Friday, March 01, 2013

Out with the LX3, in with the RX100

click photo to enlarge
Perhaps I was tempting fate posting a piece entitled "In praise of things compact" because shortly after I'd done so my LX3 compact camera began, first to play up and then to enter a process of serious decline. Whether the fault is mechanical or electrical I don't know, but the symptoms involve me pressing the shutter, the camera appearing to go through the appropriate motions, and nothing being recorded. Or the display doesn't work. Or an error message appears asking me to re-insert the memory card. I tried a different card and cleaned the battery terminals and card connectors but to no avail. At the point where the camera was sometimes working but usually failing to do so I decided enough was enough and bought a Sony RX100.

I like to use a compact camera, and despite having an initial aversion to those cameras that didn't have viewfinders I've grown to like composing on a large screen. The Sony's is supposed to be fairly acceptable in bright summer sunshine. We shall see! The RX100 will become my "carry everywhere when I'm not carrying the DSLR" camera. It is eminently suited to that role being slightly smaller and lighter than the LX3. It will also be the camera of choice when I'm photographing in the street because it is much less intrusive and intimidating than a big DSLR.

So far I'm very pleased with the RX100. I'm especially enjoying the two axis electronic level - great for architecture and it reduces post processing time. I also like the facility to take a single shot that combines three versions to reduce noise and improve quality: that's very useful inside poorly lit churches. Most of all, I've been impressed by the quality of jpeg and RAW images: that one inch sensor does better than I imagined it would. Not for nothing is it only one of two fixed lens compact cameras that Alamy has on its recommended camera list (the other being the Leica X1). I gave the camera a workout recently, testing its iAuto modes, and as part of it I visited the medieval church of St Mary at Pinchbeck. Here are two of the shots I took that I've converted to black and white.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Sony RX100
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 10.4mm (28mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/400
ISO: 125
Exposure Compensation:  0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On