Personal view of RX100 III

Started Jun 18, 2014 | Discussions
Rick Evertsz
Rick Evertsz Regular Member • Posts: 295
Personal view of RX100 III
18

I've only had this camera for a day, but am delighted (having used the original RX100 for about 2 years). This is a totally subjective account, but there may be info here that is of use to prospective purchasers.

What I like:

- EVF. Bright and clear. I was using it comfortably with my left eye before I realised it probably should be awkward. I have an ample nose (!) but without thinking turned my face about 30 degrees to the right so that my nose doesn't touch the LCD. I think I used to use my DSLR in the same way. To all those who are uncomfortable using their right eye with a viewfinder, have a go with your left; it might be ok.

- Lens. I'd rather have a bright 70mm than a dim 100mm at the telephoto end. The extra stop is invaluable to me when shooting in low light (which I seem to do a lot). 24mm is nice to have, but I'm more excited about the overall brighter lens, even if I lose a bit of brightness at 28mm.

- Articulated LCD. I really missed this on the Mark 1. This morning, I captured a nice video clip of my 18-month old son babbling into the camera lens. He normally ignores the camera, and it's really hard to get him to look at the lens. What was different this time? I flipped the LCD 180 degrees and he was enchanted to see his own image as I was filming.

- Better stabilisation. It "seems" a lot better. I used to have to shoot at about 1/100s at the 100mm end. I don't have a steady hand. I got some sharp pics at 1/20s at 70mm today. Some using the viewfinder, and others with the LCD at 90 degrees, so, these two variables probably helped. Either way, I can work at lower shutter speeds than before. On the Mark 1, even 1/30s at 28mm had unreliable sharpness. I think that the stabilisation on the Mark 1 was woeful. Not sure if it's better on the Mark 3, but it effectively is for me, thanks to the viewfinder and being able to shoot at waist level with the LCD at 90 degrees.

- +/- 3EV exposure bracketing. Hooray, at last! Don't do much HDR, but I sometimes need to without a tripod.

- Auto ISO in Manual mode - I mostly shoot in manual mode. I had ISO assigned to the front control ring so I could manually do the Auto ISO thing, if you get my meaning. No need for that anymore.

- Much better control ring. The Mark 1 was so laggy and unpredictable in this respect. It drove me crazy. It is much more predictable on the Mark 3. So much so, that I've started using manual focus again when needed. The laggy Mark 1 made manual focus a pain. The new stepped control ring function is nice too; I use it for zooming between standard focal lengths.

- Turns on much more quickly. Haven't timed it, but did a side-by-side comparison with the Mark 1. Turns off at the same speed.

- Being able to assign 12 functions to the FN button.

- Extra custom button. (also Quick Navi is nice to have again, missed it from A700).

- Recording XAVC S and smaller mp4 at the same time. Nice for quickly posting stuff online.

- Intelligent Active SteadyShot in movies. Seems VERY effective.

- Can turn off Pre-AF.

- Eye AF. Well, I like the idea, although the implementation is a bit annoying (see "What I don't like", below). Eye AF focuses on one of the subject's eyes. Only seems to work when both eyes are visible.

- Having a button to pop-up the flash.

- Flash can still be bounced. It's a GREAT feature for softening the effect of flash.

- -3EV flash compensation works well. Flash compensation didn't seem to do much on the Mark 1.

What I don't like:

- If you use Intelligent Active SteadyShot, it won't simultaneously record XAVC S and a smaller mp4 version. I guess the processor can't cope with all three tasks (two lots of compression plus steadying the footage in real time).

- Having to hold a custom button in while pressing the shutter button for Eye AF. It's awkward.

- Wish the battery lasted longer with EVF, but third-party batteries are cheap and plentiful. I have two extras and have used them for about a year on the Mark 1 with no issues.

In summary:

I can't believe how rapt I am with this camera. I wasn't expecting it to be this much better (for my typical use cases). The viewfinder, lens and articulated LCD would have been enough of an upgrade on their own. Unlike some people, I really liked the handling of the Mark 1 (apart from the control ring). The handling of the Mark 3 is even better thanks to the viewfinder, articulated LCD, better control ring implementation, extra row of FN entries, extra control button and Auto ISO in manual mode. I don't find the RX100 to be fiddly at all. Well, for such a small camera! I use an Op/Tech Finger Cuff because I'm worried about dropping the camera. Slip my little pinky into it as I remove the camera from its sleeve in my pocket. If I drop it, it dangles from my finger. In two years, I've never let go of the camera, but it's nice to have a fallback option for such a small and expensive item

For me, the camera is as large as it can get and still be pants pocketable. I wouldn't sacrifice pocketability to get a longer telephoto end. I wish the AF was more DSLR-like. It's quite quick, but can't keep up with my 18-month old's bobbing head movements. I'd give up a bit of high ISO IQ to add on-sensor phase detect (assuming that's a tradeoff that would have to be made to get phase detect AF).

