Tuesday, 8 July 2014

The Spy Who Came Back to the Cold

We're back home from a week at Cairns, which is causing me to state the obvious:
  1. It was nice to be in the sun,
  2. Melbourne is freezing and generally horrible to us,
  3. But at least I can always trust Australia Post to completely screw up things for me.
Actually, what I do want to say following our week at Cairns is just how much I love my camera, the compact first generation Sony RX100. It seems like there is no challenge I can throw down its way that it cannot muster with great finesse, from high speed action photos to challenging panoramas. Well, except for high zoom photography. For something that easily fits my pocket and weighs a fraction of the SLR it had replaced, this one is one of the biggest winners my backpack carrying career can remember.

Which leads me to state my choices for "if I was to buy a camera today" nominations. I have three such choices, and as you will see it is all about size.
In the pocket camera department, I would go for the recently released third generation (Mark 3) of the same Sony RX100 I'm using. Not because the two years between this new model and mine make a big difference in picture quality (they do make a difference but it does not seem too substantial), but rather because of the Mark 3's lens. That lens limits the camera to wide angle photography, which - as I noticed - represents the bulk of my photos. It probably won't suit most shooters, but for those genuinely regarding the RX100 as a professional camera on a severe diet the third incarnation may have more to offer than anybody else.
But what if interchangeable lenses are important? Well, for the price of added bulk (but not half as much as the added bulk of a proper SLR), I would go for the Olympus OM-D E-M10. It's just that this Four Thirds cameras seems to me to be at a particular peak on the quality/bulk/features curve.
And in case of no holds barred, picture quality is the most important thing ever? In that case I would not go for a conventional SLR still; my RX100 experience pretty much put me out of that for good. Instead I would go for one of Sony's new full size sensor models of prism-less designs, probably the Alpha 7. It's about as big as the Olympus, but it's a full sensor model; enough said. Life isn't perfect, though, because there are hardly any lenses to pick from for this family without sacrificing auto focus and other user friendliness features. Which is exactly why I would advocate waiting to see where the wind blows on this category.
My point, though, is that it seems to me like the days of the conventional SLR are coming to an end. There are simply no reasons to keep holding unto them heavy ones other than one's existing collection of lenses.


wile.e.coyote said...

Waiting for that future blog (in 2-3 years) saying that the days of the non-mobile camera is gone, you got better results from your Galaxy-8 mobile camera as it contains some cloud image processing system that no not-web-connected-camera can provide.

Moshe Reuveni said...

You're probably right, but then again there's nothing preventing you from getting the same service on a PC. The difference would be that on the PC you usually enjoy a bigger/better screen. You also wouldn't need to upload your photos to Adobe's servers, a big advantage given my opinion of Adobe and its record on keeping users data secure.
More importantly, size counts. You can have bigger sensors on a phone, which is nice, but I doubt you'd be able to have similar quality lenses.
That said, as I have said before, my current iPhone 5 camera gives nice results most of the time and under certain circumstances is even better than a proper camera (e.g., some cases of macro photography).

But no, there is nothing wrong in changing one's opinion if/when new developments take place. I do it all the time.