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King of Compacts: The RX100

Danas Macijauskas and VuThéara Kham

Whether you’re taking photos on land or in the sea, Danas Macijauskas and VuThéara Kham explain why the Sony RX100 is the ultimate compact camera for delivering professional results. 

As all photographers know you need be ready for anything, at any point. We all have our favourite piece of kit and our ‘go-to’ camera, but what about those moments you need something a little more compact and lightweight?

While their main pieces of kit are the α7 II and α7 III respectively, two photographers who have embraced Sony’s RX100 camera are Danas Macijauskas and VuThéara Kham. Although they both have the same kit - the RX100 V – they use it in completely different ways. For both however, the camera’s size and quality is a defining factor.

vutheara kham sony rx100m5 long exposure night scene in paris showing a man walking up some steep steps

© VuThéara | Sony RX100 V | 8s @ f/6.3, ISO 80

VuThéara Kham is a professional photographer, based in Paris, whose work is based around the sprawling city streets. For VuThéara, the RX100 provides the ultimate small camera to work alongside his α7 II and α7 III.

“When shooting city streets,” VuThéara explains, “I need to be agile but also discreet, so carrying around huge pieces of kit can sometimes be a hindrance to my work. I love that the RX100 is so efficient; I take full advantage of being able to shoot at up to 24fps, with AF tracking, which means that I don’t miss the action or facial expression I'm looking for.”

Danas, on the other hand, uses his RX100 in a very, very, different way.

danas macijauskas sony rx100m5 two divers beneath the waves looking up at the surface

© Danas Macijauskas | Sony RX100 V | 1/250s @ f/4.5, ISO 125

“I use my RX100 in the water,” Danas explains. “I’ve an underwater housing for it, which enables me to shoot diving, or surfing, but more commonly in my home of Lithuania, wakeboarding. I just float around, in the water, with the action happening all around me.” Sounds idyllic, right? “It’s pretty easy,” he laughs, “I just stay in the water floating around!”

One thing that both photographers do have in common is that they both feel it’s the image quality that makes it an ideal camera.

danas macijauskas sony rx100m5 kitesurfer leans into a wave

© Danas Macijauskas | Sony RX100 V | 1/1000s @ f/6.3, ISO 125

“I’ve tried using other major cameras in the water”, says Danas, “but, even when you are shooting in the raw mode, the images just don’t have any detail. Compare that with the raw images I can get with my kit and its 1.0-inch sensor, and I have all the details and the dynamic range that I could possibly need.”

vutheara kham sony rx100m5 a waiter in a parisian street cafe serves a coffee to a seated lady

© VuThéara | Sony RX100 V | 1/100s @ f/2.5, ISO 2000

Meanwhile, VuThéara uses his camera with the 24-70mm equivalent lens of the RX100, which he finds perfect for when he’s out on a shoot at night.  “When shooting at night I can shoot with the f/1.8-2.8 lens wide open and push the sensitivity to ISO 1600 without worrying about the focal length and quality,” he explains, “and the 1.0-inch sensor and lens provide natural colours with well controlled distortion and a great dynamic range.”

One of the things that is key for both Danas and VuThéara is the ability to have full control over the RX100, just as they would their Sony Alpha cameras. The key feature, they both agree, is that it has full manual control alongside many of the features that are on the camera’s mirrorless counterparts. 

danas macijauskas sony rx100m4 a diver underwater with his face obscured by a jellyfish

© Danas Macijauskas | Sony RX100 IV | 1/500s @ f/2.8, ISO 160

Danas choses to trust the RX100 V in terms of white balance, leaving it set to automatic in the tricky conditions that shooting around water can provide.

“I also set the ISO to AUTO,” Danas tells us, “but I set a maximum sensitivity of ISO 3200, which the camera then won’t go over. This allows me to shoot at a fast enough shutter speed to freeze a moving wakeboarder, and as I shoot raw I can always tweak the white balance in post-production.”

danas macijauskas sony rx100m5 tropical palms silhouetted against a blue sky with the sun peeking through the trees

© Danas Macijauskas | Sony RX100 V | 1/1000s @ f/5.6, ISO 125

With the different challenges of shooting street and documentary images, VuThéara varies his settings depending on what he is shooting.

“When I’m shooting street shots,” he says, “I put the RX100 in to AF-C mode, with a wide focus area and a minimum speed of 1/1000th sec to make sure I freeze any motion. I can then trust the camera to track the subject using its 315 phase detection AF points.”

vutheara kham sony rx100m5 a parisian street at dusk showing a soft pink hue

© VuThéara | Sony RX100 V | 1/100s @ f/2.5, ISO 320

The lens control ring is another thing that VuThéara finds so useful about his RX100; “I find it so natural to be able to change the exposure using the lens ring. With the dynamic range of the camera being great for shadow detail, I sometimes under expose to preserve highlights, knowing that I have all the details in the shadow areas that I can recover when editing the raw files.”

With so many professional features packed into such as a small camera, it’s no wonder that the two photographers love having the Sony RX100 as their second camera. 

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