12.22.2016

It's inefficient to not know what you don't know. That's why I bought this book...



Like every other lazy photographer out in the wild I too bitch about camera menus. I was thinking about all the "limitations" of the RX10 iii as I was actively thinking about buying the Panasonic fz 2500. But then it occurred to me that perhaps I overestimated my abilities to really get to know a camera without some sort of smart guide. My own hubris often blinds me to the fact that there are lots of people who know more than me about any given subject and if I want to squeeze more value from a tool it pays to learn from people who've taken time to do the deep dive.

There are lots of things about the RX10 cameras that I thought to be either opaque of missing. For example, in the movie mode you are not given a choice of having automatic level control for your audio. You have to set the levels for your internal or external microphones carefully. Too low and you get noise and not enough signal for your editing program, too high and you risk the red zone with your audio meters indicating overload and distortion. But if you are shooting in a run and gun configuration who has time to constantly nurse the input levels manually? I looked in vain for the controls but couldn't find them.

Here's another vexing thing; Sony puts seven different picture profiles at your disposal for shooting video but they never bother to tell the buyer of the $ 1500 camera what each profile is really all about or even how to choose among them, let alone how to modify them. Sure, most of us know that #7 is a super flat, S-Log-2 profile but what about the other six?

And then there are all the functions you can add to custom buttons that never appear in the menu until you dive into the custom functions themselves. Like, did you know you can map a control to a button that allows you to deactivate the rear screen? Perfect for those times at the theatre when you want to shoot without becoming a beacon in the night. Of course you can dive into the menu and find the EVF/LCD selector switch and chose EVF but how nice to have a custom button that clicks the screen on and off. On to check a control and off again to go stealthily.

I knew my RX10 ii and iii could do more but I was butting my head against the wall trying to figure it all out. On a whim I looked on Amazon for a book about the RX10 iii. I read all the reviews. I pored over the "sample this book" for nearly everything that's out there until I found this book:

Photographer's Guide to the Sony Dsc-Rx10 III: Getting the Most from Sony's Advanced Digital Camera

by Alexander S. White. I read the reviews. I thought I'd found what I was looking for. I bought the Kindle version for $7.99 and sat down last night to read it. OMG. In one hour I learned so much about my camera that I did not know. I unlocked a few video secrets and figured out, in general, how to get much more out of the camera. The menus in the camera are....complex.....but one good reason for that is the sheer depth of control the camera really offers. One just needs a good guide in order to unlock the potential. 

If you have an RX10 iii or the RX10 ii I can't recommend this book highly enough. The writer is no nonsense and writes with a comforting sense of authority. He is detailed. He is thorough. And, in reading it again today I have yet to find a typo or grammatical stumble. The illustrations are great and all of the book is searchable via the table of contents. This is the perfect holiday gift for yourself. Not to flashy or expensive but almost guaranteed to make your enjoyment of these two Sony cameras much greater. 



8 comments:

Boris said...

Holy smokes! Quite a find. I may buy the book although I don't own an RX10 (kidding). But really, great docs and their authors are to be treasured.

Now if I could just learn to apply a last step of fine-tuning to the very few select "Hero" pics among the mass of my vomitous output, so they reach that paid-portrait / corporate brochure / Flickr Envy level of polish. Workflow is one thing; artistry in post, quite another.

Michael Matthews said...

Did you ever come across an equally good guide to the OMD EM5 II? Talk about a complex set of menu choices with little explanation on setup for various uses.

Anonymous said...

I have the manual for the original RX10 from Alexander White and agree that it is excellent. I found myself referring to it again just the other day to figure out some feature and learned some new stuff that I had skimmed over the first time.

DavidB

Kirk Tuck said...

Hi Michael, Nope, not a good as the RX10iii book. Maybe someone else can chime in with their favorite Olympus book...???

David B. I have to agree, the authors is very, very thorough and writes in a comfortable, conversational way. I should head back to Amazon and write him a nice review...

Boris, I'm still trying to learn it all too.

Gordon R. Brown said...

Plus one for Mr. White's books. My purchase of the RX10iii book is the fourth from him for various Sony and Panasonic cameras. They are orders of magnitude better than the manuals (loosely translated from a foreign language to English) that come with the cameras.

Frank Langford said...

I would like to wish you a Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year from a reader in the UK.

I always enjoy reading your page. One of the better photographic sites on the web !!

Keep up the good work.

Frank Langford

EdPledger said...

It's hard enough to figure out all the controls on an iPhone (and by adding a $3 app have much more). Good guides are very valuable, now if I could just figure out how to do a panorama with the A6000 and a legacy lens...

Joel Bartlett said...

Thank you for your musing on the RX10ii. Based on your praise, I've had mine for about 6 months and love what's coming out of it. But like you, I feel there's a whole lot more hidden in it. My copy of White's RX10ii guide is downloading as I write this. Thanks for another valuable recommendation!


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