Night Time Street Shooting with the Sony RX1..AMAZING HIgh ISO Samples.

Night Time Street Shooting with the Sony RX1..AMAZING High ISO Samples.

Ok guys, I promised more and more and more on this hot camera so here is MORE! Just returned from a late night walk and am BLOWN AWAY by the high ISO and usability of the RX1 on the street late at night. The camera is fast, responsive, silent and shooting at ISO 25,600 in B&W is IMO..beautiful.

I will keep this post short in text as I have to get some sleep as I have an early and VERY long day tomorrow (when the official shooting begins with the new Sony cameras) which will be jammed packed shooting from 7am to 10PM. (am writing this at 1am).

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So with that said I just want to share some photos from the late night walk. Things I like about the RX1 after a day? Size, weight, speed, lens, and build quality. I will admit that shooting in low light at night did result in a few AF misses but it was not any worse than most other cameras when shooting in the dark. On a few occasions the camera hunted when the light got REAL low and a couple of times focused on what was behind my subject. When I put it into MF mode using focus peaking it worked VERY well. Remember this is NOT final firmware so maybe Sony can improve on this. They say they are improving the IQ some as well so we shall see.

EXIF is embedded on all shots below and you must click them for a larger view. Also, when I get home next week I will write more in-depth on the RX1 with crops and processed shots as well. After that Sony should be sending me one soon for an “official review”. The thoughts I am posting now are just my 1st look thoughts and samples.

After tonight’s walk it made me really get excited again about this camera because it does low light/night VERY well. The high ISO is nothing short of astonishing and just think, every image here is an OOC JPEG without noise reduction. ISO 25,600 is VERY usable for gritty B&W street shooting. Pair that with the super sharp and soulful Zeiss 35 f/2 and well…where did I put that spare $2700?

BTW, San Francisco is AWESOME and I hope to come back really soon when I can spend some quality time here.

ISO 6400 direct from camera JPEG – click for larger – Noise Reduction turned OFF!

With an f/2 lens you really do not need higher ISO when you have light so this was the lowest ISO of the night, 160 – OOC JPEG in Standard Color mode..


ISO 2500 – NR OFF

ISO 8000 – YES, 8,000 – NR turned OFF

Now we get down to business…ISO 25,600 – NR OFF!

ISO 25,600 – the lens and sensor combo are stunning…ZERO NOISE REDUCTION! and this is a JPEG direct from camera!

ISO 25,600 – Direct JPEG, NO NR!


And a color shot at ISO 25,600 – retains all detail and sharpness – NO NR, direct from camera JPEG!

Pre-Order the RX1 at Amazon

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  1. Steve, I heard both aperture and lightroom have not supported the rx1 raw files. What software do you use to edit the rx1 raw image? I wonder if its worth the trouble of shooting in raw and having to use the sony raw converter software, since the jpeg images seem excellent?

    • Well, no one knows the future 🙂 We can always wait, but some people are professional “waiters” and all they do is wait and wait and wait for the next models. All depends on your wants and needs. As for me, I am enjoying the hell out of the rX1 every day. Probably the only camera that I have truly gotten my moneys worth with along side my old M9.

  2. I think I have found it, eureka! This is my camera.

    Here is my desperate journey :
    Sony Ncex, small body big sensor, cool, but looks a bit girlish and computer like. Hmmm, X100, X2, Ncex 7? Each time I see M9 pics, bah, these cannot compare to M9! Hmmm, M9? No, to expensive. Ok then Ncex 7. Is its IQ realy best among 3/4 cams?! Not sure. damn.
    What is this?? A new Sony? Its called rx 1. What, a full frame? Lets see some pics.
    Wooooooooowwwwwwwwwww! *tears*
    3099 Euro and 2799$ in the US. Who cares … *love*

  3. They are packing more and more into smaller spaces !! Some very good shots, but some of the higher ISO’s would not be useable as a blown up pic IMHO, as there is quite a lot of noise on them and not that sharp. My 7D with my 50mm f1.8 lens at 6,400 churns out some amazing night time shots. Admitted it’s alot bigger than the Sony, but are we all after a smaller camera, or better High ISO pics ??
    Very good blog though, thanks for taking the time to post and inform us.

      • Hi Steve, any update on this? There seems to be wireless flash control function built into the RX1, but it is unclear whether other Sony flashes (HVL-F43AM, HVL-F20AM) are compatible with the wireless flash control function of the RX1. Are you able to test to confirm?

  4. It is very very interesting! I am curious that if you think the RX1 is suitable for studio jobs with strobes. It seems that a point-and-shot camera is difficult to focus with the LCD when we dim the ambient light with manual exposure. Thanks.

  5. Truly horrendous bad looking camera: a monster of a P&S. Leica MM is the opposite: nice, simple, proportioned, practical, technical. However, Leica MM photographs look like real crap compared to RX1 B&W images. Still none worth to share hands with my M3.

