I am having a lot of back and forth arguments in my head which digital camera I need to make me truly happy.
I miss the old analog SLR dials, as digging through digital menus is not easy when you quickly need to change an obscure setting and cannot find it again.
For now, I have settled with a basic Nikon DSLR D3300, which is capable enough and Don’t get me wrong. I like it, and when I use it I take great pictures with it (it is decent camera after all) – except I don’t use it that much, and I just don’t know why. I have 3 lenses for it, but there just is no emotional connection, no matter how hard I try.
Then there is my Sony a5000 I got used (but as good as new) off ebay, cheap body only. I only got it for an old analog 50 mm Canon lens I wanted to use with it. Though it is a proper hassle to find the focus on the display sometimes and because the lens is manual focus only, I love the setup; I love the camera; I love the pictures it takes. Later, when I was given an old Maxxum (Minolta) lens I got the proper Sony converter for the a5000, so now I can auto focus with this setup, which is very cool – old and new work well together. But it’s bulky and awkward looking, and only 50 mm fixed, great for portraits, not so good for traveling.
Long story short, because I visited India for the first time this year, I wanted something light and good, because the trip was by rail, everyday pretty much in another city. I didn’t want to carry multiple lenses or cameras etc.
So I decided to just go with a Sony RX100 (as an amazon warehouse deal, it was pretty cheap) as my new light travel camera. It was a big risk since I had only used it briefly in Paris before (mind, you I recorded the Notre Dame fire with it and it turned out OK, not the fire, the images)
So after using it for 2 weeks in India and taking over 1000 photos with the RX100, I am still not sure what to make of it. All the photos It took turned out good, some even great, but mostly as expected. Because at times we rushed from one place to another and only had 10 minutes to explore a sight, I appreciated the convenience of an easy camera – set it to “A” , press on, let the lens come out of hiding and just go. Nice. Not artistic maybe, but nice. Perfect for the occasion.
When I had more time (which was hardly never) I tested the other settings and I did however appreciate its ability to take great photos in very low light conditions, like the wall paintings in an old palace where use of flash is strictly forbidden or the Taj Mahal at dawn – but that’s a story for another day.
Amber Fort/Palace, India – midday
The only really major problem I have with these sort of digital cameras, not just the RX100, is the lack of a viewfinder. Especially around midday, when the sun in Amber Fort, India is literally everywhere and you cannot see a single thing on the display. It was then that a pigeon landed in front of me on a fence post, and I wanted to take a picture, but could not get it in focus. The damn bushes behind it got caught in the metering and I couldn’t see what I was doing, or where the focus was – and I was scared the pigeon would fly away if I kept looking through the menu for too long while I could barely see it, plus under pressure I tend to forgot where the settings are.
I zoomed in and took 4 close-ups before it took off. I thought the last one was OK, it looked OK when I zoomed into it in the shade, but back home on the PC I could tell it wasn’t the focus I had hoped for. It’s not blurry, but it also isn’t the portrait I was trying to achieve: subject in focus, background blurred.
So now I ask myself, would I use the RX100 again and will it be my trusted traveling buddy camera? First of all, I will definitely keep it and use it as an everyday pocket camera or even a spare when traveling. It’s really useful in low light, the zoom is plenty and the rest is good too – but for traveling I may need to keep looking for the right camera. One that offers a bit more, but not too much more, because I really like it simple. It may as well be another Sony alpha instead of Fuji x – something just feels right there. As I said, all my pictures did turn out OK 😉