Sony RX10 III Review

Sony RX10 III Review ImageSony RX10 III Review Image

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Sony’s RX10 III is the latest in its line of high-end premium bridge cameras. It comes less than 12 months after the RX10 II was announced, but the company has said that both of the cameras will exist at the same time, offering two different options to consumers.

The RX10 III uses an almost identical sensor to the Mark II version, being a 20.1MP CMOS one-inch “stacked” sensor with DRAM chip. The Mark II was a 20.2MP version of the same design. The biggest new feature of the camera, and the biggest talking point, is its new zoom lens, which offers a 24-600mm (25x) equivalent focal length range, and a maximum aperture of f/2.8-4.

Previously, the RX10 II offered a more modest 24-200mm (8.3x), so it makes the new camera a much more appealing all-rounder for those looking for a camera to do everything. That said, you pay the price for such a functionality, with the RX10 III having an asking price of £1,249.

Other specifications include an electronic shutter which facilitates shutter speeds of up to 1/32000, a 3-inch tilting 1.23-million dot LCD screen, a 2.36-million dot OLED viewfinder, SD memory card compatibility and a better life of up to 420 shots per charge.

As is becoming the norm, 4K video recording is available on the RX10 III. You can also grab stills from 4K video recording, something which is also starting to become a popular function.

There are quite a few premium bridge cameras currently on the market. The Sony RX10 III competes reasonably closely with the Canon G3X as well as the Panasonic FZ1000.

The Sony RX10 III retails for £1,250 / $1499.

Ease of Use

The Sony RX10 III has increased in size to accommodate the extra zoom of the lens when compared with the Mark II. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it brings it in line with the size of a mid-range DSLR, especially with a large lens attached.

Although the lens is large, it’s important to remember that something that would cover the same focal length range with a DSLR would be much, much larger, making it appealing as a travel or holiday camera.

The Sony RX10 III has a large and chunky grip, which has been reworked slightly from the RX10 II to make it more comfortable to hold, especially when holding the camera to your eye when the viewfinder is in use. It is textured and coated, with an indent to help your middle finger sit nicely.

Around the lens you’ll find three rings. One of which controls aperture and has a satisfying click when turned. At the base of the lens there’s a switch to turn these clicks off if you are shooting video, or perhaps just somewhere very quiet and don’t want to draw attention to yourself. A second ring can be used to extend the zoom length of the lens, while a third is used for adjusting focus. If you prefer, you can also use a switch around the shutter release to extend and retract the zoom.

Sony RX10 III
Front of the Sony RX10 III

There is a customisable button on the side of the lens which can have a number of different functions assigned to it. One which is particularly useful is “Zoom Assist”. If you are zooming in on a subject in the distance, and it moves out of frame, or you move the camera and lose the subject, if you hold this button down, the lens will zoom out, allowing you to find the subject, and zoom back in on release of the button again.

Just underneath the lens is a switch for moving between focusing modes, including single, continuous, manual and DMF (Direct Manual Focus). DMF allows you to make fine manual adjustments to focus after autofocus has locked on.

Moving to the top of the Sony RX10 III, there’s an array of dials and buttons here. There’s the on/off switch which is placed just behind the shutter release, and the aforementioned zoom rocker. On the left hand side is a mode dial, which allows you to quickly choose between the camera’s different exposure modes, including semi-automatic options (aperture priority and shutter priority), Program, Manual, Automatic, Scene Modes, Panorama and so on.

Sony RX10 III
Rear of the Sony RX10 III

On the right hand side is an exposure compensation dial which is handily placed for your thumb to reach while gripping the camera. There’s a button for popping up the inbuilt flash, and two custom buttons which again can be assigned to a variety of different functions depending on what you find you use most often. A small LCD screen can be found on the top of the camera too, this displays a few key settings, such as aperture, shutter speed, number of shots left, battery status and so. To accompany this is a button for illuminating the screen if you’re using the camera in low light conditions.

The back of the Sony RX10 III is a relatively minimalist affair. There is a further custom button, which is also doubles as the delete button when in play back. A menu button can be found on the left hand side of the of viewfinder, but otherwise all of the buttons are conveniently placed on the right hand side making quick changes easy.

A Fn button brings up a quick menu which can be used to access many of the most common features that you’re likely to want to change frequently. This menu can be customised to add or remove any functions that you want to – it’s clear Sony gives a lot of consideration to how photographers actually like to work. The main menu is a little more convoluted and takes some time to navigate and get to know. Some settings seem a little strangely named and can be quite difficult to find at first – it’s something that you will get used to the more you use the camera, though.

Sony RX10 III
Side of the Sony RX10 III

Other buttons on the back of the Sony RX10 III include a playback button, an AEL button, and a dedicated video record button. There’s a small scrolling dial which can be used to adjust shutter speed (depending on the shooting mode you’re in). Another scrolling dial is used for a couple of functions, such as changing autofocus point, scrolling through menus, or scrolling through images in playback. The dial also doubles up as a four way navipad.

To change the autofocus point, first you need to make sure that autofocus mode is set to flexible spot. From there, you can change the AF point by pressing the central button, then using the directional keys to move to the point that you want to use. The scrolling dial can be used to alter the size of the AF point – you can use a smaller size if you’re trying to focus on a fine detail.

The viewfinder has a built in sensor which detects when the Sony RX10 III has been lifted to your eye for a swift transition between using the screen and the viewfinder. The image inside the viewfinder is bright and clear and there’s no noticeable image lag. In short, this is a viewfinder you will actually want to use – and not just when bright sunlight prevents the screen from being used. An electronic viewfinder also has some advantages over an optical version, including the ability to preview the effect any changes made to settings will make.

Sony RX10 III
Pop-up Flash

The three-inch screen can be pulled out from the body of the Sony RX10 III and tilted upwards and downwards. This makes it useful for shooting from some awkward angles, but not quite as flexible as a fully articulating screen which helps when shooting portrait format images from strange angles. Sony has once again resisted making the screen touch-sensitive. Although it would perhaps have been nice to have one for some functionality, with a wide range of buttons and dials, it’s not something that is too badly missed.

Although general operational speeds are quick, with good shot-to-shot times, start-up time can be a little slow because the zoom has to extend before you can use it. It makes sense therefore to keep the camera switched on if you can between shots if you’re taking several in quick succession.

Focusing speeds are good, but the lens can struggle a little to get things into focus quite quickly when using the telephoto end of the zoom. This isn’t particularly surprising given the focal length equivalent, but it’s something to watch out for as you can fire the shutter release before the camera has finished focusing – make sure to half press to lock focus before committing to the full press to take the shot.

Sony RX10 III Review ImageSony RX10 III Review Image

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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.


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.


ISO 64 (100% Crop)

ISO 64 (100% Crop)


ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 80 (100% Crop)


ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)


ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)


ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)


ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)


ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)


ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)


ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)


ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

Focal Range

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





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.



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)


Forced Flash

Forced Flash (100% Crop)


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.


Creative Styles

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


Black & White



















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





Soft High-key

Partial Color (Blue)


High Contrast Mono

Soft Focus


HDR Painting

Rich-tone Mono