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Old 11-15-2012, 02:04 PM   #1
MomToPirate&Princess
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Considering Sony Cybershot RX100 or HX20v

I'm wanting to upgrade my old Canon Powershot SX120. I've been doing some research and am liking the Sony Cybershot RX100 or the Sony Cybershot DSC HX20v. I've read many good things about the RX100 but with my limited (ok ZERO) camera skills I don't know that I could get $600 worth of good out of this camera.

I take a lot of pictures. My Canon has been really good to me. My biggest complaint with it is pictures in low light and/or moving subjects. I know cameras have come a long way in 4 years and am wanting to upgrade but want to stay point and shoot.

Here's what I usually take pictures of - Vacation, Holidays, Kid's outdoor sporting events, and Kid's indoor dance competitions.

I almost never video so that option is not important. Although I have made attempts at using some of the settings, I pretty much use AUTO all the time.

Any opinions on the options I'm considering or suggestions for alternatives for a camera that might suit my needs would be appreciated.
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Old 11-15-2012, 02:33 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MomToPirate&Princess View Post
I'm wanting to upgrade my old Canon Powershot SX120. I've been doing some research and am liking the Sony Cybershot RX100 or the Sony Cybershot DSC HX20v. I've read many good things about the RX100 but with my limited (ok ZERO) camera skills I don't know that I could get $600 worth of good out of this camera.

I take a lot of pictures. My Canon has been really good to me. My biggest complaint with it is pictures in low light and/or moving subjects. I know cameras have come a long way in 4 years and am wanting to upgrade but want to stay point and shoot.

Here's what I usually take pictures of - Vacation, Holidays, Kid's outdoor sporting events, and Kid's indoor dance competitions.

I almost never video so that option is not important. Although I have made attempts at using some of the settings, I pretty much use AUTO all the time.

Any opinions on the options I'm considering or suggestions for alternatives for a camera that might suit my needs would be appreciated.
Just to brain storm...

For the record, I have used the RX100 extensively. I have also used a regular dSLR for comparison. I have not used the HX20, but I am familiar with it.

The HX20 is a bit cheaper, so you have that going for you.
The RX100 is very slightly smaller, if that's what you need.

I can tell you that the RX100 can produce stunning pictures on auto.

But let's get to particular uses:

Low light --- The RX100 is amazing in low light. I took some excellent dark ride pics at Disney, using the RX100. With wider aperture, bigger sensor, the RX100 will be a far superior choice for low light.

Moving subjects -- Compact cameras are not GREAT for action. They use slower focus systems than dSLRs. Their lenses tend to be slower. THey usually have shutter lag.
For a compact camera, the RX100 is pretty good. Not as good as a dSLR, but pretty good overall. I suspect that it is better than the HX20. It certainly wouldn't be worse.

The HX20 as far as I can see, has only 2 advantages over the RX100, but they are big advantages.
1 -- much cheaper
2 -- Much much more optical zoom.
Couple other little advantages -- The HX20v has a GPS and the lens go slightly wider.

So let's look at your uses:

Vacation - Most vacation pictures are under 100mm of zoom, and the RX100 will generally give better results in that range.
But, you won't be able to zoom in (for example) on the animals on the Animal Kingdom Safari. You'll be able to tackle all lighting situations. Get all your vacation landscape pictures. But not your big telephoto pics.
So if telephoto pics are a vacation priority, than the HX20v. But for just overall high quality pictures, and better in challenging light -- the RX100 is far better.
For vacation, the HX20v also gives you the plus of GPS encoded into your pics.

Holidays -- Holiday lights. Indoor low lighting pictures. Family portraits. The RX100 will be better. I can just assure you that the RX100 performs very very well in those situations. Pretty much as good as a dSLR.

Outdoor sporting events -- Unless you are close to the action, you may find that the RX100 just doesn't zoom enough for you. Sure, it takes sharp fast pictures, but your kids are a dot on the screen from far away.
The HX20v should do well in good outdoor lighting. So perhaps it wins this matchup.

Indoor dance competitions --- Lighting may be challenging. If you can get fairly close to the action, the RX100 may give you some good images. But you won't be able to get shots zooming from far away.
The HX20v gives you the zoom you need, but not the low light performance. So I'm really not sure if you could get decent pictures with the HX20v in that situation. So I'd guess that both cameras would be less than ideal in that situation.
With the RX100, you could probably get good *distant* looking shots, and then crop them a bit.

There are other cameras to consider -- But compact cameras are all about compromise. With just 1 lens, and other limitations, there is no 1 compact camera that can do everything well. There is a reason people buy dSLRs, they have all around versatility and quality that you aren't going to match with a compact. (In many circumstances, I find the RX100 out-performs a dSLR with kit lens, but not in all circumstances).

Last edited by havoc315; 11-15-2012 at 02:43 PM.
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Old 11-16-2012, 08:46 AM   #3
MomToPirate&Princess
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Thanks havoc for all your detailed info. You've helped me a lot.
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Old 11-16-2012, 10:39 AM   #4
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You're welcome. Which way are you leaning?

Wish I could suggest another model that could "do it all" -- but if such a model existed, then it would put everything else out of business.
For what it's worth, I don't *often* find myself wishing the RX100 had more zoom. It usually has the right amount. But yes, every now and then there is an instance where I wish it had more zoom. Though I have the ability to just switch cameras in that instance . (I have a dSLR with a 210mm lens, my wife has a Canon SX210 which has a big zoom).
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Old 11-16-2012, 12:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MomToPirate&Princess View Post
I'm wanting to upgrade my old Canon Powershot SX120. I've been doing some research and am liking the Sony Cybershot RX100 or the Sony Cybershot DSC HX20v. I've read many good things about the RX100 but with my limited (ok ZERO) camera skills I don't know that I could get $600 worth of good out of this camera.

