Jogging on a bright November morning

A few nice best way to increase internet speed images I found:

Jogging on a bright November morning
best way to increase internet speed
Image by Ed Yourdon
I was walking south along the bridle path that circumnavigates the reservoir in Central Park; and the view here is basically south, with the CitiCorp building and various other New York City skyscrapers in the background. The reservoir is enclosed by a fence (presumably to keep people from falling in, or jumping in to swim, or perhaps even attempting to fish), and there’s a jogging trail that runs along the fence; so scenes like this are pretty common.

I hadn’t taken the sun into account when I took this picture; during this season, it’s pretty far south, and for whatever reason, it left the runner in pretty dark shadow. I tweaked it a bit, and hopefully didn’t distort the background too badly. I also replaced the grayish-white hazy sky with a bluish gradient fill, using Adobe Photoshop Elements …

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Note: this photo was published in a Feb 26, 2009 blog article titled "How to Intensify Your Running and Lose More Weight.." It was also published in a blog article (allegedly published on May 21, 2006 – which is difficult to imagine, since I didn’t take the picture until Nov 21, 2008) entitled "Burn Twice as Many Calories Running." It was also published in an April 14, 2009 blog titled "Find Our How Far You Run." And it was used in a May 8, 2009 Internet announcement proclaiming "Come cheer on the Lime team," for the Chase Corporate Challenge race on June 11, 2009. And it was published in a May 21, 2009 blog titled "Cardiovascular Fitness Means Healthier Heart ." I’ve also discovered that it was published in a Mar 20, 2009 blog titled "Running in the City, " (and then republished in the Mar 31, 2010 issue of the same blog ). More recently, it was published in a Jun 25, 2009 blog titled "How To… Stay Fit on the Road." I’ve also just discovered that it was published in the April 4, 2009 issue of the Directory of New York City blog, in an article titled "Central Park Indulgence."

The photo was also published in a Jul 21, 2009 blog titled "How to Get Started Long-Distance Running." Also in a Jul 24, 2009 blog titled "City Dwellers Are Healthier." And it was published in a Jul 29, 2009 blog titled "Le jogging est-il mauvais pour la santé?.." (which, according to Google’s translation service, means something like "Is jogging bad for health?" Yeah, is it? Well, you’ll have to read the blog to find out!

More recently, it was published in a Dec 15, 2009 blog titled "Care to read more of my thoughts on fitness?" And it was published as an illustration in a Dec 17, 2009 blog titled "Eco-Beat, 12/17." It was also published in an undated (Dec 2009) Jog4Life blog titled "Beginner Week Three Marathon Training."

Moving into 2010, the photo was published in a Jan 2, 2010 blog titled "Save Money by Sticking to Your Resolutions." And it was published in a Jan 7, 2010 blog titled "Sightjogging: City Walking Tours on Speed." It was also published in a Feb 1, 2010 blog titled "Francis Collins, National Institutes of Health director, speaks on 5-year priorities," as well as a Feb 7, 2010 blog titled "Hold My Heart." And it was published in a Feb 25, 2010 blog titled "Physical exercise for a health" [sic]. And it was pubilshed as an illustration in a brief Mar 3, 2010 blog titled "What can you do with your high cholesterol." It was also published in an undated (mid-March 2010) blog titled "Ungewöhnliche Fitnessübungen ohne Geräte." And it was published in a Mar 16, 2010 blog titled "What Can Raise Your Blood Pressure?"

On April 1st, 2010, the photo was published in a blog titled "Staying Active." And on Apr 8, the photo was published in an blog titled "Write-up on wholesome residing." On Apr 11, 2010, it was published in a blog titled "Post on wholesome living," with a comment that said, "Above picture is a random extract from Flickr, writer of this blog do not claim ownership of this picture, visit Flickr for its owner." Gee, thanks for that enthusiastic citation! Meanwhile, the photo was published in an Apr 15, 2010 blog titled "Recomendaciones para prevenir la hipertensión." And it was published in an Apr 22, 2010 blog titled "New Experiment: Integrating Physical Activity Into the Daily Routine." It was also published in a Jul 14, 2010 blog titled "Running and Peaches." And it was published in a Jul 19, 2010 blog titled "Three Ways we Self-Sabotage." It was also published in a Jul 23, 2010 blog titled "wLe sightjogging : le tourisme en courant!" as well as a Jul 27, 2010 blog titled "En salud no es mejor tarde que nunca." And it was published in a Jul 28, 2010 blog titled "Los riesgos de practicar carrera en ciudad durante el verano."

