A follow up to last night's post about the one inch professional cameras from Sony and Panasonic.

I spent an hour at midday walking the four mile loop on the high and bike trail and finished up with a detour over to the downtown area. My goal was to get some weight bearing exercise (cross training from swimming) but to also put my money where my keyboard is as relates to my recent, lavish praise of three different one inch sensor cameras. Today I chose the most basic of the three cameras to get covered with sweat and to share the near 100 degree (farenheit) temperatures with me. It's the Sony RX10ii. At this point I consider it to be one of the most under-rated cameras on the market today. Why? Because I know that it punches so far above it's price and sensor size but most people disregard it believing it's been replaced by the RX10iii. Not true. It's still in stock at most dealers and has not been removed (in any public way) from Sony's inventory. 

Yesterday I wrote a post extolling this kind of super-zoom, bridge camera and, after my use of it today I am even more certain that many people would be much better off with a device like this one than the myriad of boring, homogenous mid-level DSLRs that plague the market. I may be wrong. I may be blinded by my own circumstances and experiences with this camera and the one inch sensor brotherhood, but I'll be darned if I can see many shortcomings in the files. You can, of course, vociferously disagree but we're all entitled to our opinions. Since yesterday's blog post just used existing one inch images I'd previously shot I thought I use today's bandwidth to show shots taken with the intention to use the camera as I think it was designed; as a ready tool for quick and quirky shots. Video to follow? Click on the images and go into "big gallery" mode. See them at 2198 pixels on your bigger screens. Believe me when I tell you that the 5472x3648 pixel files are filled with luscious detail....


Frank Grygier said...

There is something that happens to any camera the finds itself in the hands of K Tuck. I am hooked on my Panny FZ2500.

Bob Travaglione said...

I have this camera. I had the Panasonic FZ1000 before the RX10ii. I can not find any fault in the photographs that I make with them. The only thing that I never get use to is the way the lens zooms. Either the lever or the ring, but not the traditional feel of a zoom lens on a mirrorless or DSLR camera. I have a problem of getting my view cropped in the viewfinder. It is either to much or too little. And it jumps beyond my choices. Why can't these cameras have a familiar zoom lens mechanism?

MO said...

Hi Kirk.

Have you used the metabones speed booster. I am trying to phase out my old canon 5d II. And all i miss from my panasonic mft bodies is the shots where i need a real thin focus. Canon lenses and panasonic bodies work rather well with the speed booster by now. both iq wise but also the focus and aperture is supported by now.

so this setup gives me the best of both worlds and adds panasonic's video features with a fullframe look. and the best of it all this will not cost me money but save me some. but my order down on the xl version ef to mft already.

cheers Mads

Luke Miller said...

Most of my photography is with full frame DSLRs, but for travel I am no longer willing to carry them. I picked up a couple of used 1" Nikon V1 bodies for travel and have been very pleased with the images they produce. And I'm using them more in my regular shooting. I suspect the current generation 1" sensors are much improved over the ones in my antiquated V1s, so I am not surprised by your experience.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Kirk,

I agree that they are terrific cameras...BUT (you knew that was coming):

The RX cameras are actually somewhat bigger and heavier than the higher-end m4/3 camera bodies like the Panny GX8. That's without the GX8 Lens, of course, but the Panasonic and Olympus systems also have super zooms that can be carried separately. So, when you're traveling, instead of having a camera that's fairly thick in all dimensions, you have a camera and lens that really thick in only two, which means that both parts fit nicely in a briefcase or backpack. Plus, of course, you have the advantage of taking along any specialty lenses, and you have the larger sensor. What I'd really like to see is an updated Nikon mirrorless 1" which is really small, with really small lenses. That would be the best of all possible worlds as far as travel and take-along cameras go. IMHO.

John Camp

Ray said...

John Camp said id better, but I like the smaller size of my A6300/CZ16-70 (24-105) kit. I almost never change lenses but I have a Sony 10-18 (15-27) lens in my bag if I want to, and that's something the RX can't duplicate. Of course, I don't have anything that can approach an FF 600mm but I really don't care.

ajcarr said...

Kirk: I bought a secondhand RX10 (mk I) after what you said about it a couple of years ago. Personally, I have no need for its 1080/50p PAL video, but I'm utterly smitten with it as a stills camera, and with a Nissin i40 flash on top it's great for event photography (usually book launches by friends). My big problem is what to do with my pile of Pentax DSLR gear.


Carlo Santin said...

I think you are correct Kirk. The vast majority of hobbyists and occasional shooters would be best served by one of the 1-inch sensor cameras and as you have proven, many pros as well. Old habits die hard though and I suspect full frame DSLRs will be pried out of many a cold, dead hand. I've been using the little brother to your camera, an RX100 ii for almost all of my shooting. When I need to really isolate a subject I have a couple of older APS-C sensor cameras and a few good lenses for that purpose specifically. For everything else now it's the RX100. The files are wonderful and I can find absolutely nothing to complain about when I work with them. Image quality is terrific. Focusing is snappy. They shoot squares. Wonderful travel cameras. They do really good video. Great for group portraits so that everyone is in focus. I've also done portraits with them and they do nicely for that task as well as long as you don't expect rich, creamy bokeh. I'll probably end up with the RX10 ii just for the reach and constant 2.8, and I think that will be it for my camera purchases for quite some time.

Gato said...

