Sony announces RX10 Mark III

by | Mar 29, 2016 | News, Products

Today, Sony announced a significant update to its 1″-type sensor, superzoom camera line with the RX10 Mark III. The Mark III pivots from the Mark I and II versions of the camera with an entirely new lens, serving up 24-600mm of full-frame equivalent zoom power. The camera also incorporates the latest stacked sensor design first introduced with the RX100 Mark IV.

The new lens is the key selling point of the camera, and if it sounds familiar, that’s because it’s virtually the same focal length as the lens on the Panasonic FZ1000. And like on that camera, the extra reach causes a loss in maximum aperture as you zoom toward the telephoto end. Interestingly, though, Sony managed to squeeze a slightly wider, f/2.4 aperture into the lens at the wide end vs. f/2.8 on previous generations of the RX10. It still hits f/4 at the telephoto end, like the Panasonic, but that’s certainly not bad for that kind of reach. The lens is also made up of 8 ED elements and 1 Super ED element that promise to deliver sharp images without chromatic aberration al all focal lengths.

 

The new sensor shouldn’t have a huge effect on image quality, but we won’t complain about that: Sony’s 1″ sensors have always delivered beautiful images. What it does deliver, combined with the BIONZ X processor, is speed. A lot of speed. In continuous shooting, the camera can fire away at 14fps at full 20MP resolution. On the video side, the Mark III records 4K resolution at 100Mbps with full pixel readout, so we expect footage to be incredibly sharp. The camera can also capture high frame rate video up to 960fps, although 240fps is the limit if you want to stick close to Full HD.

Then there was this key bit of information that jumped out to us: a new Anti-Distortion electronic shutter can achieve shutter speeds as fast as 1/32,000, while supposedly “suppressing” the effects of rolling shutter. No word yet on how effective this is, and it doesn’t seem like it works in video mode, but this could be a huge improvement for sports and action photographers.

Sony is marketing the RX10 III as an all-in-one solution, the take-anywhere, do-anything übercamera. We won’t know for sure until we get our hands on one, but based on the specs, it looks like Sony might be right.

The RX10 III will sell for $1499, $200 above the Mark II, which will remain available concurrently. We’ll have more information soon on preorders and availability.

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