Sony goes big with the RX10 III superzoom camera
Sony has announced the latest iteration of its large-sensored bridge camera with the Cyber-Shot RX10 III. This time around, the 20.1-megapixel one-inch-type sensor isn't the only big part of the camera; its built-in zoom lens offers a massive 24-600-mm equivalent F2.4-F4 lens, triple the zoom of its predecessor. Also revealed are a couple of new full frame FE lenses: A 70-300-mm F4.5-F5.6 zoom and a 50-mm F1.8 prime.
The original RX10 camera broke the mold for bridge cameras when it was released by combining a large 1-inch-type sensor with a fixed big zoom lens. It was quickly followed by the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 which had an even bigger zoom and 4K video. Last year, Sony updated its offering with the RX10 II, which gained 4K skills and faster shooting, but still couldn't match the Panasonic on the zoom front.
That changes this time around, with the new lens of the RX10 III being very much the main attraction with its 24-600-mm (35-mm format equivalent) zoom and F2.4-F4 maximum aperture. This versatile zoom range, along with the relatively speedy aperture, means the camera will be able to be used for shooting a variety of subjects, whether landscapes, portraits, wildlife or sport.
The camera also features Optical SteadyShot image stabilization to help prevent camera blur and ensure smoother framing and shooting, and if you are shooting hand-held at the 600-mm end of that telephoto lens we're guessing you'll need it. The lens also has a minimum focusing distance of 72 cm (2.36 ft) at a fully extended 600 mm, offering tele-macro abilities.
Typically, cameras with big zoom ranges do so by using tiny image sensors, but that's not the case with the RX10 line. The new version boasts a 1-inch-type (13.2 x 8.8 mm) 20.1-megapixel stacked CMOS sensor with DRAM chip. While that's still smaller than the APS-C sensors found in the likes of the A6300, and the even bigger full frame sensors in cameras like the A7S II, it's still a set up from the 1/2.3-in sensors often found in bridge cameras. Combined with the BIONZ X image processor, this allows the camera an ISO range of 100 to 12,800, and the ability to shoot bursts of images at up to 14 fps (frames per second), or 5 fps with autofocus tracking.
The powerful combo also means the RX10 III can shoot 4K video (QFHD 3,840 x 2,160) at 30/25/24 fps with full pixel readout and no pixel binning, giving better quality than many 4K-shooting cameras. Also of interest to videographers will be editing-friendly picture profiles including S-Gamut/S-Log2, and the fact that slow motion footage can be recorded at up to Full HD 1080p at 1,000/960 fps.
The dust and moisture resistant DSLR-like camera measures 132 x 94 x 127 mm, (5.2 x 3.7 x 5 in) and weighs in at 1,095 g (2 lb 6.7 oz). Around back there's an OLED electronic viewfinder with 2,359k dots, and a three-inch LCD monitor with 1,228k dots which can be tilted for shooting in awkward positions. The RX10 III also features Wi-Fi and NFC for sharing content or remote control via a smartphone or tablet.
Also announced are two new full-frame lenses for Sony's E-mount camera system. The first is a FE 50mm F1.8 prime lens which is a lightweight 'normal' lens, the sort we recommend most interchangeable lens camera shooters buy as their first extra lens. The lens features a new optical design with an aspherical element to compensate for aberration, and a solid metal mount.
Meanwhile the Sony FE 70-300mm F4.5-5.6 G OSS Telephoto Zoom is the first Sony α E-mount lens to reach a 300-mm focal length. It uses four aspherical glass elements, two ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements and Sony's Nano AR coating to deliver high quality stills and video. It also includes built-in Optical SteadyShot image stabilization and has a minimum focusing distance of less than 3 feet (0.9m).
The Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III and the new FE lenses are all due to be available from April (UK) or May (USA). The RX10 III will cost around £1,250, (or US$1,500), while the FE 70-300mm telephoto zoom will be £1,150 ($1,200) and the FE 50mm F1.8 prime lens will set you back £240 ($250).