Over the years, Sony has continuously updated its large-sensor compact camera, Sony RX100, with new features and interesting improvements. In this article, you can read about the comparison between the original Sony RX100 and the updated model Sony RX100 III. Obviously, there is some price difference between Sony RX100 vs Sony RX100 III. Which model is better for the money?
This article will discuss with great detail about:
– The size and weight comparison between the two cameras
– The display and viewfinder on Sony RX100 III
– The comparison of their connectivity features
– The shooting performance of Sony RX100 vs Sony RX100 III
– The comparison of their video quality
– Which model that is generally more recommended
Size and Weight
Since the beginning, Sony has tried to design the RX100 to be a compact and portable camera that is suitable for casual shooters, enthusiasts, and even professionals who need a small and lightweight solution for travelling. However, the later iterations, including Sony RX100 III, have become slightly bigger and heavier than the original model. See also: Sony RX100 vs A6000.
The original Sony RX100 is already very compact and lightweight at 102 mm x 58 mm x 36 mm and 240 grams. Well, it is still a little bit too large to fit into a skinny jean pocket. However, it can fit into a medium-sized pocket. It can easily fit into a cargo pocket or jacket pocket. It will not make your pocket excessively bulky or heavy.
Skipping over two generations, Sony RX100 III is about 12% thicker and 17% heavier than the original model. Actually, the increments from generation to generation are very small – Sony RX100 II is nearly the same size as Sony RX100. However, the increased dimensions over two generations are more noticeable.
Fortunately, it only increases the thickness and weight. Sony RX100 III is not any longer or wider than the original model. It measures 102 mm x 58 mm x 41 mm. It weighs about 290 grams. So, it is still fairly easy to pocket. You can put it inside a cargo pocket or jacket pocket. It will feel slightly bulkier and heavier, but not by much.
Both models have very good build quality. Both models have a metallic aluminum construction which is lightweight yet highly sturdy. However, they are not weather-sealed, so you should not expose these cameras to harsh environmental conditions. Also, they have a smooth and relatively flat body, so they won’t provide much traction for a solid grip. Be careful when handling these cameras with sweaty hands.
Display and Viewfinder
There are big differences between Sony RX100 vs Sony RX100 III in terms of display and viewfinder. Casual shooters are probably more interested with the tilting display screen of Sony RX100 III. Enthusiasts and professionals will appreciate the superb EVF on Sony RX100 III.
The original Sony RX100 is ‘only’ equipped with a 3-inch fixed display screen. The quality of the display screen is actually very good, as it has a 1,229k-dot resolution to deliver highly sharp, detailed, and accurate images. It also has good brightness and color accuracy.
However, since it is a fixed display screen, you won’t be able to adjust the angle when you want to shoot from a difficult position or when you want to take a selfie. The original Sony RX100 does not have any viewfinder; this is a drawback for some enthusiasts and professionals.
Sony RX100 III still uses a 3-inch display screen of similar quality. It also has a 1,229k-dot resolution and very good brightness and color accuracy. However, it is now a 180-degree tilting screen, so you can adjust the angle of the display to suit any shooting position. Casual shooters will appreciate that this camera is now selfie-friendly.
Sony RX100 III also comes with an awesome pull-up electronic viewfinder (EVF). It is an OLED panel with a resolution of 1,440k dots. It is equipped with a Zeiss T* coating to reduce flare and reflection while enhancing the clarity. Enthusiasts and professionals will love this EVF very much. When it is not needed, you can press down the EVF and it will hide neatly inside the camera body.
The next big difference between Sony RX100 vs Sony RX100 III is in the connectivity aspect. The original Sony RX100 does not have any wireless capability. Sony RX100 III is definitely better because it has Wi-Fi and NFC.
The original Sony RX100 only has basic connection ports. It has an HDMI port for video monitoring via an external display, and a USB port for charging. It can’t work with an external microphone for capturing higher quality audio during video recording. It does not support Wi-Fi or NFC, so the only ways to transfer files are by using the USB port or by moving the memory card to a reader.
