With the introduction of the new Sony RX10 III a month ago today, Sony surprised us all with yet another upgrade to their successful 1” sensor size, built-in zoom lens camera line. It is alway fascinating to see how a particular camera model evolves over time and the RX10 is no exception. When I first tested the original Sony RX10, I was impressed by the HD video quality and relative ease of use. In many ways, it felt like a potential “dream come true” camera for the many video journalists out there. Then came version II. In a way, I didn’t like working with it as much as with the original model, so I decided to give priority and review the Sony RX100 IV first, which was announced at the same time. Now that the Sony RX10 III is here, I took it for a short spin and was instantly reminded why I didn’t find the second generation so easy to work with. Let me start by saying that to my opinion, this is a less friendlier camera to work with for the occasional video journalist. The extended zoom range (600mm, 35mm equivalent) is surely a nice addition for photographers and could have been a very helpful feature for videographers. Unfortunately, the flip side to adding a powerful zoom lens is the lack of the previously implemented ND filter, as well as the loss of constant f2.8 aperture which was so nice to have in the previous models. In addition, although you can now control focus and zoom with two separate lens rings, the overall feeling when dealing with the lens is less than ideal. It is tiring to deal with endless ring twists in order to achieve a perfect focus point or a certain focal length. The combination of such a lens with a a viewfinder which I find less then attractive to work with, is a recipe for a disaster when working in manual focus mode with this camera. I cannot count the number of times I simply gave up using the manual focus and simply switched to automatic in order to be sure I was in focus. While the video resolution was upgraded from the original model, the EVF did not catch up. The lens did not give me a sharp corner to corner view and while moving my head just a bit, it looked as if I was already out of focus. Furthermore, that stiff plastic eye cup should simply be replaced in the next model. There is no way to shoot video with confidence in strong outdoor light, as light enters the viewfinder from all directions. If I can compare it to the a7xx models, Sony should adopt the same EVF structure where one can simply remove the provided eye piece to replace it with a better fit. On a separate note, and like with the previous model, 250 frames for second in almost HD quality is a very nice thing to have. Although I wish Sony would allow adjusting the focal length or focusing AFTER entering the HFR standby mode. For now it feels rather limiting. On the positive side, Sony added a new REC trigger button on the left hand side of the lens, making it even easier to start recording faster when needed. You can also choose which ring controls zoom and which one controls focus. Sony also gave us a little extra when it comes to zooming and implemented their “Clear Image Zoom” technology with this camera. Last but not least, they included a “zoom assist” function where you can now re-frame your shoot within the general frame (middle only) and the lens will travel to that chosen focal length. Not sure yet how beneficial it is for my filming workflow but if anybody finds it helpful, then Sony did their job well. Sony RX10 III Pros: (in no particular order) 4K (UHD) video quality (XAVC S codec) Worldwide camera settings (PAL/NTSC) A variety of High Frame Rates. 240/250 fps (NTSC/PAL) show good quality Great range of min/max focal length (24-600mm, 35mm equivalent) Min. focus distance at the widest focal length is less than 1 cm Compatibility with Sony’s XLR-K1M or XLR-K2M professional audio accessories Can monitor and control audio while recording Well controlled moiré in 4K mode. (HD was not tested) Zebra Peaking Ability to “punch zoom in” for focusing while recording Good “auto focus” performance Clean HDMI output (8 bit, 4:2:2) Extremely customizable “custom keys” feature. You can assign almost any button you need for very easy control “Clear Image Zoom” technology S-log picture profile for wider dynamic range Sony RX10 III Cons: (in no particular order) No longer features an ND filter When shooting with external recorder or connecting an external monitor, the camera LCD/EVF will go blank leaving only the layouts visible on the camera while the picture itself moves to the external device Constant fast aperture through the range is unfortunately a thing of the past The glass before the OLED viewfinder should be improved as it does not give a sharp image edge to edge The stiff plastic eye cup should be replaced and be like the one found on the Sony a7x family where one can simply remove the provided eye piece to replace it with a better fit. “Running on NTSC” notice on a PAL camera is still there Noticeable amounts of rolling shutter effect Conclusion: It might be a bit misleading looking at the above list and see so many Pros vs Cons points. One may ask why the reviewer does not like working with this particular camera. One of the most important things for me is to end a shooting day feeling like the camera and I worked in complete harmony in order to achieve the best possible video quality. I’m afraid I cannot say that when it comes to working with the Sony RX10 III. I actually finished my working day questioning the quality I had achieved. Furthermore, the absence of previously available features like ND filter and a constant fast aperture leads me to think that this particular model is aimed more for the photographers among us rather then the videographers. As the original Sony RX10 is available at $798 and the Sony RX10 II can now be had for $1198, I’ll leave it to our distinguished users to decide if this updated model is indeed for them. For those who would like to download the ungraded 4K file, please use the link above Camera settings for this video: XAVC S 4K 25p 100m file format and record settings. Mostly shot on native ISO 800. Max ISO used: 1250. When recording in HFR: 250fps. Picture Profile: S log 2. All audio was recorded in camera (XLR-K2M with Rode NTG 2 microphone). Audio was processed in Audacity in order to remove camera pre amp noise. Light set-up: Kinotechnik Practilite 602. Edited in Adobe Premiere CC latest edition and graded with filmConvert Sony RX10 II preset. Music: Art-List. Used themes: “Wellington Joke by Bs” & “Natural Way by Easy People” A special thank you to Masami Morimoto. Find out more about her activities by clicking hereRead more
