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Sony RX-100 - III or VA?

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jenik.nk View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote jenik.nk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Sony RX-100 - III or VA?
    Posted: 28 December 2021 at 20:42
Hello everybody.

I have used my Sony A37 with nice lenses for a long time and I still like it. But I shoot much less than before, I haven't taken a photo for a few months. I also know that I regularly miss shots because I haven't got a camera at hand. I suffered a lot on holiday this year, often considering if opening the backpack and finding the A37 is worth doing. I guess you know very well what I mean.

I haven't got a smartphone.

I have been considering buying an RX-100 for some time. Most of them are quite expensive. But there is also the mark3, which is not expensive. I have found a nice offer with grip and case. Really nice. The mark5a costs 30 % more. I don't like the price but I can afford it.

Generally I like the mark3. But it's quite outdated. Do you think it's worth buying?

I would like to know about the mark3:
- if the EVF is nice (I like the A37's EVF)
- if the lens is nice (and would allow me do play with DOF? - I don't think so)
- if the low light capabilites are OK (I can use A37 with 50/1.4 at F2 or Tam17-50 at 2,8; is it comparable?)
- if there is MF with focus peaking and magnification (nice on A37)
- if zoom can be operated with a ring
- if there is RAW capability
- ... and generally, if it is worth buying in 2022 and if, compared to let's say A37 with Tamron 17-50 it's worse, similar or better concerning IQ. Or should I go for mark5a? Or something different (Canon?).

Thank you if you can help me. Have a nice day!

Edited by jenik.nk - 28 December 2021 at 20:45
α37 - Tamron 17-50 - Min 28-105, 35-105 (O), 35-70/4, Beercan, 135/2.8; Sony 50/1.4 - Σ EF-500 DG SUPER
 



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dCap View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote dCap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 December 2021 at 22:25
hi there

Back in June 2020 I was in a similar situation - I wanted the RX100 Va but didn't like the price ... wasn't sure if I would use it much. So I decided to find a III on the used market with the plan to then sell it quickly if I liked it enough and get the Va new. Actually found a MINT used IV for not much more than the used III prices which I still have today.

The day my RX100 IV arrived in mid-June 2020 I started a 365 with it - from then to mid-Dec 2020 I'd put 10k frames on mine. I REALLY like it.

It isn't perfect though - negatives - the menus system is awful - selecting a focusing point is unnecessarily difficult and takes a very very long time to do that. But as a point and shoot it works well. My other camera is a Fujifilm X-T3 with 23/2 which I have in full manual [ISO, Av, Tv] (but I do use AF). So I have a nice contrast.

The RX100 is highly customizable. I have my zoom ring set to 'jump' from 24/28/35/50/70 - I tend to just use it as a 24/28/35 compact. You can have this as a smooth ring to get to 27mm or 39mm. Mine pretty much lives in Av mode and I leave it at f4 most the time - switching to f2.8 or f2.0 if I'm being fancy.

Your questions
- EVF is good but quite small, a lever pops it up but you then need to pull it out (there is also a diopter), I use it a lot less than I expected [I could live without it]
- YES you can do bokeh shots if you know how to - if you have a fairly close subject and go to f2.0 you can make nice bokeh effects (and contrast to phones this is real bokeh and not the faux type) - a lot more capable of bokeh than most people would like to accept with their fancy big cameras!
- low light is good, it has IBIS or OIS (?), I use mine at ISO 3200 happily but I like noise/grain. ISO 1600 with IBIS is pretty good ... how low do you go?
- MF, I'm not sure if it has peaking (probably hidden in a menu somewhere?) but it does jump to 10x crop while manual focusing - it is actually pretty nice to use like that for night shots for example
- ring can be set to Aperture control or zoom (you have a zoom rocker on the camera), I have my zoom ring set to 24/28/35/50/70 jump stops but you can leave it smooth for 27mm and 39mm etc. It does not click (I'd like it to click)
- YES it does RAW, but I find the JPGs are pretty good, there is clearly quite a bit of correct happening in the JPGs so I rarely go to the raw files (and I'm a big RAW fan), I could happily switch this to JPG only and not really notice

The Canon G7X III lens is not as good as the RX III-Va and it has no EVF. The Canon G5X II has a 24-120/1.8-2.8 and an exp. comp dial and touch. But here (UK) the Canon G5X II is over 1.5x the price of the RX100 Va.

