Sony RX100 Mk. III
The Sony RX100 series cameras have been described as the best compact cameras on the market, much in part for their use of a larger sensor than just about all other small, point and shoot cameras.
In my search for a good tiny camera, I gave the RX100 a brief thought, but I really like some sort of viewfinder on my cameras, and the Rx100 (and the follow up RX100M2) doesn’t have one.
Then Sony released the RX100M3, which has a pretty clever pop up EVF so I thought I’d give one a try. As soon as I opened the box, I thought to myself “this thing is tiny!” I attached the included wrist strap – not because I liked it very much, but because it was the only wrist strap I had access to that would attach to the camera. There aren’t normal strap eyelets on the RX100M3…there are just tiny little “loops” to put the tiny string on the included wrist strap through (or the weird neck strap connectors). I’d have much rather used one of my Lance or Gordy’s straps, but they use split-rings for attachment and there’s no way to get one attached.
I took the camera out for my daily walk to get a few test shots…nothing I would ever consider a good shot, but plenty to test the sensor and image quality. The 1″ 20mp sensor definitely gives good image quality. You won’t confuse it with a full frame DSLR or anything, but considering the size of the sensor and the camera itself, the IQ is really very strong. Up to ISO 1600, the IQ is very, very good. 3200 is usuable…higher than that I would shy away from. The lens is very well matched to the sensor, and is a quality piece with a fast aperture range.
Unfortunately, the IQ is kind of the only thing I really liked about the RX100M3. For starters, the camera is just too small for me. I don’t have huge hands, but they’re not small either…pretty average I would guess, but the camera is just so small that my hand would cramp just holding on to it. I kind of always felt like I was going to drop it, so I was probably holding onto it so strongly that it surely was the reason my hand cramped. There are add-on finger grips that attach to the front via adhesive, but for the price of the M3, Sony should include one (especially since they make and sell one!) The EVF was another source of frustration for a couple of reasons. One was that whenever you closed the EVF back into the body, the camera would power down unless you remembered to press and hold the power button. The second reason was that if wearing glasses or sunglasses, it was far too easy to slightly push the pull-out part of the EVF back in which makes the EVF go totally out of focus. To be fair, I’m probably a bit spoiled by the fantastic viewfinders in my various Fujifilm cameras…the EVF in the M3 didn’t stand a chance to impress me, but it is a clever thing Sony put into such a small camera. Battery life is also not the greatest, but honestly I’ve used enough mirrorless cameras the last few years that I’m getting used to mediocre battery life! Other than DSLR batteries, all other cameras are just so-so. Speaking of the battery…like many Sony cameras now, there is not an external charger included. While I like having the option of charging the battery in camera with a USB cable, it’s also nice to have an external charger to charge batteries while you are using the camera. For the price Sony is asking for this camera, and the majority of their other high end cameras, they should include an external charger!
So, the RX100M3 didn’t work out for me, but if you are looking for a small, compact camera with high IQ and are comfortable with how tiny it is, you might want to give the RX100M3 a good look…though there are new rumors that the next RX camera might have an even larger sensor – possibly a micro 4/3 sensor!
Image quality up to 1600 ISO, Zeiss lens
Too small (for me), “pull out” part of EVF too easy to push back in when wearing glasses/sunglasses, price, not very “grippable”, no external charger included.