Having taken some decent winter pics over the last few years, my Canon S110 has finally given up the ghost with various battery issues - which tend to get exacerbated by winter conditions! I have a lovely Lumix LX100 which I'm happy to take on winter climbs when the weather is reasonably OK, but am looking for something cheaper and potentially a little more hard-wearing for the other 90% of occasions! I'd thought about the Olympus Tough cameras, but have noticed how many times the RX100 gets an honourable mention on this forum, not least regarding its resilience and ability to function and maintain some battery life in the cold. A quick look on eBay tells me I can pick up a Mk 1 second hand for around £150 - a lot cheaper than a Tough camera - and I strongly suspect the RAW image quality will be better too.
I'd be most grateful if any of you who've used your RX100 in average-to-minging winter conditions could comment (including which version(s) of the camera you've used.) If you've a recommendation for a weather-resistant pouch, so much the better!
In reply to Tricadam: I'm not the only one on here who has killed an RX100 with damp, but don't know if anything else non water resistant is better. But I still bought another one because it was so good- just being more careful.
I recently bought a second hand but little used Lumix FT5 - that's a tough camera. It's been fun using snorkeling with kids and stuff but I haven't been super impressed with the quality of the photos - anyway, my son pulled his via ferrata kit out of the rucksack the other day and the camera fell out (in a light nylon pouch). The screen cracked despite the shockproof rating and then we found the next day that water got in through the crack. It still seems to work despite this, but overall I've not been super impressed. My Canon S110 also packed up after a maybe four years, which is why I bought the Lumix in a bit of a rush before going on a trip, but doesn't take as good photos and turned out to be not as tough as I thought either! I've been thinking about a second hand RX100 too, so interested in hear experiences like Robert's here!
> As a new-ish owner of an RX100, *how* damp? What, more preciselly, killed your RX 100s; just how careful is it necessary to be?
Mine died in the desert! Got damp when it snowed heavilly in the night near Las Vegas when I'd only bothered putting up the netting inner of my tent, then was ill and faded away in Wadi Rum the next time I used it a few weeks later Maybe if I'd dried it out more thoroughly it might have been ok.
I've used an RX100 mk1 for a few years now. I'm on my second one after the first one jammed up due to grit in the lens. My current one is around six months old. For the price I still couldn't find anything that looked better. There's obviously better options if you're prepared to pay for it, although the mk2 or 3 didn't have any major features that I thought were worth the extra investment. I couldn't justify spending any more since winter climbing evidently seems to shorten the camera's life to some extent.
I like the compact size that easily fits in my top pocket. It handles ok with gloves on for me, holding/shooting with one hand. Sometimes I rotate the shooting function dial by accident with gloves but it's obvious when I've done this.
I find the camera significantly under-exposes in winter climbing settings but I find I can easily/suitably correct this during RAW editing, and/or by increasing the camera around 1 stop to begin with. Be prepared for some mandatory editing in this respect though.
Thanks for the replies, guys. Robert, Lee, Chris: have you found a good case for it? Based on what folk are saying so far, I'm willing to risk the RX100 rather than a Tough camera for the improved image quality and vastly improved price! From what I remember from my research prior to getting the S110, image quality is fairly comparable.
Re exposure of winter climbing pics, I tend to shoot RAW and underexpose so that the sky isn't blown out, then recover the darker areas in Lightroom. Inevitably contrast is gonna be high: climber in shade on a north face silhouetted against the sky. Having a half decent camera and RAW makes such a difference.
The RX100 metering for me seems to always gauge things wrong in winter, whether shooting downwards or upwards. I'm mainly shooting on ice climbs in Norway so I might have different challenges to deal with. I find the camera handles contrast fairly well, it's just the metering. It seems to mainly be a problem in poorly lit snowy environments (ie typical winter climbing environments). In better light the metering is fine. If you like to start with things underexposed then it's probably perfect for you because it does that anyway! I'm sure you'll get good results after editing anyway .
I'm probably not the best person to ask about a case as I actually don't bother with one whilst on a climb. The climbing environment in Norway is a lot drier than Scotland so the top pocket of my hardshell gives enough protection. I've got one of the Sony soft cases that I use before/after a climb but it's a bit fat for me so wouldn't recommend it as the perfect soft case.
I've been using an rx100 as my climbing camera for over 3 years and it hasn't missed a beat, lots of winter routes, alps trips, dolomites etc. For a compact with a 1" type sensor it's very good. Agree with Lee about the metering, it always underexposes in wintery scenes. The other impact of this is very blue snow and hence in post there is a bit to do re exposure, white balance and inevitably lifting the whites to get the snow looking real. Now you mention ETTR to preserve highlights in the sky, but lifting shadows won't sort the issue with underexposing for snow and if you boost the whites you can end up blowing the sky... So while the RAWs are malleable there isn't so much processing latitude that dealing with the underexposure and blue snow becomes easy unfortunately. For winter climbing I've settled on about +2/3 exposure comp.
Re what you're saying, do you use Lightroom as your editor for the RAWs? The way I do it is to set white balance by using the wand to make a dull patch of snow a neutral grey. Then usually adjust the whole exposure up before majorly boosting the shadows, *dropping* the highlights to add texture to snow and sky, then boosting the whites till just below that point where stuff starts getting blown out. Works for the S110 and LX100 anyway.
> Thanks for the replies, guys. Robert, Lee, Chris: have you found a good case for it?
I keep mine in a padded Camera Care case, that I was lucky to pick up, on my harness when climbing (I rarely use it other than when climbing). However, I'm thinking of getting a tough camera for bad/wet conditions which I would keep in a chest pocket with no case.
The Tough-camera-in-pocket solution may yet prove necessary! In the interim £160 for an RX100 Mk2 from eBay seems a reasonable risk, particularly if the image quality will be good. Fingers crossed it survives the winter!
I've had my RX100 MK1 for over 3 yrs now and love it to bits. Its still going strong 'touch wood' and gives excellent results in my mind. I've not used it in any really harsh winter weather 'I only go out when the forecast is reasonable' but its always worked well in the cold.
I keep it in a padded camera case called an XEO delsey I bought yrs ago. It measures 140x100x60mm. Not sure if they are still made but its done its job.
I'm thinking about upgrading to a MK4 at some point in the near future. So if you are interested in buying mine send me an e mail.