On the used market you'll see quite a few with 4-5 batteries. And people say it has poor battery life - I can only assume that are video folk. I bought 2x spares the same day I bought my camera and have NEVER used the spare batteries. But DO get a generic external charger ($10) as in-camera charging is fiddly.
I can still remember how that music used to make me smile
- Don McLean
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dCap View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote dCap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 December 2021 at 22:29
Given your post and situation ... I'd highly recommend the RX100 III or IV or V or Va.

But if you can buy used (is eBay a thing where you are?) then I'd buy used and try it for 1-2 months, sell it for the same price. Free rental.

I carry mine in my hand and rarely in a pocket. The wrist strap is nice and the camera is almost invisible in use ... you look like someone with a phone (and get ignored). Super stealthy camera!
I can still remember how that music used to make me smile
- Don McLean
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jenik.nk View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote jenik.nk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 December 2021 at 08:46
Hi dCap. Thank you for your detailed answer, I appreciate it.

ISO - I usually use max 1600 on my A37, I find it absolutely OK. For me ISO 800 is "no noise", ISO 1600 very nice and ISO 3200 well acceptable. But I can use quite bright lenses - 50/1.4 at F2 or F2.8 or Tam17-50/2.8. I know the RX-100's lens is very bright, but the sensor is smaller.

Super stealthy camera! - That's probably what I need. But also good IQ.

Can the ring be set to MF? I think so. You have mentioned only zoom and aperture.

I'm considering buying a new one. Concerning mark3, it's sort of "premium" pack with grip and case. No external charger though. I know it's useful.

Thank you for the Canon comparison.

Oops, yes, I forgot to mention the IBIS. Obviously it does exist. I hate the lack of IBIS on A6000. I had the low-class A200, I have the low-class A37, they both have it. Disappointing.

Once again, thank you for your help.
α37 - Tamron 17-50 - Min 28-105, 35-105 (O), 35-70/4, Beercan, 135/2.8; Sony 50/1.4 - Σ EF-500 DG SUPER
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addy landzaat View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 December 2021 at 09:10
I guess dCap gave comprehensive information about owning an RX100.

When I wanted a small camera, I skipped the 1" cameras because when I looked at reviews the foliage of trees in almost all pictures was mushy. So, I went with the Canon G1x3. Reviews back in the day remarked there was no DoF advantage in the APS-C sensor. AF is good and reliable. But the G1x3 is more expensive then the RX100 Va and I think the RX100 is a better deal.
Here is a gallery of Canon G1x3 pictures taken on the Greek island of Patmos. I expect the RX100 iii/iv/v to be similar re. DoF. You get some.

I also have an APS-C Ricoh GR III - but that has no zoom but a 18/2.8 (28mm eq.) lens. It is really pocketable, like, it fits in jean pockets. Great camera. And you can get the GR II or original GR reasonable cheap if the mark iii is a bit to expensive. But you need to want a 28mm lens

Did you consider an A6000? With the Sigma 18-50/2.8 you get a smaller version of your A37 with a better sensor and at least the same (or better) AF. Or get the kit lens and add a small prime (20/2.8 or 35/1.8 or whatever gets your fancy). Just a thought.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 December 2021 at 09:14
Originally posted by jenik.nk jenik.nk wrote:

Oops, yes, I forgot to mention the IBIS. Obviously it does exist. I hate the lack of IBIS on A6000. I had the low-class A200, I have the low-class A37, they both have it. Disappointing.
Why? Most APS-C lenses have OIS. Like the RX100 camearas - those also don't have sensor based IS but also OIS.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote jenik.nk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 December 2021 at 10:14
Addy, thank you.

The problem also is that there is no entry level APS-C A-mount camera. If I wanted to substitute my A37 (as it had substituted my A200 in 2013), there is no A-mount option.

I considered buying A6000 (or A5100) and use A-mount adapter for my lenses, but there is a lack o IS.

Buying A6000 + new lenses... I'm not sure. Too costly, not for me.

I was happy to use A-mount entry level cameras with affordable or old lenses (as you can see in my signature), but that was 10 or more years ago and I can't find any way to continue this.

If the A6000 had IS and the A-mount adapter was affordable, I would probably buy it with the small 16-50 lens. With this lens it would serve as a pocket camera (something I haven't had so far), with the adapter and large lenses as a "true" camera.

