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Time Out With Tanya

Sony RX100M3 Unboxing and Initial Thoughts: My Quest for the Perfect Point-and-Shoot

By Tanya Goodall Smith on August 4th 2014

Welcome to Time Out with Tanya, where I’ve put my fast paced graphic design career on hold in favor of adventures in motherhood. I’m capturing every moment on camera and you can come along, if you’d like. Sign up for my weekly email here so you’ll never miss a Time Out.

sony-RX100M3

I’m on a mission…to find the perfect point-and-shoot camera for my mommy lifestyle that also meets my very high standards as a photographer. So far, my attempts have been futile. The digital point-and-shoots on the market thus far have just fallen short. To be fair, I haven’t tried every camera out there, so if you know of one that meets my criteria, by all means, send it my way! Here are the reasons I’ve failed to love any digital point-and-shoot to date:

1. Shutter Lag

That’s that thing that happens when you press the shutter and it doesn’t release until seconds later, after your baby has moved on from that cute thing he was doing, or your kid already scored a soccer goal, or that chipmunk already ran up a tree…

2. Lacking Manual Mode

I’d love a little camera that still allows me full control over the exposure settings. They are hard to find, especially in a reasonable price bracket, which leads me to…

3. Too Expensive

I don’t need this camera to photograph weddings or create amazing portraits. I have my Canon 5D Mark III and a bag full of lenses for that. I just need something light, portable and functional for trips to the zoo and the park. Initially, I was searching for something in the under $400 range, but out of desperation, I’m realizing I might have to raise my budget or lower my standards. Hmmm, kind of sounds like shopping for a house.

4. Too Small

I’m so over cameras the size of a business card. I’m not an international undercover spy, I just want something that will fit in my purse. If I have to have hands the size of a toddler in order to push the shutter button, or if I might lose it in the change pocket of my jeans, it’s too small!

5. Too Fragile

I have kids. They destroy everything. I need to be able to throw this camera in my bag, maybe drop it on the ground and possibly have milk spilled on it without causing serious damage. I’ve loved the Fujifilm XP series of cameras for their watertightness and durability, but shutter lag and lack of manual controls have caused it to be relegated to the “camera for kids to play with” category.

6. Extras

Things that would be nice for this so-called “perfect” point and shoot to have, would be a traditional viewfinder (in addition to the LCD), simple, intuitive menu and button options, wifi and social media sharing options, and video capabilities.

Whoa, am I asking for way too much? We shall see. I’ll be reviewing a few updated point-and-shoot models over the next few weeks. I’m really hoping I find just the right one, since I’ve been searching for a couple years now and, although the camera on my Samsung Galaxy S5 comes in handy, I’m still battling camera shake daily.

First up on my list is the Sony Cyber-Shot RX100M3. I’ve heard amazing things about this little camera. Like all the photographers are using it, so I had to get my hands on the most recent version. Here are my initial thoughts after taking it out of the box.

A. It’s the Perfect Size

sony-RX100M3
The RX100M3 is a great size. Not too big, not too small. It fits in the palm of my hand, but has a substantial feel. If fact, it is surprisingly heavy. Compared to an old Nikon Coolpix I had lying around, it’s a brick. But I like having a little weight to my camera. After I have a chance to use it for a few days, I’ll let you know how I feel about it…

B. It Has Some Cool Features

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Wifi capability and an LCD screen that can be flipped up and backwards for selfies and video are pretty sweet! Not really necessities for me (except for the wifi, which is a must-have to allow me to support my incessant Instagramming habit…) Looks like there’s a pop up flash and viewfinder, too. I can’t wait to try them out. I’m a little concerned about all the moving parts in the viewfinder, LCD and pop up flash. Are these going to be sturdy enough to pass the test?

C. No Frills Design

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I’m a fan of timeless design. This little camera looks very sleek and I dig it. Would I love a more hipster looking retro designed camera? Maybe. But I’d rather have something that will allow me to take the kind of pictures I want to take and fit in my handbag, you know what I mean? Looks are secondary in my quest here. Hmmm, kind of sounds like shopping for a husband…Haha!

Stay tuned for my full review of the Sony Rx100M3 next week after I put this camera through the mommy photographer ringer of two baby showers, a bridal shower, a party at the park and splash pad, not to mention an engagement and wedding shoot! In the meantime, if you need to jumpstart your creative juices, try reading one of my book recommendations in READ A BOOK! 100 WAYS TO BE A MORE CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHER and share your favorite read with us in the comments.

