Sony DSC-RX100 III – Review

Sony RX100 iii

Sony’s RX100 line is a great line of point and shoot cameras.

I was really big into photography about 10 years ago and then got too busy with trying to come to terms with corporate life to keep up with with shooting. That, coupled with having an iPhone with me all the time making it so simple to take snapshot, that I lost sight of making pictures.

I bought the Sony RX100 iii shortly after my daughter was born because I wanted something that was still portable, but that takes better pictures than an iPhone. Well this camera delivered. It is an amazing camera. I bought it right when the RX100 V came out and looked into the entire line and decided to get the MarkIII. I don’t need 4k video. The only thing that was intriguing to me about the MarkV was that the autofocus is supposed to be extremely quick and accurate with way more focus points but decided to go with the MarkIII because, to me, the cost didn’t justify the better autofocus.

The camera was so good in fact, it’s flexibility, manual controls and image quality were ultimately the reason I decided to sell it. I found myself going out and shooting so frequently that I started to reach some of the real physical limits of the camera. I would have kept it, but I just couldn’t justify spending that much money on cameras that did mostly the same thing.

Here are the things that I have experienced with this camera.


  • Super portable. It’s a tight fit in pants pocket, but you can carry it in your pocket so you can always have it on you. This is probably the thing that I miss the most was a camera that flexible with such high quality that is so portable.
  • It is so well made. Solid construction and fit and finish are really nice.
  • You can program the different buttons to access many of the features of the camera. I love manual controls and I was able to set up the RX100 to easily access shutter, aperture, ISO and focus without going through menus. I wasn’t able to completely dedicate button for button every control, but within 2 button presses, I was able to get to any feature that I needed.
  • f1.8 to f2.8 lens. Fully zoomed, you’re still at a really wide f2.8 so you can still get some nice background blur or shoot in lower light. (Note: It is a 1″ sensor, so to get a true representation of the aperture, you need to multiply the aperture by the crop factor which is 2.7x)
  • The video looks great. The markiii doesn’t do 4k, but the 1080 looks beautiful. and in the 24 fps it has a nice cinematic look. The slow motion also looks good.
  • It has a leaf shutter. If you don’t know what that is, it is amazing. It is a shutter that is built into the lens rather than in the focal-plane like most other shutters. You only get leaf shutters in really expensive cameras like medium format cameras and the Fujifilm x100 series. It allows 2 things, a really quiet shutter and high flash sync speeds. If you check out this picture ( I was able to do a 1/2000 shutter speed with the flash which allowed me to properly expose my wife and daughter but still capture detail in the sky. Really high end focal-plane shutters top out at around 1/250 shutter speed. The difference between 1/250 of a second and 1/2000 of a second is 3 stops of light.
  • Image quality is great. I knew the limitations of the camera so, with the manual control of the camera, I was able to capture the shot I was envisioning.
  • It performs pretty well in low light. I know a lot of people say it doesn’t do well in low light, but most of those people are comparing them to full frame cameras. For a 1” sensor, I think this does really well.
    • I shot this pic (Alton Sunset) at ISO 800.
    • I shot this pic (Trees in the Moonlight) at 1600 ISO, handheld at 1/5 of a second shutter. When you look at the full jpg blown up to 100%, it looks really good. Not something you’d use commercially, but it is a pretty beautiful picture. There’s a little ghosting near the palm fronds, but it is a usable picture.
  • That last example brings me to my next point, really decent image stabilization…HANDHELD AT 1/5 OF A SECOND!
  • Since it is so small, I was able to take it to a lot of places that I wouldn’t be able to get a DSLR into.
  • Battery life is pretty good for such a tiny battery, but since the batteries are are cheap, and since they are so small, I was able to take 2 extras and shoot all day no problem. If you get the Wasabi batteries from Amazon, they are really cheap and they work great.


  • If you use the flash when you are close to your subject, you can see a little shadow at the bottom of the image where the lens blocks the flash. If you back up a few steps, you avoid this, but take a look at the instagram pic of my wife and daughter you’ll notice the lens shadow on my wife’s shoulder.
  • It doesn’t have a flash hot shoe so you can’t trigger external flash. I know, not a big deal, but it is one of the reasons that I wanted to upgrade and get into an interchangeable mirrorless.
  • When you’re fully wide open at f1.8, you’ll notice a tiny bit of vignetting in the corners. It’s really subtle and you’ll only notice it if you have a flat consistent color in the corners, you’ll see it get the slightest bit dimmer if you really look hard, but this happens to most lenses wide open until you get into the $1000+ lenses.
  • When you’re at the 24mm end of the zoom you’ll notice a little bit of barrel distortion. This is common on wide angle lens. It is more noticeable if you’re shooting something that has a grid pattern or when you have a person’s face near the edge of the frame.

If you are considering this camera, I would highly recommend picking one up. The only time I would suggest you pass on getting an RX100iii is if you are like me and you’re going to catch the fever for an interchangeable lens system that you can use external flash.

I have played with a bunch of the point and shoot cameras and I think this is one of the most versatile highest quality cameras for under $1000, and now you can find them used for an extreme bargain.

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