My Search for a Compact Camera and How I Decided on the Sony RX100 III

This summer I decided that I wanted to get a compact camera to take with me on our family trips and outings.  Actually, I became obsessed with obtaining one while visiting my parents in Illinois last week.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my Canon 5D Mark III but it is a lot to lug around and I wanted something more portable besides my iPhone (adore that camera too).

So after doing a fair amount of research (YouTube comparisons, scanning photography forums, reading through numerous photography blogs and review sites and polling photographer friends) I decided to purchase the Sony RX100 III.  So far (I’ve only had it for a week), I love it.

If you’re interested to find out how I came to this decision here you go…..

First off, I grappled with whether to get a premium point and shoot or a compact mirrorless interchangeable lens camera.  I went back and forth on these two options and ultimately I came to the conclusion that I didn’t want to invest in a camera that would tempt me into buying more lenses.

While the mirrorless cameras are smaller  and would be a nice option as far as toting around great equipment, it could become a slippery slope into buying more than I need.   Many of these cameras have a variety of lenses available and I could see myself buying prime lenses for this or that.  Because I already have invested a small fortune in my Canon equipment, I decided to stick with a camera that wouldn’t tempt me into spending more.

If you are considering a compact interchangeable lens camera, my favorites are the Olympus OM-D E M-10 and the Sony a600.  Both have great reviews on sites like DPReview, Cameralabs, Amazon, B & H Photo and Photography Blog.  They are a terrific option for those of you who want the performance and flexibility of a DSLR without the bulk.

So after coming to terms with the fact that I didn’t want to invest in a whole new camera system, I decided to focus on the high end point and shoot cameras.  Point and shoots have come a long way and there are a ton of great options out there.  The key to deciding what to purchase really depends on what you want to spend as well as what features you would like your camera to have (which as you may have guessed, impacts the price point).

These days many cameras have WI-FI capability allowing you to transfer photos directly to your smartphone or computer, touch screens, the ability to shoot in both RAW and Jpeg, creative modes, HD video, as well as control over aperture, shutter speed and ISO.  My recommendation would be to write down all the key features you want and then match those up to the myriad of options out there.  Some cameras are better than others when it comes to these attributes so pay attention to the reviews that focus on the aspects that are most important to you.

I decided on the Sony RX100 III because of it’s great reviews (I won’t go into all the technical details here, you can read the reviews yourself but know that I did A LOT of research and comparisons) and the fact that it met my wish list of “must have” features.  Granted this is a pricey point and shoot camera ($750-$800 on Amazon) but for me, the price was worth it.

What features do I consider “must haves” ?

The ability to shoot in RAW and Jpeg—I like being able to shoot in RAW because of the flexibility in editing my photos later.  It allows you to bring back details that you may have missed due to over or under exposure.  If you are not going to be editing your photos using a software like Lightroom, then I don’t think this is a necessary feature.

Electronic View Finder (EVF)—this was a must for me and surprisingly many point and shoots do not have EVFs anymore.    The Sony RX 100 III has this feature which adds to the price tag but I felt it was worth it.  The reason I really wanted this feature is for shooting outdoors in bright light.  I’m sure you all have tried to take a photo with your smartphone on a sunny day and found it a bit challenging to see your image on the screen, with an EVF it makes composing your photo much easier.

If having a view finder is not a deal breaker for you, then I would highly recommend the Canon 120S or Canon G1 X Mark II.  One of these would have been my next choice but like I said, I really wanted a view finder. 

A fast lens with zoom—I wanted a camera that could shoot well without a flash in low light and the Sony RX100 III can  open up as wide as 1.8 at a wide angle setting.  It also has a zoom lens of 24-70.  While some may find this zoom range limiting, for me it is just great.  It allows me to get wide shots as well as zoom in enough to objects further away.  And because the 24-70 is the lens that I use the most on my Canon 5D Mark III, I felt that this would be enough for me.  Another camera I considered based on feedback from my photography friends was the Fuji X100S but I decided against it because of the lack of zoom and price tag. 

WI-FI-I am a social media junkie and love sharing photos on FB and Instagram.  Doing so is easy with the Sony RX100 III by  using Sony’s PlayMemories app.  You do have to download the app to your phone and then sync the photos from your camera to the phone using the app (which is very simple to do).  Keep in mind you can not send the photos directly to Instagram or FB without syncing to your phone or computer first.  I have not yet tried to send any photos to my computer but my guess is that will be a snap too.  As far as uploading to Flickr you can do this directly from the camera after downloading the app from the PlayMemories site and syncing the app to the camera.

The one thing the Sony RX100 IIIlacks is a touch screen.  For me, I didn’t find that to be a necessary feature but for those of you who like to focus on an area by touching the screen this camera might not be for you.

The camera has a few extra features that I’m not sure how much I will use but they sound cool like NFC technology (which allows you to connect to another NFC device by tapping them together), a 180 degree tiltable “selfie” screen, and a variety of presets and picture effects (I actually like the HDR Painting option).

The Sony RX100 III can fit in your pocket and the build is great.  It feels very sturdy in your hands…..although because it is so tiny in comparison to my DSLR I’m finding it a bit awkward but I’m sure I’ll get used to it.

So what kind of images does it take?  

The photos below were taken during at night at Millennium Park in Chicago without flash.  I can’t believe how great these turned out.  The skin tones in the group photo are a bit pink, but I could fix that in post-processing…however I wanted to show you what it looked like SOOC.  BTW these are my college girlfriends…we had a mini-reunion while I was visiting family back in Illinois.  So fun!

The photos below were taken at my mom’s house in Champaign, Il.  She has the most amazing garden which was perfect for testing out my camera.  I was so impressed by the shallow depth of field I was able to capture in these photos.

Below I was playing around with the Picture Effect settings and tried out the HDR Painting option which I think is pretty cool.

HDR Painting Effect

As I mentioned, I have not had this camera very long but so far I love it.  What amazes me is the ability to create images that look as though I captured them with my DSLR. And the best part is, I don’t have an identation in my shoulder from carrying around a heavy camera bag filled with my DSLR and lenses.

If you have any questions or would like more information regarding sites I researched, please feel free to email me or leave a comment below.

*Note–The links in this post are affiliate links which means I receive a small commission…(enough to buy a cup of coffee unfortunately not a camera) should you click through and purchase anything.   🙂



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