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Sony Cybershot DSC-RX1 Above 10 Megapixel
The Sony RX1 isn't your standard run-of-the-mill point-and-shoot camera. In fact, it's the world's first full-frame compact digital camera. It uses the same 24-megapixel full-frame sensor as the Sony A99 digital SLR and it has a very serious 35mm f/2.0 Carl Zeiss prime lens. Photographers who want the very best image quality and don't mind paying for it, the RX1 is your camera.
Submitted by Greg McCary a Intermediate
Date Reviewed: June 18, 2013
Strengths: Small size, amazing image quality, Carl Zeiss lens, silent shutter, ease of use, just plain fun
Weaknesses: slow focus in low light, Leica pricing on accessories, high price, manual focus with the LCD, battery life.
So I call my RX-1 "The Terminator" Yes it the Arnold Schwarzenegger of the point and shoot world. It leaves the other P&S cameras laying in a waste land. Plus this is the most fun I have had with a camera in a long time. I have had it just a few short weeks and am still being amazed at the pictures it produces. High ISO images will knock your socks off.
When I first received the camera I was struck at just how small it was. If the lens was a touch smaller it would be a true pocketable camera. Something pros have been wanting for years. A pocketable camera that delivers pro quality pictures. But the RX-1 is just a little big to be a real pocketable option.
I am not going to get into the subject of, does it cost to much or is it a niche' item. Either you want one or you don't. Some photographers just have to have that play pretty toy that is different and delivers.
The ergonomics of the RX-1 if really nice. The button and dial layout is simple and effective. It feels and handles like a high end piece of equipment as you would expect from such a camera in this price range. The aperture ring has a perfect amount resistance just like a high end Carl Zeiss. I have read some say that lenses like this are generally not made by Carl Zeiss and are just branded with their name as a selling point. I would have to beg to differ here. The lens has the Carl Zeiss quality and feel and certainly the image quality. The lens can be switched from normal shooting to macro by turning the lens dial. This takes some getting use to as I have missed a couple of street shots because I had left it in macro mode. Also the RX-1 has to be in auto mode to use it in macro. It took me awhile to figure that out as I am one not to read manuals right away. Only when I get stumped I start reading. In macro mode is when you really see the quality of the lens as cropping in on the subject you see just how sharp it is. More proof it's a true Carl Zeiss lens.
The menu is much like ever Sony you have ever used. Sony has finally figured out how to simplify a menu and it's easy to navigate. There is not a lot of button programmability when compared to something like the OMD EM-5 which seems endless. But the buttons on the dial wheel and the C button being programmable provides ample enough flexibility to customize it for me.
The biggest issue I have had is focusing. It is slow in low light and can hunt or not do anything at all. Manual focus on the LCD in bright light is really a challenge. Focus peaking helps a great deal but even at that I would highly recommend the electronic view finder. I mean if you are going to lay out this much for a camera just go ahead and figure it in to the final price. It is the one accessory that at some point will be a have to have item if you are going to use the RX-1 extensively or for years to come. It will make a big difference in using it.
The electric view finder is also very nice. The image is bright and easy to see and can be pivoted up to 90 degrees which is a nice touch. The refresh time is good so no flickering or blanking out for any period of time. I assume you could get an optical finder but the Sony Carl Zeiss finder is way to expensive. Buying an Olympus or Voigtlander is a better option.
If you want to buy accessories get ready for some Leica pricing. The Sony lens hood is $178.00 and the thumb grip $250.00. So expect Leica type pricing on accessories. But the bright side is there isn't very many accessories available. There are a couple of third party grips that are priced better and do a better job but still costly.
The battery life is not good but extra batteries come in one of the bundles and you will need at least three.
The one big thing this camera has is superior image quality and high ISO quality you only see in Nikon full frame. It is just off of the charts good.
The RX-1 reminds me some of the Canonet QL-17 in operation. The shutter is almost silent as the QL-17 is also.
I don't think this camera is for everybody and in no way would buy it to be my only camera. It's far to limiting for that. But with that I am having more fun with it than any camera I have owned since my first Leica M. It's the camera I grab when I am heading out the door in a hurry. If you can get past the price you will love it. The review is on the short side but is due just to the simplicity of the RX-1. It's just a simple camera that produces amazing images. ISO is just a number not an issue.
Price Paid: $2800.00
Purchased At: amazon
Similar Products Used: NEX series, Pen series, Fuji Xpro1
Type of photography: Outdoor
Submitted by Thomas Yeo a Intermediate
Date Reviewed: April 16, 2013
Strengths: Excellent lens and astounding sensor, producing images that will really leave you gasping!! That's enough for me to complement my A77 and 24-70mm Zeiss zoom. Great for portraits and scenery.
Weaknesses: None whatsoever as you need to understand the purpose this camera is created for - a first class 35mm camera so do not wish it should have zoom and mix up with cheaper cameras that try to give you everything.
It is a great companion camera to go along side a good DSLR as it is more portable and capable. I had it along with my A77 with the 18-200 mm lens taking care of zoom and RX1 taking care of closer ups and portraits. After I view the images, I am more than satisfied with what it can do.
The cost is well worth it.
Type of photography: Outdoor
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