Looking forward to DXO Optics Pro and Aperture providing RAW support. Shooting RAW+JPG for now so I can temporarily play with JPGs in Aperture without having to export TIFFs from Sony Image Data Converter.

 Rick Evertsz's gear list:Rick Evertsz's gear list
Sony a7 III Sony FE 35mm F2.8 Zeiss Batis 85mm F1.8 Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 Sony FE 12-24mm F4 +1 more
Sony Alpha DSLR-A700 Sony RX100 Sony RX100 III
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2eyesee Senior Member • Posts: 2,209
Re: Personal view of RX100 III
11

That's an impressively comprehensive review after only having the camera a day.

DPR - can you hire this guy? He would have had the RX100M3 review finished weeks ago!

technic Veteran Member • Posts: 8,932
Re: Personal view of RX100 III

2eyesee wrote:

That's an impressively comprehensive review after only having the camera a day.

DPR - can you hire this guy? He would have had the RX100M3 review finished weeks ago!

agree, that was a very useful report

Wilfried HKG
Wilfried HKG Regular Member • Posts: 114
Re: Personal view of RX100 III
1

Rick Evertsz wrote:

I've only had this camera for a day, but am delighted (having used the original RX100 for about 2 years). This is a totally subjective account, but there may be info here that is of use to prospective purchasers.

What I like:

- EVF. Bright and clear. I was using it comfortably with my left eye before I realised it probably should be awkward. I have an ample nose (!) but without thinking turned my face about 30 degrees to the right so that my nose doesn't touch the LCD. I think I used to use my DSLR in the same way. To all those who are uncomfortable using their right eye with a viewfinder, have a go with your left; it might be ok.

- Lens. I'd rather have a bright 70mm than a dim 100mm at the telephoto end. The extra stop is invaluable to me when shooting in low light (which I seem to do a lot). 24mm is nice to have, but I'm more excited about the overall brighter lens, even if I lose a bit of brightness at 28mm.

- Articulated LCD. I really missed this on the Mark 1. This morning, I captured a nice video clip of my 18-month old son babbling into the camera lens. He normally ignores the camera, and it's really hard to get him to look at the lens. What was different this time? I flipped the LCD 180 degrees and he was enchanted to see his own image as I was filming.

- Better stabilisation. It "seems" a lot better. I used to have to shoot at about 1/100s at the 100mm end. I don't have a steady hand. I got some sharp pics at 1/20s at 70mm today. Some using the viewfinder, and others with the LCD at 90 degrees, so, these two variables probably helped. Either way, I can work at lower shutter speeds than before. On the Mark 1, even 1/30s at 28mm had unreliable sharpness. I think that the stabilisation on the Mark 1 was woeful. Not sure if it's better on the Mark 3, but it effectively is for me, thanks to the viewfinder and being able to shoot at waist level with the LCD at 90 degrees.

- +/- 3EV exposure bracketing. Hooray, at last! Don't do much HDR, but I sometimes need to without a tripod.

- Auto ISO in Manual mode - I mostly shoot in manual mode. I had ISO assigned to the front control ring so I could manually do the Auto ISO thing, if you get my meaning. No need for that anymore.

- Much better control ring. The Mark 1 was so laggy and unpredictable in this respect. It drove me crazy. It is much more predictable on the Mark 3. So much so, that I've started using manual focus again when needed. The laggy Mark 1 made manual focus a pain. The new stepped control ring function is nice too; I use it for zooming between standard focal lengths.

- Turns on much more quickly. Haven't timed it, but did a side-by-side comparison with the Mark 1. Turns off at the same speed.

- Being able to assign 12 functions to the FN button.

- Extra custom button. (also Quick Navi is nice to have again, missed it from A700).

- Recording XAVC S and smaller mp4 at the same time. Nice for quickly posting stuff online.

- Intelligent Active SteadyShot in movies. Seems VERY effective.

- Can turn off Pre-AF.

