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Sony RX 100 Mark 3 Review

August 12, 2014
Sony has once again dazzled the world of digital photography, by unveiling third generation of its RX-100 compact camera – RX 100 Mark III.The success of the original RX 100 camera was primarily because of its “easy to fit in pocket” camera body and SLR like functionality. But the third generation RX-100 Mark III camera just set the bar higher, by introducing Electronic ViewFinder (EVF), improved lens, extended sensitivity range and dozens of enhancements that have made this camera just incredible. At a price of $800, enthusiasts who are willing to pay more for a faster lens wouldn’t be disappointed with its superior image and video quality.

What’s In
One of the major highlights of RX 100 Mark III is that Sony has managed to fit an electronic viewfinder in the full metal body of RX100 III even though it is only 2.5mm thicker & 9g heavier than its predecessors. When not in use, the EVF tucks away neatly and pops up by pushing a little button on the side. Its OLED display is bright & colorful, with a decent 1440k-dot resolution. The EVF is 0.38 inches in size, while most cameras use 0.2 inches EVF. To take selfies, the 3 inches LCD can be flipped to 180 degrees, which makes it easy to take pictures at awkward angles. Another major change in the camera is in the lens. Mark III features a Carl Zeiss VarioSonnar T* optic f1.8-2.8, 24-70mm zoom lens that lets it capture the picture perfectly. This addition also allows clicking photos in murkier conditions, low light and less than ideal conditions when zoomed all the way in. For people who use DSLR’s, this camera comes as a pleasant surprise as it produces excellent background defocus, displays areas of high contrast as well as a zebra display to indicate areas likely to burn out.

What’s not
RX-100 III does not include touch functionality which may be a disappointment for some, though dedicated controls and dials have been added to enhance the experience. It does not feature flash hot shoe/ accessory shoe which has been circumvented with the addition of EVF.

Performance
The camera is equipped with Sony’s latest Bionz X processing engine, that has enabled sensitivity in the range up to ISO 25,600, with enhanced features like lock-on tracking, auto focus and adjustable autofocus area size. It helps produce clean images with improved noise reduction. Its 20.2 million pixel count and Exmor CMOS sensor have remained unchanged that produce outstanding results. The camera focuses very quickly and it takes a second or two to turn on.

While some might complain about its flip-up LCD screen, its improved lens and capabilities do make up for it. Even with addition of features like EVF, the camera is small enough to be carried around in pocket. The camera offers necessary buttons, dedicated mode dial, video record button, a scroll wheel and integrated Wi-Fi mode. Wi-Fi feature helps transmit images to devices like smartphones and laptops. To use Wi-Fi, you need to download Sony PlayMemories App for android or iOS that lets you remotely trigger the camera or send photos to smartphones for sharing.  With up to 320 shots per charge, the battery life of RX-100 III is quite impressive for a camera this compact.

Conclusion
RX100 III is an appealing camera and is one of the best in its class. Its excellent image quality and performance combined with its optical zoom lens make it the best compact camera in the market. This camera allows for amazing picture experience with high aperture lens and a big sensor, and wouldn’t disappoint those looking to buy it. It might be an expensive buy but the extended features and functionality it has will most likely beat other cameras in the same class.

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