The "plum rain" season is just about to start. The origin of the word, as with many Japanese words, is Chinese. It's written 梅雨 and is pronounced つゆ / tsuyu or ばいゆ / baiyu in Japanese (it can be difficult for those not familiar with Japanese sounds to pronounce "tsu"), and "méiyǔ" in Chinese. That means lots of altostratus cloud cover, consisting of almost white skies above, and super-humidity at ground level.
If I were a plant, which I am not, I would love this time of year. Moisture is everywhere. Rain is frequent. There's no such thing as dryness this time of year. Even though the temperature today was a sizzling 28ºC, the humidity was over 90% for most of the day. The air feels compacted.
With the heat and humidity in mind, I borrowed Charlotte's RX100 compact camera for the day, as I fancied trying it out. I'd been meaning to for a while, and have played with it a little, but having it for the day was a real treat. I really enjoyed the small size of the camera (literally pocketable), and it's utterly silent in operation.
The word "compact" means different things to different people. To many, it means:
A compact is cosmetic product. It is usually contained in a small, round case, with two or all of the following: a mirror, pressed powder cake, or loose powder with a gauze sifter, and a powder puff. The term is an abbreviation for "compact powder".
But it can also mean:
Closely and neatly packed together; dense: a compact cluster of houses.
• having all the necessary components or features neatly fitted into a small space: this compact car has plenty of boot space.
• (of a person or animal) small, strong, and well proportioned.
• (of speech or writing) concise in expression: a compact summary of the play.
To many, the term "compact" usually means a kind of compromise in some respect. I mean, a real camera is full-frame, weights around 1kg, and has a massive lens in front, right? How about the 1Dmk3?
Well, if you're shooting medium format every day, then "full frame" cameras are somewhat compact. You see, such terms are subjective, and relative.
Either way, the RX100 is absolutely compact. I had it in my pocket for most of the day! It's also very easy to fully operate with one hand. The lens appears to deliver very sharp results across the frame, at a range of focal lengths.
The sensor seems to deliver good dynamic range. I put the photos through the exact same Lightroom workflow I use with my other cameras, and kept forgetting I was working with RX100 files. I was very impressed.
I used the camera in aperture priority, with ISO 100 all-day. The OSS is handy, but the lens is pretty fast at its widest – f/1.8
All day, I forgot I had the camera on me until I wanted to take a photo. I took the photo quickly, and easily. Then at home, looking at the RAW files, I kept forgetting each image was from a "compact camera". I doubt I could have taken better photos with any of my other cameras or lens combinations, though I do think a bit differently with a prime than a zoom. However, this little RX100 holds its own against the full-frame RX1 and A7R cameras.
And if that isn't high praise, I don't know what is.