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Made a command decision today: I'm not going to try and turn the RX1 into something it's not.

Discussion in 'Sony RX1 Forum' started by rpavich, Aug 15, 2013.

  1. rpavich

    rpavich SC Veteran

    267
    Jul 17, 2013
    I've been giving this a lot of thought lately and have come to a decision.

    I've been trying to find ways to make the RX1 into a street shooter since I've owned it...but it's just not happening. I LOVE the camera, I LIKE the EVF a lot (and for that matter I really liked the Voigtlander OVF too) and the files are to die for...the image quality is second to none and the DR is not to be believed...but the RX1 (in my opinion) just isn't stellar for street shooting.

    So I've decided to let the RX1 be my "main camera" and stick to the LCD or EVF and get an RX100S for the street. I absolutely LOVED the X100S for that, and so I'm going to let it be what it wants to be. I'm now officially on the X100S waiting list.

    The RX1 is my "full frame DSLR killer" in a small box" and the X100S will be my "grab-and-go" + street camera.
     
  2. drd1135

    drd1135 SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    Just curious: Why wasn't the RX1 a good street shooter?
     
  3. rpavich

    rpavich SC Veteran

    267
    Jul 17, 2013
    Well...(and this is MY personal opinion; some others may use it just fine for street) I didn't like using the LCD at all. It made me feel "disconnected" from what's going on. The attraction of a range finder is that you're attention is never off of the subject...and using an LCD just completely breaks that connection.

    I also used the EVF and the same thing applies. The EVF is great...it works fine, and i like it a lot, but not for street. It blacks out just like a DSLR does at the critical moment; sort of like shooting a gun and blinking when you pull the trigger; your're never sure if you hit the target or not.

    I ended up using a voigtlander Metal Brightline and really liked it but it was always a crap shoot as to where the focus point was. I ended up just zone focusing.

    So that was the main thing...the image quality is top notch and it takes great street photos...but the experience is lacking in my opinion.
     
  4. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    Have you considered an X-Pro1? Same great viewfinder experience with the added bonus of being able to use more lenses. There's a nice one in the classifieds as we speak :biggrin:
     
  5. rpavich

    rpavich SC Veteran

    267
    Jul 17, 2013
    I actually did...and I'll tell you why I decided against it. I came from the DSLR world and when I sold all that gear and got the RX1 with it's "this is your camera, and this is the lens...and that's it" situation, I found that I really liked it...there is freedom in simplicity, and lack of choice.

    Sounds weird but I don't have any yen to change lenses or clean sensors, I really like the 35mm FOV and want to stay simple.

    But thanks for the tip :)
     
  6. R Melanson

    R Melanson SC Rookie

    23
    Aug 12, 2013
    Toronto, Canada
    Nothing wrong with having choices, heck that's what living in the free world is all about. I'm considering the same thing; sometimes there are things that matter more than IQ. My RX1 is my go to for when a full size rig is too heavy/bulky and IQ is my priority (which lately is almost always). Truth be told, I've never liked the RX1 ergonomically, but the ability to get that magical "Zeiss" IQ out of my pocket more than justifies it.
     
  7. Isoterica

    Isoterica SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    Well said.. blink and you miss. You'll have two amazing cameras. :)
     
  8. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I'm not particularly crazy about the RX1 as a street camera either, although I've used it in that role reasonably effectively when it was the only camera I was carrying. But I don't like it for street for very different reasons than yours. First, the FOV is narrower than I like, so I wasn't crazy about the X100 or X100s in that role either (except when I had the 28mm adapter lens on the camera). Second, for street shooting I like a LOT of DOF and a full frame sensor works against that. Its workable in good light, but as the light dims, the advantages of an APS or m43 sensor becomes pretty apparent, even though the RX1 is a better low light camera for other types of shooting. I don't like using ANY kind of viewfinder for street shooting, so the advantages of the X100(s) OVF is lost on me for street also. And the auto-ISO setup on the RX1 isn't all that great for street shooting, which wouldn't matter for everyone, but matters a lot to me. Finally, the RX1 isn't all that well set up for zone focussing, although its waaaaay better than any other Sony I've shot with - at least it has a distance scale....

    In any case, everyone has a different style of shooting on the street and different tools suit different shooters. The field of view, narrow DOF, and auto-ISO are the biggest issues for me with the RX1 - the Nikon A is a LOT better for me in all three regards. I hope the X100s works out well for you...

    -Ray
     
  9. rpavich

    rpavich SC Veteran

    267
    Jul 17, 2013
    Interesting thoughts as usual Ray. I think it will be fine, this is my second go-around with it so I'm fairly familiar. (don't ask) :)
     
  10. R Melanson

    R Melanson SC Rookie

    23
    Aug 12, 2013
    Toronto, Canada
    compare.

    I played with an x100s for a while today and am very impressed with it. It feels and shoots better than the RX1 and IQ is very good. The x100s doesn't produce that magical Zeiss look I love, but easily produces frame and mount worthy prints nonetheless. I'm considering picking up an x100s for everyday shooting and save the RX1 for times when I need full frame bokeh for subject isolation/pop and Zeiss magic for colour/contrast.
     
  11. Duane Pandorf

    Duane Pandorf SC Top Veteran

    868
    Apr 25, 2011
    Western NC
    Ricoh GR & Snap Focus = A street shooting camera.

    Bonus - fits in your pocket.
     
  12. rpavich

    rpavich SC Veteran

    267
    Jul 17, 2013
    Hmm...I just looked it up and checked out what snap mode means. It seems like that's a very unique feature that street shooters want (though it looks like they didn't market it specifically for that reason) Pretty innovative thinking on their part.
     
