Five Hundred Shots (and Two Weeks) with a Sony RX100

I’ve been hunting around for a pocket camera which can produce commercial quality images for some time now, and I’ve finally found one which fits the bill. This mini-test describes some ‘first impressions’ after a few weeks.

_DSC0406

Good colour and exposure in macro mode – good start!

In order to be useful it needed to replace my old Canon G9 (which has done a brilliant job as a “carry everywhere” workhorse), be truly pocketable and have around 18-25 Mp resolution to prevent excessive image resizing to meet minimal agency requirements. It must also shoot RAW to give the widest flexibility in post processing….

DSC00007s

Unbelievably small!

Here’s another on a CD with the roll of 35mm film – it really is tiny!

DSC00006s

The lens is a 28-100mm equivalent, f1.8 to f4.9. f4.9 is slow for a 100mm lens – however my Canon 15-85mm zoom on the 60D is f5.6 at 85mm so it’s not that bad! In bright light, the 1/2000th of a second shutter isn’t fast enough for f1.8 at 28mm so a neutral density filter is needed if you want to get shallow depth of field effects (it can be held over the lens).

The physical controls are very configurable – I’ve assigned ISO to the rotating ring around the lens mount, and exposure compensation, image quality, DRO optimisation level, AF mode etc to the Fn button. In aperture priority mode the rear control dial varies the aperture, and it all works well. The camera keeps up well with frantic setting changes so no complaints.

20Mp image quality is very good with low noise to to ISO 800 – about the same normal working range I’d use on the 60D. The large sensor is obviously making a significant difference.

Sharpness at 28mm and f1.8 is a bit weak probably due to distortion correction, but cleans up by f2.5. At longer focal lengths its sharp enough across the frame for me.

_DSC0434s

Test shot in good light – colours tweaked from the default using an ACR colour profile (see later). 18mm, f5.6, 1/500th at ISO 100.

_DSC0434centre

Centre of the frame – the lens is sharp enough to pick out some telephone wires behind the tree which is impressive.

_DSC0434edge

Edge definition is fine too.

The Sony RAW converter is OK – but converting the ARW files to DNG format with Adobe’s RAW converter then using Adobe Camera RAW processing gives better results with more flexibility. Colour seems a little over saturated in RAW – especially a yellow hue to greens. ACR colour profiles by Maurizio Piraccini here allow for more neutrals results – and add a few colour options (thanks!).

Macro at 28mm and f1.8 is excellent, but the minimum focus distance increases dramatically as the focal length increases. The shallow depth of field at these close focus settings produces some good results – but it’s not a fast 50mm or 85mm on APSC or 35mm.

_DSC0337

Macro and some late bluebells .

_DSC0386

The last of the apple blossom. The slightly curved out of focus background highlights are like those produced by a Zuiko 50mm f1.4.

It reminds me most of a 35mm Minox camera which was a lovely small camera with a fixed sharp 35mm f2.8 lens. I really liked that camera – until it broke through overuse.

The special effects modes (JPEG only) aren’t bad, 10 frames per second is a bit over the top for me, but the multi frame dynamic range options and DRO settings look promising – I’ll do a test at a later date. All in all a very flexible package, and combined with an IR R72 and Neutral density filter (58mm diameter) a very portable one too.

Hope you find this useful and thanks for looking.

Advertisements

Sony RX100 does a few more infrareds….

A few more shots from a very good compact camera  with a Hoya R72 filter.

Experimenting with a few different settings, this was taken in JPEG B/W mode then converted in DXO filmpack using a high contrast Ortho film setting. ISO 800 f1.8 at 1/30 of a second in mixed bright/overcast light (the contrast through an R72 filter is very low).

_DSC0269b_DxOFPa

Next , same settings and a good result shot in RAW and converted to DNG format using ACR RAW converter, then desaturated in red/magenta channels along with a contrast boost.

_DSC0259_DxOFPs

Just got to nail the focus and it’s done. This camera should prove to be an excellent carry around camera – worth every penny!

