As mentioned in the last newsletter (hey, sign up, why don’t you?) I recently added a Sony RX100 III to my ever-growing equipment bag. Now while it’s certainly not a ‘professional’ camera, and not one that I’ll be using for very much of my day-to-day work, it’s worth mentioning here because it really is exceptional. In work, I can see it being used as a second (or third) camera for a shoot as well as for effect shots, like slow motion. For play, it’s already got me taking more photos and video where previously I would have relied on my iPhone, with all its limits.
There are many in-depth reviews on the RX100 out there (try here, here and here) so I won’t try to better those. All I’ll do here is quickly highlight some of my favourite features of the camera.
The RX100 produces images way above any other compact camera I’ve used. With its larger sensor size, you get a shallow depth of field and in the right lighting the images are flawless. In tougher conditions it still performs brilliantly, but obviously brings in a little noise through the higher ISO levels. You have full control of your pictures and, because it records in RAW, full control of your images in post-production. It’s the closest you’ll get to a DSLR in your pocket.
There’s a browser and (a quite basic) app store built in to the camera. The apps add extra functionality to the camera – one allows you to use a swipe of your hand to take a picture, which is great for long exposures. Another adds a comprehensive time-lapse function. While there is an element of revenue generation here, it’ll be interesting to see what that brings.
Once you’ve downloaded the necessary apps to your phone and camera and connected the phone to the camera’s Wi-fi (which is easier than that sentence sounds) you’re set. Remote controlling the camera from your phone is more than a gimmick, it’s very useful. The image from the camera is streamed to your phone, and you can adjust all the settings to get the image you want. It’s perfect for long exposures or for getting shots from hard to reach places. One tip for this app – if you shoot in RAW, you need to set that in the app as by default the app shoots in JPEG.
Another great feature allows you to transfer images from the camera to your phone pretty much instantly. Ideal for emailing, Facebooking or whatevering.
The Mark 3 is, unsurprisingly, the third version of the camera and the Mark 4 was released this year. It’s a sign of the quality of the camera that you can still pick up the earlier versions. Each is naturally an improvement on the last, and the prices rise accordingly:
Mark I £260
Mark II £360
Mark III £500
Mark IV £750 (ouch)
From my research, there’s not much to gain between the Mark 1 and Mark 2 but there’s big jump in specification to the Mark 3. If you need 4K video, super slow motion or exceptionally high shutter speeds then the Mark 4 is for you but for most of us, I’d say the Mark 3 is sweet spot at the moment.
It is ludicrously expensive for a pocket camera, but it’s the best one you can get.