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With its unusual form factor can the Tourbox aid the editing process? Will its price and variety of tactile controls appeal to photo and video editors who would like to streamline their workflow?
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III looks a lot like the existing RX100 models but it's a considerably more capable camera. There have been a host of small changes to what was already a capable camera, but it's three changes in particular that position the latest version head-and-shoulders above both its rivals and its predecessors.
The biggest improvement is the lens - the faster apertures at the long end of the zoom help ensure the RX100 III can out-perform its smaller sensor rivals, such as the Olympus XZ-2 and Panasonic LX7 in all situations. Only Canon's G1 X II can trump the Sony in terms of low-light and depth-of-field terms, and that's a much larger camera, and one whose advantages aren't always as great as the specifications imply. Its closest interchangeable lens rival: Panasonic's GM1, is also a larger camera, less orientated towards the enthusiast, but one that offers more flexibility overall, if you're willing to pay for additional lenses.
The second big step forward is the inclusion of an electronic viewfinder. We marveled at Sony's ability to fit so much camera into such as small space when it released the original RX100, so finding room for a pop-up viewfinder without adding too much bulk is genuinely incredible. It feels a little bit flimsy, but adds tremendously to the usability of the camera - especially in bright conditions. The OLED panel is clear, detailed and, in good light, has a fast-enough refresh to be a pleasure to use. Our only major gripe is that stowing the finder shuts the camera down, whether you want it to or not.
The final noteworthy improvement in the M3 is the inclusion of a built-in ND filter. It's an easily overlooked addition but it makes a big difference both for stills shooters and videographers, when you start using it. As well as long-exposure, flowing water effects, it allows the use of the camera's widest apertures, even in bright light, while also allowing the use outdoors of the slow shutter speeds needed for video.
If you just want the 'executive summary': the RX100 III offers the best image quality of any pocketable camera we've ever seen. It's not just that its 1"-type sensor is at least twice as large as most of its rivals, it's also a very good sensor, whose low read noise means it offers excellent dynamic range and the kind of malleable Raw files you'd usually only expect from a much larger camera.
The JPEG processing is a little heavy-handed - you can turn down the noise reduction but you can't make the sharpening any more subtle, and even the 'low' NR setting is quite aggressive. However, the color response of the JPEGs seems more pleasant than the first-generation RX100 and, when considered as a whole image, rather than at 1:1 level, the camera's images aren't bad at all. And, as we say, the Raw files are excellent.
The 20MP resolution means you get to see every imperfection in the camera's lens. It's quite normal for compact cameras to have soft edges or inconsistent corners, and entirely expected that the lens's performance will vary across its zoom range. The RX100 III's pixel count lets you examine this phenomenon in great detail. Yet, overall, our impression is of one of the most consistently sharp built-in zooms, both across the frame and through the zoom range. Our copy is a bit soft down the right-hand-side at some focal lengths, but we can find similar defects in the examples of any of its rivals.
In terms of pocketability, the RX100 III is tremendous - it's considerably smaller than anything else that comes close to it in terms of image quality. It doesn't fit perfectly in either the hand or a pocket, but never to the point that you can't work 'round this. The handling is certainly improved through the addition of an accessory grip and there are 3rd party, as well as OEM options in that regard.
Taking control of the M3 is another matter - it's almost as if Sony couldn't decide whether the RX100s are meant to be point-and-shoots, video cameras or stills cameras. The user interface is closer than ever to Sony's Alpha range, which means the M3 gains a very useful 12-option customizable Fn menu, making it seem like less of a battle to change secondary camera settings. A well-implemented touchscreen would help still further, in this respect, and doesn't seem like an unreasonable expectation on a camera at this price.
Sadly, though, our biggest bugbear about the RX100s - the inconsistently-responsive, clickless front dial for controling primary exposure settings - remains. We know it works well for video shooting, and that many users are able to work around, or simply not notice the problem. However, having spent time using all its major competitors, we maintain it's the biggest single factor in making the RX100s the least satisfying to use cameras in their class.
Minor issues, such as the camera shutting down every time you retract the viewfinder, and having to remember to re-engage ND Auto mode every time you move back from movie shooting could be fixed in firmware, and neither is a likely to amount to much more than a minor frustration.
