Jul 082013
 

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The Sony RX1R Review. Medium Format quality in your pocket. Almost.

Buy the RX1R at Amazon HERE or B&H Photo HERE

Read my RX1 review HERE

Have you ever wondered if technology would get to the point where you could own a camera that fits in a coat pocket or large pants pocket but delivers near digital medium format image quality? Well my friends we are almost there, but in many ways, we have surpassed that..as in..there is BETTER than medium format in a camera that can fit in your coat pocket! Before you scream and attack, read this review in full and let me explain.

The image below is from a 100% crop, resized. RX1R – f/8

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I remember when the Leica M9 hit. Using that camera with a great lens would yield results that looked almost like Medium Format. Now it has happened again, but it’s even better! Yes, Sony came close with the RX1 and now with the RX1R (R stands for RESOLUTION) they have come even closer to giving us a medium format look and feel with the files that come out of this camera. By taking the RX1 and removing the AA filter (Anti Alaising Filter/Low Pass Filter) the results coming out of the camera are crisper, sharper, more detailed and dare I say, have a little more soul than what comes out of a full on MF rig, which at times can look a little sterile if I do say so myself. It’s like the best of both world’s! 35mm and MF.

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BELOW: Click the image below for a MUCH larger and super detailed version. This is a 100% crop! ISO 1000, f/8

The color, the detail, and the fact that this was shot at ISO 1250 and has this much detail is amazing  to me. I also disabled ALL Noise Reduction, so this is what you get without NR! After seeing this I placed my order for the RX1R. Medium format detail without the medium format high ISO noise.

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Now of course the RX1R will not deliver those smooth 40-60MP files like a Medium Format camera can or even a Leica S2 at low ISO  but the images that come out of it can be just as sharp and detailed as some of the MF images I have seen in my day. What makes it better is that it is so small, is easy to take with you and can almost shoot in the dark, UNLIKE Medium Format that poops out at mid to high ISO’s. Yes, Medium Format backs that cost $20-$40k can do magical things at base ISO but by ISO 400 they suck. The RX1R at ISO 400 does not even start to show noise yet.

When Sony met me in San Diego in my hotel (while I was on a mini vacation) and whipped out the new RX1R they were quick to tell me that the difference between it and the RX1 was actually small. They showed me prints from the RX1 and RX1R with 100% crops as well. I saw a difference but it was indeed a smaller one. It was not until I used the RX1R personally that I realized it was a little more than a “small” difference. It is not a huge or large difference but there is indeed quite a difference that I see with the R version of the Sony and it is now even more of a full frame powerhouse camera.

Sony told me that if you shoot RAW and are serious about quality the RX1R will be the one. If you like to shoot JPEG and rarely use RAW then stick with the RX1. They also showed me 100% crops in print showing the Moire from the RX1R and D800E. The RX1R Moire was much better controlled due to software in camera that helps tone it down. Was never an issue for me with what I shot for this review. Did not see it at all. Not even once and it was not like I was trying  to avoid it.

The B&W rendering from this sensor is astonishing. Rich, 3 dimensional and beautiful. I think this is an improvement on the Leica M9 with a 35 cron and even the M 240 with a 35 cron. That’s a bold statement but this is a bold camera.

After seeing this image below I knew I made the right choice in  pre-ordering the new version. Not that the original could not pull this off, as it can, but the R version with the extra detail just gives me  that little bit more “POP”. When you have more detail and sharpness it also gives your resized images a nicer look as well. Also, a camera does not a photographer make but a good camera can indeed give a decent shooter MUCH nicer looking results. The RX1 and RX1R make it easy.

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NOTE: This is just a refresh review! For camera details read my RX1 review 1st!

Before you read on, if you have not already done so, I suggest you read my Sony RX1 review as this review will just be going over the sharpness and detail difference of the new camera vs the old. EVERYTHING ELSE is just the same with the RX1R as it was with the RX1. The ONLY difference is in the detail of the images when shooting RAW, at least that is what I was told direct from Sony. After you read PART 1, read PART 2.

YEP! Sony has managed to do it again but not in a really dramatic or life changing way. As I already stated, this RX1R is just an RX1 without the Alaising filter. This will bring more detail but it can also mean you will run into occasional Moire issues (I have had none during my time with the RX1R). The current trend in digital is to remove this AA filter and cameras like the Ricoh GR, Nikon D800E, Pentax K5IIs and the old Leica M9 and new M 240 all have sensors without the AA filter. Just wanted that to be clear.

Moire has never been an issue for what I shoot so I would always go for the camera without the filter if at all possible. If I were buying a new RX camera today I would 100% go for the RX1R over the RX1. Yes, the RX1 is AMAZING but The RX1R gives us even “more amazing” in the details. If that is worth it to you, only you can decide of course.

What I will do in the review is to give you guys as many full size images or crops that I can so you can see for yourself what this camera puts out wide open and stopped down. High ISO and low ISO though the ISO performance is the same as the original RX1. The files from the RX1R are at times, jaw droppingly good. Smooth, silky, inanely detailed and with good color as well. Something even my Leica M has trouble with (but not for long when the new FW arrives).

Click the image for a full size from RAW image. The detail at the focus point is amazing and almost Medium Format like.

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It’s true, with one of my favorite cameras ever (RX1) being updated without an AA filter I was pretty excited. To me, this was great news because while the RX1 always gave impressive detail, I always welcome more and with the powerfull full frame 24MP sensor in this guy going without that filter, I was expecting some pretty impressive results. Many say that with the Nikon D800 and D800E the differences are small. Some say that with the RX1 and RX1R you could literally just sharpen up your RX1 images to look identical to the RX1R. Is this true? I will test this later on down on this review to find out but what I can tell you right now is that I have not had this kind of detail come from my RX1. Close, but not quite like this.

Click the image below for the FULL size from RAW file. I never saw this kind of detail, at this level, from my RX1. 

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After using the new RX1R now for a while I can say that I AM NOT disappointed and while it is not a huge or even dramatic difference over the old RX1, to me it is 100% noticeable. Not only in the 100% views and prints but for some reason it appears that there may be more micro contrast because the images I am getting from the “R” seem to pop a little more, just like my old Leica M9 but with GOBS more Dynamic Range. Even when resizing images down to 1800 pixels wide, there is a biting sharpness to the images while still keeping that beautiful smooth look of the RX1. Put this camera in good hands and I am sure amazing things will come from it.

Click this one for a full size 24 MP file

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This one was shot at f/2 to test detail wide open. What you see is an amazingly sharp chair corner with nice detail without being harsh. Also, that amazing smooth Zeiss bokeh is here as well.  You must click the image for large size and 100% crop!

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Another one to show the detail. Click it to check it out, f/2 – wide open.

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Look at the detail! Not even the Leica M9 or M can give this kind of detail, at least that I have seen to date.

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and one more at f/4. 1st the image, then the 100% crop below it

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Using this new RX1R has me drooling for a “RX-M” BODY of the same camera. Imagine that. An RX-M (RX Mirrorless) body that you can swap lenses on. High quality Leica lenses. A true digital CL. Wow. Will it ever happen? Probably not but if Sony did it, and Sony could do it, they would instantly and literally overnight sell truckloads of them just to readers of this site :)

As for the RX1R, I am not sure how many will sell as Sony have sold quite a few RX1′s and selling the old for the new may not be worth it this time around, just to gain some detail. The good thing is that the RX1R is the same price as the RX1. Sony did not go the way of Nikon and others by charging more for something less. How is it something less? Well, they save money by not having to include the AA filter! This improves performance but lower their cost of production. They should not increase the price! Maybe they will lower the cost of the original to $2495 :) Or Maybe they won’t. I think they should because I think from this point on, most will go with the RX1R over the RX1 when buying new. At $2798 it is $400 less than a Nikon D800E body only yet matches the D800E output easily due to the matched Zeiss lens. A D800E and high quality 35 Zeiss will set you back almost $5000 and be 5X the weight and size. I know I prefer the output of the RX1R over the D800 and Zeiss 35 1.4 I tested a while ago.

Lemons!

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NICE!

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Crisp and clean..evan at f/2. I even had an ND filter on for this one.

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The RX1 and RX1R in B&W. It’s a beautiful thing.

I have shot the Leica Monochrom, the $7000 dedicated B&W camera for months and month and the only B&W that I have seen that rivals it for sharpness, detail, tonality and richness is the RX1R. The RX1 as well but the RX1R being sharper than the RX1 does indeed show and it now reaches Leica Mono territory in that regard. The tones are different…more black and more white than the Greys of the MM but still, I LOVE the B&W output of the RX1/RX1R. Deep and rich, as it should be. I attribute much of that to the Zeiss lens which has great contrast and pop as well as sharpness.

LOW LIGHT B&W TIP: Try setting your RX1 or RX1R in JPEG Mode, then High Contrast B&W, then shoot in at ISO 6400-12,500. You may be surprised at what you see.

Below are a few B&W images that were converted to B&W after the fact but still, amazing detail and richness in these. No one can deny this. Click them for larger and better looking versions.

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High ISO – Still rocking it! Same as the RX1 but even crisper detail.

I know I sound a little excited but I always get like this when a product comes around that is simply awesome. Sony is just rocking the digital world IMO. In fact, not many can come close in digital 35mm mirrorless land to what the RX1R can do. Not Fuji, Not Olympus, Not Anyone. In fact, between this and a medium format rig that cost $30k + I would take the RX1R because I can fit it in my coat pocket, take it anywhere, shoot in full sun or super low light. I can go to ISO 50 or ISO 25,600. I have the amazing sensor and Zeiss lens all in one. I may not have 40-60 megapixels but in all reality, the majority of us who shoot, and who read this website do not need 40-60 MP. For me, I am happy with 18-24 MP and always will be. The D800E matches the RX1R and can take other lenses with faster AF but it is also more expensive and MUCH MUCH larger and heavier. I would leave it at home 90% of the time and the Sony would go with me 100% of the time.

The Leica M 240 with a Zeiss 35mm Biogon f/2 lens can get there but it is much more expensive, does not have the high ISO performance of the RX1R and can not focus as close as the RX1R (0.7 meters vs 0.2 meters). I will have this full comparison below in this review BTW.

Yes my friends, This camera means business and even Medium Format could not have taken the next ISO 4000 image you will see below. Not because it is some amazing shot, it is just a snapshot, but look how good the quality is at ISO 4000, f/2, shot blindly yet the camera focused quickly and fired the shot.

I had noise reduction off 100% but the detail in the 100% image is staggering. ZERO noise reduction here.

HIGH ISO TIP: Turn off ALL noise reduction in camera to keep your detail at higher ISO. If you do not, you will get mushy results from the in camera Noise Reduction and the results will look not so good when shooting low light and high ISO. 

ISO 4000, f/2, Zero NR, color right from camera

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ISO 4000, f/2 – click it to see how it retains sharpness where I focuses – his eye. Zero NR.

