and will be available from October.

Press Release

Sony’s New RX10 IV Combines Lightning Fast AF and 24 fps Continuous Shooting with Versatile 24-600mm F2.4-F4 Zoom Lens

  • World’s Fastest1 AF Speed, 24 fps2 Continuous Shooting with full AF/AE tracking
  • 315 focal-plane phase-detection AF points covering approx. 65% of the frame
  • ZEISS® Vario-Sonnar T* 24-600mm3 F2.4-F4 Large Aperture, High Magnification Zoom Lens
  • 4K4 Movie Recording with full pixel readout without pixel binning

NEW YORK, Sept. 12, 2017 – Sony – a worldwide leader in digital imaging and the world’s largest image sensor manufacturer – has today announced the new flagship model in its acclaimed Cyber-shot® RX10 series, the RX10 IV(model DSC-RX10M4).

Featuring the world’s fastest1 AF acquisition time of 0.03 seconds5 and up to 24 fps continuous shooting2 with full AF/AE tracking, 315 phase-detection AF points that rivals those the fastest professional interchangeable lens cameras and an exceptionally versatile 24-600mm3 F2.4-F4 ZEISS® Vario-Sonnar T* lens, the new RX10 IV model delivers an unmatched combination of mobility and speed for imaging enthusiasts and professionals looking for the ultimate ‘all-in-one’ solution.

The impressive RX10 IV camera is equipped with a latest 1.0-type 20.1 MP6 Exmor RS CMOS stacked image sensor with DRAM chip along with a powerful BIONZ X™ image processor and front-end LSI. These key components all work together to maximize overall speed of operation and performance, ultimately ensuring the highest possible image and video quality throughout the entire range of the 24-600mm3lens.

“Our customers have been asking for an RX10 series camera with Sony’s latest innovations in AF performance, and we’ve delivered with the RX10 IV model,” said Neal Manowitz, Vice President of Digital Imaging at Sony Electronics. “With its unmatched combination of AF speed and tracking, continuous shooting performance, extensive range of up to 600mm and outstanding video quality, the RX10 IV delivers more flexibility in a singular package than anything else in market. It is perhaps the most versatile ‘all in one’ camera that Sony has ever created, offering a seemingly endless amount of creative possibilities for photographers and videographers.”

Fast Focusing, Fast Shooting

A first for Sony’s RX10 series of cameras, the new RX10 IV model features a Fast Hybrid AF system that combines the respective advantages of 315 phase-detection AF points covering approximately 65% of the sensor and contrast-detection AF to ultimately enable the camera to lock focus in as little as 0.03 seconds5. This high speed focusing complements the extensive 24-600mm3 range of the lens, ensuring all subjects can be captured with precise detail and clarity.

Additionally, for the first time in a Cyber-shot camera, the RX10 IV model employs High-density Tracking AF technology. This advanced technology, which had only been previously available in a select few of Sony’s acclaimed line of ? interchangeable lens cameras, concentrates AF points around a subject to improve tracking and focus accuracy, allowing even the most unpredictable subjects including fast-moving athletes and birds in flight to be captured with ease.

Other AF improvements in the new RX10 IV camera include an enhanced version of the popular Eye AF, Touch Focus and Focus Range Limiter7. AF-ON setting is also assignable, as well as multiple AF modes including AF-S, AF-C and AF-A, which can be easily adjusted based on user preferences and shooting situations.

An ideal complement to the AF system, the RX10 IV offers continuous high-speed shooting at up to 24 fps2 with full AF/AE tracking, with an impressive buffer limit of up to 249 images8. With the significant improvements in processing power for the new camera, EVF display lag during continuous shooting has been substantially reduced, allowing shooters to capture the decisive moment with ultimate confidence. Also, for convenience during image playback, continuously shot images can be displayed in groups instead of individual shots.

The RX10 IV also has a high speed Anti-Distortion Shutter (maximum shutter speed of up to 1/32000 second) that reduces the “rolling shutter” effect commonly experienced with fast moving subjects, and can shoot completely silently in all modes, including continuous high speed shooting, when electronic shutter is engaged. A mechanical shutter mode is also available as well if required by the user.

