Sony RX10 III Review – Real World Video Samples & First Impressions

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.

Sony RX10III- Photo by Masami-san IV (1 of 1)

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 RX10III- Photo by Masami-san III (1 of 1)

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


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 here

Watch it on Vimeo

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Johnnie BehiriJoachim Richter Ferri Ferri Franck Bernard Recent comment authors
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 Ash Tailor

Looks fantastic and beautiful little insight Johnnie.

I dont think the music worked though, totally conflicted the tonality of what was on screen. That’s just me though :)

 KC Bassett

Great Job Looks Impressive but i’m sure your skillset had a lot to do with that ;)

Chris Gibbs

That’s one cool and talented lady Johnnie, how do you find these great subjects? ~Chris

Alexander Tardif
Alexander Tardif

Thanks for sharing, Johnnie! I recently acquired RX10M2 (as well as RX100M4) and agree with all of your findings for both cameras. RX100M3 doesn’t give me enough incentive to move up/upgrade, and the lack of built in ND is a biggie, so I personally see it more focused on stills, wheres M2 is a better balanced tool for video. I really like what you’ve done in post with the footage, big plus for someone considering this camera! One question… did you have any issues with the mic that came with XLR-K2M or was there another reason to replace that with… Read more »


I don’t understand why they removed the built-in ND, I mean, I get it, probably because of the new lens but they should had found a way to keep the ND, it was an important feat.

 John Christopher Eleazar

hi johnnie,

awesome review! been waiting for this before purchasing. i’m seriously considering this as a 3rd camera next to 2 canon c100s for events. now, i’d like to ask what you meant about endless ring twists? could you please elaborate on that? it’s very much appreciated! :-)

john e.

Alexander Tardif
Alexander Tardif

Fly by wire focus mechanism: no hard stops, amount of turn is related to your turning velocity – the faster you turn the ring the quicker the focus moves but not in a linear fashion. This makes precise focus very difficult and muscle memory turns impossible. To further compound the issue is that the sensors on these are not very precise (as they are on some Sony G lenses or Zeiss Batis primes). With that said, focus peaking and magnification makes things manageable :) just don’t expect precision you get on your L glass or true mechanical and/or fully manual… Read more »


It doesn’t necessarily has to be velocity sensitive, there are some other cases in which it works pretty well and some very clever solutions. But I’ve to say that I’ve never had it working properly with a Sony, it’s either too sensitive or you have to make 3 turns from closest to infinity, it’s really annoying.

Thomas Brohl
Thomas Brohl

Thanks for the great review. I have one coming.
I’ll miss the ND filter. The photo above looks like you have one attached? If so, which one?

Art Sanchez

Hi Jonnie.
I have a question:
In which focal lenght does it change from 2.8 to f4?
Thanks in advance


Hi Art. Camera is not here anymore but if I’m not mistaken it was around 85mm. Thanks. Johnnie

Art Sanchez

Thanks for the info

 Ian Hunter

Put a full frame sensor in this thing and were in business.
All the cam you’ll ever need.
Plus, I’ve always had an affinity for a single lens.

 J.c. Monzón

So can it do 4K an SD NTSC/PAL WOW!!! No HD??? It’s a Standard Df Only camera??? What good is that if its only does NTSC/PAL and Not ATSC or HD? We live in a HD world with frame rates of 23.98Pfs to 120Fps???

 Roberto Garces
Roberto Garces

Convincing portrayal of this woman. Interesting story told by a diversity of nice shots. Congrats!

Concerning the colours, I find them to be not as near as appealing as what the Blackmagics can offer. The price is good though and could be very useful when traveling, etc.

It is just this camera colours that give you that feeling of “not really”.

 Franck Bernard

Thanks Johnnie for the great review and film. Very inspiring.
A quick question if I may. You are also using the A7Sii, so how would you compare these 2 cameras ?
I know they are in different categories, but the RX10iii looks impressive, so I was wondering if the A7Sii is justifying the extra spend ? Thanks !


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 William Rowbottom
William Rowbottom

Wow, great footage. I am going to downgrade from my sony a7s and lesnses as it is to expensive to either the sony rx10 II or Sony rx10 III. Which one would be a great all around camera for multiple kinds of cinematography including portraiture and wildlife, event/advertisement/wedding filming as well as sometimes photography? The Sony rx10 mark2 has built in nd filters and a fast 2.8 lense at 200mm. But according to what I have researched the sony rx10mark3 has a lense that can do sceneary portrait zoom and macro all in one. Does the sony rx10mark2 focus very… Read more »


What camera was used to capture the first photo in this photo?


*first photo in this post?

 Ferri Ferri

Is possible the FHD video at 120fps look better on the RX-10 mk3 then on larger sensor as a6300 as I’ve seem on some videos ?

Joachim Richter

I just discovered the clear image zoom option in my Sony a6300 menu. In my opinion this is an underestimated function.

As filmmakers are historically used to rather small sensor cameras, blur is interesting to them. As photographers are historically experienced with larger film/sensor formats, they are affected by overall sharpness.

The clear image zoom function seems not as impressive as a big and heavy zoom lens, but the ability of clipping an image without loosing quality looks like an interesting option to me, specially when longer focal length needs more depth of field.