Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Golden State

Another trip to San Diego. One can never get tired of a great city.  This time staying downtown along the waterfront to enjoy the city life.  I brought only the Sony DSC-RX100 to slip into my pocket for shooting photos and the big Nikons stayed at home.  20 MP goodness in a small package!  

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Sony DSC-RX100 Thoughts

I've been playing around the RX-100 for a few months now and can say it lives up to all the positive reviews it has received.

This is a $650 compact camera with a 20.2 Mega-pixel CMOS sensor.  It's a very small package, which is my biggest complaint and my favorite thing all at once.  This camera easily slips into a shirt or pants pocket and you can forget its even there.  Which is great after 30 years of lugging hulking pro body SLR's around everywhere!  On the other hand, for an older guy like me with big hands and being a little near sighted, the buttons and controls take some getting used to.  After several months I can now finally use the controls without totally screwing up what I wanted to do by hitting the wrong (small) button.

The sensor is the amazing thing. It's a full once inch and great resolution that surpasses many DSLR's.  In fact, this camera is even accepted by my most demanding photo agency whereas almost all compacts are banned by them.  It shoots RAW and JPG.  It's great to shoot RAW for max quality and it's nice to have such a great output on a small camera. FULL manual control along with a host of automatic modes, program modes, in camera processing effects, flash modes and extra goodies are all included.

I decided to take this camera, and this camera only, to Arizona and California on the last trip.  That's a big step for me as one who always packed two or three DLSR bodies and all lenses.  Granted, I was not going for a photo trip (but yet it always ends that way).  I shot quite a few images that are ending up at the agencies.  It's that good.  Of course the Carl Zeiss lens helps tremendously.  The optical zoom is great and even going into the electronic zoom is impressive.  Where most cameras lose a tremendous amount of quality when electronically zooming the little Sony does a good job, not as good as optical, but not bad.

Sports shooting is okay with the camera but, as with all compacts, there is a slight lag so it's not a camera I enjoy shooting sports with.  But it does have a 11 frame per second capture rate the really does help when you get past the intitial lag. And don't expect the focus to keep up like with a D3s or D4 because it just can't.  In a burst of captures I usually will delete more than half, but in fairness, the camera is not designed or marketed to be a sports shooter.  It's a camera for the everyday shooter.

Sony hit a home run with this camera.  Will it replace my DLSR's?  Of course not.  But in many circumstances it is the camera that I will carry for everyday shooting and walking around. We'll have to see how it holds up long term.  It's not a Nikon D4 after all.  But with due diligence I should be able to get a lot af great images out of it until they come out with an upgrade.

(Note: All photos below or very compressed. Not full resolution or quality
of original files)

Night capabilities are impressive with little noise at medium iso's.
Many, many built in filters. B&W looks good right out of camera.
Playing with the in-camera filters brings some fun back to photography.
Dusk photos bring accurate color rendering with minimal fuss.
Above and below: Extreme sharpness is evident on full size files.

Deep blacks are evident on jpgs straight from camera.
Lens flare is very controlled with Zeiss glass in the lens.
Macro mode is automatic and very controllable.