Fuji x100 wide angle adapter vs new Sony rx100

I’ve been recently musing over whether to buy the wide angle adapter WCl-X100 for my Fuji x100 thereby bringing the focal length down from 35mm to 28mm.

Wide angle adapter WCl-X100 for the Fuji x100

Its apparently a nice piece of glass which doesn’t alter the quality of the photos (yey) nor does it compromise the max aperture of f2.0 (yey).  It costs $350.

This it what the wide angle adapter lens looks like mounted on a x100 – make the camera less pocketable!

Which presents a problem re putting it in a case and having it strapped to my belt.  With the wide angle adapter mounted, I wouldn’t be able to do that anymore.

And that was the whole point of getting the x100 – something with a flat pancake lens that would fit in a camera bag attached to my belt.

Coming up with solutions to carrying an x100 with wide angle lens attached

Well I guess I could use the wide angle adapter on special ocassions and forgoe the belt bag – but I would then need to do something like hang it around my neck or shoulders as I walk around.

As I generally don’t like camera straps

  • they get tangled
  • they mess with the simplicity of the camera
  • they are hard to put on – leather bits and pieces and steel rings
  • they are hard to remove – ditto – what about a quick release system?


One solution that avoids normal camera straps might be to buy into the special strap systems which attach to the camera’s tripod mount hole – like the sun sniper.  These require a little adapter what screws into the tripod hole.

You quick connect a strap to the ring on the widget and hang it upside down from your neck or whatever. To remove the strap you unscrew the widget from the tripod hole – fast and easy.

Cheap home grown solution

But these are expensive systems.  So I had a brain wave.  I already have something that screws into the tripod hole and which has a ring that I can quick hook a strap onto – my manfrotto quick release tripod plate:

manfrotto quick release tripod plate

So my whole ‘free’ solution looks like:

Fuji x100 hanging upside down using my home grown camera strap system.

On the other hand…

sony rx100

But then I got to thinking that if I spent a bit more money ($699 or so) I could get a whole new camera, the Sony rx100 which does 28mm to 105mm, and which seems to be all the rage at the moment (as of July/Aug 2012).

This review claims the Sony rx100 is “the-best-pocket-digital-compact-of-the-year-actually-ever”.

Whilst the image quality of the rx100 is apparently stunning (though it is a smaller sensor than the x100) I haven’t been able to see “the quality” in the online photos that I’ve viewed.  Hmmm.  Maybe I’m just spoiled by the gorgeous fuji x100 image quality.  I’m sure the rx100 wouldn’t disappoint – if only it was cheaper.

Perhaps I’ll just wait for the dpreview.com review of the sony rx100 to make up my mind!

Update 18 August 2012 – tried the Sony rx100 in a shop!

I tried an rx100 in a camera store yesterday and compared it to my Fuji x100 (taking the same shots).  When comparing the shots at home I found the sony shots had quite aggressive noise reduction when examined closely.  The x100 on the other hand was clean and inspiring to look at – when examined at 100%.

Quick Fix to the aggressive noise reduction issue: On the other hand, when I resized the images from 20 to 12 megapixels (via a Lightroom 4 “export” into the same dir as the original and then re-sync the folder), the picture quality improved and I was sometimes wondering which photo was which…

So it seems that re sampling/resizing the photo is the trick to getting the more natural look out of the rx100, and avoiding the artefacts created by aggressive noise reduction.  I’m already dealing with 12 mp with my fuji x100 so resizing the rx100 down from 20 mp to say, 12 mp – in order to get better image quality – is not a big deal.

I just wish I had more time with a rx100 to do more testing.

Careful where you comment on YouTube!

I posted a few comment re my findings relating to ‘aggressive noise reduction’ under a youtube review of the rx100 by local Australian “Blunty”.  My comments were removed / censored by Blunty for being too cursory and pixel-peeping (Blunty’s personal reply to me was filled with swear words and abuse, which I was tempted to post here but I thought better of it).  So I replied:

I wasn’t claiming anything definitive about the rx100 based on my quick tests, just posting an observation, hoping perhaps someone had some knowledge or feedback on the matter. I’m aware of all the good reviews and certainly the photos in your review were all excellent. Just wish I had more of a chance to test this camera in the field.  Not sure what is behind the censorship and aggression. I am a mature adult with many years of passionate photographic work behind me – not a forum kid.

I have no idea why Blunty reacted the way he did.  Perhaps he got offended that I was somehow challenging his glowing in-depth and thoughtful review of the camera, with a cheap shot. I certainly didn’t mean it that way.