  6. Steve are you sure you couldn’t do this with the OMD-EM5 and 12mm f/2? The noise in the sky on the city scape is very evident…the daylight shots I saw from this camera are out of this world for sure…

    • The OM-D at ISO 25,600 at night is nothing like this is at 25,600 in darkness. There is noise of course as it was ISO 6400 at night with all NR turned off. Any camera would have noise in the sky in this situation. This is also a JPEG right from camera. ISO 6400 at night = noise no matter what camera is used.

      • Steve,
        Thanks for the samples. Did you also shoot with a comparable Leica lens at the time? Will you be posting any RAW samples?

        Paul NYC

  7. There is not only an optical viewfinder for the RX1 but also an EVF! As a left-eye photographer I like this kind of an EVF much more than a built-in one.

  8. I don’t know why people keep blame the RX-1 does not have a EVF or OVF build-in, Leica X1 & X2 have the same design and a option for a EVF or OVF same as RX-1, but there are still lots of people love X1 & X2

  9. where is the grip to hold the camera at? sony should make a small grip like leica does for there camera.
    would not want to drop a $3,000.00 camera, now would we?
    and it definitely needs a build in viewfinder.
    but the ones available are somewhat nice. my 2 cents.

  10. I just traded my Summilux 35 for a Zeiss Biogon ZM 35 f2, a Nikon D600 and the Nikon 35 f1.4G. I’m thinking my next step is to junk all of that for the RX1 But then someone is likely to come out soon with a medium format compact camera. It’s tough being a camera nut.

    • At least you keep the economy turning over. Do you actually take pictures, or do you just like having and stroking the gear?

  11. i simply have a hard time believing those are sony jpegs. just not 1dimensional enough. just not flat enough. and frankly, it has far too much character to be a sony proccessed jpeg.

    wth is going on!

    and i just got a nex 7 with cz 24f1.8 and i see these pics….

  12. The third shot is of the “Saloon” in San Francisco. It’s supposed to be the oldest still running bar in SF, around 150 years old.

    I hope you went inside too… it’s one of my favorite places here. Real gritty, but so much character and good Blues live music 🙂

  13. All I can say is that the files at 25600 iso on the rx1 look like 800 to 1600 on my nikon d60. Amazing how technology has evolved over a few years!

  14. It is GOOD to see these images! Low-light real-world RX1 images were what I was waitng to see, and I am very appreciative. Thanks, Steve!

  15. Cant wait to see how a sony nexff with summilux lenses would compare to a leica. If i only had $10k i would definitely go the sony route plus maybe the 50mm apo for the same total package cost. Makes so much more sense to invest in the lens. Applaud to sony!

  16. Damn. It would have been so convenient if the image quality hadn’t been great. My initial quick look at the DPreview samples left me cold. Smeary, unsharp, horrible pics riddled with jpeg artefacts. Then I saw this. So I went back to the DPreview site and clicked the full size images – wow, turns of that all that was wrong was that their jpeg resizing is truly horrific. Now I’m probably going to have to spend $3,000. How unfortunate.

  17. Oh, cool! The dpreview guys had that SF skyline pic (theirs were at ISO12,800) taken from exactly (well, almost) the same spot! 😉

  18. I see quite a high level of distortion in some pics….
    High quality images should be more than high ISO usability. INMHO.

    • That is only because the camera had lens correction OFF by default. I turned it on today so my next batch of JPEG samples will not have these issues. The IQ is incredibly high on the RX1..higher than most any camera I have shot with. The sensor and lens are fantastic. The JPEGS are gorgeous..cant wait for RAW support.

  19. This camera is a joke for that price. No viewfinder and no way to change lenses. I have been using my NEX-7 with the 24mm 1.8 Zeiss, the 50mm 1.8 Sony, and the 30mm 2.8 Sigma with fantastic results. Why would anyone want this camera instead?

    • I have to agree, even though I like CSC cameras. With the Canon and Nikon FF cameras at 2k, this is going to be a hard persuasion for many who scrimp and save for one big camera buy.It’s not as bad as the direction the GH3 is going, Same size as dslrs, smaller sensor and the cost of almost 2k, I’m not sure what Panasonic is thinking.It may be too early for a FF compact, i can see one if it’s sub 2k, but Canon and Nikon always play together to shut the door. If the RX1 were 2k, the FF models from Canon or nikon would be less than 1.5k, it’s a game of “keep the intruder” out…and they’ve been doing it very well for many years, look at what happened to Minolta.

      Speaking of Minolta, Sony has released the a99, good camera, but it’s at 3k also, hard to get the majority to get an a99 when Canikon offer theirs for 2k and with more lenses and support, not to mention better resale value. I would like CSC’s to do better, but given their strategy, the future of CSC’ may be controlled by Nikon and Canon when Canon introduces an advanced m model and when nikon delivers on a apsc CSC. Rumor has it that Nikon filed patents for lenses for apsc mirroless cameras, so a Nikon Apsc CSC is not for in the future. It’s only a matter of time , not if. The real dilema is if one were to invest heavily in a NEX or Fuji X system, what happens when the big boys come in guns blazing and strangel the market? Investment gone. i still have unfond memories of the the om, md, FD,Contax Yashica, abandonments.

