Most years like many other people I have my annual holiday, some of these trips have been my most memorable to date but normally I do not come away with the amazing travel photos that I dream about. I would like to talk about that briefly in the following blog and how I have taken a different approach this year which I feel works and might be a way forward.
These trips are not just my own, they are agreed holidays with my partner and whilst we usually travel to some of the most photographic places in the world I cant really put the focus of photography, that would be selfish of me. In fact as my partner quite hates the very idea of standing around waiting for photos to emerge, or wandering round for the perfect composition this means I have to literally think on my feet and do the run and gun style. Now, if I was a street photographer this might be easy and familiar, but as a very slow and deliberate landscape photographer I find this incredibly difficult. Most years I take my usual DSLR camera and place into a bag and carry it around with me, for travelling purposes I have also tried and tested new systems such as the Fuji Xt-10, which I took to Cuba and my first trial with Sony on a A7. But each time I have come up against the same problems, it either stays in my bag because by the time I mess around I’ve either lost the moment or I’ve lost the other half. Who’s clearly wandered off elsewhere and I lose my concentration. So this year I have opted for a completely different approach.
Enter the Sony RX-100 mk4. A jam packet compact camera that some reviews state has the power of a DSLR, but at the size of a packet of cigarettes. Something that was too tempring not to consider...
With a few added accessories, I was able to pull a small kit together that meant I was able to take a support system for the camera, extra batteries, a battery charger and a panoramic head so that I could grab some wider perspectives when the opportunity arose. Of course, there were times when I could get away for a couple of hours on my own to various locations to take my time wandering, I found the size of the camera liberating as on some days all I took was the camera in my pocket and a spare battery, blending in like all the other tourists and not looking like a easy meal opportunity for would be thieves with a big SLR hung round my neck. Actually, that clearly wasn’t an issue in this part of the world, Vietnam and Hong Kong was unbelievable safe and I would have felt very comfortable wandering around with my full kit. The Vietnamese people were the nicest peple I have ever met.
The full kit consited of a Peak Design Tech Pouch and with the added leash strap it was easily converted into a little shoulder bag that I could carry around without any undue effort. Most importantly with the heat in Vietnam I didnt need a heavy backpack that would cause me to get hot, this small combination meant I was able to have it as a walk around, or place it into my small backpack for days where I needed extra kit such as water, jackets (it rained) or extra T-shirts.
- Peak Design Tech Pouch
- Peak Design leash
- Sony RX-100 Mark 4
- Manfrotto Pixa tripod
- Manfrotto mini tripod.
- Remote shutter
- Spare battery
- Pocket Pano tripod head.
One of the obvious questions is going to be about the quality of the camera, well I am no technical expert and I never will be, so if you are looking for full technical reviews I am sure they can be found with a quick search of the internet. From my own experience, I was happy overall and I guess that’s all that matters. I came away with a good collection of travel images that I don’t even think I would have got if I had taken my bigger camera, It would have spent far much more time in the bag than this one did, having it in my hand nearly all the time when sight seeing meant I was reactive and responsive to photo opportunities. In fact the only time I wish I had full kit was Hong Kong, it really required a higher quality camera for the night-time opportunities and street photography there, but I managed.
The files are sharp, with good dynamic range. With the ability to use the bracketing feature in the camera I was able to blend a lot of photos for an even higher dynamic range and came away with some great photos that I can now print out. The headline image being one of those and consisted of around 30 photographs in all for the panoramic you see.. oh and it is uber sharp. My only criticism of this camera, was that I did miss opportunities at times as it is much slower to respond that a DSLR. Maybe that is because I have not got fully used to it yet, with more practice and setting up of the features it might be that I can hone the camera a little. One thing is for sure, this is a camera that will remain in my collection that’s for sure.
So what next.....
I can't see this camera becoming a staple for my UK work, or when I am travelling for photography but it will be in my kit bag for behind the scenes and grabbing moments while I am hiking or camping. As it has potential it might be used for timelapses whilst I am waiting for Sunrise of Sunset, its something ive quite liked the idea of for sometime. For holidays and geneal travelling, well you will see more of this in the future.
My Favourite Images of Vietnam & Hong Kong
I am just going to drop some of my favourite moments into a gallery, a lot of these wont be of a good standard. But they captured moments during travelling and I felt that the samll camera helped capture a lot of those where the larger DSLR would have likely got me much more noticed