RX10 Makes Shots Other Cameras Cannot - Samples

Started Dec 29, 2013 | Discussions thread
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paris1968 Regular Member • Posts: 417
RX10 Makes Shots Other Cameras Cannot - Samples

I have had the RX10 in my hands for less than a week, but I can already say that this camera will take pictures that other cameras cannot, including the best DSLRs on the market. I often take pictures in museums and private collections, and I find this type of photography very challenging. It's the basic exposure triangle that you are wrestling with, and some of your most effective tools, the tripod and flash are not available. Because many of the objects are delicate and light sensitive, they are displayed in near darkness. A low f stop means shallow depth of field and frequent focusing errors, especially with small objects. A slow shutter speed means hand shake will blur your shots regardless of accurate focus and high resolution. A high ISO produces unacceptable noise that cannot be dealt with in post processing. Added to this that there is often a single overhead key light and no fill, which typically produces some very ugly shadows that limit your angles. Over the past decade, I have climbed the ladder in resolution starting with a Sony Mavica in 2000, and switching over to Nkon DSLRs in 2007. Lately, I have been using a D3x and the D800e with some of the best Nikon and Zeiss glass from my collection going back to the '70s.

As many have pointed out, the RX10 is series of compromises. The small sensor allows more noise than larger sensors, while at the same time, the 20MP resolution with the magnificent Zeiss lens produces images with a comparatively high resolution. What is sometimes overlooked is how well Sony has done with the camera's processor and its controls and feature set. For the reasons I will detail below, even the D3x and the D800e cannot match the Sony RX10 for my particular application.

Lets start with the EVF. An optical viewfinder is limited to only the light coming through the prism. Live view is still a joke on DSLRs and loupes and other crutches are of little value if accuracy is critical. The RX10 EVF is magnificent in amplifying available light, and when using manual focus it automatically switches to a magnified detail of the focus area. Although I prefer complete manual exposure control, I gave the RX10 its own way to see what would happen. Its programmed balance of Auto ISO, shutter speed, stabilization, given the chosen focal length was nearly perfect. What I can also say is that in low light, and especially with subjects lacking sharp edges or areas of high contrast, the auto focus performs poorly. You are much better off using the camera's well-designed manual focus options in that situation.

Below are several pictures taken at the Sackler/Freer Gallery in Washington D.C. the first two were displayed in near darkness, and these pictures could not have been taken with any of my DSLRs. If you were standing in front of the first two pictures, they would appear dark and muddy. None of the bright colors would been seen in the available light. The ISO is 3200 and the noise is acceptable. I know because I often print at 24X30 inches and understand clearly what I can deal with and what I cannot. The third is also at ISO 3200 and is remarkably clear and sharp, and with more available light, although at the same high ISO, there is much less noise. The last is an example of what the camera can do when not so ISO challenged.

Nikon D3X Nikon D800E Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10
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