The best camera is the one with you – so pocket a good one!

Capture unforgettable moments: A Burmese father and son feeding a flock of seagulls at the Jetty in Yangon, Myanmar. Picture taken with Sony RX100.
Capture unforgettable moments: A Burmese father and son feeding a flock of seagulls at the Jetty in Yangon, Myanmar. Picture taken with Sony RX100.

Experts will say the best camera is the one with you.

That is to say when a photo opportunity arises spontaneously, any camera will do – a shot is better than none. And that is true, especially these days when everyone carries a smart phone and every smart phone has a capable camera built in. Look at Instagram and Facebook. Everyone is taking and sharing pictures daily. But what if good enough just does not cut it anymore? What if shooting conditions are less than favourable especially in a darkly lit restaurant or nightscape? Or when you just want to take it one level up? The Sony RX100 is one of the most powerful and truly pocketable cameras around, and one that never leaves my side everywhere I go.

So let’s have a look at the specifications and performance. If you’re looking for a big punch in a small package, the RX100 sports a 20.1MP 1″-type stacked CMOS sensor . The 1” sensor has a much higher resolution than most others found on similar sized compact cameras, and was first introduced by Sony in 2012 with the first RX100 model. The current Mark IV model is fourth in iteration. The sensor technology allows very fast continuous shooting, up to 16 frames per second, which is great for shooting sports or for parents, energetic children running around. The sensor also offers support for 4K video recording, almost twice the resolution of current High Definition videos. Why shoot 4K videos when most television sets or playback devices are only in high definition? Well, at the rate technology is developing these days, it won’t be long before 4K becomes a household standard. If you are going to record memories, it is worthwhile future-proofing the footage for prosperity. 4K video is almost double the resolution of conventional high definition so you can imagine how good the results will look. In addition, the RX100 has a very impressive high frame rate video capability – meaning you can now shoot super slow motion videos at 240, 480 or 960 frames per second, almost freezing the moment so to speak. Slow motion video is a wonderful way to capture action scenes, especially for dramatising sports moments or distilling magical moments in nature and wildlife. Slow motion videos can be captured at a variety of resolutions.

A wall of pictures of famous American celebrities and personalities in Jakarta, Indonesia. Picture taken with Sony RX100.
A wall of pictures of famous American celebrities and personalities in Jakarta, Indonesia. Picture taken with Sony RX100.
A couple checking their mobile phones very early in the morning at the famous Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangoon, Myanmar. Picture taken with Sony RX100.
A couple checking their mobile phones very early in the morning at the famous Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangoon, Myanmar. Picture taken with Sony RX100.

A thing called ISO Performance.

What really wins it for the sensor is its low light performance. The RX100 has an ISO range from 125 to 12,800. Night shots are clear and vibrant with highly accurate reproduction of colours. Good ISO performance also allows you to shoot at high shutter speeds, up to 1/32,000 seconds on electronic shutter, essential for freezing motion in less than bright conditions. Parents hosting a late afternoon birthday party indoors with lots of kids running around will surely appreciate this. A tip in this case would be to shoot on Shutter Priority Mode (S) and let the camera decide what ISO (low light sensitivity) to use with auto ISO. The RX100’s multi metering mode, which calculates the lighting conditions in the scene using various points in the scene, more often than not offers well-exposed pictures. Center-weighted and Spot metering are also available as options if you want more control and precision in metering exposure (camera’s ability to determine shutter speed and aperture based on lighting conditions).

The beautiful cityscape of Paris, France. Picture taken with Sony RX100.
The beautiful cityscape of Paris, France. Picture taken with Sony RX100.
A statue with fresh roses at the famous Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, France. Picture taken with Sony RX100.
A statue with fresh roses at the famous Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, France. Picture taken with Sony RX100.
A pair of hippopotamus at the zoo in Yangon, Myanmar. Picture taken with Sony RX100.
A pair of hippopotamus at the zoo in Yangon, Myanmar. Picture taken with Sony RX100.
Scenic countryside landscape in Guizhou, China. Picture taken with Sony RX100.
Scenic countryside landscape in Guizhou, China. Picture taken with Sony RX100.

Use the right focal length.

The RX100 also features an impressively sharp F1.8-2.8 24-70mm equivalent Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens that retracts comfortably into a very slim profile for pocketability when not in use. The 24-70mm focal length has become the default zoom standard for professionals working in the commercial, wedding and journalistic industries and it is no wonder why.

24mm is a good wide focal length without severe lens distortion. This allows you to capture vast landscapes or an environmental portrait in a small room when space is an issue.

At the other end, 70mm allows you to capture distant, unreachable subjects or to zoom in for a tight head and shoulder portrait shot of a friend or a friendly stranger during distant travels.

A tip here, 50mm is considered by many to be closest to the way our eyes view the world. Shooting at 50mm seems to be the favourite choice of many photographers.

Shoot portraits at a wide aperture to attain some shallow depth of field for attractive portraits. The 1” sensor is large enough to offer decent out-of-focus backgrounds and bokeh to your portrait subjects. What is bokeh you might ask? Bokeh is a Japanese word used to describe the visual quality of the out-of-focus areas of a photographic image, especially as rendered by a particular lens.

For street photography, an ideal focal length to use would be 35mm. 35mm is just wide enough to shoot a scene unfolding while still allowing close emphasis on a central subject in the frame to anchor your scene and composition.

To capture more details in your street scene, shoot at a smaller aperture, for example F/5.6 or more. The Vario-Sonnar T* lens has a variable maximum aperture range between F/1.8-2.8 making it suitably fast for all shooting conditions.

More pictures taken all over the world with the Sony RX100.

As you can see, despite its deceptively small size, the RX100 packs a punch. So the next time someone tells you “the best camera is the one with you”, tell them Yes, I couldn’t agree more!

Look for your perfect camera companion and accessories at Best Denki (Waterway Point), Challenger (Bedok Point, Causeway Point, Changi City Point, Northpoint and Eastpoint Mall), Gadget World (Causeway Point), Gain City (Causeway Point and Changi City Point), Harvey Norman (Bedok Point and Northpoint), MAX PHOTO (The Centrepoint) and Valore by Challenger (Northpoint).

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