RX100 concerns...

Started May 19, 2013 | Discussions thread
Dennis Forum Pro • Posts: 17,678
For low light ...

dood77 wrote:

Very important is good pictures in low light, which my cell phone and the Olympus really cannot do

But it seems to have better low light ability then say Canon s100/s110, fuji xf1/x20, etc., etc.

For good low light photographs, you want to put as much light onto the sensor as possible.  This is accomplished by a fast lens, which increases the light intensity (how much light hits any portion of the sensor) and a larger sensor.  If you take a look at the chart on this page:


you'll see lens apertures expressed in terms of "equivalent" apertures.  Basically, this is taking into account the sensor size, acknowledging that f/2.8 putting light onto a bigger sensor may be as good as f/1.8 light at a greater intensity onto a smaller sensor.  (In practice, you'd be shooting at a higher ISO at f/2.8 but the larger sensor might be less noisy at that higher ISO).

If that explanation is too in-depth, don't worry about it.  Just look at the chart and realize that the lower you are on the vertical axis, the better for low light.  You'll see that the RX100 is the champ up through about 60mm equivalent.  Above that, the LX7, XZ2 & X10 enjoy a modest benefit.

Image stabilization also comes into play *if* you're shooting something that can be shot at a slower shutter speed.  (Often you need a fast shutter speed to minimize subject motion blur, but when you don't, image stabilization can help).  All of these cameras have IS; some a bit better than others.  The RX100 has been tested to be somewhat subpar in this regard, but I've had no concerns.  Probably because I'm not pushing it to try to get 4 stops or anything crazy because I have little use for such slow shutter speeds.  More typically, I'm dropping down as low as 1/30s and not at full telephoto.

The LX7 is often available at a nice price and is a tempting alternative.  It's a bit bigger, and in the end I opted for the more compact camera.  Already, I think there are times I've carried the RX100 somewhere in a pocket that I might have left the LX7 behind - not often, granted.

Personally, I think that if you choose any of these cameras that show up near the bottom of that graph, you'll be doing much better than you'd do with any of the cheaper tiny sensor digicams and while they may not handle every low light situation, you'll be doing the best you can without springing for a larger sensor (larger camera, larger price) model.

1.  20 megapixels is going to use up a TON of hard drive space.  I really don't need all these megapixels.  I am guessing I can turn down the megapixels on the camera e.g. to 12 to take photos-- will this significantly affect the image quality of an online image?

I haven't tried camera-generated jpegs, but should be fine.  The other option is to use software like Lightroom, import raw files, then immediately (after any tweaks you want), create jpegs of the desired size and toss the raws.

and the RX100 images beat images from other cameras even at 4 x 6 on my computer screen.  Is it necessary to have the 20 mp to do this?


Would shrinking the images down on e.g. photoshop eliminate the high picture quality I am buying the camera for in the first place?

No.  Obviously, you're getting 1MP of resolution instead of 20MP, but nobody's going to see 20MP on a screen anyway.  The real strength of the RX100, IMO, isn't the resolution of the sensor, but the size of the sensor.  And that holds when you downsample.  (You mentioned a couple of times that low light is important; you never mentioned 20x30" prints, so you want a big sensor and fast lens).

3.  Said differently, by the time I might take images at e.g. 12 megapixels, then shrink to 1024 x 768, would I just be better off with some $100 Nikon coolpix (which of course wouldn't perform as well in low light!-- you see my struggle).

No.  Unless shooting in daylight all the time (and even then, the RX100 does better with dynamic range, color depth and some limited capacity for shallow depth of field.

- Dennis

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