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Old December 15th, 2013, 06:55 AM   #1
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Sony RX10 user experience thread

Not sure where to place this as I couldn't find a dedicated category so will put it here meanwhile.

I only just got the rx10 and took it with me on a weddingshoot yesterday together with my panasonic gh3/g6 and my sony cx730's which is now my standard kit whenever I cover a wedding. I've seen some people saying the rx10 would be a good holiday cam but I intent to make money from it shooting weddings. I thought it would be a good idea to start a thread to share user experiences shooting weddings with this camera so we could learn from eachother.

I sold my nex-ea50 for this rx10 because after a year of use I found out the ea50 was way too big for me to drag around a wedding all day and I wanted something small, portable and powerful, I also want to point out that some issues I will mention could very well be a user error and if that would be cleared up here, great, if not, we"ll know it's a camera limitation and maybe we can find work-arounds for it, who knowns.

So anyone that like to share their experience with the camera, if you have got great tips, cinematic presets that will make it look like a Red or Aexa camera (:D) or whatever that can make the user experience better with this camera, pls share! My experience below is based on shooting solo at weddings.

So let's start with functionality, something that sets this camera apart from all others in it's price range, I absolutely loooove having so much power at my fingertips, I still need to get used to button positions and which button I assigned what to but I can easily see switching between almost any important function on the fly, I assigned some functions which are important to me to the buttons on camera, there is a lot you can assign to these buttons but I will comment to the ones I used.

When I had to make a quick adjustment from a inside to outside location while keeping teh shutter at a fixed value of 1/100 (I shot in 50p) I just turned the menu wheel on the back with my thumb and the iso values change instantly, from high to low or otherwise, that was like breath of fresh air coming from the ea50 which only allowed 3 assignable iso values to a switch.
Going from auto to manual focus mode, just press a button, want to check focus? press another button to magnify the screen, a target area pops up which allows you to select which part to magnify and press again and it magnifies, I just press twice to get a quick focus check.

Too light outside? Press another button that pops up the nd option, select it to activate, press the button again and you"ll get much more playroom to keep you shutter at a fixed value, is it enough for very bright sunny day's? no, but adding a fixed polarize filter to your lens should get you though most situations, no more +1000th shutter situations like with my cx730.
This camera is a Swiss knife when it comes to having every possible functionality at the tip of your fingers, button layout is very good, no accidental button presses happened like I have with my panasonic g6 and everything is accessible while you are shooting, I can imagine after a longer time of use changing settings on the fly can be done without even looking away from the camera.

The viewfinder/lcd screen

Some people have complained that the viewfinder has no touch controll, I actually prefer that, this means I can add a loupe and access all my functions without taking the loupe off, just by using the several assigned buttons you can change whatever you want without your eye leaving the screen.

I only used the small viewfinder which is very good, it's a sharp high res screen making focusing easy, only outside the lack of some kind of loupe that would block out incoming sun is a issue, maybe a add-on loupe exists?
Through that small viewfinder I got a lot less camera info then on the camera lcd screen, just the essentials which I think was ok but I missed one important info and not sure if it is a setting, I could not see if I was in manual or autofocus, info that is displayed on the lcd screen, my workaround was to set the peaking to mid so if I would be in manual focus I could see the peaking lines, not ideal but it worked.

The zoom

I can be short about this one, I absolutely hate it, again it might be a setting that I missed but in standby the zoomspeed I could live with but in record mode it slows down to a crawling speed of a snail, no matter if you use the lever on top or operate the zoom manually on the lens. If it was designed that way I don't know what Sony was thinking. I only use the zoom to quickly re-frame and cut the zoom part out in post, with this camera this becomes impossible, in any run and gun situation if I want to change my frame, before I am where I want to be the moment is gone. That was what I liked so much about the stock lens from the ea50, I operated that zoom manually all the time and it was a joy to use. If you are into slow creeping zooms this is ok eventhough the zoom "janks" a bit at the start of the zoom, just like the stocklens on the ea50 did, I find the zoom operation during record mode totally useless and a hugh frustration and I am being kind.