ZEISS® Vario-Sonnar T* 24-600mm F2.4-F4 Lens

The 24-600mm3 ZEISS® Vario-Sonnar T* lens on the Cyber-shot RX10 IV camera features a large maximum aperture of F2.4-F4.0, helping it achieve outstanding image quality throughout the entire zoom range, all the way up to ultra-telephoto. It includes a super ED (extra-low dispersion) glass element and ED aspherical lenses to minimize chromatic aberration, and ZEISS® T* Coating to minimize flare and ghosting.

The lens also has built-in Optical SteadyShot™ image stabilization that helps to reduce camera shake and image blur. When the feature is activated, it is equivalent to an approximate 4.5 steps shutter speed improvement.

Additionally, with a minimum focusing distance of 72 cm (2.36 ft) and 0.49x maximum magnification at a fully extended 600mm, the lens is capable of producing amazingly detailed tele-macro images.

Professional Video Capture

The new RX10 IV model becomes the latest Cyber-shot RX camera to offer the advantages of 4K (QFHD 3840 x 2160) movie recording, with its Fast Hybrid AF system realizing about 2x faster focusing speed compared to the RX10 III.

In 4K mode, the new RX10 IV utilizes full pixel readout without pixel binning, capturing approximately 1.7x more information than is required for 4K movie output to ensure that all the finest details are captured accurately. The camera utilizes the XAVC S™9 codec, recording video at a high data rate of up to 100 Mbps depending on shooting mode. Users have the option of shooting at either 24p or 30p in 4K mode (100 Mbps), or in frame rates of up to 120p in Full HD mode.

The new camera also has a variety of other professional caliber video features including Picture Profile, S-Log3/S-Gamut3, Gamma Display Assist, Proxy recording, Time Code / User Bit and more, as well as input for external microphone and output for headphone monitoring.

Super slow motion10 video recording is also available, with an extended duration of about 4 seconds (in quality priority mode) and 7 seconds (in shoot time priority). This unique feature gives users the ability to choose among 960fps, 480fps and 240 fps frame rates and among 60p, 30p and 24p playback formats11.

Upgraded Operation and Customization

The new RX10 IV features Sony’s latest 3.0-type 1.44M dot tiltable LCD screen with Touch Focus and Touch Pad function – another first for Cyber-shot RX series – for quick and smooth focusing operation, and WhiteMagic™ technology, ensuring that LCD viewing is bright and clear in even the harshest outdoor lighting conditions. Additionally, it is equipped with an approx. 2.35M dot high-contrast XGA OLED Tru-Finder™, ensuring true-to-life image preview and playback functionality. Triple lens rings for aperture, zoom and focus are also available, with a completely quiet, smooth option for the aperture ring that is ideal for video shooters.

To enhance customization, “My Menu” functionality has been added, allowing up to 30 frequently used menu items to be custom registered. Menus are color coded for easier recognition and navigation, and a new Movie Settings menu has been introduced to improve the overall video shooting experience.

The RX10 IV is also dust and moisture resistant12, and Wi-Fi®, NFC™ and Bluetooth® compatible.

Pricing and Availability

The new Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV camera will ship in October for about $ 1,700 US and $ 2,200 CA.

The new cameras and all compatible accessories will be sold at a variety of Sony authorized dealers throughout North America. More product information can be found HERE.

A variety of exclusive stories and exciting new content shot with the new RX10 IV cameras and other high-end Sony imaging products can also be found at , Sony’s community site built to educate, inspire and showcase all fans and customers of Sony imaging products. A full gallery of images from the camera can also be found HERE.

  1. Among fixed lens digital cameras with 1.0-type sensor. As of September 2017 press release, based on Sony research.
  2. With “Continuous shooting mode: Hi”.
  3. 35mm equivalent
  4. 3,840 x 2,160 pixels
  5. CIPA standard, internal measurement, at f=8.8mm (wide-end), EV6.8, Program Auto, Focus mode: AF-A, AF area: Center
  6. Approx. effective MP
  7. Only when 35mm-equivalent focal length is within 150-600mm range
  8. With “Continuous shooting mode: Hi” and “Image quality: Fine
  9. A Class 10 or higher SDHC/SDXC memory card is required to record movies in the XAVC S format. UHS-I (U3) SDHC/SDXC card is required for 100Mbps.
  10. Sound cannot be recorded. A class 10 or higher SDHC/SDXC memory card is required.
  11. In NSTC mode. Switch between NTSC and PAL using the menu.
  12. Not guaranteed to be 100% dust and moisture proof.

