Category Archives: Olympus OM-D E-M5

Testing the RX100

I was able to take my Sony RX100 out for a little testing and fun today.  One of the places I like to take my cameras is the Planes of Fame Air Museum (POF) in Chino California.  The POF is a wonderful place to visit if you want to see a collection of warbirds, many of which are flyable and part of the big air show show every May.

Before I begin please note that this is not an in-depth scientific review.  My RX100 is the original model, there are currently 2 newer versions on the market.  I picked mine up for a very reasonable price and it has all of the main features that are important to me.

I wanted to travel light today and thought about just bringing the RX100 by itself.  But I didn’t, just couldn’t help myself!  So I placed the little RX100 in my Tamrac Slinger Bag along with my Olympus E-M5 and assorted lenses.  The nice thing is that even with a full bag (2 cameras, and a half dozen lenses) it was still lighter than a bag with my Canon 60D and 3 lenses.  The Slinger is a very comfortable bag and didn’t get in my way at any time as I wandered around the museum.

So, how did the RX100 do?  In a word, great!  It was quick and easy to use.  There were some times when I missed having a view finder but it wasn’t a show stopper.  This happened mostly when I was near a hangar door and the bright outside light would cause some glare on the screen.  I was a little worried about image quality when I set the ISO up to 800 to handle the dim indoor light but was pleased to see that it wasn’t a problem.  Although there aren’t a lot of external controls on the body of the RX100 there are enough to get the most important settings changed.  After that you have to start digging in the menus.  All of my shots today were hand held only, no tripod necessary due to the image stabilizer.

After spending a couple of hours at the museum and with my RX100 I’m very pleased with its performance.  As I mentioned in my previous post the RX100 is not a DSLR replacement.  It is however a very worthy companion or backup.  I took over 300 shots with the RX100 today (lots of experimenting), and only 60 with my Olympus E-M5.  The E-M5 was notably better in some situations, and not so much in others.  One of those situations was when I wanted a longer focal length than the RX100 had.  All I had to do with the E-M5 was reach in the bag and grab a longer lens.  Since there was no action today the speed of the E-M5 provided no advantage.  The other thing that made a difference on the E-M5 with the view finder.  This was especially helpful when I was out in the bright sun and there was some glare.  The display on the RX100 is not bad, in fact its seem a little better than a lot of other cameras I’ve used in the past.  Unfortunately bright sun is…. bright, and it was an annoyance at times.

Here are some shots from the RX100.  Other than resizing and converting the RAW files to .jpeg they are straight out of the camera, no editing!



All of the images above that were taken inside of the hangars had an ISO of 800, and all of them were done with the RX100 set in aperture priority mode.  I’d say that the noise is not really noticeable, unless you really do some pixel peeping. But at normal viewing I think they look pretty good!

I couldn’t be more pleased with my RX100! It really is a little pocket rocket!

That’s it, until next time – Happy Shooting!

 

My New Pocket Rocket

Catchy title, isn’t it! I’m referring to my Sony RX100. Technically it’s a point and shoot camera, but that’s a good thing, really!

You may be wondering why I got myself a point and shoot (P&S) when I have so many other choices. That’s because I’m always on the the hunt for a small camera with excellent image quality.  After doing quite a bit of research, I picked the Sony RX100.  Yes, this is the original.  There are 2 revisions to this model on the market.  As nice as these newer versions are, they come with a hefty price tag and I decided that I really didn’t need the additional features.  Some of these features seem like gimmicks and marketing ploys, and I probably wouldn’t use them.  My primary “must haves” were excellent image quality, shoot in RAW, and it had to fit in my pocket.  The RX100 does all of this, and more.

Before I share a few examples let me say that this little P&S is not a DSLR replacement much less a M43 (micro 4/3rd’s) replacement.  As good as it is, it does have its limitations.  One of the things that makes it so good and also the reason it won’t replace my other cameras (like my Canon 60D or Olympus E-M5) is it’s sensor.  The little RX100 comes with a 1″ sensor.  This is much, much larger than what typically comes in a P&S camera.  The 1″ sensor is also much smaller than the sensor in either my 60D or E-M5.  The other thing that makes the RX100 so good is it’s Carl Zeiss lens.  It’s fast (f1.8 on the wide end) and provides excellent image quality with very little color fringing or chromatic aberration (so far).  It also has an image stabilizer and can shoot up to 10 frames per second.