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ISO 6400, ZERO NR – Click it for full size OOC file

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An OOC JPEG in High Contrast B&W at ISO 12,800 – raw and high contrast

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*The Sony RX1 vs the Sony RX1R vs the Leica M 240 and Zeiss 35 Biogon

Below is a 4 camera comparison. The Sony RX1, Sony RX1R, Leica M 240 with 35 Zeiss Biogon and just for fun, and Olympus E-P5 with 17 1.8 at f/8. All lenses were shot on a tripod at f/8 and base ISO. These images are from RAW with a 100% crop of each file.

Comparison #1: Detail

What do I see in the 1st detail comparison? The RX1R has the most detail in the 1st detail comparison followed by the RX1 and then followed by the Leica M and Zeiss combo. Last place, as expected is the Olympus. Winner for detail, Sony RX1R.

You must click the image below to see the 100% crops and detail.

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Comparison #2 – Overall Bokeh and Color Test

 These tests were more of a for fun test to see how the Bokeh would look from the RX1R vs M 240 with Zeiss 35 Biogon, both wide open at f/2:

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m240port

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and a couple more..which Bokeh do you prefer?

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The Leica combo will run you about $8300. The RX1R will run you $2798 and the E-P5 will run you about $1300-$1400.

More Detail at f/4

This is where the RX1R really shows its resolving power and wins again in the detail department. All were at f/4. Leica M had the Zeiss 35 at f/4. RX1R wins, RX1 2nd, Leica M 3rd place. If detail is your desire, it does not get any better than the RX1R before stepping up to the Nikon D800E, and I have seen side by side crops PRINTED from the RX1R and D800E and the RX1R was every bit the equal of the D800E file. Crazy.

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In the test above the RX1/RX1R wins for color as well.

BTW, I used the EVF for focusing the M 240 to be sure it was exact. I also used the EVF on the RX1 and Olympus. 

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Dynamic Range is HUGE

Of all of the cameras I have shot in recent times the two that have knocked my socks off in regards to Dynamic Range is the Nikon D800 and the Sony RX1. The new RX1R, being the same as the RX1 still has that incredible dynamic range. What does this mean? Well, for one thing it will be tough to blow highlights if you expose properly and if you under expose you can even bring the shot back to life with one slider pull.

Take a look at a shot below that was WAY underexposed. It was a quick grab shot and aiming the camera  up towards the waiter (and the sun) underexposed the scene. Below you will see the out of camera file and then the file I corrected by taking the Exposure and Shadow slider in Adobe Camera Raw and sliding them up. No problem for the RX1 and RX1R files.

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So what is WRONG with the RX1R?

With all of this raving of the RX1R there has to be something wrong with it right? Well, whatever weaknesses the RX1 had, the RX1R will have. For me the RX1R could be improved in some ways, and here is my list for Sony:

1. Add a built in high quality EVF even if you make the camera longer to do so. With this addition it would be the dream camera of many shooters. 

2. Make the AF a little quicker. I think the AF is pretty good but could be quicker as with all mirrorless cameras. 

3. Offer a better grip add on option or if adding an EVF, keep the little thumb grip. As it is now, the accessory grip can not be used with the EVF.

4. Offer a real battery charger in the box. Sony makes one, it should be included.

5. Lower the cost of the accessories a bit. $180 for a hood? Too much. 

6. Create a wide conversion lens, high quality for a 24mm view.

7. Make a beefier battery for longer life.

8. Either make an interchangeable lens version or release an RX-2 with a 50mm f/2 Zeiss.

Other than that the camera is just about perfect IQ wise and I love the controls. The manual aperture ring on the lens, the exposure comp dial on top, the programmable buttons, the solid build, the beautiful lens, astonishing detail and the amazing high ISO capability all rock. I feel the price is in line and well worth it for what you get.

What inspires YOU?

You know, I have been doing this blog for almost 5 years now. Daily updates with one day off per week. I decided to take that one day off (Sunday) and just concentrate on my actual life outside of photography and this website. Over these past 5 years I have handled just about every camera released as well as used them for review or personal evaluation without a review. I have seen file after file and held body after body. You would think that by now I would be so burned out and un-inspired that it would be hard for me to keep all of this going. I mean, it happens from time to time.

But sometimes a camera or lens comes along that even today excites me and inspires me to just go out and shoot. When there is a camera that has me excited to get out of bed at 5Am to get ready for a long drive to find something to take photos of, then I know it is one hell of a camera.

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So which cameras have done that for me? There have been 2-3 in the past 5 years that have done this, and here they are in chronological order:

1. The Leica M9 - This is a camera that may loved and many hated. I loved it because it was the 1st full frame digital Leica M. Using an M6 and M7 for a while had me craving a full frame Leica and while the M8 was nice, the M9 took it to the next level. While it was not perfect, it satisfied my personal needs for 3+ years. It still would be today if it was not for the new M taking its place. The M9 and I had many early morning adventures back in 2009-1010. Just me, my car and my M9. It only let me down 2-3 times when the RF went out of calibration (which sucked) but the images coming from it with my 50mm lens were fantastic. I connected with this one. Now I have that same connection with the M 240. It’s the same experience as the M9 though I prefer the output of the RX1R for the 35mm focal length.

2. The Sony RX1/RX1R – The Sony RX1 surprised the hell out of me. Small size, amazing low light ability, full frame sensor and a superb lens, all in one tiny unit. The RX1 seemed to deliver images that always looked good, even if I screwed up! Now the RX1R with the added detail is just jaw droppingly good in my honest opinion. The RX1R has such amazing depth, soul, and ability that I just can not imagine anyone not being happy or thrilled with it. Sure the AF could be faster but for me it has been fast enough and accurate, which is much more important. The RX1R files are the best digital 35mm files I have ever seen, and in my experience beats the M 240 and D800 all while being a fraction of the size while still retaining the solid metal build. The RX1 and now RX1R have earned a place in my bag. Close focusing is a plus and very cool to have. Shooting this guy while having a night out on the town is special as it even works out at super high ISO.

So those cameras have been the ones that have inspired me the most over the past 5 years. I have loved and adored a few others like the OM-D, Fuji X100, and Nex-7 but the M series and RX series are the ones that connected with me on an emotional level..as in, I did not want to be without them.

This is the out of camera color version of the B&W version above. Skin tones looking good. Click for larger.

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Shooting ONLY one focal length. Does it suck?

I get this question all of the time and while I understand those who want to lug around 6 lenses every day to make sure they do not miss their shot, it is really not necessary. There are MANY ways to see and capture a scene, a portrait and even a moment. The masters mostly shot with a 35 or 50mm and never worried about their 12, 18 or 21 mm lenses. Telephoto lenses have their place with sports or nature but in everyday life who needs a 90 or 200? No one really.

Once you start shooting with ONE focal length, whether that is a 21, 35, 50 or 90 you will start to adapt to that focal length. If you limit yourself you will soon start to “see” in with your eyes the way your lens is seeing through your camera.

For the last year 95% of my images were shot with a 50mm. The year before that most were shot with a 35mm. I never once said “Damn, I wish I had a wider angle or telephoto”..instead, I made it work with what I had. This is good as it makes you think. It makes you work and it can open up new ideas as well. It can also save you money :)

Not everyone can get along with one focal length. I sure can, and have done so many times and while it would be nice to have a 28, 35, 50 and 90 available for a camera like this, shooting just in 35mm can be liberating and fun. So no, it does not suck.

But before buying a camera such as the RX1, RX1r or even Fuji X100s make sure you can get along OK with a 35mm only camera as that is all you will have, unless you are using it as a backup or carry around camera to something else.

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My overall feelings on the Sony RX1R, the bottom line.

If you have been thinking of the RX1, are OK with the cost and have been ready to pull the trigger but hesitating for some reason I will say this about the RX1R.

BUY IT. Then come back here to thank me.

I have shot with almost every camera that has been released over the past 12 years. To date, I have yet to have one in my hand that can meet or exceed what this little RX1R can give me in all areas of operation. I have never seen such rich files with such detail and astonishing dynamic range in the 35mm format. In fact, it is quite incredible. No Leica, No Fuji, No Olympus, No Ricoh, No Canon or Nikon mirroless can do what this guy does. When you counter in that it is pretty damn small yet built very solidly and with heft it is a NO BRAINER.

The Leica M 240 and a 35 Summicron can not really even match what the RX1R does. Incredible. That is a $10k combo (Leica) vs a $2800 combo (RX1R). Of course you do not have a Rangefinder or even a built in viewfinder or the option of other lenses with the RX but man, that output is special. There is also the Sigma DP Merrill but those are only competitive at base ISO, are very slow, built cheaply and not versatile at all. I also prefer the Sony color in the RX1R as well as the B&W of the Sony over the Sigma.

The original RX1 was and is fantastic. My camera of the year 2012.

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The RX1R is a step above when it comes to detail, even when resizing images. Even with JPEGS (even though Sony says you will not really see a difference with JPEG) and for some odd reason I have been getting excellent color from the RX1R but with the RX1 sometimes it is a bit off. Maybe it is just me but the RX1R has been giving me just about everything I have been wanting in a small high quality camera. I am aware of a couple of others testing the camera and saying there is a 1-2% increase in detail. In my experience it is more than that, at least from my RX1 to the loaner RX1R.

If this guy had a built in viewfinder it would be even more amazing. If it had that built in VF and interchangeable lens capability with 2 more lenses that equal the quality of the Zeiss 35 it would be game over. Then it would be my desert island camera. In fact, it may already be my desert island camera! It is that good. No sensor dust, no lenses to buy, forces me to learn by shooting one focal length and getting over limitations, small size, solid build, insanely detailed yet creamy output, high ISO off the chart performance and easy simple operation.

Reliable, glitch free, low light, bright light, wide open or stopped down, this beast performs. The AF could be quicker but all mirrorless cameras have AF that could be better. During my review I had zero AF issue or problems but if I had to nitpick this is where I would say the only weakness of the camera is because it is not DSLR speed. But I can’t complain really. It focused in the day and at night. I ONLY use center point focusing with the RX1 and RX1R and I recommend everyone does.

So while this is an RX1 with the AA filter removed I am thrilled to death that Sony offered this up as an option. It really does take the RX1 to the next level and delivers just enough more to make you say “WOW”. The images I have captured in the past week with this guy have had the effect on me like the original M9 files did 3-4 years ago. But even more so.

While I have an M 240 and RX1, I will be upgrading my RX1 to the RX1R. In fact, my pre order is in. The M for my 50 and 90 and the RX1R for my 35 as it beats a 35 cron on the M from what I have seen. It is also cheaper than the 35 Cron alone by a few hundred dollars. NOt everyone should upgrade though as the RX1 is highly capable as is. It all comes down to what you want and I have been spoiled by many AA filterless cameras, now I am hooked.