Tanya Goodall Smith is the owner, brand strategist and commercial photographer at WorkStory Corporate Photography in Spokane, Washington. WorkStory creates visual communications that make your brand irresistible to your target market. Join the stock photo rebellion at workstoryphotography.com.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Aaron Cheney

    Looks fun :)

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  2. Tanya Smith

    Thanks for all these suggestions and comments! Full review coming tomorrow :)

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  3. Mark C

    Looking forward to reading your reviews of these compacts Tanya! I get asked all the time what compact camera I’d recommend!

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  4. Melissa Hadinger

    Have you looked at the Nikon Coolpix S9700? I love it!

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  5. Rafael Steffen

    To be honest, Sony has always had a slow shutter lag compared to their DSLR models. Its hard to beat any thing after you are use to shooting a Canon or Nikon Pro DSLR. What about the Nikon 1 V3 model? It is incredibly fast and very sharp images.

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    • Phil Bautista

      The Nikon 1 AW1 has a relatively fast shutter and AF. I can’t compare to the newer DSLRs since I haven’t tied them yet but compared to a 60D or a 5DII, it’s okay.

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  6. Barry Cunningham

    I got the original RX100 about a year and a half ago for a trip to Europe so that I could travel light, wouldn’t have to lug a lot of gear, and could still shoot RAW. Trip ended up getting postponed until this Spring, but the camera was a good choice. I’m imagining the M3 would be even nicer. But I made a couple of mods to the camera which made it much nicer to use for me. First, I added an after market grip that basically add a decent sized bump on the right side so that I have something to hold onto with my right hand. Second, I covered all the front and side metal surfaces, including the logos, with black Glock pistol grip tape. This gives it a nice textured surface, similar to a nice DSLR, that gives it a much better grip and feel. Covering the logos also anonimizes it some, possibly making it a less desirable target for thieves and a little less obtrusive for street photography. It looks like the grip and pistol grip tape could be added to the M3 in exactly the same way.

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    • Michael Lykke

      That sounds like a very interesting mod. I would really appreciate it if you could post a couple of images showing both the grip but also how it looks with the grip tape on it.

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  7. Amanda Jehle

    Glad I’m not the only Mommy out there constantly searching for a good point and shoot. The last thing I want to do is risk my T5i at the water park, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want cute pictures of my kids…

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  8. Phil Bautista

    Why not go the mirrorless route? There are a lot of models from the leading brands that are compact enough, have negligible shutter lag, are priced affordably, built tough, have manual mode, are highly configurable (can change lenses, add EVF, add battery grip, add lens adapters so you can use your current lenses, add UW case, etc) and have the extras you are looking for. All that plus a bag of chips (not to mention a sensor bigger than you’ll find in a P&S)!

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    • Stan Rogers

      Your idea of “compact enough” is probably quite different from Tanya’s (and those of a whole lot of other people). There’s a difference between hauling around a smaller bag of photo gear and throwing something into a pocket or purse that you can essentially forget about until you need it. It’s the difference between the camera you *take* with you and the camera you *have* with you. Or, to put it slightly differently, leading a normal life with the ability to become a photographer at the drop of a hat on the one hand, and being a photographer full-time while trying to lead a normal life on the other. The difference may be subtle, but it’s real.

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    • Phil Bautista

      Stan, there are a lot of mirrorless cameras out there that are the size of a compact point and shoot,. Considering she’s a fan of the heft of the RXM3, I’m sure she wouldn’t mind the size of the smaller mirrorless cameras. My idea of “compact enough” was based off her opinion of the Sony.

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    • Stan Rogers

      It’s not the body size, Phil; there are a lot of cameras that go there. It’s the collapsed size of the camera as a whole. ILCs don’t do that unless you stick with a prime pancake. Again, it’s a matter of having something that you can utterly forget about until you need it rather than either a bag full of parts that need assembly or a bunch of sticky-outy bits that make the whole less than pocketable/purse-worthy.

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  9. MARTIN MIANO

    great camera…. would love to see the full review

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  10. Austin Swenson

    I can already foresee that you will give the camera a ding if you want something less than 400 dollars… That baby is twice that much!

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  11. Mike Roux

    What about the Canon GX1 MKII?

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  12. Asad Qayyum

    Looking forward to the full review Tanya

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