Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Love Letter to the RX-100 (all 3 models)

MK II, Pismo Beach, California.  Here the extra telephoto reach made a difference.
In my seminars, I try to drive home the point that the camera you have with you is infinitely better than the big and heavy one you left at home because it was, well, too big and heavy.  And for many years my point-and-shoot of choice was the Sony Cybershot T10 (a compact, small-sensor camera).  To prove its value in good light I would show off several images that I have licensed over the years that were taken with it.  

MK III, Park City, Utah
The gap between utter convenience and image quality closed significantly with the introduction of the original RX-100.  You are probably already familiar with its virtues by now - large sensor (by point-and-shoot standards), great optics, great build, high-end camera user interface, FAST and SILENT, making it the perfect machine for family pictures.  

And I will say this - while I have a variety of great cameras sitting on my desk at any given time, the one camera I find myself grabbing for non-paid events (a day out with the grandkids, for example) is any iteration of the RX-100.  Even the E-mount APS-C cameras which promise better image quality for just a little less portability are gathering dust.  The ratio of convenience to image quality with this camera is nearly 1:1.  The RX-100 is with me always, because you just never know when the next awesome photo opportunity will present itself.

Original RX-100, somewhere in San Diego
Lately people have been asking me which one they should get (between the Mark II and Mark III).  The answer is "there is no obvious winner - both cameras have their strengths and one is not clearly better than the other".  Here are the tradeoffs as I see them:

Positive Qualities of the MK III:
  • The wider wide-end (coupled with the flip-up LCD screen) makes it ideal for selfies.
  • Faster f/stop means less blur when shooting indoors in existing light (based on my emails I'd say most people really want and can benefit from this feature) 
  • Downloadable apps (which you either love or hate, apparently)
  • Can shoot both AVCHD and low-quality .mp4 simultaneously (perfect for uploading to Facebook while still on vacation and not eat up your data plan)
  • Better quality movie mode (XAVC-S, although only avid video pros will be able to see the difference)
  • Built-in, switchable neutral-density filter (for either extra-long shutter speeds for moving water, or extra-blurry backgrounds when shooting in bright light).
  • When the battery is fully charged, the charging LED turns off.  (On the Mark II, the color changes to green. :-) )
  • And of course there's the pop-up EVF, an unbelievable engineering achievement given the camera's size which comes in very handy on a bright day (although surprisingly I find that I hardly ever use it).
  • (There are more... those are just the highlights.)
Seattle from the top of the "Space Needle" with the RX-100 MK II.  Click on image for more detail.  This was handheld on a windy night!

Positive Qualities of the MK II:
  • You can take a "freeze frame" (low-res still image) while shooting a movie.  This feature is gone in the MK III.
  • A longer optical reach - ideal if you're a tourist, outdoors on a bright day.  (See 1st image on this page.)
  • Faster zoom in "clear image zoom" movie mode (not necessarily a good thing - the camera zooms in slowly at first, pause slightly, then zooms in faster).
  • When the battery is fully charged, the charging LED changes color from orange to green.  (Big deal.)
I really do love this camera.  It is with me always and allows me to silently capture life's little moments.  Go ahead; count the eyelashes!

I get letters...

Dear Gary,

I need your kind expertise to advise on the following questions.
1)      1)  To shoot a picture of Landscape (scenery) together with a person (half body) in the foreground, what will be a good setting to take such a pictures.
2)     2)  How about shooting a Landscape with the sun shining from the front.
3)      3) To take picture of sunrise & sunset, what will be a recommended setting to use.
4)     4)  If I would take a picture in a conference room (with warm & yellowish lightings switch on) what will be the recommendable setting.
5)     5)  To take a close-up photo of a plant or object, besides using the macro setting in the SCN mode, what other possible setting that I can use.
6)    6)   To take a Landscape photo using wide angle of 18mm, should I use an aperture of 8 or varies.
7)      7) To take photo of a building with lightings on at night, what will be the recommended setting to use.
8)      8) To take a photo of a busy street with people walking around, what will be the recommended setting in order for the entire picture to look sharp including the peoples.

Hope that I could learn more from you on the above.
Thank you very much in advance for your kind assistance.


I get emails like this A LOT, and try to answer them as best I can.  In fact, I get so many of these that I've considered (briefly) charging $5/email for general support questions.  I also considered (again, briefly) fulfilling this apparently large market demand by investing an entire year coming up with an extensive tome indicating what settings to use in EVERY POSSIBLE SITUATION.  Cats on lawns.  Dogs on lawns.  Cats on lawns with a sunset in the background and fill-flash.  Food under fluorescent light.  Food under incandescent light with a football match in the background with a full moon and a light drizzle.  Moving kids holding fireworks in a monsoon.  You get the idea.

