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    • I get a laugh when photographers take offense when they get a compliment like, "Great photo! You must have a great camera."

      Photographers grumble, "you wouldn't tell a chef they must have really good pans." We hear photographers say "great photographers get great shots on any camera."

      Really? Then why are we notorious gear snobs?

      I got a little jealous when I read @JeffersonGrahamPhoto write about his beloved RX10iv with its built-in 25-600mm super zoom. Here's why I'm jealous: my Canon 200-400 (below) cost me $12,000 and weighs a ton. Everyone wants to talk to me about it at an event while I'm trying to concentrate on taking photos.

      So I rented the Sony for the weekend and took it out last night to see if I could get good shots of waterfoul in flight. That was a stress test. Today I'll shoot soccer. Tomorrow classic cars and maybe flowers if I don't go back to full snob mode.

    • I sometimes go to the Baylands with my beloved 200-400. After an hour with it, I can skip the free weights workout at the gym because you get to rest between sets so the gym is not as brutal. But even in low light, it gets me the compliments about having a great camera:

      With the Sony, I could just sling it over my shoulder, hop on the mountain bike, and not even notice it's there.

      Pic looked good on the back viewfinder:

      I took a pic of geese with a jogger running by. Jefferson is right, you can get shallow enough depth of field with it, no?

      Shooting stationary ducks in a creek, it looked pretty good. Straight from camera:

      πŸ‘† Is it just me or are they not that sharp? Snob alert. This was taken mid-zoom.

      Now for a real test: this egret looks ready to fly. Will the vaunted phase-detect autofocus be able to deal or will I look like a terrible photographer who is like a chef that needs new pans?

      My compliments to Sony. Despite being an affordable camera, the egret couldn't outfly the autofocus. But is is sharp enough?

    • Below @chris is one of my most popular shots, of Griffith Observatory in LA. I was far away, on a hiking trail, looking to the left for this 600mm shot. Sure, I could have taken your giant lens, but truth is, I wouldn't have. The RX10IV? No problem.

    • These ducks were moving so fast and I had center focus set so I just panic spray-and-prayed. This thing shoots like 24 frames per second or something and somehow they seemed to be in focus.

      These are just coming straight from the camera. They are less sharp and noisier than my make-you-go-bankrupt snobbery kit, but you could never get shots like this on an iPhone, could you? How would you ever zoom to 600mm?

    • Then the sun went down:

      I had to jack the ISO to 3200 and figured my day was over, but the problem was these incredible designer white pelicans with black accents came down from the heavens. The fishing looks like it was great.

      I was thinking these shots would not come out, too dark. And they they started to fly in all their goofy grace and beauty. Damn! Where is the real camera when you need it?! Oh well, won't hurt to try:

    • Thanks for the field test. I hear you on so many levels. Mostly, when I used to have a Nikon 600mm/f4 ~ yes, EVERYONE has to talk to you about your gear. Very distracting and hard to be polite over time. BUT, can one lens be all things for all shots? I thought your eventual analysis was spot on....more versatile than today's sophisticated smartphone, capable of prints, but, maybe not wall print frame-able until all conditions are perfect.

      My customer is a trophy-hunter (I do not understand it as a sport, but, as my customer not my place to judge) and he still does not quite get that to get a great shot at 400mm+, handheld, is for the most part not really do-able. BUT, for his personal satisfaction, this might be the perfect trip camera where it probably does not take a ton of camera expertise and he would be more than satisfied with the results.

    • That's a good question, Jefferson. One factor is I already own some high-end gear for shots like these, but I can't be lugging it on a hike in the Grand Canyon or a motorcycle adventure.

      I'm going to shoot kids soccer this afternoon and I'm very hopeful. The light is not too challenging, the focus seems fast enough, the lens is long enough and wide enough at the same time, and the photos are just for displaying in family galleries β€” so yeah, it may be perfect. As it is, if I take my big gear to the games, some parents become afraid that I'm a creeper come to exploit their kids in some way.

      Btw, here are some kid shots I've taken with the big gear:

    • Funny set, Chris, with some very nice images.

      I bought my Sony RX10 Mk IV and one for my wife about a year ago or whenever it first came out. She was slow to use it at first, but now seems to love it. I looked forward to it and found it too large to carry, and the sensor too small to be quite satisfactory, especially in low light. It does take fine images, as good as many APS-C crop bodies I suspect, but I guess I just can't seem to warm up to the Sony menu system after living in EOS land for so long. I really wanted to love this camera, but I find I tend to leave it behind often..

      One quick take away - it ( the Sony RX10 Mk IV ) does shoot very nice handheld video, and I rarely shoot video - but my wife shot almost 15 straight minutes of fireworks video, handheld, after dark, last December at the Illuminations at Colonial Williamsburg and they came out fabulous. So if you are a video shooter, you might find it very appealing. I'll see if I can find a link to her fireworks video

    • Yeah, I don't like the Sony controls either β€” on any Sony still camera. I just can't understand the protruding dial in the upper right, for example, for exposure compensation. Is it just me or does everyone inadvertently bump that thing and not notice until a few shots get spoiled? And why is exposure compensation the thing most easy to change? You have to go deep in funky menus to change more pressing settings.

