Two days before I left for my trip to Europe in November, I decided I needed a backup camera to take with me. I knew I didn’t want to take my other DSLR because it was too heavy and bulky so, when I stopped at Costco to pick up a few last minute odds and ends for the trip, I glanced at their compact camera selection to see if there was something there that I could use. What caught my eye was the Sony CyberShot DSC-RX100 II digital camera. It has a sharp Carl Zeiss lens; it allows full manual exposure operation; and it allows shooting in RAW. These three things sold me on the camera but, as a Costco package, it came with a precisely fitted leather (or at least leather looking) case and a 32Gig SD card. Perfect I thought. Into my shopping cart it went. Too busy packing after I bought it, I intended to read up on the camera’s operation on the long flight to Barcelona. The manual is very brief and offered little insight into the camera’s operation. I did skim it on the flight but, because of the manual’s brevity, I figured I could wing it. After all, I have two relatively complicated DSLR cameras that I am pretty good at operating; I shoot mostly in manual exposure mode; and I shoot RAW. How hard could this “point and shoot” be?
Close to impossible, as it turned out. On the trip, as I grumbled about my inability to figure out how to take photos with this camera, Charleen laughed and tried to assuage my concerns by telling me it was too easy for me. Well, NOT! After making error after error, unintentionally setting functions I didn’t want, and taking terrible, unfocused photos when in any setting other than full automatic, I gave up. When I got home, I reread the manual and still found no help. After a couple more days of complete frustration, I did some on-line research and found that I was not alone in my frustration. The complexity of the camera and the wide range of features has stymied quite a few of its owners. I discovered a “how to” book for this camera and downloaded a Kindle version. It is 455 pages and although it will take me a while to plow through it, it has an index and I can finally figure out to work this camera.
Today, I am starting to master the basics. Bobo was my practice subject. I learned how to set shutter speed, f/stop, and ISO in manual mode. It seems to handle high ISO well. I also learned that the lens has a 35mm equivalent focal length range of 28 to 100mm (actual is 10.4 to 37.1mm) and only offers its f/1.8 aperture at 28mm; at 100mm the maximum aperture is f/4.9. I have much to learn but I have confidence now that I have a reference guide.
Bobo was trying to take a nap when I took this shot. She seems less intimidated by this small camera than by my huge Nikon D800 with its protruding lenses and she stayed relaxed, standing on one foot, and nodded in and out of sleep while I photographed her.
Focal Length 37.1mm (35mm equivalent would be 100mm) ISO 3200, f/4.9, 1/50s