In some respects it's easy to draw a conclusion about the RX100 III: it provides better image quality than any camera its size ever has. Add to this an impressive and comprehensive feature set and it looks like the very definition of a stand-out camera. And yet... While Sony has made great strides beyond what was already a hugely capable camera, it has done very little to make it fun to shoot with. In terms of shooting experience, the RX100 III continues to feel more like a camera that will somewhat grudgingly let you take control, rather than an enthusiast camera designed for the committed photographer from the ground up.
However, the breadth of the M3's capabilities, from its bright, flexible lens and handy viewfinder, through to its class-defining image quality and well-supported, high-quality video capture mean there's nothing to really match it. And if you mainly shoot in P or Auto mode, you may never experience our frustrations about the handing. The RX100 series has always been technically impressive, but the addition of the brighter lens, viewfinder and ND filter extend its utility to a huge degree. Owners of its predecessors should seriously consider upgrading unless they need more zoom reach.
Our concerns about the handling leave us concluding that, if it had a credible rival, there's every chance the RX100 M3 wouldn't get a Gold award - we'd like a more enjoyable shooting experience from an $800 camera. Ultimately, though, the additions to what were already the strongest cameras in their class leave the RX100 III literally peerless. At which point it has to go one better than its predecessors, and receive our highest award.
Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category.
Click here to learn about the changes to our scoring system and what these numbers mean.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III
Category: Enthusiast Large Sensor Compact Camera
Ergonomics & handling
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Movie / video mode
The RX100 III is the most capable compact camera we've ever seen. With its built-in viewfinder and consistently fast lens, there's nothing that can provide better image quality in such a small package. It's not the perfect camera to take shot-to-shot control over, but its capability means it justifies its high price tag.
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Giuseppe Milo credits his interest in landscape and architectural photography with helping to shape a series of street photos he calls 'Faceless.' His fascination with the interaction between humans and the built environment are a common thread through the series, a project he calls 'endless' with new additions every week. Take a look at a selection of his photos and learn more about his history with photography. Read more
Accessories brand Fotodiox has introduced a cherry wood hand grip for the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III that it says is 'inspired' by the Hasselblad Stellar special edition cameras first launched in 2013. At $59.95 it makes a somewhat more affordable solution, even when you add the price of the camera, than the $1650 Hasselblad wanted for last year's Stellar II. Read more
VOTING ENDS MIDNIGHT JAN 31st (Pacific) Late last year we asked you to vote for your favorite products of the 2014 in four categories: best lens, best high-end compact camera, best enthusiast ILC and best high-end ILC. Voting ran through January 20th and the results are in! Click through to see the results of our 2014 readers' polls, and for a chance to vote on the overall winner, which we'll announce next month.
What’s the best camera for under $2000? These capable cameras costing less than $2000 should be solid and well-built, have both speed and focus for capturing fast action and offer professional-level image quality. In this buying guide we’ve rounded up all the current interchangeable lens cameras costing under $2000 and recommended the best.
What’s the best camera costing over $2000? The best high-end camera costing more than $2000 should have plenty of resolution, exceptional build quality, good 4K video capture and top-notch autofocus for advanced and professional users. In this buying guide we’ve rounded up all the current interchangeable lens cameras costing over $2000 and recommended the best.
We've updated our 'best cameras over $2000' buying guide, and the Sony a7R IV is now our favorite mirrorless camera in the $2000-4000 price range. It sits alongside the Nikon D850, which is our choice for those who prefer DSLRs.
If you're looking for a high-quality camera, you don't need to spend a ton of cash, nor do you need to buy the latest and greatest new product on the market. In our latest buying guide we've selected some cameras that might be a bit older but still offer a lot of bang for the buck.
What's the best camera for shooting sports and action? Fast continuous shooting, reliable autofocus and great battery life are just three of the most important factors. In this buying guide we've rounded-up several great cameras for shooting sports and action, and recommended the best.
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Canon's CE-SAT-IB satellite camera was destroyed alongside six other satellites during Rocket Lab's ironically-named 'Pics or It Didn't Happen Mission.'
This sample gallery includes images from our recent review of the Tamron 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 Di III RXD zoom lens. Check out these photos to see how it performs, from wide-angle to telephoto and everything in between.
The Tamron 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 Di III RXD provides a wide zoom range in compact, weather-sealed design. Find out why it's Chris and Jordan's new favorite travel lens.
