Sophia's Trip/Long Overdue Sony RX100M III Review - April, 2015

1:36 AM

Hello!  I know, I haven't posted anything in a couple of months.  I took a trip to Scandinavia and then South America and have not had time to finish all of the pics yet.  But my friend Sophia came to visit me and I happened to have just (finally?) acquired a Sony RX100M III.  It's a great camera and is pretty much the direct competitor to the Canon G7X, so I figured I'll put some sample pics on here (yes, I know, the rumored 4th version is going to be announced any time now.  Better late than never?).

First, we went to Facebook headquarters for lunch.

8.8mm, f4, 1/30, ISO 400
15.52mm, f2.8, 1/50, ISO 320 (rotated in Picasa)
8.8mm, f1.8, 1/80, ISO 125
Focusing was very quick.  You can get bokeh fairly easily, and the image quality was pretty good in general.  We then went to dinner at Dish Dash in Sunnyvale.  One of my favorite restaurants. =)

8.8mm, f1.8, 1/30, ISO 1000
8.8mm, f1.8, 1/4, ISO 1600
High ISO performance is pretty good!  All noise reduction has been turned to whatever the lowest setting is (or off).  In-body stablization probably helped with that food shot, although I did get a couple of blurry ones as well.  The white balance is...all right.  Probably a tad too yellow in the food picture.

8.8mm, f1.8, ISO 1600, 1/6
The next day, we hiked up Mission Peak where I was able to take some outdoorsy pictures.  I also messed around with some of the filters and panorama mode.  The camera is super compact and was the perfect companion for a hike.  And the battery is pretty good!  WAY WAY WAY better than the G7X's.

Partial Color - Blue
25.7mm, f4, 1/1000, ISO 125

High Contrast Black and White
8.8mm, f4, 1/200, ISO 125

8.8mm, f1.8, 1/640, ISO 125
Panorama at the top
The built-in ND filter is great.  I mean, it works in the same way as all other built-in ND filters, but the great thing about this one is it has an auto mode where the camera will turn it on or off for you.  On the G7X, you had to manually toggle it on or off.  It was quite cumbersome.

The next day, we ate ramen and then we went to the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum & Planetarium. The museum isn't humungous, but it is worth checking out.  It has a lot of history (built in the 30s, the 5th planetarium in the US) and even has a free admissions hour on Wednesdays.  And the planetarium's daily show is free.

8.8mm, f3.5, 1/400, ISO 125
Then we visited a baby!  The lens on the camera is pretty sharp.  It does have a lot of distortions and other flaws that are corrected in-camera (you will notice if you try to view the uncorrected raw files).

12.64mm, f3.5, 1/40, ISO 640
100% crop (click to see full-size)
Then we had dinner at Zeni, an Ethiopian restaurant.  It was my first time and the food was good.  The spices reminded me of Indian food.  The staff was friendly, but I think the (cousin of the) owner was the best!  She was friendly, talked to us multiple times and even gave us a free glass of wine since she's experimenting with wine pairings.  You should definitely give it a try.

8.8mm, f1.8, 1/30, ISO 400
8.8mm, f1.8, 1/30, ISO 500
8.8mm, f3.2, 1/30, ISO 1000
The following day was devoted to Glass Beach in Fort Bragg.  I've been wanting to go for a while, but the 200+ miles each way (from San Jose) meant that it would be 8+ hours of driving.  It took us more than 10 because we drove back on PCH to check out the gorgeous coastline.  It was worth it (plus the drive is pretty fun).

There were A LOT of warning signs like this one.
8.8mm, f3.5, 1/250, ISO 125

8.8mm, f5, 1/160, ISO 125
8.8mm, f4.5, 1/100, ISO 125

8.8mm, f8, 1/320, ISO 125
21.01mm, f11, 1/80, ISO 125
8.8mm, f5.6, 1/800, ISO 125
Another Panorama
High Contrast Black and White
As you can see, the depth of field is still pretty thin when you exaggerate the distance like the sand/glass pictures and you don't even have to go to f1.8.  As a matter of fact, I tried to get the sand and person in focus and still couldn't do it at f8 and f11.  The panorama works really well and the results are better than a typical cell phone's pano, I would say.

Finally, we drove back and saw a pretty nice sunset (too bad we couldn't wait around for it on the coast).

8.8mm, f5.6, 1/30, ISO 250
And just for the heck of it, here is a panorama that the new Lightroom 6 made out of 3 pictures:

The raw files have quite a bit of headroom for edits.  You can pull back highlights and draw out shadows pretty well.  But, if you're lazy, you can probably just go with the in-camera HDR mode and get away with satisfactory results most of the time:

In-camera HDR
Overall, I would have to say this is a better camera than the G7X.  The operational speed is just way faster and feels much smoother.  The battery life is night and day better, and let's not forget the built-in EVF!  Although, like everyone said, having the camera turn off when you put it away is kind of annoying.  And I am not really a video guy, but the XAVC is supposed to blow Canon's codec away.  A word of caution though - in order to record in XAVC, you need a SDXC card.  The faster, the better, of course.

I think the only things you can dock the camera for is that it is "only" 24-70mm whereas the G7X is 24-100mm.  I do prefer a clicking front dial because it is hard to know when you've turned it enough for the settings to change to the next step.  And I guess being able to customize the functions of the wheels more would be nice (the default is very dumb where the front wheel and the back are duplicates and redundant).  Some would say the in-body charging is a con, but with so many other devices that utilize micro usb to charge, it's probably more convenient!  And like I said, the battery life is respectable, so I didn't find it to be a problem.

If you want to see the edited pics, go ahead and click here.

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