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The new Sony DSC-RX1 is the world's first 35mm compact digital camera, with a small camera body that houses 24.3MP full-frame sensor. The camera has a built-in 35mm f/2.0 Carl Zeiss Sonnar T lens; Taking advantage of the high quality images that a full-frame sensor can deliver, the camera is said to shoot "clean" high-ISO images up to 25,600, and Accurate high speed auto focus (AF).
Sony DSC-RX1 Key features:
Full-frame 24MP Sensor
35mm f/2 lens
Full HD 24p video with manual control and audio output
Max. ISO 25,600 Claimed AF speed of 0.13 sec
Full-resolution burst rate 5fps
3 dedicated rings for aperture, focus, and macro
Quick navigation and control shortcuts
MR mode recalls up to 3 preferred setting combinations
9 iris blades for good Bokeh
Multi-interface shoe for flash, light, microphone
3-inch LCD monitor
Auto HDR capture
Two aspect ratios
Built-in flash (GN6)
The Sony DSC-RX1 is clearly aimed at serious photographers who are already comfortable with manual exposure and focus control, and who may already own a DSLR and are looking for a sophisticated little camera to augment their big rigs. By putting a prime lens on the camera, Sony was able to use the best glass possible - a good thing, because a lesser lens's optical issues would show up clearly on a full-frame 24MP sensor. And, as the first compact 35mm digital camera, it is likely to be embraced by high-end aphotographers.
Let's take a closer look at the Sony DSC-RX1.
The world's first 24.3 MP effective 35mm full-frame sensor offers an ISO range of 100-25,600; 14-bit RAW image data recording further improves image gradation, while the BIONZ image processor enables up to 5 fps high-speed continuous shooting. Sony also offers a mode in which the camera captures six images in a fraction of a second, and combines the data from all images to create a single image that they claim reduces noise by two stops. Shutter lag is claimed to be 0.13 for focus speed - a DSLR-like performance.
The Sony DSC-RX1 can also capture full HD 24p video, with manual control and audio input. Users can enter Program, Shutter, Priority, Aperture priority, Shutter Priority, or Manual exposure mode when shooting movies. In addition to a built-in Stereo microphone, the camera offers an external mic jack for off-camera microphones.
Ergonomically, the Sony DSC-RX1 offers three control rings for aperture, focusing and macro controls, and a Quick Navi setting lets users quickly access other camera settings. MR (memory recall) mode can memorize up to three groups of the user's preferred settings. Settings include zoom magnification, white balance, exposure compensation, shutter speed, drive mode and metering modes. This enables quick switching of settings. Manual focus is aided by peaking, which highlights the edges that are in focus in your choice of three colors (white, red, or yellow). This is especially helpful during macro or portrait photography.
This camera has two Autofocus modes: Single-shot AF (AF-S) or Continuous AF (AF-C), which tracks moving objects. It also has Manual Focus for manual focusing freedom, and Direct Manual Focus (DMF), that first uses autofocusing to focus on the subject, and then allows fast and easy switching to manual focusing for even more precise adjustment.
The Sony DSC-RX1 has a "multi interface shoe," which can accommodate accessories such as a newly-designed flash unit, an electronic viewfinder, an optical viewfinder, thumb grip, clip-on LCD monitor for video, and more. The built-in LCD monitor measures 3 inches and has 1.229k dots resolution.
The Sony DSC-RX1 has built-in HDR which combines three shots that can be as far as 6 EV stops apart. The built-in flash is small and projects a modest amount of light, which is fine for fill and close-distance lighting, and the camera offers all of the usual flash modes.
Then there are the way-cool features: Sweep Panorama (Press the shutter, sweep vertically or horizontally. The camera continuously shoots images and stitches them together.) Face detection and registration (and it can prioritize focus on children or adults), and self-portrait auto framing (shoots a quick vertical portrait with perfect composition after you've shot the horizontal) are the kinds of features you'd find on a compact camera.
Rounding out the Sony DSC-RX1's feature list is its 15 creative modes (Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Clear, Deep, Light, Twilight, Night View, Autumn Leaves, B&W, Sepia, Sunset, Portrait and Landscape.), the ability to fine-tune saturation, contrast and sharpness to taste, and Picture Effect mode, which applies fun filters to images including Soft Focus, Posterization, Retro Photo, High Contrast Monochrome, Rich-tone Monochrome, Miniature, Soft High-key, Toy Camera, Pop Color, Partial Color, Watercolor Painting, HDR Painting, and Illustration.