The image quality

We have seen by now this camera resolves detail and plenty of it, moire and aliasing are almost no issue at all, if you really look you"ll find it but you don't ntice it like with teh nex-ea50 and especially with canon dslr's below the 5dIII.
My main concern that I had seen with other user videos was the blown highlights which the camera didn't seem to be able to handle, thing is that eventhough I do see that in some of my shots I took yesterday some small yuv curve adjustment solves that, I did lower the contrast in the standard picture profile I used since the blacks are not that crushed in that way leaving me the option to do that in post if needed or just leave it if I want more detail in the shadow area's, also in the venue it helped giving the impression the camera had more dynamic range.

My impression is that exposure setting is a key element, I have my zebra's set at 100% so I know whatever has stripes has no detail anymore and I decide on teh spot if that is ok or not, for a wedding dress in the sun expose to the dress so no stripes appear, I haven't had any glaring sun like you have mid summer but the sun did shine yesterday and I managed to get detail throughout the image exposing to the brides dress, in the viewfinder it looked like some parts where underexposed to much but in post and on my big screen it didn't, I have a spark card connected to a screen with edius 7. Not sure what I am doing differently then other users but I don't have that "limited DR much have been complaining about.
Also the reports about muddy image and macroblocking, looking at the footage from yesterday, I don't see that so for me it's no issue. I might see it if I freeze frame and zoom in 400% but that is not how I and my clients look at a film.

Cinema vs video

Does the image look "cinematic"? Maybe someone can provide a magic image preset/yuv adjustment in post to give it that look but for me it's close to teh videolook from my sony cx730, you can get some nice bokeh if you shoot something up close or when you zoom in but I got a much more pleasing image "dslr" kind of look with a nicer bokeh from my nex-ea50 with the stocklens.

Stabilization

Is very good, even handheld at full tele, not the same level as my magic eye ball cx730 but very usable.

Batterylife

Not good, when I shot the test in Bruges (see the link below with my videos) I got 40 minutes of footage from one battery, I got a second one which is sufficient for my use but it certainly is not up to Sony standards. Also charging the battery trough the camera is painfully slow, I"m betting Sony did something to slow the charging process down so you would buy their optional batterycharger.

Sound.

Surprisingly good, actually really good at capturing clear ambient sound which doesn't sound like crap like on the internal mike of my gh3, it's not as good as the ea50 but I can see it being used without a external mike.

Rx10 vs cx730

Would I buy another rx10 if one of my cx730's would die? No, I"d buy a similar camera, these cx730's are now exclusively used for the ceremony only. I also always use 2 and these little wonders allow me to get well exposed, sharp, colorful and continuous recording for hours on one battery, in that case I don't care about shallow dof or a dslr look. They give me a ease of mind knowing I can deliver a professional looking product when I use tripods and add clear sound, they are so simple to use yet deliver excellent results. They are also excellent "auto" performers which I sometimes need as a solo shooter where only the exposure get's handled manually most of the time, to cover ceremonies and danceperformances these little gems have proven their value over and over, they are an extremely valuable tool in the box to me.

Where do I find the rx10 better then my cx730's? It has a higher resolution image, much more manual control, the exposure doesn't ramp when you zoom in, better sound and a nd filter. Often I do need more controll and this is where rx10 offers much more.

Rx10 vs gh3/g6

Can the rx10 replace my gh3/g6? No way, the panny's are for all my arsty fartsy work, I can do magic with these camera, after I sold my nex-ea50 with lenses I blew all that money on quality m4/3 glass in different ranges from fisheye to a fast tele, the image those camera output look amazing, only for real run and gun they are much more limited then the rx10, most important features the rx10 has over the gh3 is much better build in sound, a stabilized wide to decent tele constant f2.8 with clickless aperture ring lens, build in nd, better button layout/functionality so I consider the rx10 a better run and gun camera.

Where do I place this camera? Do I really need it?

With the limited experience I have I'd say inbetween my cx730 and my gh3/g6, it fills that gap very good, do I need so many camera's? I would like to have just 2 camera's but what I have now gives me more options, I have plenty backup if any camera(s) would fail, they are all very small camera's, fit all in one backpack and give me the option to use them depending on what I need to shoot. At the venue the panny g6 stay on the steadicam all the time (that used to be my gh3 but 2 days ago I made a adjustment so I could fit my very light g6 onto the blackbird and have more control over my steadicam movements) and then I use my gh3 for tripod shots, when a speech is given I use the gh3 for the speecher and the rx10 for reactions on a tripod and if people move from their spot to give presents for example I just pick up my g6/steadicam.
The sony cx730 are no brainers for ceremony work, they allow me to focus on content while they do their thing without stopping. So thinking about it in this way I'd say yes, I need all these little camera's to cover weddings.

