fbpx
Equipment

I Traded My Full-Frame Kit For A Sony RX100 VI, Here’s What I Learned

This is the story of that time I, an obsessed pixel-peeper, decided to leave all my exotic full-frame cameras and lenses at home, and instead bring a Sony RX100 VI on a week-long backpacking trip in the High Sierra of California.

About Me

Hello, I’m Matthew Saville! I’ve contributed to the Lensrentals blog a couple of times in the past. I am now a full-time photography gear reviewer and tutorial/content creator. Thanks to the circumstances of 2020, I am a “mostly retired” wedding photographer after 15 years. (I don’t miss it!).

July, 2020, Yosemite National Park

I am a huge pixel-peeper. I’ve been obsessed with testing the image quality of both lenses and sensors for as long as I’ve owned a DSLR, starting with a Nikon D70 in 2004.

The genres of photography I like are often highly demanding of both sensors and lenses, whether it is traditional landscape photography where I am pushing the limits of sensor dynamic range or nightscape photography at wide-open apertures where I lose my cool over the slightest bit of field curvature or coma/astigmatism.

I also like to capture time-lapse videos, both day and night, which means that bracketing exposures (for dynamic range) is often impossible, and using high ISOs (even when I hope to make really big prints) is inevitable.

In short, I like to push cameras and lenses to their limits, and I have high enough standards that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Lensrentals articles by Roger which showcase OLAF data, especially for exotic wide-angle lenses. In the coming months, I will be publishing my own in-depth technical reviews, comparisons, and insights. I hope to use real-world photography conditions to showcase which lenses and cameras are truly “the best”. In the meantime, however, let’s find out what happens when I leave all that gear at home, and just try to survive a whole week in the mountains.

Despite my affinity for the best full-frame sensors and the sharpest, fastest lenses, I like to get as far off the beaten path as possible so that I can capture unique landscape & nightscape imagery, instead of just hitting all the popular roadside hotspots. This often means that I carry 2-4 camera bodies and 5-7 lenses deep into the wilderness, sometimes hiking up to 10 miles a day with a 50-60+ lb (27+ kg) backpack. I usually have a very specific project or subject to capture, such as an eclipse, comet, or other special phenomena.

Last summer, I barely survived a mere 3-day backpacking trip because I foolishly lugged multiple full-frame bodies and numerous exotic lenses through the backcountry of Yosemite National Park, without trying to get in shape first.

This summer, my objective was very different. I had 80 miles to hike in 7 days, and a lot of it would be up at high altitudes above 10K ft. (~3K m) Some of it would be off-trail, involving route-finding and some sketchy mountain passes. So, I decided to leave all my big full-frame gear at home, and only bring a Sony RX100 VI camera, and “make do” with its 24-200mm equivalent, f/2.8-4.5 lens, and 2.7x crop (1” type) sensor.

My tripod of choice for backpacking is the Slik Lite series
(It is discontinued; check out the Slik Pro CF 634 instead.)

The Sony RX100 series only weighs 301 g, (10.62 oz, 0.66 lb) which makes it literally a tenth or a twentieth the weight of the gear I’ve taken on past adventures. At the final weigh-in, my backpack was well under 40 lbs, making it more than 25 lbs lighter than my record-highest pack weight. So, I decided at the last minute to throw in the Sigma fp L and the Sigma 24mm f/3.5, since together they weigh less than 1.5 lbs. (680 g) (SPOILER: I wound up barely using the Sigma!)

DISCLAIMER: I also spent 3 months getting in shape, too. Backpacking into remote wilderness areas is not advisable for anyone who is inexperienced or unprepared. If you’d like to get into mountain landscape photography, I highly recommend the educational content by Dave Morrow.

So, Did I Regret My Decision?