I’m wondering whether I should maintain my subscription to his YouTube channel – I’ve always found his reviews good, so am loathe to unsubscribe over this incident – though I certainly won’t be posting any more comments there – way too dangerous!

Postscript on ‘rx100 aggressive noise reduction’ – 19th August 2012:

I’ve since googled around and found several mentions of ‘aggressive noise reduction’ regarding the rx100.  This makes me feel better because it means that I am not alone in my findings (cursory though they were – in a camera shop, looking out into a well lit, large food hall). Presumably all the following evidence was gathered from a wider variety of shooting conditions.

The well regarded Luminous Landscape site review of the sony rx100 says:

JPGs appear to have overzealous noise reduction which strongly reduces resolution

You can see some sample photos in that review showing the problem.  As well as my earlier suggestion of resizing images down – Luminous Landscape contend that RAW mode is another way of avoiding this problem.

Other forum posts I’ve seen lament the sony jpeg engine and its noise reduction algorithm:

 jpeg image quality turned out to be not satisfying for me. Yes, it’s better then any compact out there, but after Panasonic GH1, which is not even the best 4/3 it’s hard to go back to anything less. RX100 images look decent when reduced in size, but even at base ISO they seem either unclean or over processed. I even tried just shooting in 10MP mode which helps.

and

I too am extremely dissapointed with the jpeg quality. Too much in camera noise reduction. Anyone who thinks otherwise is not being honest with themselves or just trying to justify the high price of this camera.

and

I also really like the LL site. Yes, there may be a Sony heavy hand in noise reduction at high ISO but they state there is no reason to use post processing for noise up to 800 and show how nice an ISO 3200 pic can be w/ some PP.

This article states:

In general, JPEG compression is much more aggressive in compact cameras than in DSLRs. The RX100’s noise reduction and sharpening adjustments are more obvious than the colour adjustments in JPEG compression, especially at ISO 1600 and higher where detail is much more ‘mushy’. Therefore, in low light it is worthwhile shooting in raw format.

This review states:

It could be good if Sony allowed the choice to use less-aggressive noise reduction; at a pixel level, there’s some heavy processing going on, and it really is fairly noticeable. You will not see this unless you print large prints at high ISOs, although, and for those who favor this camera does shoot RAW so you have got the option of processing oneself.

And this post under the ‘cons’ section:

* A little over-aggressive noise reduction …

Pixel Peeping Political Correctness

So clearly I am not alone in my findings.  Perhaps we (all these reviews) are  pixel peepers – which is a ‘politically incorrect’ thing to be doing?  Or is it that we are all simply taking a cold hard look at the technical merits and performance of a camera so that we understand it before we go out and do out photography.  We still go out and do art – just with greater knowledge of our tool.  For example, if I do get a rx100 I will now know to do one of

  • resize my images or
  • shoot in raw
  • tune down the in camera jpeg noise reduction engine (if possible)
  • not worry about it

in order to get the results I want.

Its like when you get a new lens, you do take shots of brick walls, check for focussing problems, distortion, sharpness.  Once you are satisfied that the lens is not a dud, and you understand its limitations you move onto the next stage and go out and take photos.  Nothing wrong with that.

Anyone who tells you that you should not pixel peep is just imposing their ‘political correctness’ on you.  In a set of balanced photographic practices, pixel peeping is something we all do to a certain extent and as long as it doesn’t get out of hand, is a fine and sensible thing to do.

Rudeness in photographic forums

As for rudeness in photographic forums (and other internet contexts e.g. you tube comments) – there seems to be way too much aggression and plain childishness out there.  I’ve noticed it more in photography forums and circles. You hardly see it in software programming forums.

I’ll let experts comment on this phenomenon. Though if I had to guess – its  a combination of:

  • Intolerance and impatience,
  • Lack of basic manners, bring back old school manners, I say. A bit of civilisation has been lost these days.
  • A lack of dedication to the principles of emitting good energy, tolerance and forgiveness,
  • The inability to reason/think clearly,
  • People assuming way too much about another’s utterances re what is being said and re who that person is,
  • Some sort of general frustration about the state of the world and its problems incl. economic and ecological frustration
  • A General distancing from the reality of people due to communication through the internet being so abstract – most things would never be said in person with such rudeness
  • A general coffee culture – people drink way too much of the stuff and it affects their patience.  Sounds silly but its a deep truth which nobody wants to acknowledge due to their addiction to the stuff. If you drink more than a cup of coffee a day – you may be affected.

Anyway, this post got rather long and off topic!

cheers
Andy

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