So that's about it for now, might come up with some more info, if someone else wants to share pls! :)

Last edited by Noa Put; December 15th, 2013 at 10:14 AM.
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Old December 15th, 2013, 09:45 AM   #2
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Re: Sony RX10 user experience thread

Noa - thanks for the great, and very detailed, comparison of a standard camcorder, the G6/GH3 and the RX10. This will very very helpful for people who are trying to decide between these cameras.

I plan to shoot a comparison between a standard camcorder, the GH3, the RX10 and the BMPCC in a few weeks - I only hope to be able to provide as much value to the community as you have.

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Old December 15th, 2013, 10:49 AM   #3
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Re: Sony RX10 user experience thread

Great write up.

I think I mentioned it before, I just can't believe you manage so many cameras on your own at a wedding shoot! Good for you.
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Old December 15th, 2013, 07:04 PM   #4
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Re: Sony RX10 user experience thread

Noa, great idea to start this thread. I was thinking we need a place where user experience might accumulate and this is it. Good one, and thanks.

You commented that some think this cam would be a good holiday cam and I believe this is true. In as much as I am forever on holiday these days after two days of shooting I have not changed my mind. So while your (profitable) shooting involves a wide range of light conditions mine generally does not as most of the time Iím shooting in outdoor well lit environments.

And thus far I am delighted with the photographs. By and large I find my point and shoot photographs more pleasing then I routinely get using my NEX 5n.

Even though it is early days yet and the options are a tad overwhelming one thing I can say right off the bat is that is that when it comes to the fun factor this cam takes the cake.

Now, having said that I must report what might be described as a fly in the ointment perhaps. Because I live in a PAL country I set the camera to PAL 50p. I noted what appeared to be movement aberrations that reminded me of bad 24p motion. I recalled seeing this in footage shot with a PAL HX200v so I went to a location that I had used previously to test that camera Ė cars going along a road at about 50 k and about 300 m away at right angles to the camera. Sure enough the 50p footage, regardless of shutter speed (I tested at 100 and 400) exhibited the same jerkiness one might expect from say 12 to 14 frames per second. Because the RX10 is NTSC/PAL selectable the easy answer for me was to switch to NTSC 60p and the footage is very smooth as one would expect.

However, if I didnít have that option the camera would be going back to Sony.

Has anyone else noticed this 50p movement aberration?
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Old December 16th, 2013, 12:30 AM   #5
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Re: Sony RX10 user experience thread

Thanks for the "impressions" Noa - pretty much validates exactly where I see the RX10 "fitting" - I don't see it entirely replacing the Alpha series cams A77/65, they have their place, and are pretty decent for video in a pinch, albeit bigger and heavier than what I would "like" to haul around! I also see a place for a CX/PJ or two if you're shooting long form, set and forget, or if you want a handheld that thinks it's a steadycam (magic eyeball!). I'm evaluating what cams will stay and go right now, so your observations are very helpful as I wait for a RX10 to come my way... a couple cams I'm not sure abut selling, and they'd pay for the RX!


Hope that zoom thing will be rectified In firmware - seems to come up regularly... I'm sure they wanted to avoid "crash zooms" in video for "quality", but some of us have uses for that crazy stuff! They need a numeric setting for the two stages (I'm presuming there is a "fast" and "slow" depending on tactile input, like most Sonys?). Something like slow zoom\1-6 and fast zoom \6-11 (it has to go to 11!) so in theory you could set slow to be "1" and it's super slow, and fast to "11" so you could crash zoom or creep as desired, depending on finger pressure or aggressiveness with the ring. If the API were opened, that should be something even I could code!

