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Sony RX10 III camera gives enthusiasts the zoom lens they craved

The new advanced (not-so) compact pairs its 1-inch Exmor RS stacked CMOS sensor with an unparalleled f2.4-4 24-600mm lens.

Josh Miller/CNET
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Sony's RX-series cameras have long been some of our favorite advanced compacts, delivering high quality and good performance in a small size with features that rival or surpass the competition -- with perhaps one exception: the Cyber-shot RX10.

When it first launched in October 2013, the RX10 was the first to pair a big 1-inch image sensor with a 8.3x fixed 24-200mm f2.8 lens -- significantly more zoom than other 1-inch compacts. But then Panasonic's Lumix FZ1000 came along shortly after and basically doubled the room range with its 16x 25-400mm f2.8-4 lens while also packing a 1-inch sensor. And, unfortunately, while Sony's follow-up, the RX10 II, featured some incredible performance features, the lens remained the same.

Now we have the RX10 III, a $1,500 camera (£1,250 and about AU$1,980) arriving in May with all the shooting features of the RX10 II and its 1-inch Exmor RS stacked CMOS sensor, but with an unparalleled 25x f2.4-4 24-600mm lens.

sony-rx10-iii-8938-010.jpg
Josh Miller/CNET

Those features include:

  • High-speed video capture at up to 960 frames per second shooting for super slow-motion video clips
  • 14fps continuous-shooting speeds with fixed exposure
  • 4K-resolution video using the XAVC S 100Mbps codec
  • An electronic shutter that goes up to 1/32,000 second to help with rolling shutter artifacts as well as using that f2.4 lens in bright conditions
  • Shutter design allows for silent shooting
  • Focuses as close as 3 cm (1.2 inches) at the wide end at 72 cm (2.4 feet) at telephoto end

Like its predecessors, Sony made the RX100 III dust- and moisture-resistant and it has a tilting display and high-res OLED viewfinder. The lens now has three control rings for direct control of aperture, zoom and focus and a focus-hold button letting you lock focus and adjust your framing. For video, you'll find a mic input and headphone output and support for picture profiles, S-Log2/S-Gamut, gamma display assist and time code and clean HDMI out. You can check out the full specs on Sony's site.

With the new lens combined with all the high-performance features, this could well be the ultimate all-in-one bridge camera. Judging by the price, Sony agrees.