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We shot the Boeing 737 Max 9’s first flight with a Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III

14 May

The Boeing 737 Max 9, shortly after landing. There’s enough latitude in the RX10 III’s Raw files to allow for moderate shadow and highlight adjustment.

28mm (equiv) F4.5, ISO 100

As has been amply demonstrated in the past, I’m an aeroplane nerd. So when Boeing offered us the chance to shoot the first flight of its brand new Boeing 737 Max 9 last month, I jumped at the chance. I might even have pushed a couple of my colleagues out of the way.

In the end, three of us headed over to Boeing Field in Seattle for the first flight – Dan, (who couldn’t care less about aeroplanes), with a Panasonic FZ2500; me, the super-nerd with the Sony RX10 III, and Carey, an impartial observer, with a Panasonic GH5 (to film me and Dan arguing). We’ll be publishing a longer article comparing our results soon, but in the meantime, with the 737 Max 9 just (temporarily, hopefully) grounded, we thought you might like a sneak preview.

The 737 Max 9 at the end of the runway at Boeing’s Renton assembly plant, seconds before starting its takeoff roll.

400mm (equiv) F4, ISO 100

I am on record as having described the Sony RX10 III’s lens as being ‘made of magic’. I just don’t understand how a 24-600mm lens built into a compact (ish) camera can be as sharp as it is. Since as Arthur C. Clarke so memorably said, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic anyway, and bearing in mind that I’m no expert in advanced optical technology, magic is the explanation I’m sticking with.

It was for that reason that when the question came up of which cameras we should bring, I grabbed the RX10 III from our stockroom. I might even have pushed Dan out of the way…

As well as 20MP stills, the RX10 III also shoots 4K video. Because we were trying to compare two cameras, and Boeing didn’t seem too keen on our suggestion that the Max 9 take off at least five times for accurate side-by-side tests (sorry Rishi, we did ask), we decided not to worry about shooting any video. The RX10 III takes nice-looking video, and if you’re curious you can see several examples of its footage in our full review.

Grant Hindsley is too tall. It’s an unfair advantage.

24mm (equiv) F4, ISO 100

First flights are always a bit of a lottery in terms of timing. I’ve shot a couple of them, and things rarely go exactly according to schedule. The 737 Max 9 takeoff was delayed by a couple of hours, which we spent standing around, stamping our feet to stay warm and teasing Grant Hindsley from the Seattle PI (above) about his great height. When the plane started to taxi, things happened very quickly. No time for comparing how mode x compared to mode y – we just had to start shooting.

In high speed capture mode, the RX10 III can shoot at up to 14 fps, in Raw + JPEG, with focus locked. Since we were shooting a large airplane, pretty much at infinity, moving from infinity to infinity by way of infinity, having focus locked (at infinity) was fine.

What I hadn’t anticipated is that when focus is locked, so is the RX10 III’s zoom. It makes complete sense when you think about it, but the lens won’t zoom with the shutter button half pressed. For this reason, I had to zoom and recompose a couple of times during the Max 9’s takeoff run, but even with this interruption, I still captured a lengthy sequence of sharp images of the plane rocketing past our position, and into the sky.

The 737 Max 9 lifts off from the runway at Renton, for its first flight.

400mm (equiv) F4, ISO 100

While the RX10 III can be a somewhat frustrating camera to use (I really dislike its fussy user interface and I can’t wait for the inevitable Mark IV to finally clean it up) that lens really is something. From 24mm right through to 600mm, I took home images that are sharp and contrasty from edge to edge, and free from noticeable distortion. Having such a wide (and usable) zoom range in a single camera allows for incredible versatility.

