I'm a great fan of the all-in-one superzoom 'bridge' cameras such as the Panasonic FZ1000 and the Sony RX10. I thought it would be interesting to see how the RX10 compared to my Sony a6000. To make it a tough test I used the Sony FE 55mm F1.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* Lens on the a 6000. 

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Sony RX10 - the other superzoom camera

Though somewhat overshadowed these days by the 4K, huge zoom panasonic FZ1000, the Sony RX10 is still a fine camera. It's faster at the long end however (f/2.8 - The RZ100 is f/4 at the same focal length) it's slightly lighter and smaller and as I found out when the battery died somewhat earlier than I expected in my Panasonic, you get more pictures per charge. The rumour is the firmware is being updated to improve the video. No 4K, but it's a serious video camera as well. 

This is my kind of camera. Quick and easy to use and simple to set up a 'no fiddle' way of working. This trip I have no interchangeable lens cameras with me (The Leica T does have this facility, but I only have one lens) and that means I can work as I want to. I.E. No fuss and just get on with making images. 

I do like the RX10 and just because I have the FZ1000 as well, I see no reason to get rid of it. It has it's strengths and I can see lots of occasions where that extra stop of telephoto speed will come in really useful. Excellent camera and indeed an excellent class of cameras. 

And no I'm not using the B word because that's an insult. Like the FZ1000 it deserves to be regarded as something special in it's own right. Because anyone who thinks that these are compromise, middle of the road, halfway house or neither one thing or the other cameras would be sorely mistaken. They beat the pants off many of the cameras they are supposed to be between in terms of functionality and quality and many DSLR's and Mirrorless cameras would struggle to match the capability of these superzooms. Oh and by the way, that f/2.8 lens is magnificent.

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Sony RX10 - The super superzoom - Review - Part 3 - My kind of camera

As should be obvious by now, the less a camera makes demands on me and the simpler it is to use, so that I can get on with the important business of creating pictures, the more I like it. And the Sony RX10 certainly has a lot going for it. 'The ART of point and shoot' is certainly achievable with the well thought out interface and body. 

Lots of boxes ticked for me, OLED viewfinder, silent electronic shutter, no dust spots because of all-in-one construction, fast good quality zoom (proving that Sony / Zeiss CAN make a great zoom lens) quick reliable AF and excellent jpgs. with spot on exposure and great colour. If ever a non-smartphone fulfilled the 'Smartphone Aesthetic' this is it. Plus you get a wide zoom range, fast lens, plus a 1'' sensor as well to show that it is possible to make a simple, light, high perfomance camera that is photographer friendly and turns out top quality IQ.

The Sony 1'' sensor has certainly moved on from the original RX100 and Nikon 1 V1 versions. Though still only mediocre at high ISO's, at the low end it is very good indeed. Those 20MP aren't struggling and Sony is obviously very good at getting high pixel densities to produce seriously good files. It does make me wonder what the Panasonic RZ1000 will do to the rest of the m4/3 range. Because the RX10 sensor (apparently in the Panasonic camera) is only (very) marginally inferior to the 16MP 4/3 sensors used by Olympus and Panasonic. So I suspect a lot of photographers looking to downsize may decide to miss out on the smaller mid-range sensor sizes and go for these 1" cameras instead.

Because if you don't want or need great high ISO performance, then cameras like the RX10 have an awful lot going for them. And it is getting harder and harder for me to pick up a Fuji, Sony e-mount or Panasonic m4/3 camera thses days. Because they are competing with this as well as my 41MP smartphone. The image quality - ease of use equation is moving in the direction I want it to and cameras like the RX10 are showing just exactly what is possible. 

Sony are still the most innovative company out there. I just wish they employed someone who had some kind of design skills and a sense of just how compelling a beautifully crafted good looking camera can be. However, if they did that then it may well be game over for everybody else!!

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Sony RX10 - The super superzoom - Review - Part 2

Sony RX10

In part two of my 'review' of the Sony RX10, I was going to talk about the handling. However as yet I've found nothing I don't like about it. It's really comfortable, quick to get around and handles like a dream. Some people describe it as big, but it isn't really. It feels very like a Panasonic GH3/4 with one of the fast zooms attached. 

It's still plug ugly, with that Leica R9 look. Without of course any of the class of the R9. However, it is a pretty amazing camera with an even more amazing lens. I even took it out yesterday and left my Nokia 1020 at home, which shows how good I think it is. Don't describe it as a 'bridge' camera because it's nothing like those micro sensor compromised plastic excuses. This is something else again. Brilliant camera.

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Sony RX10 - The super superzoom - Review - Part 1

The review of the RX10 that I initially intended to write was:-
  • Great Camera
  • Great images
  • Wish I'd bought one sooner
However I'm sure you would like a little more detail than that.

