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  • Writer's pictureSteve Gemmell

Using smaller cameras

My last post referred to the rise of computational photography and camera phones in particular. I find this an interesting subject and I have even started an Instagram site @notabigcamera to post everyday images taken on my phone and other small cameras. By small cameras I am referring to sensor size rather than the physical size of the camera itself. In fact the other “small camera” I am currently using isn’t particularly small. It's the Sony RX101V, but it has a one inch sensor.

Now I have always thought of Sony cameras as electronic goods products rather than traditional cameras. A strange irrational prejudice rather born from my history of camera use dating back to the analogue days. I guess you could say the same about Panasonic. Both companies don't have a long photographic history when compared to say Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax and Fujifilm plus several other brands which escape me at present.

The very reason Fujifilm cameras appealed to me so much was their ergonomic leaning towards the more traditional film style of camera and controls. Sony cameras looked like electronic bricks to me with horrible menus and awkward styling. However, when a few years back Sony developed full frame models, some of my fellow wedding photographers were raving about their focus and tracking capabilities, which was an area that Fujifilm seem to struggle with. So why did I decide to try the Sony RX10?

I wanted a general carry around camera with a good focal range to compliment the phone. The iPhone is remarkably good now with three effective focal lengths. The longest being equivalent to 77mm in 35mm terms. During the Covid pandemic I wrote about the Joy of a Point & Shoot camera in this post. The compact camera I was using then had a ten times zoom which I loved for the flexibility it offered me when searching for images on daily walks. The Sony, by contrast, has a remarkable twenty five times zoom going all the way to the the equivalent of 600mm. The lens is a Carl Zeiss and it is nice and sharp too. I read reviews and they all seemed positive. I also read that the RX10 had the same focussing and tracking capabilities of it’s bigger full frame siblings. After sourcing a second hand model, with some trepidation, I gave it a try.

Earlier this year I was down in Portland harbour on the south coast. I hadn't had much chance to try the RX10 out up until that point. Suddenly I saw a dolphin leaping out of the water. I thought this will be a good time to test the tracking capabilities of the camera. I was surprised at just how good it was, once it had locked on to the subject. So after my first attempt at using the camera in earnest, this was the result from my first sequence of images.

dolphin leaping caught with a Sony RX10 1V

The camera isn't particularly small, about the size of a small DSLR. However it isn't heavy to carry with me when out walking. Here are a few more images taken with this versatile camera.

swan family  shot with Sony RX10 1V

horses grazing  shot with Sony RX10 1V

horse headshot  shot with Sony RX10 1V

dolphin leaping  shot with Sony RX10 1V

arriving in Amsterdam shot with Sony RX10 1V

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