If Sony releases this kind of quality in a body only it will be a huge blow to ALL other camera makers with a statement, and a bold one at that.

Kudos and congrats to Sony, the only camera company today that seems to really “Get It” when it comes to what the enthusiasts want. I wish them well and hope they keep on pushing the envelope.

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Where To buy

You can buy the Sony RX1R at B&H Photo HERE or Amazon HERE. Shipping date is July 26th 2013. I can not imagine anyone being unhappy with this camera purchase. At $2798 it is not cheap but in my opinion, it is well worth the cost for this mighty fine camera that has just been taken up another notch on the detail level. The RX1 is fantastic and the RX1R is as well.

I highly recommend this camera to ANYONE who loves super high quality images in almost any situation. The RX1 and RX1R have never let me down or left me disappointed.

TIP: Make sure you turn on LENS DISTORTION CORRECTION in the menu when you 1st get the camera as it defaults to off for some odd reason!

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Extra: The rumored full frame NEX..will it be good?

If the rumors are true and Sony releases a full frame NEX camera in 2014 I have a feeling what comes out of it will NOT be up to the level of the RX1R UNLESS Sony creates something REALLY high end and unfortunately, expensive. By turning a NEX body into a full frame body Sony has all kinds of challenges to get through. The first one is the fact that your current E-Mount NEX lenses are NOT full frame lenses, not even the Zeiss 24 1.8 They are built and made for an APS-C sized sensor and mount so using a lens like the Zeiss 24 1.8 will not give you a 24 1.8 on a full frame NEX.

To match the level of the RX1R Sony needs super quality Zeiss glass to do the trick. With such a thin body on most NEX cameras, it will indeed be a very tough challenge to get nice quality from a full frame sensor, especially if mounting Leica glass. I have a strong feeling that Sony is working hard on a FF mirror less inter-changeable lens camera and I just hope they create it with the same quality as the RX1 and RX1R in build and performance.

If they release it, and all signs point to a “yes they will”,  do not expect it to be cheap! I fully expect it to be a high end camera with Zeiss lenses in the $2000 range. My guess is that a FF Sony NEX and a HQ Zeiss lens will set us back $4500, still less than half of what a Leica M and one lens would cost. I expect that if this his happening we may just hear an announcement sometime in the next 3 months. But hey, what do I know? Just a guess :)

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  193 Responses to “The Sony RX1R Review. Medium Format quality in your pocket. Almost.”

  1. I’d be interested to see a comparison between this and a Sigma DPx Merril.

    • Just see my Merrill review. Merrill colors are flatter and the camera is MUCH MUCH MUCH less enjoyable to shoot and use, feels cheap in the hand, is slow as molasses and not so hot after ISO 400. Totally different kind of camera. The DP makes me frustrated. The RX makes me smile. Night and day IMO.

      • DP has more accurate colours, except the greens.
        Fuji, Sony and whole host of other camera companies are imposing pumped up colors files via software and glass thats a negative in my book.

        • What you say is 100% not true. You can shoot a Sony with a 100% neutral color setting and it is as neutral as you can get. Shooting RAW you can make the colors just how you want but out of camera colors from the Sony look much nicer to me than the DP, which were a bit flat and dull. There are no “pumped up colors” unless you use vivid or Velvia modes on those cameras.

          • I was writing in regards to jpg files straight out of camera, without all the RAW tweaking, having used hi res RAW from big flagship models I still can’t say I been much impressed by the white balance or DR. there is room for seriously significant improvements, until then film will be king.

            • Agree with Steve, all I have seen the DPM is as niche as the prior models. A few like it, mostly it’s a frustration to me. Although colour is excellent, it’s only between ISO 50 and 400, and Iso 50-200 for the DPx. 2 steps more room for BW. I only continue to use the DPx, because nobody gives a damn about it and less money. My X100 made me smile, as a one-and-only adventure photography camera. I like the Viewfinder so much that the Sony is of no interest to me, other than waiting for what there is to come…

              • The Merrills don’t go to 50, you genetic retrogression.

                If I can be convinced that the RX1R can match the Sigmas for detail, then I will be incredibly tempted to get one because that would make it a very nearly perfect camera. I very much doubt that it’s possible though. Short of medium format, or possibly the D800e with very expensive glass, I’ve never seen anything get close.

          • I own both the RX1 and a Sigma DP2M and they are totally different cameras. Overall, I use the RX1 95% of the time and it’s a much more enjoyable shooting experience to use. However, on a tripod and when shooting well lit landscapes, the DP2M has the edge in terms of resolution. The big downside of the Sigma Merrill’s is that they require a different workflow which can take quite a bit of effort to develop, this is especially so in terms of sharpening, up-resing files, etc. I really like the colour pallet that Sony uses, while the Sigma colours are unpredictable; sometimes they are good while other times they are totally bizarre.

            • I can understand people hating on the workflow and slowness of using the DP Merrills. But stick it out, it takes time to adapt, and you’ll be better for it. Honestly, using the DPMs feels like using a film camera to me, and the results are decidedly more filmic than any of my other digital cameras.

              The Foveon sensor technology is simply the most exciting thing happening in the camera world right now. It’s obviously the future. It’s not mainstream-ready, but once it is, it will supplant every other sensor technology. It is basically film in sensor form. Three layers, like film.

              Steve, I like your site and respect your reviews, but often times your opinions on difficult cameras come across as simple laziness. If you can’t get excited about the Foveon sensor, then I question your love for photography.

              • Lol, how can I get excited about a camera such as the DPM’s? Of course I can get excited about the sensor, but it is NOT the future. There are sensors in the works now that will easily beat the Foveon tech. The problem is that every single camera released with this sensor has been dog slow bordering on unusable. If you are someone who likes to capture moments – this camera will not do it for you. The build is awful, the usability is awful and the AF speed is the worst there is.

                The sensor is fantastic, but is not the 2nd coming nor is it any better than full frame sensors.

                If you encase a diamond in a turd, it is still a turd.

              • So Steve doesn’t like the DP Merrill. Fine. We are all entitled to our opinions but, Jon, how do you take Steve’s dislike of a camera and logically make the gigantic leap into questioning Steve’s love of photography? The last time I looked, this website is called, Steve Huff Photo.

    • won’t match output from DPxM, not below ISO400. But then again, as Steve mentions, you can use RX1R all the time everywhere, DPxM only in good light or on tripod. Different kind of camera, more like a technical field camera where Sony is more of a walk around and shoot camera (I use DP2M and Fuji X-Pro1 in tandem, sometimes M6 too and thinking about adding RX1R)

  2. I pre-ordered one last week because I didn’t have an RX1. So glad I did.
    Thank you Steve for all the information you have written on this camera, it made me realize just how good this camera is.

  3. Steve – do you use the EVF all the time/some of the time? I agree with you 100% that if the camera had a built in viewfinder (even if it was larger) I might never have to buy another camera. My main complaint with the RX1 is that I can’t use the accessory thumb grip and the EVF at the same time.

    • I use the EVF 95% of the time. Do not use the grip.

      • Hey Steve,
        I have heard you say how nice the EVF is, but that is what is holding my back. I have no clue how it looks and what information is displayed. I have a Fuji X100 and love it overall. I have a big nose and fear the external EVF on the Sony won’t fit it, LOL. If you could do a write up on the EVF and claify how people would fare with it that would be a great service to help everyone decide if this is a reasonable camera for themselves. Few of us want to be holding the camera out in front of us to compose an image on an LED plate.

  4. Wow, this looks an absolute beauty. And considering how awesome the RX1 was (and still is) I didn’t think it’d get much better. Worth the money, even though it’s out of my budget. Looking forward to your RX100 II review – waiting to review it myself but gotta wait a while longer unfortunately

  5. The major drawback for the lack of a anti-aliasing filter is the drastic increase of artifacts during video recording. So, you may be throwing away a top feature from the RX1.

    • Video? The RX1 is not good for video..in other words, i would never want to use it for video nor would I recommend it for video to anyone. If you do like the video and the camera and are worried about moire in video go for an RX1. Problem solved. Same camera, same price, no AA filter. No AA filter is far from a drawback, it is a PLUS when used for what these things are supposed to be used for. PHOTOS. :)

      • If you want video, look no further than the new RX100 ii, or the original RX100…really great video. A combination of the RX1 or RX1r and the RX100ii would be a killer travel package. And they use the same battery to boot.

        • The video from the RX1 is also great, I have been using it for journalistic footages for about 6 months now, and the lack of of AA would be a problem

      • I have read online, that may be the source of my confusion, that the RX1r may create artifacts that draw in false detail. I don’ t see that in your photo’s. Are these “artifacts”-if they exist-an issues with AA-less cameras?
        Best,
        Steve

        • The fact is that the people that worry about zooming in on an image to 300% to look for “artifacts that draw in false detail” know nothing about real and true photography. They are more worried about things no one would ever see in print or on screen. Sad. The RX1R is gorgeous. You do not see it in the photos here because it is not a reality or issue. It is true that you may get some moire in some situations but even that did not show up for me.

  6. Thanks again Steve, not only for an excellent insight into what the RX1r can do but for your infectious enthusiasm. Brilliant stuff.

  7. The colors from this cam look much better than the rx1 original version

    • despite the hype there is minimal difference at best. I have the D800E which has a superior sensor and I’ve owned the RX1. The RX1 is the best 35mm combo at f/2 avail but I’d save $700 or so and buy a used RX1 over this.

    • There should be no difference in colors between the two models.

      Both these cameras are truly a monumental leap forward in FF compact quality. I held off for as long as I could and really enjoyed the Fuji X100s which is an incredible camera on many levels, but in the end, the draw of the RX1 was too great.

      Having this level of quality with you all the time is a game changer and hopefully the market will follow with more pocket rockets from all the manufacturers.

    • Nonsense Minyan. The colors are identical.

  8. Add a built-in viewfinder and it’s be the “dream camera” of many? Its already here… the Fuji X-Pro1. And its a LOT cheaper with a great selection of lenses.

    • Sorry but the X pro 1 doesn’t even come close. Wish it did as I would own one if so. Just not a reality.

      • Steve, I’m going to have to see prints on the wall to believe there’s enough difference to be noticed by typical gallery viewers. At least up to the normal size prints that the Fuji 16Mp files can support. I suspect that what we’d see on the wall would be the difference in character between Zeiss and Fuji glass. But that’s just character and a matter of taste. I’d like to hear from other people posting here, what it is in a print that makes them say the X-Pro1 isn’t in the same league as the RX1/R.

        • GUess you did not see my comparison with the Fuji and Zeiss glass vs the Leica M and Voigtlander lens. Pretty huge difference that was very easy to see. Again, the Fuji files do not even come close. If they did I would own one. Ive shot with them 5-6 times for long periods but the files are well below what comes out of a RX1 and M in my use and tests.

