Tag Archives: MFT

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!

Latest Addition to the Family, the Olympus E-P3

Here I go again!  I got a new camera!  This time it is the Olympus Pen E-P3.  The E-P3 is one of the Micro 4/3’s line of ILC’s (Interchangeable Lens, Compact) from Olympus.  It’s got a retro design that I just love, and it feels like a million bucks in your hand!

I’m not going to get geeky and try to explain the Micro 4/3’s (MFT) system to you, but rather point you to where there’s a very detailed explaination – Wikipedia.  The short version is that the MFT’s sensor is 9 times larger that those in typical Point & Shoot camera’s but 40% smaller that the APS-C you’d find in most DSLR’s.

If you’ve followed my previous posts, you know that I’m more and more interested in portability and shrinking my camera equipment footprint.  Call it lazy, or getting old, there are just days when I want to get out and take some pictures, but don’t want to lug around my DSLR.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love my Canon 60D, but compared to my new E-P3, it’s a pig!

I do carry another ILC, the Sony NEX3.  There’s nothing wrong with my NEX3, in fact it’s another favorite.  It has the small footprint, and very good image quality with its APS-C sensor.  Sometimes the menu system can be clunky because there’s not much in the way of external controls.  You have to fiddle around with the various levels of the menu to change settings.  Not too big a deal, mostly because I’ve used it so much, but it can still be a pain.  My only other nit-pik is the noisy shutter.  Not exactly stealth.  But the image quality is very, very good!

So, what’s the big deal about the Olympus E-P3?  It’s hard to put my finger on it, but I was intrigued after reading a review on Steve Huff’s website – Steve Huff Photo.  Steve has an excellent website with a section devoted to ILC that he calls “Mirrorless Roundup”.  If you’re interested in this type of camera, I encourage you to check out Steve’s site, mainly because of his real world reviews (no lab testing).

One last plug before I get into my short and sweet report.  Adorama  is where I got my
E-P3.  This deal was a little different.  Instead of buying the E-P3 outright, I did a little horse (camera) trading.  Adorama has an offer to buy used equipment, so I sent them an email with the gear I wanted to sell/trade, and they promptly got back to me with a preliminary offer.  The offer sounded good, and Adorama sent me a prepaid shipping label and my items were sent out via UPS the next day.  One of the things I traded was my Canon 40D.  The 40D is a good camera, I just haven’t been using it since I got the 60D.  Bottom line – I was treated fairly, and got the deal I wanted.  My new E-P3 arrived in 4 days.  Thanks Adorama!!

I’ve had a couple of days that I could try out the E-P3.  The opportunities were short, but enjoyable.  After reading about the Art Filters I could hardly wait to try a couple of them out.  Here are a couple of photos from my visit to Oak Glen (in the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California).  Click on the link and read about Oak Glen.  It’s a hidden gem in Southern California and worth the short drive in the mountains if you’re in the area.

Above – HDR Image from 3 bracketed photos, processed in Photomatix and CS6

Above – Out of the Camera (except for resizing), black and white filter 

Above – Out of the Camera (except for resizing), Grainy Film Filter

My next outing wasn’t as much fun.  I spent a little time in Seal Beach on and around the pier, and there was an ugly, overcast sky.  There was also a leftover haze from the morning fog, so beautiful sweeping seascapes were out of the question.  Not to big a problem, as I would work with what I had.  It was just a little disappointing.

Above – HDR Image from 3 bracketed exposures, processed in Photomatix and CS6

The next image is something different for me.  I’ve read a lot about “Street Photography”, and was always bashful about trying it out.  What Street Photography means is to be able to grab shots of people while you’re out walking the streets.  It also means being stealthy, something I was not comfortable doing with my Sony NEX3, due to its noisy shutter.  The E-P3 on the other hand is very quiet.  While the NEX3 feels slightly smaller, the E-P3 focuses quickly, and is very stealthy.  Here’s one of my 1st “Street” shots:

Above, Out of the Camera (except for resizing), Grainy Film Filter, F9, 1/500, ISO200

I had a lot of fun with the E-P3 over the weekend.  It looks great, feels great, and so far, I’m pleased with it’s performance.  I’ll need to test it more to see what it’s strong and weak points are, but so far I really like it.  The external controls make changing settings quick and easy.  My opinion is that this little camera is a winner!

That’s it for now.  If you have an opinion on ILC’s or Sony or Olympus, share it!  Until next time – Happy Shooting!