Sony RX1 Compact Camera Review

by Reads (699)
  • Editor's Rating

    Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

      • Image/Video Quality
      • 10
      • Features
      • 8
      • Design / Ease of Use
      • 8
      • Performance
      • 7
      • Expandability
      • 8
      • Total Score:
      • 8.20
      • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10
  • 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

Quick Take

The Sony RX1 has a full frame sensor and some amazing image quality. But will that be enough to justify the $2800 price tag?

The Sony RX1 is the first compact camera with a 24 megapixel full-frame sensor. It also has a manual aperture ring and fixed lens. The RX1 is a true photographer’s camera, which is reflected in its steep price of $2,800. Additionally, most users will find it lacks some bells and whistles and will want to purchase peripherals, which will only up the price. However, for photogs with deep pockets, it doesn’t get much better than the Sony RX1.

\"SonyDigitalCameraReview said the RX1 is “built with quality in mind, with its magnesium alloy body. The camera is 4.5×2.63×2.75-inches and weighs just over a pound. It’s not pocketable, but still easy to carry. The camera is also not weather proof. The RX1 doesn’t have a grip, but does feature a textured/rubberized surface that wraps around the right side of the device. DCR said the camera is “expertly designed and comfortable to hold and carry.” The control layout is well thought out and the camera offers a ton of customization. There is multi-interface/hotshoe on the center of the top deck to connect accessories. DCR was disappointed in the location and size of the movie button which is small and placed on the curved edge of the right side, making it difficult to access.

Due to the large amount of controls and customizations, users will rarely need to go into the main internal menu, but DCR found the menus to be logical and easy-to-navigate. The camera offers various modes including, auto, program, aperture-priority, shutter-priority, manual, three user custom modes, movie, sweep panorama and scene modes. The RX1 does not have an electric viewfinder, although users could purchase one as a hotshoe accessory. The camera does have a 3-inch high resolution LCD screen, which DCR notes works well in low-light conditions, but is difficult to use outdoors.

The camera has a speedy performance with little shutter lag and short shot-to-shot times. The continuous shooting speeds are five frames per second with locked focus and two fps in autofocus. DCR noted the autofocus works well in good light but is a bit sluggish in darker conditions and continuous autofocus is only available in video mode. DCR also found the flash and image stabilization is generally good, but noted the flash won’t light up an entire room. The battery, which is charged in the camera, produced less than 300 shots before dying, which DCR called “disappointing.”

The RX1 has a 35mm Carl Zeiss Sonar T fixed-lens and an aperture range of f/2.0-F/2.2. DCR said the aperture range provides users with a broad low-light shooting range, good bokeh and great depth of field. Additionally, the lens delivers crisp, well-detailed images. DCR loved working with the manual aperture ring, but noted the manual focusing ring has a slow response time. The RX1 can shoot video in full HD 1080p and in a space-saving lower resolution. DCR found the video quality to be “not exceptional, but good,” and noted its “surprisingly clear audio.”

DCR called the image quality “stunning” and said it “stands out above the rest.” The images are sharp and well-detailed.  The RX1 has an ISO range of 50-25600, which DCR found delivers great results but should only be used up to 6400 except in extreme circumstances.

Overall, DCR called the Sony RX1’s image quality “the unequivocal star- and rightly so.” DCR was also impressed with the camera’s solid feature set and manual aperture rings, but was disappointed in the LCD display, placement of the movie button and short battery life. The RX1 stands out in the advanced compact camera category, but with a hefty $2,800 price tag, it’s a device for professional and semi-professional photographers.

Check out DigitalCameraReview for a full review of the Sony RX1, including performance and specs.


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