Shortly after Labor Day and the beginning of the fall season in 2010, the photo was published in a Sep 10, 2010 blog titled "Le logiciel libre en entreprise expliqué par un communiqué de presse." It was also published in a Sep 20, 2010 blog titled "Get Fit for Fall." And it was published in a Sep 27, 2010 blog titled " Fitness events take focus off weight-loss frustration," but also with the title and notes from my original Flickr page. It was also published in an undated (early Oct 2010) blog titled "Be Heart Healthy With Home Remedies For High Cholesterol." And it was published in an undated (Oct 2010) blog titled "Cardio Workout Routines- Maintain A Cardio Exercise Routine And Lose Weight Efficiently." It was also published in an Oct 18, 2010 blog titled "Come prevenire i dolori alle articolazioni." And it was published in an undated (mid-Nov 2010) blog titled "Weight Loss Maintenance," as well as an undated (mid-Nov 2010) blog titled "Healthy Weight Loss: Exercises To Augment Your Efforts, Part 2." It was also published in a Nov 12, 2010 blog titled "Translation service: for any kind of language translations." And it was published in a Nov 19, 2010 Brazilian blog titled "Do que eu falo quando eu falo de natação." It was also published in a Nov 21, 2010 FeelBetter4Life blog, with the same title as the caption that I used on this Flickr page, as well as a Nov 21, 2010 blog titled "How many steps should I be walking each day for weight loss?" And it was published in a Nov 30, 2010 blog titled "Consejos controlar presion arterial." It was also published in a Dec 16, 2010 Lifehacker blog titled "Working Out Before Breakfast Is Better for Weight Loss," and it was published in a Dec 19, 2010 "Cool Weight Loss Programs That Work images blog, with the same title and detailed notes that I had written on this Flickr page. I then found that it had also been published in a Dec 17, 2010 Vertical Jump Training blog and a Dec 26, 2010 Awesome Diet blog, with the same title and detailed notes that I had written on this Flickr page. There was another undated (late Dec 2010) publication in a blog titled "Weight Loss Remedy is Diet."

Moving into 2011, the photo was published in a Jan 3, 2011 blog titled "Vertical Jump Workouts," as well as a Jan 4, 2011 blog titled "6 Faktor yang Dapat Meningkatkan Tekanan Darah." It was also published in an undated (early Jan 2011) "Weight Loss Helps" blog titled " The Pure Acai Berry Seeded fruit Weight Loss Program." And it was published in a Jan 12,2011 blog titled "Best Means To Burn Belly Fat Fast." It was also published in a Jan 13, 2 011 blog titled "Some of the Tips on How to Lose Weight Effectively," as well as an undated (mid-Jan 2011) blog titled "Right Attitude for Weight Loss." It was also published in a Jan 24, 2011 blog titled "The effect of weight on fertility, as well as a Jan 25, 2011 blog titled Perfect Acai Pure Organic Acai Berry (1 Bottle) Reviews , with the same caption and detailed notes that I had written here on this Flickr page. And it was published in a Jan 28, 2011 blog titled "Diets – the big, fat lies."

In February, it was also published in an undated (early Feb 2011) Dutch blog titled "Geef stress minder kans: vergroot uw weerbaarheid." And it was published in an undated (mid-Feb 2011) blog titled "State faces enforcement questions for air pollution-prone Fairbanks, with the same caption and detailed notes that I had written on this Flickr page. It was also published in a Feb 15, 2011 blog titled "Nice How To Lose Fat Fast photos." And it was published in a Mar 4, 2011 blog titled "what do you think of chitocal and acai berry diet pill?" It was also published in a Mar 14, 2011 Fasts to Lose Weight blog, with the same caption that I used on this Flickr page. And it was published in an Apr 16, 2011 blog titled "Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada – Spring Sprint ." It was also published in an Apr 18, 2011 blog titled "Heart Needs Work After Heart Attack: New Study Challenges the Notion That the Heart Must Rest." And it was published in an Apr 24, 2011 blog titled "Incorporación de ejercicios quema grasa en su vida diaria!", as well as an Apr 25, 2011 blog titled "FTC Cracks down on “fake” websites," with the same detailed notes that I had written on this Flickr page. It was also published in a May 6, 2011 blog titled "c25k redux." And it was published in a May 21, 2011 blog titled "How To Reduce Your Weight Quickly." It was also published in a May 24, 2011 blog titled "The Most Effective Way To Lose Weight and Get In Shape!!" And it was published in a Jul 11, 2011 Forbes blog titled "Random Acts of Exercise: Why Little Movements Can Have Big Benefits." It was also published in an undated (late Jul 2011) Stresspages blog titled "Increase resilience." And it was published in an Aug 8, 2011 Cool New York pics blog, with the same caption and detailed notes that I had used on this Flickr page. It was published in an Aug 22, 2011 blog titled "Feelgood Fitness: 3 Great Cities for Jogging," as well as an Aug 24, 2011 Tolle Fitnessübungen Bilder blog, with the same caption and detailed notes that I had written on this Flickr page. And it was published in a Sep 19, 2011 blog titled "Stuck in a Design Slump? Go Outside!." It was also published in an undated (early Oct 2011) blog titled "Realizing You Have Everything You Need." It was also published in an Oct 4, 2011 blog titled "Feel Better and Accomplish More: How to Make Your Routine Work With Your Bad Habits and Energy Levels." And it was published in an Oct 5, 2011 blog titled "Hey, That Hurt!" It was also published in an Oct 28, 2011 blog titled "25 Exceptional Photos of Runners, Races & Marathons." And it was published in a Nov 1, 2011 blog titled "Vancouver Personal Training | Enhance Your Mood With Fitness." It was also published in a Nov 27, 2011 Weight Loss and Sport blog, with the same caption and detailed notes that I had written on this Flickr page.

