The sony RX10iii Review (one year after owning it)

The sony RX10iii Review (one year after owning it)

Today I’m going to talk about one of the cameras I’ve been using for the past year. What I like about it, what I don’t and whether or not it’s a worthwhile investment.

I bought the rx10iii about 1 year ago, ready for our trip to NZ. It was a bit of a wild card, as I was used to having a 24-70mm and a 70-200mm, but I figured I’d still have my a7rii for astro and long exposure and I’d only really be using it in decent light, so I decided it was worth trying out.

I’ve had it for one year now, its predecessor has come out, but is it worth the money and would it suit you?

This is by far the most convenient camera I have used in a while. It uses the same 1 inch sensor that the rx100 has but has a much bigger zoom. The zoom is intact an awesome attribute, and was one of the reasons I bought it.

With the full frame range of 600mm, I’ve had the chance to grab some truly different compositions that I could never have dreamt of with my old setup……not without lugging around a huge 600mm prime or the sigma 150-600mm beast anyway.

What I like about this camera:

Weight

What I like about this is that it is compact and light. At just over 1 kg, it doesn’t break my back when hiking and doesn’t fill my bag to the point where I have to choose which focal length I am going to take.

Zoom

It has a 35mm equivalent range of 24-600mm (25x) with a max aperture of 2.4-4 through the zoom.  This is just a crazy amount of reach. I’ve always liked landscape shots at the end of a lens. You can be looking at a huge landscape and then pick out things within that landscape.  With my other camera, I’d have to haul around a load of extra glass to get the coverage. If I saw something that only lasted a small amount of time, it would be gone and if not prepared, you might miss it! With this, all it would take is a quick zoom in, and then click…..that is if the focus catches on to the subject…..but we’ll get onto that in a bit!

Manual Mode

Most cameras have manual functions, but some make it difficult to access the three main things that affect your exposure….Shutter-speed, Aperture and ISO. With the rx10iii I make sure I have the shutter on the top back dial, the ISO on the lower back dial and then the aperture is obviously on the aperture ring on the lens. Then when taking photos, you’ll have each setting at your disposal. Also, it has the exposure on the top dedicated dial, so everything is at your fingertips.

RAW

There are a few cameras that I have been tempted by, like the Nikon p900, but have always been put off due to the inability to shoot RAW….I mean, if the camera captures a raw image, why not make it available for us to use? When I saw that the RX10iii shot in RAW, I was definitely intrigued….and after seeing some of the examples on line and having a go with one, I was convinced that it had the ability to cope with the more expensive cameras.

Bracketing

Another feature that is deep within the menu system somewhere, is the ability to bracket your shots. When combined with RAW, this can increase the dynamic range of your camera no end…..you just have to make sure there isn’t too much movement in your shot when bracketing. This does take a bit more knowledge in editing, but it’s well worth it, and when done properly and tastefully, it can get your camera competing with some of the big boys.

What I don’t like about the camera

Focussing system. 

The focussing system is contrast detect, which suffered at the long end of the lens…..if all your looking at is similar colours, it really struggles. I have missed shots with this, but I’ve learned to live with it. What I tend to do is if it isn’t locking on to what I want, I’ll find something at a similar distance with more contrast between colours, and then focus on that. Then I’ll press the focus lock button and then take the shot. It’s bit of a work around but I have learnt to live with it.

The MK iv apparently is a lot better using the phase detection system passed down from the a9 so when I can afford it, I’ll be upgrading.

No way of setting back button focussing. 

You may or may not know what back button focussing is….basically this is where you put the focussing activation on to a button on the back of the camera. This means that the camera becomes a semi auto focus camera and for static subjects you can set the focus and then leave it. It’s worth looking into if you don’t know about this. Anyway, you can’t do this on the rx10iii which is frustrating. Again, I set the focus and then use the focus lock button o the side of the lens.

Vignette

Recently, I’ve noticed that as you zoom in to the extreme end of the lens, you get a weird big, but faint, vignette. You can see it in the zoom in on Anish climbing the dune in the video above, watch the two sides as he gets to the top and I get to the end of the lens. This is ok with photos as you can get rid of it in Lightroom, I don’t zoom that much when videoing but on the odd occasion when I have like this, it has irritated me when this vignette becomes visible.

Sony menu system

The menu system is a pain….there are lots of things in random places and it takes a while to find things, but if you watch my video on how to set up a sony camera, you can get around this.

Small batteries

The batteries are ok, but small and if shooting all day, I go through them so quickly….especially if shooting 4k video.

Lens not removable

This is not a massive issue, but if I wanted to shoot a wide shot…wider than 24mm, I don’t have the ability with this camera…although I can get around it with this technique. It’s something else you learn to live with with this camera.

Conclusion

Overall I really like this camera and I’ll be keeping this one for a while and then probably upgrading to the rx10v when it comes out. And if sony is anything to go by…..won’t be that long.

Most of the problems have been sorted with the mk iv and hopefully with the mk v, they’ll put the new z battery in it!

For me, this is my day to day camera. For a walk about camera and a long reach camera it is great. It is light so doesn’t break my back, I can have it slung over my shoulder all the time and its pretty unassuming, and people don’t think I am a working photographer. When the light gets bad, or I want to shoot astrophotography, long exposures or really wide shots, I switch to my work camera which is the a7rii, but all in all its a great travel camera.

Thanks

Mike

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