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Gear Reviews

Sony RX100 M3 Review – Is This My Perfect Point & Shoot Camera?

By Tanya Goodall Smith on September 12th 2014

Greetings from Click Away 2014, a photography conference exclusively for women! I’m soaking up a ton of inspiration, ideas and training for the coming year, not to mention checking out some cool new products. If you want to follow along and see what I’m up to, grab my Instagram and Twitter links in this post: HEY MOMS! CONNECT WITH ME AND FOLLOW ALONG AT CLICK AWAY 2014…

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So my review of the Sony RX100 M3 point-and-shoot camera is a little overdue and I don’t want to leave you hanging any longer. If you didn’t get a chance to read my initial thoughts on this feature packed little dynamo, check it out here: SONY RX100M3 UNBOXING AND INITIAL THOUGHTS: MY QUEST FOR THE PERFECT POINT-AND-SHOOT

I had high hopes that this camera would end my quest for the perfect point-and-shoot. Word on the street (or rather the social media super highway) had me chomping at the bit to try it. I’m really glad I got a chance to try it out, I just wish I had a little more time to get to know it more intimately before writing this review. There were just sooooooo many features on this camera, I feel like I didn’t even scratch the surface of what it can do. Here are my thoughts about my limited experience.

03-performance-4-stars

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One of my favorites about this camera is the EVF (electronic view finder). It’s pretty sweet! Shooting in bright sunlight, as I was here with my kids one afternoon, I was able to see clearly to compose and properly expose my shots. With just an LCD viewfinder (on the back of the camera) only, I wouldn’t be able to do that very well. Plus, I just prefer to photograph with a viewfinder. This one is pretty innovative because it pops back in to the camera body, making it nice and compact for storing in my handbag.

I didn’t get a chance to test the performance of the video function extensively, but I did give it a try and it works well. One thing I noticed when playing my little 2 minute home video back, was that even though I was hand holding the camera, there was very minimal camera shake while filming and the audio was outstanding for a point-and-shoot.

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Shooting indoors. ISO 400, f/2, 1/60 hand held.

I was a little confused about the file formats available in the menu settings on this camera, so I mistakenly ended up shooting all of these in a compressed format. I didn’t figure that out until after I sent the camera back. The image quality of the compressed images was so-so and not as easily editable as a RAW format would be. It did perform well while shooting indoors with natural light coming in the windows during the day. Bumping the ISO up and using overhead lighting at night did not yield great results.

Being able to shoot in full manual mode was great. I love having that control, even in a point-and-shoot. Adjusting the exposure on this camera wasn’t as intuitive as on others. I kept forgetting how to change the ISO and had to look it up a couple times. I’m sure with practice that wouldn’t be an issue, but I prefer to not even have to think about it.

08-features-4-stars
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Aside from the features I already mentioned above, I think the super fast lens is something to talk about. I liked that I could zoom in and out, too, which is helpful when photographing kids and convenient for carting around with me without added bulk or weight.
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The rotating LCD screen seemed a little frivolous at first, but when I realized it would come in handy for shooting from above so I could more accurately document my superior culinary skills, (a la peanut butter sandwiches) by posting them on Instagram, or for making “selfie” videos, I came around. This is a pretty handy feature.

Another feature I was really excited to try, was the built in wi-fi. Basically, the camera sends out a wi-fi signal which then allows you to send your images to a phone or computer. I had to read the manual to figure out how to do this, and enlist the help of my techie husband (it really wasn’t that difficult, I’m just a little “new technology” phobic). Once we had it set up, it was fairly easy, though a little slow and one extra step I don’t think I want to take. I think I’ll stick to my phone camera for quick social media posting.

12-design-3-stars
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Given innovative design features like the pop out view finder and nifty LCD screen, I would normally give this 5 stars, however, I do not feel this camera is very ergonomically designed. Not only is it lacking any kind of grip, the dials to change the exposure are too small and in order to change the ISO, you have to scroll through a bunch of menu functions. Making adjustments to settings just did not feel intuitive to me at all. Maybe this is because I’m not used to Sony products or because I have unusually plump fingers, I don’t know…

I do like the retracting lens, viewfinder and LCD screen plus the size of the camera is perfect. It fits right in my pocket or my purse.

18-quality-4-stars
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There’s no question this camera is made well. It’s sturdy and has a nice weight to it. I do question the durability of all the little moving parts. I certainly wouldn’t want to see what happens if I were to drop this thing while the viewfinder or LCD screen were extended. Of course, I wouldn’t plan on dropping it at all, but you know, things happen. Compared to other point-and-shoot cameras I have used, this one seems to be of above average to top notch quality.

22-value-3-stars

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Image post processed with the SLR Lounge Lightroom Preset System.

I’m giving this a three for value, simply because I think it’s much too expensive for a point-and-shoot. I don’t see the average (or even the ultra enthusiast) photographer spending almost $800 on a secondary camera for outings to the park, which is what it would be for me. If someone is considering this as their primary camera, I just don’t think it produces the image quality one could get with a DSLR at the same price point. For those who have a little more wiggle room with their finances, the extra features on this camera might be worth it.

31-overall-score-3.5-stars
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The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III Digital Camera is so very close to being my perfect point-and-shoot match. I’m not sure if such a camera exists, but I’m still holding out hope. This one is an ideal size and has some very nice features (like a view finder! Yay!) but the lack of intuitive function buttons and ergonomic feel, plus high price point are turning me off.

So, which P&S should I review next? Any suggestions?

Tanya Goodall Smith is the owner, brand strategist and commercial photographer at WorkStory Corporate Photography in Spokane, Washington. WorkStory creates visual communications that make your brand irresistible to your target market. Join the stock photo rebellion at workstoryphotography.com.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Austin Swenson

    I find myself troubled about what you are trying to say here… It’s kind of like you were comparing a Floyd Mayweather to the Evander Holyfield of cameras, but then again, what are you supposed to be able to compare it to? (I don’t know)

    I think software might be the thing that actually makes the difference in image quality with these cameras one day, but there are always trade-offs to the ergonomic-large sensor-nice featured DSLR type when you go into a form factor this small. And then there is that killer high price… WOWSA!!!

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  2. Chuck Eggen

    There are so many new compact cameras out there now you have to wonder how much of a market there is. We talk about saturation of the DSLR market with constant upgrades but it pales in comparison to the compact market. I know it must be huge.

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