My trusty Sony RX100 went belly up on Christmas Day! I used it on Christmas Eve when we went into New York City to see a play and all was well. Then on Christmas Day I picked it up to take a picture of the meal I’d prepared. It started up, but all I got was a screen full of brightly colored patterns. When I turned it off the lens refused to retract. I’ve tried resetting it, but it didn’t help. It looks like it’s kaput.

This would normally be a reason for dismay. I’d had the camera for three years and it had been with the almost constantly. Over that period I’ve taken significantly more pictures with the this camera (probably because I always have it with me) than I have with my other two digital cameras (a seven year old Sony Alpha 500 and a six year old Sony NEX 5N). Every year around this time I do a post on my favorite pictures of the year – 10 color and 10 black and white. This year of the 20 pictures 12 of them were taken with the RX100.

So why am I not dismayed?

First, I think I’ve had my money’s worth. I bought the camera second hand (as I recall) for less than $300. That’s about 27 cents a day – significantly less than a cup of Starbucks coffee per day.

Second, I’d already been thinking about an upgrade. Although I loved it, the camera was not perfect. I didn’t like: the maximum f4.9 aperture at the long end of zoom range; the lack of a tilting LCD (I have trouble taking shots low down as I can’t see the screen); the lack of a viewfinder etc. I’d read that some of the later models provide improved functionality in these areas. It’s quite an expensive camera though and somehow while the old one was working I was able talk myself out of upgrading. But now it was dead…

I’ve never had a camera die on me, but I did leave one on a train and another in a taxi. Usually I go through a protracted period (often leading to paralysis) where I try to decide what the replacement should be. I considered having it repaired (at around $300 too much for a camera that I bought for less than that. I thought about replacing it with the same model (but then I wouldn’t get the new features I wanted and I’d still be out about $400). I debated not replacing it at all and just living my NEX and Alpha 500 (but then I wouldn’t always have a camera with me because they are both too big). I pondered a similar option: don’t replace but instead get a Sony 6000, which is arguably a better camera and much cheaper without a lens (I have a number of e-mount lenses and adapted legacy lenses) but this had the same problem as the NEX: not portable enough. Surprisingly I went through this process much quicker than I have in the past and decided that I would get a later model RX100, but which one? The model II didn’t seem to offer enough and the models IV and V cost more than I was willing to page (and I didn’t need the additional features they offered all that much).

So I ordered the Sony RX100 model III. It should be delivered tomorrow.

The picture above is one of the last to be taken with my old model I. Taken in Times Square it looks as if I’ve desaturated everything but the bright red chairs.. But I haven’t. I really was like that.

This is also the 1500th post on this blog.

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