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| p.146 #7 · Sony RX1 FF Mirrorless (fixed lens) |
While still on vacation in the Caribbean, got some internet access in Nassau so naturally some time on the net and FM is a nice vacation from vacation (how much time can one really spend sipping tropical drinks and laying in the sun right?)
Thought I'd share a few thoughts and findings on the RX1 as its been working on my trip, paired with a RX100 as the only other camera I took along, being that this is really the first real world usage my RX1 has been getting.
First and foremost, the size/weight has been amazing and also sometimes annoying. I tried a few straps such as an AA cotton one but found I like my Black Rapid the best. The camera just really falls naturally to my side on it and the bottom connection just stays out of the way for any shooting position. The whole rig is just so lightweight you hardly know its there and you can walk around with it all day in 90 degree Jamaican heat with no worries (irie). HOWEVER, there are times/places where you don't want to have a visible camera, and/or just want to be able to better protect it from sand at the beach etc, and the RX1 just isn't pocketable. There have been a good number of times I ended up leaving it behind and using just the RX100 since I could slip it into my pocket. Now this isn't unique to the RX1 as a Fuji, NEX etc also would pose the same problems, but there have been a lot of times when I'm torn on either dealing with the camera or leaving it behind. When you do carry it though, its about as unobtrusive as possible.
It also draws very little attention with no one giving it a second glance or seeming to know what it is. I usually would hand the RX100 off though when someone offered to take a photo for me as I don't want to watch a well being waiter or fellow tourist accidentally drop something as pricey as the RX1.
High ISO ability has really been wonderful as well in that I was able to go walking Ocean Blvd in Miami Beach one night and shoot handheld and get pretty acceptable files at 6400. Lower would of been better but given the car and pedestrian traffic in South Beach, good luck trying to set that up. Focus would hunt for a second then lock a lot of times on the neon buildings but for the style of shooting I was doing, no real issues.
I've been getting a lot of use from the pop-up flash as well. Anytime I'm trying to do a portrait shot with a sunset in the background etc, the fill it provides is really valuable. Around the house I often don't think its a feature I use, and didn't mine on my XPro etc lacking it, but when your in the real world doing photos on the town at night, sunsets etc, proves really handy for any and all backlit situations, even on the beach in full sun.
I'm also making lots of use of the sweep pano feature. Its been working so well, and is so quick and easy, I've done zero manual pano's to stitch later. Sony has really gotten the bugs worked out since they introduced this and I have very little issues with ghosting or banding, even some ocean waves work pretty well. So nice being able to just spin the mode dial to pano and give it a try on lots of different scenes.
This mode isn't new to me, as I love it on the RX100 as well, but darn if the watercolor creative style doesn't keep wowing me. It was a real blast to use for the art deco buildings on South Beach and just turns the images into what looks like a real timeless work of art. Sony really nailed it and the in camera processing best any PS plugin I've owned to date. Equally fun on sunsets, palm tree's, you name it. Funny spending this type of $$$ for a RX1 and then shooting watercolor shots but when it works, it works.
Video isn't the best as I've heard mentioned before, and I'm actually using the RX100 more for video as it just plain works better. Not a real issue for me as I didn't buy the RX1 for video but still a bit of a surprise that its not better given how good the camera is otherwise. If your thinking you can replace a 5D mkIII or something with the RX1, DON"T DO IT, just isn't a good video camera even though it does have some specs that look good on paper.
I really wish the camera had a build in ND filter. Not a big deal in Ohio, but when its sunny every day here, you need one, as otherwise I'm always hitting the shutter speed limit and I do like keeping the Zeiss lens wide open a lot for subject separation.
I'm actually thinking of getting another Mag Filter, like I use on the RX100, and trying that on the RX1 so I don't have to thread/unthread a 3 stop ND all the time. Probably my biggest issue with the camera on this trip. I put it on for shooting at the beach and such, but then maybe will be in the shade at a beach bar during lunch and forget it on and shoot at a higher ISO than I need.
Not a deal breaker but just would of been nice to have it built in is all......
I also picked up the EVF at a Sony store even though I do rather like the Voigtlander 35mm. Surprisingly been using the EVF or LCD more than the OVF on this trip as I've been really taking to using the EVF flipped up. Really useful for lower level beach shots and for night shots, with the RX1's AF, the OVF just felt a bit hit or miss as I didn't know if I locked onto a building or not. Plus when it comes to things like sunset shots, having the real time exposure preview in the EVF is handy for adjusting the EC to my liking. I did of course have to tape it to make sure it stays on as that is a well known fault of the thing.
All and all though, the camera has worked really well and some of the images it produces are just exceptional and I'd of never thought would of been possible from anything short of my FF DSLR's.
RX1 really does give you some serious high end IQ from something that is almost as easy to carry as a P&S.
Its just not clean high ISO files, or a shallower DoF than other compact solutions, its the overall look of the focal transition, pop and way of rendering too. You take a shot wide open shot of your sig. other on pretty beach and it doesn't look like a travel snapshot, it looks like a portrait, yet I didn't have to bring any of my serious (and heavy) gear to achieve it. Unreal what Sony has managed to pack into such a compact little body.
Far from a cheap camera for travel, but IMHO its really worth the money for anyone looking for a readily portable solution that can deliver some IQ that is really second to none.
RX100 also has continued to be just the best true pocket camera I've owned as well, with its 1" 20meg sensor and 28-100mm equiv lens punching well above the weight of something you'd expect to slip into any pants pocket.
Will post some images when I'm back to my home PC and internet access, but thought some still on the fence might like hearing how well the RX1 fared for the purpose that I bought it for, and that was to get some really nice shots while traveling with a minimal gear setup