Sony RX100 III is definitely a lot more convenient to use. It also has an HDMI port and USB port. Unfortunately, it still lacks an audio input port for an external microphone. However, it already has built-in Wi-Fi and NFC. So, you can transfer images and videos wirelessly to your laptop, smartphone, or tablet.
Zooming and Continuous Shooting
The lenses on Sony RX100 vs Sony RX100 III are slightly different. They also have different continuous shooting specs. Although the original Sony RX100 seems to be better in a few things regarding the zooming and continuous shooting, Sony RX100 III is still generally better.
The original Sony RX100 is equipped with a very nice 28-100mm F/1.8-4.9 Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T lens. It can provide a maximum optical zoom of 3.6x. This camera has a maximum continuous shooting speed of 10fps, which remains true in JPEG and RAW modes. However, the buffer capacity is quite limited, as it can only take about 13 JPEG/RAW shots before the buffer fills up.
Sony RX100 III comes with a 24-70mm F/1.8-2.8 Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T lens. Hence, it can only provide a maximum optical zoom of 2.9x. But this is somewhat compensated by having the F/2.8 aperture at 70mm, which means that the lens can be much faster at tele. Not to mention the ability of the lens to provide a wider angle and capture a wider scene at 24mm.
Sony RX100III has a maximum continuous shooting speed of 10fps in JPEG and 6.7fps in RAW. But the buffer capacity has been upgraded well. It is now able to capture about 48 JPEG shots or 26 RAW shots before the buffer fills up. So, the continuous shooting is actually more reliable, especially when you are photo-bursting in JPEG.
Both Sony RX100 and Sony RX100 III are equipped with a 20.1MP one-inch image sensor. However, the one on Sony RX100 is not back-illuminated. On the other hand, Sony RX100 III comes with a back-illuminated sensor, so the low-light performance can be significantly better. The difference is huge.
The back-illuminated sensor on Sony RX100 III will allow you to utilize higher ISO levels while still maintaining good image quality. For example, the images at ISO 1600 on Sony RX100 III do look as good as the images at ISO 800 on the original model. There is virtually no noise. This is a huge benefit when shooting in low-light conditions.
The faster lens on Sony RX100 III also brings nice benefits to the shooting performance. On Sony RX100 III, you can shoot at ISO 800 and F/2.8 and achieve nice results. You will need to use ISO 1600 and F/4.0 on the original model to get similarly good results. Hence, Sony RX100 III is significantly faster, and it can be more versatile and reliable in various shooting conditions.
Additionally, Sony RX100 III has a built-in Neutral Density (ND) filter with 3 EV steps. It can be very useful for quick exposure adjustments when facing bright scenes. The ND filter can give you interesting effects and ensure that the images are properly exposed.
Finally, there are improvements and additions on the video recording of Sony RX100 III. Just like the original model, it is capable of recording 1080p Full HD videos at 60fps.
However, the original Sony RX100 ‘only’ has a maximum video bitrate of 28 Mbps.Sony RX100 III is able to record videos with a maximum bitrate of 50 Mbps, hence ensuring superior image detail. The video quality is really impressive. Even when recording fast-moving subjects in a dark environment, the images remain sharp and clear.
Sony RX100 III has also added an option to shoot 1080p Full HD 24p videos, so it is a decent choice for people who want to create cinematic clips. Plus, it is also able to record slow-motion videos. These features are not available on the original model. It supports MPEG4 and AVCHD encodings.
Sony RX100 vs RX100 III
Between these two models, Sony RX100 III is generally more recommended. It is definitely an awesome successor for the original. It comes with excellent improvements, despite being slightly thicker and heavier. It now has a tilting display, a highly reliable EVF, Wi-Fi and NFC support, and a faster lens. The low-light performance is significantly better. It also has better video quality and features.