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Author Topic: Nikon D800 & Sony RX100  (Read 2932 times)
fragilefinger
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« on: September 30, 2012, 05:07:55 PM »
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I'm hoping to upgrade from a Nikon D300 to a D800 and a photographer friend is trying to convince me that it's dumb to lug around these heavy monsters when a Sony RX100 will do just as well.  I find this tempting but hard to believe. Any opinions? I print on an Epson 7800, often up to 24x36in.  I'm a street photographer.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2012, 05:10:19 PM by fragilefinger » Logged
OnyimBob
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« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2012, 06:08:51 PM »
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Can't speak about the Nikon or the RX100, but I can about the Pentax K20 and the Nex 7!
I lugged the former (with lenses, a tripod, etc) around Japan for five weeks without complaint because it was the right tool for me at that time - BUT at my age (67) it was heavy. A recent trip to Turkey and Eastern Europe with only the Sony doing mainly street photography was a joy - perfect tool for the job, light as a feather!
I have no knowledge of the RX100 other than what Michael had to say in his review, but the size is probably similar to the Nex.
Cheers, Bob.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2012, 06:44:48 PM »
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I own both. The RX100 is a remarkable compact camera with excellent image quality and a lens with some elements of sweetness, starting with a good bokeh.

The D800 is of course in a different league along all the important metrics. If you don't print big, then you will mostly enjoy:
- the superior auto ISO combined with much better high ISO image quality that turn the D800 in the ultimate point and shoot camera when needed,
- the faster, more accurate and more sensitive AF,
- the much higher DR resulting in very sweet tones even when you don't need to do crazy shadow lifting,
- a rugged body with which I have shot in the rain for extended amount of time with no issues, I just don't dare to try do it with the RX100 out of concerns that water will be imported in the body when the lens retracts (it happened once or twice without problem but I am trying hard to avoid that),
- obviously an amazing selection of lenses.

The only advantages of the RX100 are compactness and more DoF when that is needed.

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: September 30, 2012, 08:42:48 PM by BernardLanguillier » Logged

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fragilefinger
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« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2012, 09:34:34 PM »
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Thanks for the info, can you advise some more?  First, it's unlikely that I'll shoot in the rain, so that wouldn't be a problem with the RX100. My prints are 24x36 and I want  exhibition/museum quality. Would you use your RX100 given these goals? What makes you decide to use it instead of your D800?
I'm pretty old and my current D300 is like an albatross around my neck, but I'm still yearning for the D800.
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AFairley
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« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2012, 10:04:26 PM »
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Thanks for the info, can you advise some more?  First, it's unlikely that I'll shoot in the rain, so that wouldn't be a problem with the RX100. My prints are 24x36 and I want  exhibition/museum quality. Would you use your RX100 given these goals? What makes you decide to use it instead of your D800?
I'm pretty old and my current D300 is like an albatross around my neck, but I'm still yearning for the D800.

No, you will not get museum quality 24x36 prints from the rx100.  You can get pretty nice 17x22s if you ignore a little softness at the edges (I have done so) but no way would I call those prints museum quality.  The IQ flaws and higher noise will be even more apparent printed larger.  The RX100 is a very very nice point and shoot (with manual controls, RAW, etc), but at the end of the day, that's what it is.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2012, 10:13:40 PM »
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No, you will not get museum quality 24x36 prints from the rx100.  You can get pretty nice 17x22s if you ignore a little softness at the edges (I have done so) but no way would I call those prints museum quality.  The IQ flaws and higher noise will be even more apparent printed larger.  The RX100 is a very very nice point and shoot (with manual controls, RAW, etc), but at the end of the day, that's what it is.

My view as well.

Now, the image quality of the RX100 at ISO400 is probably close to 35mm B&W film from detail/noise standpoint, with less DR. I have seen 24x36 prints made from 35mm film, so it may de doable for some types of work.

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: October 01, 2012, 04:42:29 AM by BernardLanguillier » Logged

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stewarthemley
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« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2012, 03:47:11 AM »
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Another - important - variable is the raw converter. When comparing the RX100 with my Canons and MFDB's in Lightroom, it's ok but not exceptional. (I know, there's a price difference but lets just talk about image quality regardless.) Pushing the RX files through DxO reveals an amazing amount of detail that LR just mushes over and they suddenly start to rival the Canons (5d2,3 and 1DS3). The Canons need good primes to better the RX. And the MFDB's both of them, begin to look stupidly overpriced.

Keeping iso below 400, ideally 80 - 125, and with a steady hand, you'll get great results.

It will always be a personal choice but for me, the RX is a take everywhere and often a genuine backup for the Canons. I have mixed images from both for two important clients and both were happy - even after I revealed the RX shots. But I only did that with long standing clients who trust me. Not sure I'd turn up with ADs, etc, around and flourish the RX too openly. I know it's the image that counts but you can only take that so far!

EDIT: should add I agree with both comments above: the D800 makes far superior images but with more to lug around. If I ever get to 67, that will be the decider, I suspect.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2012, 03:52:03 AM by stewarthemley » Logged
mac_paolo
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« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2012, 03:54:05 AM »
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I agree with previous comments. I own a D300 and a Sony RX100.
I'm going to upgrade with a D800 as soon as the price lowers a bit.