Thanks for looking – hope you like them.

Miscellanea

Been doing a bit too much infrared lately – messing around with a new toy (an RX100). So it’s time for a few completely unrelated and non-infrared images of bits and pieces, which were the subject for a few stock photography shoots.

First – a high contrast image of three monkeys picked up in an antique shop – diffuse glow added to the effect.

00029041

This one is from a pack or razor blades – the gap between the blade and the paper is done with a piece of blu-tack (very useful stuff).

00029511

These were a pair of antique glasses (another antique shop)  – shot on an Oly 620 using a Helios 85mm f2 lens. This really is a star of a lens!

00071672

Finally a miniature bicycle made from drinks tin scraps shot with a lensbaby in strong sunlight on a card background. 00083994

All shots for the book cover market – thanks for looking and hope you like them!

Sony RX100 Does Infrared (First Attempt)….

Just traded in a Canon G9, a Oly EPL3 and a spare OM2n body to raise funds for a new Sony RX100 – and it’s very good so far. So if anyone’s wondering if you can shoot infrared with one the answer is yes!

_DSC0146

A much more subtle range of tones than the Fuji F810 I usually use – not surprising as the Sony’s sensor is huge by comparison with the tiny one in the Fuji.

The R72 filter is just held over the front over the lens, and after a bit of experimentation a +1 exposure compensation and ISO of 400 to 800 ASA allows hand-held exposures at 28mm at f1.8 on a sunny day. Focus is a bit hit and miss. Shooting RAW allows for the inevitable post processing.

_DSC0051

There’s a slight hot spot’ of brightness in the centre but it’s easily edited out. Processing consisting of de-saturating the red and magenta channels (there’s no other colour information).

_DSC0042

In addition to the IR R72 filter, carrying a three stop neutral density filter in a shirt pocket allows the use of the widest apertures in bright conditions for ‘normal’ photography – the minimum shutter speed is 1/2000 th of a second.

Up close the IR results are grainier than a ‘normal’ shot, but at 20MP it’s nowhere near as noticeable as using a 12MP sensor.

With a bit of practice this should be a tiny, versatile camera in conjunction with the two filters.

Hope you find this useful – thanks for looking!

Sunlight at Last – Infrareds!

Something like summer has finally arrived in the UK, and so its infrared season again – here are a few from the archive.

This first one was taken on a Sony R1 with an R72 filter and a tripod – toned slightly to give it a more dramatic tone. That curving railing really leads the eye on to the main subject.

00062813

infrared church

Next the converted Fuji 810 which soldiers on year after year allowing hand-held IR on a sunny day at base ISOs – pity it’s not more than 12 Mp! Although I prefer IR film, the ability to just pack this small camera with a filter into a trip and shoot without a tripod allows for a lot more IR shots.

00084002

Sony R1 again – and a rare IR shot which turned out as I’d imagined!

00028508

Finally the Fuji again and a dark stormy sky on a walk out near the coast. This took a lot of post processing! 00129793

All shots for the book cover market – thanks for looking and hope you like them!

Texture Layers Part Four

Time for a few more layered shots, this time a little less subtle than some of the previous ones.

First up, a fountain in a park – the dark layer added a sense of drama to an otherwise cold winter scene.00177107

Similarly here – this was shot on a truly dreadful day – cold, wet and frozen.

00177130

Next one from the same day and the layer adds to the wet misty atmosphere.

00177139

Finally one from the heath nearby – the layer adds an ‘aged’ look to an otherwise so-so image. Might be better in black and white…

00177093

All shots for the book cover market – thanks for looking and hope you like them!

Shooting Doors Part Eight

Time for few for the Legion.

First one on the modified Fuji F810 – an overgrown garden gate in a Dorset village.

00284751

Next a church door – can’t remember where – just open wide enough to allow a bit of light in.

00034039

Finally one on Ektar 100. The faded look seemed to suit the subject.

doors8

All shots for the book cover market – thanks for looking and hope you like them!