Did I make a huge mistake? Did I curse the Sony RX100 for being inadequate, for being unable to do justice to the beautiful sights I saw? No, of course not. The camera absolutely got the job done. Honestly, there were plenty of moments when I missed my big full-frame kit. I had to stitch a lot of panoramas to achieve a wider angle of view than the 24mm equivalent, that’s for sure. However, I only really yearned for a full-frame setup at night when I was trying to photograph the Milky Way. Other than that, it really wasn’t too bad. With an ultralight interval timer, (The RX100 series does have “Bulb” exposure mode, and the standard “multi” USB port) …I was able to capture a star trail!

Each day on the trail, I was definitely glad that my backpack weighed so little. It made each day’s hike downright enjoyable, aside from the mosquito-infested meadows.

I believe I made the right decision. This trip was about enjoying the adventure; it wasn’t about “professional” landscape photography. I was there to prove to myself that I could accomplish a goal. I wanted to see beautiful sights with my own two eyes, and simply document what I saw without worrying about shadow noise, corner sharpness, or print resolution.

I began the trip with a very real concern that I might have to quit and turn around. If my legs, knees, or feet gave up on me after a couple of ten-mile days, I was ready to stop and just lay in my tent for a day, and then hike back out the way I came instead of completing the whole loop. 

By day three, though, I found myself waking up each morning feeling totally ready to tackle another long day on the trail. (Our record was 15.5 hours on the trail and 15 miles in one day.) This was absolutely thanks to having such a lightweight backpack.

I completed the adventure with lots of photos that I’m very happy with. In fact, having such a compact and quick-on-the-draw camera with such a versatile zoom range definitely allowed me to capture far more photos than I would have if I’d needed to drag out a big camera every time I wanted to take a picture, let alone change lenses in critical situations. (We only saw one bear the entire trip!)

Being able to hike with the camera clamped to my hiking pole, when conditions allowed, meant that the camera itself wasn’t even weighing down on my hips/shoulders at all! 

The bottom line is this: I would’ve shot fewer photos if I had brought a “better” kit. Also, the photos that I did capture are, well, “good enough”.

How Do The Images Look? Let’s Pixel-Peep…

Sony RX100 VI, 24mm equivalent, f/5, ISO 125, 1/80 sec, hand-held

The Sony RX100-series has a 20-megapixel sensor that is a lot more capable than you’d expect from anything with a crop factor of 2.7x. Shadow recovery is quite good at its base ISO of 125, although there are slightly higher noise levels at all ISOs.

 

 

100% Crop, Center

100% Crop, Corner

The lens is really sharp, too. On the wide-angle end, even with the aperture wide-open at f/2.8 the lens offers incredible detail throughout most of the image circle. In the middle of the zoom range, the lens stays sharp wide open, and is still not too soft in the corners. Only at the 200mm equivalent end does image detail begin to drop by a noticeable amount, and even then, it’s still quite good if you work with optimal conditions, such as shooting from a tripod at slower shutter speeds, and making sure you nail focus.

Sony RX100 VI, 200mm, f/5.6, ISO 125, 1/800 sec

100% Crop

The sensor has a great dynamic range. Despite heightened levels of noise at all ISOs, of course, the shadow recovery is still quite impressive, and I only find myself needing to bracket in extremely challenging conditions.

At night, I could barely eke out a decent nightscape at ISO 3200; going higher to ISO 6400 might be acceptable for folks with lower standards and no plans to share their images anywhere besides Instagram, but, personally, I found that with a bit of moonlight, ISO 3200 got the job done. Barely.

Sony RX100 VI, 9-frame panorama, 24mm, f/2.8, ISO 3200, 30 sec

100% Crop, ISO 3200

Sony’s “color science” (a buzz-term I loathe) is often hotly debated, but honestly, I see a bigger difference between the colors you get from Adobe Lightroom versus Capture One Pro, as opposed to Sony versus Canon versus Nikon etc. (All images in this article were edited in Adobe Lightroom Classic, though I do often prefer Capture One.)

