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my hunt for the 'perfect' compact camera

Published September 4th, 2012

alright, so perfection doesn't exist...but you can get close. that's what i was trying to do...when i got my first premium compact camera, the Fuji X10. a beautiful camera, and takes beautiful pictures too. unfortunately, it was flawed. if you've done any research on the Fuji X10, you'd have heard about the famous 'white orbs' issue with the X10 sensor. even though that maybe sorted out now, it was a bit of a hassle for me to think of giving in a brand new camera to the service center for 2 weeks to get the sensor replaced, on a brand new camera... i wanted to spend that time playing around with it and learning to use the awesome thing! and if that was not bad enough, two copies of the X10 that i owned had significant amounts of dust in the lens...and one even had a sort of smudge or smear. cleaning seemed to make it worse. turns out i wasn't the only person to have the dust-in-lens problem...so Fuji seriously needs to do a better job of quality control - a faulty sensor, and a dusty lens...on a $600+ camera. no, very poor indeed. so i returned both that i tried (one at a time) and waited for something better to come along



it was only when sony released the wonderful RX100 that i realized how big the Fuji X10 was! the idea of getting this high quality compact was so that i could take it around with me in a pocket, instead of having to lug around my camera backpack, which is what i need to do when taking my DSLR...so yeah, a camera that i could have in my pocket that could perform very well indeed. and looking back, the X10 never fit in a pocket. it's a fairly large camera for a compact...and in the end, when taking it out, i would need my camera bag again. so no, that was another negative about the X10 that i see in retrospect



but the sony RX100.. a total gamechanger in the compact camera market! it packs in a very large sensor, twice the size of the X10's already larger-than-normal sensor...20MP, a fast Zeiss lens (although not too fast at the tele end), a decent zoom range (28-100mm equivalent), and a host of other manual controls, including superb video. all in a body that easily fits in the pocket. and it's got one of those automatic lens caps too - unlike the X10, and the Lumix LX7, where you need to take out the lens cap, put it away, and then turn on the camera..which probably takes 5 seconds or more...the RX100 fires up in 2 seconds and is ready to shoot...i love that.



i gotta admit, the X10 had a fantastic array of buttons and dials that made it super easy to use...every feature you'd need had a separate button or dial...which is fantastic. the RX100 simply doesn't have the room for it...but the design is very impressive indeed, and so customizable that you actually feel very satisfied with the 6 or 7 buttons that are there. another lovely point about the X10 was the manual zoom ring...the RX100 has a ring around the lens too, but this can control anything, from aperture to power zoom...doesn't work nearly as good for zoom as the X10's manual ring did though...but i think with a firmware update to increase the sensitivity of the ring, it'd really be a good feature. currently, the ring zooms in way too slow to be useful...i find myself using the traditional rocker when i want to zoom in fast, and then fine-tune it with the ring. it can be used for aperture/shutter speed in AV or TV modes respectively, or it can be used to control ISO, exposure comp etc etc...but i find that this smooth ring (with no 'clicks') works best for zoom...or manual focus. it does a great job when manual focusing



so yeah...after a lot of deliberating, i finally found the best compact on the market...the RX100! expensive (at $650!) but worth every dollar...the pictures are truly amazing, the body is really compact, the lens is superb, and high ISO handling on this huge sensor is very good indeed. go get one!



look out for my review on http://pixelogist.me on the RX100, up very soon...until then, check out my review on the Fuji X10 here:
http://pixelogist.me/2012/08/24/fujifilm-x10-review/

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Sony RX100

the beautiful Sony Cyber-shot RX100!

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