A premium compact that apes both DSLRs and smartphones, you say? Don’t mind if we do. The Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III is a premium, pocket-sized camera with superb low-light performance, thanks in part to a fast aperture of f/1.8 at the wide-angle end of its lens reach, and a pretty respectable f/2.8 achievable at maximum zoom.
Such a bright aperture enables us to shoot close ups – here, as near as 30cm away from the subject – and also to achieve attractively soft bokeh effects, with our subject staying sharp but the background progressively blurring.
Read more: Sony RX100 III vs RX100 IV vs RX100 V
OK, so the RX100 III’s actual lens reach may be modest, stretching from 24-70mm in 35mm film camera terms, and offering the equivalent of a 2.9x optical zoom, but this camera is all about precision engineering the best compromise between compactness and picture quality.
Resolution here is 20.1MP, which is standard for Sony across its compact camera range. Image processing is taken care of by a BIONZ X X processor – the same one as found in its DSLRs and SLT (Single Lens Translucent) cameras.
Familiar controls include a multi directional dial/scroll wheel at the back and bottle top-type shooting mode dial at the top. Plus, there’s a pop up OLED electronic viewfinder, which will please any enthusiast who likes to shoot with the camera held up to an eye.
Picture wise, even on dull days we’re pleased to report that the RX100 Mark III holds its own, shoehorning in bags of detail to every frame while that bright maximum aperture does the job of selectively blurring the background and bringing detail to the fore for a 3D-like effect. Furthermore, it's great to find that common issues such as fringing affecting images where bright skies contrast with dark foreground aren’t problematic here.
To conclude, anyone picking this up as a more pocket-friendly, occasional alternative to the DSLR or CSC they already own will feel well served.
Sony RX100 III Key Specs
Not the newest RX100 model, but great value if you don't need 4K or super-fast burst rates
Type: Compact | Sensor: 1in type | Megapixels: 20.1MP | Lens: 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 | Screen: 3in tilting screen, 1.228million dots | Viewfinder: EVF | Max burst speed: 5fps | Max video resolution: Full HD (1080p) | User level: Enthusiast