Sony reveals RX10 III bridge camera with 25x zoom (update)

March 29, 2016

RX10 III_flash

Boasting a 25x zoom, the Sony RX10 III features a 20.1-million-pixel, 1.0-type imaging sensor and 4K recording. It also includes 1,000 frames per second slow-motion recording at ‘ultra-telephoto’ and a claimed AF speed of 0.09sec. The Vario-Sonnar T* lens features a nine-blade diaphragm. The Sony RX10 III is due out in April, priced £1,250. AP understands, from a Sony press conference this afternoon, that the 24-600mm lens borrows much of its technology from Sony’s other recent lenses. Mark Weir, senior technical manager for digital imaging at Sony USA, suggested that the lens is just as responsive as the lens on the RX10 II. Features also include macro focusing down to 3cm in wide mode. The anti-distortion shutter is designed to shoot at up to 1/32000sec – with no distortion – which should be useful for sports and wildlife. The electronic shutter aims to enable silent shooting, while the lens rings allow adjustment of focus, zoom and aperture. The focus-hold button – which also works as a function button – is now located on the lens barrel.


RX10 III_right_shiftPress release

Sony launches RX10 III with newly developed extended super-telephoto zoom lens covering a huge 24-600mm. [i]

▪ Featuring newly developed ZEISS® Vario-Sonnar T* 24-600mmF2.4-4 large-aperture high-magnification zoom lens
▪ High-fidelity capture of image detail and fast readout with 20.1MP [ii] 1.0-type stacked CMOS sensor with DRAM chip and BIONZ X processor
▪ 4K recording [iii] with full pixel readout and no pixel binning and extensive video functions including S-Gamut/S-Log2 for compatibility with professional movie editing workflow
▪ Ultra telephoto super slow motion recording at up to 1000fps [iv]
▪ Fast Intelligent AF achieves 0.09-second [v] fast autofocus to capture decisive moments

Sony today introduced the latest addition to the award-winning line of RX Cyber-shot cameras, the new RX10 III (DSC-RX10M3). Featuring a newly developed extended 25x super-telephoto zoom lens with an incredible focal range of 24-600mm and silent shutter capability, it is designed for demanding photographers and videographers who want to shoot fast moving, far away subjects such as sports events, concerts or wild animals. It is able to reproduce high-quality content at a variety of focal lengths and camera settings that would require more than three, large lenses for an interchangeable-lens camera user.

The combination of the 20.1MP 1.0-type stacked sensor, bright zoom lens and BIONZ X processor ensures the highest image quality throughout the whole focal range, whether shooting stills or video at up to 4K quality. Furthermore, by pairing the convenience of an ultra-telephoto lens with an innovative stacked CMOS image sensor, the RX10 III delivers new imaging experiences such as super slow motion video capture at up to 1000 fps all the way up close at ultra-telephoto range. It benefits from an extremely accurate AF that focuses in just 0.09v seconds and all of this is packaged in a premium body that combines practicality and rugged good looks.

Lens advantages
The jewel in the crown of the RX10 III is the newly developed ZEISS® Vario-Sonnar T* lens. Covering a huge 24-600mm (25x Optical magnification) [vi] focal range, the RX10 III is ideal in a range of different shooting conditions, from wide angle scenery shots to ultra-telephoto images of sports events or wild birds, all in one compact package. The large-aperture lens (F2.4-4.0) maximises the ability of the 1.0-type large sensor to achieve high image quality and beautiful bokeh, even in the ultra-telephoto region.

Newly designed optics include eight ED glass elements including one super ED glass element, and two ED aspherical lenses [vii]. All of these elements work together to compensate for chromatic aberration that often afflicts telephoto lenses and results in high-contrast and ultra-sharp image quality from corner to corner across the entire zoom range. The newly developed optical design contains the sophisticated advanced aspherical (AA) lens and delivers excellent imaging performance while keeping the lens unit itself small. Additionally, with a minimum focusing distance of 72cm at a fully extended 600mm (0.49x maximum magnification), the new lens is capable of producing amazingly detailed tele-macro images. The ZEISS® T* Coating minimises flare and ghosting that often affects image quality in adverse lighting conditions and delivers faithful colour reproduction and clear image expression.

The aperture unit has nine blades that are designed to create a near-perfect circle in the F2.4 to F11 aperture range which enables soft, beautiful bokeh expression. The Optical SteadyShotTM algorithm has been optimised for the lens design of the RX10 III and delivers up to 4.5 stops [viii] image stabilisation for outstanding protection against camera shake, even when shooting from the hand in ultra-telephoto or low-light conditions.

