Sony has revealed the third camera in its Cyber-shot RX10 series, appropriately named the RX10 III. Designed to be an all-rounder, the stand out features include a super-teleporto zoom lens and a stacked CMOS sensor — which make the RX10 III suitable for a wide range of skill levels. Here is a closer look at what this camera can do.
The 25x super-telephoto zoom lens has a focal range of 24-600mm, meaning high-quality content at a variety of focal lengths and camera settings that would require three or more large, heavy and expensive lenses for an interchangeable lens camera user. Sony says "it's an outstanding choice for shooting anything from landscapes to distant wildlife and everything in between".
The 1.0 type stacked 20.1MP Exmor RS CMOS sensor works together with the BIONZ X image processor to ensure image quality is top notch throughout the entire zoom range of the 24-600mm lens. It also means the ability to utilise professional-calibre features such as 40x super slow motion video capture at up to 960fps, high resolution 4K movie shooting and an ultra-fast Anti-Distortion Shutter with a maximum speed of 1/32000 second.
"The convenience of an ultra-telephoto lens paired with our innovative stacked CMOS image sensor design has enabled us to create a whole new image experience unlike anything else available today," said Vivek Handoo, Head of Digital Imaging at Sony ANZ. "The new RX10 III offers a true 'all-in-one' package that has broad appeal to amateur, hobbyist and professional photographers and videographers alike."
The 24-600mm ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T lens features a maximum aperture of F2.4-4.0. "This differentiates it from many other high-zoom lenses that often struggle with light-gathering at longer focal lengths," Sony says.
The aperture unit itself has nine blades that are designed to create a near perfect circle in the F2.4-11 range, enabling shooters to create content with "beautiful bokeh", where the subject stands out against a softly defocused background.
In total, the extended zoom lens features eight ED glass elements including one super ED glass element, five ED glass elements and two ED aspherical lenses, which aim to minimise chromatic aberration giving high contrast and quality images. It also has ZEISS T Coating for minimising flare and ghosting and delivering accurate, faithful colour reproduction.
The new lens has built-in Optical SteadyShot image stabilisation that helps to reduce camera shake and image blur, in particular when shooting at longer focal lengths. "When active," Sony says, "the OSS is equivalent to shooting at a shutter speed approximately 4.5 stops faster than the current setting of the camera".
A minimum focusing distance of 72cm and 0.49x maximum magnification at a fully extended 600mm means the ability to produce tele-macro images.
The camera boasts a wide sensitivity range of ISO 64-ISO 12,800, producing images with exceptionally low noise, even at higher sensitivity settings.
Shutter speeds reach 1/32000 second, and the electronic shutter aims to minimise image distortion at faster shutter speeds. You can also shoot silently at all settings and speeds.
The 24-600mm lens means you can shoot 4K video from "extreme" distances. In 4K video mode, the RX10 III utilises full pixel readout without pixel binning, capturing approximately 1.7x more information than is required for 4K movie output to enhance image detail. This is because of the XAVC S codec, which records video at a high data rate — up to 100Mbps during 4K recording, and up to 50Mbps during full HD recording.
Other features include Picture Profile, S-Log2/S-Gamut, Gamma Display Assist, Time Code, an input for an external microphone and output for headphone monitoring.
When filming, HFR (high frame rate) setting offers the option to choose among 960fps, 480fps and 240fps frame rates and among 60p, 30p and 24p playback formats, with the option to use the movie record button as a 'start trigger' to begin recording once button is pressed or 'end trigger' to record footage up until the button is pressed.
The auto-focus system features spatial object detection, allowing the camera to detect and predict motion of a subject before the shutter button is pressed. "This helps the camera achieve an incredibly fast and efficient AF response when the shutter is halfway pressed," says Sony, "enabling it to lock on to a subject in as little as 0.09 seconds. This is yet another compelling technology, especially when paired with a versatile, highly capable 25x zoom lens with a range up to 600mm."
Aesthetically, the new RX10 III features a number of upgrades compared to existing RX10 models including triple lens rings for focus, zoom and aperture for direct, precise control. The hand grip shape has also been optimised for the new high-magnification, large-aperture lens to enhance stability when holding the camera at eye level. There is a new focus hold button on the lens barrel as well, allowing the focus to be easily locked on a subject while the shooter reframes the image.
The new model features a high-contrast XGA OLED Tru-Finder with approximately 2.35 million dots of resolution. The camera is also dust and moisture resistant and both Wi-Fi and NFC compatible, with the ability to access Sony's PlayMemories Camera Applications. A LCJ-RXJ jacket case will also be available for the new camera.
Sony says Australian pricing and availability of the new Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III extended zoom camera will be announced in the coming days.