Swing dance competition w/ RX10 (Indoor-sports test)

Started Jan 22, 2014 | Discussions thread
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Swing dance competition w/ RX10 (Indoor-sports test)
Jan 22, 2014

I occasionally shoot at dance events. This is one of the most challenging situations for any camera, even top-of-the line DSLRs. It's fairly low light (to varying degrees), with twitchy-fast & unpredictable moving people. This is a realm reserved for flagship sports DSLRs like the 1DX, 5D3, D4, coupled with premium lenses with ultra-sonic focusing.

So how did the relatively humble RX10 fare? In a word: Serviceable.

Lets start with the positives: The zoom range is perfect for such events. It covers as wide and as long as I'll ever need to go. The constant F/2.8 is an absolute blessing. There is no single lens solution equivalent for my 5D3. It was a joy to be able to follow the dancers anywhere they went on the dance-floor. And the zoom speed is just fine.

The high ISO performance is actually OK. Shooting RAW with some processing, the noise can definitely be mitigated. I shot using Auto-ISO, but with an upper-limit of 3200.

But.... the AF is truly the limiting factor. I didn't have too high of expectations, and it performed pretty much as I expected. On the plus side, the camera can reliably obtain focus in about 1-2 seconds (if I track the dancers carefully with the AF area), so when it does take the shot it most likely will be acceptably-sharp. But 1-2 seconds for dancers mean that it's near impossible to catch the "peak moment". It does take some luck for the camera to get a peak-moment type of shot. I may do better if I experiment with various AF settings.

So it won't be replacing my DSLR any time soon for such events (not that any mirrorless camera can). But if the Rx10 is all I have, I'm still bound to get some keepers. Here's some from this event.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EOS-1D Nikon D4 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10
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