RX10 & RX100 series: Custom configuration - for stills shooters

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JohnTheKeenAmateur Regular Member • Posts: 153
RX10 & RX100 series: Custom configuration - for stills shooters

The settings and configuration suggested herein are suited for travel & street stills photography ... with the assumption of shooting RAW, and post-processing.

1. Opening credit:

This thread was inspired by this post by AlwynS wherein Alwyn set-out his camera configuration for taking bird shots ... I have copied his presentation format.

2. Camera sensor performance:

Although quite different in physical format, the RX10 & RX100 series of cameras share many characteristics; having same/similar sensors - and, tho I don't own a RX100, I understand they share many menu options (as they do with the A7 series) too.

Therefore, I expect the following suggestions will apply equally (tho, perhaps, generally) to all models in the RX10/100 range ... and A7 models as well (even more generally).

As users of RX10/100 cameras are delighted to know, their 1" sensor performs exceptionally well. Image quality and dynamic range is truly excellent, and these sensors tend towards the ideal of ISO-invariance (which means they provide great latitude for brightening in post-processing - and ability to leverage EttR practices).

* Min-ISO: Dynamic range will always be best at a camera's base-ISO ... So, choose the lowest-listed ISO setting as your minimum ISO value - BUT, being careful to avoid any ISO settings that are displayed with a "bar" above&below the ISO number (these are NOT real ISO values). Note: I'll be happy to expand on this - just ask.

* High-ISO: In low light situations where the only option is to sacrifice image quality in order to get suitable shutter-speed and/or aperture - then higher ISO settings are a "necessary evil" ... but, I don't recommend higher than ISO-3200 (at very highest) for any of these cameras. Note: I'll be happy to expand on this - just ask.

* ISO-invariance: These cameras (with the exception of the RX100 iii, for some reason?) all exhibit ISO-invariance in the range of base-ISO thru to ISO-3200 ... meaning that we can shoot at one ISO setting in this range and then brighten or darken in post-processing to achieve the same result as setting the equivalent "brightening" factor as an in-camera ISO setting - without image quality implications.

For example, we can expose-for-the-highlights - which may result in a dark image on-back-of-camera ... and then brighten the image whilst processing the RAW to achieve a well balanced result. Again: I'll be happy to expand on this - just ask.

3. Camera configuration:

There are 3 configuration features that we can leverage to make our cameras better suited to individual preference;

i) Custom button assignment: Can be changed from their defaults with the menu option "Custom Key settings".

A critical setting, for me, is for one of the Custom buttons to provide "AEL toggle", which allows for Auto Exposure to be locked On/Off ... I use this when exposing-for-the-highlights (to prevent the camera's metering system from working against me).

ii) Function button assignment: Can be changed from the defaults with the menu option "Function Menu settings".

I have the following 12 "menu shortcuts" assigned to the Function (Fn) button;
Top row
- Shoot Mode - via this shortcut I can quickly switch between any of the 3 memory configurations (assuming Mode dial selection = MR) ... See iii below.
- Exposure Comp
- Metering Mode
- Flash Mode
- Drive Mode

Bottom row
- Steady Shot - set OFF only when the camera is on a tripod (Q: Is this necessary ???)
- ND Filter - not applicable to some RX models
- ISO - not changed via this shortcut, but I keep an eye on the current setting from here.
- DRO/Auto HDR - has no affect on RAW, but helps to make EVF look more like what RAW capture will achieve
- Flash Comp
- Selftimer during Brkt

Some of these assignments are here just so I can keep an eye on their current settings - However, I actually adjust them via their control-dial or custom button (such as ISO, Metering Mode, ISO AUTO Min.SS, etc).

And there are others in the set-and-forget category - so, although important, I don't need to keep an eye on them because I never change them. One such example is Zebra setting = 100+ ... used in conjunction with AEL toggle (see 3.i above) for assistance in exposing-for-the-highlights and EttR.

iii) Memory register: Three different configurations can be registered via menu option "Memory".

I have settings assigned for each of the P, A and S modes ... which may seem completely superfluous (why can't I simply select these via the mode dial ?!) ... but, what this does is it resets all camera settings to exactly how I want them for each of these modes - without needing to worry about a setting I may have forgotten I changed earlier.

For example, in P mode I have ISO set specifically to ISO-100 ... but, in A mode I have ISO set to the range 100-3200 ... Switching using the "Shoot Mode" shortcut via the Fn button (with the mode button in the MR position) from, say, Memory Recall #1 (P mode) to Memory Recall #2 (A mode) will immediately change all my settings to exactly how I expect them to be in the new mode ... as listed below.

Note: My aim in using each camera operating mode is to ensure I have *ONLY TWO parameters to work with (or against!) at any one time*.

In P-mode: I have ISO fixed (to ISO-100) and I use the back-dial to "program-shift" the aperture & shutter settings.
In A-mode: I can fix aperture while keeping an eye on resulting shutter-speed (with potential for ISO to change only within a controlled range).
In S-mode: I can fix shutter-speed while keeping an eye on resulting aperture (with potential for ISO to change only within a controlled range)

4. P(rogram) mode ... Memory Recall #1

The key setting here is for ISO to be set specifically to ISO-100. I use this mode when the light is good - when I can use settings for optimal image quality.
If I cannot achieve the shutter-speed and/or aperture settings I want or need (due to lighting restrictions) - then I switch to one of the following modes.

5. A(perture priority) mode ... Memory Recall #2

ISO is allowed to move in the range ISO-100 thru to ISO-3200 ... however, I will watch ISO carefully, with aim to keep it low as possible.
ISO Auto Min.SS is set to 30 ... which will "influence" the exposure system in its trade-off between raising ISO to protect shutter speed.
I can quickly change the Auto ISO Min.SS setting, as required, via the Fn button.

6. S(hutter priority) mode ... Memory Recall #3

ISO is allowed to move in the range ISO-100 thru to ISO-3200 ... however, I will watch ISO carefully, with aim to keep it low as possible.
ISO Auto Min.SS has no relevance in this mode.
If I cannot achieve the aperture setting I want or need - then I switch to Manual mode.

7. M(anual) mode ... when all else fails !

Manual mode is right next to the Memory Recall (MR) position on the mode-dial ... So, these are the only 2 settings I ever need to change with this dial (for stills shooting).

I hope these notes may inspire others to configure their camera to make it easier to use in most common situations they expect to encounter.

-- hide signature --

Regards, John (the keen amateur)

 JohnTheKeenAmateur's gear list:JohnTheKeenAmateur's gear list
Sony RX10 II Sony SLT-A55 Sony DT 35mm F1.8 SAM Tamron 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 (B023)
Sony Alpha a7 Sony RX10 II Sony RX10 III Sony RX10 IV Sony RX100 II Sony RX100 III Sony RX100 IV Sony RX100 V
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