Moving into 2012, the photo was published in a Jan 6, 2012 Lifehacker blog titled "Why Placebos Work, and How You Can Use the Placebo Effect to Accomplish Your Goals." It was also published in an undated (early Jan 2012) blog titled "Thought Questions." It was also published in a Jan 16, 2012 Fitness Websites blog, with the same caption and detailed notes that I had written here on this Flickr page. And it was published in an undated (mid-Mar 2012) blog titled "BioMio Mør okse." It was also published in an undated (early Apr 2012) blog titled "Allenamento per corer meglio." And it was published in a May 5, 2012 blog titled "Slow Jogging Just A Few Times A Week Can Add Years To Your Life." It was also published in a May 20, 2012 blog titled "Zacznij biegać – już teraz!" And it was published in a Jun 8, 2012 Step Exercise Equipment blog, with the same caption and detailed notes that I had written on this Flickr page. It was also published in a Jun 20, 2012 Samsung Lifeblog titled "작심365, 그 첫번째 – 다이어트." For some reason, the photo was also published in a Jun 24, 2012 blog titled "Whitecaps surpass 2011 win total with 1-0 victory over Colorado." It was also published in an undated (late Jun 2012) blog titled "20 Great Pictures of Central Park NYC."

Moving into the 2nd half of 2012, the photo was published in a Jul 5, 2012 blog titled "10 Good Reasons to Drink Coffee." And it was published in a Jul 26, 2012 blog with the bizarre titled of "Jogging on a bright November morning and Pure Raspberry Ketones in Evolution Slimmings Raspberry Ketone Plus+; Now off with Immediate Shipping." It was also published in an undated (mid-Aug 2012) "Fine Retirement" blog titled "Exercising With Varied Health Challenges." And it was published in an Oct 28, 2012 blog titled "What weight loss pill should I take that will work fast?" It was also published in a Nov 1, 2012 blog titled "どんなに忙しくても僕らがランニングをするべき7つの理由 ." And it was published in an undated (mid-Nov 2012) blog titled "What Is NRF2?" It was also published in an undated (late Nov 2012) blog titled "Travel: Escaping reality or trading up?"

Moving into 2013, the photo was published in a Jan 8, 2013 blog titled "Your Vision Will Drive You To Lose Belly Fat." It was also published in a Jan 16, 2013 blog titled "How to Exercise Your Willpower by Working Out," as well as a Jan 16, 2013 blog titled "What is a good diet pill to aid in the weight loss process that has minimal neg. side effects?" And it was published in a Jan 26, 2013 blog titled "Quick Workout of the Week: Washboard Abs Blast." It was also published in a Jan 30, 2013 blog titled "AYT USA: Judgey at the gym – the power of words." And it was published in an undated (early Feb 2013) blog titled "Le logiciel libre en entreprise expliqué par un communiqué de presse." It was also published in a Feb 19, 2013 blog titled "Couch to 5K: anyone want to join me?" And it was published in an undated (late Feb 2013) blog titled "Are there disadvantages of running?", as well as a Mar 5, 2013 blog titled " I am SO not doing a 365–BUT…" It was also published in an Apr 3, 2013 blog titled "#NPM2013: Prompt 3." And it was published in an Apr 22, 2013 blog titled "セルフマネジメントのレベルと欠かせないスキル 〜 自己組織化されたチームを作るためには," as well as a May 5, 2013 blog titled "【RUN】気分爽快!!早朝ランニングが最高に気持ちいい件!!." It was also published in a Jun 3, 2013 blog titled "カナダのアニメイベントに現れたコスプレイヤーがとんでもないことになってた," as well as a Jun 21, 2013 blog titled" When Is The Right Time To Lose Weight?" And it was published in an undated (late Jun 2013) blog titled "7 Tips to Keep Your Heart Healthy." It was also published in a Sep 4, 2013 blog titled "Running in the City." And it was published in an Oct 10, 2013 blog titled "Où faire du tourisme en footing?"