- Eye AF. Well, I like the idea, although the implementation is a bit annoying (see "What I don't like", below). Eye AF focuses on one of the subject's eyes. Only seems to work when both eyes are visible.

- Having a button to pop-up the flash.

- Flash can still be bounced. It's a GREAT feature for softening the effect of flash.

- -3EV flash compensation works well. Flash compensation didn't seem to do much on the Mark 1.

What I don't like:

- If you use Intelligent Active SteadyShot, it won't simultaneously record XAVC S and a smaller mp4 version. I guess the processor can't cope with all three tasks (two lots of compression plus steadying the footage in real time).

- Having to hold a custom button in while pressing the shutter button for Eye AF. It's awkward.

- Wish the battery lasted longer with EVF, but third-party batteries are cheap and plentiful. I have two extras and have used them for about a year on the Mark 1 with no issues.

In summary:

I can't believe how rapt I am with this camera. I wasn't expecting it to be this much better (for my typical use cases). The viewfinder, lens and articulated LCD would have been enough of an upgrade on their own. Unlike some people, I really liked the handling of the Mark 1 (apart from the control ring). The handling of the Mark 3 is even better thanks to the viewfinder, articulated LCD, better control ring implementation, extra row of FN entries, extra control button and Auto ISO in manual mode. I don't find the RX100 to be fiddly at all. Well, for such a small camera! I use an Op/Tech Finger Cuff because I'm worried about dropping the camera. Slip my little pinky into it as I remove the camera from its sleeve in my pocket. If I drop it, it dangles from my finger. In two years, I've never let go of the camera, but it's nice to have a fallback option for such a small and expensive item

For me, the camera is as large as it can get and still be pants pocketable. I wouldn't sacrifice pocketability to get a longer telephoto end. I wish the AF was more DSLR-like. It's quite quick, but can't keep up with my 18-month old's bobbing head movements. I'd give up a bit of high ISO IQ to add on-sensor phase detect (assuming that's a tradeoff that would have to be made to get phase detect AF).

Looking forward to DXO Optics Pro and Aperture providing RAW support. Shooting RAW+JPG for now so I can temporarily play with JPGs in Aperture without having to export TIFFs from Sony Image Data Converter.

I would like to add a few of my own observations:

Macro:  With the M3 the closest object is 85mm wide. With my old M1 it was 67mm, and with my Samsung EX2F it is an impressive 29mm - very nice.

Post-Effects:  With the M1 I could open any image on the card and still apply watercolor or illustration effects. With the M3 this works only when shooting in this mode, and there is no normal-mode file saved at the same time. Now I have to transfer the card into my old M1 to apply effects. The only after effect is "Beauty Effect", and only if the camera detects a face in the image.

EVF:  The EVF is sharp, and clear, but a bit small, especially after looking through an A7. In strong sun I still need to shield the EVF with my left hand; there is not much advantage over the LCD when the LCD is set to "Sunny Weather" mode.

Panoramas:   Sony pioneered the sweep panorama, but I find the Samsung EXF2 much easier to use; the camera automatically detects the sweep direction and angle. On my M1 Sony sent me to the menu first to set direction and normal/wide. Also panoramas in low light simply don't work at all, and in fluorescent light they have severe stripes (Samsung can do it). Now on the M3 I discovered that you can quickly change the sweep direction with the lens control ring. Nice.

That's all for my first 24h.

Wilfried

 Wilfried HKG's gear list:Wilfried HKG's gear list
Sony RX100 IV Olympus E-M5 II Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 Pro Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 Pro +29 more
elliottnewcomb Forum Pro • Posts: 15,503
Re: Personal view of RX100 III

alright, alright. YOu might try continuous shooting, with individual focusing, not the super fast one, with the kid, let us know please. perhaps it is faster to shoot/record jpeg only, not sure.

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Elliott

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chiane Veteran Member • Posts: 4,397
Re: Personal view of RX100 III

Sounds great until I read your comments on AF of a moving toddler. My reason for buying is to bring a pocket camera out to shoot little ones when you don't have room to lug a dslr. I've had enough of frustratingly slow AF. Is it really that bad?

Michael Kaufman
Michael Kaufman Senior Member • Posts: 2,733
Re: Personal view of RX100 III

Rick Evertsz wrote:

- EVF. Bright and clear. I was using it comfortably with my left eye before I realised it probably should be awkward. I have an ample nose (!) but without thinking turned my face about 30 degrees to the right so that my nose doesn't touch the LCD. I think I used to use my DSLR in the same way. To all those who are uncomfortable using their right eye with a viewfinder, have a go with your left; it might be ok.