          • Steve, yes I’ve read all your recent reviews. My point is more about how these assessments of quality are so often based on “100% crop” computer screen judgements of sharpness, not on what the cameras and lenses produce in a print, which is theoretically what we’re after, right?

            I recently purchased an 18×24 print from a nationally well-known printer. The image was made with the Olympus OM-D and, if I remember correctly, the Olympus 45/1.8 m43 lens. The print is blisteringly sharp. He made this print to exhibit how, at least in the realm of normal size prints, a modern mid-price camera and lens can produce all the sharpness that an inkjet print can produce. So, in my opinion, if sharpness is the only quality on which one bases camera/lens purchase decisions, paying $3000 for the RX1 is unnecessary. However, if there are other qualities of Zeiss glass you’re after (like color or bokeh characteristics) then maybe it is necessary.

            • I agree with Steve on that one. Just look at the comparison he made. The difference is huge. Color wise, 3D feel wise, Bokeh wise, FullFrame is not match for the smaller ASPC sensor inside the Fuji. It doesn’t mean the Fuji do not produce great and sharp enough files…it does mean that indeed there is a sensible enough difference in look that justifies what Steve says. Fuji files look dull in comparison with no pop.

            • Hi Jamie, yes, on smaller prints the difference would be negligible (character could be seen though) but as soon as you start to print larger you will notice differences. There’s nothing wrong with X-Trans based images it’s just not in the same category when printing large (20″+). That’s why you have a lot of photographers who print large either using MF backs or they stitch several images.

              It also depends on what you shoot and print most of the time, to achieve larger DoF, smaller format will have advantages + stitching. For shallowed DoF larger sensors have advantage.

              With CaptureOne and Iridient Developer as my preferred RAW converters (although still not perfect), X-Trans files are now much better than before. But once you start shooting something of higher resolution you will see that there’s no comparison if you want to print large.

              Good resource is imaging resource online magazine which actually also provides information on how large you can print at various sensitivities (check RX1R for example).

              • I agree with Jamie on this one. I own the Epson R3000 10 color printer and I have made 11″ X 19″ prints with the Nikon D800 at 36 mpx and my Fuji X100 at 12 mpx. No difference in quality. Sure, there was a difference in bokeh but the quality of the image out of my X100 was just as smooth, sharp, and dynamic as the D800. The only difference is that, of course, I would be able to make prints from the D800 far larger.

              • It’s a mistake to think that this only makes a difference for large prints. Few of us print large. But the ability to crop with confidence is critical, and that makes a difference at every size whether for print or web.

              • @davidhunternyc – that’s why I mentioned 20+ (on short end). I’ve never tried 11×19 with X100 only smaller. Good to hear that, have few photos I’d love to print large from X100.

                @tesilab – forgot about cropping :)

              • Yes, with the D800 at 36 mp, I was able to crop small and still get great quality prints. That’s the advantage of the D800 but carrying that beast around with a 200mm zoom? My wrist almost fell off! Not for me. Besides, for the wedding I shot with the D800, out of 600 photos, I probably took 10 photos and cropped them small. Not an issue. Because the X100 does not have phase detection auto-focus, focusing in low ambient light was out of the question for a wedding. I would be tempted to shoot a wedding, however, with the X100S and it’s contrast detection auto-focus. As far as image quality is concerned, the achilles heel are the printers, not the cameras.

    • I own X-Pro1 and it’s not in the same league as RX1/R

    • I’ll add in the chorus here. I sold my X100s but held onto the X-Pro and while it is infinitely more flexible in terms of high quality interchangeable lenses, the IQ of the RX1 is on another level.

      That said, I intend to keep the X-Pro for a long time and can’t wait for the next FW update in July.

      Fuji and Sony are doing great things.

      • “…the IQ of the RX1 is on another level.”

        Have to disagree here. I find the X-Trans sensor punches way above its weight class.

        Technically as good as the RX1? No.

        In the real world? Much closer than you might imagine.

        • No, not really. Fuji owners like to say this but it is just not so. Did you not see my real world Fuji vs Leica M comparison? Using a lower end Voigtlander lens? Was not even close. The RX1R puts out better files than the M IMO – Fuji is in fact not even close in richness, depth, hardiness of the files, DOF control, etc. You see this when using side by side, and it is a pretty big difference.

          • There is no comparison , I owned XPRO1/XE1/X100s , as well as RX1/M240/1DX . I am a big fan of fuji , because how unique they are .to me, RX1 images felt like 1DX with my contax lenses . I don’t bring 1DX with me at all unless for a purpose , I carry RX1 everywhere i go. If I want to have fun with changing lenses (samyang fisheye or more bokeh with 35 1.4), Fuji it is . I am disappointed with my M240 really , I should of just kept my M9-P . Out of all these camera, best IQ and AF has to go with Canon 1DX .

        • I don’t need to “imagine” anything, I have both cameras.

          • I prefer the look of EOS-M Raw files to X100S files. Perhaps it was how Lightroom worked with the formats. Both of which pale compared to the RX-1 (Alas no R) Which also eclipsed my M9-P for a kind of smooth clarity it exibits. The M9-P With lenses has character though. Something i feel the others miss.

  9. Looks like a beautiful camera but I think I’ll wait a bit longer and make do with my 5D2 and XPro1. I can’t help but think that Sony will release an IC version of this with a D800E sensor….

  10. So with this RX1R for the price of a 35 Cron we can say that between 1000-8000 dollar/euro anybody can find a ‘real good performing’ camara+lens combination.

    My neighbour always say….you have men who like Blondes and men who like Brunettes, he say I like Blondes and alltough I do see from time to time Stunning blondes, even more beautiful than any Blonde evere seen, I just don’t want it, I want a Blonde !!

    Same for me, I like Leica and will never buy a camera with Sony, SamSung or Panasonic on it.
    It’s not only technology, AA filters, sharp-unsharp, but it’s the total experience.

    So now we reached the times that there are no ‘bad’ camera’s anymore, we enter the same arena as by Cars….which one fits your lifestyle, Ego etc.

    And RX-M….that would be nice, but than with a real Viewfinder please!

  11. You say it is the same price as the RX1. Is the RX1 still being sold or being replaced?

    In Europe it is slightly more expensive. The RX1 has not dropped in price but the RX1R is about GBP 100 more (amazon-prices)

  12. Thanks Steve for sharing your view. Looks like another winner Sony just delivered.

  13. I agree with the remarks about a single focal length. I challenged my friend and I to just use 35mm during a shoot and, while I didn’t come away with my best images, I still made it work in the environment I was in.

    http://alphawhiskey.slickpic.com/photoblog/post/PhotoChallenge2

    • Is it ‘sticking to 35mm’ when you then went and cropped many of your images in post?? :) Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

      Nice pics by the way….

      • Everything on that post was shot with 35mm; yes, a few images were later judiciously cropped. Shooting with a prime still forces you to see differently, but there’s no hard rule that says your images then need to stay exactly at the dimensions they were shot. If that were true there’d be far fewer photographs out there. I’m still challenging myself each time to limit myself to see things through just one lens. At least I’m making the effort. ;)

        • I agree……too much made of cropping. Everyone does it and no big deal if they do. If it improves the geometry of an image then great.

  14. I have been very tempted by the RX1R for a while now. The only thing keeping it from being perfect is the lack of a viewfinder. This is kind of a deal breaker for me in a lot of ways.

    I’m even willing to compromise with an EVF but holding a camera at arms length is just not for me.

    • The add in EVF works extremely well and is the best EVF on the market for any system. I’d prefer one built in of course but the external is really good. I use it 98% of the time.

    • trust me, do not not keep yourself away for the lack of viewfinder. you will get used to not having one. In film days, we had viewfinder because that was the only possible way.
      It is like with any new technology, people complain about mobile phones not having a physical keyboard and now I can’t imagine going back to without a touch screen!

  15. C’mon Sony, knock a grand off!! We know you can afford it with all you are making on the $180 lens hoods.

  16. It would be interesting to see if you can get a portrait of the person setting up these threatening signs with a 35mm lens :-). Having spent a year with an M8.2 and a 35mm Summilux (i.e. 50mm effective focal length) a while ago I agree that you can do a lot with one lens only by using your feet. Still, as someone who spends a lot of time in cities, I found myself quite often with the back at some wall or standing in the middle of a street. The image quality of the RX1R is really amazing! We’re living in the best of all times! With Zeiss as a partner it should be a no-brainer for Sony to come up with a mirrorless full frame. I doubt it will have an M-mount because the Leica market share is way too small to be interesting for Sony. They will try to come up with a full-frame mount with auto focus. However, fitting a lens specifically to a sensor and building an exchangable mount full frame camera are quite different shoes. Let’s wait and see …

  17. Nice images Steve. If the RX1/R had a tilt-able screen and built in evf I would definitely buy one or two (in a different focal length). The image quality is ridiculous and the shot of the blue smoking ball doesn’t show the least bit of noise in the shadows (at ISO1250…INSANE).

  18. Once again steve your reviews have been Enlightening and have made me want to go out and purchase this camera immediately I cannot wait for the day until I have one I am Inspired by your shots and enthusiasm At capturing a moment forever.. Steve Costello

  19. Thank you for this review! One of your best ever with beautiful images to go along with it. My pre-order is in.

  20. Hi Steve, thanks for the wonderful report. Which DR setting you have tested? I have so far DR – used car, but according to a report with diagrams at dpreview I often use DR 5 What are your experiences?

    Greetings Klaus

  21. Hi Steve,

    I use my OMD with the 25/1.4 lens as my primary camera and an RX100 for my point and shoot. The RX100 is usually shot wide open to obtain the fastest aperture. Is there any reason not to just sell those two and get the Sony RX1R? The only other lens I use on the OMD is the 45mm prime, but rarely.

    Thanks!

    • guess you can crop RX1R pictures for zoom with so much details and full frame image. Steve has RX1 review where he has cropped pictures of a cat if I remember correctly to about 75mm?

    • I have both, the Sony and the OM-D with the 25 and 12mm. The reason: For to take pictures from my grandchildren. They are moving to fast for the Sony Cameras, even the Nex-7 is to slow :-(, but the Om-d is fantastic.

  22. The full-body B&W portrait is superlative, not only in techie IQ but in composition, mood, etc. Nicely done! If i am correct, one can also have 50mm with this (and the RX-1) albeit in an auto-cropped version. Still for example even cropped that portrait would still sing opera!

  23. Who is that girl? (the eyes) she looks like the girl of that movie The ring 2002 .

  24. Hi Steve,

    Thank you for all the time spend keeping this website up to date. I’ve been following all of your reviews pretty close for the past few months and have to say I always enjoy reading them!

