The original Sony RX1 is still Amazing. Here’s Why. By Isi Akahome

The original Sony RX1 is still Amazing. Here’s Why. 

By Isi Akahome

Hi Steve,

I bought my Sony Rx1 about 6 years ago, and I still use it till today for shooting weddings alongside my Nikon DF. It has been through thick and thin with me, including a broken LCD, and a lens replacement to fix the dreaded E:61 problem. For my Fashion work I use my Leica M240 and 50mm Summilux or my Pentax 645Z because I just prefer the way they work with my workflow.

 When I came up with the idea for this particular shoot, I decided I was going to need a camera that did decently quick sync speeds with flash and was wide enough to capture some environmental detail since we were going to be indoors. The RX1 was the perfect camera for this. I used the one strobe through a beauty dish to light the models, and I was very pleased with the results. The images were published by Trend Prive´ Magazine.

Even thought the camera is almost 7 years old, which is an eternity in photography years, it is more than capable for my needs. The AF is good enough, low light is pretty good, and the IQ is just outstanding (I’d say on par with the Leica). I don’t need 42 megapixels, so the RX1R MK2 just isn’t worth the upgrade to me. It’s still an amazing camera in that wonderfully compact design.

Thanks for reading, and you can view more of my work on Instagram @isi.a.pix.

Isi.

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19 Comments

  1. Dear Steve,

    Hopefully you can give me some advise. One shop in my country (Malaysia)
    offers a mint condition RX1 with complete package: RX1 + dedicated EVF and RX1 leather cover for 1200 USD (plus one month warranty)

    The price for these ‘bundle kit’ sounds so attractive. What do you think? I always wanted to own RX1/1R since many years ago but the price back then but couldn’t afford it even for body alone (used).

    I’m contemplating between RX1 and Leica X (113) used, which also been offered around the same price – body only. I have tested the X and was blown away by the Leica color/micro contrast in its images.

    Just briefly handled the RX1. Don’t really have the time to test it but many says the color’micro contrast rivaled to those Leica offerings.

    Appreciate your advice 🙂

    • The RX1 is so much nicer and better than the Leica X113. No contest. Id go RX1 setup. The X can not even get close in low light, for shallow DOF, for lens quality, for file quality, etc. RX1 is a classic.

  2. My RX1 broke ;(
    My most loved camera ever.
    I replaced it with a new A7r3 and am hunting for a lens of equal microcontrast and rendering as the 35mm RX1

    Anything tween 55 and 24 would be fine.
    Just can’t live without the microcontrast etc of my RX1

    Anyone have some suggestions?

    • You will not find that RX1 micro contrast in the A7 series. I know what you mean, as those files are beautiful when it all comes together and the lens is what is creating that micro contrast. Maybe try a Zeiss Batis or Loxia. May be as close as you will get.

      • Zeiss Batis 25? Seen some shots from it on Flickr and it didn’t seem to come close really. Do you think your favorite Voigtlander 40mm is an option? I haven’t seen any lens in the A7 series that comes close yet.

        With all of your experience with Leica etc, you would be the one to know if it exists.

        I may have to dip into Ebay again or opt for the Rx1r2 which is good but I think it’s lost some of the special sauce. And there may be a new version coming soon?

        • Yes, the Batis 25 and 85 are fantastic lenses but still will not get you the exact look, and I know the look you speak of, and I agree that the MIII version did lose some of that though MKII did gain some AF speed. The RX1R is a special camera for IQ without question and still one little magical camera. I have been thinking about finding an original RX1R myself, just for that IQ as nothing really matches that look. Even adding a $3000 Leica 35 Summicron to the A7 will not do it as the Zeiss lens in the RX1R is better than the Summicron ; )

          • Thank you.
            Finally some agreement on the RX1’s value, and clear guidance.
            Agreed on the AF speed on the MKII which is a plus, but I am also a fan of the tiny flash in intimate situations it really added a nice punch.