This is good to hear. As a left eye shooter, this was a concern for me. Do you find the EVF to be stable, or do you have to be careful not to push it in?

 Michael Kaufman's gear list:Michael Kaufman's gear list
Fujifilm X100F Olympus PEN-F Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm 1:1.8 Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 Pro
Rick Evertsz
OP Rick Evertsz Regular Member • Posts: 295
Re: Personal view of RX100 III

No, it's not bad at all. It's not as fast as my A700 or the Olympus E-420 I had for a while, but they're DSLRs. It's faster than the NEX 5N I had. Unfortunately, that's as deep as my recent camera experience goes. It's mostly quick enough to capture my son when he's moving fast. It's just that he needs to stop long enough for the focus to lock, say, 1/5s (but that's a complete guesstimate!). That's with AF-S; haven't tried AF-C, although that was ineffective with the RX100m1 I was using up until yesterday.

There are other ways to capture him, e.g. prefocusing on a spot he is about to move into, or using a smaller aperture for greater depth of field. I was referring to my attempts to take a shot wide open while he was standing still but shaking his head back and forth just enough to render his face out of focus at f2.8 and 70mm. Can't remember what shutter speed I was using, but it wasn't motion blur. I was probably about 2ft away and could see his face going in and out of focus in the viewfinder after I had half-pressed the shutter button.

You should definitely try it out before buying. It's fast at focusing, but it's not "DSLR fast", and I'm comparing it to my 7-year old A700.

 Rick Evertsz's gear list:Rick Evertsz's gear list
Sony a7 III Sony FE 35mm F2.8 Zeiss Batis 85mm F1.8 Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 Sony FE 12-24mm F4 +1 more
Rick Evertsz
OP Rick Evertsz Regular Member • Posts: 295
Re: Personal view of RX100 III
1

Michael Kaufman wrote:

Rick Evertsz wrote:

- EVF. Bright and clear. I was using it comfortably with my left eye before I realised it probably should be awkward. I have an ample nose (!) but without thinking turned my face about 30 degrees to the right so that my nose doesn't touch the LCD. I think I used to use my DSLR in the same way. To all those who are uncomfortable using their right eye with a viewfinder, have a go with your left; it might be ok.

This is good to hear. As a left eye shooter, this was a concern for me. Do you find the EVF to be stable, or do you have to be careful not to push it in?

It's very stable. I just tried to push it in by pushing with my eyebrow. It was almost impossible. I had to push carefully right in the centre of the eyepiece, and had to push quite hard and angle my head just right to get it to move a tiny bit. Even then, I could only move it a few millimetres. If you push slightly off centre, it doesn't move at all.

 Rick Evertsz's gear list:Rick Evertsz's gear list
Sony a7 III Sony FE 35mm F2.8 Zeiss Batis 85mm F1.8 Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 Sony FE 12-24mm F4 +1 more
Michael Kaufman
Michael Kaufman Senior Member • Posts: 2,733
Re: Personal view of RX100 III

Rick Evertsz wrote:

It's very stable. I just tried to push it in by pushing with my eyebrow. It was almost impossible. I had to push carefully right in the centre of the eyepiece, and had to push quite hard and angle my head just right to get it to move a tiny bit. Even then, I could only move it a few millimetres. If you push slightly off centre, it doesn't move at all.

Excellent, thanks.

 Michael Kaufman's gear list:Michael Kaufman's gear list
Fujifilm X100F Olympus PEN-F Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm 1:1.8 Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 Pro
kcamacho11 Senior Member • Posts: 1,529
Re: Stabilization

- Better stabilisation. It "seems" a lot better. I used to have to shoot at about 1/100s at the 100mm end. I don't have a steady hand. I got some sharp pics at 1/20s at 70mm today. Some using the viewfinder, and others with the LCD at 90 degrees, so, these two variables probably helped. Either way, I can work at lower shutter speeds than before. On the Mark 1, even 1/30s at 28mm had unreliable sharpness. I think that the stabilisation on the Mark 1 was woeful. Not sure if it's better on the Mark 3, but it effectively is for me, thanks to the viewfinder and being able to shoot at waist level with the LCD at 90 degrees.

I completely agree. I am getting absolute crisp shots at 1/10 that was difficult to achieve with the RX100.

