1st Look at the Sony RX1R Camera! A few detail shots.

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1st Look at the Sony RX1R Camera! A few detail shots.

Just took possession of the new Sony RX1R and RX100II cameras, both of which are additions to the RX line instead of replacements. No, Sony is not discontinuing the original RX1 or RX100, they will be sold side by side with these new offerings for those who want a choice. I thought that was odd seeing that the new RX1r is the same price as the RX1 but offers a bit more detail. Who wouldn’t choose the new R?

Will you see a difference between the RX1 and RX1R? Click the image below for a full size from RAW file at f/2

I highly suggest looking at these on a nice display. iPhone or iPad viewing will not show you what this camera is capable of.

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When asked why someone would take an RX1 over the new RX1R, seeing as they are both the same price and same camera except for the AA filter missing in the RX1R version, I was told that those who shoot JPEG will not want to upgrade as they will really not see a difference. The new “R” model is for those who want that last ounce of detail from the camera, which will only be visible when shooting RAW. In other words, it’s all in the processing. If you are a serious shooter and shoot and process RAW files and want the most detail you can get, the RX1R will be for you.

Below is almost a 100% crop from a full image

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one more with crop…the detail is staggering. Again, you must click it for large size and 100% crop. High quality display is recommended.

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The RX1R will still have the same IQ, same high ISO capability, same color, same lens, same sensor, same body and same everything as the RX1. It does not focus faster nor does it have anything new besides the missing AA filter which does indeed give more details when viewing at 100% or printing large. In other words, if you own an RX1 there is no need to sell for an RX1R as you will most likely never see the difference and due to the missing AA filter you may even see some moire pop up in some situations.

The RX1s has fantastic color just as the RX1 does

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If buying new today I would take an RX1R just to have that extra ounce of performance as moire does not bother me in the slightest and in my quick sample shots I have not seen it pop up at all.

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After testing the RX1R out for a few shots on the beach and in lower light at dinner, I am blown away by the sharpness and detail of what this little guy can do. It is no secret in internet camera land that I LOVE the RX1. Now I love it even more with the R version just because it gives us that little bit of more bite and detail. The original is no slouch in the resolution department but the R just gives that little bit more, just as the Nikon D800 vs D800E does.

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I will do a refresh review very soon as I use the camera more including a side by side with the RX1, same scene, same shot, etc. I have this loaner for a little while so I hope to show the difference, which is indeed slight, but there.

Take a look at the 1st few shots below taken with the RX1R, the 1st one is full size, saved as a “9” JPEG in CS6. Click it for full size and check out the detail where I focused, on the big toes. This was shot at…f/2. Wide open. So the softness you see on the sides is where the shallow DOF comes into play by shooting up close and wide open.

 Click for full size image. This was at f/2, wide open and up close. I focused on the big toes where you can see the detail in the sand grains. 

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This shot is cool as you can see the sand detail and rich tonality. 

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The overhead pelicans – click it for larger! Converted this one to B&W.

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Another full size image – shot at f/4 – you must click it to see the full size.

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and a few more snaps throughout the day with the RX1R

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ISO 12,800 at night at an outdoor pub, B&W JPEG from camera

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and one in color at ISO 6400…at night

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You can Pre-Order the Sony RX1R at Amazon HERE or B&H Photo HERE. It is expected to ship in 2-4 weeks. The RX1R comes in at the same price as the RX1 at $2798.

The camera has a full frame sensor, a fixed and amazing 35mm Zeiss f/2 lens all in a compact solid and pro build metal body. This RX1r is the same exact camera as the original RX1 minus the AA filter for enhanced detail. I will be doing a full refresh review with side by sides with the RX1 and tripod landscape style shots. I see no reason to buy the original RX1 if you have not yet splurged for one yet if you did buy an original RX1, I see no real reason to sell and upgrade. Both will deliver fantastic results as they are.

More soon and I will do a refresh review of the RX100II as well. Stay tuned!

