Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Sony RX100V & Leica D-Lux 4

I recently purchased a Sony RX100V, as it's supposed to be the top compact for a little of everything, (stills & video). Packed with features, it is a great little camera, but I was missing another camera I recently sold, so I bought it again used on eBay. Which camera? the Leica D-Lux 4. Why did I buy the camera again? Because It was the only camera with a CCD sensor that I owned, has a nice macro feature, shoots lovely RAW files that convert to beautiful B&W pictures. Even the in-camera JPEG pictures settings are lovely in B&W, and well, I missed that very sharp lens.

Leica D-Lux 4





As much as I like the Sony RX100V, it isn't as sharp a lens as the Leica. The colors coming out of the RX100V are not as nice as the Leica, (or Fuji and Sigma). So, now I have two compacts, and a Ricoh GR & Sigma DP3M, which you would think would be kind of redundant. It isn't and here's why.

The Sony RX100V likes: I like the 4K video, though I don't know much about video at all, it's a nice feature to have. Yeah, I know it has no mic inputs and you can't do a lot with it, but in a pinch when I need video, it beats out the iPhone 5S I have in quality, and it has an articulating screen. Don't forget that EVF, which I do because it has to be popped up and pulled out. Every time I remember the EVF on the RX100V I laugh. It's one of the main reasons I bought the camera. I'm older, and my eyes are not the greatest so I need the EVF many times, especially in sunny Arizona. The tilting screen helps with the sun's glare, something the little Leica doesn't have. I like all of the features on the Sony. The camera is plain fun to use. Isn't that the point? But even with it's 1" sensor, the little Leica D-Lux 4 can keep up in quality with its sharp lens and lovely color files. I think the CCD sensor files have always pleased me. I recall the Nikon 990 Coolpix and how lovely those files were, and that it was a CCD sensor providing that look to the files. It reminds me of slide film. I know most brands have dumped the CCD sensor in favor of the CMOS because of the ability to shoot in very low light was not a CCD sensor attribute. The CMOS trounces it there. Still, I wish there were a way CCD could keep up in low light as I honestly like the look of the pictures better. It's the reason why I still hold on to my Foveon sensor Sigma DP3M, because the files remind me of Kodachrome slides.

Sony was never my favorite brand for tack sharp photos, and sometimes it can be tolerated as some of my nicer shots are a tad blurry, if that makes any sense. There is a pleasing effect to a soft photo of say a person, that the Foveon sensor destroys with its too much detail. I don't think my family & friends want to see their skin pores when I zoom in to a shot of their face. (The Sigma does have a feature in menu where you can choose to help with people shots. I know it softens the file and I think helps with skin tones.

What do I hate about the Sony? The colors. Well, hate is a strong word. I can fix it in Photoshop, but it should come out of camera closer to what I saw in person when I took the shot. I also think the lens could be sharper. The camera is like a mini brick, a slippery mini-brick. I would have loved a grip on the camera. As it stands, I would have to buy the stick on grip which would add size to it which would make it less pocketable. Don't ever wear this camera without the wrist strap. You will regret it as it goes sliding out of your hands. The Sony is too expensive of a camera. It does a lot, but at close to 1K, it is ridiculous. Sony has it's customers by the cojones, because they know they have the most features on their camera, especially in regards to the video capabilities. I tried out a Canon G7X (not the II), and I liked the grip a lot, but the files were a tad noisy, and the video camera went in and out of focus. Still, it is like the #1 camera among V-loggers, now taken up by the Canon G7X Mark II. The Sony beats it in features. Sony has more features, and what sold it for me is that damn EVF. It's a small one, but it works! I tried out a Panasonic LX100, which has the micro 4/3rd sensor. I liked the larger files, though because of the sensor cropping  them (from what I heard), and the sensor not being totally utilized, cuts the actual benefits of the sensor size. The camera is bigger and certainly not pocketable. I wanted a pocket camera that could do a little of everything. Sony fits the bill nicely. I have a love/hate with every camera, so i don't want you to think I hate the Sony. I don't. I just get irritated with what manufacturers could easily improve upon in features, but I think all brands purposely do this so you keep buying cameras in search of the that properly featured one. It doesn't exist. It's why so many photographers have many cameras. The Sigma DP3M is an awesome camera with a Foveon sensor. It has no EVF, it can't shoot in high ISO, is not a fast AF choice for sports, and has a fixed lens. The Ricoh GR, has a sharp lens, lovely APS-C files, but it too is a fixed lens. It can shoot in higher ISO. Ricoh files are not as detailed as the Foveon sensor files, but it's all a compromise. The Ricoh GR fits in a pocket. The Sigma Doesn't fit in a pocket. The Sony RX100V and Leica D-Lux 4 fit in a pocket, though the Sony is a tad smaller. The Leica has a smaller sensor, the Sony a bigger sensor. You'd think that the Sony would be the only choice then, but for me, it isn't. The Leica D-Lux photos are lovely still and I missed that CCD file. The Sony is more fun to use in its various features.

