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How would you describe the low-light performance?

Discussion in 'Sony RX1 Forum' started by oliveview, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. oliveview

    oliveview SC Regular

    45
    Dec 9, 2013
    One thing which isn't terribly well covered on the various reviews I read about the RX1, is how well it does or does not focus in lower light situations. Vaguely, most of the reviews simply say that it's not "great" but never seem to elaborate.

    So, those of you who have the experience, how would you characterize such abilities? One of my primary reasons for considering the RX1/RX1R is to have a small, high-quality, but especially well-performing low-light camera. I'm not talking about extremes, such as star / moonlight situations. But realistic situations, like shooting in average to poorly lit indoor situations. Family gatherings at home. Dining at restaurants. That sort of thing.

    Thanks.
     
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  2. serhan

    serhan SC All-Pro

    May 7, 2011
    NYC
    I used it under the stars at the beach w/ some light coming from the cafes on the other side of the road and it focused, but slowly. I used it at the dinners similarly outside w/ low light and it focused. I was using wide open. It is a big lens so it takes a while to focus but no problem w/ af'ing in low light. I took shots of the family when they were walking w/ no problems again low light outside by the beach so it should normally be fast enough unless kids are running, etc.
     
  3. oliveview

    oliveview SC Regular

    45
    Dec 9, 2013
    Thank you. Two additional questions:
    1) Do you normally use the focus assist light? Or do you leave that "off"? I normally turn mine off on all my cameras.
    2) On the subject of kids, or at least movement. I have no illusions about trying to shoot sports or fast movement. However, what about trying to capture semi-candid portraits? Much of my photography focuses on shooting family and friends, but not when they're entirely still and posing for the shot. Knowing that the RX1 lacks continuous auto focus, which is the only way I shoot my DSLR, I worry about the limits of non-continuous focus.
     
  4. serhan

    serhan SC All-Pro

    May 7, 2011
    NYC
    I turn off the focus assist light in the cameras that I use also. I didn't use cont's af even w/ dslrs so I cannot answer. I always used central point af w/ dslrs and I do the same w/ RX1 or other mirrorless cameras that I have. Coming from dslr af might be slow for you, maybe try to find one to see or check online review videos. If you want fast af at low light, m43 is the one and that is also what I used when I was with the kids in the dark as the face focus was picking them pretty easy. Of course equiv dof is much less w/ RX1 and the lens will give you very nice blur which is hard to match w/ m43.
     
  5. oliveview

    oliveview SC Regular

    45
    Dec 9, 2013
    Thanks. Yeah, for my tastes and style of photography, the ability to shoot with a very shallow DOF (and maintain very high IQ) is paramount. Hence, the leading consideration of the RX1. I get close to considering one of the many m4/3 cameras, every so often, but despite their great gains in IQ, the much greater relative DOF just doesn't suite my tastes.
     
  6. renatoa

    renatoa New to SC

    9
    Oct 5, 2013
    Very wrong you disarm this way... There are a lot of great sport and fast movement shots taken using MF lenses.
    Just learn to use pre-focusing technique and develop anticipating sense.
    Continuous auto focus... for me is a joke.
     
  7. oliveview

    oliveview SC Regular

    45
    Dec 9, 2013
    I don't believe I was soliciting advice on actual photographic techniques. But thanks for opining, all the same.
     
  8. jloden

    jloden SC Veteran

    266
    Jun 30, 2012
    Jay
    Yeah, basically it's slow but reliable in that it usually locks focus, it just takes a while to get there.

    It's frustrating for working with people or moving subjects especially in low light compared to my Nikon or m4/3 systems. I've had reasonable success shooting with the RX1 with people in candid situations like a dinner or evening out, but it's not the camera of choice if you are expecting to be able to nab a fleeting moment with a fast snap. On the other hand it's exceptionally good at high ISO, so it does well in low light in that respect.

    Not sure if that helps any... if you have any questions feel free to ask or shoot me a PM. I've had the RX1 since it came out last year and I'm pretty happy with it (well, except the high cost and really poor value retention!) even a year down the road. It's not perfect for every use to be sure, but it's fantastic when used for it's designed purpose as a pocketable camera with a great 35mm lens and excellent image quality.
     
  9. ccrevasse

    ccrevasse SC Regular

    48
    Nov 20, 2013
    Lookout Mountain, Tennessee
    Chris Crevasse
    I've had my RX1 for about a year and have no complaints about low-light focusing. (And by "low light," I include situations where I've used my RX1 at ISO 25,600, f/2, 1/125.) My RX1 focuses reliably and accurately, and neither quickly nor slowly. I use center point AF almost exclusively. I've found flexible spot focus to be very unreliable. I never use the focus assist light.
     
  10. oliveview

    oliveview SC Regular

    45
    Dec 9, 2013
    Thanks. Good input.
     
  11. oliveview

    oliveview SC Regular

    45
    Dec 9, 2013
    Fantastic. Thanks!