Category Archives: Sony

My Next Second Camera?

I’m selling off my Olympus OM-D tomorrow. Now I have to think about a replacement.

I know that some people think I’m crazy for selling off the Olympus. It’s a wonderful camera. But my financial situation changed soon after buying it (used) and I am not going to be buying a series of Micro Four Thirds lenses, especially when I already own around 10 Nikon lenses.  The other reason is the size.  Yes, the body is a lot smaller than your standard DSLR.  Even so, once you slap a lens onto it, it’s big enough. And by that I mean big enough that I needed a camera bag to carry it around, rather than slip it into a coat pocket. It got to the point where I started leaving it home and going out with my D800 with a 35mm or 50mm lens on.  And that meant it got to the point where I was leaving it home and not using it.

So as wonderful as it is, it just doesn’t make sense for me to own a camera that I don’t use.

So the question is, what next?  There are two cameras that I’m looking at, and they’re very different from each other.

The first is Sony’s RX100. It’s a true pocket-sized camera with a large sensor and a decent zoom lens. There’s no optical viewfinder and the maximum aperture on the zoom lens goes down to F4.9 once you’ve zoomed in a bit. The control layout is a bit odd, I have never liked Sony’s menu system, and you have the charge the battery in the camera.

The second is Fuji’s X100s.  It’s twice the price of the Sony. And it has a single fixed focal length lens. I loved shooting with the X100 but was frustrated by the slow auto-focus and by Adobe’s inability to deal properly with the RAW files.  All of that is said to be fixed now.  And it has the same APS-C sensor as the X-Pro1 now.  But double the price.  And jacket pocket sized rather than pants pocket sized.

Right now I really don’t know.

Some have suggested the Panasonic LX7 (or the equivalent Leica D-Lux6) and I know the Nikon Coolpix A is getting some good reviews but so far neither of those seem that appealing to me. I’ll try to take a closer look at them.

I know some of you have commented on this recently.  Any newer thoughts?

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If I Had The Money, I’d Buy the Sony RX1

Just a random thought.  The Olympus OMD is very nice indeed but I’m not going to invest money in buying lenses for a second camera system.  Also, with most of the available lenses attached, it’s not even a little bit pocket friendly.

The Sony RX-1, on the other hand …. Full frame sensor.  35mm fixed lens.  Would fit in a jacket pocket with ease.  At HK$24,000, it’s not even remotely cheap.

One might look at it by comparing it to the Nikon D600, which in all probability has the same sensor inside.  The Nikon costs around US$2,000 with no lens.  Add in the cost of a lens and then shrink it down so it’s pocket-sized and you’d get to that same price point.

That being said, the Sony has its flaws.  The 35mm lens is just F2.0 and for that price and for a fixed lens one would think they could have done F1.4.  That’s negligible.

The lack of a true EVF, the fact that you have to do all your framing and focusing on the rear LCD, really cripples the camera.  You can buy a bolt-on EVF but it’s expensive and increases the camera size.  Actually, I think that it was DigLloyd who decided that the true cost of the RX1 is closer to US$4,000 once one buys an EVF, a spare battery and some other accessories.

Still, a pocket-sized camera with a full frame sensor would work well for me.

I find the Sony RX100, with its APS-C sized senor, a bit quirky, based on what I’ve read.  It’s possible to pick one up used in HK for just a few thousand bucks.  I’m curious what Sony will change or improve with the RX200 or RX101 or whatever they choose to call the next model.  And curious about the RX2, whenever that’s going to happen.

For the time being, buying a new camera isn’t going to happen.  But I can still fantasize.

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Sony A99 and Fuji X-Pro1

Out with some friends last night in Wanchai, one of whom had just bought Sony’s latest full frame SLT camera, the Sony A99.

I had the chance to hold it and shoot a few shots and it seems like an extremely impressive camera.  That EVF is so bright and clear, so fast and detailed, that it felt as if it was an optical viewfinder and not an electronic one.  The control layout was intriguing, the high ISO performance (based on just looking at results on the LCD) also looks as if it could be outstanding.  I had a few moments of sitting there in the bar thinking to myself, “Hmmm, Nikon D800, focus issues, dust and oil on the sensor, sell off D800, sell off 9 lenses, sell off speedlight, battery pack, gps, start all over again with Sony …. ai ya!”   I know, totally insane.  But it was really sweet.

