My experience with the RX10 iii reinforced everything I probably should have known about the difference between a camcorder and a camera. I'm a professional videographer - not a photographer, and not a filmmaker. I wanted a sidekick that could also fill a niche or two in event coverage that I do. My pro camcorders are bulky, and weigh well over 5-pounds apiece. They don't lend themselves to being slung over the shoulder everywhere you go for those opportunistic stock shots of nature, festive candids, and cityscapes. I thought the RX10 iii might be that kind of portable pal that could also give me a bit more lens than I have in my current arsenal, and sweeten the pot with high res stills, too. It's not, and here's why:
POWER: A pro camcorder needs to be capable of running continuously - the longer the better. The supplied battery fits into a confined space; so, unlike my camcorders, it's not possible to use a larger battery for longer run times. It also came with a mini-USB cable for a charger plug. The manual said that if the charger was plugged into the camera while operating the camera, the battery would not be charged, but it might have longer run time. It also stated that the camera also might overheat and stop operating under those conditions. An AC adapter could be purchased separately. However, that accessory involved a module that would take up the battery compartment; so AC operation would not have seamless battery backup.
MEDIA: A single slot does not allow indefinite recording by relaying between two cards. (I did know this before ordering.)
ZOOM: Whether controlled by the rocker or the ring, the zoom speed is fixed. There are menu selections for the speed, but it cannot be varied by the operator. That makes it impossible to finesse the start and stop of a zoom; so creeping zooms simply cannot be used. Those are very useful to subtly narrow in on a subject from a wide shot, or begin with a tight shot and reveal the context by gradually zooming out. With this camcorder, zoom is strictly a fixed composition tool.
TRIPOD: There is only a threaded hole, with no guide hole. In addition to a thumb bolt, a camcorder tripod plate has a small post that fits into a second hole in the bottom of the camcorder to prevent pivotal slippage during pans. This camcorder was not made with action pans in mind. It is also so profoundly front heavy that it's impossible to balance on a tripod head for smooth tilts. When the camera is tilted, the tripod head needs to me locked into place. The camera is too imbalanced on a tripod to simply adjust the head friction enough to keep the camera from dropping forward. This camera was not made with action tilts in mind.
MENU: This is the worst characteristic of this camera by far. I like to shoot standard video at 1/60th of a second shutter speed, and I like to limit the gain (ISO range) to keep grain to a minimum. I did set the ISO range to 100-6400, and set shutter priority exposure with a shutter speed of 1/60th. But, the many parameters that can effect video are so randomly scattered throughout the menus that I was never confident that I had things optimized.
EXPOSURE/FOCUS FEEDBACK: Using auto ISO with 100-6400 range limits, and 1/60th shutter speed, I was surprised that the camera auto exposed to full aperture (f4 at nearly full zoom) for a rather well lit scene in my studio. I expected better "low" light sensitivity from a 1" sensor. There was no indication of what ISO it selected, so I could only assume that it was max'd out at 6400. When I deliberately went to a pitch dark scene, there was no warning of underexposure. Focusing can be a long, uncharted trip for video. The focus ring can be turned forever in either direction. In still mode, there is a helpful distance indicator in the viewfinder/LCD to show the focal length. That makes it fairly easy to estimate whether you have turned the ring beyond the distance to the subject, or you haven't reached it yet. In movie mode, that indicator disappears.
ND FILTERING: There are no ND filters built into this camera and, again, no indication of when one is needed. My camcorders flash the recommended ND setting (1, 2, or 3) in the viewfinder/LCD when necessary, and it's a simple matter of moving a small switch to the proper number. I knew the RX10 iii lacked this feature and ordered a variable ND filter with it to screw onto the lens. That's additional cost and much more hassle.
Great lens and pretty bokeh; but, after a frustrating amount of effort to get along with the RX10 iii, I returned it. I need better cooperation from a sidekick.