Tech

Taking a High End Compact Camera to New Zealand

We’ve tested plenty of cameras at EFTM in the past, most have a particular purpose or meet a particular need. On a recent holiday to New Zealand we carried along the Sony RX100 Mark 5. This is not a run of the mill compact camera, it is the Rolls Royce of compact cameras. A significant price tag accompanies this little handheld so was it a good choice for the trip? Did it earn it’s price tag in picture quality?

This Sony RX100 has a full-size 1.0 type sensor, can auto-focus in 0.05 seconds and will shoot 24 frames per second, from a video point of view it will record in 4K and capture super slow motion video. It has a pop up view finder, a ring around the lens for SLR style controls and a 180 degree flip screen for selfies. It’s the all in one powerhouse and we couldn’t wait to get snapping.

All images (except of the camera itself) in this article were shot with the RX100 MkV in full auto, no edits, nothing. We treated it like a simple point and shoot camera.

The camera does a great job at recognising the scene and adjusting accordingly. Night photography for example was insanely impressive, no tripod, point, click, and wow.

The benefits of a compact camera these days is that many can transfer images to your smartphone for easy sharing. We used this feature for two reasons; firstly a nightly backup. We surely didn’t plan on ever losing the camera and the images with it, but we also didn’t pack multiple camera cards. Backing up to the smartphone and then to the cloud allowed us to clear the card each night and shoot unrestricted the next day.

Secondly, sharing stunning photos on Instragram and other social networks. The iPhone 6S that we normally carry just won’t take photos anywhere near of the same quality, the photos on the RX100 were generating “likes” faster than a butcher makes sausages.

The RX100 can focus so rapidly that you may find yourself focusing, releasing and focusing again until the camera picks the right spots. This is the only artistic angle we used and in many cases when you wanted a foreground or background blur it was important. The results were great too.

One area that is awkward about this camera is that maybe it is TOO compact? It has no hand grip so you’re going to be very conscious of it slipping or falling out of our hands. It does fit in your pocket easily as a result but it certainly could have had a hand grip or rugged sides to keep it secure.

The RX100 also has an optical zoom, not much at 5x so don’t expect to capture the snow on the mountains miles away, that detail will need to be found through cropping – thanks to the 20MP sensor.

The camera does have multiple modes and even full manual controls but the intelligence of the camera produced a desired image without a thought towards touching the dials. Whether it was a close up or a selfie we were letting the camera make the decisions and the results are all here.

Is it a camera worth $1,699? To some it would be, it all depends on your budget but imagine spending a stack of cash on a major holiday and relying on your smartphone to capture it all? Investing in a tool that captures your moments means that your memories will last forever.

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