Sony RX10 III Review

July 7, 2016 | Amy Davies | |

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 20 megapixel JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5Mb.

Sony's RX series cameras have been consistently good performers since the first RX100, and happily the RX10 III is no different.

Directly from the camera, JPEG images show a crispness and clarity throughout the focal length - softening ever so slightly at the furthest reach of the lens, but not enough to be worrying. You ca also deploy “Clear Zoom”, a type of digital zoom which yields some good results if the 25x optical zoom isn't quite enough reach for you. The standard digital zoom is best avoided unless absolutely necessary.

Colours are also bright and punchy directly from the camera, displaying a good amount of vibrance that doesn't stray too far into unnatural territory. Corresponding raw files are a little more muted, which is to be expected and is useful when working on your images in post production.

Noise performance and detail resolution are good in JPEG images almost entirely throughout the range. Noise starts to become noticeable from around ISO 1600, but not too detrimental to image quality unless you're pixel peeping at 100% or intending to print a very large image. ISO 3200 and ISO 6400 are decent performers, but as with most cameras, the top setting of ISO 12800 is best avoided unless strictly necessary (or you only intend to view or print very small) as there's a significant loss of detail. Looking at the corresponding raw files here it's clear to see that there's a notable amount of noise reduction applied, so if you've photographed something with lots of fine detail, then you can get some of this back by working with the raw files in post production.

All-purpose metering works well to produce accurate exposures in the majority of conditions, and I found myself rarely needing to use the exposure compensation dial. Sony's Dynamic Range Optimiser is a useful tool for helping to bring out detail in shadow in JPEG images that may otherwise be lost - you can set it to different levels in the main menu - choosing automatic or one of the lower values tends to produce the best results, as the highest setting can lead to somewhat of an unnatural look.

Automatic white balance is very good, producing images with very accurate colours under artificial lighting. Other lighting situations, such as overcast or bright sunny days also produced accurate colours.

For some reason, Sony has removed the inbuilt ND filter for the RX10 III. An inbuilt filter is useful when shooting at wide apertures in bright sunlight. That said, with the ability to use a 1/32000 shutter speed, you don't have too much issue with over exposure.

Noise

The Sony RX10 III has a standard sensitivity range between ISO 100 and 12800, selectable down to 1/3EV increments. This can be extended down to ISO 64, whilst the Multi Frame NR feature can add an ISO 25600 sensitivity by compiling multiple consecutive exposures into a single image with supposedly reduced noise levels, though this isn't available when shooting RAW or RAW+JPEG.

JPEG Raw

ISO 64 (100% Crop)

ISO 64 (100% Crop)

iso64.jpg iso64raw.jpg
   

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

iso80.jpg iso80raw.jpg
   

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso100.jpg iso100raw.jpg
   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso200raw.jpg
   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso400raw.jpg
   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso800raw.jpg
   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso1600.jpg iso1600raw.jpg
   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

iso3200.jpg iso3200raw.jpg
   

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

iso6400.jpg iso6400raw.jpg
   

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

iso12800.jpg iso12800raw.jpg

Focal Range

The Sony RX10 III's 25x zoom lens achieves a focal range of 24-600mm when converted into a 35mm camera format.

24mm

focal_range1.jpg
 

600mm

focal_range2.jpg

Macro

Sony quotes a 3cm minimum focussing distance for the Sony RX10 III, and we found this to be accurate. However, at such close range, the large lens inevitable casts a shadow over your subject.

Macro

macro.jpg

Flash

Five flash settings are available: Autoflash, Fill-flash, Slow Sync and Rear Sync and Wireless. A separate menu option controls whether or not red-eye reduction is active, but even without this enabled, the camera successfully avoided red-eye in our testing. The flash itself is powerful and shows little evidence of vignetting when shooting a white surface from 1.5m with the lens set to its 24mm-equivalent focal length.

Suppressed Flash - Wide Angle (24mm)

Forced Flash - Wide Angle (24mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Suppressed Flash - Telephoto (600mm)

Forced Flash - Telephoto (600mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots with the flash off and on.

Flash Off

Flash Off (100% Crop)

flash_off.jpg flash_off1.jpg
   

Forced Flash

Forced Flash (100% Crop)
flash_on.jpg flash_on1.jpg

Night

The Sony RX100 III's maximum shutter speed is 30 seconds and there's also a Bulb mode for even longer exposures. The following example as shot at 30 seconds at ISO 100.

Night

night.jpg

Creative Styles

The Sony RX10 III offers 13 different creative styles that you can use to enhance your images in-camera.

Autumn

Black & White

CreativeStyleAutumn.jpg CreativeStyleBlackWhite.jpg
   

Clear

Deep

CreativeStyleClear.jpg CreativeStyleDeep.jpg
   

Landscape

Light

CreativeStyleLandscape.jpg CreativeStyleLight.jpg
   

Neutral

Night

CreativeStyleNeutral.jpg CreativeStyleNight.jpg
   

Portrait

Sepia

CreativeStylePortrait.jpg CreativeStyleSepia.jpg
   

Standard

Sunset

CreativeStyleStandard.jpg CreativeStyleSunset.jpg
   

Vivid

 
CreativeStyleVivid.jpg  

Picture Effects

The Sony RX10 III contains 13 Picture Effects, some with additional sub options: Toy camera (normal, cool, warm, green, magenta), Pop color, Posterization (colour, mono), Retro photo, Soft high-key, Partial color (red, green, blue, yellow), High-contrast mono, Soft focus (low, mid, high), HDR painting (low, mid, high), Rich-tone mono, Miniature (top, middle horizontal, bottom, left, middle vertical, right), Watercolor, Illustration (low, mid, high).

Toy Camera

Pop Color

PictureEffectToyNormal.jpg PictureEffectPop.jpg
   

Posterization

Retro

PictureEffectPosterization.jpg PictureEffectRetro.jpg
   

Soft High-key

Partial Color (Blue)

PictureEffectSoftHighKey.jpg PictureEffectPartialColorBlue.jpg
   

High Contrast Mono

Soft Focus

PictureEffectHighContrastBW.jpg PictureEffectSoftFocusHi.jpg
   

HDR Painting

Rich-tone Mono

PictureEffectPainting.jpg PictureEffectRichBW.jpg
   

Miniature

Watercolor

PictureEffectMini.jpg PictureEffectWatercolor.jpg
   

Illustration

 
PictureEffectIllustration.jpg