    I’m so close to following a link from here on over to B&H or Amazon, entering that 16 digit number and then just waiting for my RX1R to arrive! However, it takes a long time to save up this kind of cash, I would hope this purchase would be a wise “investment,” something I could use for years and be happy. However, now that I’ve read about a potential FF Sony mirror less interchangeable lens camera in 2014, I can’t help but ask myself “should I wait?” then again maybe the grass will always greener.

  25. Hi Steve – Earlier this year I purchased an RX1 after reading your review and I enjoy it immensely, and so thanks for your excellent and accurate ‘real world’ reviews! These sample shots you posted from the RX1-R are great – I found “mikesmokeBW” and “debbyBW” to be really striking, and representative of the amazing sort of output that the Sony excels at.

    One thing I have been eagerly awaiting is a firmware update for the RX1 (v1.00 is still the only release available), and so I am wondering – do you know, does the RX1-R use the same firmware as the RX1? When you spoke with Sony, by chance did they suggest when/if a firmware update for the RX1 family might be released?

  26. Hi steve,
      I live not sell the sony RX1 / RX1R. A friend bought in Madrid but will not make time to get the RX1R. You advise me to buy the RX1 or to wait for your next trip?.

    I really like your site.
    Thank you.

  27. Great!! But, Steve, please, stop! I want to save some money! =P

  28. My first response to the RX1 and now RX1R is that it would be extremely easy for Sony to keep the same camera but issue it with a 50mm equivalent lens. With this camera, they are following or leading Sigma’s model of a different camera for each focal length. But the Sigma DPM cameras cost around $1000 each versus $ 2000 plus. I own the DPM75. All of the criticisms disappear (almost) for anyone who remembers being satisfied with high quality color film/slide cameras with ISO film from 50-400. Quite adequate for all purposes but low light, but fast lenses helped with that as well. The DPM75 offers some macro ability, but no long lens shooting (as in wildlife). But this is not the era of a one-camera existence, but rather one in which many photographers can buy different cameras for different purposes. Okay, after your kids are out of college. And the weight is so low now that it’s easy to strap two around you neck and use both at once. So, why not use The DPM75 with the RX1R, and then keep an Olympus OMD handy as well with a long telephoto zoom lens and high quality wide angle or wide angle zoom. May sound outrageous, but I corrected the price of my 1969 Pentax Spotmatic SLR camera ($ 300) for inflation and it came out to $ 2000 in 2012 prices. Finally, to answer Steve’s desire for a similar camera with removable lenses, what happens if the now Sony owned Olympus OMD6 comes out with a similar or same 24MP “r” sensor? Steve already has the Olympus/Panasonic 4/3 lenses and the Leica/Zeiss full-frame 35mm lenses ready to go. It’s a good time to be taking photographs, but not easy to advise friends about what “single” or “main” new camera they should buy.

  29. Steve… PLEASE, I don’t want to like this camera. My bank account can’t take it. Please, please, post only your worst shots so I can convince myself I don’t want it. Have pity on us.

  30. Maybe I just have a bad day today, but I perceive your excitement for the AA filter free RX1 to be over the top. I think the last camera you were this excited with was the MM, the one you sold your first M240 for. And if I`m not mistaken, meanwhile you dumped the MM (I believe your second MM) in the marketplace and are back with another M240. And all in a few weeks only. So the saga goes from M240 and MM Nr1 to MM and M240 Nr2. toThe RX1 is a great camera, I use it since December, but I also have a DP2M and DP3M. IQ wise nothing short of the Nikon 800 with a top of the line lens can touch the output of the Sigma DPMs up to iso 400, not even a RX1R,

    • and you own an RX1R? Lol, why do people talk about cameras they never touched like they used them? The RX1R meets the D800E without an issue. Meets and maybe exceeds the Leica M and 35 cron. Meets the Sigma but kills it for color, high ISO , speed , handling and usability/build. The RX1 was my fave camera of 2012. As of today, it is still my fave camera of 2013, well, the R version just for that little bit of extra detail.

      • Just to be sure since I am curious, what do you mean by Leica M, MM or M240?

      • I don`t have a RX1R but he RX1 since December and this one I touched and used plenty enough. It`s a great camera and it`s usually in my bag with a Sigma DPM. So except for direct file comparison between the RX1R and RX1 output, I had plenty of quality time with the Sony FF pocket monster. Anyway, as I said at the beginning of my post, I probably had a bad day when I wrote it. 10 Minutes later I wanted to delete it…..;) But your blog does not allow to correct or delete participants entries.

        • Retow, You got a bit of point there. It’s a bit like a kid in a candy store, or Steve in the Chocolate Factory :-)
          But who can blame him? He’s surfing the waves of today’s rapidly chancing market. Every beauty, such as the RX1R and the MM, excites me too. Just a shame I don’t have the opportunity to go out and buy and test them. Happily, Steve has that opportunity and shares his excitement on his site. Surf’s up!

          • Yes, not only do I get to try everything and use everything, I buy what I really love. Because of what I do, I HAVE TO TRY everything that comes out. It’s what I do double full time. I love and adore the Leica M9, MM, M 240…the RX1 and RX1r. I really lie the OM-D and EP stuff from Oly and the Fuji X100. Those are cameras I raved about and owned for a long time, and would still today if I were rich. I cant keep them all but because I can try everything I know what works for me and what does not. That is what this site is all about, sharing my experience with all of this gear. I could write about much more but just do not have the time to do it (DSLR’s, etc).

            • Stating the output of the RX1(r) equals that of a D800 shows ignorance of the subject.

              • Yes, on the persons part who feels that it it is not so :) The RX1R easily exceeds what the D800 can do with a Zeiss 35 1.4. Ive worked with both. The Bokeh is nicer on the RX1R and detail is better on the RX1R over the D800. The RX1R is equal to the D800E in detail and resolution. I assume you do not have an RX1R to see this for yourself? Of course you don’t as that is usually how it is when people make statements like this. Ignorance is when someone never touched a camera yet makes a judgement on what it can and cant do. I used them both, the RX1R easily equals and in some ways can surpass what can come out of a D800. You will need a mighty fine lens on that D800 to get there and even so it will be MUCH bigger, MUCH heavier and way less enjoyable to use. SO I will say it again. The RX1R output easily equals and in some ways surpasses what comes out of a D800 and Zeiss 35 1.4. I state this from experience using BOTH.

            • I bought an EPL1 for my wife last year. She found there is a “firework mode” a few days ago. The results were not bad. Kind of camera for the dummies.

  31. I didn’t have time to look closely at all the images, nor did I read all comments, but this camera, EVF and all, is really tempting. If I wouldn’t have bought a D800, which I turn out to use mostly with a 35 (and a 50…), I might have gone for this one. Thanks for the compelling review Steve.

  32. Fullframe nex is coming. Along with the release of four new Zeiss fullframe lenses. It will be released for around $3200, and I am very certain Sony will have learned from the nex5 to nex5n where they fixed the colour shifts on wide angle rangefinder glass.
    This will be the game changer. The rx1′s are just a stepping stone in that technological evolution. The future looks bright if Sony sticks to their guns. :)

    • That should read that it has been officially announced that four new Zeiss fullframe e mount lenses are to be released for the start of 2014. Lets not forget that there is already a fullframe e mount nex brethren on the market, the vg900.

      • Josh,
        I believe the Zeiss lenses you are referring to are apsc and not FF unless I missed something new. The four Touit lenses come in Sony or Fuji mounts.
        Jeff

      • Really? Full-frame NEX. Nice idea but where is the proof?

        • Well, since it is an unannounced product, there is no “proof” but Andrea over at Sony Alpha Rumors has a stellar track record and has been calling this one for a while now. Also, Sony has already released a FF E-Mount camera in the VG900.

    • FF NEX E mount camera, great if I can use my Leica R lenses via an adapter.

  33. Steve, please talk Sony into making an RX1m monochrome!

  34. Fantastic IQ. The DR example showing how much the shadows can be lifted is amazing. Cool stuff. Thanks Steve. Hope Sony bring out one with built in EVF.

  35. Had the RX1 when it first came out and while I loved the image quality and the screen, I could not stand the camera itself. Not having a viewfinder is extremely awkward, AF was worse than the x100, and the control layout was absurd. After 6 weeks of use I sold it.

    For travel/day to day shooting I’ll stick with the M9 and x100s. Wish the x100s was FF simply for DOF, but it is leaps above the RX1 for usability, handling, and speed IMO.

    • AF is on par with X100s if you use center point focus (which is how I use every camera). The EVF is amazing on the RX1, not sure why some would not use it. I find the opposite as you – I find the RX1 a JOY to use and shoot and had nothing but good things to say about using the RX1R in handling, AF, speed, etc. I enjoyed it more than any Fuji and just as much as my M. Not everyone likes the same things though.

      • AF is hardly on par. Let alone when the light drops. Compared to the x100s it is not even close. The original x100, yes, I agree.

        The EVF is obnoxious sticking out on top, not to mention another ridiculous cost on top of the already high cost of the camera. Had it come with a built in EVF, I might have felt completely differently about the ergonomics (it would have also been larger which would have been a plus). But it didn’t.

        The RX1 was a joy to use as a P&S. And there’s no way I’m spending that kind of cash on a P&S. Again, IQ was great and people come out with amazing images from it. I, personally, just can’t use a camera that I have to hold out in front of me like that.

        But like you say, not everyone likes the same thing.

        • Kinda harsh but I kinda agree.

        • EVF is excellent, much nicer to use for us left eye shooters. My only criticism is the wake time – it needs to be quicker but everything else is roses. The tilt feature is also useful in lieu of a tilt screen and I have used it with satisfaction many times. So I guess one man’s “obnoxious” is another’s treasure :)

    • Things I don’t like on the RX1 , everytime I need to shoot close object, I need to rotate the ring (this is better than Fuji’s Macro button, which is annoying) . I love the EVF , but no full case for it! (the original sony case doesn’t fit that or the hood ..stupid design) . I wish the thumbs grip work with the EVF , because I wouldn’t feel comfortable holding RX1 without a strap .

      for this focal length , AF is fine , if RX1 were interchangeable lens , it will run into same issue as Fuji X camera . however this is not the case, at 35mm , you don’t need Sports AF =)

  36. Congratulations – you have really done it now!. Your review has made me consider the crazy idea of upgrading my RX1. Even a little improvement is strangely appealing in a camera that is such a marvel to shoot. The extra crispness added to the smoothness seems like a great blend.

  37. After reading all of the comments, here are a couple of things about the RX1/RX1R, from an owner:

    - The modular EVF/OVF approach is great. Even though the EVF is best in class, I actually returned it, because I prefer using the OVF with the center AF point, believe it or not. It is just as accurate as my Fuji X100s, and it is just as fun. If this camera had a built-in EVF, it would just get in my way, and it would date the camera in a couple of years. Plus, newer EVFs down the road will probably be an option.