The RX100 is a great compact camera and my only real complaint is the size. Too tiny for my taste. I never carry a camera in the pocket and even an 1" larger it would have been way smaller than my DSLR with my go-to lens, which is the 70-200mm /2.8.
I tread the RX100 as my smart wide lens. With a RX100 and a D800+70-200mm you're pretty much covered* Smiley

* unless you're serious about wide angle photography, of course. RX100 is good but not stellar as a D800 with a Pro lens.
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allegretto
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« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2012, 05:47:43 AM »
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D4 and Rx100 here

Your friend means well, and perhaps for him (and you) an RX100 is enough. It is a wonderful little camera and it is certainly the solution for my wife or me when casual/family events are going on. Image quality blows away the pics made with film that famous street photographers used in many cases. And it certainly is lighter/smaller. Sony's colors are superb as well

but

It's and Indy vs. a street car at the race track in terms of performance. In just about any image metric.

The two are not terribly comparable. One is for one thing, the other for something different. If you love photography, you need both. Simple as that.
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One Frame at a Time
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« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2012, 08:31:02 AM »
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Not sure I Understand how you could be weighing the choice between a FF camera and the RX 100.  Its like deciding between buying a tent or a house.   But if you are in fact, making that evaluation you may really be best served by a micro 4/3'ds camera or one of the Sony NEX's.

 The RX is a great camera for what it is.  I take it, when I am not planning on taking serious pictures, like when Im heading into the great outdoors for recreation, but not expressly to shoot images.  It's really a glorified point and shoot.  Small and fiddly - that does not give the same satisfaction of a "real" camera.

With an NEX or Micro 4/3 you'll get much better IQ, and light weight, in one small package.  They are wonderful cameras for carrying around.   Also, an NEX, or any camera with articulating screen would seem to be a much better street camera in my eyes.  Just another opinion.

Paul
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fragilefinger
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« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2012, 10:08:59 AM »
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I am very grateful for all the replies that confirmed my thoughts about the D800 & RX100, despite the urging of a friend to abandon my plan to upgrade from a D300 to a D800. I'll get the D800 and also replace my little Olympus SP-560UZ with the RX100 if I ever recover recover from paying for the 800. Thank you all.
                    Arlene   
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2012, 11:28:09 AM »
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Hi,

I would just add my experience.

The way I see it that RX100 can yield very god image quality, close to my Sony Alpha 900 with 24-70/2.8 ZA (Zeiss marked) zoom. But, it does only deliver good corner to corner sharpness at short focal lengths. My guess is that it is better than 400 ISO 135 film at 400 ISO, as a matter of fact I have a shot taken at midnight at 3200 ISO here: http://echophoto.smugmug.com/Technical/RX100/25682415_FnJctX#!i=2121953631&k=Xf3bwPn&lb=1&s=O

At the longest focal length corners and edges are weak.

I would check out the NEX line, although it seems that lenses are weak. Nex 6 and Nex 7 have built in viewfinders (electronic viewfinder).

I love my RX100, it is a fantastic little device, but it has some limitations!

Best regards
Erik

I am very grateful for all the replies that confirmed my thoughts about the D800 & RX100, despite the urging of a friend to abandon my plan to upgrade from a D300 to a D800. I'll get the D800 and also replace my little Olympus SP-560UZ with the RX100 if I ever recover recover from paying for the 800. Thank you all.
                    Arlene   
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photodan
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« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2012, 09:55:52 PM »
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I used to own a Nikon D800E and the Sony RX100, but now both have been sold. For someone wanting to entertain the idea of 24x36" high quality prints (let alone museum quality), Fragilefinger, your deciding on the D800 vs the small camera was definitely the correct course of action in my opinion. As good as the RX100 was, at large prints sizes it's not going to compare very well to a D800 with a good lens. The challenge you might face with the D800 is getting high quality lenses for your 24x36" prints.

But I felt the need to downsize, because as great as the D800E is, it didn't give me the quality at 20x30" or larger that I wanted in return for lugging around a DSLR. Many people find the D800 (and E) is more than enough for 24x36" and even larger, without stitching even.  I was used to large format film (4x5 to 8x10 color) and thinking the D800 would be close enough to that quality or to medium format digital (which I cannot afford) I took a spin. But I'm not the most expert at preparing files for digital printing and I use commercial labs - Chromira and some Epson high injets on occasion. With my eyes a few inches from the print I just don't see the quality I am looking for. I know, kind of ridiculous, as most large prints are viewed from 2 feet or more. But I'm trying to please myself more than others.  

One problem I found was getting the right lenses for the D800E. High quality across the image in a focal length that I preferred, which is around 35mm, is what I was looking for - for landscapes. I found the best was the Zeiss 35mm f/2, with the Zeiss 1.4 better at f/8 and f/11 a little bit, but worse otherwise and more variable from sample to sample. In any case the latter lens was not worth the money to me, for my landscape purposes.  Also when doing non landscape shots I found the manual focus to be a pain.  Having a tripod and doing live view for everything reminded me too much of my large format days - although admittedly far far easier overall, but then I've become ever increasingly lazy, and I just want a camera I can take pretty much everywhere.  I tried the Nikon autofocus lenses them wanting. For example the 35mm f/1.4G  was not sharp outside the central area until stopping down to f11 (this is with pixel peeping at 100%) and the lack of sharpness was asymmetric, so maybe that sample was particularly bad.

So, now I'm going to have some fun with the Sigma DP2M (a not easy to use camera, and even more work in post processing). The results are probably going to be inferior to the D800E, and 45mm equivalent is not my favorite focal length,  but I want to enjoy something different and lighter for awhile.  Digital cameras are improving, and I'm sure there will someday be an affordable digital camera that will give the results I'm looking for and which will make lugging around a DSLR worthwhile for me.

Bottom line though, the D800 is going to give significantly increased image quality over the D300, even with a non-optimal lens, so as I started out with, getting the D800 is a good choice.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2012, 10:02:57 PM by photodan » Logged
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