Zooming out to a medium focal length of 50mm let me capture one of the members of the assembled press taking a quick shot on his iPhone as the 737 Max 9 was towed to its gate after the flight…

50mm (equiv) F4 ISO 100

Dan and I we were shooting alongside photographers from various news outlets and picture agencies (and of course slightly beneath Grant, from the PI) and while they juggled with huge telephoto primes, swapping for wides for crowd shots and then back again, I just nudged the RX10 III’s zoom rocker switch in the desired direction.

The 737 is on final approach? Nudge.. nudge… to 600mm. It’s taxiing into the gate below our balcony? No problem. Nudge… nudge… back to 50mm. And then out again to 600mm for a shot of the pilot waving from her window. Done.

… and moments later, zooming in let me capture Boeing’s chief deputy test pilot Captain Christine Walsh waving from the window of the 737 Max 9 as it taxis to the gate after the first flight.

600mm (equiv) F5, ISO 100

We’ll be publishing Dan’s images from the Panasonic FZ2500, and a short video from the day very soon. For now, take a look at the gallery, which includes out of camera JPEGs and converted Raw files, as well as Raw files for download.

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III sample gallery

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

21 Jun


The Sony DSC-RX10 III is an enthusiast-oriented bridge camera with 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 offer 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 designed 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 similar 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 increase 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 stacked CMOS sensor
  • 24-600mm equivalent F2.4-4 Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens
  • Bionz X processor
  • 4K video capture
  • Ultra slow-motion video capture
  • Tilting screen 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 Rose

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 really 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 even 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 seem 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 attempt to strike a balance between image quality and size with their 1″-type sensors, and the image quality compared to smaller sensor solutions speaks for itself. Larger sensor = more light = better quality.

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

Now, whether or not you want 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, just like very short (wide angle) focal lengths, can take some practice to get good photographs with. Just because you can zoom closer 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 little 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 through 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 more compact lens at the expense of a slower maximum aperture.

Shooting at 600mm equivalent can offer up some interesting compositional choices, while the available 20MP make additional cropping a viable option if you could’ve used even more reach. But check out that heat haze, even early 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 little 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 conditions notwithstanding). Before using the RX10 III, I simply wouldn’t have thought images from a 1″-sensor superzoom camera could look this detailed. This model commands a $ 300 MSRP premium over the RX10 II, but in this case, it seems you get what you pay for.

The 72cm focus distance at maximum zoom won’t get you true super macro photos, but you’ll probably find that it focuses close enough. The lens also renders bokeh very nicely. Processed to taste 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
MSRP $ 1199 $ 1499 $ 899
Sensor 20MP 1″-type stacked CMOS 20MP 1″-type stacked CMOS 20MP 1″-type CMOS
ISO range (native) 100-12800 100-12800 125-12800
Lens (35mm equivalent) 24-200mm F2.8 24-600mm F2.4-4 25-400mm F2.8-4
Built-in ND filter Yes No No
Min. focus distance 3cm 3cm 3cm
AF system Contrast detect Contrast detect Contrast detect
AF points 25-pt 25-pt 49-pt
EVF resolution 2.36m-dot 2.36m-dot 2.36m-dot
LCD 3″ 1.23M-dot tilting 3″ 1.23M-dot tilting 3″ 921k-dot fully articulated
Burst rate 14 fps 14 fps 12 fps
Video 4K/30p 4K/30p 4K/30p
Wi-Fi Yes, with NFC Yes, with NFC Yes
Battery life (CIPA) 400 shots 420 shots 360 shots
Weather sealing Yes Yes No
Dimensions 129 x 88 x 102mm 133 x 94 x 127mm 137 x 99 x 131mm
Weight 813 g 1051 g 831 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 loses 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 touts the RX10 III’s lens 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 previous 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 having the option at the press of a button would be a lot more convenient.

Because of the large-ish AF area the RX10 III defaults to, it will sometimes miss focus 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 publishing. 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 made 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 fact 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 system that works fine for static subjects, but struggles with low contrast subjects and at telephoto distances, where phase-detection would help 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 journalist 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 virtue 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 case you missed it (or prefer video), here’s an overview video we produced at the launch of the RX10 III back in March, 2016.