      The CSC market is gettign more serious, and you can bet from history that Canon and Nikon always aemm to have an ace up their sleeves and they throw it out whenever they need to. The eos m may not be the camera of choice here, but it was made to capture some of the mirrorless entry level market. Canon knows most pros use the big dslrs and that wont change, unless lenses can get half the size smaller and half the weight, which hasnt hapened yet even with m43 lenses( I’m talkng about the big gun tele lenses) The biggest advantage of CSC cameras is the smaller size with good or comparable IQ. It’s not cause they havbe no mirror, that’s a drawback. So in that regard the market for CSC’s will never really go beyond enthusiast level.

      I’m sure the RX1 has great IQ, but it’s biggest problem is the cost. It’s a bold venture by Sony, but it may be premature. I used to be for Minolta dn Pentax but when you see other companies going under or nowhere you have to cut you lossses and go over to the big two. They didn’t get to where their at by being naive. I think it is a matter of time before Nikon has a apsc mirroless and Canon ups their game with a higher end m. Many people would like a Fuji X or NEX 7 but the prices of such cameras arent helping to convert the masses and without mass profit, there may not be a future for some ssatems as the market gets more and more saturated.

      • The G3 is mostly for people who want to use it for its video capabilities so I think they are playing off that. Your right thought 2k is a bit much. 1200-1500 is more like it

        • Alot of people seem to say that about the GH3, that it’s for video, but the main problem that it runs into is that there are plenty other better dedicated video cameras out there. The GH3 is as big as a dslr, but it’s not, it is an m43 camera, but it’s now bigger than the rest of them, and it’s not the best video camera and sure doesn’t look like one. IMO Panasonic is playing right into Nikon and Canons hands.

          You can’t as a company create a system that is supposed champion the merrits of a smaller camera with similar IQ as a dslr, only to now create a camera that is as big as a dslr and costs as much as a new FF (6d,d600) camera? It boggles my mind. It’s like asking a single man who wants to buy a small smart car that’s the size of an SUV but has 50% less horse power and is priced like a Maserati. So the point of making the m43 system is to end up with camera that’s a dslr without the mirror? Folks who spend over 1k on cameras aren’t like the ones who buy PS cameras, they know about sensors and all that. I don’t know who Panasonic is trying to fool with the GH3 but I hope for the sake of loyal m43 fans that they get a spanking. As Mr. T would say, ” I pity the fool who buys the GH3 ! ”

          Kidding aside, I’m still trying to comprehend what kind of camera user will say to themselves” I’d rather spend 2k on the GH3 than the 6d or d600.” Nikon and Canon are geniuses at doing this, which is to make every consumer feel stupid for choosing another brand product for a similar price. I’m not saying its right or wrong, but it’s a money game Canikon’s been playing for a long time and it’s really sad (more like pathetic) that other companies haven’t figured that out yet. Instead giving potential or long time camera users a “can’t turn it down cause it’s great and the price is awesome” kind of camera, they stick to their ” maybe you might want to buy our camera cause it’s almost as good but with a higher price” strategy.You can ask Minolta how that same strategy turned out for them.

          I havent used dlsr’s for a long time, but I have to say that what Canikon do best is that they make it very compelling for many people to buy or stick with their stuff. If or when a second Canon advanced m model comes out, you can bet that anyone looking to get a xe1 type of camera will have second thoughts. As much as i like CSC cameras, there are still holes with their designs, with their market strategy. You need careful forsight to be in any tough business, but CSC pricing is go awful, especially on the Panasonic front. They have alot of nerve asking almost 429 for their pancake 20mm prime when the canon 40mm is like 199. Maybe they think they’re Leica. I highly doubt the panny is 229 dollars better. 229 dollars may mean nothing to a Panny exec but it’s a deal breaker for most camera people.

          What I fear most is that one day when apsc sensors become so cheap it most likely will be in all PS cameras, where will m43 be? Canon and Nikon are one cheap aps-c PS camera away from killing m43.They are also one great apsc or FF compact away from killing NEX and Fuji X. I don’t think it’s a matter of if but when. When it gets really serious, the two big boys will come in guns a blazing. I seen it happen during the days of film, and it will be no different in the digital era. Sony, Panny, Olympus, Richo, Fuji, Samsung, Pentax better start making serious hay before the bad boys come crashing the party.

          • o be fair, canikon havent shown any inclination towards comoditising apsc. the real problem isnt that they will come up with some mythical solution that will derail sony and 4/3; it’s that whatever they put out sells simply because of the brand name. they could sell toast as a camera and ppl would still buy it. it is just peoples tendencies towards a brand of their choice.

            in such cases, sony and pals cant do anything except try their best doing what they know best.

            luckily, at least for sony, they arent playing canikon’s game. they are playing in a different game altogether and if they can keep up this pace, there is a good chance they will one day rival the big camera makers. as it is, i would not be surprised if they started getting more sales due to the halo effect from their string of successes.

            you cant beat the big guys but you sure can create your own ballpark to play in.

          • Porblem is, there isnt much pie left over for this amount of players, something will give, it always does. Sony isnt playing Canikons game, they’re playing Minoltas. That’s why they dont attack pro market, they make cameras, sit back and ask users to choose theirs just because they said so. I’ve seen this all before during the film days.

