Sony RX100 III Low Light Performance

August 29, 2014

In my last post about the Sony RX100 III, I wrote about the issue of the high price of the Sony RX100 III versus its photo quality. I concluded that the camera is worth the price (about $768) because its features and photo quality are outstanding.

Amphitheater In Cascades Park

f2.8, 1/8 sec, ISO 3200, 28mm

However, the photos I posted were made in daylight – with plenty of available light. But Sony also advertises the RX100 III as a nighttime shooter, basically because of its fast f1.8 – f2.9 lens and also due to its one-inch 20.1 MP Exmor R sensor.

I decided to test that claim by shooting photos with the RX100 III in various low light situations.

Park and Monroe, Tallahassee, FL

f4.0, 1/16 sec, ISO 3200, 31mm

My photos are shown in this post, along with their camera settings. I didn’t use a tripod. It seems to me that most people will like to use this little camera as an impromptu “city shooter” at night, rather than taking time to install it on a tripod. Besides, who’s going to carry a tripod at night – especially on an informal city excursion?

College and Monroe, Florida

f4.0, 1/16 sec, ISO 3200, 24mm

These photos were shot in the A (aperture or f-stop) setting. My starting point for taking photos was f5.6 and ISO 800. If that didn’t work for a particular scene, and especially if the camera’s indicated shutter speed was 1/20 second or below, I lowered the f-stop to a bigger lens opening so I could capture more light, and/or I raised the IS0 above 800 (also allows more light, but at the expense of more noise in the image).

All the photos were taking in jpg “fine” mode, and were lightly post-processed.


f4.0, 1/4 sec, ISO 3200, 24mm

I was amazed at the low light performance of these RX100 III photos. They’re sharp, even when ISO was set at 3200. Of course, you can see some noise in the Photos above 800; but still, they’re quite acceptable (unless you intend to make a large print). Of course, you can remove noise in post-processing.

Bank, Tallahassee, Florida

f5.6, 1/32 sec, ISO 1250, 25mm

Finally, I was pleasantly surprised at my ability to take photos at slow shutter speeds. Well, it’s not really my ability. It’s the Camera’s ability to account for shaky human hands. Sony’s SteadyShot system is outstanding!

Fountain downtown Tallahassee, FL

f4.0, 1/32 sec, ISO 1600, 34mm

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