    - A tilt LCD would be nice, but the sensor of the RX1 is nearer to the back of the camera than most other mirrorless cameras, so it would noticeably add to the camera’s thickness.

    - As an owner of the RX1 and X100s, I can easily say that X-trans doesn’t come close to the RX1. In fact, at lower ISO, I’d even prefer a Bayer aps-c sensor over X-trans, let alone the RX1.

    - As is commonly a topic of conversation in some of the more advanced camera forums, people often mistake artifacts as “more detail” in AA-less cameras (I used to own an M9, btw.) The thing is, you can’t compare files from an AA and AA-less sensor without optimizing the sharpening for each differently. I already get moire and artifacts as it is with the RX1, so I can’t imagine wanting even more of that by removing the AA filter. With a proper sharpening routine, the RX1 should not be outclassed by the RX1R. Are people really dying to be able to print a few millimeters larger or something? AA-filters exist for a reason, and, until we see full frames at something like the 56mp range (like the aps-c D7100,) it just isn’t worth gaining all of the artifacts for “more detail.”

    That being said, removing the AA filter can help improve sharpness across the field, since there would be less of an issue with astigmatism, but the RX1 is already the best 35mm lens that I’ve seen across the field, and it supposedly has a pretty high end AA filter, so I doubt it’ll be much of an improvement.

    The funny thing is, good AA filters are actually kind of pricey, so it is odd that the RX1R is the same price.

    • the thing is that even with proper sharpening you are creating details ‘artificially’, with RX1R (or other AA-less camera) you don’t need to sharpen at all or use much lower sharpening (talking about input not output sharpening).

      So I’d rather remove moire manually (if there’s some) in PP then ‘artificially’ add details to an image which weren’t there from the start.

  38. Steve, you said the Rx1R can be better than a M9 plus 35 cron. But how better? Much better? Do you suggest to change my M-E for a RX1R?

  39. Steve, I have to say, I have seen a lot of pooter pictures in my lifetime but that one of your little chihuahua curled up in a ball is the most beautiful I’ve seen. I would even like to make a painting from it.

    I like your list of impovements for the RX1R too. A built-in EVF is a must but I was also thinking; what about a fixed 24-70mm zoom Zeiss lens for the RX2?

  40. This is all heading very much in the right direction, and Sony has a clear lead. One reason I have resisted the interchangeable lens mirrorless cameras to date is that it is inevitable the game will shift to full frame. I don’t want to invest in glass with so short a shelf life. Once the bodies are full frame, and the lenses too, it is a different situation.

    This a great review Steve. I’m glad you have found a camera that inspires you. After Leica, and Sony, who will be next?

  41. One of your best reviews ever Steve, thanks. In the part “So what is WRONG with the RX1R?” My choice is #8. Then I feel I could get by with a one lens camera. As to the built-in VF, I am not so sure. In a way it kind of makes sense to have an add on EVF. Then when technology produces a higher resolution EVF with a higher re-fresh rate, you just add one, as opposed to a whole new camera.

  42. Steve, interesting article.
    BTW, I find very funny that when someone compares a Leica to another camera, and find it better than the Leica for a great number of verifiable points, pops up a leica owner stating that “OK, but in the end is about THE EXPERIENCE…”, a concept that is so subjective that is akin saying “I like it better because I like it and that’s all!”… (and yes, I found that owning and shooting a FILM Leica is a nice experience, but I hardly justify the cost involved in a digital-whatever just for the sake of the red dot and the company of other “kindred spirits”…)

    • I agree. Not only Leica owners but Fuji owners as well and I used to own an X100. Why people feel that have to justify their own preference or purchase ad nauseum amazes me. IMO, the images speak for themselves, whether Steve’s photo comparisons or other websites.

      But if you prefer your own system, camera, etc, then more power to you. We all know that the camera does not make one a “photographer” and that amazing images can come from any camera in the right hands.

  43. Since the EVF blocks the only way to sync this camera with a flash. I would like to see Sony make this EV1 with a pc sync port (or a USB to pc sync adapter)

    It too bad Sony hasn’t thought of this! Its not so big deal fitting a pc sync inside EV1

  44. Okay, you’ve got me scrambling to come up with $2798. But couldn’t they just throw in the viewfinder?

  45. I like the Sony RX-1 so much. The last half year i took a lot of beautiful pictures. Of course if possible i would upgrade to the RX1R. Some of the Streetfotos i took with the Sony you will find of: http://www.streetfoto.ch. But what is miss is a better manual focusing. Great would be one like by the Olympus 12mm/2.0 lens.

  46. Finally! Thank you Steve for this amazing article! As I told you before I tried Sony RX1 before but not liked much and was between Leica M9 and Leica X Vario but seen today all those images taken by RX1R are amazing. You finally convinced me to go for RX1R. If I go for M9 then I have to sacrifice too much but now we have RX1R – Game over for me!

    You are lifesaver! :)

  47. Im a big fan of Sigma Foveon since SD9.
    Fact is if not photographing moving subjects & high iso,
    and can accept their unique colour signature
    then theres no sensor like it.

    (ps. DP3M by all acounts has resolved the unique colour as now natural)

    However, RX1/R knocks Sigmas out the ball park in all other areas.

  48. Why isn’t anybody doing a 50mm version of these types of cameras? We’ve got a few 28s and 35s, but no 50. I would love a FF 50mm (with a vf) and would gladly pony up.

  49. I find it very interesting reading the comments about “should I get this” or “is it really better than the other”. On my laptop is a sticker which tells me there is “intel inside” but nothing about the “idiot outside”. When we get down to the quality of pictures that many cameras can make it should be more about the person holding it. The best camera in the world does not a photographer make. Some quality tuition is probably more valuable than an upgrade, but then we all think we are above that don’t we ?. There is no holly grail of a camera to make us better.

  50. That b&w shot of your lady in the peacock dress is absolutely stunning!

  51. No built in EVF or hybrid VF=no deal. A $3500 P&S or mounting a pricey carbuncle of an EVF doesn’t do it for me. Sorry Sony.

    • Yea is really annoying, I can’t even get hold of the electronic viewfinder in UK at the moment! have to view this camera as an interchangeable viewfinder camera with a fixed lens. please make the next version the other way round!

  52. Steve: RX1(r) or D800(E) equal in output? We’re comparing cameras here, not lenses, nor weight or other favorite gripes. Please show us the evidence.

    • P.S.: I will sidestep the uncalled for “you haven’t used it” snipe. Doesn’t seem to hinder most folks around here. As I said, I would welcome a serious comparison. Remember, the RX1′s sensor is essentially the D600′s sensor, as many reviewers have noticed (real or other world ones). They noticed as well that the D800(E)’s sensor’s is output is in many ways slightly better. Again, show us the proof.

  53. This is all great, and the potential is there, but they need to stop playing around and release the interchangeable lens version with EVF!

  54. Come clean Steve, just tell us about the FF NEX. It hit other rumor sites today…ya’ll know something. Some say that the e-mount lenses can’t cover the full frame…but with optics like the “speed booster” I think this is a matter or looking for an engineering solution rather than an unsolvable problems.

    As a matter of fact, I see lots of posts over the past months on various sites about FF Ziess glass in e-mount. Do the Touit lenses cover a FF??

    At any rate…I’ll hold off on the Rx1, because as you already know I believe….might be better to wait. I don’t think it would be as SMALL as the Rx1…a FF Nex…but if it’s no larger than an X-E1 Fuji…that’d be fine w/me!!

    SPILL THE BEANS!!!

    • I dont do rumors :) I will post about whatever camera is announced when it is announced. BTW, Touit lenses will not cover full frame. There would need to be all new lenses from Zeiss, probably in the $2k price range. I still believe whatever is coming from Sony as a FF IC camera will not be up to par with what the RX1 does due to the issues and difficulties involved in putting that FF sensor in a small camera like a NEX. Corners will suffer with anything but the finest glass designed for the camera.

    • There is no issue with E-mount covering full frame. They designed E-mount from the beginning to be theoretically large enough for FF, but perhaps if they would have put more emphasis on it they might have made it a bit bigger.

      • The mount itself is compatible with a FF sensor but the lenses themselves ARE NOT. Kind of like what you get with Nikon DX vs FX lenses. The E mount lenses out now are like DX instead of FX. ALL new lenses are required to take advantage of the FF sensor. You will be able to use a Zeiss 24 1.8 but it will go to crop mode using an APS-C size portion of the sensor, which will not be a full frame image.

        • Now I’m no scientist, but if the “speed boster” can shrink an image so that it’s fully on a crop sensor….couldn’t one do the opposite?

          I’m not a lens designer, but I have seen the cover of Dark Side of the Moon, so isn’t it a matter of curvature of glass and distances of glass from sensor?

          On my nex, the adapter for a M43 screw is LOOOOOOOOONG, but for an M mount it’s tiny….maybe this is something similar?

  55. How about a 240 + Lux FLE vs the RX1r comparison?

  56. I have the RX1 but compared to my DP2m, I’m sorry to say – no contest when it comes to IQ! The DP Merrils are the true pocket medium format cameras. Like Medium format cameras they are slow to use but the IQ…….oh the IQ…….just puts a smile on my face every time I open up a photo on my 24″ computer screen.
    Ultra ultra sharpness and bright punchy colors are the hallmarks of the DP series. Like magic, these special qualities of the Foveon sensor give the photos a unique “look” that make what would be a mundane photo come to life. The 3d effect is amazing to behold. The results are simply unbelievable from a device that costs less than half of the RX1. They are not sexy like the RX1 and they certainly don’t look as nice hanging off your neck but it’s all about the results man :). In the right conditions, they cannot be beaten by any current small format camera/lens combo. Not Nikon, not Leica, not Zeiss. They are that good.
    As a camera junky I’ve tried them all and hand on my heart, I have not seen better Raws than from my DP2m. They are so good – credit to the camera’s decent AF and metering – that they dont need post-processing, which is fortunate given the laughable Sigma software that you have to use.
    I love using my RX1 – it’s my go-anywhere camera – but prefer the results from the DP. Unfortunately, from what I see in this review, the RX1r still can’t match the DP2m for sharpness or colour.
    Now if Sony could put the Foveon sensor in the RX – man, I would put my money down now.

    • and then there’s one more thing when it comes to files from DPxM – B&W conversions, have not seen better B&W conversions from raw file (haven’t had a chance to try MM though).

  57. Though I haven’t handled the RX1 myself, I believe what Steve has everything in here. Before I had my Sigma DP2, 2 years ago, I have created a list of items for what is pocket camera with high IQ which simply is FF sensor, fixed focal length, and especially no AA filter! The filter just omits very fine detail.

    My Sigma DP2 has that pop in its images and I thought it was mainly to its Foveon X3 sensor and the prime lens. Yet, the RX1R can do the same…..but a lot better due to its vastly better sensor and lens.

    The RX1 is already everything to me but the price which is just impossible to me. I’ll just have to do with the Ricoh GR for now….or maybe, Sigma with an FF sized DP in the future.

  58. For now I’m very happy with my M-E/50 Lux ASPH combo, but I’d love to see an RX-2 (or whatever they may call it) with a 50mm f/2 :-)

  59. Tim Ashley’s assessment…

    “he preferred the M240 files to the D800 files, there was a sh!t-storm of disagreement. But he was right. And I have slowly realised that even the Sony RX-1, a camera that I thought had the finest pixel level detail I have ever seen, is not always the winner – especially when compared to the best parts of a frame shot on the M240 with its best glass”.

    It will be interesting to hear his take with the RX-1r :)

    ET

  60. Hi Steve,
    Thanks for the great reviews and especially your coverage of the Sony RX1 and RX1R. You inspire me. I bought the RX1 and love it. I notice tips that are sprinkled throughout the reviews. Would you consider putting together a list of your settings and tips for the RX1?
    John

  61. They pulled it off! But when you say medium format I have a feeling you are thinking P+ back series. The latest IQ backs from Phase One will blow you off your feet and will shatter any camera to tears, and that includes any Leica with any lens mounted.

    True, it comes with a price tag but comparing 35mm with something from another league is not and will never be realistic. Sheer sensor size and resolution in medium format backs are truly unmatched. Heck, even the P+ series do have a dynamic range that is unsurpassed by the Sony. Nevertheless, a fantastic rig.

    One item that puzzles me …. you were saying lens distortion correction in camera? as in any distortion hereby is solved and no longer need correction in post processing? I have been looking at a number of samples seeing a rather visible distortion something you would not see from say the CZ 35 ZM lenses. Enlighten me ….

    Thanks for the great review!

    • Ive seen output from the latest Phase One backs. I see lots of detail and smooth files at low ISO but nothing that came close to bringing me to tears. Id take an RX1R over a new Phase One setup without question (unless I sold the Phase One and then bought an RX1R). It’s too large, needs a tripod, needs lots of light and is only good for certain applications – portraits and landscape. If you read what I said, I was saying to me the RX1R is BETTER than any MF rig sinply due to the fact it does things that now MF setup can do. It gives me all of the detail I need, at base ISO it is smooth, sharp, full of DR and has life to it. It is not up there with a big MF rig but it fits in a pocket, can be used in any light, without a tripod and even at ISO 25,600. It is much cheaper yet for most uses, in print, no one would see much of a difference in real world shooting, well, 90% of people wouldn’t. I’ve seen all kinds of MF rigs over the years from older to brand new 2013 setups and none of them did anything for me except to say “Oh look, I can count the threads in that sweater when viewing 100%”. I also suggest looking into the construction of the RX1 and how the lens fits inside almost to the back of the camera. There are huge challenges to making a camera like this which is why no one else has attempted it yet. The thickness of the body is about half of a Leica M, which causes all kinds of issues with lens/sensor but Sony nailed it anyway.

      • Thanks for the extensive response, Steve. Perhaps it is better to emphasize in the article that it fits ‘you’ better based on the properties you have mentioned such as the compact size, the high ISO and so on. Similar to that, I can read other reactions with very personal reasons not to take the Sony, but (for example) the Sigma (to speak with your own words, fits in a pocket, it is much cheaper yet for most uses, in print, no one would see much of a difference in real world shooting, well, 90% of people wouldn’t instead)

        I find your argument ‘counting threads in a sweater at 100%’ a shot below the waste. I noticed your other comparison article and I would suggest that you do mount a digital back on a tripod, shoot at base ISO and compare it to the Sony and zoom in at 100% and let us know the results. So for someone who does 100% crop one-on-one comparisons to make a point, why not show us the proof in the pudding.

        I very much understand the technical challenges that exist in making cameras but at the same time I am not too impressed by that all. I debated 3 years ago for a full frame compact camera as the technology to create it has been there for many years and it has been merely hold back by marketing people who rather continued squeezing the dollar out of inferior technology. Perhaps you should study what Horseman did with the SWII digital, speaking of a technical feat, the sensor and lens are virtually sitting on top of each other and still it has the capability of creating a shot that is virtually distortion free.

        Nevertheless, I might consider the Rx1X too for indeed the simple fact that I too will not always pull out something ‘bigger’ to take that straight forward shot which otherwise would have become only a memory to mind instead. (In fact that’s why I did buy a Leica X2 but it turned out to be somewhat of a misfit and I sold it off) In that light I repeat my question, you mentioned the Rx1X having a ‘lens distortion correction’ setting in the camera. What it exactly does is not explained in your article, hence the request to enlighten me.

        • I state reasons as to why it fits me better. Every review I write is about my experience with the cameras, this has always been known of my reviews. The Sigma is much cheaper, smaller but also slower, not fun to use, not for anything moving and not a very versatile camera. As for “counting threads” – that you can do with MF, I have done so myself :) I have shot MF and have files in this very computer from high end MF cameras. They are good for base ISO, tripod shooting and again, nothing moving, nothing in low light and not a carry around kind of thing. That was my whole point. Never said the RX1R beats medium format IQ at base ISO. I said the opposite. What I said was the RX1R does much more while being small, versatile, great in daylight or nightlight, etc etc. If you want to read about the lens distortion correction, its all in the RX1 review. Thanks

          Steve

  62. waw this is I think the best ever camera/lens review I read … so passion and so convincing….really …I am Oly user ….but am tempted with fix focal lenght camera and this looks great value for money …. good job Steve, tomas

  63. hello Steve, would you say the IQ of M240 + 35 Summilux is better than that of the RX1r? am having a hard (in a positive way) time choosing between the two. Thanks!

    • Well, if price is no object, and it sounds like it is not, go with the M and 35 Lux. Gorgeous combo. BUT, IQ will not be any better than the RX1R when it comes to IQ. You will have the 35 Lux look at 1.4 but thats it. What comes into play with the M is when you want to use a 21, 28, 50 or 90. Then you can get all kinds of looks. Plop on old classic lenses and have fun. If price is a concern go with the RX1R. If you are only planning on shooting 35mm, go with the RX1R. If you will ever want to try other Focal Lengths and money is not a concern, go with the M.

  64. Hi Steve! I want to ask u something about the previous issue..

    Do sony fix the evf issue on rx1r? About the lock? I read on rx1 review that sony didn’t had any lock for the evf so it can slipped away..

    I do really considering to purhase this camera, but since I live in Indonesia, I still need to wait for 3 to 4 months!:(

    • As stated, the RX1R is the same as the RX1 in every way. Nothing has been changed, tweaked or replaced. It is not a successor to the RX1, it is just a version without the AA filter.

      • Hmm, I see..

        Well, I still had a few months to make my final decision..

        Wanna try the camera first..

        But this one makes me save my money..:)

  65. Great post Steve, thanks to you, now I’m a very happy owner of RX1R. :)

    For those who don’t want to pay crazy money for the hood, Fotodiox do make a grip packaged with a square hood and shutter release button for $109.

    http://fotodioxpro.com/index.php/catalogsearch/result/?q=sony+rx1+grip

  66. I’m going to be honest here and say I dont see a significant difference in sharpness unless you’re a professional brick wall photographer. I was tempted, but the RX1R still doesnt fix any of the RX1′s shortfalls (few, but they exist). I’d wait for the RX2R or whatever the next round is.

    Steve – I would however be interested in seeing more examples post processing with a sharpening filter.

  67. A Sony mirrorless FF body (call it RX-M) was the first thing that popped into my mind after reading your initial review on the RX1. I would immediately go for it, since it makes so much sense. I’m sure it would be a phenomenal hit! But I also doubt if Sony will ever make a body that is M-compatible, although so many believe IT MAKES A LOT OF SENSE!
    Anyway, my hopes are now with a Sony full frame body (NEX-9?) on which I could use my M-lenses with adapter, although some think that, although the body will come, it won’t be possible to mount M-lenses. I keep my fingers crossed! I believe Sony must simply solve this problem.

  68. Thank you Steve!

    Have been aware of photography since only a year ago. I have Sigma DP1 and DP3M. But when my friends came to my wedding two weeks ago with D800 and M9, I was shocked: Leica is truly amazing!

    So I read a lot online but eventually I bought RX1R today ^_^

    • Congrats! Really. Enjoy and treasure your RX1R. It is so nice to read about your excitement in a world of depressing and violent news.

  69. Steve thank you soooooo much !!

    I’ve bought the excellent RX1 last week, but afeter reading your excellent review I decided to trade it back for the RX1r. I mainly shhoting RAW and for me there is so much difference. This camera is truly amazing and I can’t thank you enough to bring so much joy in my photographic world ! You can be sure I will support you in any way possible (mainly buying thru your amazon or B&H links)

  70. It is unacceptable that Sony still did not give this camera update a swivel screen, especially in the absence of a built-in viewfinder.

    • That’s an absurd statement. Your preference doesn’t determine what’s acceptable for Sony to produce. Is it acceptable that they make the world’s most compact full frame? Is it acceptable that the whole thing exudes quality? Is it acceptable that it has one of the best 35mm lenses you can buy for any money? Is it acceptable that it has an extraordinary sensor?

      Buy it or don’t.

  71. If they would just make an RX-2 that was 70-75mm f2.0 or even 2.8 to go with my RX-1 everything would go on eBay and I’d rent a D600 and a tele when I needed it

    it’s amazing that people say these negative things like, “… it doesn’t have (fill in the gizmo)”. So instead they buy huge systems or cameras that cannot touch the IQ of the RX or it’s ease of operation. Personally was a bit put off by Steve’s gushing over the early one he had. Now I think he has it about right. This is a very special tool for creating images. And far less narrow than many seem to think

    But please tell Sony to make me one with a lo-mid tele. The 35 can be cropped up to 50 no problem. I want 2X

  72. Hi Steve

    Thanks for the review.

    I have one question though, can you tell me why you can shoot at f2 with max shutter speed it seems such a shame. I have ordered one and it will be here tomorrow, will let you know more on how i feel about the camera.

    Ken

    • Due to the leaf shutter max shutter speed wide open is 1/2000s. But you can easily slap an ND filter on the front (I have one for mine) if you want to shoot wide open in the daytime/sunlight.

    • More specifically the leaf shutter operates on a principle analogous (but not identical to) the aperture diaphram. Focal plane shutters achieve very high speeds by a “trick” unavailable to a leaf shutter. It emulates a faster speed by making a progressively smaller slit that moves across the focal plane. It doesn’t really all happen at the same 1/4000 or 1/8000 of a second at all.

