After many years of making photographs from from a tripod-mounted camera, I’m surprised to find myself walking around with such a little camera and making hand-held images. My newest camera is a Sony RX100M3, one generation back from their most current model, the M4. I’m surprised by the fine quality images I’ve been getting out of this pocketable 20-megapixel camera. I purchased it as a travel camera, but I’ve been carrying it with me everywhere since I got it!
While making hand-held images, (oh heresy!), I’m rediscovering the joy of moving more fluidly through the landscape. I’m finding more possibilities and making images that I would’ve never made, let alone discover, if I had been working from a tripod. The feeling harkens back to the joy of discovering a 35mm film camera as a boy. My creative spirit has been invigorated. I’ve gotten up early for the last several mornings and bundled up for an invigorating and walk in the frost-covered meadow next door to our home. The Tomales Bay Wetlands has recently been transformed into a winter wonderland…. frost everywhere! I’ve been photographing the sparkling plants and grasses. One morning, on the way out the door, I discovered an incredible “fern-frost” display on the trunk of Jean’s Miata.
I’ve been thinking about the plusses and minuses, and how this little camera is changing my experience of creating photographs. The plus side seems obvious: Since I can easily carry this camera with me without being burdened, it is way more likely to be there when opportunity beckons. Many times in the past I had regretted not having a camera with me when gorgeous light arrived. Now, in rapidly changing light, I can more quickly check out multiple angles and compositions to record. I’m no longer hesitant to try for an image due to the laboriousness of setting up my tripod.
But, the down-sides are critical: This ease of motion is seductive and exciting, but it can lead to poor attention to the all-important matters of careful focus and exposure. I have already missed some important settings, resulting in failed captures, during during my recent frosty morning walks. Also, there is the issue of downside on quality by not using the larger-sensored camera, usually mounted on a tripod. I’m exploring this also and will know more when I begin printing some of these new photographs. The sticking point for me is how things look in the print. Getting good screen images are relatively easy.
Bittersweet, but less important, is the fact that I will no longer be able to boast that “every photo in this gallery was made from my tripod-mounted camera.” Perhaps it’s time to rethink my processes. Whatever way I finally decide to use this camera, I know one thing for certain… making photographs continues to delight me and elevate my spirit in a most profound way. this little camera has reminded me how much fun it is to take a new piece of equipment on a test drive to see what it will do. Now, I’m looking forward to finding just the “right pocket” to put my new camera in.
To see some photographs I made recently with the RX100M3, go here: New Additions Gallery.