Using the RX10 has made me think about why I have all those camera and lenses sitting on my shelf. It really is that good. The images the camera produces from ISO 125 to 400 have comparable, if not better, quality than I can get from any m4/3 camera I've used. I would also say that it produces  sharper files than I can get from my Fuji X cameras also, if I run them through Photoshop. The lens is superb and gives great results at all apertures and all focal lengths and the camera as a whole receives my highest accolade, in that I completely forget about it when I'm out shooting and concentrate on creating pictures.

I've had a couple of 1" sensor cameras, the Sony RX100 and the Nikon V1, but the RX10 produces better results than either of those. There is talk that the Panasonic FX1000 is an even better camera and if that's the case then it should be pretty special, because the RX10 is impressive in pretty much everything it does. And it just makes picture taking so simple and easy. 

It does of course have that small sensor depth of field bonus that is so useful for what I do. 

However, as you can see, should you want it, it is perfectly possible to achieve more selective focus.

Just to get the high ISO performance out of the way, here's a shot at ISO 3200. OK, but that's about it. But then if you shoot a lot of low light images the RX10 is hardly the best camera you can buy for that.

It's really outdoors in decent where the RX10 shines. Travel, landscape and location photography are handled very well and looking at the images I've taken on my screen, there is no indication of any 1" sensor limitations other than the occasional difficulty with extreme dynamic range and that's easily fixed by processing the raw file.

In part 2 I'll be writing about what the RX10 is like to use.

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Sony RX10 - Superzooming for Snapshooters - A first impressions review

"The RX10 is being positioned as a step-up camera for point-and-shoot users"  Engadget

Did you get my best side?
Superzooming - Cool

It's bigger than my phone though

It's a really REALLY big one.

Did I mention how incredibly big it is
Headphone as well as microphone input. Can't work out how to get my tunes on there though.

It's bigger than some other stuff.
 Nice storage space for bits and bobs. Somebody seems to have left their stuff in there though.
Useful little shelf.
The guy who made it has engraved his name on it. 
Nice one Carl.
 Cool little rotating ring. 
Anyone know what those numbers mean?

Cool Camera

Takes cool pictures too.

Also takes this not so cool stuff but there's always Instagram.

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Great images with the Nokia 1020 - Time for a Sony RX10

So I went through a gate into a field and this things arm nearly hit me. It's a crop sprayer and it was turning a corner. It stopped, I stopped and just as I was wondering if this was my version of Cary Grant in North by North-West, it powered up and lumbered across the field like an At At. I got a great shot with my Nokia 1020 and as you can see I was able to extract an amazing amount of detail and dynamic range in Photoshop from the jpg.

However, much as I like using the Nokia, it is wide-angle only. I've tried taking out other cameras with longer lenses attached, but I've decided to go 1" sensor superzoom. Before I got back to the car, I'd ordered a Sony RX10 via my Nokia. (Yes you can buy things with it as well as take pictures!!) I'm also going to get a Panasonic FZ1000.

Picked up the RX10 today. Inserted battery and card and went out shooting in searing heat. Excellent camera. Really good to work with. However my shot of the day was again taken on the Nokia, showing just what lengths some people will go to to get that special selfie. Is there no end to this nonsense??

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Sony push the envelope yet again - A7, A7r and RX10 announcements

If you are looking for something new and innovative and big major multiple gear announcements then Sony usually don't disappoint. They seem to delight in making the improbable and surprising us all. 

The A7 / A7r has been heavily leaked over the last few days and I'll discuss that later. But first what is a very surprising release and of all the announcements as far as I'm concerned the most 'revolutionary'.

There are some of us who think that the future of digital photography isn't looking back with cameras that have 35mm film sized sensors in them, but looking forward and exploring what smaller sensors are capable of. This little beauty with its 1" sensor gives a clue as to what that might provide and is the first example of what smaller sensors can give us that other systems can't in terms of 'dream' lenses.

I can think of no previous situation where anyone has attempted anything close to an equivalent (approximate in 35mm terms) 24-200mm f/2.8 fixed aperture throughout zoom. In any format. This is almost the stuff of wish fulfilment, dreams and fantasy. Added to a body that takes 20MP images, this is something special. Its expensive and relatively heavy, but this is all down to that remarkable lens.

It is big for a supposed compact camera, but god only knows what size a lens like this would be in larger sensor formats. And the zoom range is pretty impressive, particularly at f/2.8. Anyone who shoots outdoors, travel and landscape and has some idea of what cameras like the RX100's and Nikon 1's can produce and doesn't have a blinkered, closed mind, prejudiced idea about 1" sensors (e.g. me!) will be salivating at the prospect of what this can do. No changing lenses, therefore no dust, phenomenal depth of field from the 8.8-73.3mm lens, tilting screen and oled viewfinder. And then there's the video using the 3-axis image stabilisation, microphone AND headphone jacks.