Sony RX100 VI, 200mm, f/4.5, 1/250 sec, ISO 250

Shallow depth can definitely be achieved when focusing moderately close-up, but the character of the bokeh isn’t the same as a dedicated portrait lens on a full-frame sensor, of course. Honestly? I’m not obsessed with ultra-shallow depth; I actually like to see the vague shapes of a blurred background, especially when it comes to nature photography.

Sony RX100 VI, 24mm, f/4, ISO 125, 1/500 sec

100% Crop

All in all, the resulting images, combined with the manual controls focusing, and zoom range that I couldn’t have gotten by just using a cell phone, gave me the perfect user experience.

4K Video Framegrab

I’m not a cinematographer, but I do have a 4K computer display, and I do make low-quality Youtube videos of my adventures, so I will say that the 4K video quality from the RX100 series is quite impressive, too. With a Natural/Neutral Creative Style, the dynamic range is fantastic, and of course, the level of detail is quite impressive for such a small sensor.

4K Video Framegrab

In the end, it always comes down to what YOU intend to do with the photos you’re capturing. Are you merely sharing them in a slideshow with family and friends, and/or sharing them with your fans on social media? If so, then my honest advice is, stop pixel-peeping; enjoy your adventure/vacation/trip, and focus on how the convenience of such a compact camera can allow you to create imagery when/where you might otherwise not be able to. Oppositely, of course, if you have a very clear objective, to capture a specific scene or phenomenon and create (let alone sell) large prints of that moment, then, of course, bite the bullet and bring that big heavy ILC kit.

The Advantage Of 1”-Type Sensors

One advantage that I must mention about this compact camera’s sensor size is, of course, the ample depth of field. Simply put, this lens is excellent, and you get impressively sharp results with plenty of DOF at f/4.5 when shooting at the (equivalent) 24mm end, unless you have extremely close-up foreground subjects. Even then, f/5.6 or f/7.1, although the latter is noticeably affected by diffraction, is more than enough for most scenes.

This allowed me to capture more photos, and get more creative than I would have with a bigger sensor in a bigger camera.

If I Do It Again Next Summer, Will I Do Things Differently?

Honestly, since I turned out to be in much better physical shape than I thought, I will definitely consider bringing a better camera on my next big adventure. I can also lighten my pack weight in other ways; there’s always a lighter tent, sleeping bag, etc.

My co-adventurer, Sean Goebel, carried a Sony A7R III and a few lightweight lenses

The photography opportunities would need to actually require a better kit, though. A perfect Milky Way alignment or a meteor shower or lunar eclipse comes to mind. Otherwise, I’d rather enjoy the comfort of an ultralight kit.

In a minute, I’ll talk about which full-frame setup I might consider!

Could the Sony RX100 Be Better?

Although I wouldn’t hesitate to take a Sony RX100 camera on another adventure that doesn’t have a specific photography-related objective, I’d still love to see a few improvements in the RX series itself. Sensor image quality could always be better, of course, and there are a few other things I’d love to see in future generations.

First and foremost, I need to point out that there are two different iterations of lenses for the RX100 style form factor. This 24-200mm equivalent zoom range is the newest, plus, there’s also a 24-70mm equivalent, f/1.8-2.8 lens. (The Sony RX100 VA)

If Sony wanted to deliver something truly versatile and impressive, I’d love to see an RX100 VA II with a 20-70mm f/1.8-2.8 lens! Alternatively, for those daytime, stopped-down landscape shooters who don’t need the faster aperture, I think it would be awesome to see a 20-135mm equivalent, f/2.8-4.5 lens. But that’s just wishful thinking! As far as I know, a superzoom that goes wider than 24mm has literally never been made, on any system.

For those who are happy with the standard 24-200mm equivalent zoom range, I still think the Sony RX100 series overall could use a slightly bigger battery. 1150/1240 mAh is just not much at all. 

Alternatively, I wish Sony would include two batteries with all these cameras. While many big, name-brand batteries cost $70-80, this one (the Sony NP-BX1/M8) is a mere $39. 