Moving into 2014, the photo was published in an undated (mid-Jan 2014) "RunKeeper" blog titled "はじめに." It was also published in a Feb 21, 2014 blog titled "Ways To Burn Fats Quick Could Make You Cash." And it was published in an Oct 22, 2014 blog titled "Tips For Staying Fit Without Going To The Gym."

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Having seen this Photoshopped color version of this photograph, my instructor in a March 2009 street photography class suggested that I convert it to black-and-white to accentuate the vertical shapes of the fence behind the runner. I did so here on Flickr, using Apple’s Aperture program, and with a yellow filter applied to the initial image.

I think the result is interesting, and I’ll try to keep an open mind for a while before deciding whether I like it better than the color version. However, if you have strong opinions one way or the other, I’d enjoy hearing it; leave me Flickr-mail or email me at ed at yourdon dot com

Sony RX1, A User Report
best way to increase internet speed
Image by kern.justin
Sony RX1 User Report.

I hesitate to write about gear. Tools are tools and the bitter truth is that a great craftsman rises above his tools to create a masterpiece whereas most of us try to improve our abominations by buying better or faster hammers to hit the same nails at the same awkward angles.

The internet is fairly flooded with reviews of this tiny marvel, and it isn’t my intention to compete with those articles. If you’re looking for a full-scale review of every feature or a down-to-Earth accounting of the RX1’s strengths and weaknesses, I recommend starting here.

Instead, I’d like to provide you with a flavor of how I’ve used the camera over the last six months. In short, this is a user report. To save yourself a few thousand words: I love the thing. As we go through this article, you’ll see this is a purpose built camera. The RX1 is not for everyone, but we will get to that and on the way, I’ll share a handful of images that I made with the camera.

It should be obvious to anyone reading this that I write this independently and have absolutely no relationship with Sony (other than having exchanged a large pile of cash for this camera at a retail outlet).

Before we get to anything else, I want to clear the air about two things: Price and Features

The Price

First things first: the price. The 00+ cost of this camera is the elephant in the room and, given I purchased the thing, you may consider me a poor critic. That in mind, I want to offer you three thoughts:

Consumer goods cost what they cost, in the absence of a competitor (the Fuji X100s being the only one worth mention) there is no comparison and you simply have to decide for yourself if you are willing to pay or not.
Normalize the price per sensor area for all 35mm f/2 lens and camera alternatives and you’ll find the RX1 is an amazing value.
You are paying for the ability to take photographs, plain and simple. Ask yourself, “what are these photographs worth to me?”

In my case, #3 is very important. I have used the RX1 to take hundreds of photographs of my family that are immensely important to me. Moreover, I have made photographs (many appearing on this page) that are moving or beautiful and only happened because I had the RX1 in my bag or my pocket. Yes, of course I could have made these or very similar photographs with another camera, but that is immaterial.

35mm by 24mm by 35mm f/2

The killer feature of this camera is simple: it is a wafer of silicon 35mm by 24mm paired to a brilliantly, ridiculously, undeniably sharp, contrasty and bokehlicious 35mm f/2 Carl Zeiss lens. Image quality is king here and all other things take a back seat. This means the following: image quality is as good or better than your DSLR, but battery life, focus speed, and responsiveness are likely not as good as your DSLR. I say likely because, if you have an entry-level DSLR, the RX1 is comparable on these dimensions. If you want to change lenses, if you want an integrated viewfinder, if you want blindingly fast phase-detect autofocus then shoot with a DSLR. If you want the absolute best image quality in the smallest size possible, you’ve got it in the RX1.

While we are on the subject of interchangeable lenses and viewfinders…

I have an interchangeable lens DSLR and I love the thing. It’s basically a medium format camera in a 35mm camera body. It’s a powerhouse and it is the first camera I reach for when the goal is photography. For a long time, however, I’ve found myself in situations where photography was not the first goal, but where I nevertheless wanted to have a camera. I’m around the table with friends or at the park with my son and the DSLR is too big, too bulky, too intimidating. It comes between you and life. In this realm, mirrorless, interchangeable lens cameras seem to be king, but they have a major flaw: they are, for all intents and purposes, just little DSLRs.

As I mentioned above, I have an interchangeable lens system, why would I want another, smaller one? Clearly, I am not alone in feeling this way, as the market has produced a number of what I would call “professional point and shoots.” Here we are talking about the Fuji X100/X100s, Sigma DPm-series and the RX100 and RX1.

