Summary: If you don't anticipate a need for multiple lenses--which many users won't, given the crisp 24mm-to-120mm-equivalent lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.8--the Sony Cyber Shot DSC-R1 makes a worthy competitor to the dSLRs in its price range. It's a handy, versatile camera with excellent image quality.
Pros: Excellent image quality; an impressively flexible LCD screen that's viewable from many angles; a sharp Zeiss lens; effective white-balancing features; a wide range of ISO sensitivity; quick performance.
Cons: With most heavy components on the left side, the chunky body is somewhat off-balance; can't shoot raw in burst mode; the in-camera review function magnifies to only 5X.
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.
Conclusion: The DSC-R1 took great photos–as a $999 10-megapixel camera should. I highly recommend it for anyone who doesn’t want to spend a small fortune on lenses or doesn’t have any to begin with. The camera isn’t perfect but none are–it is heavy and a wider focal length would be a nice bonus. It’s also not as fast as a D-SLR with slower frames-per-second rate and response time. Still it is an excellent camera–and one of the best that arrived in 2005.
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