Sony RX100m4 (and jumping ship)

Why write about the Sony RX100m4?

I’m writing this article despite the Sony RX100m4 is neither a new model or new when I bought it, or even new to me now.   🙂   However, I’ve now owned the unit for some weeks now and I’ve used it a fair bit in a variety of situations making use of the various modes.

Saying Goodbye to Panasonic

Picture of my Panasonic FZ1000 overlooking YosemiteSince a while into my America trip, I realised my Panasonic FZ1000 wasn’t all I ever wanted. However, don’t let me mislead you, the Panasonic FZ1000 is a fantastic camera for function and value, and it trumps most other cameras twice its price!  However, and this is a big however, my dealings with Panasonic (which go back 4 cameras) have always had a huge underwhelming characteristic of being poor in low light, and particularly grainy in shadows. This also goes along with the Panasonic TS-6 I loved for all that it offered and took on-board this weakness when I purchased before leaving Alaska heading south.

Why am I telling you all this?  Well recently, (in October) I sold all my camera hardware minus one GoPro.  I had figured that I needed to liquidate some collateral, and given I wasn’t using the cameras all that much, I realised they were just getting old and losing value.  Besides, buying a new camera is always hard to justify when you already own a few.

Since way back when: I had followed various YouTube film makers, the common trend for most has left their camera brand in the direction of Sony. In the past I have worked with both Canon and Panasonic. I figured my next camera would be a full frame camera. I also would love to have a Sony.  However, just after a couple of months without a camera I started to miss having something to snap with and I say this as my mobile phone I will forever be discounted as a camera.

I wont lie, I have spent months looking at different models of camera, and I’ve wanted the bells and the whistles, in fact I still do!  However, allowable budget tells a different story.  While the Sony a7Sm2 would be my number one choice, let’s face it kids: £2,300 (GBP) is by no means cheap. Secondly, you’d have to then spend a handsome amount of money on a lens (or 5) before you can use it. Not so appealing now is it?

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Dealing with Reality

The frequency I take pictures is hard to measure; and size always matters! The easier it is to carry the more likely I will carry it; then factor in my mindset. I sometimes get a flurry of inspiration and creativity and take my camera with me everywhere I go for weeks on end taking pictures of the abstract and the banal. Then, other times, the camera gets left in the drawer with all the other gear I have for months. So before buying a camera, I had to give myself a stern talking to: how after almost 2 years of unemployment I could not go and spend £3,000 on a new camera.  A £3,000 camera that is too big to carry in my pocket.

Short Term / Long Term Goals

I decided that if I really wanted to get the Sony a7Sm2 (or its successor) I’d have to project forward a long way, plan for the saving and such, “this wont be happening any time soon!“.  I have had a few mentions of job offers doing session work and the like  in the past few months and without a camera I felt a bit of a fraud entertaining the idea.   I did however, find myself a rental place nearby that would hire me a Sony camera for the odd gig here and there, which rests that doubt. However, I still have this daily desire to take the odd photo of me climbing, the beautiful landscape we have here in Barcelona, or just the wonderful weather… random things my phone wont do.

Cue: the Sony RX100m4Picture of Sony RX100m4 at the Labyrinth of Hota

I’ve known for years the Sony RX100 was great! Some of my friends have the predecessors (mark 1 and mark 2) and the mark 4 certainly is amazing!! However, each new model belittles the predecessor and if good fortune is what we’re calling it the mark 5 came out last year (drool).  It was by a stroke of luck that I found a used Sony RX100m4 on Amazon, mint condition, fast delivery, at a good price…. and the rest is history!

Barcelona

I bought the camera on Amazon.co.uk and had my mother bring it with her on her visit to me.  It both gave me a reason to use the camera and a subject to photograph.   Mum who has taken a photography course online lately, had asked me what camera to buy. After some research I decided that the Sony HX90v  (almost identical in form factor) was going to be a good choice, partly if I later decide to give her my RX100 she would know how to work it.

We explored our way around the city together she got the chance to learn how to use her camera with me.

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Berlin

One of my best friends (Jess), has moved to Germany since I last saw her, and we’d not seen each other in about 2 years. We decided to catch up over Christmas / New Years Eve.   I checked flights to Berlin and she checked flights to Barcelona, we settled that it would be cheaper for me to go to see her for New Years Eve.

Again, I took great joy in using the Sony RX100m4 in varied conditions mostly mid to low light conditions, and it came up trumps!

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Conclusion

I think it’s obvious that i’m happy with the camera, and I love the view finder, I really like the bokeh (depth of field) and the large sensor on the camera, colour fidelity and so many more things about  the camera, although, that said I haven’t tried filming with it, and I certainly wouldn’t say this is the best all-rounder you’ll find.  However, it’s a great camera for what it is, and that is a pro-compact, although at its price-point, I’d suggest if you’re not that serious about photography I’d urge you to buy yourself a Sony HX90v  although personally I’m in love with my Sony RX100m4.  🙂

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