Design is about making choices

When the Fuji X100 came out, I was intrigued. Here was a cheap(er), baby Leica M. Quiet, small, unobtrusive. Had I waited to buy until the X100s had come out, perhaps this would be a different report. Perhaps, but probably not. I remember thinking to myself as I was looking at the X100, “I wish there was a digital Rollei 35, something with a fixed 28mm or 35mm lens that would fit in a coat pocket or a small bag.” Now of course, there is.

So, for those of you who said, “I would buy the RX1 if it had interchangeable lenses or an integrated viewfinder or faster autofocus,” I say the following: This is a purpose built camera. You would not want it as an interchangeable system, it can’t compete with DSLR speed. A viewfinder would make the thing bigger and ruin the magic ratio of body to sensor size—further, there is a 3-inch LCD viewfinder on the back! Autofocus is super fast, you just don’t realize it because the bar has been raised impossibly high by ultra-sonic magnet focusing rings on professional DSLR lenses. There’s a fantastic balance at work here between image quality and size—great tools are about the total experience, not about one or the other specification.

In short, design is about making choices. I think Sony has made some good ones with the RX1.

In use

So I’ve just written 1,000 words of a user report without, you know, reporting on use. In many ways the images on the page are my user report. These photographs, more than my words, should give you a flavor of what the RX1 is about. But, for the sake of variety, I intend to tell you a bit about the how and the why of shooting with the RX1.

Snapshots

As a beginning enthusiast, I often sneered at the idea of a snapshot. As I’ve matured, I’ve come to appreciate what a pocket camera and a snapshot can offer. The RX1 is the ultimate photographer’s snapshot camera.

I’ll pause here to properly define snapshot as a photograph taken quickly with a handheld camera.

To quote Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” So it is with photography. Beautiful photographs happen at the decisive moment—and to paraphrase Henri Cartier-Bresson further—the world is newly made and falling to pieces every instant. I think it is no coincidence that each revolution in the steady march of photography from the tortuously slow chemistry of tin-type and daguerreotype through 120 and 35mm formats to the hyper-sensitive CMOS of today has engendered new categories and concepts of photography.

Photography is a reflexive, reactionary activity. I see beautiful light or the unusual in an every day event and my reaction is a desire to make a photograph. It’s a bit like breathing and has been since I was a kid.

Rather than sneer at snapshots, nowadays I seek them out; and when I seek them out, I do so with the Sony RX1 in my hand.

How I shoot with the RX1

Despite much bluster from commenters on other reviews as to the price point and the purpose-built nature of this camera (see above), the RX1 is incredibly flexible. Have a peek at some of the linked reviews and you’ll see handheld portraits, long exposures, images taken with off-camera flash, etc.

Yet, I mentioned earlier that I reach for the D800 when photography is the primary goal and so the RX1 has become for me a handheld camera—something I use almost exclusively at f/2 (people, objects, shallow DoF) or f/8 (landscapes in abundant light, abstracts). The Auto-ISO setting allows the camera to choose in the range from ISO 50 and 6400 to reach a proper exposure at a given aperture with a 1/80 s shutter speed. I have found this shutter speed ensures a sharp image every time (although photographers with more jittery grips may wish there was the ability to select a different default shutter speed). This strategy works because the RX1 has a delightfully clicky exposure compensation dial just under your right thumb—allowing for fine adjustment to the camera’s metering decision.

So then, if you find me out with the RX1, you’re likely to see me on aperture priority, f/2 and auto ISO. Indeed, many of the photographs on this page were taken in that mode (including lots of the landscape shots!).

Working within constraints.

The RX1 is a wonderful camera to have when you have to work within constraints. When I say this, I mean it is great for photography within two different classes of constraints: 1) physical constraints of time and space and 2) intellectual/artistic constraints.

To speak to the first, as I said earlier, many of the photographs on this page were made possible by having a camera with me at a time that I otherwise would not have been lugging around a camera. For example, some of the images from the Grand Canyon you see were made in a pinch on my way to a Christmas dinner with my family. I didn’t have the larger camera with me and I just had a minute to make the image. Truth be told, these images could have been made with my cell phone, but that I could wring such great image quality out of something not much larger than my cell phone is just gravy. Be it jacket pocket, small bag, bike bag, saddle bag, even fannie pack—you have space for this camera anywhere you go.

Earlier I alluded to the obtrusiveness of a large camera. If you want to travel lightly and make photographs without announcing your presence, it’s easier to use a smaller camera. Here the RX1 excels. Moreover, the camera’s leaf shutter is virtually silent, so you can snap away without announcing your intention. In every sense, this camera is meant to work within physical constraints.

