A Pocket Camera: Sony RX100-M3

writer: russell j.t. dyer; posted: apr 2016; revised: sep 2018; readers past month: 1012

In the past couple of years, I’ve gotten away from taking pictures. This is partly because my focus in life has shifted. However, there are still times when I’m out and see scenes and moments which would make for a good photo, but I don’t have a camera with me. Although I like my Leica cameras and lenses, they’re too bulky for every day use for me — or when traveling for work. What I want is a small camera that fits in my pocket and makes good photos.

There are many choices in general. The most convenient choice is a camera phone. To that end, last year I bought a Sony Xperia Z3+ mobile phone. It’s an excellent phone and has a 20 megapixel camera built in, but the lens and small sensor aren’t at the quality level that I want. I considered getting a point-and-shoot camera, but the quality is not much better than my camera phone.

To get to the minimum quality I want, I decided I would need to consider a mirrorless camera. A few years ago I had a Lumix micro four-thirds camera. I liked it, but they’re still a little bulky for my pocket and taking with me wherever I go. I decided what I want is a compact camera.

After researching the compact cameras available, I decided to buy the Sony RX100-M3. It’s been out for a while and the price is more than most compact camera, but I think it’s a good choice.

Its sensor isn’t as large as a micro four-thirds, but the 20 megapixel 1-inch sensor is much better than a camera phone. Plus, it will store images in RAW format so that I can make adjustments later in PhotoShop. The lens is the best component for such a small camera: it has a Zeiss f/1.8 to f/2.8 lens, which is much better than a phone. As for controls, I’d prefer separate knobs for exposure, but that isn’t the trend in this market. With some configuring and getting to know the camera, though, I’m able to make adjustments fairly quickly. On Aperture mode, I can adjust aperture with the main dial. A right-click of the dial and I can adjust ISO with it. There’s a button labeled Fn, that displays all of the settings. I can make changes easily from there.

It’s not the best camera I own, but the Sony RX100-M3 is an excellent camera that fits in my pocket — even my pants pocket. It’s moderately agreeable to use and not very cumbersome to control. The result is that I’m taking more photos and good photos.

Below are a few shots I took in the first month I’ve owned a Sony RX100-M3. They were taken around and during meal times, at times when I might not normally have had a camera with me.

Klipper Restaurant on the Spree River in Berlin, Germany

St. Basil Cathedral in Moscow, Russia

My Girlfriend’s Daughter in Moscow with her Grandfather