I probably won’t try to use my RX100 at an air show for fast moving air planes.  The long end of the lenses zoom range is only 100mm, and while it can shoot 10 frames per second, it doesn’t have a view finder, either electronic or optical.  It would be very difficult to track and shoot the planes as they quickly pass by using just the screen on the back of the camera.  And if I did manage to grab a shot or 2 the planes would look like little dots.  I would however take it along for photos of the static displays of aircraft on the ground, or in an air museum.

The main reason I got the RX100 was for those times when I don’t want to bring anything that wouldn’t fit in my pocket.  There are times when even my trusty Olympus E-P3 or E-M5 can be bulky (in comparison the RX100).  I’ve been on a quest to shrink my photo gear footprint for a while now.  Since I got the RX100 and used it alongside my E-M5 I think I’m pretty close to where I want to be.  So much so that I’m even thinking of selling a couple of my other cameras.  I’ll keep the Canon 60D and big lenses mostly for air shows, the E-M5 for just about anything else, and now the RX100 as a backup or primary camera when I want to go very fast and light.

There are a lot of P&S cameras on the market.  Some are ok, like the Canon S90 to S120.  Nikon and Fuji also have some very good P&S cameras.  I’m sold on the RX100 mainly because of the image quality and other reasons I already mentioned above.  This obviously isn’t a scientific review, just my thoughts and reasoning for picking up this great little camera.  Here are some examples:

The images above with the exception of RAW conversion and resizing were not “enhanced” in any other way.

That’s it for now, there will be more to follow in future posts as I’m able to spend more time with the RX100. Until next time, Happy Shooting!

Old Camera, New Tricks!

Catchy title, don’t you think?  Actually the camera I’m referring to in this case is my Olympus E-P3.  While it may only be a few years old now, in the world of electronics (including cameras), this is almost ancient!

As time goes on all things electronic evolve.  In the never ending quest to keep people buying their products, camera manufacturers continue to up the ante.  The E-P3 had many things going for it, especially the retro look and feel.  The camera was built very solid and felt good in your hands.  And it looked very cool too!  One of the techie features that I liked was the in-body image stabilization.  The only complaints I remember reading about was that the E-P3’s image sensor (12mp) was getting old and could/should have been updated.  But even with a “dated” sensor there was plenty of praise for the image quality just the same.

I’ve had my E-P3 for a couple years now, and even though I’ve added a newer camera to my collection, I find myself drawn to the E-P3.  For our 3 week trip to the Eastern Sierra this year I brought my newer Olympus E-M5, Canon 60D, and E-P3.  The 60D stayed in the bag and in the motorhome for the entire trip.  My main shooter was the E-M5, but the E-P3 went everywhere that the E-M5 did.  At 1st I put the 14-42mm kit lens on the E-P3 and figured that I’d just keep it in the bag for backup.  I did end up taking some pictures with it and was pleased overall with what I ended up with.  It was then when I got to thinking that maybe I could use the E-P3 for more than backup.

One of the things I try to do when photographing a landscape scene is the look for something to help make it pop.  Clouds, beautiful golden light, or a unique perspective.  Not necessarily a gimmick, but rather something to help tell the story of my composition.  And it turns out that I had something in the camera bag that would help with this perfectly!  The Rokinon 7.5mm fisheye lens!

The fisheye is definitely unique.  It provides a very wide, and somewhat distorted point of view.  It’s not something that you want to use all time, but it is fun to experiment with.  And since I had my main camera setup for serious shooting, I could play with my E-P3 and Rokinon all I wanted.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the E-M5, but there was something hard to describe about picking up and using the E-P3 again.  It was fun!

My E-P3 has been with me for 2 years of shooting.  Sometimes it hasn’t been pleasant.  Not the camera, but what it has had to go though.  I’ve taken on hikes, in the rain, and snow.  It’s gotten soaked, and dropped twice.  I had some cuts and bruises but I healed.  My poor little E-P3 still has its battle scars.  There are a few nicks and dings on its body, and the pop-up flash doesn’t work anymore.  But it still fires up and takes pictures like a champ, and I think I love it even more now!

That’s enough of me singing the praises of the E-P3, here are some photos from its last outing:

That’s it for this post. Until next time, Happy Shooting!