Sony RX100 V : Amost there but still not quite

Sony RX100 V: “B+” effort that should be a straight “A” performer

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 V Review Image

This weeks Amateur Photographer (AP) Magazine contained a full review of Sony’s latest RX100 model the Mark V, a speed demon of a compact camera that promises unrivelled AF speeds as well as hugely impressive continous shooting paired with established image quality.

So what did AP Magazine conclude:

From AP Magazine:

“Its speed, performance and image quality are execellent but the RX100 V is still far from being the perfect pocket camera and its disappointing that Sony hasn’t concentrated its efforts on improving faults we’ve pulled previous RX100 series models up on before”

“To summarise the RX100 V is a very capable premium pocket compact but once again we are left saying it as potential to be even better”

My Take:

Here, here. Around £1000 ( yes a Grand) for a modern camera specifically intended to be the best of the best in-class not to possess a touch screen is just plain ludicrious. Then there’s the physical button layout and general ergonomics of the camera which leave a lot to be desired, I mean the camera still lacks any sort of built in rubberised hand / finger grip?????

Sony’s latest version of its 20mp 1-Inch BSI CMOS sensor is clearly a winner but what’s the point if the camera still sometimes fails to handle in a way expected of such a prenium product?

And then there’s the very meagre, indeed down right poor battery life ( you’ll be lucky to get around 200 plus shots from the RX100 V).

All of these persistent general moans directed at the RX100 V have equally applied to earlier RX100 models so they can, no they should be reasonably easily address, so why not sort them Sony?

For £1000 of my own money I expect a bit more from the RX100 V. Fingers crossed the RX100 VI when it comes may finally end up being the ultimate premium compact. For the time being personally I’d be more tempted to look at either the ealier RX100 IV, the Canon PowerShot G7X II or Panasonic Lumix LX15 if I was in the market for a high end compact.

Mark Bynham ( December 2016)

Panasonic Lumix G80: Pany’s best effort yet?

Panasonic Lumix G80

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G80 Review Image

Amateur Photographer (AP) Magazine has published a full technical and user test of Panasonic’s new weather sealed , mid level DSLR look alike micro four third ( MFT – M43) mirror-less CSC, the Panasonic Lumix G80 and they appeared rather impressed.

The 16mp CSC is loaded with many useful features and settings including a full range of 4K video modes, an articulated rear touch-screen and a rather decent electronic viewfinder (EVF)

Physically the G80 looks like a mini DSLR and what I read in AP Magazine suggest it behaves and handles as such as well.

In fact AP Magazine concluded : “Overall I’d say the G80 is Panasonic’s best Micro Four Third camera yet”

In some aspects the Panasonic G80 actually performs slightly better than Panasonic’s own top-end MFT camera the GH4 (which is due for replacement in early 2017) and at around £700 body only represents a bit of a bargin.

As an Olympus OM-D EM5 II owner I’d have to concede that the Panasonic G80 probably just has the edge over the Oly feature wise and in handling probably because its slightly bulkier although I still personally prefer the Olympus EM5 II’s look and physical size.

Image quality wise the G80 doesn’t produce miracles, the 16mp sensor and processor produces images as good as one can expect from a cropped sensor, far better than previous M43 cameras but not quite as good as those produced by M43 cameras sporting the new 20mp sensor ( ie Panasonic GX8 and Olympus Pen-F)

It cannot be denied that after ISO 800  the latest APS-C sensor cameras still have a slight edge over all current M43 cameras. However keep the ISO down, uterlise in-body stablisation and fix  a “fast” prime on the camera and in real world shooting the vast majority of recent ( ie past 3 years or so) M43 cameras can more than take the fight to their bigger APS-C  rivals.

As a final word as AP Magazine noted:

” If you want to shoot high-quality video as well as still’s, its one of the most capable cameras for the price”

Mark Baynham ( November 2016)


Fuji X-T2: The best mirrorless camera yet?

AP Magazine reviews the Fuji X-T2

This weeks Amateur Photographer (AP) Magazine contained a full and deatiled review of Fuji’s APS-C Trans X mirrorless camera the X-T2 and boy were they impressed.

