Designed to satisfy the needs of amateur, hobbyist and professional photographers and videographers, the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III is a true “all in one” package with a price around $1500.
While a compact or bridge camera is not what most videographers will have in mind, no one can deny that Sony has thought about videographers when designing their new RX10 III camera. This model, the latest from the family of Cyber-shot RX cameras, offers the advantages of 4K (QFHD 3840×2160) movie recording associated with a luminous and far reaching ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T* 24-600mm F2.4 – F4, which gives videographers the chance to shoot high quality 4K video from extreme distances.
The luminous f/4 at 600mm means this zoom with the name Zeiss on it is different from many other high-zoom lenses that often struggle with light-gathering at longer focal lengths. The aperture unit itself has nine blades that are designed to create a near perfect circle in the F2.4 – F11 range, enabling shooters to create content with beautiful bokeh, where the subject stands out against a softly defocused background.
600mm able to focus at 72cm
A 25x super-telephoto zoom lens like the one used on the RX10 III immediately suggests problems of sharpness when used at the longest focal length, but Sony has taken care of that, apparently, incorporating into the design a built-in Optical SteadyShot image stabilization that helps to reduce camera shake and image blur. When active, the OSS is equivalent to shooting at a shutter speed approximately 4.5 stops faster than the current setting of the camera. One interesting aspect of the newly developed lens is its minimum focusing distance of 72 cm (2.36 ft), offering a 0.49x maximum magnification at a fully extended 600mm, suggesting that for both video and photography it will capable of producing amazingly detailed tele-macro images.
A lens with a range up to 600mm needs an autofocus system able to deliver. Sony states that the RX10 III is equipped “with an impressive autofocus system with spatial object detection, allowing the camera to detect and predict motion of a subject before the shutter button is pressed, This helps the camera achieve an incredibly fast and efficient AF response when the shutter is halfway pressed, enabling it to lock on to a subject in as little as 0.09 seconds.”
It’s not just the long lens that makes video capture an interesting part of the RX10 III. In 4K video mode, the RX10 III camera utilizes full pixel readout without pixel binning, capturing approximately 1.7x more information than is required for 4K movie output to enhance image detail and minimize moiré and jaggies. It achieves these high-quality results through use of the XAVC S codec, which records video at a high data rate of up to100 Mbps during 4K recording and up to 50 Mbps during full HD recording.
The new RX10 III also possesses the ability to record super slow-motion video at up to 40x slower than the standard rate, allowing users to capture and replay fleeting moments of action with incredible detail, resolution and clarity.
In “HFR” (high frame rate) setting, it offers the option to choose among 960fps, 480fps and 240 fps frame rates and among 60p, 30p and 24p playback formats, with the option to use the movie record button as a ‘start trigger’ to begin recording once button is pressed or ‘end trigger’ to record footage up until the button is pressed.
The RX10 III high zoom camera is equipped with a a back-illuminated 20.1 MP 1.0 type stacked Exmor RS CMOS sensor with DRAM chip and advanced signal processing, along with a powerful BIONZ X image processor. This allow the camera to achieve wide sensitivity range of ISO 64 – ISO 12800 and produce, according to Sony, images with exceptionally low noise, even at higher sensitivity settings.
Additionally, the rear of the sensor has a DRAM chip that allows it to read and process large volumes of data exceptionally fast, enabling the camera to shoot super slow motion video at up to 960 fps. The powerful DRAM chip also allows the RX10 III to shoot continuously at up to 14fps with minimal blackout.
With shutter speeds as fast as 1/32000 second, the electronic shutter on the RX10 III minimizes image distortion at faster shutter speeds. It also offers silent shooting at all settings and speeds, ensuring all content can be captured quietly without disrupting the subject, a powerful feature when combined with the wide-ranging zoom lens.
“By pairing the convenience of an ultra-telephoto lens with our innovative stacked CMOS image sensor design, we’ve created a whole new image experience unlike anything else in market today,” said Neal Manowitz, Vice President of Digital Imaging at Sony Electronics. “The new RX10 III offers a true ‘all in one’ package that will appeal to a wide range of amateur, hobbyist and professional photographers and videographers.”
Better ergonomy and control
The new model features a high-contrast XGA OLED Tru-Finder with approximately 2.35 million dots of resolution, ensuring true-to-life image preview and playback functionality. The camera is also dust and moisture resistant and both Wi-Fi and NFC compatible, with the ability and can access Sony’s growing range of PlayMemories Camera Applications.
Sony says that the RX10 IIII features a number of upgrades compared to existing RX10 models including triple lens rings for focus, zoom and aperture for direct, precise control. The hand grip shape has also been optimized for the new high-magnification, large-aperture lens to enhance stability when holding the camera at eye level. There is a new focus hold button on the lens barrel as well, allowing the focus to be easily locked on a subject while the shooter reframes the image.