The last camera I brought was not a rip-roaring success. It was a Panasonic LF1 - I wanted it as a go anywhere accompaniment to my full-frame DSLR. It seemed to tick the right boxes (very small, RAW shooter, EVF) and the reviews were quite good too. But, in use, it never met my expectations for image quality.
Of course I knew that the LF1 wouldn’t produce full-frame quality (or even close) but I soon found that the RAW files just seemed to lack spunk. Whenever I went to develop one, it felt like I was having to give it CPR with Lightroom, just to get it looking average. It wasn’t just the sensor noise (evident even at the lowest ISO) but a general flatness and lack of detail that no reasonable amount of sharpening or clarity seemed able to overcome.
I don’t think I ever had a frame out of that camera that made me whoop for joy. In the end I just didn’t want to pick it up - it was like having a friend who always turned up at your house feeling miserable; guaranteed to lower the spirit of any occasion. Who needs a camera like that? The LF1 did, however, prove that a camera of this size is a useful thing to have - if only it could produce better images! So my search continued for a compact camera that I would be happy to use when not toting a DSLR. And I am now confident that I have found it.
In the last couple of days, I have processed well over a hundred RAW files from this compact and I am in awe of its capabilities in both general, low light and high dynamic range situations. Perhaps that is why all the reviews unanimously rate it as the very best camera in its class. It’s also almost the same size as the LF1 (just a little thicker).
So, after weeks of research and waiting for the mail man, my Sony RX100 iii is now firmly in my hot little hands (thank you wifey)- this one could be the elusive Last Camera for this aging photographer. Play time!