But it's not possible. And I still feel that a RX-100 would be sufficent. I consider selling part of my gear. And keep especially lenses that can do the job the RX-100 can not - 50/1.4, 135/2.8.
α37 - Tamron 17-50 - Min 28-105, 35-105 (O), 35-70/4, Beercan, 135/2.8; Sony 50/1.4 - Σ EF-500 DG SUPER
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dCap View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote dCap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 December 2021 at 11:44
Originally posted by jenik.nk jenik.nk wrote:

Can the ring be set to MF? I think so. You have mentioned only zoom and aperture.

I knew I would forget something ... YES
when set to MF the zoom ring then becomes the manual focus ring
I have mine set to jump to 10x (?) when manual focus is rotated
and I've used manual focus quite a bit (sometimes to force a shot into out of focus for making bokeh balls photos)
I can still remember how that music used to make me smile
- Don McLean
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Post Options Post Options   Quote dCap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 December 2021 at 12:09
And of course I forgot to remind you the obvious bit ... it is a smaller sensor than APS. Just had a look and I only have one snapshot online at the mo.

I've been a dedicated RAW shooter since 2005 but prefer the JPGs from the RX100 - there is quite a bit of lens correcting happening in camera and the one shot I wanted to edit the RAW was quite curvy at the edges uncorrected and I ended up losing some of the edges of the image correcting it (so I kept the JPG instead). I'm possibly going to flip this to save JPG only as I so rarely dip into that camera's RAW.

addy's mention of the excellent GR III is also worth thinking about - pretty much the same size - THAT is the camera I wanted but didn't want to spend £800 on it new - got my RX100 IV for £400 used (which even at that time I considered quite expensive 'for a compact'). But given how much I enjoyed using it and how much I used it it was/is worth every penny. I DO want a 28mm view. And probably rock my RX100 into 28mm setting more often than 24mm. I pretty much ignore the 50/70 end. I'd be happy if Sony made this a fixed 24 or 28.

For me - moving from m43 up to APS via quite a few cameras that I didn't get on with (X100F, X-E3, A7II) I simply must have the slip-up screen. I shoot with the screen tilted to about 45 degree a lot, probably more than closed. So for me this rules out the 'better' GR III.

Today - quick look at one camera store
- RX100 III is £400
- RX100 Va is £600
- GR III is £800 (earlier II does NOT have IBIS)
- Canon G5X II is £950 <<<<< [shock emoji!!!]
- Canon G1X III is £1140

The G1xIII is also something I looked at on-line and in a couple of detailed reviews on YouTube. That one is weather sealed. But given my time with the RX100 the portability and invisibility is a winner for me. The G1X is a different niche. Quite expensive but I think overlooked. Has an APS sensor I think?

I follow someone on YouTube who has been vloging with the RX100 series for about 6-7 years (and a bunch of go pros). He now has a staff camera person that uses a mirrorless camera but also has his RX100 in a pouch on his hip for the times he is out solo. His content is about 50% just his with his pocket RX100. To be honest the RX100 footage is better than the video his staff do with the proper camera. auto-exposure seems to nail it all the time. He is NOT a camera geek at all and has destroyed about 5-6x RX100 due to a tough outdoors lifestyle. So - if you ever want to dabble in video this appears to be a great tool.

The portability of the RX100 (and GRIII) is very difficult to convey. I can pocket it but prefer to just hold it in hand. If I'm meeting up with friends/family I'll throw my RX100 in my little shoulder bag if I'm carrying gifts and such and not worry for a moment that I've left my APS Fuji X-T3 at home. The place I meet my mum for lunch I tend to get to early and have a photo wander, it is a lunch trip and I have carried X-T3 a few times and not used it. If I take the RX100 then I shoot it en route. Love it.

Buying new today - I think I'd get the III for stills. I think IV is the first model to have 4K but I don't do video, if I did I would likely just want to record in 1080p as I don't want 4K file sizes and don't see the point in the vlog life at 4K. That said Va is a good price at £600 today.
I can still remember how that music used to make me smile
- Don McLean
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Post Options Post Options   Quote dCap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 December 2021 at 12:19
Originally posted by jenik.nk jenik.nk wrote:

And I still feel that a RX-100 would be sufficent. I consider selling part of my gear. And keep especially lenses that can do the job the RX-100 can not - 50/1.4, 135/2.8.


I use my Fuji X-T3 (APS) in full manual mode (but with AF) and treat it as a photo art tool and for proper photography. I set the ISO and the Av and Tv. And I have just one prime now (23mm f2). But this is also my studio camera with studio flash.