I’ve read the article several times and the impression your left with is that the X-T2 really can take the fight to APS-C DSLR’s and beat them on several levels.

For instances phrases like  “dream camera” and “best all-round substitute for a more cumbersome DSLR” jumped out at me.

The Fuji X-T2 won an AP “Gold Award” and that says it all.

September 2016


Pentax K1: Full frame value for money

Pentax K1:

Pentax K-1 Review Image

Good value, built like a tank, excellent image quality, something different, something special?

This Amateur Photographer (AP) Magazine contains a full and detailed review / test of the full frame Pentax K1 a camera long craved for by the Pentax faithful. The K1 joins an increasingly congested but growing full frame market be it DSLR or CSC so it has to be something special to shine. Well if any camera company can pull off this difficult task its Pentax under the ownership of Ricoh.

From AP Magazine:

A model as antcipated as the K-1 has to work hard to meet expectations, but those who have waited patiently are likely to be well pleased.

Its recipe for sucesss is simple, not only does it offer an awful lot for its very reasonable price, but it also marries this with excellent performance in sveral key areas.

Crucially image quality is one of its major strenghts. The camera is capable of excellent dynamic range and high resolution and noise is well controlled.

Just as praiseworthy is the model’s design, and more specifically what this means for handling and operation.

For many people with no strong ties to any particular system, the K-1 is well worth a spot on the full frame short-list.

With a solid set of spec’s, excellent handling, strong image quality and a very competative price., its one of the most exciting DSLR’s we’ve seen in recent times”

Amateur Photographer “GOLD AWARD”

My Take:

When eventually I go full frame (and I will) it will very probably be either via a Sony A7 CSC model (the A7R II in particular) or the Pentax K-1.

Why? Because both Sony and Ricoh-Pentax push boundaries, offer value for money, produce sublime high quality full frame optics but above all dare to try and be different and the process are a bit special if sometimes overlooked.

Compare the K-1 to the recently released Canon EOS 5D IV and to my eyes the Pentax comes on top unless you seek enhanced video capacity in particular.

Hell the Petax K-1 looks like its going to be anything up to £,1000 cheaper which will buy you the Pentax 24-70mm f2.8 zoom to go with the body.

The new Pentax K-1 is to my mind a bit of an understated power-house, traditional in one sense, slightly different in others, but above all its offers incredible bang-for-bucks value and class leading (for full frame 36mp DSLR’s) image quality, its a typical Pentax and that’s no bad thing.

Mark Baynham ( September 2016)

How much? Sony Alpha 6300 review

Sony A6300: Great perfomance in a small package: But how much?

From Pratical Photographer Magazine:

“The Alpha 6300 boast a very impressive spec that buids on its predecessor, bringing 4K and improved EVF to the table. Touchscreen would have been nice, as would a longer battery life.

Sony has set the price at around £1349 with a lens which is more than twice (yes twice) that of the Alpha 6000 on its release”

Its still a great camera, but many will feel the Alpha 6000 kit is currently a far more attractive buy at around £500″

My Take:

For around £900 (body only) I’d want (no I’d absolutely expect) a touchscreen on my camera for starters. I’d also like the screen to be fully articulated.

The Sony Alpha 6300 is a fine camera thats for sure, almost certainly the best all round rangefinder styled APS-C compact CSC on the market. It boasts a truly impressive spec ( again possibly the best in class) but even so as I write I still consider it over priced especially when one considers you can get (at Digital Depot- Stevenage)  the previous Alpha 6000 ( still a good camera) with the rather excellent Zeiss 16-70mm f4 zoom  for the same money as the 6300

Or you can have the Alpha 6000 with standard 16-50mm zoom ( an ok lens to start with) for almost half the price of the Alpha 6300, its a no brainer?

As Dpreview commented a few months ago:

“The a6300 represents a step back upmarket, after the more cost-conscious a6000. This higher price tag puts it up against some very capable competition, which makes it harder for the camera to dominate its class in the same way the a6000 has.

However, just about every aspect of the camera, from build quality to viewfinder refresh, video capability to autofocus has been improved, along with a small fishing vessel’s worth of little feature additions that quickly add up to make it a much better camera”.

Mark Baynham ( September 2016)