Fuji released another firmware update for their X-series lenses yesterday.  I didn’t have a chance to read what’s supposed to be improved because I downloaded from the Fuji Japan site.  I updated all 3 of the lenses and then went out with the X-Pro1 and 35mm 1.4 lens last night.  It was an exercise in pure frustration.  In a relatively dark space (a bar), in both S and C focus modes, shooting stationary objects, it still seemed like it took forever to find focus and take the picture.  Even if I just tried to go on faith, to just hit the shutter button all the way, I’d push the button, remove my finger and it seemed like it was 1 or 2 seconds after that until it actually took the picture.

The problem seemed even larger to me because I’d just done a few quick shots with the Sony, where focus and shooting even in that dark environment was practically instantaneous.  The only way for me to speed things up with the Fuji was to go to manual focus mode, but without focus peaking or any other sort of visual indicator, without my glasses on I could only do some best guesses, which ended up being wrong more often than they were right.

My friend, the one who’d just bought the Sony, asked me if I’d put my X-Pro1 up for sale on DCFever yet.  “If you didn’t, I’ll bet you do by tomorrow.”   Well, so far I haven’t.  But that’s more because I don’t know what I’d replace it with.  I hear that auto focus is the same with the Fuji X-E1.  I’m not interested in the Sony RX100.  The Olympus OM-D seems pretty amazing but the good lenses for it are too expensive for me.   Leica is far beyond my budget.

And then there’s this – the shots that I did get with the Fuji:

(All of the above are from JPG, not RAW, shooting in black & white mode.)

So despite all my frustrations, I think I should just stick with what I’ve got and wait for an X-Pro2 and hope for some major improvements.  Opinion subject to change, based on if I ever find a full time job again …

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Jumping to Conclusions

Ken Rockwell has already reviewed the Fuji X-E1.

It drives me nuts shooting a DSLR or M9 when I can’t see my image pop up instantly in the finder after I’ve shot it — as I do with my X-E1.

The all-metal X-E1 is so far ahead of everything else that I’m going to need some new superlatives.

Italics mine.  How does he already own one when it hasn’t shipped yet?

Steve Huff seems to have reached conclusions about the Sony RX1 based on what exactly? Apparently a couple of minutes playing with a pre-production sample and some images provided by Sony.

 The sensor in the RX1 and the A99 appears to be the best 35mm full frame sensor on the market as of this writing but all I can do now is take their word for it because I was not able to go out and shoot with it.

 I saw comparisons of this sensor vs the D800 and 5DII and was blown away at the extended DR and lack of noise in the crops coming from the RX1 sensor. 

With the RX1 we are going to get best in class high ISO performance, real full frame DOF, amazing dynamic range and as always with Sony superb battery life and hopefully rich and detailed files.

Bold type his, not mine.

I’m sure these will both be fabulous cameras capable of taking great images; I’m just sayin’ …

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Update: Sony RX1 Confirmed

Sony officially announced the RX1 pocket-sized-if-you’ve-got-a-huge-fucking-pocket compact camera today.  Here are some of the official specs:

  • 24 megapixel full frame sensor
  • 35mm F2.0  Carl Zeiss lens
  • 3 inch LCD
  • ISO speeds 50 to 25,600
  • Dimensions 4.5 x 2.6 x 2.7 in.
  • Weight (with battery) 17 ounces (482 grams)

The above image is from here – click over to see some shots comparing the size of the RX1 with the RX100 and click here to see the full set of specs.

The price?  Are you sitting down?  US$2,800.  2,600 pounds in the UK.

I think plenty of people are going to pay that price to have a full frame sensor and an F2.0 lens in a size that can fit in a jacket pocket.  For me, I’d love a full frame sensor camera that’s pocket-sized but I think I’d want interchangeable lenses (which, admittedly, would not make it pocket sized depending on the lens).

 

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