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Three’s a charm: Sony RX10 III added to studio scene comparison tool

02 Jun

The Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III has impressed us so far. Its new 24-600 F2.4-4 lens has impressed us on the trail and in our initial testing, but it does come at a pretty price. We put it in the studio for a more controlled lens, and image quality test. See how it stacks up against its nearest competitors.

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Lens shootout: Sony RX10 III destroys the competition

26 May

When the RX10 III was revealed as the ‘top secret’ Sony product launch in San Francisco earlier this year, I felt a bit cynical. ‘Another RX10, Sony? Really?’ I cried, along with a few bored commenters. ‘The last one is hardly a year old!’

Then I saw some telephoto sample images and was immediately impressed, wondering if I had been underestimating the 1″ bridge camera segment. Then Barney described the RX10 III to me as ‘magic’, which is high praise indeed and warranted further investigation. Which is exactly what we’ve done, below. Note that our results here are only indicative of the one copy of each camera we have on hand, some of which appear to be slightly decentered.

The Shootout

Starting at the wide end, which is around 25mm for all the cameras tested, we see in the center of the image (where our RX10 II appears to perform as expected) improvements over the RX10 II aren’t incredibly pronounced. Other areas$ (document).ready(function() { $ (“#imageComparisonLink2506”).click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(2506); }); }) of the scene show the advantage of the RX10 III, especially when it is stopped down from its maximum aperture of F2.4 to F2.8$ (document).ready(function() { $ (“#imageComparisonLink2507”).click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(2507); }); }). Its performance is definitely a step up from the Panasonic FZ1000$ (document).ready(function() { $ (“#imageComparisonLink2510”).click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(2510); }); }), and is miles ahead of the Canon G3 X$ (document).ready(function() { $ (“#imageComparisonLink2511”).click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(2511); }); }).

Where crazy zoom lenses like these typically struggle is in the extremes$ (document).ready(function() { $ (“#imageComparisonLink2513”).click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(2513); }); }) of the frame, with neither the RX10 III or the FZ1000 being an exception. The sharpness fall-off is less severe$ (document).ready(function() { $ (“#imageComparisonLink2515”).click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(2515); }); }) with the RX10 III, though, and all in all, the RX10 III is the best performer on the wide end.

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Moving on to 400mm$ (document).ready(function() { $ (“#imageComparisonLink2517”).click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(2517); }); }), the maximum focal length for the Panasonic FZ1000, we see a similar amount of detail between the Panasonic and Sony near the center of the image. Sharpness and resolution change for both throughout the frame, with the Sony showing a slightly iffy left side$ (document).ready(function() { $ (“#imageComparisonLink2523”).click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(2523); }); }), and a better right side$ (document).ready(function() { $ (“#imageComparisonLink2524”).click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(2524); }); }). Through most of the scene the two are practically neck and neck, with the G3 X turning in comparable performance as well, but let’s not forget the Sony and Canon still have more zoom range to go. 

The RX10 III’s 24-600mm lens isn’t only useful for distant details.

The real reason people consider bridge cameras is for the reach, and Sony extended the RX10 III’s reach by a full 400mm over the RX10 II. That means it now offers the same amount of reach as the G3 X’s 600mm$ (document).ready(function() { $ (“#imageComparisonLink2516″).click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(2516); }); }) equivalent maximum focal length. The RX10 III’s lens is clearly sharper, but it has another thing going for it: its faster maximum aperture helps it combat diffraction. Remember that F4 and F5.6 on 1”-type cameras are equivalent to F11 and F15, respectively. Both cameras are limited by atmospheric distortion at these focal lengths (hence the drop to ‘print’ resolution in the previous comparison link), but it’s clear that the RX10 III exceeds the G3 X’s performance, while offering just as much zoom versatility. The Canon PowerShot G3 X’s trump card has been trumped.

Even at 600mm (equiv), the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III’s lens delivers sharp results.