In sum, this camera has pretty much amazed me because I knew that it would be good, but not THIS good. The lens + built-in ND filter is superb, and the EVF is priceless.

I am going on a long Canada trip in 2 weeks, and I couldn't be more thrilled to take this perfect travel camera with me. I can't wait!

xerophytenyc Regular Member • Posts: 428
Re: Personal view of RX100 III

I don't understand the baby picture crowd...Auto focus need not be mandatory. When I encounter a photo op with many moving parts, I just put the camera into manual focus and use peaking to find the right focus depth and then shoot away. The RX has deep enough DOF to make this work. Auto focus should not be critical.

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MarsObserver
MarsObserver Senior Member • Posts: 1,387
Re: Personal view of RX100 III

Great review!

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Sony RX1 Sony RX10 II Sony a7 Sony a6300
Mina J
Mina J Senior Member • Posts: 2,813
Re: Personal view of RX100 III

Thank you so much for your informative post.  I was debating about which one of this line of camera to get and after reading your review, I was pleased that I decided on this one.  I am sure others will be very appreciative of your fine detailed evaluation.

Thanks again,

Mina j

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chiane Veteran Member • Posts: 4,397
Re: Personal view of RX100 III

xerophytenyc wrote:

I don't understand the baby picture crowd...Auto focus need not be mandatory. When I encounter a photo op with many moving parts, I just put the camera into manual focus and use peaking to find the right focus depth and then shoot away. The RX has deep enough DOF to make this work. Auto focus should not be critical.

Just making a giant DOF for moving subject has it's drawbacks as well. Just because the body is p&s looking doesn't mean I want all my pictures to be.

Tonkotsu Ramen
Tonkotsu Ramen Senior Member • Posts: 2,380
Re: Personal view of RX100 III

xerophytenyc wrote:

I don't understand the baby picture crowd...Auto focus need not be mandatory. When I encounter a photo op with many moving parts, I just put the camera into manual focus and use peaking to find the right focus depth and then shoot away. The RX has deep enough DOF to make this work. Auto focus should not be critical.

Agreed. With the MK2, I was able to take pictures of my friends running around the beach. A baby bobbing his/her head shouldn't be an issue unless there's some insane about of bobbing going on. i'd just set it to a faster shutter speed and continuous shooting.

headofdestiny Veteran Member • Posts: 9,226
Re: Personal view of RX100 III

chiane wrote:

xerophytenyc wrote:

I don't understand the baby picture crowd...Auto focus need not be mandatory. When I encounter a photo op with many moving parts, I just put the camera into manual focus and use peaking to find the right focus depth and then shoot away. The RX has deep enough DOF to make this work. Auto focus should not be critical.

Just making a giant DOF for moving subject has it's drawbacks as well. Just because the body is p&s looking doesn't mean I want all my pictures to be.

Yeah, but even at f2.8, the DOF of the RX100iii is pretty deep, like shooting a FF camera at nearly f8.  That gives a lot of focus leeway.

chiane Veteran Member • Posts: 4,397
Re: Personal view of RX100 III

headofdestiny wrote:

chiane wrote:

xerophytenyc wrote:

I don't understand the baby picture crowd...Auto focus need not be mandatory. When I encounter a photo op with many moving parts, I just put the camera into manual focus and use peaking to find the right focus depth and then shoot away. The RX has deep enough DOF to make this work. Auto focus should not be critical.

Just making a giant DOF for moving subject has it's drawbacks as well. Just because the body is p&s looking doesn't mean I want all my pictures to be.

Yeah, but even at f2.8, the DOF of the RX100iii is pretty deep, like shooting a FF camera at nearly f8. That gives a lot of focus leeway.

Yep, and there in lies why people that don't just shoot landscapes cringe a little at small sensors. Sharp yes, but with a lack of user control over things like that. It is another issue that gives me pause as I have not shot with one.

salla30
salla30 Senior Member • Posts: 2,596
Re: Personal view of RX100 III

Great review. Thanks!

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a5519 Regular Member • Posts: 232
Re: Personal view of RX100 III

Rick Evertsz wrote:

- +/- 3EV exposure bracketing. Hooray, at last! Don't do much HDR, but I sometimes need to without a tripod.

What is concerned bracketing, either you or Sony are wrong.

On Sony website bracketing is specified:

"3 continuous or single shots in 1/3 or 2/3 EV steps."

This means still less than +/- 1EV.

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