"7) To take photo of a building with lightings on at night"

There's a simpler (and better) way to get these answers, though.  Just enroll in the Friedman Archives High-Impact Photography Seminars.  Different from any photo seminar you've ever taken, it starts with a solid foundation of light and composition and builds up the technical aspects from there so that after a fun-filled weekend, you will intuitively KNOW what settings to use in each of those situations, and you won't have to rely on a reference book as a crutch.  A shorter learning curve doesn't exist, and it will jump-start your creative muscles to boot!

Now you can join the troves of beginning and advanced photographers from around the world who have raved about my unique teaching approach.  Don't miss the upcoming seminar in Southern California on October 18-19, 2014, and if you sign up now, the price drops from $125/day to $85/day!  More details can be found here.

I'm also planning a seminar in either Tampa or Orlando, Florida the weekend of January 10-11, 2015.  Email me if you're interested and vote for the city of your choice.

Upcoming Ebooks

The ebook for the A7 and A7r has now been translated into Spanish!  Please help spread the word.  New books on the horizon are:

Fujifilm X-T1  (Almost done!)
Sony RX-100 Mk III 
Sony A77 II

Email me (Gary at Friedman Archives dot com) if you'd like to be notified of these books' release.  

And let me repeat my standing offer from last month:  Since the RX-100 Mk III and the A77 II are so similar to their predecessors, and since I know how frustrating it can be to have to wait for the new books to come out, I'm making the following offer to the world: You can buy the ebook for the RX-100 MK2 and the original A77 today, and when the new ebooks come out you'll get the new version for FREE!!  Here's how it works:

1) Register your interest by sending me a brief (!) email saying "Yes, please notify me when the XXX book is ready."  

2) Go ahead and purchase the downloadable ebook from my site (this offer only applies to e-books - not the printed variety for obvious reasons.) 

3) Because you registered your interest in Step 1, when the new books come out you'll be automatically notified. 

4) When that happens just email me your original purchase receipt and I'll send you a free download link for the new version.  

Next Month

I just returned from Utah, where I used the A77 II to shoot some very impressive athletes.  But could the A77 II pass the "Zip Line" test?  (I'll also explain the new focusing modes of the new camera, and how Sony has played with the flash algorithms yet again...)

Until next time...
Yours Truly, Gary Friedman


  1. Gary, I agree with you 1000%. The only beef I have with the M2 is the lack of a viewfinder. What do you think of the uber-expensive one that Sony offers? I wish there was a third party knock off.

    1. It works great but it's kind of inconvenient. The MK III addresses that issue wonderfully.

    2. Yes, inconvenient and fragile. I was always worried about snapping it off because of the plastic mount. I ended up selling it.

  2. Hey Gary, I love my rx100 mk II and find myself grabbing it over my A99 on trips out with the family/work trips.

    Just one other advantage of the II vs III - the hot shoe (I regularly pair the mk II with my HVL58AM flash (using a petapixel off-camera sync cable + A99 hot shoe adapter). HSS goodness.

  3. I was so wishing you had your A77II book finished. I've had the camera for just over 3 weeks now and am just loving it. I leave for my 30th anniversary to Italy next week and am having trouble understanding and using all the different focus modes. (adding in "eye detect" and "lock-on focus" to the mix). I'm also very interested in how you have "mapped" some of the various buttons. I have been buying your books since the A100, and would never think of not buying your book to support what ever camera I have. Yes... they are that rich with information! From my short experience with the camera so far, I'm finding the flash exposure spot on. On or off camera. (one of the reasons I returned my A77 way back) I receive your emails, so as soon as the book is available, I'll be buying it. All the best; Ron

  4. Gary bless your heart! Coming to central Florida! Count me in, and I vote for Tampa for some more scenic areas to shoot, as well as the nice convention center. Orlando has the Sony Store and Disney, but Tampa has the Busch Gardens. In either case, looking forward to it.

    Other Gary, Gary Eickmeier

  5. I vote Tampa.


  6. Just a quick question on the RX100 Mk3, does the viewfinder have a diopter adjustment ala most cameras and RX10? I have the RX100and both Mk1 and 2. I love them all but they all have minuses for me. I love the Mk 1 & 2 other than the not wide enough WA so I carry my RX10 a lot but it is so big and obvious. Sometimes I can't backup enough to squeeze the shot in for my RX100 and I use the Mk 1 pretty much for underwater photography now.

  7. Thanks Gary. Best purchase I made for my RX100 MK2 was your book. I can't wait for your book on the Mk3 as I am sure I'll buy one soon as I get back to the US. No place to buy one where I am at the moment or I probably would.

  8. The example pictures on this page are excellent. Are they straight out of the camera or did you do some editing?

    1. All usually ever do to any of my images is a little cropping and apply some curves. GF

    2. They certainly are a testament to the quality of the Rx100s'. I'm impressed.

    3. And a testament to the talented eye of the photographer ;)

  9. I would vote for Orlando for your seminar.

  10. Gary, when you coming to Indianapolis? :-)


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