  13. rogerc

    rogerc SC Regular

    57
    May 16, 2013
    The Hexagonal.
    Ricoh Snap Focus is using a very simple thing that many in photography should know to begin with: Hyperfocal distance focusing.

    Hyperfocal distance - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    You can achieve HFD by using a simple depth of field calculator:

    Online Depth of Field Calculator

    Choose format, focal length, and aperture. Fiddle with the focus distance and aperture until you get a reasonable close-to-infinity range as you wish.

    In other words, if it can be done with the Leica, it can be done with the RX1. For street shooting, especially during daylight hours, one does not necessarily need AF. this is especially true if you are doing the Cartier-Bresson style of snap shooting.

    I would also recommend getting used to the 'speed' of the fly-by-wire focusing ring in the RX1. I used a NEX 7 before and it can be learned. This means, how fast you can move the aperture ring to predict how quickly will the focus move far or near. This would help you have a different sense of "distance" but without the mechanic feeling of MF lenses.
     
  14. rogerc

    rogerc SC Regular

    57
    May 16, 2013
    The Hexagonal.
    Here is a simple example on how to achieve HFD with the 35mm lens in the RX1 (using the M9 as reference FF format)

    hyperfocal.

    In the example above, we set the camera to focus at 11m (yes, I know the far limit in the screen is 3 and then infinity...but you can choose something at roughly 11m and manual focus on that)
    The near limit of focus would be 5.5m and the far limit is infinity. Ricoh Spap Focus for all.

    I don't know why the second image is showing up with 12m focusing distance I tried too. Sorry all...I don't know how to detach the image.
     

    Attached Files:

  15. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Snap focus is a shortcut to ZONE focussing, which is not the same as hyperfocal distance shooting, although it CAN be the same thing in good light when a small enough aperture can be used. In low light I'll often shoot my Coolpix A at f3.5 with a focus distance of 2 meters and I'll have a very useful in-focus "zone" of about 4-15 feet in focus. This is well short of a hyperfocal setting, but it's very effective for street shooting. Snap focus is a very quick shortcut to get to various different focus points, which can then be used however you like them. The fact remains that the RX1 requires a far smaller aperture to get the same zone of focus than a wider lens with an APS sensor like the GR or Coolpix A, given that the actual focal length of its lens is nearly twice as long as the 18mm used by those cameras. Which is why it's much more difficult to use zone focus in low light with the RX1 even though its a better low light camera overall.

    Your basic point is right, though, that the same thing can be done just as well (but maybe not quite as quickly) with an RX1 or any other camera with a focus ring and some sort of distance scale, either on the screen or, ideally, on the lens barrel. The RX1's distance scale isn't the best, but the ring is really well damped and its really quick and easy to get the setting moved from its default at infinity to about two meters, which is very often a good starting point for zone focussing.

    Snap focus was a major "Pro" in my list of pros and cons when considering the GR against the Nikon. But the Nikon's more flexible auto-ISO setup was a much bigger and more useful advantage for me, so I ended up going with the Nikon and have been extremely pleased with it. And I'm happy enough using the RX1 for street work when that's what I have with me and an opportunity arises (in good light), but it's not the camera I'd grab if I was going out specifically to do some street shooting.

    -Ray
     
  16. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Its basically a shortcut to an age-old technique rather than a really unique approach to street photography. But Ricoh's had that snap focus feature for several years in a number of models, so its not new. But its very very GOOD, so no reason to change it. They did sort of try to change it in the GRD4 and were pretty thoroughly criticized for it and they quickly returned it to something closer to normal in an early firmware update. Its not my favorite way of using zone focus, but its a whole lot better than what most cameras do these days, and some don't really enable zone focus in any reasonable way, so having a camera out there with a specific feature to make it quick and easy to use is really nice. Although, from reading the Ricoh forum on DPR, a lot of new GR buyers don't really understand what its for or how to use it. But that's OK, most do, most of the rest will figure it out, and those who don't will probably just stop using it and its not like its gonna HURT anyone by being there unused... Its a fine feature. But its not, as some Ricoh-philes would have you believe, some whole new way of focussing - its just a really well implemented shortcut to something that's been around longer than the vast majority of us...

    -Ray
     
  17. muzee

    muzee SC Veteran

    246
    Apr 30, 2013
    Ray - Thank you for taking time to contribute on most topics - I've learnt so much from your very detailed explanations.
     
  18. aleksanderpolo

    aleksanderpolo SC Regular

    112
    Apr 18, 2013
    Polo
    Snap focus/prefocus is not unique, but the ability to adjust snap focus distance one handed without looking at the LCD/viewfinder is something that set GR apart from other focus-by-wire implementation in the stealthy department, IMHO. It might not matter to those whose preferred mode of shooting is waiting behind the viewfinder though, and the lack of proper manual focus ring and VF can be a deal breaker for some. Good to have so many choices. :smile:
     
  19. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Agreed. And, to be fair, the "full press snap" feature IS pretty much unique. I personally didn't like it or use it, but many swear by it and it is a really clever and useful additional short-cut for those who find it useful. I always found it SOOOO quick to switch between snap and AF using an fn button as a toggle, that I always did it that way and didn't have to worry about pushing hard enough to get to the "full press" part. But lots of people like it and there's nothing else like it anywhere, that I'm aware of...

    -Ray
     
  20. aleksanderpolo

    aleksanderpolo SC Regular

    112
    Apr 18, 2013
    Polo
    I do use the full press snap, and that's only because my default mode is MF mode with preset focus distance of 5m. Switch to AF mode with Fn button and my preset snap focus distance is 1m, so I basically have 2 preset distance, per MY set. And there are 3 MY sets, it's mind boggling... :wink: