Conclusion: I'll start as I shall no doubt finish this little piece of editorial, the lens is worth the price of the DSC-R1 alone. That fact is not to be underestimated, it's a great lens which provides you with a very useful 24 - 120 mm zoom range (which will be sufficient for the majority of users). Doing the math it's pretty clear that you have to spend a fairly considerable sum on lenses for a D-SLR to get close to this range and the quality of the DSC-R1's lens.
Pros: Superb 24 - 120 mm F2.8 - F4.8 lens is worth the $999 alone, Good resolution, a slight advantage over the EOS 350D (not as much as we would like), Vivid, 'pleasing' color response, although may not be to everyone's taste, Low noise levels up to ISO 400, usable but NR affected ISO 800, noisy ISO 1600, Simple, easy to learn control system (hold button & turn dial, options displayed on screen), Unique APS-C size sensor in a fixed lens digital camera, Magnified manual foc...
Cons: In-camera image processor not making most of captured data (demosaicing, sharpening), Odd LCD location either difficult to get used to or a serious limitation (user dependent), Electronic Viewfinder is no substitute for an optical TTL viewfinder, Ridiculous maximum 3 frame buffer for continuous JPEG and no continuous RAW, Excessively large RAW files (20 MB, 9 sec write to CF), Below average write speeds to Compact Flash, Limited range of image parameter adjustments, L...
Conclusion: Sony Cybershot DSC R1 - Extraordinary digital camera Let it be clear that the Sony Cybershot DSC-R1 is an extraordinary camera indeed. This doesn't just limit itself to the design, but also covers the optics. The fact that the Sony R1 is equipped with a Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens greatly attributes to the test results. The Cybershot R1 really is a digital camera that awakens one's enthusiasm.
Excerpt: The most remarkable thing about the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1 is not what it does, but how it does it. Yes, this is the first consumer-level, non-SLR digital camera to offer 10 megapixels of resolution and an equivalent-speed range of up to ISO 3200. And both of these numbers are significant upgrades from the eight megapixels (or less) and ISO 800/1600 (or lower) of competing EVF models.
Summary: The Sony DSC-R1 is in a class by itself, its large sensor positioning it between the worlds of bridge cameras (whose basic design it uses) and SLRs. For the quality of the images it produces and its ability to use high sensitivity settings, it's on a par with SLRs, but can't replace them in demanding shooting situations - it lacks their rapid action and ability to adapt to all circumstances.
Excerpt: There are profound differences between digital SLRs and 'compact' or 'prosumer' cameras. It's not just the radically different optical viewing system employed in the SLR design, but the sensor size too. Non-SLRs use sensors the size of a child's fingernail.
Excerpt: This was one of the most anticipated digital cameras of 2005 and it arrived in November for under $999. The just-introduced 12.8MP Canon EOS 5D ($3,299) was the other object de lust since it’s the world’s “smallest and lightest” full frame D-SLR. With full frame cameras there’s no “digital factor” so all lenses including fish-eyes are their true focal lengths. Before the 5D you’d have to spend seven grand to get this convenience.
Summary: In use the R1 certainly feels like it's delivering the goods, starting quickly
and feeling responsive under general conditions. The build quality and ergonomics
are of a very high standard and the camera feels comfortable to hold.
Then there's all the benefits of a live view system: composition using a flip-out
screen and real-time feedback including histograms and an optional grid to aid
Pros: Excellent quality lens with useful range, Large sensor for all-in-one body, High resolution beats 6 and 8 Mpixel D-SLRs, Flexible 2in display
Cons: Noise not as low as we hoped above 400 ISO, Harder to manually focus than D-SLRs, Tiny three frame buffer, No movie mode
Excerpt: The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1 ($999) is arguably one of the biggest revolutions in consumer digital photography in recent years. While most companies continue to pile more and more pixels into small sensors (Sony has been guilty of this too), the DSC-R1 uses a new CMOS sensor that is dramatically larger than what most cameras offer. How much larger?
Pros: Stunning image quality; high ISO performance rivals D-SLRs, High quality 24 - 120 mm lens, Very good performance (though see issues below), Large, rotating LCD (though see issues below), Full manual controls; shutter speeds as slow as 8 minutes, Manual zoom and focus rings, RAW image format supported; good RAW software included, Low redeye levels, Dual memory card slots, Support for conversion lenses, external flash, and wired remote, Very good battery life, USB 2.0 H...
Cons: Pricey (though getting an equivalent lens on the SLR side will cost thousands), Unusual design: top-mounted LCD is awkward, button layout is cluttered, command dial needs a lock, Disappointing burst mode (only three shots in a row, RAW not usable), Buffer fills quickly when shooting in RAW mode, Hologram AF system from F828 is missed, No movie mode, Weak software bundle, aside from RAW software, An optical viewfinder would've been really nice