Low-Light & Night Photography - Handheld w/ the Sony RX100

Low Light & Night Photography w/ Sony RX100 III © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
RX100 Nighttime Travel Photos - May, 2017
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I have to admit, I'm a bit of a low light junkie. Ever since I bought my first Sony DSLR and paired it up with a classic f1.7 Minolta lens, I was hooked. However, I travel so much that I got tired of the size. When the Sony RX100 came out, my prayers were answered. Not only did I get a super fast (and wide) f1.8 lens, but superb image stabilization as well...AND it all fit right in my pocket. Here are some of my favorite night shots with my RX100 III...


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  Words & Photos By Nathan Allen


Kite flyer Silhouettes @ Marina Barrage, Singapore - Sony RX100 Photography © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Singapore sklyline and family @ dusk

I love shooting silhouettes against the sunset. Here, a young family is flying kites together at Marina Barrage, Singapore. On the right hand side of the picture you can see part of iconic Marina Bay Sands.

 

Below is Harana Surf Resort on the island of Siargao, Philippines. This picture was shot during a full moon. It has been edited in post processing, but I am impressed that pocket camera can achieve results like this, nonetheless.

 

Harana Surf Resort at night @ Siargao Island, Philippines - Sony RX100 Photography © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Now that's what I call "full moon island magic"

A Fast, Bright Lens That Still Beats the Competition

As far as I know, the only truly pocketable camera that *might* be able to compare in the low light / night shooting department would be the Panasonic LX10 (known as LX15 in Europe & Asia).

 

However, I did a LOT of research, including speaking to people who have both the RX100 III and the LX10. For extreme low light and sharpness of lens, they told me not even to think about selling the RX100 III. That says a lot, considering the Panasonic's f1.4 lens is technically faster (and 2 years newer).

 

 

In some tests, the RX100 III outperformed even the M4 and M5 models which came after it.

 

Dragonfly Bridge & Marina Bay Sands at night - Gardens By The Bay, Singapore - Sony RX100 Photography © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Marina Bay Sands @ night (shot from Gardens By The Bay)

Pictured above is the "Dragonfly Bridge", looking up to the famous Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. I get some kind of strange photographer-nerd rush taking handheld shots like this. Constantly challenging myself shot after shot...seeing just how low I can get the ISO...while keeping image sharpness. Of course, the steady hand helps immensely...but at the same time, you'd be amazed how forgiving the image stabilization can be!

 

Pros and cons of Sony RX100 III vs. Ricoh GR II - City landscape Sample Image © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Fishing boats and Cadlao island @ sunset

Above is the spectacular sunset at El Nido, Palawan (Philippines). I noticed the Sony does exceptionally well with sunset hues...and the RAW files process very nicely.

 

Here is a shot of a live band with some challenging indoor lighting...most cameras (especially compacts) would really struggle in situations like this.

 

Ice Bucket Band playing @ George's Beach Club, Singapore  - Sony RX100 Photography © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Performers & colorful indoor concert lighting

 

This is definitely one of my favorites. It was a beach wedding that I stumbled upon while walking along the shore in Bohol, Philippines. This was soon after I bought the camera, and this shot left me with the distinct feeling that I had made the right decision...

 

Intimate lighting on a table during a beach wedding - Bohol, Philippines - Sony RX100 Photography © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Soft night lighting on a table at a beach wedding

 

Below is a city scene from downtown Singapore. I've never had a problem shooting at night in any city with the RX100. There is always enough light.

 

Canal Street Cityscape in downtown Singapore - Sony RX100 Night Photography © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Futuristic urban lanscape @ night in Singapore

 

(continued below, but I do hope you'll consider following along with me...)


Photographer Nathan Allen Bio via @idreamedofthis

 

If you're more interested in photography than travel, you might want to follow me here:


Thanks to Stabilization, Long Exposure is a Blast

Long Exposure shot of jeeps & pedestrians in Manila - Sony RX100 Night Photography © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
A long exposure "shadow shot" in traffic

I took this picture on the streets of Manila, handheld. I never imagined the man's shadow would show up on the side of the passing jeep, because I couldn't even see it with my naked eye. I was in for quite a surprise a few days later when I viewed the photo! The RX100 captured it.

 

I prefer the RX100 M3, because it has a built in neutral density (ND) filter. This filter allows me to go 3-stops down...meaning I could even take the long exposure shot above during the day if I wanted! During the day without an ND filter, there is way too much light to get long exposure trails. The M4 & M5 models also have this feature, but a much higher price tag.

 

Boy & Coconut tree silhouette on Alona Beach - Bohol, Philippines - Sony RX100 Photography © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Island landscape w/ sunset silhouettes

Another silhouette shot from the beach in Bohol, Philippines. The trick is to get as low as possible, to place your subjects (boy & coconut tree, in this case) above the horizon.

 


(If you're considering the RX100, check out  Amazon...(or Lazada if you're in Asia). These are my trusted partners, and these links will get you the best price. It's how I continue creating content like this - Thanks, Nathan)


 

Below is another one of my favorites. Taken at the Boni MRT overpass in Mandaluyong, Manila. If you were wondering, I never use flash. To me, this picture, shot in a very dark environment, is a true testament of what this little pocket rocket is capable of.

 

Commuters @ Boni MRT overpass in Mandaluyong - Manila, Philippines - Sony RX100 Low Light Photography © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Commuters & evening traffic on EDSA (Boni MRT overpass - Manila)

The fishing boat below was docked on a rocky beach after sunset...combined with some pretty heavy clouds, this was a real challenging low light situation. I really needed to lift the shadows to achieve this result. It was taken while I first experimented with the camera, and with rather high ISO. I didn't even have the RAW file to work with!  JPEG only.

 

Fishing boat under storm clouds on Bohol Beach - Sony RX100 Sunset Photography © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Fishing boats in dim post-sunset lighting

Hard to Imagine How Sony Could Top This

 

Yes, at the time of writing, there are some pretty impressive low light and high ISO cameras out there...but personally, if they don't fit in my pocket, they're off my radar. That's my lifestyle.

 

The fact that the RX100 technology has already been around for 5 years kind of blows my mind. It really makes me wonder what the next big step will be. Whatever it is, I just hope I can still fit it in my pocket.

 

Hope you enjoyed.

 

Nathan Allen Silhouette @ Dusk - Alona Beach - Bohol, Philippines - Sony RX100 Sunset Photography © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Silhouette of the author (and photographer) on a Philippine beach

 

- Nathan Allen

www.idreamedofthis.com

 

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