Cruising the Caribbean with the Sony RX100 III by Mike McFaul

Cruising the Caribbean with the Sony RX100 III

by Mike McFaul

Hey Steve,

We’re already 2 full months into the new year, and yet both Fuji and Leica have you busy with your Real World Reviews … keep it up! However, it would be your review on the first generation Sony RX100 all these years ago that had me saying, ‘Absolutely not! There is no way I’d buy that thing. Sony is not a camera company!’

At the time I had (and still do) my always lovable and enjoyable Oly EM5, with my lens collection simply being the Panny 20/1.7 and the Oly 45/1.8. I really got to know the camera, its few quirks and for me, everything just felt right, and had the idea that I’ll never replace this camera. That is, until our family trip to Sedona, AZ back in Christmas of 2015.

It was family trip with my wife, 2 yr old daughter and mother-in-law that I had really high hopes for from a photography standpoint. And while we had a fantastic time as a family, with memories we still talk about from time to time and reminisce about going back, it is the lack of photographic images from that trip that disappointed me.

And to be fair, it really had nothing to do with the Oly EM5 or its performance. Rather, it had to do with my preference and need for a smaller, faster and more convenient camera. As I’m sure many readers on your site with young children can attest to, traveling with a 2 yr old (who at the time was just a month shy of 3 yrs old) is a LOT of work. Work that required me carrying a book bag for the little one’s diapers, wipes, my lenses, food, water, juice, maps, extra clothes, toys, extra battery, lens cleaner, and more…all while trying to keep a watchful eye on an excited and active daughter, and at the same time trying take in the beautiful scenery of Sedona while alongside my wife and mother-in-law. Again, it’s a lot of work.

Fast forward to today and just two weeks removed from another family trip with the family, only this time it’s an 8 day/7 night cruise through the Caribbean, and I couldn’t be happier with my images from the trip via the Sony RX100 III.

Our trip was booked in October of last year, which in turn led me on a 3-4 month journey of never ending research and analysis of just about every point and shoot out there. I was suffering from analysis paralysis down within a deep dark rabbit hole. I couldn’t make a decision.

One week it would be Fuji’s X70 for I absolutely love Fuji’s color signature. Then I’d move on to the Ricoh GR II, and it’s ease of handling and it’s reputation as the perfect street photography camera. Not to mention both being large APS-C sensors! And perfectly capable cameras to boot.

But I would still find myself drawn to Sony’s little pocket rocket…and I hated that I did. I continually found myself on Flickr combing through images produced by the RX100 and continually being amazed by its image quality. ‘It’s a 1” sensor! How can it be!’ It just doesn’t make sense. And for me, it did.

I found the zoom range to be more and more appealing, and I hated zooms! I rented the Oly 12-40/2.8 when it first came out and came away with the realization that I’ll never again use this or zooms in general. Yet I felt, for me and my preferences, the 28mm equivalent on the Fuji and Ricoh a bit too limiting.

Others things I loved about the Sony, certainly its fast aperture, and it’s blazing fast auto-focus, but to be honest, I really enjoyed using its 3 stop ND filter for I love shooting wide open.

I found it’s bokeh to pleasant and for my tastes, perfectly acceptable. And I have to add, the ability to carry (albeit, firmly within my palms) this little thing around with a wrist strap, was a bit liberating and incredibly convenient. Again, for family man/super dad situations, the RX100 was rock solid.

I cannot speak for it’s pop-up EVF or it’s video for I did not use them at all during the trip. And found the back LCD screen useable in all manners of light and situations, and I especially enjoyed using the selfie LCD screen tilt as well. Certainly makes framing the background much easier.

Below are a couple more favorites from the trip. Hope your readers enjoy and more specifically, those moms and dads that are currently planning a family trip with little ones and are debating over the purchase of an RX100. It would be premature of me to say it’s ‘the best travel camera ever’ because I didn’t really get the opportunity to use any competitor camera, but I will say, here I am all these years later after my initial impressions of the RX100 from Steve’s review, and I have no buyers remorse over my purchase.

Also, all images are JPEG, uploaded through Sony’s wifi function to my phone and edited to taste within the Snapseed app.


  1. Nice photos. It seems to me that mirrorless and point-and-shoot are better for non-professional purposes when you are doing a lot of traveling. Would you agree?

  2. I’m heavily bought into MFT and also have an RX100 MK3, and it’s pretty amazing.

    Could see myself springing for the MK5’s focus benefits on the MK6, hopefully with a touchscreen.

