Adventures with a Little Camera – the Sony RX100iii

Adventures with a little camera, the Sony RX100iii on Falcondale Life blog. Superb image quality on a camera smaller than my hand. A review after two years of use.

A couple of years ago I lost my patience with my massive pro DSLR which weighs about a ton and gives me back-ache every time I try to go out with it. I bought the absolute smallest camera I could find which would shoot RAW and could be manually controlled. I bought the highest quality I could find in a really small compact. Image quality was a top priority. I want to continue to shoot images good enough to sell and to enter competitions (not that I have had the time). There were a few choices at that level but in the end I selected the Sony RX100iii. It just about fits in the palm of my hand. The image quality is staggering for such a little camera. Nearly everything I’ve shot in the last two and a half years has been on this camera.

Adventures with a little camera, the Sony RX100iii on Falcondale Life blog. Superb image quality on a camera smaller than my hand. A review after two years of use.

Superb dynamic range and detail with the Sony RX100iii.

Little camera – little viewfinder

I have had a few unexpected problems (or shall we say “journeys of discovery”?) with it. Firstly it changed my personal camera style. As it’s such a little camera, and my eyes not being what they were ten years ago, it’s a bit hard to see the detail either through the viewfinder or on the display screen.  As a result, sometimes I get the centre of the image right but miss errors at the edge.

Changing Personal Shooting Style

Secondly due to its size it is altogether far too tempting to just point and shoot with the Sony on auto. I am not one of these people that is wholly against auto modes (I could write a whole book on why) but I feel a bit led astray with this Sony. Again, it’s so damn small, it takes a little effort to adjust the settings. Of course I am comparing this to my DSLR where a button fitted under each of my fingers and I could adjust all the settings by feel. It’s not a fair comparison!

Adventures with a little camera, the Sony RX100iii on Falcondale Life blog. Superb image quality on a camera smaller than my hand. A review after two years of use.

High photographic performance on a dark minigolf adventure with the Sony RX100iii. The iPhone7+ couldn’t get a shot in this dark room.

Gravity and the Tiny Sony Camera

Thirdly the tiny Sony camera doesn’t make its presence felt. In some ways that is a bit of gift as I can subtly whip the camera out in places like streets and restaurants. It doesn’t attract the kind of attention I got with a large DSLR. There’s a nasty flip-side to this however. It’s so small and lightweight that if the whole camera bag falls off my shoulder I don’t even feel it. Luckily the first time this happened my daughter was following behind me and picked it up.

I was on a bike the second time my little camera fell without me noticing. It fell down my left arm onto the handlebar then dangled itself onto the wheel. I came to an abrupt halt because it had tangled itself in the spokes. It took me a minute to work out what had happened and it was properly jammed in the bike. Even though the camera was in a bag, the screen had cracked and the lens cover was dented.

Adventures with a little camera, the Sony RX100iii on Falcondale Life blog. Superb image quality on a camera smaller than my hand. A review after two years of use.

Macro function and a full range of easy-to-use manual settings on the Sony RX100iii.

Intermittent Macro

The lens cover was easy to fix and I can just about live with the cracked screen. I think it’s had a bit of a jolt however and has developed an intermittent fault in macro mode. Being just a little camera, it has limits and it’s not possible to focus for macro images without using a built-in auto mode. It’s not a huge problem as I don’t do a lot of macro shots. However on our recent trip to the American Midwest I was quite taken by the unusual flowers in the meadows. So many shots of the rarest flowers didn’t focus. I was relieved to get a few shots of any kind.

What Next?

Normally I have the camera bag across my body so it doesn’t fall so easily, but knowing my luck I could thump it again. I may have to replace it again sooner than I hoped. I would definitely consider another Sony. What camera have you bought that you would recommend? Please let me know by leaving a comment on this blog post.


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16 Comments

  1. 20th October 2017 / 10:45 pm

    As a non-photographer this is really interesting. I’ve been considering getting a decent camera for my blog and this is really useful, thank you x

    • 21st October 2017 / 2:17 pm

      If you’re a non-photographer then perhaps the fact you cannot attach a flashgun may not be a concern, but I do often need flashgun for blog photos. Freestanding steadily-lit softboxes are quite common now so perhaps that is a solution.

  2. 20th October 2017 / 7:56 am

    I do agree – my Canon is HUGE and I can’t carry it very far. A compact camera that is high quality would be fab. The image quality of your photos looks really good! x

    • 21st October 2017 / 2:14 pm

      This is the other extreme, it’s so small! Yes the quality is good.

  3. 19th October 2017 / 1:39 pm

    This looks likes a great camera. I’m a Canon girl and recently got the G7x ii to take out when I’m not bringing my 5D. Love that this could get that dark shot, very impressive.

  4. 19th October 2017 / 11:51 am

    Now this is my kind of camera, I love my canon but I am getting tired of tagging it around. This is great size

    • 19th October 2017 / 9:30 pm

      It’s an unbelievable size, it is so small!

  5. 18th October 2017 / 3:29 pm

    While I love my DSLR, it is just too big, bulky and heavy to take on a day out with our son. Since getting it last year, I love my Canon G7X ii. I haven’t figured out the RAW format of the camera yet but plan to soon. But if I can’t I may just look into the Sony!

    • 19th October 2017 / 9:32 pm

      I’m getting so much more out of RAW lately, even though I’ve been using it for years I find new things in its depths all the time. Thanks for commenting!

  6. 18th October 2017 / 3:24 pm

    Wow the quality is outstanding – I’m especially impressed with the photo in the dark. I have a good camera, but it doesn’t perform well when it is dark which can be annoying. Need to look into this camera 🙂

    • 19th October 2017 / 9:34 pm

      Well I don’t shoot in the dark unless I have to and then I would still expect to have to rescue it from a RAW digital negative. It would be better with my DSLR but I was counting on it coming out ok with the Sony and knew I could rely on it.

  7. 18th October 2017 / 1:18 pm

    Wow! Those images are striking. I love taking photos but am by no means a photographer but this Sony camera sounds fantastic and user friendly. I do sometimes miss my old camera ( it was a huge big yoke that I never really figured out how to get the best from it ) simply because it took great pictures. I find I go to my phone these days . Perhaps it’s time to dive back into photography ? I don’t know ,but you’ve definitely given me a renewed love for it x

    • 19th October 2017 / 9:36 pm

      That is lovely to read Ger, I’m touched that I have inspired you! Thanks for this comment and I hope your photography journey is fruitful.

  8. 18th October 2017 / 10:05 am

    As a photographer myself i enjoyed that read and that sony camera sounds fantastic – i dont like to carry my cameras out unless i have to ( missing out on great photo opportunities at the same time ) like you mentioned already – because they do weigh a lot – Sony looks and sounds great i love the fact that you can shoot raw ! and image quality is top notch – so thank you for the recommendation i will look into it , especially with Christmas approachig x

    • 19th October 2017 / 9:38 pm

      I do think it was a very lucky find, and I find I can rely on it to get the capture. Also it has the added benefit that people see me carrying it and no longer say “oh, you’re a photographer, would you mind taking some family portraits while you’re visiting?” as they don’t think this camera will cut it!

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