Sony RX100 III review: Hands-on

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The new Sony RX100 III high-end compact throws in a pop-up electronic viewfinder

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The new Sony RX100 III high-end digital compact camera sports a new large aperture Zeiss lens along with a high-res pop-up electornic viewfinder

The Sony RX100 III is the brand's latest premium compact and sports a cool pop-up electronic viewfinder (EVF).

Following on from the popular Sony RX100 and Sony RX100 II (both of which will still continue to be sold), the new 20.1-megapixel model also features a a new large aperture Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 24mm wide angle lens - a real boon for a camera of this size. It'll be going head to head with the likes of the Panasonic LF1 and Canon G1 X Mark II.

Sony RX100 III: Size and build

The design is almost identical to that of its siblings, although the add-ons mean that the overall build has been slightly tweaked. Despite this, it's only 9g heavier than the RX100 II.

There are a couple of tweaks to the controls, including a new custom button and an improved function button. The pop-up flash has been moved to the centre of the top plate to make room for the EVF.

Handily, using the switch on the side of the camera to pop up the EVF also powers up the camera so that you're ready for shooting. Although we'd rather it didn't turn off the camera when pushed back in - maybe that's something that a software update could fix.

Once popped up, you need to extend the back of the EVF back slightly to use it, which also gives it some more stability.

Sony RX100 III: Screen

The tilting screen from the Rx100 II has been upgraded so that it now tilts 45 degrees as well as 180 degrees upwards for capturing all those relentless selfies.

The big news here is the pop-up EVF - an eye sensor switches between this and the screen automatically and it's certainly one of the swiftest transitions that we've seen. The EVF features a Zeiss T coating and a high-res 1,440k-dot resolution.

The EVF's physical size means that it's far easier to use that those on its rivals, such as the Panasonic LF1.

Sony RX100 III: Picture quality

The RX100 III keeps the same excellent 1.0-type Exmor R CMOS sensor that we saw in the previous model, and features a upgraded Bionz X processor which includes new detail reproduction tech and also supports the new video features..

The Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 24-70mm F1.8-2.8 lens is a fine addition, and should mean great results on wide angle landscape shots.

Sony has dropped the minimum macro focusing distance down from 55mm to 30mm on the new model, which is splendid news for capturing those close-ups.

The ISO range goes up to 25600, which should mean good performance in all lighting conditions. We tested out the low light capabilities in our short hands-on with the new snapper and can report that the initial results were excellent.

Though many won't need it just yet, Sony has added a 4K image output for viewing pictures on a compatible screen.

In video terms, the RX100 III now supports the XAVC S format for pro standard videos. It's also possible to record smaller MP4 files at the same time as HD footage.

The camera also includes Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity.

Sony RX100 III: Verdict

We gave the RX100 II five stars when we reviewed it and the new model looks set to be equally impressive. Sony has looked at all the feedback from the previous two models and addressed all the niggles to product a fantastic all-rounder.

The brand is keeping quiet on price, which we reckon will be a fair bit higher than the RX100 II - we'll keep you posted.

Sony RX100 III release date: TBC

Sony RX100 III price: TBC