    • I agree with @pathfinder that video is great on RX10. I shoot handheld all the time with it. On the menu, yes, there are many pages, but you get used to it. EOS didn't offer me silent shooting when I was a Canon shooter, or the ability to use the viewfinder to compose video, so I really don't mind....Also, RX10 is better in low light than I ever did on the 70D and comparable to a 5D IV, at least for me. Not as good as A7III.

    • I must be doing it wrong with this camera. For some reason, the photos appear properly exposed on the back of the camera but when importing into Lightroom they look super dark and take at least two stops of exposure boost to bring them back. Then they never look as good, including the shadows that get gray dropouts and noise. See around her stomach and face β€” that after using exposure and shadow brushes.

      The shadows didn't look bad when the sun was off to the side instead of almost behind the subject. Is it a dynamic range issue?

    • Great set of images, the sports ones definatly look sharper than the bird images from my eye. Have you tried printing any of the images, that usually starts to seperate out the good form the bad pretty quickly. Like yourself I usually use a beast of a lens the Sigma 150-600mm Sports, certainly not the lightest lens around. So one day somethling lighter will certainly be more appealing, the new Olympus and some of their long glass is looking appealing they are amazingly light and seeing what Scott Borne does with them (Mind you I'm sure anything he picks up he can get great results). My 7DmkII and Sigma 150-600 are currently both in for repairs hopefully they can be repaired other wise I'm looking for new options, unless the insurance comes good, which is a definate possibliley it has in the past.

    • This reminds me of the joke

      Jane says to the photographer "Your camera takes great photos!"

      Photographer says to Jane "Thanks! Your mouth makes great compliments."

    • I went back looking through my LR catalog at all my Sony RX !0 IV images ( ~ 1000 ) and while I don't like many of them, that is frequently my fault - poor composure, lousy lighting etc. I had a feeling that they would be noisy at high ISO due to the small sensor, but I found a number of images at ISO 3200, and even 6400, that I felt looked rather nice for the very dark circumstances and would be quite useable for modest prints up to 16 x 20 or so.

      I rediscovered a secret I found accidently - the High Speed Frame rate is so high that I was able to create a a couple pano images ( merged multiple frames 6-9 ) of the Blue Angels in formation in flight as they blew by overhead in a high speed pass.. I created a 6 to 8 frame pano of 6 jets airplanes with no single image with all the airplanes in it. I have never thought of trying to merge multiple images of airplanes in high speed flight, but the high speed frame rate at 1/1000th shutter speeed allowed me to merge the images in LR.

      I looked at exposure too, @Chris I find LR in auto mode - Apple-u keyboard combination in the Develop module - does frequently want to add +0.7 to +1.25 stops of positive exposure, but I think LR tends to want to brighten images shot with my EOS bodies as well. I don't always like the results from auto Exposure as the shadows are lightened so much they take on an HDRish appearance and the image is a bit flat to greyish to my eye - but I grew up with Kodachrome and its black quarter tones. I wonder if this is what you are experiencing with your Sony images. How does the histogram on the camera body look for your exposures?

      I did regain a bit of faith in the quality of my Sony RX10 Mk IV images and I will pursue its use some more. I still favor APS-C or larger sensors most of the time, but as a museum camera - even at high ISOs - the Sony produces capable results, The long lens will let one gather images they otherwise would not, but I find shooting people at the long end in front of vegetation or other backgrounds does not create a bokeh I favor very often.

      It is a pretty large camera for its sensor size, which is significantly smaller than a m4/3 sensor. But I think its noise compares favorably to my m4/3 bodies at higher ISOs. I would be interested to hear other opinions regarding the noise in the Sony versus m4/3 bodies

      Here is about 1/2 frame crop from my Sony RX10 Mk IV at ISO 3200 in late soft light chasing short eared owls last year

    • Hmmm, I should have flipped the display mode to histogram but I got fooled by what I was seeing visually. This plagued my bird shots too and is probably what made them not look so good, because they were at higher ISO and pulling them up 2.5 stops seriously degraded them.

      I couldn't figure out what went wrong with the bird shots, but as I was shooting kites and soccer, I could see this on the back of the camera so I shrugged an assumed whatever went wrong the day before had been fixed by a reboot or something:

      Bad assumption. When I flip to histogram mode, this is what I see:

      When I import into LR, this is what I see:

      This is what Adobe's auto tone then does to it:

      πŸ‘† Recovery of shadows not good, especially at high ISO for my bird shots. I used aperture mode auto when the kids were running in and out of shade, but same thing with manual β€” a very narrow histogram no matter what exposure I set.

      Is there a setting I'm missing or is my rental camera not well. The lens is pretty grindy when I zoom. I'm assuming some previous renter got some sand in it.

    • Have you been checking the histograms/adjusting the LCD brightness? I know it's a simple thing but if I forget to change it that can really mess up my perception of the exposures until I catch it.

      Edit: looks like you caught it.

    • The thing is even in manual mode I don’t seem to be able to spread out the histogram. It stays narrow as I increase the exposure, just moves to the right, making the blacks light gray.