A couple of years ago I lost my patience with my massive pro DSLR which weighs about a ton and gives me back-ache every time I try to go out with it. I bought the absolute smallest camera I could find which would shoot RAW and could be manually controlled. I bought the highest quality I could find in a really small compact. Image quality was a top priority. I want to continue to shoot images good enough to sell and to enter competitions (not that I have had the time). There were a few choices at that level but in the end I selected the Sony RX100iii. It just about fits in the palm of my hand. The image quality is staggering for such a little camera. Nearly everything I’ve shot in the last two and a half years has been on this camera.
Little camera – little viewfinder
I have had a few unexpected problems (or shall we say “journeys of discovery”?) with it. Firstly it changed my personal camera style. As it’s such a little camera, and my eyes not being what they were ten years ago, it’s a bit hard to see the detail either through the viewfinder or on the display screen. As a result, sometimes I get the centre of the image right but miss errors at the edge.
Changing Personal Shooting Style
Secondly due to its size it is altogether far too tempting to just point and shoot with the Sony on auto. I am not one of these people that is wholly against auto modes (I could write a whole book on why) but I feel a bit led astray with this Sony. Again, it’s so damn small, it takes a little effort to adjust the settings. Of course I am comparing this to my DSLR where a button fitted under each of my fingers and I could adjust all the settings by feel. It’s not a fair comparison!
Gravity and the Tiny Sony Camera
Thirdly the tiny Sony camera doesn’t make its presence felt. In some ways that is a bit of gift as I can subtly whip the camera out in places like streets and restaurants. It doesn’t attract the kind of attention I got with a large DSLR. There’s a nasty flip-side to this however. It’s so small and lightweight that if the whole camera bag falls off my shoulder I don’t even feel it. Luckily the first time this happened my daughter was following behind me and picked it up.
I was on a bike the second time my little camera fell without me noticing. It fell down my left arm onto the handlebar then dangled itself onto the wheel. I came to an abrupt halt because it had tangled itself in the spokes. It took me a minute to work out what had happened and it was properly jammed in the bike. Even though the camera was in a bag, the screen had cracked and the lens cover was dented.
The lens cover was easy to fix and I can just about live with the cracked screen. I think it’s had a bit of a jolt however and has developed an intermittent fault in macro mode. Being just a little camera, it has limits and it’s not possible to focus for macro images without using a built-in auto mode. It’s not a huge problem as I don’t do a lot of macro shots. However on our recent trip to the American Midwest I was quite taken by the unusual flowers in the meadows. So many shots of the rarest flowers didn’t focus. I was relieved to get a few shots of any kind.
Normally I have the camera bag across my body so it doesn’t fall so easily, but knowing my luck I could thump it again. I may have to replace it again sooner than I hoped. I would definitely consider another Sony. What camera have you bought that you would recommend? Please let me know by leaving a comment on this blog post.
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