Yes, the Sony DSC-RX1 is a premium-priced camera. But if the camera performs as predicted, it will be the best compact digital camera money can buy.
I had the privilege of comparing the RX1 to the Sony A7 & A7R, Olympus OMD EM-1 and the FujiFilm X-T1. All of these cameras are wonderful but they just don't measure up to the RX1 in terms of edge to edge sharpness. The 55/1.8 on the Sony A7 comes very close but the RX1 still wins out. However, if I was just shooting portraits the A7R/A7 with the 55/1.8 is tough to beat. The EM-1 and the X-T1 are both awesome camera's with tons of features but they just can't compete with the full-frame Sonys in terms of detail, low light, shallow depth of field and dynamic range. I've tried very hard to replace the RX1; I even sold my first RX1 and bought the Sony A7R thinking that it would produce better results with the larger sensor and FE Zeiss 35 mounted on it - wrong. Center sharpness was great but the corners were bad. The first curtain shutter shock inherent to the A7R diminished sharpness with many lenses. The shutter shock on the A7R forced me to sell it and replace it with the A7. I'm very happy with the A7 but still doesn't quite produce the same results as the RX1. Ended up repurchasing the RX1 in the form of the RX1R. No matter how hard I tried I simply couldn't replace it.
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Couldn't be more happy with this investment. Once you get up to speed on some of the basic tools it is a dream to shoot. It makes ordinary scenes pop with color and life. As an amateur photographer, and avid traveler this is my device of choice. Dragging a full frame DSLR around screams attention whether traveling abroad or at home and it's not always the attention you want. This thing is so compact and provides DSLR quality photos that it just checks off everything on my check list
Retired ....love the size of the RX1..it is sharp..easy to use..Great for travel and downsizing from my big DSLR's and lenses..
Remember the old folding Kodaks (and others) that used rollfilm and that our grandfathers and great-grandfathers carried on every trip, and how proud they were of the results -- especially if they were lucky enough to have good lenses built into their cameras? The RX1 is the modern re-embodiment of that ideal of a picture-maker. It is quite easy to use, has a great Zeiss lens built in, and as a bonus it's much more compact than the old-time folders were. My RX1 arrived about an hour before we were due to leave for a Christmas Eve caroling session. The battery was somewhat charged, but for extra luck I stuck it into the charger while we were finishing our preparations, and installed it and a memory card into the RX1 as we were leaving. No time for trial shots, but a couple of hours later I had more than 60 fine photos on the card, all perfectly exposed (aperture-preferred auto mode) and true to life. I have since read the instruction booklet (which is very basic only), but if you have had any experience with digital cameras, the RX1 really explains itself as you go along. It's just a lovely camera to have with you in case anything interesting occurs. I bought mine with the electronic viewfinder, for which I have also written an Adorama review that might interest you. I must say that the camera, though small and compact, is not actually pocketable unless you're wearing an overcoat with large pockets or the like; and the viewfinder, when attached, adds to the lack of pocketability. But it's easy to carry this combo with a strap, and not at all heavy; you could also spring for the camera's neverready case (which wouldn't hold the accessory finder), or better yet any small general-purpose carrying bag that would also hold extra batteries (which you'll probably need if you're traveling on a vacation trip), the charger, and a supply of memory cards, not to mention a lens hood for sunny climes. There's a complex method of digital zoom built into the camera but almost entirely unexplained in the instruction booklet. It won't work in RAW mode, and I believe that making large prints from relatively small portions of the RAW image will give you better pictures, in the end, than you'll achieve using the digital zoom in the camera's "Standard Mode". I have yet to make detailed comparisons, but I'd suggest that you make them for yourself before you settle on using the digital zoom feature. Obviously, since the 35mm f/2 lens is a permanently mounted semi-wideangle optic, I wouldn't choose the RX1 for most professional assignments; I'd stick with my Fuji X-Pro1 and the lenses I use wth it. The RX1 is for personal documentation: it's essentially a camera for memory-keeping. Would I have designed it differently? Perhaps a bit. I don't see that incorporating an articulated LCD screen would have added any notable extra weight or thickness, and it would certainly give the user much more flexibility in lining up his shots. I would also have incorporated some sort of lock into the design of the accessory shoe and the goodies that mount onto the shoe, so that the accessories couldn't slip loose and fall off. In the end, though, for what it is the RX1 deserves its five stars!