Sony's RX10 III is, on paper, the most sophisticated bridge camera yet made, with a 20-million-pixel 1-inch sensor, 24-600mm equivalent f/2.4-4 zoom, and 4K video recording. See our image samples below for a first look at what it can do.

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Sony’s RX10 III is an SLR-shaped bridge camera with an ambitious lens

There’s little doubt Sony’s Cyber-shot RX10 III is one of the most exciting cameras of 2016. It builds on the previous RX10 models with broadly the same design,  but hugely extends the zoom range to 24-600mm equivalent with an impressively fast f/2.4-4 maximum aperture. The 20-million-pixel 1-inch type stacked CMOS sensor offer a standard ISO range of 100-12-800 (64-25,600 extended) and allows high speed continuous shooting at fully 14 frames per second. It’s very pricey, at £1250, and quite large and heavy too (1.05kg including battery and card), but then again on paper it looks very much like the best bridge camera anyone has ever made.

The lens extends substantially to its full zoom position

The lens extends substantially to its full zoom position

In-hand the camera feels really well-made. It has three control rings around the lens to control the aperture, zoom and focus; the latter two have almost identical ridged grips. There’s also a dedicated exposure compensation dial, and an excellent built-in electronic viewfinder that’s both large and detailed.

The rear screen tilts up and down to high- or low-angle shots

The rear screen tilts up and down to high- or low-angle shots

Many of the usual criticisms of Sony’s camera design and interface remain – the screen inexplicably isn’t touch-sensitive, and the default control layout makes it about as difficult as humanly possible to set an off-centre focus point. But with a bit of tweaking of its control setup, the RX10 III can be made much more pleasant to use.

So how about image quality? See the samples below, taken at a wide range of zoom settings and ISO sensitivities. Initial impressions are that the lens acquits itself very well, and the image stabilisation does an impressive job too (although naturally it isn’t a panacea). We’re pretty excited by the potential shown from these initial shots.

See also our initial Sony RX10 III 4K video sample footage on our sister site The Video Mode 

  • Nick Ch.

    I have Nikon D800 with good PRO Lenses lineup – which cost thousands… And I use it for my professional needs.
    But it is very heavy and inconvenient to take it for the casual shooting – like family, hiking, casual travel photos, etc.
    I think DX10-3 has all I need for this. All in one! Great – knowing that I will not get the same quality as with PRO setup. But I don’t really need it for casual shooting. Also most if the casual photos will be viewed on web or small print.
    So – Sony RX10-3 could be a great Second Camera for me for casual shooting. Not too heavy, great zoom range… also 600mm with f/4 – really not too bad ! 🙂

  • Steve Dovey

    I for one have been waiting for just such a camera as this. I describe myself as an “opportunist” photographer. I have a Sony A77 but have hardly used the Tamron 200-500mm lens I bought to go with it for occasional birding. It’s far too clumsy.
    I want the reach to get the occasional bird as I walk out and about with a “universal” camera. I had the rx10ii but sent it back when I heard this one was out and it’s due this week.
    I did compare the rx10 ii with my A77/tammy 200/500 at 200mm and the difference was minimal!
    I also have an rx100iii and have been blown away by the clarity of the photos and video I have taken. The rx10iii should be even better!

  • Tieu Ngao

    I’ll wait for a comparison between this camera and the Nikon DL24-500.
    This Sony has 20% longer reach and faster lens (1 stop at tele end), and the Nikon is considerably lighter, better AF, higher burst rate, and much less expensive.

  • tinplater

    We are in total agreement, I was just taking issue with your comment “who on earth is going to pay that sort of money for something that only has a 1″ sensor?” Incidentally, I too have Canon with a number of L lenses, but have only kept my SL1 body after getting into Sony.

  • entoman

    No argument with you there! The Sony is an extremely versatile camera and seems to have excellent image quality considering it’s small sensor! Putting images from the amazing sensor of the A7Rii alongside those from the RX10iii though, and you’ll notice a huge difference between them, especially if you shoot at high ISO and need to crop.