The FW50 batteries have been gnawing in the back of my mind since I saw they were the power source... I was NOT impressed with them when they powered the A55, definitely seemed decidedly "wimpy" compared to FV's in camcorders (even the older FH were better), FM in Alphas, and even comparing to the "new" BX that powers the RX100's. Wasn't looking forward to collecting sufficient batteries, and your experience is a bit worrisome, although not entirely a surprise... maybe Sony needs a FW/Mk2 that's got more beef?!? A battery that can only do 40 minutes of video in a otherwise capable camera is a frustration! I've got similar short life batteries (N series) in TX100 cams I use for their compact size - can be hidden anywhere almost, have decent quality video, and you can stick several in your bag... but that's not something I want in a camera that might be a primary capture device!



And while I don't know exactly where you'll find it in the RX10 menu, there should be a couple settings (on the RX100M2 they are under the "gear/knobby doughnut" subsection) that govern the behavior of the "DISP button" - IIRC the Alphas have TWO menu selections, one for LCD and one for VF - if you select those, you should get a series of check boxes/display options to choose from, and I *think* one should be display EVERYTHING... hopefully including the focus function status you seek!

This is one of those tricky functions, as you of course can have different options as you cycle (consecutive pushes) the display button, depending on whether you are in VF or LCD mode. I've found it handy to be able to cycle between the graphic display, level, "off", and "everything", but you can find what works best for you, hope this will give you the info in the VF you're looking for!



Hopefully Chris can set up a dedicated subsection for this camera (and maybe the A7/A7r & RX100's) so we can compare button settings, and any quirks we run into along the way! I do think Sony is trying to "rock the boat" with their newer offerings, and since Sony is often the "redheaded stepchild" of the camera world, it would be nice to see these cameras given a comfy corner of their own! There are quite a few postings in various places on DVi already, so there ought to be enough to start a subforum in the Sony section... or the "photo for HD Video", or something that makes logical sense!

Once again these bloomin' "hybrid" cameras really muck with "definitions" - is it a photo cam, a video cam... what the heck is it!? These "new media" toys sort of defy all the "old school" categorizations! COOOOOL!
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Old December 16th, 2013, 12:34 AM   #6
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Re: Sony RX10 user experience thread

@John... I figure the RX10 will be doing a lot of "double duty" as a still camera for me as well, the RX100/M2 has been a treat to shoot (photo & video) with, love the look, can't wait to have the big glass on the front! The RX100 held up surprisingly well to my bigger Alphas - maybe not quite as good, but "good enough", and there's that compact size thing that means you have it with you when the "big camera" gets left home!

Glad you are finding shooting to be "fun" - that is how it should be, these RX's seem to somehow have that "baked in" to the design, but they don't show it on the SPEC SHEET... guess sometimes you can't quantify everything with engineering measurements!
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Old December 16th, 2013, 03:03 AM   #7
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Re: Sony RX10 user experience thread

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Originally Posted by John McCully View Post
You commented that some think this cam would be a good holiday cam and I believe this is true
What I actually meant to say was that this camera is perfectly capable to handle paid shoots, the feeling I got from some people was they thought it was an "ok" holiday cam while I think it's much more then that.

I just timed the zoom speed in standby and record mode, in standby it takes 3 seconds from wide to full tele, in record mode that's 12 seconds...
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Old December 16th, 2013, 03:06 AM   #8
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Re: Sony RX10 user experience thread

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Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
And while I don't know exactly where you'll find it in the RX10 menu, there should be a couple settings (on the RX100M2 they are under the "gear/knobby doughnut" subsection) that govern the behavior of the "DISP button" - IIRC the Alphas have TWO menu selections, one for LCD and one for VF - if you select those, you should get a series of check boxes/display options to choose from, and I *think* one should be display EVERYTHING... hopefully including the focus function status you seek!

This is one of those tricky functions, as you of course can have different options as you cycle (consecutive pushes) the display button, depending on whether you are in VF or LCD mode. I've found it handy to be able to cycle between the graphic display, level, "off", and "everything", but you can find what works best for you, hope this will give you the info in the VF you're looking for!