Sonyalpharumors has brought to light a source claiming to have unlocked the recording limit on Sony Alpha, RX and NEX cameras as well as lifting the language menu fix on region bound cameras, such as bodies bought in Japan. Here’s some information about this latest Sony Alpha Hack—and a warning to those of you that are tempted to try it. Sony Alpha hack – proceed with caution It seems that user ma1co on Personal View has dabbled in Sony hacking in the past, now claiming this practice has been put to good use in removing the 30minute recording limit of Sony cameras like the A7S, A7R, RX100, and A6300. It’s done by reverse engineering the Play Memories app, meaning any camera that utilizes the Sony software can benefit from this hack. Click here to see the full list of compatible camera bodies, but in a nutshell, the A7S, A7R II & IIs, as well as the A6300 and RX bodies, are all in there. Some filmmakers will be well acquainted with hacking cameras; Magic Lantern was (and still is) a tremendous asset to Canon DSLRs, packing a shed load of extra features into the otherwise outdated camera bodies, not to mention the Panasonic GH2 hack for increased bit rate recording. This should be taken with a caution, however. Firstly, we have no first-hand confirmation that this hack works, there is simply a sufficient amount of feedback on the Personal View forums for us to think it’s worth notifying you, the readers (including the above picture) as this could develop into something great.* *Update – I’ve had a good body of users & peers come forward to confirm that this does in fact work. Secondly, hacking any camera comes with significant risk and voids any manufacturers warranty. This applies to the Sony Alpha Hack, too. What works for one camera line and their respect hacker is completely different to another (particularly a brand new source). And lastly is a warning on the actual feature itself. The recording limit is in place to allow the Sony cameras to fall into a different, cheaper tax band, but many users will know that bodies like the A7R II can suffer badly from overheating and will shut down long before the recording limit is reached. As an occasional video user of the Sony Alpha cameras in B/C/D unit form, I rarely record clips on the A7R II or A7S II longer than a minute or two, therefore, won’t have any use for the Sony Alpha hack in its current state. However if there is anyone out there that is in a position to test out the hack, do let us know how you get on. This is certainly something to keep an eye on, with the potential of other features opening up as the hack develops. Via SonyalpharumorsRead more
Sony just announced the DSC-RX10 III, a new version of the company’s flagship superzoom camera. With a super-telephoto lens of 25x optical zoom (equivalent to 24-600mm focal length), it is a three-fold increase from the 24-200mm lens found on the RX10 II. The Cybershot DSC-RX10 III from Sony features a large 20.1MP 1″ Exmor RS CMOS sensor. This sensor utilizes both back-illuminated and stacked technologies, which allows for a high degree of image quality to be attained, with notable clarity, reduced noise, and sensitivity to ISO 12800. The DSC-RX10 III can shoot up to a resolution of UHD 4K30 as well as high-speed recording in Full HD 1080p at 120 fps. Both 4K and Full HD recording is possible in the 100 Mbps XAVC S format, which is contained within an MP4 wrapper, with 4:2:0 color sampling when recording internally, or 4:2:2 sampling with the use of an optional external recorder via HDMI output. Besides the ability to shoot 4K, the RX10 III features the same capabilities of the RX100 IV, which allows to shoot in High Frame Rate (HFR mode), of 960fps at 1080p. The RX10 III most distinct feature is its expansive 25x zoom lens. This Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens spans a 24-600mm equivalent focal length range. The most notable tradeoff Sony made in order to pack in this extra zoom range is that the RX10 III loses the constant f2.8 aperture found on the RX10 II. Instead, the new camera is equipped with a variable f2.4-4 aperture. To help photographers shoot at the long end of the new lens, Sony has built in optical image stabilization capable of compensating for 4.5 stops of exposure. Like its predecessor, the RX10 III is capable of shooting stills at up to 14 frames per second in silent mode. There’s a 2.35-million-dot resolution OLED viewfinder, as well as an articulating 3-inch LCD screen on the back of the camera. Sony’s SteadyShot electronic image stabilization is also included. Here is a quick overview of the DSC-RX10 III specifications: 20.1MP 1″ Exmor RS BSI CMOS Sensor BIONZ X Image Processor Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* f/2.4-4 Zoom Lens 24-600mm (35mm Equivalent) 2.36m-Dot OLED Tru-Finder EVF 3.0″ 1.228m-Dot Tilting Xtra Fine LCD UHD 4K30 Video, Full HD 1080p at 960 fps Built-In Wi-Fi with NFC ISO 12800 and 14 fps Continuous Shooting Optical SteadyShot Image Stabilization The Sony DSC-RX10 III will be available this May for $1,500.Read more
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