Still, as much as the Sony is fun to use, it doesn't have a good macro feature. Really? WTF! Sony! C'mon! I missed my Leica D-Lux 4 when I was checking out the files over the years of using it. Sure the camera shows noise in low light files, but I tell you what, the prints come out fantastic just the same. As small as the sensor is, I still think the prints from the Leica D-Lux 4 beat the Sony. The prints I have from the Sony aren't as detailed. That may matter to some. I think having owned Sigma DP Merrill cameras has spoiled me in regards to details in file. The Leica D-Lux 4 shows a lot of detail in the CCD sensor file.

Anyway, when I go out and shoot, I carry one of these smaller cameras with me depending on what I need. Usually it's the Ricoh GR for it's much larger APS-C sized files and sharp lens, but for versatility and video choices, it's the Sony. The Leica is also another choice. Need to shoot some macro, use the Leica D-Lux 4. What I find interesting is that APS-C is my preferred sensor size. I don't need full frame per se, but these smaller cameras with their smaller sensors provide a niche need for me in regards to fast zooms, 24-70mm, macro and versatility in a pocketable camera. It's better than the iPhone 5s, and smaller than the D-SLR or Mirrorless cameras like the Fuji X series. Each camera has specific attributes.

Sony RX100V verdict? If you want a do-everything pocketable camera that can shoot video and stills while still being able to put it in a pocket, then get this. If you are a Vlogger, this is it. Don't expect it to replace an APS-C sensor. Heck, I can't even replace it for the Leica D-Lux CCD sensor. It has its uses though, and most people will be thrilled with it.


Sony RX100 V Shots below.
































As much as I like the Sony RX100V, it isn't as sharp a lens as the Leica. The colors coming out of the RX100V are not as nice as the Leica, (or Fuji and Sigma). So, now I have two compacts, and a Ricoh GR & Sigma DP3M, which you would think would be kind of redundant. It isn't and here's why.

The Sony RX100V likes: I like the 4K video, though I don't know much about video at all, it's a nice feature to have. Yeah, I know it has no mic inputs and you can't do a lot with it, but in a pinch when I need video, it beats out the iPhone 5S I have in quality, and it has an articulating screen. Don't forget that EVF, which I do because it has to be popped up and pulled out. Every time I remember the EVF on the RX100V I laugh. It's one of the main reasons I bought the camera. I'm older, and my eyes are not the greatest so I need the EVF many times, especially in sunny Arizona. The tilting screen helps with the sun's glare, something the little Leica doesn't have. I like all of the features on the Sony. The camera is plain fun to use. Isn't that the point? But even with it's 1" sensor, the little Leica D-Lux 4 can keep up in quality with its sharp lens and lovely color files. I think the CCD sensor files have always pleased me. I recall the Nikon 990 Coolpix and how lovely those files were, and that it was a CCD sensor providing that look to the files. It reminds me of slide film. I know most brands have dumped the CCD sensor in favor of the CMOS because of the ability to shoot in very low light was not a CCD sensor attribute. The CMOS trounces it there. Still, I wish there were a way CCD could keep up in low light as I honestly like the look of the pictures better. It's the reason why I still hold on to my Foveon sensor Sigma DP3M, because the files remind me of Kodachrome slides.