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65 Comments

  1. Nice review. I will be purchasing my very first camera in next month or so. I need one camera for landscapes and for street photography. RX1r is good for street shots but one camera for all is not that ideal scenario, that i understand. Fixed lens 35mm is one of my favorite, i do like 25mm also, so there goes the point for the dslr.
    What do you recommend for the first camera:
    1) Sony RX1r with minimal accessories: $3911
    2) Nikon d800 + Zeiss 35mm f2.0: $4211
    3) Canon eos 5d mk3 + Zeiss 35mm f2.0: $4932

    • Id take the RX1R (and did) but if you want IC lenses, go with an Olympus OM-D. Will get you 95% of what the DSLR’s can do in a much smaller package and for less money. For me, I would not buy a D800 or 5D today as they are much too large, bulky and heavy. Expensive as well with nice lenses. The RX1R is $2800 and the only accessory needed is the EVF. So total cost would be $3200 not $3911. If you want a case I would recommend the Gariz case over the Sony. Better, nicer, cheaper better usability.

  2. Thanks Johan. I finally bought RX1R and very happy with the purchase. obviously the 35mm can be limiting sometimes but the sharpness and skin tones RX1R produces are great.
    I used to have X100 and though colors are different, there are differently nice.

  3. I’m a Pentax owner and this camera has somehow got me thinking of purchasing it. I love the basic camera idea(full frame, great lens, small body). That said there is no way I can pull the trigger on $2800 for this camera with its limitations. Don’t get me wrong it looks great but it’s something I think would lose a ton of value in a very short period of time.(The idea that camera lens hold their value and the bodies lose them. This is one unit, kind of spooks me to drop that kind of cash on one)

    The bigger question for me is what is Sony going to release next? Any chance of interchangeable lenses in the future of a similar body? Will they release an RX camera a bit cheaper with a EVF? The RX1R has a ton going for it but at $2800 its a little more than my entire Pentax system(2 primes and 2 zooms)

    That said my DSLR sits around too much as everyone else probably has similar problems. I love the basic premise behind Leicia but thats way too much money for me. The RX1 priced itself at a range where im thinking “Hey I could swing this”. Then reality sets in that its still going to be a 3 grand+ investment when all is said and done. Sony is almost there for me but it either will have to drop the price by a pretty hefty amount(at least to $1800 in its current configuration) or make some big changes so this is a more flexible system.

      • I’m going to wait it out. I want my next camera purchase to be full frame. The Sony system is oh so close as it stands and I want to see if any other players enter into this market.

        Besides the RX1s will probably see major price dropping at some point and or a revised version from Sony that handily beats out the RX1.

  4. pretty amazing little camera. seriously thinking of purchasing. I am a weekend wanabee photographer who finds the dslr sitting around too much. do you think this can legitimately take the place of my nikon dslr 600 full frame

  5. A very nice camera (both rx1 and rx1r). It´s just the missing viewfinder I don´t like about it. So I say: Sony! Get rid of the (in most situations useless) flash and deliver the camera with a built-in EVF.
    I would even pay more for that cause I had to buy the EVF anyway and it´s expensive, but worth the money (almost).
    I think this would also be better for people who want to use a flash (I don´t), because they´d be able to use a viewfinder and flash at the same time. I just guess no one really want´s to use the internal one.
    You have to carry around a VF anyway, cause in my opinion using the backscreen is no option).

    Sorry for my english. Thanks for all the very usefull “Real-Live Reviews”.
    paTrick

  6. Any softening introduced by an AA filter can readily be eliminated by deconvolution/deblurring sharpening, best performed in the raw stage. Hence, images from the RX1 can be brought to the same level of sharpness and detail as those from the RX1R. I have demonstrated this fact in this post from DPreview:

    http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/51734531

    Hence, removing the AA filter will result in more instances of moire without providing any real IQ benefit, if one performs the proper sharpening technique. Moire can be nasty and difficult to remove, whereas AA filter softening is a snap. In my book, Photo Ninja’s deconvolution is the best of any raw convertor. ACR/LR’s is comparatively weak.

    BTW, I have demonstrated the same effect with the Pentax K-5II and K-5IIs (no AA filter). With Photo Ninja’s sharpening (deconvolution) applied to the K-5II, the images are virtually indistinguishable.

    • I will be doing refresh reviews of the RX100Ii and RX1R. This was neither. This was a quick 1st look at the R. Both will be refreshed in a future post. Thanks

      • Thanks Steve!