Found it! :) It was under the "custom settings", "page 2", "disp button" where you have the option to select "monitor" or "finder" and there you have 6 presets to decide what you want to show on the screen.
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Old December 16th, 2013, 03:09 AM   #9
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Re: Sony RX10 user experience thread

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Originally Posted by Bill Bruner View Post
I plan to shoot a comparison between a standard camcorder, the GH3, the RX10 and the BMPCC in a few weeks - I only hope to be able to provide as much value to the community as you have.
Any contribution you make, no matter how small, is a value, I"m looking forward to the comparison you make!
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Old December 16th, 2013, 03:14 AM   #10
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Re: Sony RX10 user experience thread

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I just can't believe you manage so many cameras on your own at a wedding shoot! Good for you.
It's just a matter of planning to know which camera's to use when, it's mostly just one a camera at a time and max 2 camera's at a time only in controlled environments, a third one could come into play if I"m absolutely sure the other 2 unmanned are doing what they are supposed to do.

The advantage of having more then one camera is that you don't have to switch lenses that often, during the bride prep I have 2 camera's hanging with a strap around my neck; my panasonic gh3 with a 25mm f1.4 for creative shots and the sony rx10 for anything unexpected that would happen where I would need to shoot very wide or more tele, same way a photog works actually as I can quickly switch from one to the other camera.
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Old December 16th, 2013, 05:40 AM   #11
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Re: Sony RX10 user experience thread

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Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
What I actually meant to say was that this camera is perfectly capable to handle paid shoots, the feeling I got from some people was they thought it was an "ok" holiday cam while I think it's much more then that.

I just timed the zoom speed in standby and record mode, in standby it takes 3 seconds from wide to full tele, in record mode that's 12 seconds...
I think generally the cam has a LOT of potential... it looks to be quite versatile, and if one knows how to use it, shouldn't be a problem to use it for paid work.

And all I can say about that zoom time is.... OUCH... that should be addressed with firmware - obviously it's variable, since it switches between modes!

The one other concern, which I noticed another user asking about, is does the beast overheat? I recall the A55 being prone to overheat... made it less than usable, but I've shot long clips with the RX100M2 and didn't notice any heating, hoping that holds true for the RX10!
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Old December 16th, 2013, 09:48 AM   #12
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Re: Sony RX10 user experience thread

i'd like to see more against the likes of the g30, x920, or cx760(basically the same as noa's cx730) especially in the already of low light.

those little camcorders have some advantages and even though they have smaller sensors, the pixel size should be roughly the same as the rx. it seems noa already has a lot of points for a cx730 or similar, and since this is in fact a fixed lens camera, should be pitted against them just as well.

i had up until recently discounted the little consumer camcorders, but seems they are right up there with advancing tech and i would venture to guess a big reason why many don't use them despite their ability, is that since they look like a bestbuy cam, you'll look like a tourist/unprofessional.
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Old December 16th, 2013, 11:07 AM   #13
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Re: Sony RX10 user experience thread

I"m planning to so some tests to determine what presets match best with my panasonics and sony handicams but that will have to wait to beginning next year so there will be some comparison videos made. About the reason why people are not that much into sony handicams, I think the formfactor has a lot to do with it, I wouldn't think of taking such a camera with me on a corporate shoot but have no issue whatsoever using them at a wedding, they are either on a tripod or on a mini shouldersupport and a loupe attached to the lcd screen which makes them much easier to use handheld and gives it a little bit more "pro" look. These handicams outperformed my nex-ea50 with the slow stocklens at a stageshoot during a businessevent, they where more lightsensitive and had less noise.
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Old December 16th, 2013, 11:11 AM   #14
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Re: Sony RX10 user experience thread

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OUCH... that should be addressed with firmware - obviously it's variable, since it switches between modes!
Yeah "should be addressed", didn't help much with the ea50 though where easy adjustable iso was the main request and I would be surprised if they change it on this camera, Knowing Sony this was a limitation build in for a reason. Probably the rx20 4k or whatever will have a faster zoom so you will have another reason to buy yet another camera.

I still hope though it is a setting in camera that can be changed, pls someone tell me that is the case...
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Old December 16th, 2013, 01:06 PM   #15
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Re: Sony RX10 user experience thread

I have just viewed the footage I shot at a wedding 2 days ago on a big screen again and noticed that all handheld footage with the full zoom applied which seemed very stable at first is showing some very fine microvibrations, on my pcscreen it's not so much noticeable but on a big screen you do see it, anyone else have noticed this?
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