The point-and-shoot camera is an endangered species. Threatened by the growing utility of the DSLR on the one hand and the ease of use in taking snapshots from a smartphone on the other, it’s getting harder and harder to find a tiny camera with a fixed lens. Sony, however, hasn’t given up the fight, and is taking it to the smartphones by going high-end.
Luxury In A Camera Body
That’s the DSC-RX100M III, in a nutshell. Sony’s gone through and overhauled just about everything about the camera, starting with the lens. It’s a lot faster than previous iterations of this line, with an f1.8-2.8 range and a neutral density filter built in. That does mean the telephoto stops at 70mm, but let’s be realistic here, you’re not using this to capture wildlife photos. It also has an EVF that’s vastly improved.
Video And Audio
Interestingly, Sony’s also overhauled the video capabilities. Previous cameras were actually quite good in terms of shooting video. This go-round supports the XAVC S codec, and can shoot 1080/60p at 50 mbps, a substantial step up from the 24 mbps and 28 mbps of previous cameras. That makes the video smoother, better-looking, easier to use, and overall more professional. Just as interesting is the HDMI out that lets you hook up your own recorder, hinting at Sony’s ambitions that this be a little more than just a consumer product.
Luxury Design, Luxury Price
The stumbling block for a lot of people, though, will be how much it costs. This will run you $800 or so depending on where you buy it, and you can start investing in a DSLR for that kind of money. Still, Sony seems to have packed this thing with a lot to get your money’s worth out of it, and that might be enough for some shooters.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.