QUICK COMPARE: Sony RX10III at 600mm vs Olympus PEN-F at 600mm


QUICK COMPARE: Sony RX10III at 600mm vs Olympus PEN-F at 600mm

Just for fun! Was checking out the Sony RX10III today (I have written up a small piece on it a while ago HERE) alongside the Olympus PEN-F with Olympus 300mm f/4 pro and since both can do 600mm equivalent, I figured why not see what kind of difference there is between the two at 600mm. The RX10 III, a small all in one with a 24-600MM equivalent lens on it and the Oly is a mirrorless body with a pro level Olympus 300mm prime, which gives us a 600mm equiv field of view.

Now this is not a scientific test but man, the RX10 III is quite the camera. Think about it. For $1200 you get an all in one with zoom lens that will get you between 24-600mm. THAT IS HUGE! You have 4K video capabilities, you have a full swivel LCD, and a great EVF. It’s quick and has great IQ for a small 1″ sensor camera. The PEN-F is just a gorgeous camera all the way around. Sleek, sexy, and delivers stunning IQ with all of the unique features we have come to enjoy with Olympus cameras.

The RX10 III comes in at $1498.00. Pretty pricey for a all in one zoom 1″ sensor camera. BUT then again, getting all of what it offers is quite amazing for this size and price. It even has a manual aperture dial and gives us 60mm at f/4. Same as the Olympus 300mm pro.

The Olympus PEN comes in at $1199 body only and the 300mm f/4 Pro is $2499 with a 2 month wait list. $3600.

Here are some just for fun snaps at 600mm with both. NOTHING FANCY, but you get the idea. The Olympus pairing will give you more shallow DOF, and richer files with better Dynamic Range. The Sony offers small and light, with a powerful built in lens capable of 600mm at f/4.




1st Olympus, 2nd Sony – CLICK THEM FOR LARGER!



1st Olympus, 2nd Sony



1st Olympus, then Sony



At the end of the day, the Sony is a damn powerful camera for those who are looking for an all in one, vacation cam, kids cam, family cam, video cam, backup cam or for those who want to photograph birds or wildlife.

The Olympus is a more attractive package but also much more expensive. The Olympus will offer better IQ due to the larger sensor but be prepared to get a workout! The 300mm pro is heavy and large but it’s a beautiful piece of glass, a work of art and a pro tool without question.

Just shows that today, digital imaging tech is as good as it has ever been, and we still have amazing choices as photographers, hobbyists and enthusiasts in the mirrorless world.



  1. Good comparison and although I do like the Oly images a tad more (seem to have better contrast and saturation, both of which can easily be tweaked) I am still eager to really test my new rx10iii.
    Basically, I am reducing gear due to bag-weight issues. On trips, I haul an a77ii body, 11-16 Tokina, 18-250 sigma, 175-500 Sigma APO (in the for sale section) A6000 body and la-ea2. Between the weight, constant switching of lenses and impatient family members, it’s all a bit buch so out with the A6000 and 175-500 and la-ea2.
    Apart from the Rx10iii dumb lens ergonomics (aperture ring layout just not right) and lack of toggle for focus points, this is an excellent package.
    So, comparing the rx10iii against a crop body with lenses at similar focal length may be a better comparison as few of us can haul $3000 lenses around and so many of us cannot justify 2-3 “premium” lenses and will likely be using more run-of-the-mill optics. Just a thought.

  2. At around half the price of the Sony is the Canon G3X with similar lens spec. Sony is obviously best for video with 4K but if you are a still shooter and want the long lens then the Canon should be factored in. Those talented photographers at ‘Luminous Landscape’ have a good review and say that the lens of the G3X is stunning. The performance of the Sony lens here is very good indeed and the camera is a fantastic package. I was looking to get the G3X but this RX10 is very tempting but it’s a bigger and heavier camera than the Canon and also has an EVF, the EVF on the Canon is an optional add-on.

    These small sensor cameras are quite amazing though and getting better all the time.

    • I bought the G3x and just finished comparing to the RX10 iii….not even close. Just like when comparing the 2500 to the RX10 III, the lens on the Sony is on another league which makes a huge difference.
      If only it had touch screen, and maybe PDAF af (not to mention why the heck they removed the ND filters!!!), it would have been about perfect.

  3. Nice to see the RX10 III holding up well against a M4/3 and a lens itself costing almost twice as much. Now, which one would I take for travelling given the fact that I’d probably need to purchase another couple of lenses for the Oly to cover the focal range?

    It’s a no brainer! And that’s exactly what I bought mine for.

    Looking forward to your review although, of course, I don’t need to be tempted to buy it.

  4. In the goggle pics the one from the Olympus pops out, but probably because the object appears 10-20% larger than from the Sony. This is the same in the roof pics where in addition the blurred backgrouds reduces the distraction from the tiles.

  5. looks like “600mm” is not the same for both. Is the Olympus more than 300mm (600mm equiv) or is the Sony less than 600mm?

    • The focal length is taken when the camera is focussed at infinity. Frequently, especially with zoom lenses, that focal length actually reduces at closer focus distances. Sometimes, this effect is quite drastic. If Steve did a comparison with focus near enough to infinity, you’d see the same coverage.

    • The reason why the oly-picture looks a bit closer is:

      Olympus ratio is 4:3. Sony is 3:2. But all pictures on this website have the same size. That means you have to crop the oly-picture a bit to get the same wide as the sony-picture.

