Looking for First Camera - Considering Sony DSC-RX100M II

Discussion in 'What Camera Should I Buy?' started by Blocksbox, Apr 28, 2014.

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  1. Blocksbox

    Blocksbox New Member

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    Greetings All,

    First off, I want to apologize in advance. I am probably this forum's least favorite type of member - completely uneducated on photography and super-casual as a user. Never even owned my own camera before. I filled out the recommended questionnaire in hopes that someone can guide me toward a specific model. I've browsed several camera-oriented forums recently, and the advice of this community seems to be the most trustworthy and thorough.

    Budget
    Under $1000

    Size
    Small, portable, compact

    How many megapixels will suffice for you?
    The more the merrier - Ideally something on the high-end of compact cameras (20+)

    How important is “image quality” to you? (Rate using a scale of 1-10)
    10, relative to compact cameras - I realize that going with a compact is automatically going to cap quality potential.

    *What optical zoom will you need?
    Standard (3x - 4x) should be fine - Ideally I would like to zoom in enough to grab photos of the occasional far away object (wildlife, player at a sporting event, etc.), but I don't need to see the pattern of a hawk's iris.

    What will you generally use the camera for?
    Taking standard photos of friends, family, and scenery while on trips

    Will you be making big prints of your photos or not?
    No

    Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos or low light photos?
    Yes

    Will you be shooting sports and/or action photos?
    I will not be shooting any action sequences, but ideally I would like to get away with taking general scene photos without blur streaks (e.g. from a moderately paced jogger).

    Are there particular brands you like or hate?
    Nope - never had a camera, so haven't had the opportunity to slowly hate a company more over time ;).

    Are there particular models you already have in mind?
    From preliminary research, I am looking at a Sony DSC-RX100M II.

    Essentially, I am looking for a thin, casual camera that takes high-end photos (relative to other compacts). I genuinely would like to attend some photography workshops or read more instructional material to make use of advanced features and get better shots, but realistically that probably will not happen due to time limitations. Something with strong performance natively would be ideal. Is the DSC-RX100M II a good fit? Is it overkill for my inexperience? Is there perhaps a non-compact camera that would still be considered small / convenient to carry around? Also, as someone who doesn't plan to make use of Wifi, touch-to-phone transfer, video, etc. is the 40% increase in low-light performance worth the extra money over a regular DSC-RX100? Thanks!
     
  2. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    The RX100MII improves on the RX100 in a few ways - it has a hot-shoe for connecting separate flash or a viewfinder, a tilting LCD and built-in WiFi. I don't know where you read that the M II has a 40% increase in low light performance over the RX100 but I have a hard time accepting it since the sensor and apertures are the same. The two cameras are very similar in most ways. The RX100M II is worth the additional money only if its extra features are important to you, If they aren't, save some money and buy the RX100 - it's an excellent compact camera.

    Yes, there are many small cameras with interchangeable lenses that have even better image quality than the RX100. They are made by most of the camera manufacturers. The cameras made by Sony, Samsung and Fuji have DSLR-size sensors and produce superior image quality. The cameras by Olympus and Panasonic have large 4/3 sensors and also outdo the image quality of the RX100. These cameras, with their lenses included, are in most cases only slightly larger than the RX100 and start at about $400.
     
  3. Blocksbox

    Blocksbox New Member

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    Appreciate the awesome feedback Andy. I got the "40% increase in low light performance" from around 1:10 this comparison video:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tACvJl2uRL0

    "But we've increased its sensitivity a little bit by about 40%, because we used the backside illuminated construction, the reverse-structure, and it's the very first time that reverse-structure CMOS "Exmor R" has been realized in a sensor as large as a one-inch. It affords about an extra stop of luminous performance and gathers about 40% more light."

    After reading your reply, I began researching DSLR models. Comparing them is obviously a much more involved process, and I feel a little bit like a fish out of water even trying to find an adequate model to ask more questions about. Is there a quick and dirty guide somewhere that would help in making an informed decision? At the moment I am collecting information peace-meal style from a variety of sources.

    My end goal is still more or less the same just slightly more DSLR-focused now. I'd like to find a small / portable / fits in the pocket of cargo shorts camera with solid / high performance and minimal tinkering / lens changing (ideally no lens changing). I realize that goal is impossible. Photography is an entire discipline and great shots come through mastery of settings, lenses, vision, timing etc. I guess the question is, under most regular use cases, what camera performs the best while used casually?
     
  4. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    A DSLR, with the kit lens attached, would probably be a lot larger and heavier than what you'd like, even a small, lightweight DSLR like the Canon SL1 or the Nikon D3300.

    However, a small interchangeable lens camera like the Sony A5000 would probably meet your needs well. Its body is about the same size and weight as the RX100 though it's a bit heavier with its kit lens attached (3x optical zoom). But, unlike the RX100, the A5000 has a large DSLR-style sensor which gives it superior image quality compared to most small cameras, including the RX100. The A5000 also has as many automatic features as the RX100 - it's not made for complicated photography despite the fact that it has terrific image quality. And its price is much less than the RX100M II and considerably less than the RX100.

    Here are some pictures taken with the A5000:
    https://www.flickr.com/search/?q=sony a5000
     
  5. KCook

    KCook Well-Known Member

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    While my mirrorless camera is just small enough to fit into a cargo pocket, it is much too heavy to be comfortable to carry that way. I always use a small camera bag, sometimes on my belt.

    For a pocket camera stick with compacts.

    Kelly Cook
     
  6. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    I agree with Kelly that, if weight is extremely important to you, stick with a camera that's less than 300 grams (such as the Sony RX100 - 240grams). But the Sony A5000 is very small and lightweight for a mirrorless camera. Even with its kit lens, the A5000 weighs only about 370 grams.
     
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