I cut my photographic teeth on film and I will always have an affection for it. There is a sense that one is playing within the rules when he uses film. That same feeling is here in the RX1. I never thought I’d say this about a camera, but I often like the JPEG images this thing produces more than I like what I can push with a RAW. Don’t get me wrong, for a landscape or a cityscape, the RAW processed carefully is FAR, FAR better than a JPEG.

But when I am taking snapshots or photos of friends and family, I find the JPEGs the camera produces (I’m shooting in RAW + JPEG) so beautiful. The camera’s computer corrects for the lens distortion and provides the perfect balance of contrast and saturation. The JPEG engine can be further tweaked to increase the amount of contrast, saturation or dynamic range optimization (shadow boost) used in writing those files. Add in the ability to rapidly compensate exposure or activate various creative modes and you’ve got this feeling you’re shooting film again. Instant, ultra-sensitive and customizable film.

Pro Tip: Focusing

Almost all cameras come shipped with what I consider to be the worst of the worst focus configurations. Even the Nikon D800 came to my hands set to focus when the shutter button was halfway depressed. This mode will ruin almost any photograph. Why? Because it requires you to perform legerdemain to place the autofocus point, depress the shutter halfway, recompose and press the shutter fully. In addition to the chance of accidentally refocusing after composing or missing the shot—this method absolutely ensures that one must focus before every single photograph. Absolutely impossible for action or portraiture.

Sensibly, most professional or prosumer cameras come with an AF-ON button near where the shooter’s right thumb rests. This separates the task of focusing and exposing, allowing the photographer to quickly focus and to capture the image even if focus is slightly off at the focus point. For portraits, kids, action, etc the camera has to have a hair-trigger. It has to be responsive. Manufacturer’s: stop shipping your cameras with this ham-fisted autofocus arrangement.

Now, the RX1 does not have an AF-ON button, but it does have an AEL button whose function can be changed to “MF/AF Control Hold” in the menu. Further, other buttons on the rear of the camera can also be programmed to toggle between AF and MF modes. What this all means is that you can work around the RX1’s buttons to make it’s focus work like a DSLR’s. (For those of you who are RX1 shooters, set the front switch to MF, the right control wheel button to MF/AF Toggle and the AEL button to MF/AF Control Hold and voila!) The end result is that, when powered on the camera is in manual focus mode, but the autofocus can be activated by pressing AEL, no matter what, however, the shutter is tripped by the shutter release. Want to switch to AF mode? Just push a button and you’re back to the standard modality.

Carrying.

I keep mine in a small, neoprene pouch with a semi-hard LCD cover and a circular polarizing filter on the front—perfect for buttoning up and throwing into a bag on my way out of the house. I have a soft release screwed into the threaded shutter release and a custom, red twill strap to replace the horrible plastic strap Sony provided. I plan to gaffer tape the top and the orange ring around the lens. Who knows, I may find an old Voigtlander optical viewfinder in future as well.

Sony RX1, A User Report
best way to increase internet speed
Image by kern.justin
Sony RX1 User Report.

I hesitate to write about gear. Tools are tools and the bitter truth is that a great craftsman rises above his tools to create a masterpiece whereas most of us try to improve our abominations by buying better or faster hammers to hit the same nails at the same awkward angles.

The internet is fairly flooded with reviews of this tiny marvel, and it isn’t my intention to compete with those articles. If you’re looking for a full-scale review of every feature or a down-to-Earth accounting of the RX1’s strengths and weaknesses, I recommend starting here.

Instead, I’d like to provide you with a flavor of how I’ve used the camera over the last six months. In short, this is a user report. To save yourself a few thousand words: I love the thing. As we go through this article, you’ll see this is a purpose built camera. The RX1 is not for everyone, but we will get to that and on the way, I’ll share a handful of images that I made with the camera.

It should be obvious to anyone reading this that I write this independently and have absolutely no relationship with Sony (other than having exchanged a large pile of cash for this camera at a retail outlet).

Before we get to anything else, I want to clear the air about two things: Price and Features

The Price

First things first: the price. The 00+ cost of this camera is the elephant in the room and, given I purchased the thing, you may consider me a poor critic. That in mind, I want to offer you three thoughts:

Consumer goods cost what they cost, in the absence of a competitor (the Fuji X100s being the only one worth mention) there is no comparison and you simply have to decide for yourself if you are willing to pay or not.
Normalize the price per sensor area for all 35mm f/2 lens and camera alternatives and you’ll find the RX1 is an amazing value.
You are paying for the ability to take photographs, plain and simple. Ask yourself, “what are these photographs worth to me?”

