I’m a strong proponent of the idea that ‘it’s not about the camera‘. I really am. To the extent that I hesitate to write about specific pieces of equipment because it moves the conversation away from the why/where/when an image was made, and puts the focus on what combination of glass, metal and plastic was responsible for recording the light striking the film plane. Fundamentally, you can create great photography with bad cameras, but a great camera is a useless hunk of expensive engineering without a creative being driving the process. Photography first, cameras second.
So, ranting disclaimer aside, I do love cameras. Admittedly I’ve amassed a small collection, and it seems to be expanding on a regular basis. The primary tools of my trade are the Nikon D4s, the Nikon D610, the Olympus OM-D E-M1, and the iPhone. The essential idea is to get the best quality possible in size XL, L, M and S. To have a kit to accommodate anything from high production commercial work to deep wilderness expeditions. I couldn’t be happier with the quality of the Nikon and Olympus gear, but the iPhone is, as anyone who as relied on a phone camera knows, a bit lacking. But, for all that it lacks, it’s got two key advantages: always there, and easy to share.
As Instagram has become an ever larger part of my photo sharing, I’ve started posting work that doesn’t just include snaps from my iPhone, but photos from my larger collection. This has caused me view image quality of the iPhone vs. the photos from my ‘real’ cameras side-by-side. You won’t be surprised to hear that I’m falling out of love with the phone cam. Which leaves the question: what is available that is always there, easy to share, and takes kick ass pictures?
Enter the Sony RX100 III. Read the reviews here, here, here, and here. It’s widely been declared the finest digital point and shoot ever built. Sony has packed so much image quality and speed into such a small package, it’s astounding. It’s been out on one of my missions thus far, and I’m strongly digging it, and moving toward love. I want to use the camera a bit more before I declare it a game changer, but here are the primary criteria by which I’ll be judging the camera:
1. Speed – Can I pull it out, turn it on and capture a photo as fast as I can with the iPhone? Will the frame rate and focusing handle fast moving subjects as I attempt to capture outdoor adventure of every stripe?
2. Quality – Can the image quality stand up to professional applications, including commercial advertising and the creation of art prints up to 30″ wide?
3. Sharing – Will the built in wifi interface let me quickly and reliably get photos off the camera and onto Instagram without going through the time consuming process of download and editing entire cards on my computer?
And just to let you know we’re dealing with a serious contender, here are a few photos from a weekend of alpine climbing where ounces counted, big cameras were a non-starter and this little dynamo came out swinging.
So far, so very good. Stay tuned for more results from this exciting bit of tech.
As always, custom fine art prints of all of my images are available. If you like my work, please follow me online at: Facebook, Instagram, Google+, 500px and Twitter. More importantly, share it with a friend and give me a hi-5 when you see me next; let’s keep things in the real world here. Thanks!