    Nice shots!

  3. I am also an Olympus user: Pen F and several prime and zoom lenses. For a while I used a Panasonic LX 5 as a pocketable go-everywhere camera, but I recently bought an RX100 III and have been very pleased with the results. It’s an amazing little camera capable of Malik
    Nag great images, as your pictures illustrate.

  4. Nowadays I often travel just with my RX100 Mk Zero. I initially was concerned about performance indoors, at night or under bright daylight without EVF. But I was positively surprised, at leased compared to ASA 1600 color negative film from 20 years ago. The LCD works even at viewing angles greater than 45°.

    As a NEX6 and NEX3n user I should not complain about bulk or weight, but the RX100 is much easier in pant or jacket pockets. No worries which lens to bring, either.

  5. As a camera geek and father of four I really enjoyed this write up! Thanks so much for submitting!!! Last fall I took the family on a vacation to Florida and I brought a Nikon Coolpix A for running around Disney and other little excursions, then used a Nikon D810 & F100 (film) for days hanging around the beach. My favorite pics came from the Coolpix A since I could take it anywhere, and the F100 on beach days for the 3D pop & depth in the sunny highlights.

    And your are most correct, when traveling with kids, the camera needs to be light, fast and always ready!!!! : )


    • Thanks, Mike! It certainly is a complimentary camera to our already existing systems, but when it comes to ‘light, fast and always ready’ the RX100 is tough to beat. And kudos to you for carrying the F100 as well, for I generally bring my Pentax Spotmatic II on some trips as well.

  6. Thanks for sharing! I’m a dedicated Fujifilm shooter, but really wanted a pocketable camera to carry with me. I was really, really drawn to the X70, but the 28mm focal length and lackluster video kept me from taking that leap. Plus, my wife and I just had our first baby and I was set on getting us a good video camera. After lots of research, I decided to go with the the RX100 IV which, like you, I really didn’t want to get. It was just a better all-around shooter, and more convenient to get out when lugging all our family supplies.

    So far, I’ve been pretty impressed. I’m definitely overwhelmed by Sony’s crazy menu system, and very underwhelmed with the aunt white balance indoors, but it’s working for me.

    Great pictures, too! I enjoyed seeing those!

    • Thanks, Brandon! I do need to take some time to play with its video capabilities, for I know there will be moments in the future when I’ll need it. As for Sony’s menu, completely agree. It’s archaic. I mostly use their quick menu option. And their white balance, yes – indoors leaves much to be desired and per their color signature, it’s a bit on the blueish side. I will say Snapseed’s auto WB feature is pretty good and is either spot on or just needs a bit of sliding left or right.

  7. I fully agree with you about the IQ of the RX100 iii. I bought mine really cheap when the series had got up to RX100 v, and continue to be amazed by the combination of versatility and high quality images from such a little sensor. Your pictures in all their variety show just how much you enjoy the camera.

    • Thank you, John! It really is a fun camera. Sony is certainly doing us favors by offering new generations of their RX100 through BHPhoto. Still very capable and up to date technology on the III. Cheers!

  8. Some of those are pretty good. Some were a bit too ‘touristy’ but that’s hardly a sin.

    I think the Sony 1″ sensor cameras are great, and I look forward to trying them out down the line. The first two RX100 versions were duds IMO, but after version III, they became real winners.

    • Haha! Thanks, Karim! 😉 I agree with your opinion on the first two versions, and didn’t see too much of a difference to justify the purchase of the 4th or 5th…for the things I needed. And you should certainly give the little RX100 some thought. If anything, I hope their future updates have a 28-90 zoom range.

  9. I opted for the Fuji X70 ten months ago because of its sensor size and jpeg film simulations. I have to admit, your photos are hugely convincing that the 1 inch sensor is capable of remarkable results. I may well add an RX100 to my stable of cameras.

    And to remind the readers, you must click on the photos on Steve’s site to see the true quality of the image. The photos here are no exception. Without clicking, I would have thought “meh.”

    • Man, that X70 is a beautiful camera. And it is very likely a Fuji is going to be purchased in the near future, but rather their new X100F. I’m a rangefinder, tactile feel, B&W guy…and I feel like this may the one that gets me to jump. Mainly use as a walk around street photography camera. Their Acros simulation, support/updates and online community are tough to beat.

      And yes, for those that are reading, do click on the images to see it’s full resolution.

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