            I appreciate your help in solidifying my thoughts and finding a path to where I need to go and its become clear thats straight back to the RX1 since all my searching has been in vain.

            If even a Summicron won’t do it, there is little recourse.
            Not to mention that leaf shutter is such a great push for HSS.

            I guess it’s back to Ebay? which isn’t always the best experience.
            Or send the one I took apart in a desperate attempt to save, back to Sony for a 1K lens fix.

            sorry of previous post in wrong reply

  3. Since when has the camera started to compose, cast and light the pictures? Wake up… its not the camera, its the photographer that makes a great image. I still use my trusty Nikon D3 for most of my work since more pixels only slow down culling and postprosessing and the images are usually used for internet so I don’t need larger files.

    • Thank you.
      Finally some agreement on the RX1’s value, and clear guidance.
      Agreed on the AF speed on the MKII which is a plus, but I am also a fan of the tiny flash in intimate situations it really added a nice punch.

      I appreciate your help in solidifying my thoughts and finding a path to where I need to go and its become clear thats straight back to the RX1 since all my searching has been in vain.

      If even a Summicron won’t do it, there is little recourse.
      Not to mention that leaf shutter is such a great push for HSS.

      I guess it’s back to Ebay? 🙁 which isn’t always the best experience.
      Or send the one I took apart in a desperate attempt to save, back to Sony for a 1K lens fix.

  4. Beautiful film-esc images with character!

    I still have and use the RX1 – it’s a timeless classic.

    In this day-and-age of rapid and continual gear upgrades it’s nice to see that some cameras do in fact ‘age gracefully’, and continue to be enjoyed for many years.
    Thanks for sharing!

  5. I like your article, and I am using lots of my electronics from Sony..
    Sony phones are the best of the best.. I still have older phone it’s Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S.. It’s still working as new.. Even the camera shooting are perfect with high quality pics.. All respects to Sony

  6. I completely agree with the author, the RX1 IS still amazing, slow af be damned ;). And at 5 years old this September, may be one of the best full frame grabs around as you can find them on eBay for around a grand…the lens alone is worth that. It certainly doesn’t have all of today’s bells & whistles but that image quality is still very special. As an example, the E-M1 came out around the same time and its IQ seems very tired when compared to the RX1.

  7. As someone mentioned earlier about the colours being film like, I agree and something very filmic about the rendering too, maybe the Zeiss. I just paid $1500 CAD to have a new lens put on mine, it had developed the dreaded freezing lens issue. Now having it back,
    I’m amazed to think I even hesitated getting it fixed, absolutely no regrets. It just has the magic.

    • I got that same error.
      I refused to pay the outrageous price but now think its better than buying a used version with NO warranty.

  8. Your images are beautiful. They really showcase the power of the RX1!

    I’ve used one for years and still feel the IQ is on par with any other camera I’ve used. The AF is far from pretty good and the batteries are worthless, especially in any temperature near or below freezing. I’ve had full batteries die after three shots in cold weather.

    I have switched to the Leica Q (still have the RX1) and I love it for the Leica color and overall image quality. The dynamic range isn’t as strong as the RX1 when the files are pushed in post and I do miss the 35mm focal length.

    My workflow has gotten a little cleaner by shooting all Leica, though.

    Thanks for sharing these beautiful images!

  9. These are wonderful images and beautiful work. Just wondering what shutter speed you shot these at and if you had to use the higher shutter speeds? If I’m not mistaken (as I used to own the RX1 before it was stolen), the RX1 has a leaf shutter allowing you to sync with strobes at all the shutter speeds?

    I never shot with strobes with the RX1 (I also shoot fashion, but do so with my interchangeable lens cameras), but in retrospect that would have been a fun thing to do.

    Thanks,
    Hien

  10. I had one for a spell. I loved the image quality. But I take issue with anyone calling the low light AF “pretty good.” It’s not even close to being pretty good. Maybe acceptable (to the author, not me) ; but, certainly not better than that.

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