Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Sony RX100 lll, Ultimate Compact?

When Sony launched its first RX100 back in 2012, the photo communities were in awe. This year's iteration is by far the most impressive yet, it came with a superior lens and a unique pop-up EVF!

There are compact cameras that look "cute" but only able to produce so so pictures, and there are compacts that not only look cute, well built and take quality photos; the little Sony belongs to this.

Thanks to our local Photo Warehouse, I have the opportunity to try out this much talk about Sony compact for four days!
The RX100-3 is a very compact camera, when it is turn off, I can easily put it in my jacket's pocket. When turn on, as you can see from the picture above, the 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 Vario-Sonnar T* zoom lens does make it more bulky but the active compact still sits comfortably on your palm.

Unlike the Lumix GM1 fixed rear LCD screen, the little Sony's is hinged and Panasonic should kick themselves for not offering this same feature!

The rear-hinged LCD can now face all the way forward for selfies!

Despite the small size, the RX100-lll  offers all of the necessary buttons and dials, a dedicated mode dial, a video recording button, a scroll wheel on the back of the lens for changing aperture or shutter speed values; according to the mode you set the camera on.

On the left edge of the camera is a rectangular "FINDER" button, when pressed the concealed EVF will pop up. You will have to slide out the rear of the finder to activate it and exposing the diopter adjustment "key".

When you push back the EVF, the camera turn itself off, who thought up this "convenience"?

To me, this feature is not making sense; after I decided I want to hide the EVF to save power but I still want the LCD on, by pushing back the finder the camera turn off and I have to manually on it again if I want to continue my photography, with LCD only!

Come on Sony, I rather am able to push back the finder and if I wanted to, just turn off the camera with the on/off button!

The Sony RX100-lll EVF is sharp and a real pleasure to use, I reckoned the SVGA OLED electronic viewfinder (with 1.44M dots) is the best among all the compacts.

The quick change menu after you press the "Fn" button, there is no touch screen here; which may be a disappointment to some, but I can live with.

The tiny pop-up flash now occupy where the hot-shoe was, on the previous model. Some will miss the shoe, not me ;)

The tiny battery (AA as comparison) powering the compact, I would have a spare if I am out shooting all day. You will be lucky to get 250 shots (RAW and JPEG), less if you use the EVF often.

Quality of the captured images...

It just happened that we were taking a short break in Auckland the day after I got the RX100-lll from Photo Warehouse for testing, the shot above was taken at the Wellington Airport at ISO 800, f2.8 and 24mm (eqv).

Minutes after our flight taken off for Auckland, shot through the window; ISO800 f4 1/640, 24mm (eqv).

Our dinner at Mai Thai Restaurant, beautiful Thai setting and delicious authentic Thai food; the baby Sony captures all well.

After our scrumptious Thai feast, we walked back to our car which was parked inside the Sky City, the Sky Tower was submerged in low cloud. I shot upwards at 24mm f4.5 1/13 secs and ISO 800.

The next day, a crop from a shot of Auckland City from our speeding car on the Auckland Harbour Bridge. f5.6, 1/1,250 secs at 70mm (eqv).

We had a whirlwind visit of the largest Buddist Temple in New Zealand, the Fo Guang Shan Temple.

It was at the Auckland Fo Guang Shan Temple courtyard that I caught sight of the cutest little girl that I wanted to capture a portrait of. After getting permission from her mother (a Malaysian :) ) I started trying to capture her with the RX100-lll I was testing.

The focussing speed of the little camera was pretty fast, not the fastest in the world but fast enough to capture the little cutie pie boobing around.

And when I review and enlarge one of her shot, zooming to her eye; I was FLOORED by how incredibly sharp the "Zeiss" branded zoom lens on this small wonder is!!

A 200% blow-up of the little girl's right eye, was that sharp enough  for you? For a little compact, apa you lagi mahu? (what else do you want?)

I have the chance of trying out the available light ability of this small wonder. We were at the night market, held every Sunday night at the car park of the Westfield Glenfield Shopping in Glenfield, Auckland.

All the shots were taken at f2.8, the crowd picture was with the RX100 raised above head and composed with the tilted LCD, Lumix GM1 lost out in this ;)

Homeward bound... our night flight approaching Wellington Airport. Shooting through the not so clean window at near darkness, yes; that was the moon..

Grainy? Of course, at ISO1,600 f1.8 24mm and 1/125 secs! With a lesser camera, you are lucky to get anything at all!

Today... just before I return the little Sony wonder to Photo Warehouse, one for the road... a shot at my favorite Wellington vista lens test site!

And as I expected... when I blow the shot to 100%...

Wow! What a lens!

Famous Last Words...

At NZD 1,195.00 the Sony DSC-RX100 Mklll is on the high price scale of compact camera, I personally think the built quality and it's amazing zoom lens are worth paying for.

*** Many thanks to Photo Warehouse for the test camera.

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