Sony was never my favorite brand for tack sharp photos, and sometimes it can be tolerated as some of my nicer shots are a tad blurry, if that makes any sense. There is a pleasing effect to a soft photo of say a person, that the Foveon sensor destroys with its too much detail. I don't think my family & friends want to see their skin pores when I zoom in to a shot of their face. (The Sigma does have a feature in menu where you can choose to help with people shots. I know it softens the file and I think helps with skin tones.

What do I hate about the Sony? The colors. Well, hate is a strong word. I can fix it in Photoshop, but it should come out of camera closer to what I saw in person when I took the shot. I also think the lens could be sharper. The camera is like a mini brick, a slippery mini-brick. I would have loved a grip on the camera. As it stands, I would have to buy the stick on grip which would add size to it which would make it less pocketable. Don't ever wear this camera without the wrist strap. You will regret it as it goes sliding out of your hands. The Sony is too expensive of a camera. It does a lot, but at close to 1K, it is ridiculous. Sony has it's customers by the cojones, because they know they have the most features on their camera, especially in regards to the video capabilities. I tried out a Canon G7X (not the II), and I liked the grip a lot, but the files were a tad noisy, and the video camera went in and out of focus. Still, it is like the #1 camera among V-loggers, now taken up by the Canon G7X Mark II. The Sony beats it in features. Sony has more features, and what sold it for me is that damn EVF. It's a small one, but it works! I tried out a Panasonic LX100, which has the micro 4/3rd sensor. I liked the larger files, though because of the sensor cropping  them (from what I heard), and the sensor not being totally utilized, cuts the actual benefits of the sensor size. The camera is bigger and certainly not pocketable. I wanted a pocket camera that could do a little of everything. Sony fits the bill nicely. I have a love/hate with every camera, so i don't want you to think I hate the Sony. I don't. I just get irritated with what manufacturers could easily improve upon in features, but I think all brands purposely do this so you keep buying cameras in search of the that properly featured one. It doesn't exist. It's why so many photographers have many cameras. The Sigma DP3M is an awesome camera with a Foveon sensor. It has no EVF, it can't shoot in high ISO, is not a fast AF choice for sports, and has a fixed lens. The Ricoh GR, has a sharp lens, lovely APS-C files, but it too is a fixed lens. It can shoot in higher ISO. Ricoh files are not as detailed as the Foveon sensor files, but it's all a compromise. The Ricoh GR fits in a pocket. The Sigma Doesn't fit in a pocket. The Sony RX100V and Leica D-Lux 4 fit in a pocket, though the Sony is a tad smaller. The Leica has a smaller sensor, the Sony a bigger sensor. You'd think that the Sony would be the only choice then, but for me, it isn't. The Leica D-Lux photos are lovely still and I missed that CCD file. The Sony is more fun to use in its various features.

Still, as much as the Sony is fun to use, it doesn't have a good macro feature. Really? WTF! Sony! C'mon! I missed my Leica D-Lux 4 when I was checking out the files over the years of using it. Sure the camera shows noise in low light files, but I tell you what, the prints come out fantastic just the same. As small as the sensor is, I still think the prints from the Leica D-Lux 4 beat the Sony. The prints I have from the Sony aren't as detailed. That may matter to some. I think having owned Sigma DP Merrill cameras has spoiled me in regards to details in file. The Leica D-Lux 4 shows a lot of detail in the CCD sensor file.

Anyway, when I go out and shoot, I carry one of these smaller cameras with me depending on what I need. Usually it's the Ricoh GR for it's much larger APS-C sized files and sharp lens, but for versatility and video choices, it's the Sony. The Leica is also another choice. Need to shoot some macro, use the Leica D-Lux 4. What I find interesting is that APS-C is my preferred sensor size. I don't need full frame per se, but these smaller cameras with their smaller sensors provide a niche need for me in regards to fast zooms, 24-70mm, macro and versatility in a pocketable camera. It's better than the iPhone 5s, and smaller than the D-SLR or Mirrorless cameras like the Fuji X series. Each camera has specific attributes.

