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...
Words & Photos By Nathan Allen
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.
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.
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!
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.
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...
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.
(continued below, but I do hope you'll consider following along with me...)
If you're more interested in photography than travel, you might want to follow me here:
Thanks to Stabilization, Long Exposure is a Blast
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.
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,
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.
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.
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
Thanks for reading, and feel free to share!