If I had two batteries and a lightweight USB-powered charger, I could always be topping up one of them via an ultralight solar panel, and depending on the weather I might achieve “infinite” battery power on summer backpacking trips in the American West for mere ounces/grams.

If you buy an RX100 for your adventure travel photography, be sure to splurge ~$20 for a pair of generic batteries and a micro USB charger, and ~$20 for a 10W ultralight solar panel so that you never run out of battery power. Alternately, if your travel conditions will make you less likely to be standing around in the sun every day, and more likely to have access to a wall outlet every few days, just get a $20 10,000 mAh USB battery pack.

Last but not least, I’ll mention that for anyone who likes to do time-lapse photography, you’ll have to get the latest-generation Sony; even this second-newest generation (Mark 6) does not have a built-in interval timer.

Conclusion

I can’t wait to get back to pixel-peeping the extreme corners of 60-megapixel images, testing exotic new ultra-wide lenses for field curvature and coma/astigmatism, and sharing my findings with you all. (Hint: if the Sony 14mm f/1.8 GM sounds too good to be true, indeed, it might just be…)

Having said that, it also felt great to commit to a big adventure with a compact camera. I might have had even more fun if I had left the Sigma fp L at home, too, and I wouldn’t have missed it that much.

Thank you for reading about my adventure! I hope you enjoyed the images. If there is one thing I hope other photographers can learn from my experience this summer, it’s this: even if you are obsessed with image quality, test charts, and finding that elusive “flawless” sensor or lens, sometimes you need to switch gears and simply focus on enjoying your adventure, vacation, or whatever it is you’re doing.

I am very curious to know if any readers ever find themselves facing similar dilemmas. Do you ever find yourself thinking about trading a big heavy kit for something more portable? If you’ve already done so, did you regret it? Or were you able to simply enjoy the moment?

Sony RX100 VI, ISO 125, f/4, 85mm equivalent, 3-shot bracket HDR

Author: Matthew Saville

My name is Matthew Saville and I am an astro-landscape and timelapse photographer based in Southern California. I have been exploring the American West with family and friends my whole life, and have been serious about wilderness adventures and astro-landscape photography since 2005.

Posted in Equipment
  • Cathie VanderLeest Bottger Kla

    I used to shoot with a an Olympus OM-1 then jumped up to a Linhoff 4×5, then went to a Pentax 645, then to a Sony DS-707 5 MP , then Canon 13MP full frame then Sony A900, now a Canon Rebel 24MP. Yes I dream about a Phase One 150 MP or the Fuji 100MP or the Sony 60MP, but do to our business shut down because of Covid, I am happy to have the Canon Rebel as I have worn out my other cameras other than the Linhoff that I’ve sold. My best selling image was taken in 2006 with the 5MP camera! It is an aerial panorama where I stitched 6 images together of the Strait of Juan deFuca. Now with the enhance feature in PS I wonder if I need any huge mega pixel sensor! PS. I enjoyed your artical! Thank You Johann https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4a192970ff082e823d0b0cc7c33ec8ace7f5bc4af0240669997102632434439e.jpg

  • Yep, in fact I just recently got my hands on the new WR version of the Fuji 10-24, and when paired with the ultra-lightweight Fuji X-S10, I can’t think of a better rugged, all-around landscape kit. Fuji’s flagship XT-series was always a bit too hefty for my personal preference, (If I’m gonna carry around that much weight, I might as well go full-frame) but the Fuji X-S10 changed my mind about the X-mount, with its significantly lighter weight, and incredibly comfortable grip!

  • The EVF on the Sony RX100 series isn’t really that amazing when I’m also actively reviewing gorgeous viewfinders like the one in the Sony A1, however, it’s more than good enough for travels and adventures and general “snapping photos” in daylight.

    All I know is, having a viewfinder is a bare minimum in general; I tried taking the Sony ZV-1 on my last big adventure, and really found it to be frustrating to have to frame every shot on the external LCD.

  • Thank you!

