CNET First Look
Sony packs more into its latest enthusiast compactThe Cyber-shot RX100 III improves on its predecessor, but it's still a little quirky.
[MUSIC] Further complicating your buying decision for advance compact, Sony adds a third entry in it's excellent Consumer RX series. The Cyber-shot RX100 III has a lot going for it, including great video and photo quality. A cleverly designed retractable electronic viewfinder and a much faster lens, plus generally excellent performance., And it's all still wrapped in the same slippery, but small body with a higher price tag. I'm Lori Grunen and this is the Sony Cybershot RX103. Where the RX102 give it a hot shoot, the RX103 take it away. In exchange get this nifty and nice EVF which retracts back into the body. It's small, but it's bright and quite useable. Unfortunately when you push the EVF back in, it turns off the power which is insanely frustrating, because to have to push it in to shoot close to your body without blanking out the LCD. And speaking of the LCD, you can now flip it up for selfies as you can with Sony's other mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. That's a nice implementation. Sony hasn't changed the fundamental design of the camera, so my big complaint about the lack of a grip stands. Combined with a the slippery metal body, I'm constantly in fear of dropping it. As with other cameras that have one, I like the control ring which you can program to operate for one default setting. Now, it includes step zoom. Plus there are plenty of other customization options including another extra button. You can also tilt the flash back for a better result. Overall the photos look as good, and occasionally better, than the RX102. It uses the same one inch 20 megapixel BSI sensor. Though it upgrades to the newer [UNKNOWN] x image processing engine. Which delivers slightly better results. You can safely shoot JPEGs up to about ISO 1600. ISO 3200, if you're not real picky. It's got a decent tonal range, but like it's sibling it clips highlights. The color reproduction seems a little better though and it now has a neutral color pre set option. The video is excellent thanks to the addition of a higher bit rate, XAVCs mode. It's bright, saturated and reasonably sharp. With no notable artifacts in bright light. And relatively noise free in dim. With the exception of startup time, the camera performs quite well. Though I still find the auto focus system a bit too inconsistent. That makes it not really effective to, for shooting action. Despite its ability to maintain a 3.3 frame per second burst rate. And the battery life is miserable. Carry a spare. Overall, the M3's a great camera. But it's a little more nichey than the M2. And lots of folks are fine without an EBF, and the M2 has better battery life and a longer zoom life. If the lens EBF or better video are important to you though, this is the camera to beat. I'm Laurie Grunan, and this is the Sony Cyber Shot RX100 III. [MUSIC]