        With that being said, I’d like to let you know that I’ve been lurking around on your website for a long while now. Your reviews and overviews have been a big inspiration for me! Whenever I’m looking at any new lenses, equipment, etc, I always come to your site first before making a decision! I really like your style of reviews – showing how the camera is used and can be used in real-life situations rather than comparing numbers and specs!

        I was a Canon DSLR shooter before, and after I read your reviews for the mirrorless systems, I’ve finally decided to pick up the Sony NEX-5N last year! Now I’m thinking about downsizing (again) and I’ve been looking forward to your review for the RX100 MK2. I also read your review for the Ricoh GR and I was hoping for a this review so I can decide whether to go for the Ricoh or the new Sony!

        Anyhow, I patiently await for your new reviews! Thanks again for the reviews Steve! Your work is amazing and I’m definitely a fan!

  7. I own the new Ricoh GR (NO aa filter). I am generally blown away by the camera overall. I shot a bunch of pics one day with my wife in a vineyard type setting. I was wearing a new expensive tee shirt with a very tight grain pattern. I didn’t notice while shooting, but when I got home there were TONS of ugly moire on every picture where I was within 5 -10 of the GR. LR5 has a great tool for removing even tough moire but the amount of moire was disturbing and pretty much runed a bunch of pictures for me.

    I own the RX1 too and after my moire tee shirt experience with a no aa filter camera? I absolutely would NOT buy the RX1R over the RX1. The risk of moire to me and trying to fix it? Outweighs any tiny extra resolution that is almost hard to see.

  8. Pulled the trigger and made the purchase! Thanks Steve, or should I actually be angry with you? Actually I’m quite excited to get this guy in my hands, I love my D3x with 28mm f/1.4 combo and I think this could be competing (or better) but in a much smaller package which is why I’m so excited about this!

  9. Hi Steve,
    thank you very much for your impressive work on this site!
    For me you simply get the right mixture of giving us a lot of detailed information, experience-based tips, very helpful and amazing shots to illustrate, what you´re writing about and finally your enthusiastic and emotional (but never fanatic!) points of view upon the whole world of digital photos.

    For long years I´ve been the “typical Amateur-DSLR-User”, in the analog times starting with Practica, changing to Minoltas, having an affair with the Leica R8, short before the digital train was leaving the station – then first digital attemps with Canon EOS 20D (what a huge step backward in IQ after the Leica R8 experience!). Since 2009 I own the EOS 5DmkII, which – together with the 35/1,4L or the 85/1,8 – gave me back some of the IQ that I´m longing for. But meanwhile, most of my camerawork is made (AL) with short to middle focal length (prime lenses) and so I began to wonder, why I should lug soo much stuff around with me if there are smaller alternatives with (nearly) no drop of IQ. I also had to realize, that in the last years I slightly tendet to leave my camera bag at home instead of taking it with me and making nice photos everywhere.
    That was the reason for giving the Fuji x100 a try in January 2012 and despite of the smaller sensor and the slow autofocus it was the first time since years, that the photo-fun factor was coming back to me.
    The limitation to one focal length (for me) is a big chance of getting better photographic results, and 35mm is a very useful focal length for that kind of snapshots and street photograpy I prefer (no big surprise after having taken 80% of my pictures with the Canon 1,4/35mm L during the last 4 years).
    On the other hand, also the X100 has its limitations in handling and IQ and so I started to look for a tiny, solid build fullframe-alternative with an useful AF.

    Your elaborate review about the Sony RX1 was exactly what I needed at that time, because this little IQ-monster seams to be, what I´m looking for. Fortunately, I didn´t take an order yet for the RX1, so I can easily “upgrade” to the newer RX1R, which you introduced in your little “appetizer-review”.

    Now, only thing for me to do is to get rid of my Canon DSLR-Stuff (without any regret), because – I´m not young, but I need the money.

    Thanks a lot for your decision support!

    With kind regards from Germany (and sorry for my bad English)

    Horst

  10. The details are staggering indeed, but I find it “useless” in MY practice. As someone mentioned before, I hope someone upgrades to the R and I can buy the non-R version for a steal LOL.

