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Old Jul 5, 2012, 2:42 AM   #1
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Default NEX-F3 or RX100

I want to buy a new camera and two Sony cams have caught my attention, the NEX-F3 and the RX100. Two different concepts and I can't decide which one suits me best. I hope you can help me make the decision.

I love taking potographs and always carry my camera with me, although I'm afraid I don't know much about photography. I've always used compact Canon, rather on the medium-high end, looking for a point-and-shoot camera that allowed some manual controls, although, to be honest, I mostly used the cameras in "P" and "Auto" modes. When I used my camera mostly for landscapes and architecture, I was happy with what I got. I did envy the quality of some of the pics taken by friends with DSLRs, but I didn't envy at all the extra weight. I valued portability and its limitations weren't so important for me.

My needs have changed now. Since the birth of my first kid, three years ago, I own a Canon SX200. The extra zoom, so useful for tourisim pictures, has been rarely used, and I get increasingly frustrated by its poor performance under low light, those flash pictures in which the background becomes a black curtain, and how incredibly slow it is when you have incredibly fast moving kids in the house. I'm not blaming the camera only, my lack of knowledge doesn't help, of course.

With all this, I'm seriously considering sacrificing portability and finally get a good camera that allows good indoors pictures, fast autofocus and that is good enough for the manual controls to actually make sense so I can start learning by trial and error. That's why the mirrorless cameras seemed like a good idea, but then again I read in these forums that mirrorless cams aren't quite as fast for AF than DSLR. My questions are:

- Mirrorless AF is not as fast as DSLRs but, is it considerably faster than compact cameras?
- Can anyone tell me if the new Sony RX100 is also faster than other compacts and how it compares with mirrorless such as NEX-F3?
- With all this long background I gave you about my needs (my apologies for making it so long and thank you for reading it), which would you say it suits me best? NEX-F3? RX100? Other suggestions?

Thank you very much in advance for your help
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 3:13 AM   #2
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If you wanted to remain "compact" the RX100 seems a good option...
http://www.techradar.com/reviews/cam...articleContent
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 5:20 AM   #3
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It is indeed a great option, thank you for your help. But this time I'm willing to compromise portability to fast AF and image quality. If someone that has had the chance to compare mirrorless cameras and the new sony RX100 and can tell me if the latter is as fast as the first and quality is almost as good then I'd definetely go for the compact. But if is not the case I'll be willing to have to carry a bigger camera if that means I won't get frustrated when taking pictures of my kids.
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 5:41 AM   #4
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There are two AF systems in common use in cameras: Phase Detection and Contrast Detection. Phase Detection is faster and more accurate than Contrast Detection. For the most part, only dSLRs have Phase Detection AF systems, but some cameras have Hybrid AF systems that have Phase Detection systems built into their image sensors. Neither the RX100 nor the NEX products have a Phase Detection or a Hybrid AF system (though a Phase Detection AF system can be added to a NEX camera, effectively making it a Sony Alpha SLT camera.)

It is unlikely that a single small child will consistantly confound a Contrast Detection AF system, so I don't think this should be much of a consideration.
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 7:20 AM   #5
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Quote:
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It is unlikely that a single small child will consistantly confound a Contrast Detection AF system, so I don't think this should be much of a consideration.
Thanks for the very complete explanation. I wouldn't say that my kids would confound the AF, but with the camera I have now, a Canon SX200IS, trying to capture their smiles, special moments, etc, it is frustrating, because it takes ages for the camera to shoot.
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 9:15 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasxmad View Post
Thanks for the very complete explanation. I wouldn't say that my kids would confound the AF, but with the camera I have now, a Canon SX200IS, trying to capture their smiles, special moments, etc, it is frustrating, because it takes ages for the camera to shoot.
That could be a consequence of multiple factors, not just AF speed. In general, lower level P&S cameras take longer to capture an image, and longer to process it, than dSLRs or even the cameras you're considering. Information on the RX100 is sparse, but the NEX line of cameras is reputed to be very responsive.
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Old Jul 6, 2012, 1:42 AM   #7
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Once again thank you very much. Your answer was of great help.
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Old Jul 9, 2012, 9:59 AM   #8
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I'd vote for the Nex as it will give you a system to grow with. As for speed to capture the Nex will be miles ahead of a point and shoot. The Nex will capture up to 5.5 frames per second in continous mode with focus fixed on the first shot, or 2.5 fps re-focusing in between shots. This plus the various smart modes available in the Nex like automatic face detection you will have a much better chance of catching the moment.
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Old Jul 27, 2012, 12:02 PM   #9
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Some of the new Canon's point and shoots are quite nice and are a great value, such as the SX40 and SX260, but they tend to be slower than Sony shot to shot.

In terms of choosing between the NEX-F3 or RX100, I would opt for the NEX-F3. While the RX is getting great reviews and deserves them, I think it will not last as long as the NEX. It's built well, but it's a point and shoot after all.

You need something versatile that finds a nice balance between portability and capabilities. The NEX-F3 with kit 18-55mm lens seems like a good starting point.
The larger sensor will just do more. I would try it out at store first if you haven't used the controls on the NEX, especially if shooting in manual.

If you don't like the controls, then I would recommend an SLT A57. That's a jump up in size, but it's excellent and will serve you well for taking pictures of an active child. It has a electronic view finder and many lens options, which you will want when starting outdoor sports.

Last edited by alpha-eos; Jul 27, 2012 at 12:04 PM. Reason: More info added
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