  • Hi Josh, thanks for reading and for leaving a comment!

    Your setup sounds very much like mine was on many different occassions. Those Op/Tech straps are the best, if your neck can bear the weight of a camera. I stopped doing neck straps after a few years of wedding photography, where neck and shoulder straps really did me in. (Now I use a Spider Holster for weddings)

    The R5 and an RF 24-105 are incredible for travel/adventure landscape photography! I have reviewed both the L and non-L RF 24-105mm’s, as well as the RF 24-240mm. Honestly, if Canon puts a better sensor in their EOS RP Mark II, I will seriously consider making that a top recommendation for those who want “superzoom” capability on a full-frame sensor, because that Canon 24-240mm lens is truly impressive!

  • Beautiful Milky Way shot, thank you for sharing! Indeed, it all comes down to your comfort level with respect to the hours and miles you’re going to be hiking, for how many days, at what elevation, etc… There have been many trips at lower elevations, for fewer days, on more level ground, …that I brought the kitchen sink! (Although I still regretted many of those decisions!)

    I am very grateful that I even have the opportunity and the ability to attempt such trips. BMX accidents in my youth could have easily made my story today very, very different.

  • Agreed! Having said that, the gear I left at home would add up to many, many thousands of dollars, so, if you’re ever choosing between one or the other, and NOT buying both sets of gear, you’ll definitely come out way ahead by investing “only” $1200 in an RX100 camera.

  • You are right about cell phones, ZEE, and I seriously considered just bringing my phone and no “real camera”; I might have opted to go that route if I’d had the latest iPhone but my $179 Moto G phone wasn’t good enough.

    Sensors are definitely getting better and better! An RX100 camera these days is delivering better dynamic range than most of the films I used to prefer for landscape photography just 15-20 years ago.

  • ZEE

    Full agreement on the camera equipment and weight on a long trip for “still photography”

    Mind you, cell phones gotten pretty good for trip shots and like most landscape photographers, we dream of higher dynamic range which, as you say is function of sensor and then the lens, resolution is another factor as most shots need cropping

    Your article covers all the notes that echo across, after all the purpose of the trip is to enjoy nature but given the full-time job as photographers, the dynamics of good pictures is what differentiates us I know Sony make some of the best sensors and now with back illuminated sensors, sensors are getting better

    So are software tools I owned many crop sensor cameras and now live by the 5D 4 and L lenses. Own M5 but for same reason as you, the weight but always disappointed how flat the pictures are, so keep switching, my next trip to my full frame and dream of GFX100s like camera – mainly for the dynamic range but resolution as #2

  • Matt Metzger

    Interesting article. But at $1200 (preposterous!), this camera lightens the backpack while emptying the wallet.

  • Brad Shea

    The Panasonic LX-7 was my camera of choice on a family vacation that had my wife, two kids (12 & 16) an elderly father in law, and a mentally challenged brother in law in my party. I was carrying TWO laptops and multiple kindle fire pads, usb battery chargers etc. my carry on backpack weighed 41 lbs with only the LX-7 and a spare battery!

    The reason I mention it is that the LX-7 has a 24-90 range equivalent in one of the sensor aspect ratios supported but expands to 20mm when using the wider aspect ratio. Technically not a 20mm super zoom but using their multi aspect sensor you get 20-105 equivalence. I currently have an RX100IV and miss the extra zoom range but find like you did that the size is brilliant for hiking.

  • Szu-Ping Lee
  • Szu-Ping Lee

    Nice article! I am a Sierra backpacker as well and have gone to the P&S side a while ago (RX100 MK4). 1-2 lbs make a big difference if one has to hike 8 hours everyday for several days For shorter hikes though (day hike or overnight), I sometimes still bring my FF camera (A7s) especially if I want to capture the milky way.

    By the way, Sony’s new 14mm 1.8 is incredible, and light too (lighter than my Zeiss 16-35 F4). It is so sharp it is like voodoo.

