Above: Self-portrait with the Sony RX100 Mark III
I started off making a few images with my Canon 5D Mark II, then pulled out the Sony to give it a whirl. I wasn't sure how to make any shots work, as I had never done a night sky shot with a small point and shoot camera before. Even though the Sony RX100 series is a camera that will fit in your pocket, it does have a full complement of manual controls. Some of the controls are not that intuitive, though. It took me a little while to figure out how to get the aperture set the way I wanted it, but eventually I got it figured out. I also wasn't sure if autofocus would even work, so I just set the camera to manual focus and turned the control ring until the focus was set at infinity. Then, I turned the long-exposure noise reduction on and proceeded to make some images.
Above: Using the Sony with a Joby Gorillapod at a local waterfall - Photo by my wife Jessica Barr!
I was blown away by the results! I took a few 30 second exposures at f/1.8 and ISO 3200, and a few 20 second exposures at f/1.8 and ISO 6400. I really couldn't tell much of a difference between the two. Noise levels seemed to be almost equal between the two settings. Even harder to believe, the shots looked almost as good as those that come off my 5D Mark II, a large SLR camera with a full-frame sensor! I tried not to let my excitement get the best of me, though. I know sometimes the camera's LCD can fool you into thinking a shot is better than it actually is. Getting them on the computer and viewing them at 100% would be the real test. Well, after getting them on the Mac and viewing them at 100% I can tell you that the image quality is UNBELIEVABLE! I thought I would end up with a shot that would be okay with viewing on screen, but not good enough to make a print. Quite the contrary, I am fully comfortable with sending this file in to have a large print made from it! The image quality from this little camera is nothing short of amazing. I never thought I would be able to produce images of the night sky of such quality with such a small camera. Message to Sony: You Rock!