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.