I never got around to commenting your last post, so here goes:

I have been wrestling for a while now with the idea of my FZ1000. I know from prints on the wall that it does a really sweet job of the kind of photography I do, and there is no reason not to use it on serious outings. But some dinosaur, old-fart corner of my photographer brain has trouble with it -- "the sensor isn't big enough," the dinosaur whispers, "it doesn't have interchangeable lenses" ... and so on. All while my logical brain is telling me it is just as good for the job, and sometimes better.

And then the old fart says, "What will the clients think?" A truly dumb argument since I have used Panasonic m4/3 since 2009. If anything the FZ looks larger and more impressive than my usual gear.

So tomorrow I plan to use it. The session is an outdoor portrait thing which will probably call for mixing flash with sunlight -- the kind of job where the FZ should excel. High speed sync was one of my justifications for buying the thing. The usage is web only, so no way I can quibble about sensor size. We'll see how it goes.

Rich in Tacoma said...

Kirk, enjoyed your two essays on the RX-10ii and similar bridge cameras. On your copy of the RX-10ii, do you consider the corners soft? I had one on a trip to Alaska last year and wasn't impressed, but that could have been my technique rather than the camera. Keep up the good work! Rich from Tacoma

Noons said...

(nitpicking mode on) what is that black mark on top of the leftmost pipe on photo 29?
For the life of me, can't figure it out!
(nm off)

Kirk Tuck said...

Noons. Bird.

Jason Hindle said...

As you move up a size, in terms format, I think there's a difference (a look?) that goes beyond conventional measures of digital image quality. This seems truer of normal to wide fields of view than for telefocal (where the smaller format has a natural advantage). How much this matters, I don't know*. I do know both the Sony and Panasonic are on my watchlist. They provide vast range compositional opportunities in one neat bit of kit.

* And I certainly don't claim to understand what I think I see.

Anonymous said...

All in all these images look just great. But let's study the wide dynamic range ones with people walking on a dirt pathway among the trees. If one were to expose to save more detail on the direct, sunlit portions of the dirt pathway, I would guess recovering the deep shadows in the trees might yield dark green mush. This is not pixel peeping. And no issues with sharpness. Needless to say, this is where a larger sensor comes in, if minimal over-saturation & noise-free shadow exposure is required.


Kirk Tuck said...

Paul, I shot these quickly and in Jpeg. That makes em 8 bit files. Had I shot in raw I am certain (the sensors come from the same technology as the one in the A7Rii !!!!!) that I could have pulled down the highlights for a perfect exposures. Alternately, in raw or Jpeg, I could have stopped down 2/3 of a stop and pushed up the shadows with no ill effects. Remember that these were shot at ISO 64. There's reams and reams of shadow detail in there. In raw it would have been like stealing really good Belgian Chocolate candy from a baby.

Big sensors aren't the end all and be all and the same technology crosses sensor sizes. Honest.

Luke Miller said...

My dedicated video camera has a 1/2.5" sensor with a fixed 4.7 to 56mm lens. The depth of field is enormous and perfect for sports. Yesterday videoing a local softball league I could manually focus on the batter and track him all the way to second base without having to re-focus. Alternatively I could pan from the batter to the outfielder making the play without having to re-focus. My other video camera is a Super35 format and I could not have done the same had I been using it instead.

For stills I prefer the full 35mm frame sensors, but for video the small sensors do things the larger ones can't (and vice versa).

Ken said...

Great posts! I am sitting here with my primary cameras now being the RX10 M2 and the RX100 M3. I have yet to sell my Typ 109 or original RX100 M1, but the m4/3 mirrorless (GX8 and f/2.8 zooms and some primes) and before that Fuji are gone. Sure, I could find better OOC jpg and overall better IQ with Fuji and a ton of lens choices with m4/3 and better IQ (usually) as well. However, NONE has been as convenient and fun as the RX line of cameras with 1" sensors.

With the GX8, yes, it was a smaller body but to cover the same focal length I had to carry along the 12-35 f/2.8 and 35-100 f/2.8 in order to match the RX10 M2. In all but >ISO 1600 and a 1 stop advantage for m43, the RX10 line wins for me. I don't need to carry the extra zoom or prime, just take the svelte RX10 M2 and be happy.

Nothing can compete with the RX100 M3 (or any of them) for the pocket size with a 1" sensor and features. My quick grab camera since Sept 2015 has been the larger Typ 109 (aka. LX100) and before that the Fuji X100 series from 2011 - early 2016. Even the battery size, that some complain about is great as I can carry about 3 of them in the same space as 1 larger battery and they last long enough for me.

The one complaint I do have about the RX10 M2, and I hope someone has some suggestions, is the battery drain when turned off!!!! The only work around I have found is to turn it off, remove the battery and put it back in. Then it doesn't drain. If I turn it off and leave the battery as-is, it will drain about 15-20% per day. I just checked, I used my RX10 M2 3 days again and left it with about 85% battery. Right now it reads 13%. Yikes! I know this is a common complaint, but any suggestions?

MO said...

Hi ken i had a issue wit power dragon on my lx100. I returned it n Got a new one without The issue. Its a a bad copy imho. Cheers mads

Anonymous said...

One again Kirk you are shooting at ISO 64 in Texas sunshine and wondering why other people don't follow your gear choices.

Many of us don't live in an iso64 kind of place. Or we choose to shoot in an ISO 3200 or 6400 environment because thats what we do.

These cameras are too compromised for this work.

We live in a very different place to you.