  73. Removing the AA filter from the RX1 is a solution in search of a problem, as the blurring introduced by the filter can easily be reversed and detail restored by proper deconvolution sharpening, best done in the raw/capture phase. I have a demonstrated this to be the case using the Imaging Resource’s ISO 100 raw files from both the RX1 and the RX1R:

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

    As can be seen, the levels of sharpness and detail from the two cameras can be equalized via deconvolution, which, in my examples, was applied in Photo Ninja. Therefore, one needs to wonder about the wisdom of incurring a greater risk of moire and other artifacts for no significant IQ gain. Perhaps the issue is more related to the choice of raw convertors. LR/ACR has particularly weak deconvolution (controlled by the Detail slider), which results in soft appearing RX1 images. Photo Ninja’s deconvolution is much better, as is almost every other aspect of its raw conversions. Thus, changing raw convertors would seem to be a far better investment than choosing the RX1R over the RX1.

  74. A couple of other comments:

    Firstly, the M240 sample looks pretty sad next to those from the RX1s, at least at the pixel peeping level.

    Secondly, as an owner of an RX1, I would be very interested in an RX2 with a fixed 75-85mm lens. I would actually prefer this to a FF MILC, as the RX1 and the RX2 would cover about 90% of my work. Most of the basic R&D has already been done for the RX1, so it should not represent a huge investment for Sony. Will my dream RX2 ever see the light of day? I highly doubt it, because demand would be rather low, which is a bit of a shame, as that camera would almost certainly be the gold standard for portrait photography.

  75. Just got my RX1R done a few test shots, WOW what quality I cant wait to start some street photography latter today.

    This is going to take over from my D800 for street work, although I will try it for Landscape. Will let you know.

    Ken

    • Steve,
      Is there any reason to buy an RX1 instead of the new “R” variant? I own the RX 1 but can acquire a an R for very little extra cost. From your review it seems the R is the way to go. No moire concerns…

      Best,

  76. Steve – great review. FYI, its “anti-alias” not “anti-alais”

  77. A good review, as always. It convinced me to try a RX1R. For my needs, and this applies only to me, I was initially not interested because I already have a Leica M and an RX100 and I don’t need another small camera with a 35mm lens (and I learned about both of those cameras on this site — thanks Steve!). For traveling, the RX100 and Leica combo work well. The RX100 is great for snapshots and fits easily into any pocket but there are times where I want to get the best photograph I can and the Leica, which is easy to carry in a small backpack, delivers. But Steve’s review was so enthusiastic I decided to try the RX1R. The key for me was that it had to beat the Leica to justify keeping it. Based on this review, that seemed possible in terms of detail, dynamic range, high ISO and autofocus. The Leica still has the edge in terms of lens choices. After shooting both I returned the RX1R. Here is why. I didn’t see any improvement in detail. In fact, the opposite. That could be variations in individual cameras or a problem with the Sony’s autofocus or something I did wrong. I know Steve has found the Sony sharper. Dynamic range is good in both cameras. Steve has found the Sony better but for my needs they both perform well. Same with high ISO. Along with detail, the clincher for me was low light focus. The Sony hunted and often missed even when it beeped that it had finally found focus. I know I could go to manual focus and use the peaking feature on the Sony, but that is no advantage over the Leica. These comments aren’t for everyone but it may be helpful for someone who shoots the same way as me.

    • From my personal experience I would have to say that it was, just you, or rather the way in which you used the RX1R or possibly a poor example. The RX1, and now the “R” variant, have produced the best raw files from any camera that I have ever used-too many to list, but never a Leica, I must admit.
      The RX1 series has also proven to be far more versatile than I could have ever imagined. I shoot mainly concerts and Motor-sports and have used the RX1R far more than I would have thought possible.

      Best,
      Steve

      • Steve,

        Thanks for your comments and I mostly agree. If I were looking for a small camera with great IQ and a standard lens the Sony would be a natural because of its very high IQ, especially when it costs so much less than a Leica M. In normal light, both the RX1R and even a Leica M9 are in a medium format league along with the best DSLRs. The differences in that group are nits. IMO, after IQ the choice becomes individual needs. Fast autofocus, lens choices and overall versatility? A DSLR is best. Small size and autofocus? The RX1R probably wins. Small size and lens choices? The Leica wins. Another feature of the M is its low light performance. I am taking a trip in the late fall to see Christmas lights in Europe and the Leica will work best. The huge variety of different shooting situations is the reason why there is no single best camera . . . yet.

        I will make one additional observation although it is just my experience. Others, including Steve Huff, may disagree. Autofocus in a live view camera is rarely that useful and often is risky if focus is critical. For shooting kids or anything moving close and fast, only a DSLR cuts it. The Olympus OM-D is the best mirrorless I have found for fast autofocus but for shooting a grandkid playing soccer or T-ball a full frame Canon or Nikon with a fast zoom telephoto simply cannot be beat. It is the same reason why professional photojournalists lug DSLRs around. For just about every scene where you have a moment to compose the shot, a manual focus Leica works fine and I trust the focus. I don’t trust live view autofocus. It is too hit and miss so I end up shooting multiple shots hoping some will be right.

        • gsutton,

          I didn’t mention that for the majority of my sports and concert stuff I use a D4. I don’t believe this is the place to post images but I have some low light (also changing, spot and colored light) shots from concerts, taken with the RX1R, that are just incredible. I also caught a motocrosser–mid-air and crossed up–with my RX1R. Camera tech is so good now that I point a camera at something, and at the very least, expect it to handle the conditions.

          By the way, I’m very jealous of your upcoming trip. Someday…I hope to be able to give a Leica a try.

          Best,
          Steve

  78. Hi Folks

    Does anyone have a set of setting for the RX1 sharpening in Lightroom

    I dont seem to get the best out of the camera with standard sharpening

    Many thanks Steve for a brilliant site

    Regards
    Ken

  79. Hey Steve (or anyone who has both the RX1 and RX1r),

    Any of you guys notice a difference in the size of the opening of the shutter release? I tried Match Technical’s “Bop” and it fit fine with the RX1r but the Abrahamsson Mini does not even thread in. Customer service told me that the Abrahamsson Mini fits the RX1 just ok. So I don’t know if there is a problem with my RX1r or did they change the opening for all models.

  80. HI Steve
    First, thanks for your reports !
    After the film years (Leica, Konica hasselblad) I had to switch to digital. A k5 with old pentax lenses, and soon after again a pentax 67 and a mamiya 645, for the smell of Paterson dvpmt :)
    What I like in your RX pics is that Sony has at least stopped to do “camescope rendering” cameras…
    Even the K5 with the sony sensor has often this feeling. I use a DP1 merrill as a street pic camera ( yes I’m a masochist :)… A perfect psychotic paranoid schizoid living camera. But a good therapy against the 1000 pics digital session. And well, BW upon 400 iso reminds me film limitations. I even don’t think we can compare the dp merrill cameras with anything else. It’s like riding an enduro bike on a world trip , compared to a BMW. 90 % a pain in the ass, but access to the fantastic places :)
    The best
    Fabrice

  81. Hi Steve,
    Just came back to this article to say Thank You (like you asked at the end of your article).
    I bought the RX1R a few weeks ago in Australia and I am absolutely astounded by it. Still learning it, still customising the buttons, and recently making myself go full manual mode.
    I just wish that the camera can remember the last focus point you used and also to have full screen focus peaking (I know it can be done because when you half press the shutter to get out of the zoom mode, you can see the rest of the FOV with peaking on for just a moment).
    Keep inspiring people Steve (you’ve certainly inspired me to save up for this camera).

    Yours truly
    Hai

  82. Hi,
    It is the first time I write a comment on your site witch I really like and been reading for a couple years now…I am impressed by all the time and passion you put in this…

    I am really interested in the sony RX1,,, I was looking at the sunset picture at full resolution and was wondering if what I see in the upper left corner is normal. It looks like pale blue pixels.

    Also, english is not my first language so please forgive me for my mistakes…
    JF

  83. Hi Steve,

    Fantastic write-up as always! I have my eye on a used RX1r and have a quick question. I have looked everywhere, but can’t find the shutter settings for the RX1r. Does it have a “bulb” mode or is the longest shutter speed 30s? Thanks Steve!!

  84. Thanks again Steve, not only for an excellent insight into what the RX1r can do but for your infectious enthusiasm. Brilliant stuff.

  85. I would love Sony if they made this RXR-1 a 50mm f2, and add a 35mm wide angle attachment similar to Fuji’s WCL-X100 28mm adapter

    • Hi Steve.
      In the last weeks I was able to use the RX1 for some shots and of course I was blown away by the quality this beast delivers. I’m just uncertain to buy the RX1 or the RX1R due to one reason: pricing in germany… The RX1R costs 300 – 400 Euro more than the RX1… Your statement to go for the R was based on the fact that the prices were the same in the US at the time you wrote this blog Entry. I would love to here your opinion about this question when it comes to this difference in price. I’m not sure if the higher resolution/details justify a 300-400 Euro price difference… Thanks in advance and thank you vers much for this awesome blog!

  86. great picture, but i like used canon eos rebel t5i

    samsung galaxy grand|hp samsung
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  87. Hi Steve. I bought myself RX1R based on your review… I Can’t thank you enough… this is hands down best camera I ever owned and possible I will ever have. The amount of detail this thing gives is so mind blowing that I can’t believe my eyes. This is amazing camera all way around … Sony has hit the home run on this… with one small but my biggest complaint is ergonomics on the body…I have yet to come across good case I really like (I also managed to drop the camera on the first they I got it)!

    • Congrats! Glad you are enjoying it. It is one hell of a camera, no doubt!

      • And one hell of a slow cam as well. It takes up to five seconds between two shots while using the built in flash. I used this cam in a wedding and it made me pull my hair out and it made me think about to sell it instantly due to this slowness…. But it’s truely an awesome detail monster for stills and an absolutely gorgeous cam for street photpgraphie based on the cam size… And I (oft course ^^) won’t sell this beauty …

  88. I am praying that Sony will not give up on developing the next iteration of the RX1. I am just now realizing the power of a camera with a leaf shutter as a way to over power the sun with high sync speeds and off-camera flash. The only thing missing from the RX1 is a built-in viewfinder. Please, Sony, make your next RX2 with a hybrid electronic/optical viewfinder like the Fuji X100/X100S. Better yet, if possible (though I don’t see how) make an interchangeable lens camera with a leaf shutter and IBIS.

    • I think its likely to be the last one… what i head from last earnings call is that they are going to focus on smartphones and game consoles sell laptop unit and also scale down consumer camera business. I am not sure what it really means for RX1 but I have a bad feeling that such niche product wont fit into their corporate profit plans? Am continuously keep amazed on my RX1R and have already bought electronic viewfinder…

  89. I am also back to say “thank you”. I bought the camera and haven’t enjoyed photography so much since the advent of digital. Beautiful to look at, more importantly beautiful to use and beautiful results. Much of the adverse criticism has been based on the price, but value for money is relative and here the price is justified; certainly no camera since my Leica IIIf was as well constructed. All your other advice was very useful and has been followed. Thank you Steve.

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