    I’ve got a Canon 5DS and plenty of L glass, but I wouldn’t like to view the amazing images from that camera on the same day that I viewed images from a 1″ sensor of any brand. But I do tend to shoot at highish ISO 800-3200 (at which the 5DS has excellent image quality but less dynamic range than the A7Rii), something that I wouldn’t risk doing on a 1″ sensor.

    Incidentally, to clarify, I’m NOT trying to start a pointless Sony vs Canon debate, my argument is purely about the benefits of a larger sensor, which you are obviously very aware of, having chosen the A7Rii which probably has the best sensor on any current camera. And… if you are wondering why I use Canon in preference to the A7Rii, it is purely because I prefer the ergonomics and viewfinder of a DSLR.

  • tinplater

    I would and will…when I just need one camera to do almost anything I can imagine. Compliment this camera with my Sony A7RII and 35mm Zeiss prime and I have just about all I need for every occasion in a very portable package.

  • entoman

    Of course sensor size makes no difference at the purely artistic level – you could compose a decent photo on an ancient pin-hole camera or a Box Brownie, but there is more to a photograph that just artistic merit. Anyone who is remotely serious about photography will want high image quality too, especially if their work is intended for publication, as mine is. Sure, the Sony offers convenience and a reasonable cost (considering its limitations), and yes you could use you A6000 when you need higher technical quality and the RX10iii when you needed long reach, but you’ll notice a big drop in image quality when comparing the two side by side. Also, don’t forget that if you are using the lens at 600mm, you’ll need very high shutter speeds, forcing you to shoot at high ISO settings – when the camera’s performance will be at its worst.

  • 24bit

    You answered yourself in your statement, pro’s want this or that and will go find a specialized setup for that need. There are lots of photographers who want a 24mm wide angle, a huge 600mm zoom yet with a relatively small physical size when zoomed, 4K video, mic/audio inputs, good Bokeh and stabilization without a massive zoom lens. This photographer isn’t very good, but Huff’s gallery actually showcased what the camera can do and it looks nice at full 600mm zoom. I use an A6000 with a Zeiss Touit 50mm, I know I’ll never get that quality in the RX10III, but if I want a 600mm zoom (Tamron 150-600 costs $900 by itself), as well as a decent wide angle 24mm (Another $250) then I’ll have to buy the A to E mount adapter (another $250) or go full on Amount body and buy an A7 (another $700). You are looking at well over $2k to acquire the same functions this new RX10III has. You’ll sacrifice photo quality for functionality. But, when you look at good photographers, the RX10 series cameras are more than sufficient for Pro’s with a great eye and who care more about the setup and artistic value of the photo, than the literal sharpness of the photo.

    You seem to be the type who cares more about the literal quality of the image itself. I’m actually more into the setup and artistic value, just how beautiful the shot looks and such and not how sharp the image is. Even the RX10 original and II were just fine in image quality and there are hundreds of galleries on the net shot with them that look excellent. It is up to the Photographer more so than the gear these days, even these newer point and shoots are offering very good image quality. Sensor size has ZERO to do with how good the picture looks overall on an artistic level.

  • entoman

    A very interesting camera but who on Earth is going to pay that sort of money for something that only has a 1″ sensor and is as big and heavy as a DSLR? Despite it’s obvious versatility it won’t come close to an equivalent priced DSLR for image quality. Well done to Sony for innovation and build quality, but surely the target buyers (those stepping up from a point & shoot) would prefer something smaller, lighter and much cheaper, e.g. a Panasonic FZ70 ? More “serious” photographers will always go for an interchangeable lens camera, so they have the option to get F1.8 wide angles, macro lenses, sports telephotos etc.

  • 24bit

    Not a single shot showcasing the Bokeh potential or what the shots look like in no zoom vs full zoom to compare. Jeez…can I ask why the few people who have the camera refuse to show what the camera is capable of? No indoor shot comparisons, no sunny weather shots, no macro attempts at 600mm which Sony says look nice, no depth of field shots? Is there an embargo on this camera and showing off what it can do or something I am not aware of?