            Canikon hasnt shown a real desire to get serious in the CSC market yet because they know what’s being bought and what’s going on. They wont go serious until they feel so threatened they have no choice but to. The CSC companies aren’t helping their own cause by making models that cost as much if not more than midlevel dslrs. People still gravitate towrds dslrs for more serious work.

            It IS because of brand, but a brand name is something you work to create. Canikon has worked on brand with legendary cameras since they got into the biz, half a century ago. They still make state of the art flagship cameras today. Folks see pros with a Canikon, they want one as well. They don’t see Sonys or Minoltas in most pros hands. the best of the best is Canikon top models, not sony, not Pentax etc.

            There was never much meat on the bone left after Canikon’s share of the pro and consumer and PS markets, not during film, not now. The thing is that most people look up to a champion, not an amateur wannabe that does their thing. To surpass Canikon Sony has to surpass them, not play 3rd fiddle. You can’t ask consumers to choose your band just because you say it’s just as good.It’s de ja vue all over again.

          • What a load of dribble.

            Did apple play Nokia’s game when they surpassed them?

            History is riddled with countless examples of companies surpassing the supposed “king of the segment” because they redesign the product, in such a way, that it changes the game forever. Forcing the old Lion to now play catchup.

            Sony does not ask consumer to buy anything because they say its good.. In fact look at their distinct LACK of advertising. Sony don’t pander to the consumer, they create something innovative in the hopes that the market wants something different to the tired old form of mirror’s and dslr’s… Some might say this is bad business, but judging by the growing percentage Sony are stealing in the worlds markets, i would say its genius.


            Basically states that in the 6months from july 2011 to the end of december 2011 the market grew on average 5%.. in 6 months! slr’s are drowning & Sony is has poised itself to reap the rewards.

          • Before widespread computer design and manufacture, creating and building a new lens was a major undertaking. Not so much anymore. Also, for a long time, Canon had patents on image stabilization, giving them a lock on the long lens market. And their CMOS chip tech was way ahead of rivals.

            Things are more open today. Many more players can deliver technically competent cameras, so who succeeds is more dependent on who is best able to read the market and what it wants, than who has de facto monopoly on fundamental tech.

            Canon and Nikon can no doubt still make awesome picture taking machines, but they are no longer the only ones with that capability.

          • Canikon is are the market leaders because they have always made market leading cameras, ex- the f,f2,f3,f4,f5, eos1v, 1ds mark3,x, d2x d3 et. Canikon didn’t get to be top dog by sitting around selling third party stuff and watching Sony make flagship stuff. They got to be where they are by making the best top end cameras, their committment is has to be respected.Only by spending gobs of money developing the pro market can you build a brand. The noobs gravitate to whatever the pros gravitate to, it’s always been that way.

            The trouble with Sony is that they are no better than Minolta, because they bought Minolta’s camera division. And even back when Minolta was around, even thought they made super lenses, their stuff was not better than Canikon’s during the same period. Minolta hasnt made a true pro camera since the XK. Sony has gotten better since they bought Minolta, but they will always remain a non leader until they dethrone the leaders. There is no way around it.

          • Well IMO the leaders are not doing anything exciting. Evolution vs Revolution. In time they will have to do something exciting again or else they will end up losing some ground to companies like Sony.

          • Oh don’t you worry steve, the two big bullies will do something only when things get drastic…and when i say drastic, i mean when pros flock to Sony like a religion. But regardless, canon and nikon have always been about evolution, you cant reinvent the wheel like what minolta used to do with their slrs. Does anyone remember the program cards, the auto framing gimmicks, the minolta hotshoe? Must be showing my age but i was there way back The rx1 is a good camera, but looking at it one can tell it is not thought out well. No evf, body is too small, fixed lens, and pricing is not great either. With such a small target market i have to wonder what sony is trying to achieve.It’s not alot of payout for such work.It would have been better had they brought out a nex FF model.
            Its only a matter of time im sure before the big CSc from nikon and canon come out, but i dont think it will be a pro model as their dslrs have that market locked up. i would geuss that advanced model would be in store for canon people. As for exciting, the eos idx and the d3’s are pretty damn good if anyone can afford those things. theres enough excitment in those cameras to give me a mini heart attack should i get one…not that i use dslrs, i dont. when companies try to reivent the wheel too much, there is a loss of direction. this is what hurt minolta in the past. one year this, the next year that, one year a good looking camera, the next year its fugly, one yeat its good grips, the next year it bad grips, one year its the minolta hot shoe, the next year its gone. Camera people dont necessarily want revoltuion, they just want consistant direction and good cameras,

  20. Wow! This is the digital camera I have been dreaming would exist. It looks like I need to explore selling some heavy DSLR equipment to fund this. Thanks Steve for doing a practical review!

  21. Oh crap. The comforting thing is that there is so much new “cool” that I can remain a quivering mass of indecisive jello for a while yet.

  22. wow wow wow!!!! does the rx1 have the same sensor as the a99 and if so should we expect the same results from the a99. well done sony!

