The concept of a ‘bridge camera’ was something foreign to me, so initially, the RX10 III as part of a larger line of cameras (the RX series) didn’t make sense to me right away.
I didn’t understand it.
Why would anyone want to buy this camera?
Well, after a month of putting it through its paces, I now have the answer. Let me tell you why.—
It’s common to talk about DSLR’s, mirrorless, APS-C, and point and shoot cameras. A bridge camera is somewhere in-between the versatility of a DSLR experience, and the practicality of a point and shoot experience.
The way this manifests in the RX10 III, is that it inherits the aesthetic sensibilities of a DSLR; with its larger form factor, grip, expanded I/O, and increased real estate for physical input, and then combines it with the fantastic 1-inch sensor similar to the RX100 series of point and shoots, and then marries it with a fantastic 24-600mm (yes, 600 😱) Zeiss fixed lens.
This camera reminds me of an Apple iMac. You know, the ‘do-it-all’, all-in-one computer that ‘kind-of’ has everything you could want in a computer (for most people), but with none of the ability to upgrade or tinker with it from a hardware perspective. It sounds limiting, but in actual every day use, it’s really not. It overdelivers on its purpose.
The RX10 III does it all. And does it pretty damn well.
Lens and focal range
It all starts here.
24mm to 600mm. It’s an absurd amount of range in such a high-value, tiny (relative to those 200mm+ lenses) package. The fixed Vario-Sonnar Zeiss lens delivers sharp images across the entire frame with its variable aperture ranging from f2.4 on the wide end reaching f4 from around 100mm onwards.
…that’s really good. Most standalone 100-400mm lenses are around f4.5-f5.6 and are usually priced at a few thousand dollars. Hell, a Canon 400mm f2.8 will set you back over $10,000, and a Sigma 200-500mm f2.8, will set you back a deposit on an entire house at a cool $30,000+ whilst being physically larger than a small child and providing a constant arms workout to boot. But hey, if you can justify the extra stop, you’re balling with money, and you want a workout on the go, then who am I judge?
In any case, this focal range is absurdly useful. You can use it for almost everything. Wide enough for architecture (but only just), or all the way to hyper-tele for moon shots. This range is the star of the show, and for me, it’s what makes the RX10 III special.
The size of the body is akin to a typical DSLR. The 1kg total weight is surrounded by a hard, solid, plastic shell, a very comfy grip, and although it’s not the lightest thing on the market, it’s not overly weighty relative to the sturdiness it provides. The form inspires confidence when shooting, and that’s the most important thing.
Internally, although the sensor is similar to the point and shoot RX100 series, the larger body provides affordances for well spaced-out buttons and dials. This is where the concept of the ‘bridge camera’ comes in. It’s got all the physical controls you could want in a camera – exposure comp dials, clickless aperture toggle, exposure readout, custom buttons – but it also has proper I/O; things like a hot shoe, mic and headphone jacks, as well as USB and HDMI out.
To add to all the nice touches and great physical features the RX10 III gets right, I can’t get away from this section without talking about the relocation of the video record button 😂. I say it in jest, but actually it’s pretty annoying in other Sony cameras how the video record button is on the side. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve accidentally recorded something on my A7’s. Thankfully, the RX10 III has the button relocated beside the viewfinder, next to where your right thumb would be, and it’s great that the A9 inherited this placement too. Nice.
Sensor and image quality
The sensor in this camera is very similar, but not the same as its RX100 cousin. It’s a 1 inch, 20.1 MP, stacked sensor that allows video capture in 4K, and has a super slow mo feature able to record up to 960fps.
Stills wise, this camera is just as great as the RX100, if not better, thanks to the amazing lens. Images are sharp, with low chromatic aberration even at the tele end, and minimal distortion throughout. It has the ability to capture up to 14 frames per second if you use fixed focus, and it has a native ISO range of 100-12800.
Raw files give you the same malleability as the RX100 cameras, which is to say, it’s great. You can do a lot with them – check out the gallery down the bottom of the post.
Video gets a special mention in this review, because this camera is a great video device.
On the tech side, you’re able to shoot in 4K up to 30fps at 100M with no pixel binning. You’re also able to shoot normal full HD footage in slow mo – 120fps at 100M, too. That’s pretty damn good.
On top of that, the image stabilsation is very decent, the form factor is conducive to stable run & gun recording, and having a lens with such massive range and smooth zooming really gives you a fantastic platform to record video on.
The RX10 III is a very capable bridge-style camera that has almost everything you’d want in a DSLR-type body. For beginner or amateur photographers, this is a fantastic starting camera that will get you very far before you need to upgrade. For a hobbyist or higher, this could be a great camera to pick up and go if you’re packing light or if space is an issue. The convenience factor is huge. This could also be a great B or C camera to supplement your main bodies when you’re out in the field.
Whatever you decide, with fantastic video capabilities, quality stills, and a massive, super useful focal range, this camera can handle anything you throw at it at an affordable, approachable price.Buy the Sony RX10 III from Amazon