  11. Before you say the RX1R has no moire issues, have you tried shooting any brick buildings in sunlight? Or modern buildings with complex skins? A shirt with a very tight geometric weave? How about video of same?
    Moire when it appears can be very difficult to deal with sometimes. I’d be very careful claiming the RX1R has no moire issues.

    • Who said there is no Moire issue? Not me! In fact, this is what I say above:

      “and due to the missing AA filter you may even see some moire pop up in some situations”.

      I have not yet experienced it but it will show up in some situations. Not sure where you read that I said there is no moire issue. Odd.

      Moire CAN show up in any camera without an AA filter. M9, D800E, RX1r, etc. Is it common? Not really. Will it ruin a shot? Doubtful, but if it is something that bugs you then you should stay away from any camera without an AA filter. IN my 3 years of M9 use I saw it in 2 photos with almost 100k photos taken.

  12. I use the R1 since Jan 1 this year.
    Now into its 6,788 exposures.
    Mostly I use the camera like a diary, a heavy one.
    I would buy the R1r if I had not already bought this…sigh.
    BUT..I am lazy. I use only jpeg.

  13. Having seen the moire in some of my own RX1 shots it seems that the RX1’s AA filter is relatively weak.
    So I can’t help thinking this is mostly just a marketing exercise by Sony, jumping on the “No AA filter” bandwagon. I admit though that it would suck me in and if buying today I would go for the RX1R!

  14. Wow! Thanks for posting these Steve…I have the RX1R on preorder! I’m totally impressed with this camera, and this comes from a person used to shooting high res cameras without AA filters including the M9. This will definitely be my travel camera…and more! Hope you do a comparison with the RX1R and Leica M240.

  15. Steve – For $3,300 with battery charger and add-on EVF, the RX1 has proven to be very disappointing in low-light AF performance and delivers just a “clinically correct” imaging character. A lot has been made about the low-light capabilities of the RX1 sensor and lens, but there is NO EXCUSE for a 35mm f2.0 fixed lens camera that is SLOW-TO-NO FOCUS in low light.

    The Fuji X100s can “see in the dark” for autofocus. What is up with the Sony’s disconnect between low-light imaging capability thwarted by an inadequate low-light autofocus capability . . . on a $3,300 f2.0 fixed lens camera?

    • I’ve had no issues focusing the RX1 in low light – at all. Last night I shot it and the X Vario at night on the beach. Sony focuses without issue, the Vario would not focus at all. Had to switch it to manual focus. I shoot the RX1 in low light interiors all of the time at ISO 25000 using B&W. superb results.

      It’s not blazing but faster and more reliable than the Fuji X E1 and Pro 1.

      I’ve also had better luck focusing the RX1 over the Nex bodies.

      Unless you are in pitch black, it’s not an issue, for me at least.

      No camera will
      Have blazing focus in the dark, and the Fuji x100s is no exception. Still not much beats the OMD or Nikon V series for AF speed in the mirror less world.

    • I didn’t really had the focus issues either in low light. I do see time to time that my RX1 focuses background instead of the foreground but I also have that issue with my D3 (nikon pro dSLR). in no light, my D3 or RX1 doesn’t focus at all just like anything else out there.

      I never owned x100s so I can’t say for sure but my friend who owns x100s used my RX1 and said RX1 focuses much better than his x100s for sure. but he wont’ spend $2800.

      for me, $2800 is worth for the zeiss lens alone. x100s is a nice camera but it’s probably $300 – 400 lens and I kept hearing from a friend that it’s too soft for his taste at f2. and I love shoot “wide open” so that would have been a huge problem for me.

  16. Astonishing but is this too much detail? It is beyond what our eye normally sees. We actually only see clearly and sharply a small field of view – the rest is peripheral vision. However this does allow for a new type of photography. Just be careful photographing your partner with this. I did so with a Canon 5D and a sharp L lens but never showed her the result as it showed too much – wrinkles and pores I had never seen before.

    • Just attach a Zeiss Sonnar and portraits will be smooth and classic.
      It is better to have all the detail and just use different lenses to produce different looks.