      Best regards

  6. I would be interested in a comparison of the A7R2 with 70-300 at 300mm cropped vs Rx10iii at 600mm in outdoor light. My first time out yesterday with the A7R2 70-300 combination produced cropped bird shots (no BIF yet) that exceeded my expectations. However, in good light, the RX10iii is quite appealing. Your comparisons are always interesting!

  7. Wow, the little Sony keeps up well!!

    If you ask me, either setup will fall apart in more challenging situations (e.g. low light, wild life in motion, additional cropping, etc…)

    And that brings us to the kind of crazy comparison I would like to see: Olympus 300/4 vs. A7RII with 70-300 CROPPED to match the Olympus vs. A7RII with LA-EA3 with 70-400 G II CROPPED to match the Olympus.

      • Nope but you surely dont understand the beastly performance of the A7Rii obviously…

        • “Nope but you surely dont understand the beastly performance of the A7Rii obviously…”

          Um, not sure why you came to that conclusion. I am aware that the Sony A7r2 is a competent camera and know what it’s capable of at the pixel level. I have also used the Olympus 300/4 and the Sony 70-400 and know how good both lenses are, as well as the other benefits of both systems. Hence my comment.

  8. Its impressive the rx10, it’s not a camera for everyone and I will definitely not buy one for me. But will love to get it for my sister. Perfect for someone who wants a do it all camera to document her work , (she is a veterinarian working on the field) with good enough quality. Good reach, good video, good image quality, not so big. I can’t see anything bad except pricing 🙂 does it have any kind of weather seal?

    • Hi, I don’t own the RX10 III but I do know from my readings that all the RX10 models are nicely weather sealed. It’s one of the things that attracts me, and I am considering one for telephoto shots.

  9. Just for fun, I wouldn’t mind a short Nikon P900 review from you Steve.
    A nice gadget with a 2000mm lens … 🙂

    • It’s not biased. The Olympus shots are pretty clearly better images, and they should be for the price. The RX10 III is still very impressive when you consider it’s a zoom lens on a smaller sensor, and costs less than half what you’d pay for an OMD and 300 Pro lens. For someone who wants to shoot telephoto occasionally, but not enough to justify a $2500 lens, the RX10 III could be a great choice. It should be especially nice for travel I think. I personally use an RX100 III and an OMD Em5 II with very good lenses, and the Oly is clearly producing better image quality, as it should. But in good light the little RX can come scarily close sometimes! Sony’s imaging technology is nothing short of amazing.

      • Actually the RX10 III shows more detail in all shots but more DOF too as expected from a small sensor. Of course, the Oly should have better high ISO but overall, I will take the RX10 iii as my ONE only camera if that is what I want to go with…otherwise, A7Rii it is 😉

  10. Nice comparisons, thanks. So many options these days. I’d love to see the Canon G3X thrown into the mix (even smaller but slower lens and no built-in viewfinder). My option at that range is the EM1 with 75-300, which is not so good at the long end.

    • They were shot at the correct ISO, as there is no “Equivalent ISO”. F/4 on the Sony is the same as F/4 on the Oly in regards to light gathering (I could care less about equivalent for DOF, that has nothing to do with this comparison or any really as I show what you get from the camera not trying to match the DOF between two different sized sensors. Therefore, ISO 100 on the Sony is at 1/1250 and that is base ISO. Base ISO of the Oly is 200, therefore the Oly was at 1/2500. But both cameras will gather the same light at the same aperture and same ISO. Here, the base ISO of each is different, and that is what was used, and should always be used in comparisons. What you see is what you get, just as if we used the camera in real life 🙂

      • Thank you…but please excuse my ignorance…what is “base ISO”? This is the first time I have heard that term, how does one identify what is the base ISO for a given camera and what does that mean?

        • In basic terms, Base ISO is the ISO that the camera is best at. Some are ISO 100, some are 200, and this is where the sensor performs the best, at the base ISO.

          • Base “ISO” isn’t necessarily the lowest one. Many cameras allow you to choose an extended range, below (and/or above) what the manufacturer decides is best quality. For example, on the EM1, base is 200 but I almost always shoot at 100. The cost is supposedly clipped highlights because the camera is actually shooting at 200, overexposing by one stop and then pulling the exposure back. I rarely have trouble with those highlights (and retain the option of shooting at 200!) but do get much cleaner files.

          • Thank you…I am surprised the Olympus doesn’t go below 200…I can’t think of another camera that doesn’t at least have 100 with many having 80 or 64 (but as I said I am really ignorant is this area),

          • Olympus does go below ISO 200, but it is an extended ISO. The Olympus penF can do Extended ISO 100 and ISO 80. The extended ISO essentially is an over exposed ISO200 image, that has -EV auto applied to create a cleaner lower noise image. Disadvantage of extended ISOs beyond the sensor capability is the reduction in dynamic range

  11. Ignoring noise and DR, the DOF differences between m43 and 1″ is not all that much! And to get that extra stop of DOF, the lens size is massive. This article is in favor of the RX10iii since it just makes sense being that much smaller and cheaper travel camera kit.

  12. the RX10III was pretty close until the light bulb shot, wouldn’t mind getting one instead of the fuji xf 100-400mm 4.8/5.6(I’m a fuji shooter), $1899 vs $1499, free body included with the RX.

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