I take a lot of pictures. My Canon has been really good to me. My biggest complaint with it is pictures in low light and/or moving subjects. I know cameras have come a long way in 4 years and am wanting to upgrade but want to stay point and shoot.

Here's what I usually take pictures of - Vacation, Holidays, Kid's outdoor sporting events, and Kid's indoor dance competitions.

I almost never video so that option is not important. Although I have made attempts at using some of the settings, I pretty much use AUTO all the time.

Any opinions on the options I'm considering or suggestions for alternatives for a camera that might suit my needs would be appreciated.
With low light and moving subjects simply learning about photography can help a lot. Learn how shutter speed, aperture and ISO affect the image and work together to make the exposure. No matter what camera you get that information will prove beneficial.

For indoor dance... I'm a dance mom, this is my daughter's 5th year competing. Most of the competitions I've been to with my daughter that allow photography allow it only from the back half of the auditorium. But very few allow any photography at all during the performances. The one exception I can think of is Tremaine which has one of the most liberal still photography policies at any dance competition I've been to. Of course they all allow you to take pictures during awards, where the lighting is actually a little easier to deal with. It's helpful to have a longer zoom (200mm equivalent or more) with a fast-ish aperture for these things. At least f/4 on the long end but really, here is one of those places where the faster the lens the better because you've got challenging light with a lot of movement at long focal lengths and even with today's higher ISO cameras you're going to be struggling to get the shutter speed you need with a slow lens. It's a very different situation than shooting a well lit dance concert. And none of this even considers when they hold dance competitions in gyms, which are even more challenging to shoot in.

Now for the shots before, after, in the dressing room, etc... your best bet on auto from the cameras you listed will probably be the RX100. Closer shots in average indoor lighting seem to be where this camera really shines.
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Last edited by photo_chick; 11-16-2012 at 12:45 PM.
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Old 11-16-2012, 01:58 PM   #6
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I have been leaning toward the RX100 because I've seen such good reports on it. The cost is the only thing holding me back on it. That's why I was looking at alternatives and came up with the HX20. For as many pictures as I take, I think in the long run the cost will probably be worth it, especially if it does well in auto mode.

As far as the shorter zoom on the RX100 I have read (if I understand correctly) that even thought it doesn't zoom as tight as some, the quality is often good enough that you can crop in closer and still get a pretty good 4x6 print (which is typically the extent of my photo printing).

Photochick thanks for the tips. My DD's dance is very recreational. They call it competition but it is more like a recital with 'everybody wins' prizes. Photography is allowed from anywhere in the auditorium but with no flash. I get there early and try to get as close to the front as I can. Usually my best pics are during dress rehearsal because I am more free to move about and get as good an angle as I can.

I have tried some of the settings on my camera and have experimented with manual settings, but usually come out better with auto mode. I have had some good luck forcing a flash or not using a flash when it might want one, but that is still letting the camera be in auto. When I use other settings it always seems like it takes much longer for the shot to take and then ends up blurry. My camera knows more than I do but I'm wanting to branch out and see if I can improve.

Thanks again for the help from both of you.
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Old 11-16-2012, 02:05 PM   #7
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I have very limited photo taking experience.

My husband went to Brooks and always takes all the family photos but I really wanted a camera for myself that I could use at Disneyland and to take pictures of my dog.

I chose the RX100 and could not be happier. It is easy to get beautiful pictures. The low light pictures I have taken inside rides at Disneyland look great.

I am beyond thrilled with my choice!
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Old 11-16-2012, 02:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MomToPirate&Princess View Post

Photochick thanks for the tips. My DD's dance is very recreational. They call it competition but it is more like a recital with 'everybody wins' prizes. Photography is allowed from anywhere in the auditorium but with no flash. I get there early and try to get as close to the front as I can. Usually my best pics are during dress rehearsal because I am more free to move about and get as good an angle as I can.
I gotcha. What my daughter does is on the opposite end of the spectrum.

Anyway, from what you're saying the RX100 probably has enough zoom for shooting that kind of performance if you're close. I use my 28-105 on my DSLR when I'm in the first few rows at my daughter's dance concerts and it's more than enough when you're that close. The RX100's lens is a comparable focal range. The only place it will come up short is with the aperture when you have it zoomed out. It's pretty slow but I've used equally slow lenses for dance concerts so it's not unworkable. However it may not get you the shots in auto mode.
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Old 11-16-2012, 02:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MomToPirate&Princess View Post
As far as the shorter zoom on the RX100 I have read (if I understand correctly) that even thought it doesn't zoom as tight as some, the quality is often good enough that you can crop in closer and still get a pretty good 4x6 print (which is typically the extent of my photo printing).
That is correct. I think you can effectively double your zoom that way. So still not quite superzoom, but not bad.

As to auto modes --- There is an Auto+ and a basic auto. Auto plus will sometimes stack multiple images to correct low light etc. That can't be done for the dance pics, so just use basic auto for those circumstances.
You should also use the basic scene modes -- action, portrait, etc.

But beyond that, you can do pretty well without ever *having* to switch to manual.
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