    • @Dougbm You cannot have too much detail. You can use all sorts of tricks or filters
      to soften an image or discard detail in PP but you cannot put back what is not there.

    • I know what you mean by ‘showing to partner’ – I’ve done that mistake by showing my gfriend her portrait shot with Sigma DP2M at 100% – she did not like it 🙂

  17. Wow! Amazing resolution at F2.
    When Sony finally releases this RX1 mirrorless body as an interchangeable lens camera that can take Leica glass with adapters then it is a done deal. They will take the world.

  18. Another almost pointless upgrade. Its splitting ball-hairs at best compared to the RX1 . That was awesome enough, in many ways,
    However some things were still hugely disappointing.
    I held it in a shop, and it still seemed overly complex, and it dint gel with me, maybe it was me? But there is others too, that feel this.
    It is port-raid as a ‘street photographers camera, and yet you need to stop taking pictures and plug the thing into a wall to charge the battery!
    The additional EF makes it ugly, and not pocket-able any longer, and then the additional cost of that as well, as well as no lens hood?
    Why did it have the useless AA in the first place?
    Especially when we see that the latest cameras are all having these AA filters cut from their cameras. Apparently the moire, is a negligible possibility in most cases in all the recent models without the anti aliasing filters. Look at the Nikon Coolpix A, etc,
    And even the ancient M9 from 2009, Hello !!!
    Who would have thought?!

    This is for most just another way for them to sucker the consumer in … You now need this model, cause it has better sharpness!
    A sale strategy no less, and no less successful at having people upgrade for the perceived reason of better sharpness, whilst in most cases it would be absolutely more than fine.

    Instead one would have hoped for ;
    Sony to fix,
    The slow auto focus, and other niggling faults.
    It has potential, but is overpriced, and still 99% the same camera. I do not believe an upgrade is warranted, if you have the RX1.
    The Lens is wonderful, and the size is compelling, so it did so many things right!

    Camera manufacturers get things wrong so often, but it could be different?? Or could it?
    The Leica Vario X is a huge disappointment, esp after the deceitful advertising as a Mini M was supposedly on it s way.

    I was hoping that Sony would bring us a newer version of the RX1, an RX 2 with a viewfinder, decent focusing, and well? that’s about it. Oh and a charger included PLEASE

    Instead I l have to wait. Its fine
    Waiting is good
    I ll use my M2, and Nikon D700

    Come on Sony, give us the Mini M ,that Leica didn’t have the balls to make

    • Well, I appreciate that Sony released this model as it does indeed give more detail in the images if that is what one needs or wants. They were also the 1st to tell me that if you have an RX1, it’s not really worth the upgrade. Yes, Sony told me this. They also told me unless you are critical, shoot only RAW and really need that detail, then again, no need to upgrade from the RX1. They offer both models side by side so whoever buys can choose the model they want. This is not an upgrade to the RX1, was not meant to be. It is another option much like the D800/D800E. They will be the 1st to tell you that it is the same camera, only minus the AA filter.

  19. No EVF is fine by me, but still no variable LCD? No buy for me. At a camera this price, Sony should be less cheap and throw in a few cheap to make things to please it’s users. Let’s face it, we all know this camera line will be abandoned and obsolete once Sony pushes in a new FF NEX or Alpha. Speaking of alpha, they will probably go back to making something else when that time comes. First the dslr, then dslt, now soon to be mirrorless alpa body, and Sony wonders why it can’t compete with Canikon. Why would a user who likes dslrs or slt’s be loyal to a company that has no loyalty to its users and treats them like a victim rather than a user? The sony fanboys call this technology…nope, more like wishy washy.

  20. Mmmmm interesting, it’s getting better, who knows one day the RX1(?) may produce shots as good as a Sigma DP1/2/3 Merrill 🙂 The RX1s seems like a winner for those that want to print off huge sizes, at least compared to the original RX1, but not worth trading up to unless money is no problem. Sony seems to be getting their act together, as have Fuji, what on earth are Nikon and Canon doing in this market sector – not much really…… going to hurt them as DSLR sales continue to slide.

