Technology Marches On
Tim's comments about starting out with a P&S reminded me of what I think is a funny story. I think we all started out wit "lesser" cameras and moved up. I know my first ever cameras were the Kodak 120 Baby Brownie and then the "hot" Instamatic, with the flash cube! . My "full" story, if anyone wants to be bored, is on my blog site http://www.lightcentric.wordpress.com. Suffice it to say that I have owned lots of "gear" over the years (and most likely am not through buying new).
The image above was taken this afternoon on my newest "toy." Shortly after I joined here, some 10 years ago (wow), I met one of our talented regulars here, "Abby" (Carol Smith). She has a second home in the NEK, and was a great resource for finding good shots and up to date foliage information. She was also, at the time, a "budding" enthusiast, and shot with a P&S. I don't remember what it was (I am sure she does). Doesn't matter. We struck up a friendship and began "talking shop." One of my oft-repeated items of advice to her was to "lose" the P&S and get a DSLR body with the ability to have some control over the images, and to shoot in raw format.
The "guts" are still good advice. To really advance your technique, you need the capability of shooting in all manual mode, and shooting raw images (doesn't mean you will always shoot in manual - I shoot in "apurture priority mode" 98% of the time - and I think Al Utzig shoots using "shutter priority mode a lot of the time" - the point is, we both know how to shoot in manual and therefore, what those other modes are doing for us). And, if we aren't shooting raw in most instances (especially for landscape and nature shooting), we are missing out on a lot of good "pixels" for future use.
But the P&S thing? Well, I may have been off base on that. Or - at least, in today's terms, I am off base. That's the thing about technology. It is inexorable. My first DSLR was a 6 mp APS-C sensor Nikon D100. It was a pretty "chunky" body. Eventually, technology advanced to the point where they could affordably make a sensor that was the equivalent of a 35mm film rectangle. These so-called Full Frame (FF) cams were what all of us really serious shooters were aspiring toward. I am now on my third FF body. The images are just cleaner, better, and better in low light situations.
But the newest movement (and I have wholeheartedly embraced it as I age and as my travel increases) is smaller. My current "serious" body, the Sony a7 mirrorless is a 24mp FF frame camera in a much smaller package than the D100 was. The newest a7 offering is 40 mp in the same small size.
But for travel, and carrying around, I have been using a Sony NEX-6 camera which is P&S sized with the same APS size sensor as the D100, but much advance (the equivalent of a Nikon D7000). And I have been very impressed with the Image Quality (even in low light) that it renders. I have a 24" x 36" print hanging in my office that is really good quality, made from the NEX.
Most of the P&S cameras have smaller sensors, and with smaller sensors, comes noise, difficulty capturing low light, and decreased quality, especially for prints. I shot several of the Canon G-series P&S cams over the years and as good as they were, was not totally convinced of their IQ.
So, I was skeptical as I read Sony's take on their newest compact, P&S; the RX100iv. Until I had a private e-mail "shout-out" from a pro-shooter I know. His comment was that this diminuitive little "pocket" camera would produce IQ BETTER than the NEX series. I had to try. It sports a 1.8-2.8 24-70 (35mm equivalent) lens (which is the same as my "go to" zoom on my a7). AND, it is a Carl Zeiss lens! If this works the way I hope it does, It may well be all I carry in the future for travel. A P&S! What is this world coming too?
These images are only jpeg. Adobe has not released the raw converter update for this raw file yet, but I am hoping it comes soon.
These are "out of the box." Only some very minor presharpening applied