In my case, #3 is very important. I have used the RX1 to take hundreds of photographs of my family that are immensely important to me. Moreover, I have made photographs (many appearing on this page) that are moving or beautiful and only happened because I had the RX1 in my bag or my pocket. Yes, of course I could have made these or very similar photographs with another camera, but that is immaterial.

35mm by 24mm by 35mm f/2

The killer feature of this camera is simple: it is a wafer of silicon 35mm by 24mm paired to a brilliantly, ridiculously, undeniably sharp, contrasty and bokehlicious 35mm f/2 Carl Zeiss lens. Image quality is king here and all other things take a back seat. This means the following: image quality is as good or better than your DSLR, but battery life, focus speed, and responsiveness are likely not as good as your DSLR. I say likely because, if you have an entry-level DSLR, the RX1 is comparable on these dimensions. If you want to change lenses, if you want an integrated viewfinder, if you want blindingly fast phase-detect autofocus then shoot with a DSLR. If you want the absolute best image quality in the smallest size possible, you’ve got it in the RX1.

While we are on the subject of interchangeable lenses and viewfinders…

I have an interchangeable lens DSLR and I love the thing. It’s basically a medium format camera in a 35mm camera body. It’s a powerhouse and it is the first camera I reach for when the goal is photography. For a long time, however, I’ve found myself in situations where photography was not the first goal, but where I nevertheless wanted to have a camera. I’m around the table with friends or at the park with my son and the DSLR is too big, too bulky, too intimidating. It comes between you and life. In this realm, mirrorless, interchangeable lens cameras seem to be king, but they have a major flaw: they are, for all intents and purposes, just little DSLRs.

As I mentioned above, I have an interchangeable lens system, why would I want another, smaller one? Clearly, I am not alone in feeling this way, as the market has produced a number of what I would call “professional point and shoots.” Here we are talking about the Fuji X100/X100s, Sigma DPm-series and the RX100 and RX1.

Design is about making choices

When the Fuji X100 came out, I was intrigued. Here was a cheap(er), baby Leica M. Quiet, small, unobtrusive. Had I waited to buy until the X100s had come out, perhaps this would be a different report. Perhaps, but probably not. I remember thinking to myself as I was looking at the X100, “I wish there was a digital Rollei 35, something with a fixed 28mm or 35mm lens that would fit in a coat pocket or a small bag.” Now of course, there is.

So, for those of you who said, “I would buy the RX1 if it had interchangeable lenses or an integrated viewfinder or faster autofocus,” I say the following: This is a purpose built camera. You would not want it as an interchangeable system, it can’t compete with DSLR speed. A viewfinder would make the thing bigger and ruin the magic ratio of body to sensor size—further, there is a 3-inch LCD viewfinder on the back! Autofocus is super fast, you just don’t realize it because the bar has been raised impossibly high by ultra-sonic magnet focusing rings on professional DSLR lenses. There’s a fantastic balance at work here between image quality and size—great tools are about the total experience, not about one or the other specification.

In short, design is about making choices. I think Sony has made some good ones with the RX1.

In use

So I’ve just written 1,000 words of a user report without, you know, reporting on use. In many ways the images on the page are my user report. These photographs, more than my words, should give you a flavor of what the RX1 is about. But, for the sake of variety, I intend to tell you a bit about the how and the why of shooting with the RX1.

Snapshots

As a beginning enthusiast, I often sneered at the idea of a snapshot. As I’ve matured, I’ve come to appreciate what a pocket camera and a snapshot can offer. The RX1 is the ultimate photographer’s snapshot camera.

I’ll pause here to properly define snapshot as a photograph taken quickly with a handheld camera.

To quote Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” So it is with photography. Beautiful photographs happen at the decisive moment—and to paraphrase Henri Cartier-Bresson further—the world is newly made and falling to pieces every instant. I think it is no coincidence that each revolution in the steady march of photography from the tortuously slow chemistry of tin-type and daguerreotype through 120 and 35mm formats to the hyper-sensitive CMOS of today has engendered new categories and concepts of photography.

Photography is a reflexive, reactionary activity. I see beautiful light or the unusual in an every day event and my reaction is a desire to make a photograph. It’s a bit like breathing and has been since I was a kid.

Rather than sneer at snapshots, nowadays I seek them out; and when I seek them out, I do so with the Sony RX1 in my hand.

How I shoot with the RX1

Despite much bluster from commenters on other reviews as to the price point and the purpose-built nature of this camera (see above), the RX1 is incredibly flexible. Have a peek at some of the linked reviews and you’ll see handheld portraits, long exposures, images taken with off-camera flash, etc.