  23. Also, I want to say that Sony’s introduction of the Rx1 reminds of of Apple’s introduction of the Iphone to their product line and how it drastically impacted their entire business. I think that the RX1 will change Sony, being the first to create a compact FF camera and that it will also do wonders for their Camera division.

  24. Steve, you have absolutely killed it with your pictures and writeup about this camera. I’ve been trying to find a reason to not buy this camera, but I keep finding myself back on your page to see your latest updates. I need to calm down…

  25. could be my ideal camera if it has video stabilization
    no video stabilization – no video at all.
    the rest is awesome
    I reckon we’ll never get a perfect camera with all we want together in one box, cause they want us to buy a new camera every year and sell old one to someone else.

  26. I really think Sony’s on to something really big here. I am quite sure this is similar to what Canon did with the G1X, test the waters before offering a package with interchangeable lenses. Honestly, I don’t think the price is too much, it’s actually a great price considering the lens/sensor combo but it is out of my league at the moment. These are some really great looking images, Steve. I am very impressed to say the least. So, how was the autofocus? It looks pretty damn accurate but how was the speed at night?

  27. could be my ideal camera if it has video stabilization
    no video stabilization – no video at all.
    the rest is awesome
    I reckon we’ll never get a perfect camera with all we want together in one box, cause they want us to buy a new camera every year and sell old one to someone else.

    • Denis; “..could be my ideal camera if it has video stabilization..”

      Would you seriously shoot video with just a single, fixed 35mm lens? ..No way to get closer to the action other than by physically moving forward? ..or ditto the reverse? ..Shooting everything with the same angle of view? ..No respite for the viewer?

      I realise that most of “Soy Cuba” was shot with one lens ..and the camera made absolutely spectacular moves!.. but which modern film – or video? – or TV programme? – was shot with just one single fixed 35mm (equivalent) lens?

      Wouldn’t it be terribly, terribly boring?

    • Great idea. In practice it would be the Sony version of the Ricoh GXR. It would also cost less than the new Leica M with the same equivalent lenses. No more changing lenses on the camera.

  28. It’s a good start from Sony. A lot of others aspects to consider still so looking forward to your future posts Steve. I am considering buying a second hand M9 but now thinking hold off. Use my x100 and see where this has all gone in a year. That said using a rangefinder and nailing it is a different experience.

  29. Oh Man this is not good.

    Exactly what I have been looking for – hyperfocal capable lens, amazing low light performance…

    Time to start saving…this is IT unless Ricoh takes the sensor and builds a better camera around it.

  30. Good iso’s in low light but ugh, everytime I see the camera in top view that body is way too small for that fat lens. It’s not pocketable with the lens anyways, Sony should have been smarter and made the body bigger, not to mention making an EVF.

    • Have you seen images from the new M? Leica sure makes serious claims about it’s sensor. And those lenses definitely wont hold it back. I for one,though, am really stoked about the leaf shutter and popup flash on this one. For what counts as “chump change” in Leicaland.

  31. I love the B&W look! Almost like Fuji Neopan 1600 (r.i.p) or Ilford Delta 3200. I wonder how these high isos would look like in print. I am a fan of film grain.

    Poor me!

  32. Great high ISO performance. Steve, your sample shots and in use experience write-up are infinitely better than the photos posted by DPreivew. Thanks for your hardwork.

  33. this type of camera,.with a killer sensor with high ISO capability, canon/nikon should consider about,.and it become more threatening ,if sony can make the ILC version,.

    Steve can you do a quick crazy comparison shot between all the FF camera you handling right now,.RX1,A99,Leica M9M,

  34. Impressive… again! I can’t believe I was having second thoughts last night about this camera. Oh well, we only live once. Besides, who doesn’t like Ramen Noodles.

  35. ISO 25,600 looks like old TMAX 3200, maybe better (it’s been a long time so forgive me if it’s not exactly). That is truly amazing. And with this f/2.0 lens, most will never have to go above ISO 3200 and sometimes ISO 6400 unless you want to.

    Why, Sony, Why no viewfinder??? I would have bought this camera and sold all others. I don’t mind the fixed lens since a 35mm f/2.0 has long been my favorite focal length.

    1. VIEWFINDER (which you are so very good at) — this one is a DEAL KILLER
    2. SWIVAL LCD SCREEN (which you are also so good at)
    **unfortunately, I cannot and will not be buying it because of no viewfinder. Thank you for making it. Now please update it with an RX1v ;-). I truly hope it is successful so that you will continue the line.

  36. All the 25k iso shots look like thin negative prints with their blocked shadows and detailed highlights. I think the exposures were a little out with the super high iso.
    It would be nice to know the shutter and aperture used but i understand the time needed to include all this adds up.
    Pretty stunning set of pictures and really film like on the the woman working- you can see her gums and teeth.
    Super expensive camera though.

      • Yes, indeed they do and sorry if i came across as petty or critical. It’s just nice to see the 3 parts of exposure with the initial view of the image. Suppose it stems from reading photo mags years back and getting used to images being presented in this way.

