Some disjointed ramblings about the reactions to the Sony RX1 and other Photokina announcements and rumours.



There have been some interesting reactions to the Sony RX1 35mm sized sensor / Compact camera /  Mirrorless etc. camera.

Some see it as some kind of holy grail, as if this size of sensor was what every photographer craves. Well it works for some maybe, but there are benefits from APS-C and m4/3 sensors. Depth of field and more "pull" from telephoto lenses being obvious ones. Lots of people talk about "cropped sensors" in a slightly derogatory tone. Firstly, the sensor in this Sony could be thought of as "cropped" since there are larger units available, and Secondly "cropped" is meaningless. Sensor size is sensor size, and as someone remarked in a forum I had a look at, sensor sizes are what they are, different and they have advantages and disadvantages.

There is also this attitude that seems to treat a 35mm film size sensor as being the standard around which everything else revolves. We constantly have to have lenses compared to their 35mm "equivalents" when in fact they are no such thing and produce quite different results.

Another reaction is "I'm not interested unless its interchangeable lenses" Well firstly Sony have to make some lenses that will cover this sensor. Secondly this is a company known for great innovation in camera and sensor technology, but not for its extensive lens ranges. Plus again, it is what it is. Fixed lens cameras have been around since cameras were invented and will I suspect continue to be available long after the RX1 is forgotten. I have used fixed lens cameras and still have one, the Leica X2, and very good it is too.

The final reaction I would address is about the cost. So, its not cheap. But then quality rarely is. Plus its not going to be that much more than a Sony NEX-7 plus a Zeiss 24mm, especially when its been out a while and it starts getting discounted. There is also the truism that, if you can't afford something, then don't buy it. Everything shouldn't be made to satisfy a medium budget. Its not as though there is a lack of choice in cameras these days.

Now its very doubtful that I will buy one. (These days however I don't rule anything out!) But its probably too small for me, I'm not that keen on 35mm sized sensors and I don't particularly like the strength of AA filters that Sony put on their cameras. I've used a NEX-7 quite extensively and my D800E of course, but I'm more interested in m4/3 currently and what that offers me. However I think it looks like a great camera and I can see its attractions, the possibilities it opens up and the potential for a ICL system in the future. 

I would also like to draw your attention to an article by Kirk Tuck. Its a piece about Photokina, and very good it is too, but part of it is about the size of cameras and their useability. Regular readers will know that I certainly don't coo about how wonderful small cameras and lenses are (quite the reverse) and what he wrote resonated with me. In Kirks article he writes "I'm feeling the first rumblings of a trend that may not fully surface for a year or two and certainly not at this year's Photokina. I think of it as the remedy for a pendulum that's swung too far. The relentless downsizing will end when people realize that dinky cameras aren't as comfortable to hold." I'm with him 100% here. Now I'm a great fan of the RX100 and what it produces, but I don't use it that much and it will probably be gone soon. The reason is its just too small and fiddly and doesn't feel comfortable at all. One of the reasons I like my OM-D is that I can use it with a grip(s) I can also use it with the 12-35mm X zoom which makes it a camera / lens combination that I can hold comfortably and in a manner that will ensure stability. The OM-D, without grip and with a Panasonic 20mm or 17mm is not my idea of what a camera should feel like and though it seemed to go away for a while, maybe this quest for miniaturisation is coming back again. Hopefully a camera like the Panasonic GH3 will redress that balance.

Looks like there is something interesting from Pentax coming. Their impressive K5 is about to be upgraded with a new 16MP sensor (presumably from Sony again) but this time with a non-AA option. Should be interesting. Silver version as well as black please.

Nikon look like they are coming out with a D600, again 35mm sized 24MP sensor but at a reasonable (If you consider £1500 as that) price. 

Plus if the rumours are true about the Leica M10's sensor then there does seem to one overiding trend this year. Virtually every camera bar Canon, Panasonic and Sigma seem to have Sony sensors (of varying sizes) in them. OK I know Fuji make their own too, but until they make their output compatible with decent software and not just Silkypix I'll leave them on the periphery. So does this mean that everything is starting to look alike? Well actually I think it does. Much as I like using my OM-D I actually prefer the look of my G5 files, they seem sharper and punchier to me.

And then of course there is the Foveon sensor. The sun came out early today so I didn't have time to drive off and buy an SD1. But the forecast for the rest of my time in Sussex isn't great so I may still be tempted. This is I believe something special, and while limited in use to its base ISO for the most part brings us closer to capturing a 2D reality than has ever been achieved before.

My conclusion on all this, is that maybe we are getting to the state where there are more cameras to choose from but without anything particularly individual to separate them out, apart from some obvious exceptions. I think its going to be really interesting to see if the Leica M10 does have the same sensor as the Sony RX1. What then happens if Sony come out with an E.V.I.L version plus an m-mount adapter? Where does that leave Leica? 

Anyway thats all for the future. In the meantime enjoy all the Photokina furore, I know I will. "Leaked" images, news and announcements are coming thick and fast so make the most of it. We will soon know everything everybody has planned and what will we talk and write about then? Taking pictures? Surely not.


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