Its predecessor won Enthusiast Compact Camera of the Year at the AP Awards 2014, but the new Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III adds an EVF and a new 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 lens. Richard Sibley finds out if the best just got better
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III review – Build and handling
Apart from the LCD screen now rotating almost 180° and the repositioning of the flash to accommodate the new pop-up EVF, nothing has changed in the layout of the RX100 III from its predecessor. The new lens adds a millimetre or two to the depth of the camera, but otherwise the cameras are almost identical in their dimensions. This is good news for those with an RX100, as the cases from the previous generation will still fit the RX100 III.
Although the buttons on the RX100 III are in the same positions as on previous models, some of them have new functions to take advantage of the new camera’s features. The Function (Fn) button now offers direct connection to the Wi-Fi transfer function when in Playback mode, and the ‘?’ help button is now a custom button, which makes much more sense given the more advanced audience for this camera.
Just above the NFC spot sits the catch to release the pop-up EVF, which then easily slides out horizontally to sit flush with the rear of the camera.
Overall, the RX100 III handles very well. It is easy to change the exposure settings via the rear control dial, and a quick press of the Fn button by default reveals an on-screen menu for the most common shooting, image and exposure settings. Also, the addition of a second control ring around the lens barrel gives the camera the sort of dual control that we are more accustomed to seeing on a DSLR or CSC. The lens dial can be used to change exposure settings, or it can be set to control the zoom or manual focus of the lens. It is a nice touch that once again will strike a chord with photographers wanting a more manual experience that is akin to using a film camera.
The menu system is relatively straightforward, although it annoys me that the creative style mode is tucked away on the third page of the shooting menu, while ‘control with smartphone’ sits largely unused on the first page, but I can’t complain about the number of different options that are available. While it isn’t quite as quick to adjust settings as it is on a larger compact camera where a larger body can accommodate more buttons and dials, the RX100 III will fit in a trouser pocket – something that not many of its competitors can actually boast.