I could probably do all the photography I enjoy outdoors with my RX100 and now think of the X-T3 as a specific photo artistry tool. The RX100 is my 'with me' compact. I have tested the portability idea, even a walk to the local food store (have iPhone SE in pocket, will be iPhone 13 from 01-Jan). If I see something quirky on the street with my iPhone in pocket or the RX100 in hand then I shoot it. If I have the X-T3 in my little camera bag (literally room for one more small lens) then I'll often pull out my phone and not get the camera out of the bag. The RX100 is better than an iPhone in that the button and controls are 'real photography' and I'm in aperture priority mode. PLUS it has the flip screen.

Might be relevant but I put 10k frames on my RX100 in the 6 month 365x I shot with it - but that was a dedicated 365 camera for that project. I put 8K frames on my iPhone SE this year - and about 11K frames on my X-T3 in about a year. They are equal tools to me. There are times when I have the X-T3 around my neck and pull the iPhone out to take a photo! All depends what I'm aiming at.
I can still remember how that music used to make me smile
- Don McLean
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 December 2021 at 14:17
You probably gonna enjoy the RX100 as it is nice to be able to bring a small(er) camera. Compare the differences, but I guess the RX100 iii will do fine for your use.
Why not follow me on Instagram? @Addy_101
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Miranda F Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 December 2021 at 14:33
I was going to buy an RX100 until I tried one in a shop and thought it was a delicate over-priced toy with a tiny and barely usable EVF. I know many here don't share that opinion but for my money Canon & Panasonic have always done pocket cameras better than Sony, with some models not much larger having metal cases, better build quality, or better EVF (not necessarily all at once ...).
Your choice, of course, but there are a lot of other cameras out there which are pocket sized, even if they are not quite so small, and I would recommend not sticking with Sony out of loyalty.
I found that a Nex/6xxx model with a PZ lens did what I wanted better than any of the RX100 range, and a smartphone with a decent camera/lens did the rest. But, of course, that was my personal choice. I wouldn't presume to tell you what will suit you. What I would recommend is that if you are able to try before buying, do so, as small EVFs in particular can be fussy for the user. For example, the Panasonic TZ100 has a highly rated EVF but I didn't get on with it in any of the three demonstrators I tried, when adjusted for my eyesight correction.
It's quite sad that much of what we liked in A-mount cameras is not entirely available in E-mount and other cameras unless you pay a lot of money, accept a larger/heavier size, or both. The smaller & cheaper Sony A-mount cameras gave a terrific bang for your buck, and I loved them.

Edited by Miranda F - 29 December 2021 at 14:37
Miranda F & Sensorex, Sony A7Rii, A58, Nex-6, Dynax 4, 5, 60, 500si/600si/700si/800si, various Sony & Minolta lenses, several Tamrons, lots of MF primes and *far* too many old film cameras ...
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Post Options Post Options   Quote jenik.nk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 December 2021 at 15:43
Originally posted by Miranda F Miranda F wrote:

I was going to buy an RX100 until I tried one in a shop and thought it was a delicate over-priced toy with a tiny and barely usable EVF.

I don't like this point. I really like the EVF on my A37 and would like to have a nice EVF. Unfortunately I don't think I have a good chance to try it. Thank you for your observation.

Originally posted by Miranda F Miranda F wrote:

I know many here don't share that opinion but for my money Canon & Panasonic have always done pocket cameras better than Sony, with some models not much larger having metal cases, better build quality, or better EVF (not necessarily all at once ...).

Except for Panasonic TZ100, which cameras do you mean or would you suggest?

Thank you.
α37 - Tamron 17-50 - Min 28-105, 35-105 (O), 35-70/4, Beercan, 135/2.8; Sony 50/1.4 - Σ EF-500 DG SUPER
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Pallanza Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 December 2021 at 15:54
I do have the RX100iii since about three years.
My intention was, to get a very small camera with a very good image quality.
The RX100iii indeed gives me both.

But:
24-70mm is not very much. It is sufficient, but not always.
Handling the RX100iii is a bit fuzzy, because it is so small. You need some time for starting it, especially when you want to use its viewfinder.
In the last weeks, I had some miss-settings in the fn-menu, e.g. spot-exposure, which made some odd results, or DRO instead of a proper ISO-setting.

So I additionally bought the A6600. This camera has a very convenient feature (as my A7riii as well), namely "ISO-minVS". i.e., the shutter speed is select conform to the focal lenght, and if necessary, ISO-speed will bei adapted.
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