Antonio Guillen with the Sony RX100

The Sony RX100 is a great camera for street photography. If you’re used to a full frame but want to ditch the large kit for travel then the RX100 is a very interesting camera. The RX100 is still new but is proving popular with street photographers who are used to DSLR cameras. This week we have a guest photographer Antonio Guillen to share with us his review of using the RX100 for street photography in Europe.

Antonio has won an Emmy for is documentary work.

Antonio has won an Emmy for is documentary work.

Antonio Guillen is an Emmy Award winning documentary journalist and has only recently started to explore street photography. I’m excited to see how his street photography evolves.

Antonio Guillen Journalist

Antonio is an investigative journalist by trade so his approach to street photography is very interesting.

Antonio picked up one of the first Sony RX100s and took it with him on a recent trip to Europe. I asked him to share some of his photos and some about the camera and his style of street photography. Enter Antonio…

I have a 7D Canon and the usual collection of lenses for my day job. There is definitely a big difference in size and weight between the 7D and the RX100, for me it was a matter of freedom of movement and lightness to roam in the narrow streets of Rome and the other cities I visited in Europe. I was looking for something like that and still with superb quality. The RX100 was both.

Antonio Guillen Street Photograph

Like a lot of mirror-less cameras, the RX100 seems to like being shot straight into the light.

Most of the time, my subjects didn’t even know I was taking their picture, and the ones that did, not once felt threatened by the small size of the RX100. Usually when using the Canon 7D to photograph people at close distance they react right away when they hear the shutter “click..click..click”. The shutter in the RX100 on the other hand, is almost silent and is very quick.

Antonio Guillen photograph

The RX100 allows for fast, candid shots in street situations.

I was shooting most of the time in Aperture mode. Automatic mode did an acceptable job, but I preferred the balance of control in the Aperture mode (since I didn’t have a lot of time to familiarize myself with all the other settings). You can actually go complete Manual, which is nice for a camera of this size. Aperture mode proved to be actually very good in most instances. Night shooting was excellent. Having an F/1.8 lens gives you plenty of room to shoot in low light conditions.

Up close street photo from rx100 sony

The Sony RX100 can be used for impromptu low angle candid shots.

The “feeling” of using the camera is like being almost invisible. The RX100 is very light to carry and you might forget that you are carrying a camera with you. It also feels “retro” with the leather cover that attaches onto the bottom of the camera. I felt like a photographer taking pictures in the 1940s, and since I am a Journalist I felt a little like a “War Photographer” on assignment. Maybe the only thing missing is an actual viewfinder. That would make the Sony RX100 “the mother of ALL cameras” for street photography.

rx100 low light photo sample

The RX100 handles low light, dark and gritty scenes with some noise but it feels more like film grain.

I had read about the cultural differences in taking pictures of people on the street in Europe. But Rome proved to be a very good place to shoot street photos. Looking at some of the other pictures on this blog, I still think that London is probably one of the most attractive place in the world to do street photography.

I would like to think that I can create (in people looking at my pictures) a link to a place and moment in time. I want to make the viewer feel like a real spectator of a realm of life that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to. My street photography should allow my subjects to “tell” a story with just a glimpse of their faces and bodies.

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7 thoughts on “Antonio Guillen with the Sony RX100

    • Thanks a lot Tony. The camera really worked for what I wanted to do. It is what it is…I didnt want to swap lenses…I didnt want my back hurting after several hours walking getting to know the cities I was visiting. It is very silent for street photography and you can shoot video in mp4 and full HD AVCHD. It has also 32 different effects built in. Excellent back up camera to go with your DSLR in case of emergency.

  1. wow! really informative! i’ve just started exploring street photography last week, but have been taking pictures with my canon ixus 115hs for a year now(the usual snaps)
    I’m really loving street photography, and there is no going back for me. I am also planning to upgrade since i want more control, i dont want a dslr cause of the size.. would you agree if i get this rx100 rather then the canon powershot g15. do you think this rx100 is far better than g15 in street photography aspect? please reply asap hehe cheers!

  2. “The RX100 Sony has a fixed lens that makes you a better street photographer by teaching you to move your feet.”

    The RX100 is fixed, in the sense that it’s not removable, but it’s a zoom. So how does that impel you to “move your feet?” Are you really simply never zooming? Admirable discipline, if you’ve settled on a focal length in the range that you want to use exclusively, but I don’t see the advantage of the RX100 over a camera that can take various primes, then. It seems to me that using primes is more apt to make one better, if the issue is changing camera to subject distance, than using a camera with a zoom.

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