Gaping Hill – In a Hole with the Sony RX1

Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | www.richardjwalls.com
Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | http://www.richardjwalls.com

With a trip to the Lofoten penciled in for this winter, I’ve been reluctantly (but increasingly) tempted by the “see in the dark” Sony A7s. The problem is that a new purchase would mean the sale of my beloved Sony RX1.

Before I could bring myself to draft the eBay listing I needed to test the RX1’s low light capability one more time, and where better than 330 feet down a hole in Yorkshire.

Once a year the Bradford Potholing Club (http://www.bpc-cave.org.uk/gaping_gill.htm) set up camp for the week and winch slightly mad people down Gaping Gill, a very large hole on the flank of Ingleborough in the Yorkshire Dales. With the RX1 stuffed safely in the pocket of my down coat (try doing this with an SLR!) I climbed into the cage, was bolted in, and headed in the general direction of down.

Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | www.richardjwalls.com
Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | http://www.richardjwalls.com
Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | www.richardjwalls.com
Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | http://www.richardjwalls.com
Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | www.richardjwalls.com
Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | http://www.richardjwalls.com

The decent is mainly lit by natural light from the top of the shaft. The cavern itself is lit by two yellow sodium lamps (UK street lights); not much lighting for a hole the size of York Minster!

Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | www.richardjwalls.com
Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | http://www.richardjwalls.com
Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | www.richardjwalls.com
Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | http://www.richardjwalls.com
Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | www.richardjwalls.com
Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | http://www.richardjwalls.com
Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | www.richardjwalls.com
Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | http://www.richardjwalls.com

As we waited our turn to decend into darkness we climbed Little Ingleborough. The shots below showing the camp (right foreground) and (left, distance) Pen-y-gent, were taken using panoramic and manual mode respectively.

Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | www.richardjwalls.com
Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | http://www.richardjwalls.com
Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | www.richardjwalls.com
Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | http://www.richardjwalls.com

Shooting Notes

Underground shots were taken handheld at ISO 10000, at F2 to F4, with no flash, in raw.

Post processed in Lightroom – zero sharpening, plenty of noise reduction.

I was pretty amazed that most of the shots were in focus!

Postscript

If it was down to low light performance only I’d stick with the RX1, but the extra versatility of the A7s will probably swing the decision.

More links

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-3097377/Journey-centre-Earth-Amateur-cavers-given-rare-opportunity-descend-360ft-Britain-s-biggest-known-cavern-15-person.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/wellbeing/outdoors/11630162/Potholers-winched-inside-epic-Gaping-Gill-cave-for-first-time.html

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/incredible-yorkshire-cave-waterfall-twice-5768426

http://www.richardjwalls.com


4 thoughts on “Gaping Hill – In a Hole with the Sony RX1

  1. I’m impressed with your low light shots of the RX1. I’ve been flip-flopping back and forth as to whether to pick one up for myself, or wait until the successor is released by Sony sometime in the next month or so.

    Any comments you can share about how the RX1 handles?

  2. Hi Mitch. For me at least it all seems to fall naturally to hand. The aperture and speed dials are where I want them. ISO is easy enough to set – easier than replacing a roll of film 🙂 – , function keys get me to where I want to be quickly. That said I’m a “keep it simple stupid” type so shoot manual and don’t often go into the menu system.
    It’s a nice solid chunk of metal but heavy enough to feel substantial. On a full days shooting I pair it with a grip and the EVF. If I just want a camera to hand I stick it in my pocket as is.
    I’ve been waiting for an RX2 to be unveiled – maybe with a curved sensor – but TBH unless it’s a game changer – big increase in dynamic range, see in the dark, etc. – I’ll most likely stick with the RX1. I’ve nowhere near made the most of it yet. Hope all this helps! Richard.

  3. Thanks for these photos. I also have the rx1 and I was debating between the A7s for caving photography. At ISO 10,000 the RX1 is too noisy. The RX1 is a winner as a go to compact all around camera but for caving I’m pretty sure I’ll also jump on the a7s as well. Hopefully the price continues to plummet 😀

    1. Hi Dong. I’d agree. I was pleased with what the RX1 produced but the A7s has to be the low light choice and I’m watching the price drop and planning to pick one up. But what about the A7sII? Sony seem to be on a roll at the moment and I can’t imagine what the mark II will be capable of when it’s announced.

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