        No criticism was meant for how Steve presents his site, it was just because it was the Mono and i would have liked to have first glanced at the images armed with the exposure info.

        Awesome site and a passionate Host. The Leica lens test archive is a massive help. Wink, Wink, Steve.

  37. what I’d really like to see would be a comparison of the same shot here with other camera/lens combinations and then put to the test of asking viewers to determine which of the pics was taken with which camera/lens combo. LOL. Hells bells, Steve, you use descriptive language close to the same damn kind about every new offering LOL, and of course, you are not the only one who does that.

    • The comparison needs to be with: Sony RX1 vs:
      Nkon D600 or D700 with a 35mm F2
      Canon 5D or 6D DSLR with a 35mm F2
      Leica M9 with Summicron 35mm F2
      Leica M9 with Zeiss ZM Biogon 35mm F2

      That would be a fair and specific comparison.

      • The RX1 is scheduled to cost less than any Canon, Nikon, or Leica M9 with equivalent 35mm f2 lens. In fact the RX1 costs far less than the Summicron alone.

        • The Summicron is also a superior lens, made, by hand, in Germany. It’s an important detail that you choose to forget.

          • That is my point. We don’t know how the Zeiss lens in the RX1 compares with the Summicron.

          • Made by hand? So your saying that the Summicron is polished by German fingers and liquidized by breath?LOL They are all made by MACHINES controlled BY computers.The only difference bewteen Leica and the other “lesser” lenses is the fact that other lenses after design cut corners for the sake of pricing. If every manufacturer decided to make “spare no expense” lenses, how special do you think the Summicron would be? The Zeiss lenses are just as good as Leicas, arguably better, with no where near the cost because they are made in Japan, where the tech is better and they can make them for less. It wouldnt surprise me if the RX1 lens is better than the summicron and it sure as heck wouldnt surprise me if no leicafanboy believes that either.

          • Steve….looking forward to your response on this one!

            “It wouldn’t surprise me if the RX1 lens is better than the summicron and it sure as heck wouldn’t surprise me if no leicafanboy believes that either.”

  38. Totally awesome Steve and so many said it will not be good for street photograhy, so glad I pre ordered at first sign of this little beauty a month ago.Now lets see how many of the add ons will be available at the same time.

  39. If Canikon (and even Leica) did not notice before, well then please take note!!! Sony came to play and they brought the heavy artillery, and the measly EOS M and Nikon 1 are just roadkill compared to the new generation of M4/3 cameras and Sonys.

    • Putting a sensor into a camera has been doen before. Putting a FF sensor into a compact body has been done before, it will be done more when it’s cheaper to make FF sensors. I don’t know how much rx1 Sony expects to sell, but it aint gonna be much.

      As for the m43 being better than nikon 1 or eosm, maybe the nikon 1 will fall a bit behind because of it’s smaller sensor but I’ll take the eosm sensor over any sensor Olympus can beg or buy from Sony any day.The most advanced m43 sensor will never match the most advanced apsc. M43 is fractured especially when the heart of an om-d is a Sony. So much for being friends with Panasonic.

      The market for all CSC’s are entry level or enthusiasts, not pros. The day that sports, wedding, papps, photogs use CSC’s will be the day that the dslr dies. that won’t happend because CSC’s are piss poor to hold when using large teles, not to mention most of them dont have an OVF.Panasonic has gone wacko senile by making the gh3, something that is as big as any dslr, costs more than many dslrs, has no ovf, and has a smaller sensor, isn’t the whole point of CSC cameras were that they were smaller than dlsrs? The gh3 tosses out the only benefit the CSC has over the dslr, back to the dslr, Canon and nikon must be laughing and saying thank you to Panasonic for leading users back to the dslr. The gh3 is around 2 grand body only, NO ONE in their right mind is going to buy a gh3 with evf and smaller sensor as apposed to a FF 6d or d600, one.

      The thing that’s killing off the CSC buzz are the CSC makers themselves, what once was cool to have a smaller camera with near dslr IQ is now slowly going the way of bigger fatter CSC dslr syled wannabes that have no benifet over the dslr. The CSc cameras get bigger and slr like, the lenses get bigger and fatter, and the next thing you know, you’re buying a dslr without the mirror, you pay more or the same for less.Now I’m no genius but it doesn’t take one to figure out that the if Compact system cameras are no longer Compact, then what are they? All Canon has to do is stick a FF sensor in their eosm system and the rx1 is dead but they won’t because there is not enough market for FF Canon compacts, let alone a Sony.

      • “All Canon has to do is stick a FF sensor in their eosm system and the rx1 is dead but they won’t because there is not enough market for FF Canon compacts, let alone a Sony.”

        I was told by leading camera store today in Melbourne, Australia that CSC systems now selling 25% of their turnover. Taking share from DSLRs!! They may converge as you state, but i’ve just sold my SLR system and have no regrets at all. And you will also see more weddings and other events (granted not sport or wildlife) using CSC combo’s. I have seen ALOT of terrible DSLR wedding photographers! It’s what you do with it that makes it special.

        Things change and technology advances…….

