On a recent assignment for National Geographic Expeditions, I got to return to Burma (also known as Myanmar) for the first time in about 15 years. The last time I was here, I stayed for a month, was shooting stills, and it was one of the last film assignments I did before going to digital. This trip would be shorter, 5 days, and my assignment would be to produce a short, mini-documentary film about the trip. These expeditions move fast, and there is no time for second chances, going back, re-shooting, or anything. I’ve been covering them for about 10 years now and I’ve honed my kit for run-and-gun video.
The RX10 (and now, for sure, the RX10 II) is my go-to machine. It’s small, rugged, compact, with superb image quality in both video and stills. I don’t have time to change lenses, and it the deserts, lakes, and dusty temples we go in and out of every day, switching out lenses could prove to wreak havoc on a sensor with all the dirt in the air.
The equivalent 24-200mm f/2.8 lens on the RX10 gives me a huge range of coverage, and the fact that the camera is weather sealed and the lens never comes off means that sensor dirt is just not possible.
But there are times when I want an ultrawide view, or want the nice bokeh of a wider aperture prime on a bigger sensor, and for those times, I have the α7S. Even though it is a full frame camera, I shoot my video in APS-C mode, using the 10-18mm, 30mm f/1.8, and 50mm/f1.8 E primes for this format. They are small, light and sharp and allow me to get the smooth bokeh, ultra wide perspectives and great lowlight quality when needed.
To round these out, I always take an RX100 III and a Sony Actioncam on these trips and they each come in handy for shots you just can’t get with any larger, or more obtrusive, cameras. I’m heading off on another round the world trip for National Geographic Expeditions early next year...by that time, I’ll have the RX10 II, Rx100IV, and who knows what else will come down the line for next version of the α7s...it’s a brave new world out there and it’s a pleasure to capture it with these Sony cameras.