Yes, I realize I have to work on my titles, but putting a ‘v’ in anything to do with competing camera brands is in vogue at the moment. This week I have tried to return my new Sony Rx100iv. This camera was purchased in the UK and brought out to my home in India. Recently, while in Kolkata I thought I would try it as a super discreet camera for catching candid moments. Alas, the camera lasted a day, and the lens refused to retract back into the camera body.
Sony UK differed me to Sony Asia. I live in India, so it was not the UK’s problem. I have since found a Sony agent in Bangalore, who have pointed out the smallest ever dent in the lens and have told me that is the reason for the problem. I don’t think they are correct – I was shooting in a very grubby area, and I think it has stopped working due to dirt in the unit. The Sony Rx100 line are fantastic cameras that fit in your pocket. The images I captured from this camera are of excellent quality. However, as a Street Photographer’s camera, the unit falls short on ‘toughness.’ To be fair, Kolkata is a very extreme environment, and the Sony does not claim the Rx100 are sealed camera bodies. Hopefully, Sony Asia can came through and get my camera working again!
Both my Olympus Em5ii and Nikon D7100 are DSLR’s, which have some degree of weather sealing. The advantage of taking a DSLR on location is you can have spare lenses. Generally speaking, the areas I work in do not lend themselves to lens changing as they are far too dusty. Dust-free environments are essential for swapping lenses, as this eliminates the chances of dust entering the camera and getting stuck on the sensor. However, having a spare lens will save the day if your primary choice of glass decides to die on you.
While my Sony lasted a day, both my Nikon and Olympus cameras have been bullet-proof. I managed to get cow dung on my Olympus 12-40 lens, and it kept going until the end of the day. In the evening the lens survived a scrub clean (as did my hands). My Nikon lenses, which include the excellent 35mm 1:8, have also been ultra reliable. I realize that I am not comparing like with like, the Rx100iv is a very different camera, and while not as robust as a full DSLR, it does have other strengths. This comparison is not anti-Sony as I am sure that their mirrorless range are much sturdier than the compacts they make.
I am often asked for camera recommendations. My recent experiences have made me re-think what is important in a camera. We are all Street Photographers to some extent. However, documentary and travel photography often overlap. There is NOTHING worse than traveling to a new location and having your camera die on you. Hopefully, Sony Asia will repair my camera. When I get it back, it will become my backup camera, or one that I take on family walks. It is a great tool, but not for extensive Street Photography. Maybe Olympus Asia could lend me a ‘Tough’ to trial and review on my next trip in India?
This week’s photos come from a walk I had in a small slum area downtown. Unusually, I had my Nikon camera with me, which brings me to the flip side of the coin. With this larger camera, I was as discreet as an otter in a beehive. Most of the time I was surrounded by kids asking ‘photo, photo.’ When this happens, there is little to do but oblige. For this reason, this week’s photos are of the kids I found on my afternoon walk. I hope you enjoy them, as always, these kids brought a smile to my face.
Keep Clicking, Chris