    • Yes, it indeed looks like a winner now. I might pull the trigger and get it (replace X100 and possibly also M6 with lenses) and use it as a walk around camera for everything together with DP2 Merrill (that one got nasty hit last week, but working correctly – could hold my weight 🙂 )

  21. Wow… I am flabbergasted by what this camera can do… the files are so rich and sharp… with delicious bokeh. Unfortunately too expensive for me… at least we have steve for the review and shots. Cheers from Mauritius!

  22. I cant wait till this sensor comes packed in a nex body!!!! Eeeeeep the only challenge sony needs to overcome is getting the microlenses tweeked and optimized for corner performance. I’m sure they’re up to the challenge

    • Hi johan, which camera has the best rendition? I’m thinking of buying a new one, your answer could help. Thanks

      • @makesh……..think Canon dlsr (5D mark ii en iii) are still ahead (sooc jpeg), Nikon second, but most digital output needs a bit of post production according to color. You can use presets in LR, Aperture or a smart filter in PS to crank the color up easily.
        M9 and the M, color jpeg sucks, Sony not that good, OMD great color, fuji colors like x100s, Xpro1 mostly needs PP, but can be great. If you want awesome color buy a medium format film camera (dlsr or rangefinder). It will rock your world.

  23. How is the user interface on these Sony cameras? I’ve heard that that is one area where these cameras are lacking?

    • Like any camera, you just have to get familiar with it. I LOVE how easy it is to shoot maual – aperture on the lens, shutter speed wheel under your right thumb, exposure comp knob on top (works in manual mode!), auto ISO floats and is one of the best high ISO cameras around so you really don’t have to worry about it. I usually try to shoot 1/500th or higher to eliminate camera shake. The electronic viewfinder is really good.

  24. Pre-ordered mine on B&H when the announcement was made. Like the X100s too, but I’ve heard they’re soft wide open – which sort of defeats the whole purpose. And it’s not like you can find any of those puppies for sale anyhow. RX1R looks like a fantastic camera!

  25. Hi Steve, I am very happy with the RX 1 and hold it with the old phrase has never been a street shooting out the fact that someone said, “Oh, but that is pretty sharp – or great bokeh”, at least to me is such a valuation unknown. At least I have a lot of fun with the RX 1 and wish to all the others!

    Greetings Klaus

  26. Hi Steve. Thanks for posting this so quickly. Since I dont have the RX1, I think you know which one I’m getting.
    Thanks for all you do.

  27. I had an RX1 for 2 months (Dec. and January) and I just couldn’t get over the unfortunate AF locking on speed in medium to lower light. I really wanted it to work out, but I missed too many kid shots waiting for the focus to lock on while the child looked away just as the AF would lock. If only this had been improved then I’d be back to the RX1 in a heartbeat.

    • @Sean … and you’re holding the shutter button half way down so the camera can start “pre” focusing … before actually tripping the shutter?

    • @Sean, I do find the AF sometimes annoying. My usual problem is not that it’s not fast enough, it’s “sometimes” focusing the background than foreground.

      I never expected mere 5 fps camera to be adequate for sporting event. I still keep my D3 around for that!

    • Dear Sean

      Yes I have the same problem. Everything you pass the shutter it just blur and tries to refocus and takes ages. What I do is that I customize one of the handy buttons for switching between mf and af. After I lock af when I know I am not going to move and then I just switch it to mf, so that I don’t have to keep getting the annoying refocus for the same object and just have some continues shoots. I may rather wait for the new ff nex then sold my rx1 to an rx1r.

      Hope this will help.

      By the way is there anyone knew how to switch off the NTSC warning everything you start up the camera?

    • I bought it a month ago so my 30 day return is not possible. You may be able to return it for RX1R since it sounds like you bought it less than 30 days ago.

  28. Well, I can’t see any immediate difference without a side by side, and for me, that’s telling enough.

    • If you are in the market for a Sony RX camera the best deals are to be found by a used RX1 under warranty lightly used. Tons of them out there on the market. Going rate around $2100.

      Having used the D800E, the difference is minimal. Save some cash

      • could it also be that RX1R simply just lacks AA filter rather than just having it ‘cancelled out’ like D800E? I meant that the differences in IQ between D800 and D800E aren’t that visible

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