        PS I am not stating the DSLR game is up at all. Awesome professional pieces of equipment.

        • Dont forget that Canon also has a CSC system, along with nikon. 25 % doesnt neccesarrily mean that goes all to Sony. Dont forget that the PS market is full of Canons and Nikons as well. The larger picture of all camera sales and profit is another thing. Canon is also set to use robots in their camera manufacturing in 2015. I don’t use a dlsr either, but who knows, someday you and i may be crawling back to them or the big two.

          As for you seeing alot of terrible dslr wedding photogs, I don’t understand what point you’re trying to make, I’ve seen a ton of crappy CSC users too. I was not talking about the skill of photographers. You have to understand that the only difference between a CSC and a dslr is that a CSC has no mirrors, that is ALL. So the only benefit is their smaller size, that’s all.When CSC’s get bigger, and they will, who would chose a camera of the same size with no ovf? Would you? Would anyone pay the same for less? Would you buy a camera to pay extra for an inferior EVF, and yes, they are inferior, in every way…even the best EVF is inferior to an ovf.

          Pro photographers as a part of the business cannot be seen with the same types of camera that uncle Bob uses…it’s doesn’t make them look good. Now granted, someone who is a photo genius can take awesome pics with a PS camera, but how do you think they client feels when they find out that all their wedding photos were taking with a camera worse than theirs?

          I never said the RX1 is is overpriced and that strategy is going to go nowhere. I’ts important to note , otherwise you end up with dead end shite, remember 43? Remember the om system? Remember aps film cameras? 25% of the turnover for a store is alot, but what about the 75%? Who’s making what in the 25%? holgin a CSC with huge teles is not a pleasant thing, so CSC’s are only good for shorter focal lengths. Once you start building larger CSC’s to accomidate, it;s back to sqaure one with dslr’s.

          You can build the best CSC’s in the world, but if pros dont use them or if pricing is a key issue for the majority…what good is it if you build the best camera but not enough folks buy them? I dont think you will find a line up at your local camera store for the RX1 when it does come out.

          • “Dont forget that Canon also has a CSC system, along with nikon.”

            I am not saying these two companies can’t play in this market. they are! Just not very well it seems at the moment. They could be awesome…no doubt. I agree. But they aren’t and the market share for smaller, lighter top quality mirrorless systems is growing. That was all my point was and these two are not really serious about it. They run the risk of not improving in this space. I think it has to do with waiting, watching the market but also each other!

            “As for you seeing alot of terrible dslr wedding photogs, I don’t understand what point you’re trying to make, I’ve seen a ton of crappy CSC users too. I was not talking about the skill of photographers.”

            Nor was I. i am talking about all photographers now having more choice. CSC or DSLR or rangefinder they will create fantastic images. Historically we generally only associate professional photographers with DSLRs, or the general public does. But i think the CSC market will start to have more influence.

            “The market for all CSC’s are entry level or enthusiasts, not pros.”

            Some of the best photographers in the world use these camera systems. They have been using rangefinders for a long time, which is central to Steve’s web and similar sized mirrorless options.

            “The day that sports, wedding, papps, photogs use CSC’s will be the day that the dslr dies.”

            But the DSLR will NEVER die (never say never!). They are completely different systems.

            If we read Steve’s forums the theme is that there are professionals on here (no idea how many shoot weddings!) that move to or more likely to add smaller, lighter options…not to replace. However this CSC market can eat into DSLR market. The enthusiast market has a huge DSLR following……and now they will be seeing these smaller options improve AND improve AND improve….and they’ll see skillful photographers creating amazing images with them….and they’ll follow! Unlike a professional they’ll probably just go one camera system. They now have choice between DSLR and CSC. There will be people asking the bride…”happy with your photo’s”…..”incredible, stunning….and had this tiny camera for about half of them!”.

            Which is why most people reading the quote below would be thinking ….mmm I have never really done that with my CSC….and not really inclined to do so!

            “because CSC’s are piss poor to hold when using large teles, not to mention most of them dont have an OVF” They are not designed for large tele’s.

            Finally based on this comment:

            “now slowly going the way of bigger fatter CSC dslr styled wannabes that have no benifet over the dslr. The CSc cameras get bigger and slr like, the lenses get bigger and fatter, and the next thing you know, you’re buying a dslr without the mirror, ”

            1. if they have no benefit then the market for them would not be growing….they must be benefiting someone!
            2. they seem to be getting smaller, not bigger….look at RX1, x100, OM-D!!

            The risk is just how many systems people will have, rather than number of lenses in the DSLR world!

            We actually agree on a few things and in a round about way we might get there!

            Now what ever it is we use….lets go take some photos!

          • The inability to shoot at really high frame rates will eventually kill off flapping mirror DSLR. Storage write speed and capacity will continue to grow, until 60/120/240fps at full resolution for the duration of any conceivable event will be commonplace, rendering the whole “decisive moment” a post exercise. But that pesky flapping mirror will be limiting the whole party.

          • “Pro photographers as a part of the business cannot be seen with the same types of camera that uncle Bob uses…it’s doesn’t make them look good.” reminds of the common refrain when pro’s started migrating from medium format to 35mm. Secure photogs don’t give a shit about perception. I know lots of pros, including me, who are choosing the best tool for them and that includes m43 and possibly the rx1.