Kodak Portra 800 is a wonderful and versatile color film. And any rumors of it being discontinued, we're pleased to report, are simply untrue. That's a good thing, because it's capable of producing lovely results in all sorts of conditions.
Boering has left the World Press Photo without much of an explanation from either him or the organization, but he tells DPReview the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing the WPP to change the way it makes money.
The standard-size deck of playing cards features unique photography-oriented artwork and act as cheat sheets for photographers.
The Sony ZV-1 and Panasonic Lumix DC-G100 are the first cameras we've seen that are overtly designed with vlogging in mind – and the changes they represent could have implications for the future of all cameras.
The utility allows the E-M1X, E-M1, E-M1 Mark II, E-M1 Mark III and E-M5 Mark II cameras to be used with video conferencing apps over USB.
Olympus is showing final images of its under-development 150-400mm F4.5, which it says will arrive this winter. An unspecified macro and 8-25mm F4 Pro have also been added to the lens roadmap, and the E-M1X's AF gains bird detection.
The scam, which involves sending fake copyright violation notices, has been circulating on the social media platform since at least June 9.
Fujifilm is one of just two producers of tape media (the other being Sony) and it is hard at work on a breakthrough that will allow single tape storage drives to offer 400TB capacities in the coming years.
The National Parks Service says it's investigating the incident, which took place just two days after the park opened following a shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Professional full frame lenses are usually large and have fast apertures. In this episode of DPReview TV, Chris and Jordan argue that there's a need for slow professional lenses – inspired by some of their favorite Micro Four Thirds lenses.
The camera maker joins Olympus, Fujifilm and others is a legal tussle over US digital camera technology patents held by DigiMedia Tech.
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) photographs the sun every 0.75 seconds. In its first decade in space, the SDO has captured more than 425 million images of the sun. NASA has compiled these images into an amazing time lapse, come check it out.
The lens is available for Leica M, Sony FE, Nikon Z and L-mount camera systems, and now holds the title as the world's widest rectilinear lens for full-frame camera systems.
Tamron's new 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 is a versatile zoom lens for Sony E-mount. Well-suited for travel photography, it's compact, lightweight, and fast/quiet to focus.
Fujifilm has announced that its GF 30mm F3.5 R WR wide-angle lens for its medium format cameras will ship in late July or early August.
Fujifilm's latest lens is a sharp, reasonably compact and well-built wide-angle for the company's GFX medium-format cameras. We took it out and about in the warm Seattle summer with the company's 50 and 100 Megapixel camera bodies to see what it can do.
Fujifilm has issued firmware updates to the GFX 100 and GFX 50 models, with the 100MP camera gaining the most significant improvements.
Although the channel is still growing, it currently has nine videos that offer concise overviews of just a few of the cameras Japan Camera Hunter founder Bellamy Hunt has sitting around his Japanese storefront.
ON1 has launched ON1 360, the latest version of ON1 Photo RAW 2020 with ON1's new Photo Mobile application for iOS, iPadOS and Android mobile devices. The new solution syncs raw processing between your mobile device and computer.
Switching screw-on filters between lenses of different thread sizes is much quicker with the Revoring adjustable step-up ring. It uses a sprung iris that expands to fit a range of filter thread sizes, so a single filter can be used on multiple lenses
That's right folks, you heard it here first. Read on for the full interview, with Kenji Tanaka of Sony.
Kodak's discontinued Aerochrome film gets a digital remake in the form of a new Lightroom preset pack from film emulation specialists Really Nice Images.
We've updated our Best cameras under $2000 buying guide, and the Fujifilm X-T4 is our top pick for those seeking a camera that excels and both stills and video shooting.
Chris and Jordan didn't forget about stills when they previewed the video-centric Panasonic G100 earlier this week.
The Canon EF-M 11-22mm F4-5.6 is by no means a new lens, but it's one we've been shooting with over the years, and appreciate for its compact form, solid build and useful wide-angle range.
Mauritius is a remote island off the southeastern coast of the African continent that's never had Google Street View. So, an island resident, Reuben Pillay, decided to use his own DJI Phantom 4 Pro drone to create more than 220 high-resolution 360-degree images of the island.
Pye Jirsa explains how blowing out the highlights in an image — usually a no-no in the world of photography — can result in a 'perfectly imperfect' photo that feels more authentic and natural.