Sony RX100V verdict? If you want a do-everything pocketable camera that can shoot video and stills while still being able to put it in a pocket, then get this. If you are a Vlogger, this is it. Don't expect it to replace an APS-C sensor. Heck, I can't even replace it for the Leica D-Lux CCD sensor. It has its uses though, and most people will be thrilled with it.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Fuji Wins...Sort of

I have decided to keep both my Sigma DP3M, Ricoh GR, and Canon S95. Nothing beats the Sigma DP3M in detail. As much as it's a pain in the ass to use at times, it has no viewfinder, it has to be shot in low ISO, the results still beat everything else I've owned in regards to detail. I am sad I gave up on the Sigma DP2M, and wish I had it back now. Luckily, the Ricoh GR is a joy to use with one of the sharpest lenses at 28mm, coupled with it's pocketable size which is so damn convenient. It eases the pain of the sold Sigma DP2M a bit. The Canon S95 has a nice macro feature, and being that I don't have a macro lens for my Fuji, it stays for now. (I suppose I could use my iPhone but the file sizes are so crappy small and the detail isn't as nice.) Also, it is good for the quick video, though it's kind of crap by today's standards. I'm not a video person, but I'd like the option. I do miss the Sony A6000 for that. I honestly don't need 4K and find the A6000 capable enough for me for what little I do with video. I miss the A6000 for video. It's frustrating to own different brands of gear in that it would be so much more seamless if a company could make that one perfect camera. I now realize that this will never ever happen. So it's a compromise.

Anyhow, I love the Fuji colors and the sharp lenses. I don't think the detail is as good as the Sigma DP3M foveon sensor, but like I said before, I don't think most people notice this. The prints for both Sigma and Fuji come out so lovely. The Sigma DP3M has the edge in making bigger prints due to the sensor, and the B&W is sublime. Fuji is very close. The Ricoh GR also prints some beautiful photos.

Do I miss the Leica D-Lux 4? Yes. I miss the size factor and the prints. I don't miss the very slow function. My eyes are not the best. Nowadays I need a viewfinder, and I need an EVF not an OVF. I've tried the Fuji X-Pro 1 and although I loved the design of the camera, I couldn't deal with the OVF, and lack of tilting screen. I've really come to rely on it. My next camera body will be the Fuji X-T2. I would like the extra pixels.

I experiment with different gear to see if it is good in working situations. What makes it annoying and what makes it work. For me, being an older woman with some health issues, and definitely eye problems, the most important factor is to have at the very least an APS-C sensor in a small size body. It must be small. It must have an EVF and tilting screen. The lenses must be sharp and fast. The ease of use is relative. I've used some gear that's been such a pain to navigate the menus or dials, but once I got used to it, it wasn't a big deal. So size, durability, sharp workable lens ranges, EVF and tilting screen. Sony & Fuji were my choices. Fuji won out due to the better & sharper looking files. I came very close to just keeping the A6000 and investing in an A7 series. The ease of one-handed shooting with the A6000 was a dream, and the enticing full frame of the A7 series lured me in...almost. I couldn't justify the expense, didn't want to spend thousands of dollars on gear, (Leica fiasco of past years cured me of that), and quite frankly, the colors coming out of the Sony were not as pleasing to my eyes as the Fuji. I started in Fuji, the X-E1 and hated the slow AF, loved the kit lens, but ultimately sold it due to the AF focusing issues. Since that time, Fuji has listened to photographers and they have come up with the best gear that is now leaps and bounds over what they started out with and I am sold on the brand for now. It's more than enough pixels for me. I can print large with no loss of detail. That's what matters.


These shots below taken with Sigma DP3M.




These shots below taken with a Fuji X-T10 and 35mm F/2 WR Lens.








These shots below taken with a Ricoh GR.







I have to say that the Ricoh GR was a joy to use on vacation. It was small, easy to carry, and takes beautiful photos. I wish Ricoh had a zoom lens version of this camera with an EVF. I would use that as my carry-everywhere camera. The 28mm equivalent lens is so sharp. 

