I'm a very keen landscape photographer. I usually use digital SLR cameras with all the associated paraphernalia, lenses and filters.
Some time back, I started looking into using smaller cameras as carrying about all the DSLR gear was getting old. For a few years, I have been using a Canon G11, which is a great camera, but not quite up to the quality attainable from my DSLR.
When the RX100M2 came out, I was very interested because the reviews were so good. Sadly, it had no kind of viewfinder which, for me, is a requirement. I really don't like holding the camera out in front of me, trying to compose with a washed-out monitor in the sunlight.
When the RX100M3 came out, I was excited to see that they had added an electronic viewfinder, so, after much research, decided to give it a go. I figured that I could always return it within the return period if I didn't like it. It is, after all, a very expensive camera for a compact.
From the very first shot taken with this, I was amazed at the quality, and I remain amazed having taken 1,110 shots with it so far.
As an example, yesterday I took this camera, and my Nikon D7000 DSLR to the same location, and shot with both side-by-side. Loading the files onto my computer when I got home, I really could see no discernible difference between the quality of the shots from the Nikon, and this little Sony. In fact, all the shots that I ultimately used turned out to be from the Sony!
Of course, everybody's requirements in a camera differ, but I will outline some of the facets of this camera, and what makes it such an ideal camera for me:
Lens: As stated before, the quality of this camera is superb, and the lens has to take quite a large amount of credit for this. For some, they may find that it only going out to is a problem. Being a landscape photographer, I was more interested in the wide end, and was very pleased to see that Sony had widened it from 28mm in the previous models to 24mm in this model. This end of the range is far more important to me than telephoto. Of course, 70mm at the wide end may not be enough for some people -- possibly if you are intending to shoot wildlife or sports. In that case, you may be better served by one of the long-zoom bridge cameras. They will, of course, not have the image quality that this little Sony has.
It is a fast lens, being F1.8 to F2.8, although be aware that the F1.8 is only really available at the widest end. Still, F2.8 at 70mm is fine for me.
Handling: Make no mistake, this is a very small camera. This is, of course, a great asset, but it may seem a little "fiddly" if you are used to bigger DSLRs. I personally don't find it too "fiddly" to use, although you will have to get used to the fact that there are limited dedicated buttons so, for things like exposure compensation and other common adjustments, you will have to delve into the menus. This is actually made easier because there is a user-assignable bank of twelve settings that are easily reached from the dedicated function button. This makes on-the-fly adjustments quite easy to achieve with the minimum of fuss.
Viewfinder: For me, this is the real high-point of this camera. It is small, but bright and easy to see. I find it more than acceptable to use it to fully compose my shots. Indeed, it is my preferred method of using this camera.
I did, incidentally, find that this camera solved a real problem for me that I didn't anticipate. Being a relatively new eyeglass wearer, I always struggle with how to use my glassed when shooting. Do I adjust the dioptre for clear viewing with my glasses on? The trouble with that is that it means I can't shut out enough light at the viewfinder because my glasses are in between. Also, because you can't get your eye near enough to the viewfinder, you have trouble seeing the whole image and have to shift around to see all parts in the viewfinder. Alternatively, do I adjust the dioptre to be able to see clearly without my glasses? The trouble with that is that I can then not "chimp", or look at the shot on the monitor without putting my glasses back on. It's a real pain. It turns out that this little Sony solves that problem for me. Because the viewfinder gives you exactly the same information that is available on the monitor, I adjust the dioptre so that I can see clearly without glasses, and just use the viewfinder to see the last shot, check on the histogram, adjust settings. In essence, I don't use my glasses with this camera. This works out perfectly for me, and is something that is not possible to do with a DSLR without EVF.
The built-in neutral density filter is a very welcome addition that I use very frequently, and I have added a filter adaptor from LensBaby which allows me to use a 52mm polarising filter.
There are lots of extra gadgets and features on this camera -- most of which I don't use. Mostly in the automatic modes and HDR, etc. Most of these don't interest me. I hear the video is supposed to be class-leading although video is also something that doesn't concern me.
If I search for some negatives about this camera, they are slight and well worth the compromise in my opinion.
I find it tends to blowing out the highlights. It is quite rare for me to take a shot where I haven't dialled in -.3 to -1.5 exposure compensation. I think that's just the price you pay for a camera which has to cater to the casual user. They lean towards a more brightly exposed shot overall at the risk of blowing highlights. No big deal.
There is no facility for remote shutter release, so I use the two-second timer most of the time when I have the camera on a tripod. I was quite disappointed to find that it was impossible to use the self-timer on most of the automatic modes or, more crucially, when using exposure bracketing. There is no point in exposure bracketing if you're going to be shaking the camera around when pressing the shutter manually! Oh well. Can't have it all.
Overall, as you can tell, I love this little camera. I really feel now that I can carry this camera around (especially as I do most of my photography travel on a motorcycle), and not feel as if I'm compromising on image quality for the sake of portability.
There's an old saying in photography that the best camera is the one that you have with you. Never has this been more true. It's always with me, plus it really is the best camera!