Yet, I mentioned earlier that I reach for the D800 when photography is the primary goal and so the RX1 has become for me a handheld camera—something I use almost exclusively at f/2 (people, objects, shallow DoF) or f/8 (landscapes in abundant light, abstracts). The Auto-ISO setting allows the camera to choose in the range from ISO 50 and 6400 to reach a proper exposure at a given aperture with a 1/80 s shutter speed. I have found this shutter speed ensures a sharp image every time (although photographers with more jittery grips may wish there was the ability to select a different default shutter speed). This strategy works because the RX1 has a delightfully clicky exposure compensation dial just under your right thumb—allowing for fine adjustment to the camera’s metering decision.

So then, if you find me out with the RX1, you’re likely to see me on aperture priority, f/2 and auto ISO. Indeed, many of the photographs on this page were taken in that mode (including lots of the landscape shots!).

Working within constraints.

The RX1 is a wonderful camera to have when you have to work within constraints. When I say this, I mean it is great for photography within two different classes of constraints: 1) physical constraints of time and space and 2) intellectual/artistic constraints.

To speak to the first, as I said earlier, many of the photographs on this page were made possible by having a camera with me at a time that I otherwise would not have been lugging around a camera. For example, some of the images from the Grand Canyon you see were made in a pinch on my way to a Christmas dinner with my family. I didn’t have the larger camera with me and I just had a minute to make the image. Truth be told, these images could have been made with my cell phone, but that I could wring such great image quality out of something not much larger than my cell phone is just gravy. Be it jacket pocket, small bag, bike bag, saddle bag, even fannie pack—you have space for this camera anywhere you go.

Earlier I alluded to the obtrusiveness of a large camera. If you want to travel lightly and make photographs without announcing your presence, it’s easier to use a smaller camera. Here the RX1 excels. Moreover, the camera’s leaf shutter is virtually silent, so you can snap away without announcing your intention. In every sense, this camera is meant to work within physical constraints.

I cut my photographic teeth on film and I will always have an affection for it. There is a sense that one is playing within the rules when he uses film. That same feeling is here in the RX1. I never thought I’d say this about a camera, but I often like the JPEG images this thing produces more than I like what I can push with a RAW. Don’t get me wrong, for a landscape or a cityscape, the RAW processed carefully is FAR, FAR better than a JPEG.

But when I am taking snapshots or photos of friends and family, I find the JPEGs the camera produces (I’m shooting in RAW + JPEG) so beautiful. The camera’s computer corrects for the lens distortion and provides the perfect balance of contrast and saturation. The JPEG engine can be further tweaked to increase the amount of contrast, saturation or dynamic range optimization (shadow boost) used in writing those files. Add in the ability to rapidly compensate exposure or activate various creative modes and you’ve got this feeling you’re shooting film again. Instant, ultra-sensitive and customizable film.

Pro Tip: Focusing

Almost all cameras come shipped with what I consider to be the worst of the worst focus configurations. Even the Nikon D800 came to my hands set to focus when the shutter button was halfway depressed. This mode will ruin almost any photograph. Why? Because it requires you to perform legerdemain to place the autofocus point, depress the shutter halfway, recompose and press the shutter fully. In addition to the chance of accidentally refocusing after composing or missing the shot—this method absolutely ensures that one must focus before every single photograph. Absolutely impossible for action or portraiture.

Sensibly, most professional or prosumer cameras come with an AF-ON button near where the shooter’s right thumb rests. This separates the task of focusing and exposing, allowing the photographer to quickly focus and to capture the image even if focus is slightly off at the focus point. For portraits, kids, action, etc the camera has to have a hair-trigger. It has to be responsive. Manufacturer’s: stop shipping your cameras with this ham-fisted autofocus arrangement.

Now, the RX1 does not have an AF-ON button, but it does have an AEL button whose function can be changed to “MF/AF Control Hold” in the menu. Further, other buttons on the rear of the camera can also be programmed to toggle between AF and MF modes. What this all means is that you can work around the RX1’s buttons to make it’s focus work like a DSLR’s. (For those of you who are RX1 shooters, set the front switch to MF, the right control wheel button to MF/AF Toggle and the AEL button to MF/AF Control Hold and voila!) The end result is that, when powered on the camera is in manual focus mode, but the autofocus can be activated by pressing AEL, no matter what, however, the shutter is tripped by the shutter release. Want to switch to AF mode? Just push a button and you’re back to the standard modality.

Carrying.

I keep mine in a small, neoprene pouch with a semi-hard LCD cover and a circular polarizing filter on the front—perfect for buttoning up and throwing into a bag on my way out of the house. I have a soft release screwed into the threaded shutter release and a custom, red twill strap to replace the horrible plastic strap Sony provided. I plan to gaffer tape the top and the orange ring around the lens. Who knows, I may find an old Voigtlander optical viewfinder in future as well.

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