  • Josh Diedesch

    This was highlighted on a Lens Rentals email, nice article. Everyone has opinions and different experiences, here’s mine. I’ve been backpacking over a little over 20 years now and for the last 7-8 carried a full-frame with 1 lens in the backcountry (a Canon 6D with a 24-105L IS until I recently upgraded to an R5 body). Most of the time, the camera is on an Op/Tech sling under my pack so I can shoot while on the move. If I’m skiing or otherwise worried about falling on the camera, the body and lens go in separate small padded cases. My entire backcountry photography kit consists of R5, 1 lens, 2-4 batteries, tripod, cleaning kit, intervalometer, extra card(s), and sometimes a couple of filters. The tradeoff of a bit more weight is worth the (IMO) much higher image quality (dynamic range, level of detail, etc) from the full-frame vs point and shoots or iPhone (which I tried for a while after using 35mm film).

  • OaklandWasp

    Great article; great photos. Inspired me to consider bringing my Pentax Q and a few lenses on the next backcountry trip. Too bad Pentax gave up on it. Smaller sensor, but if one can’t find photo ops in the Sierra with any equipment one has at hand then one should give up photography.

  • BlueBomberTurbo

    +1. I actually bought the camera twice, thinking maybe I was wrong for selling the first one. Nope. EVF or pass. And I wasn’t about to get one of the Aptina-sensored EVF ones and take three steps back in image quality.

  • BlueBomberTurbo

    Quick tip: grab DXO PhotoLab Elite 4 and all the noise issues above go away. You still won’t get as much detail as an APS-C or FF under the same circumstances, but there won’t be excess grain or NR smearing, and you won’t have to apply heavy amounts of chroma NR that bleeds color detail away. DXO is absurdly good at restoring color at even the highest native ISOs and heavy shadow lifting.

  • Jen

    how did you find working with the viewfinder on the Sony? I am wed to Fuji X but I love the compactness and versatility of the Canon G7x and the Sony Rx100. have been debating for a while keeping a Sony rx100 and a fuji x100 as my only cameras…

  • achelseaphotographer

    Thank you for the article. Would it be possible to know which 10W ultralight solar panel you would recommend?

  • Honestly, I can’t wait for all those Samyang primes to become available on Canon RF and Nikon Z!

    The Roki-Yang 18mm f/2.8 is a real winner for ultra-light landscape+nightscape photographers, considering it is just downright tiny. Pair that lens with any of their more recent ultra-light primes, (their 24 2.8 and 35 2.8, two of the oldest in that portability category, are just not very sharp) …and you’ve got a killer kit. Or, just grab the Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 and 28-200mm f/2.8-5.6, for a truly complete kit.

    Sooo many options!

  • Indeed, the reason the M100 in particular is so lightweight is partly because it is like the Sigma FP of APS-C mirrorless; no EVF and very minimal buttons and dials, which for me is a deal-breaker, and part of the reason I went with the Sony RX100 series to “vlog” this trip instead of the Sony ZV-1, which I had used on a previous trip.

    The M50 would be a great choice, though; and the EF-M lenses that go on either M-mount camera are all very sharp and very lightweight. A solid choice, if you don’t mind dropping a stop or two in dynamic range compared to a full-frame Sony or Nikon.

  • Yeah, camp socks are another thing I could have saved a couple ounces on; my flip flops were on the heavier side. I could also use a pair of those “water socks” that are super breathable, and potentially useful for stream crossings. Thanks again for the input!