The Sigma DP3M is for specialty shots, mostly landscapes and architecture outside. Best on a tripod, but also good as a slow-moving street camera. Best used in bright light, but still quite useable on a tripod indoors for product shots. 

The Fuji is a great all-around performer and their lenses are sharp. Fuji listens to their photographer clients and they have a pretty good turn-around time for fixing gear. It's the best for professional use, though for carrying everywhere it is heavier than the Ricoh GR. I expected that for more usability though. It just makes sense to use this system for clients.

Next on the list of things to do is to buy some Fuji lenses and the X-T2.



Friday, August 19, 2016

Selling Gear?

Recently I sold my Leica D-Lux 4 and Sigma DP2M. I am downsizing gear. I have yet to sell my Sigma DP3M as it is a much rarer item and if I sell it, I'd have a very hard time to buy it back if I regretted that decision.
Sigma DP3M
Why am I selling? Well, I want to downsize the amount of gear for simplicity. Right now I still have a Nikon D90 that I seldom use, a Ricoh GR, a Canon S95, (which I gave to my sister and she gave it back because she uses her iPhone 6s for every picture taking opportunity). I also have the Sigma DP3M and a Fuji X-T10 with the one 35mm (50mm equivalent) lens. The Sony A6000 was sold.  I loved the form factor of the Sony, didn't like the color of the files as much as the Fuji though. As for the kit lens, well we all know that it was too soft and annoying to use once compared to Fuji lenses. I'm not in love with Fuji though. I would still like a camera the size of a Sony A6000 and a kit lens that isn't soft or big. That would be my ultimate travel everywhere camera. The Sigma DP3M I have is great for portraits, product shots and landscape. (Don't forget street as well, though the focal length and speed wouldn't be so great for people, it can be done. Also, it would be awesome for some architecture as long as you don't need to go wide.) One thing, there is a portrait setting for people that helps soften the detail. Great for making the face look more natural without showing all the blemishes.

Right now I am debating selling the Sigma DP3M. I want to commit to the Fuji system. I may also sell the Ricoh GR. Now, I love the Ricoh GR for the compactness. Quite frankly it is perfect for carrying everywhere. But like my sister, I tend to use my iPhone for snapshots these days as it's so much easier to place on all my websites, Facebook, Flickr and such. I know the quality isn't as good coming from the iPhone, but the convenience factor is. I am trying to simplify my life with less gear so as to get what gear I have left my full attention ins getting to know that system. So far, Fuji is winning out. I honestly was checking out the Sony A7 series, but because the colors of the files do not compare to this of the Fuji, which I find much more appealing, I went for the Fuji. I also like the Fuji company in how they support the photographers and listen to them. Fuji has better customer service and their lenses are divine. I like APS-C as the files are big enough for me. Now do you see the fix I'm in? Makes sense right? 

These files below are from my Fuji X-T10 and 35mm F/2 WR Lens. What do you think? Do you think they are worthy shots compared to Sigma DP Merrill? Yeah, I know the Merrill would show more detail, but the shots below seem to be awesome in detail as well, though not "Sigma DP Merrill" awesome. The compromise for better camera user experience, lens changing & ability to shoot in very low light are worth that compromise for many applications. Yes?






The shots below are from the Sigma DP3M. I like the Fuji colors slightly better, but that's me. The detail on the Foveon files are much better than Fuji, but I don't think most people would notice this. The only time I think it would be an issue is in landscape photography where files are blown up to huge poster sizes. What do you guys think?









Lastly, the Ricoh GR shots below.




















The Ricoh GR has no viewfinder, which I'm finding I need in my later years. I tried the external optical and just couldn't get used to it. The Ricoh has kind of a slow AF at times, especially in lowlight. I find it hunting a bit. Still, it has one of the sharpest 28mm equivalent lenses I know of. Nothing is as sharp except maybe the 28mm Leica Summicron. 

...lastly the Canon S95, which the iPhone can almost replace in many ways.

Here are some shots below using the Canon S95













So now I have to think long and hard. I kind of like the variety of gear, but long for a simpler solution.