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Sony has just released its brand new Cyber-shot RX10 mark III camera which features an impressive 25X optical zoom with image stabilization (24-600mm, f2.4-f4.0). The other feature that is of particular interest is the ability to capture movies at up to 960 frames per second (FPS), which allows for extreme slow-motion (~40X), for a consumer camera.

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rx10-III_hero_samplesNot surprisingly, the RX10 mark III can capture 4K movies and snap action still photos with a maximum shutter speed of 1/32000 second. I spent a couple of hours in San Francisco with a brand new unit and I wanted to show you what kind of zoom performance this camera is capable of.

Here are a couple of scenes where I’m going to have a 24mm photo to show you the setting and where I stand relative to the subject. Another photo will show you what the camera can capture with the 600mm zoom. I was very impressed with the results, and you can find the full-size photos here, on Flickr.

First, a 24mm shot towards those flowers that were quite far away from me. I shot this with the 24mm setting:

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And now, here’s another photo of the flowers standing in the exact same place that I was at. This will show you the power of the RX10 III long-zoom:

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Now, here’s a second shot at 24mm that shows you the general setting in which I was to look at the parrots up in the trees:

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Again, from the exact same location, and using the long zoom at 600mm, I was able to capture a shot like this:

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Note that these were saved as JPGs. If you are willing to spend more time to work on RAW photos, you can obviously produce much better quality images. Unfortunately, my photographic artistic abilities are rather limited, so I hope to give you a good glimpse of what the RX10 III can do, but the sky is the limit. Here are more photos from my afternoon:

The main point of this camera is that it can do (in a relatively small volume and weight) what would be relatively difficult, or inconvenient, for DSLRs. Sony mentioned that 70%+ of their RX10 users were in fact professionals or advanced photographers who use an RX10 “in addition” to their DSLR and not “instead of”.

This is not surprising, because the RX10 is an excellent do-it-all that has extraordinary capabilities that are cumbersome to reproduce for a classic setup, and it is virtually impossible to match with the Sony NEX line of products or equivalent competitors.

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In terms of user-interface, I found the RX10 to be closer to a consumer-level camera, than from a professional one. Most of the time, the fully automatic mode will perform very well, but it’s possible to use a manual mode which will allow one to get the exact desired settings. That said, the full manual mode is typically slower to use and not as intuitive as DSLR cameras.

At $1500, the RX10 isn’t cheap, and it’s easy to be confused about why Sony would sell a non-interchangeable-lens camera for this price, but it is a surprisingly powerful and unique all-in-one camera.

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