In all, it seems the RX10 III does offer a bit more than similar 1″ bridge cameras from other manufacturers. It exceeds, or at least matches, the competition with respect to zoom range, while offering sharper images, and brighter apertures than all but Sony’s own RX10 II. Importantly, sharpness performance appears to be maintained throughout the zoom range, from wide to tele, which cannot be said for any of the other cameras in this test. Feel free to explore through these images and post your own findings below.

Things to Consider

As you look at the comparison widget, bear in mind that It appears our copy of the RX10 II appears to be slightly decentered$ (document).ready(function() { $ (“#imageComparisonLink2509”).click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(2509); }); }). This isn’t really noticeable in normal shooting but it’s obvious in a controlled test like this. 

The second caveat to these results is the weather. Light varied over the course of the test, and had darkened so much that the Panasonic, the final camera tested, needed 2/3rds more exposure to produce a comparable image. All the exposures were processed in ACR with default sharpness and the ‘Adobe Standard’ profile used across the board.

We’ll be adding the RX10 III to our standard database of studio test images very soon – watch this space!

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The ultimate hiking partner? Sony’s RX10 III goes the distance

10 May
Mount Rainier, captured from the trail up Mount Teneriffe, near North Bend in Washington State. ~200mm (equivalent), ISO 800. Still another 2 miles to go until lunch, and another 400mm to go before the RX10 III’s maximum telephoto setting.

Sony’s new Cyber-shot RX10 III might look a lot like the older RX10 II, but its lens is really something else. With an effective focal range of 24-600mm, the RX10 III is one of the most versatile cameras we’ve ever used. But focal range is only part of the story – it’s optical quality that impresses us most. And boy, are we impressed.

Hiking with the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III

A very short shooting experience by Barnaby Britton

Caveat: This is not a review, nor is it sponsored content. This is a shooting experience based largely on a single day of picture-taking, during a hike. Four miles up a mountain in the sunshine, four miles down in the dark. One memory card half-filled, one battery half-emptied. All shots were processed ‘to taste’ from Raw and all are un-cropped. Your mileage (both literal and figurative) may vary.

I’ve been searching for the ideal hiking camera for years. Since I moved to the Pacific Northwest I’ve tried and rejected DSLRs, fixed-lens primes, travel zooms, super-zooms and several iPhones. Recently, I’ve been packing my Ricoh GR II for its small size and sharp lens, but the lack of a viewfinder really limits its usefulness in some conditions.

The last time I brought a DSLR on a mountain hike I almost left it tucked under a rock on the trail, rather than drag it all the way up (that was the old, famously brutal Mailbox Peak trail, for any PNW natives reading this…).

Pretty good flare performance, considering the complex lens. This shot was slightly adjusted in ACR to bring out a little detail in the shadows. 24mm equivalent, ISO 100.

It’s been a few years since I experimented with a superzoom compact camera, after a couple of bad experiences with sub-par lens performance. I’ve always liked the idea of them, but all too often I’ve been disappointed by the results in practice. These days, though, as my colleague Jeff likes to remind me, the good ones are actually pretty good.

OK, sure, but ‘pretty good’ for a super zoom is only ‘OK, ish’ by the standards of a shorter-lens compact or interchangeable lens camera, right? Well, that’s what I thought, too. Until…

We knew the sensor is good from our experience of using the RX100 IV, but the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III’s major selling point is its lens. And the lens in the RX10 III is, as far as I can tell, made of magic. I genuinely have no idea how Sony’s engineers packed a 24-600mm equivalent lens of such high quality into a camera this small. It defies all reason. From wide-angle all the way to extreme telephoto, the RX10 III’s lens delivers impressive results. Weirdly impressive.

As well as distant details, the RX10 III is capable of capturing sharp images of tiny things, very close to the camera. Like these wildflowers. 24mm equivalent, ISO 100.

Now, obviously I could take technically better shots with a DSLR and a fast zoom, or for that matter a prime lens compact like the GR II. Portraits with shallower depth of field, landscapes with critically better edge-to-edge sharpness and all the rest. But this past weekend a DSLR was out of the question. If I’m hiking up a mountain in 80+ degree weather, I’m traveling as light as possible. Most of the weight on my back this weekend was drinking water, and although it’s a fairly chunky camera, the RX10 III was light enough to clip onto the shoulder strap of my backpack with one of these.

