Sony RX1 review: shooting like a pro with a pocket-sized camera
7 January 2014
Summary: It’s hard to shoot pictures in the dark. You typically have the choice of either taking a blurry, dim photo, or using a flash and ruining the ambiance. So you buy a DSLR and an appropriately bright lens, but then you're toting around a big, clunky, and very obvious camera setup. But what if you could get the same quality pictures in low light with a camera that is significantly smaller? That’s the Holy Grail for many photographers.
Excerpt: Full-frame cameras are trending lately but Sony took the photographic world by surprise when they introduced the RX1--the first compact camera with a full-frame sensor. The camera's $2800 price tag may be out of reach for many people but even so, it's not so easy to dismiss the RX1 either for price or its fixed 35mm lens.
Pros: excellent image quality and lens sharpness, solid feature set, manual aperture ring
Cons: LCD difficult to use in bright light, movie record button awkwardly placed, autofocus somewhat sluggish in low light, relatively short battery life, expensive, fussy manual focus
Excerpt: Near-breathless anticipation is pretty much how you’d describe the mood when Sony announced plans for what, on paper, looked to be the most advanced compact camera ever . So magnificently crafted is the RX1, a pro-level shooter with a full-frame sensor and a fixed lens wrapped in a pocket-size body, even the $2,800 price tag couldn’t stymie the buzz. The high sticker probably even made it more desirable — for that money, hotness is all but guaranteed.
Summary: The RX1 is a small camera capable of astonishing image quality. Its handling marries classic camera ergonomics with a couple of cyber-shot quirks but it's still a lovely camera to shoot with. If a fixed 35mm lens will fulfill any of your shooting requirements, there's nothing to touch the RX1.
Pros: Excellent image quality in both JPEG and Raw, Full frame in a compact, well-built body, Dedicated aperture and exposure compensation controls, Exceptional build-quality - solid feeling without being too heavy, Superb high ISO output in both JPEG and Raw images, Essentially silent operation, Wide dynamic range Raw files, Pleasing metering and white balance results, Good level of customization to tune camera to your needs, Auto ISO and exposure comp. available in manual...
Cons: Autofocus speed not fast enough for moving subjects, Autofocus struggles in low light, Significant vignetting (as with similar lenses), corrections 'baked into' Raw files, Multiple button presses required to move AF point, No built-in viewfinder (and accessory options rather expensive), No focus guides for video shooters, Disappointing video quality even when in focus, Focus peaking in un-magnified live view would have been a major benefit, Rear shoulder dial makes it...
Summary: Good for: - Landscape photography, particularly when shooting panorama sequences for post-capture stitching. - Group portraits. - Street photography, especially scenic shots. - Shooting in low light levels. - Travel – if you can live with the fixed focal length lens. Not so good for: - Shooting sports and action. - Close-up shooting.