  • DannyJ

    A nice article! I’m pretty big into outdoor sports (climbing/mountaineering, hiking, cycle touring, skiing) and my default camera is a RX100 V – cutting pack weight down to a minimum just brings you so many benefits. But, if I have the space/bag isn’t too heavy, my Fuji X-T2 comes along and this is a great system for backcountry photography. The RX100 suffers one major issue too: I haven’t tested this, but it feels like it+water won’t mix well, so any trip there’s a hint of inclement weather, I’d opt not to take it; also, the retracting lens worries me if it takes a knock; it’s pretty hard to use with gloves. With the X-T2 and one of the weather sealed lenses, I basically don’t worry – bad weather, cold weather, you can throw it about and it’s super tough. This has the side benefit of e.g. not worrying about and not taking up pack space/weight with dedicated camera bags, it just gets thrown in the top of the rucksack, same with the lenses (albeit in cloth bags in a zipped bag). With the f2 “Fujicron” line of lenses, it’s the perfect (relatively) lightweight system. Notable other lenses are the 90mm f2 (if space permits!) and the 16mm f1.4, which are just great, also the 14mm f2.8. Happy days with a light bag and 2-3 primes! The Rx100 otherwise is perfect.

  • phanter II

    Well the Fuji X-S10 is 465g, a Sony A7C is just 509g with batteries. That weight difference is already made up for by the spare battery you need to carry for the X-S10

    And the Fuji 10-24 F4 is 410g
    For that you can carry a Samyang 18mm @145g
    + Samyang 24mm @120g
    +Samyang 35mm @105g
    And still end up lighter with better IQ.
    Another more fun option would be the Samyang 18mm + Sony G 24mm + Sony G 40mm. Together those 3 excellent lenses with far better IQ come in at just 480g
    The Sigma 24mm F3.5 is also an option instead of the G

  • Tomas

    I understand, but M100 uses same 24Mpix sensor as Canon 80D for example, which is quite good. One can not compare size / weight of M100 with its native lenses with anything else, I have it besides my Fuji FX collection just for aultra-light as you call it, and it is an amazing option 🙂

  • disqus_XN9vf0ShQK

    Hey, it was just tongue-in-cheek 😉 As the saying goes, hike your own hike 🙂 Whatever gear is suitable and comfortable for you! Deuter packs are among the most comfortable there for heavier carry, good choice for that with a week+ of food. As for the camp shoes or sandals (they can be pretty nice to have, I’ll admit!), I have had good experience with barefoot rubber-soled “socks” (60g), some use thin water shoes (<100g). Obviously, both are pretty thin and might not be too comfortable on small sharp rocks or pine cones (it's a free foot massage, haha). In the end, it's whatever works for you…

  • Actually, it wasn’t! That was just perfect timing in terms of the moonlight, the comet, and the ambient starlight fitting (barely!) into a single exposure. It was ISO 6400, f/2.8, and 30 sec (I’m really good at standing still!) on a Sony A7 III and the Tamron 28-200mm f/2.8-5.8. The shadows were “trash” in that shot, though, when enlarged; I basically can’t use the shot for anything besides blog posts and Instagram, LOL. Having said that, I could have easily created a very print-able shot if I had used an f/1.4 24mm instead, and then bracketed to combine a 2-EV brighter exposure for the foreground with a similar exposure that preserves the setting crescent moon.

    Thanks for noticing such a tricky, technical shot!

  • Thanks for sharing your experience!

    Honestly, if the light was decent enough to get good image quality from an iPhone shot, a 20×30″ print would probably look pretty darn similar to an A7R IV print, from across the room at least. 😉

    For things like family vacations, I feel even less inclined to bring a big heavy full-frame ILC kit; the last big family road trip I did, I only got out my big heavy setup a couple times when I was “sneaking out” to photograph sunrise all by myself, not when I was actively with family/friends…

  • Thanks! I’m looking forward to writing about more adventures, indeed.

  • Indeed, that is what my co-adventurer takes on backpacking trips when he needs to go truly ultra-light. Personally, I never could get on board with any of those older Canon sensors that didn’t have the dynamic range to match Nikon/Sony, but I could just as easily get a pretty similar kit with, say, a Nikon Z50 or Sony A6100 or Fuji X-S10. A lot of the same lenses are available for all those mounts, like the Rokinon/Samyang 12mm f/2 which is killer for both landscapes and astro-landscapes.

    Thanks for commenting!

Follow on Feedly