Mount Teneriffe on a hot day is a pretty demanding hike, but the view from the top makes it worthwhile. 40mm equivalent, at ISO 100.

The Ricoh GR II is lovely, but I knew that from Mount Teneriffe I’d be looking at three peaks – Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, and Glacier Peak, as well as Mount Si and Mailbox, a little closer at hand. So 28mm just wasn’t going to do the job. We timed our hike so that the sun would be go down shortly after we summited, and I knew that I wanted a nice, closeup (ish) shot of Mount Rainier’s famous purple glow (see the picture at the top of this page).

Exposed for the highlights, it was easy to brighten shadow areas in this shot using Adobe Camera Raw. 24mm, ISO 100.

You can’t really see here, but just where the blade of grass meets the horizon to the right of my subject, is Seattle’s distinctive skyline. See below for a shot taken from the same vantage point at 600mm.  

A lot of the prejudice about long zoom compact cameras comes from a misunderstanding of how to interpret their lens performance, especially at the long end. Atmospheric distortion and haze from moisture, pollen and pollutants will reduce the sharpness of any telephoto lens, especially on warm days.

So if your telephoto shots look like they were taken through a frosted bathroom window, the lens might not be the culprit. On the other hand, if everything in your pictures looks like someone went over the edges with a magenta highlighter pen – well, that’s the lens.

Seattle at sunset, from almost 40 miles away. 600mm equivalent, at ISO 100. Moderate ‘dehaze’ applied in Adobe Camera Raw. 

I had no such issues with the RX10 III (which was reassuring, since it costs $ 1500) but as always, I was shooting Raw, so what little fringing I did see in my images was easy to correct. Likewise, Photoshop’s ‘dehaze’ control in Camera Raw came in very useful to bring back some clarity to images taken at the telephoto end of the RX10 III’s lens. 

Mount Baker, seen through more than 90 miles of pollen-laden air, just before sunset. This shot didn’t require quite so much dehazing as the last one. 600mm equivalent, ISO 250.

During a day’s shooting during which my hiking partner and I walked a roundtrip of about 13 miles up and down a 4500ft peak, the RX10 III nailed virtually every shot. And that’s everything from a knee-level picture of some tiny wildflowers a few centimeters away from the lens, to a 600mm capture of Mount Baker, 90 miles away from my vantage point and half lost in haze (above).

We hiked about half of the trail back to the car in the dark. For the last half mile we were accompanied by an owl. This grab shot was taken at ISO 12,800, by the light of our headlamps. At 95mm equivalent, there’s no motion blur at 1/15sec.

From these sunset landscapes to ISO 12,800 snapshots of an owl that followed us back to our car at the trailhead, every time I looked at something and went ‘oooh’ and tried to take a picture of it, the RX10 III – and its insanely wide-ranging lens – got me the shot that I wanted. 

Hiking through the forest just before sunset. 50mm equivalent at ISO 6400.

We’re working on a more scientific assessment of the RX10 III’s lens right now, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoy our updated samples gallery (now with Raw files!).

I’ve only been using the RX10 III for a few days, and there are plenty of things I don’t like about it (confusing menus, clunky ergonomics, no touchscreen, laggy GUI, the aluminum lens and focus rings scratch the minute you look at them) but somehow, despite all that, I’m already planning next week’s hike.

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Quick Intro to the New Sony Cyber-Shot RX10 Mark III

24 Apr

At the end of March (2016) Sony released the new version of their Cyber-shot RX10 Mark III. The main difference between it and its predecessor, the Mark II, is the lens, which is a lot longer. Let’s take a quick look at its main features:

  • 24-600mm f/2.4-4 zoom lens with 3 control rings for focus, zoom and aperture
  • 4K video quality
  • Fast autofocus
  • Magnesium alloy body

This video from B&H photo will show you what the new camera looks like, check it out.

This video by Chakru shows some of the key features and specs:

If you are a travel photographer and want to go light, this might be a good option for you. Or maybe even as a a backup camera to a heavy pro SLR. Perhaps an upgrade from a point and shoot camera is in order, give it a go and see if this is the right one for you.

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