Sony Cyber-shot DSC RX100 III sensor review: Better by design?

By Kevin Carter - Thursday June 19 2014

Camera Review
Introduction | Sony Cyber-shot DSC RX100 III: Excellent color depth | Sony Cyber-shot DSC RX100 III versus Nikon Coolpix P7800 versus Canon PowerShot G16: Maintains competitive edge | Sony Cyber-shot DSC RX100 III versus Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II versus Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100: Parallel performance | Conclusion
Sony Cyber-shot DSC RX100 III sensor review: Better by design?

Given the physically small size and high pixel density we were mightily impressed by the 1-inch type sensor in the original RX100 and the follow up, the RX100 II. So how does the new RX100 III compare?  Read on to find out. 

Sony’s original Cyber-shot DSC RX100 model was notable for combining a physically large 1-inch type CMOS sensor and relatively high-speed stabilized 28-100mm f1.8-4.9 Zeiss zoom in a small and compact body not much different from rivals using the much smaller 1/1.7-inch type sensors.

The result was a highly desirable and capable camera that could be taken just about anywhere. A year later Sony announced a revised model with adopting a rear illuminated (BSI) type CMOS sensor, albeit with the same pixel count.

That model, the RX100 II also incorporated several compelling new features including a multi-function hotshoe (and compatibility with an optional EVF), tiltable rear LCD and WiFi.

This year’s update includes a built-in 1.44M-dot EVF with a novel pop-up operation, built-in flash, 180-degree flip-up LCD and full-sensor read out during video capture – a first for the RX 100 series thanks to the Bionz X level processor. It also has support for the XAVC S HD video recording format, adding 100 fps slow-motion (albeit at 720p) and high bit rate (50 Mbps) options, plus ‘clean’ output via HDMI using an optional recorder - features more usually associated with high-end models. However, perhaps the most significant revision is the adoption of a new lens design. It’s still a Zeiss optic but with a narrower range equivalent to 24-70mm but with a faster variable maximum aperture of f1.8-2.8. The RX100 III is available now at $798.

For more information, please see our preview of the Sony RX100 III

Key specifications

  • 20.1-Mpix Exmor-R 1-inch type BSI CMOS sensor
  • Bionz X level processor
  • ISO 125-12,800 (ISO 80 / 100 – 12,800 expanded)
  • Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 24-70mm equiv. f/1.8-2.8 lens
  • 0.39-inch 1.44M dot OLED pop-up viewfinder
  • Pull-out tilt 1.23m dot WhiteMagic LCD screen
  • ISO 100 – 12,800
  • 1080/60p movies with XAVC S format high bit-rate (50Mbps) option
  • 10 fps maximum continuous shooting, 2.9 fps with AF
  • Customizable lens control ring
  • Focus peaking and Zebra pattern
  • Built-in Wi-Fi with NFC

Sony Cyber-shot DSC RX100 III: Excellent color depth

Sony Cyber-shot DSC RX100 III versus Nikon Coolpix P7800 versus Canon PowerShot G16: Maintains competitive edge

Sony Cyber-shot DSC RX100 III versus Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II versus Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100: Parallel performance

Conclusion