Premium Speed and Response Times
The RX10 III features a 1.0-type stacked CMOS sensor with DRAM chip which is back-illuminated to allow it to collect light more efficiently. Combined with the BIONZ X image processing engine, the RX10 III achieves a wide sensitivity range of ISO 64 [ix]-ISO 12800, with low noise, even at high sensitivity settings. It employs a stacked structure that places the high-speed signal processing circuit on a different layer from the pixel area, significantly expanding the signal processing circuit and achieving astonishing high-speed processing. The DRAM chip at the rear of the sensor temporarily stores and allows readout of large volumes of signal data which can be processed without delay, enabling super slow motion recording at up to 1000fps.iii This is especially beneficial when capturing dynamic footage from a long distance, such as stadium based sports events where close access to the subjects is impossible but impactful, high quality footage is required. The accelerated readout of data from the image sensor also delivers a major reduction in image distortion of fast-moving subjects such as tennis players or animals on the move.

With shutter speeds as fast as 1/32000 second, the electronic shutter performs comparably to mechanical shutters that don’t distort images. Moreover, the electronic shutter can operate silently, so you can shoot recitals, wildlife and other sensitive subjects without disrupting the scene. Continuous shooting is possible at up to 14fps [x] which enables the photographer to capture moments of fleeting beauty or facial expressions. In addition, the RX10 III offers accurate tracking during continuous shooting with AF at up to 5fps.

The combination of the premium performance characteristics of the RX10 III and its extended zoom capabilities open up a whole new world of imaging experiences.

High Quality 4Kiii Movie Recording
The RX10 III records video in 4K [xi] quality at a high bit rate[xii] in the highly efficient XAVC S format with full pixel readout and no pixel binning. This means that it captures approximately 1.7x more information than is required for 4K movie output and this oversampling effect enhances image detail as it minimises moiré and jaggies. The newly developed lens means that the camera can shoot high-quality 4K movies between 24-600mm, enabling huge flexibility in the types of shooting situations that can be captured.
Furthermore, the inclusion of a high-speed front-end LSI assists the BIONZ X high-speed image processing engine in significantly reducing the rolling shutter phenomenon that can often distort how fast-moving subjects appear in 4K movies.
To enable compatibility with a professional video workflow, the RX10 III supports a variety of movie functions that are typically found on professional video cameras. The functions include Picture Profile, S-Gamut/S-Log2, Gamma Display Assist, enhanced Zebra function, clean HDMI output, TC/UB, REC Control, Dual REC, and Marker function.

High speed autofocus
The RX10 III features the Fast Intelligent AF system that has attracted praise amongst RX10 II and RX100 IV users, with the spatial object detection algorithm fully optimised for the RX10 III. This allows the camera to predict the point of focus by detecting the subject even before the shutter button is pressed halfway. Once the shutter button is pressed halfway down, the camera focuses on the subject without delay, delivering a very smooth AF performance in just 0.09 seconds. iv

New innovations
The RX10 III features a number of other upgrades compared to the current RX10 models. These include triple lens rings for focus, zoom and aperture, each operable on the side of the lens for smooth operation. The handgrip shape has been optimised for the new high-magnification large-aperture lens, particularly to enhance grip security when holding the camera at eye level. A new Focus Hold button on the lens barrel allows the focus distance to be locked when it pressed and can also be assigned as a custom function button. A new soft carrying case, LCJ-RXJ, will also be available for the new camera.

Full technical details of the RX10 III can be seen here and it will be available in the UK from April priced at £1,250.

A variety of exclusive stories and exciting new content shot with the new RX10 III will be posted directly at the global Sony Photo Gallery and the Sony Camera Channel on YouTube.

[i] 35mm equivalent
[ii] Approximate effective megapixels
[iii] A class 10 or higher SDHC/SDXC memory card is required for movie recording in XAVC S format. UHS-I (U3) SDHC/SDXC card is required for 100Mbps recording
[iv] In PAL mode. 960fps in NTSC mode. NTSC and PAL are switchable in the menu system
[v] CIPA standard, internal measurement, at 24mm (Wide) (35mm equivalent), EV8.2, Program Auto, AF area: Centre, with NTSC mode
[vi] 35mm equivalent
[vii] 11 surfaces, including one AA lens
[viii] CIPA-standard, pitch/yaw directions, at 600mm(35mm equivalent)
[ix] When expanded. For still shooting only
[x] In Speed-priority Continuous shooting mode. Exposure and focus fixed in first frame
[xi] QFHD: 3840 x 2160
[xii] Up to 100Mbps

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