From Dpreview:-
'Like many recent Sonys, the RX10 can shoot 1080 video at 60p up to 28Mbps or 60i and 24p at up to 24Mbps. In addition, the camera's footage can be output over HDMI, either with settings overlays for monitoring or without, for recording (and, we're told, with the option for uncompressed 4:2:2 video output). When you look at these specs and the switch that enables stepless aperture changes while recording movies, it looks like the RX10 could be a handy documentary camera.'

The RX100 was certainly impressive for video and this promises to be the same. 

For me and what I shoot in terms of stills and video, buying this camera is an absolute no-brainer. Where do I pay? 

THE A7 / A7r

I was really hoping I would see the pictures of this camera and hate it. Unfortunately I read that the viewfinder is OLED and saw the picture of the battery grip. Oh Dear.

Now I'm not so bothered about the 35mm film sized sensor, but 36MP and presumably a tweaked version of the D800E sensor that allows the use of wide-angle lenses without vignetting and colour cast problems, is very seductive. I also like the brutal industrial look of the thing. Yes, no rangefinder chic here, and Sony really need to get themselves a design department, but here I think it works though I've always thought Sony cameras are designed by the machines who ran the world in the Matrix movies. 

There is however a HUGE problem. The lenses. Firstly there is this crazy marketing strategy that Sony have come up with to perplex us. The 28-70mm kit lens is available with the 24MP A7 and not with the A7r or on its own. The Zeiss lenses won't be available when the A7r goes on sale, so the only 'native' lens you can buy for this at launch is the 35mm f/2.8. This is inexplicable, annoying and ridiculous. 

There is also the problem of size. The lenses are mostly, in mirrorless terms, enormous in size, weight and price. Its almost like Sony are saying, here is this great camera with a great sensor BUT you are going to have to use these lenses (when we allow you to buy them) and put up with it. I have this idea that lots of people, enthusiasts mainly, think that they want a 35mm sized sensor. The dreaded 'full-frame'. Some of them I suspect, won't have used this format before and will be (mistakenly) expecting something like the other mirrorless systems they have used. Those of us who come from film and have used 35mm sized sensor cameras extensively were always aware of what might be appearing as lenses for this. We knew that the RX1 with its small fixed lens prime wasn't going to be what the rest of the lens range would be like. And so it has proved. Just look at the 70-200mm f/4.

This does of course beg the question as to who this system is for. Factor in the size and weight of the lenses that will do justice to the sensors and you have a system that isn't far off a DSLR, in terms of weight, size and price. Personally I love battery grips and I can foresee great results with my Nikon primes fitted to one of these via adapters, but I doubt this is typical. 

I'm very interested in this camera (The A7r of course) but before considering buying one, I'll need to do some research as to whether currently available Nikon > E Mount adapters will work with this. Plus what is the situation with m-mount lenses? There is of course going to be a wait for further lens announcements. No wide-angle, zoom or prime as yet, no fast longer lenses. I'm not interested in hauling around any of the zooms announced today, but my adapted Nikon G and Series E lenses via adapters is very appealing. With the cameras focus peaking I'd love to see what my diminutive Series E 50mm f/1.8 could produce with 36MP. Now that's a small, light, very high quality option that makes sense to me and what I'm sure many were imagining, but manual focus of course.

Most people I'm sure however,  WILL want AF and brand lenses, and to that end I can't see how they are not going to be somewhat disappointed. This was always predictable though. Sony, whatever their faults, do respond relatively quickly to what people say they want on the forums and rumour sites. And the A7's have appeared pretty soon after the RX1's and all the ensuing clamour for an interchangeable lens version of those. The lens selection is unfortunately not of the same level of innovation and Sony have been very conservative in the options they have come up with up with. 

In personal terms, I do like the concept and from what I see the A7r has pretty much everything I want and could use. If I can find out what the adapter situation is then I'll be looking to buy one, assuming my plan to use the Nikons is possible. I can imagine some pretty amazing pictures coming from an outfit that gives me D800E quality but without the back breaking properties of that camera and lenses to do it justice. A non gripped A7r body and a couple of Series E Nikons is a light alternative and something that I certainly didn't imagine would come with a 36MP sensor until recently. However I can see that others might be struggling to see how what's been announced today works for them. And maybe that 'full-frame' itch may start to be less of a driving force than it once was.


Having watched the Camera Store Video - - and seen that adapters are no problem I've pre-ordered the A7r body. Also the RX10. Going to be busy on ebay!! By the way, do watch the Camera Store Video, it was shot on an A7. Very impressive.


Finally, just couldn't resist it. England have made the world cup finals. Hooray!! I doubt they will win it or even progress that far, but watching the young attacking side last night throw caution to the wind was a refreshing change to watching the same old hacks trying to grind out a result. Plus in Andros Townsend we may just have found a new star. If 'Woy' keeps the faith then they should at least be good to watch until they fly back. (If they revert to type usually after getting knocked out on penalties in the last 16!!)

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