  40. Wow…putting all my Olympus fanboyism aside, this is really REALLY impressive! Sadly my money does not grow in a tree so I wont buy it, but with this I can confirm (in my not so humble opinion) that this is arguably the perfect street camera. A few misses here and there in that low light is perfectly understandable, leaves you to wonder if it will improve on the final firmware.

    Most likely they will make a version (sooner or later, I dont care) with IC lenses. Which will be great, I just hope they can make some good ones because quite frankly, like many other people have stated, they really need them to create a great system (not everyone can afford M Mount lenses).

    Best regards to all!

    • Agree. Given these are jpeg and no PP it looks like the B&Ws coming from this are not, in the initial instance, as flat as the Mono that has been stated. Granted the level of detail held in the Mono files is very good from reports also.

      Steve will be interesting to get your view on this?

  41. This also informs about the capabilities of the Sony A99 which will use the same sensor. Though the translucent mirror does remove some of the light to the sensor, with this quality of high iso performance that should not be a problem.

    • The A99 with this sensor, Zeiss 35/1.4 and in camera image stabilization! Astro photographers should be able to capture fine details in images of black holes 🙂

  42. @David, sometimes people change their minds.

    I think the images look incredible, I love the grain at 25,000……..god I am in LURB’ with this camera. I am scared of owning a camera with a fixed lens, but that’s just my own problem. I’m confident that owning this camera, you would love it to death and use the crap out of it.

    @Steve, when you say silent…… you mean SILENT, or SHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  43. Remember a month ago here? So many people here said “No; it can’t possibly be any use without having a built-in electronic finder..”?

    Now it’s all “Wow!” ..and no mention of no built-in viewfinder.

    One day the camera’s slated because it has no EVF ..the next, everyone wants the camera, without any EVF.

    How inconsistent can you get? ..Are comments here worth anything?

    • Inconsistent? Only if the same persons post this. But you are probably seeing two different crowds (one likibg high iso, another seeing no evf a showstopper) and getting confused. Always be careful with this fallacy.

      • I’m from the viewfinder camp and even I’m tempted to forgo my beloved hybrid viewfinder for this! Would be interested in learning more about focus performance in low light and how 25k ISO compares to the X-trans sensor. My palms are itching. It’s itching for gearsterbation.

    • It is a very interesting camera because it is the smallest digital FF camera ever with very good IQ and high ISO performance.

      I think everybody would have preferred an EVF or OVF, an interchangable lens mount and a lower price, but it is also still very usable even without an EVF/OVF because of the “WhiteMagic” LCD that is viewable in bright sunlight (same type on RX100), but it is of course a different experience with a view finder.

    • In my comment I ask Sony for an IC version with EVF and tiltable LCD. I’ve said several times: I’ll never again buy a camera without viewfinder. When Sony comes with an IC version, I’ll buy it immediately. But not without integrated EVF. No way! I won’t pay that kind of money for an “intermediate” camera. For sure there will come one with EVF a bit later, so I’ll simply wait for that one. Even if it’s not a Sony (but I hope it will because I love my NEX-7 and I’ll keep it after buying a FF).

      • I don’t get the EVF criticism. The RX1 is a FIXED 35mm lens camera. Sony has announced a shoe mounted EVF and a Zeiss shoe mounted 35mm viewfinder. Both are very expensive. With a fixed lens, one can also use any shoe mounted 35mm viewfinder. I have a voigtlander that will work superbly.

        The time an EVF is really needed is with a zoom lens or an interchangeable lens camera. Then a built in EVF will be stellar. Until then, for a Fixed lens camera, an accessory OVF is perfectly acceptable as long as it has the same field of view as the camera lens.

    • Well we can’t all be all be as discerningly chaste as you David Babsky. If only Napolean had you at Waterloo…..he still would have lost but you could have shown him the difference between normal jpeg and fine jpeg.

    • I for one thinks Sony made the right choice to make the camera as small as possible, even at the expense of a VF. Particularly when some users will want the EVF, and others the OVF. While some will get both, and pick one depending on expected shooting.

      Would be cute if they had found a way to make the flash unit removable, and interchangeable with a VF. But absent that, in a compact camera like this, I’d rather have a fixed built in popup flash, than a viewfinder. Particularly in a camera with a leaf (yeah!!!) shutter.

  44. Simply amazing camera. Pics 203 and 204 at ISO 25,600 sold me! jpegs right out of camera in B&W with wonderful ‘film like’ grain structure. Now this a camera with ‘soul.’ These few shots OOC have blown away anything I have seen out of camera from the Monochrom. See, it is possible to make a great camera for under 3 grand that can give you great pics without a bunch of post processing needed. Thank you Sony! And thank you Sony for pushing sensor tech to the next level, I hear they made the sensor for the OMD.

    • Just keep the leaf shutter, and focus on <100mm primes. With the longer lenses, as well as quality zooms, the added size/heft/capabilities of SLRs starts making sense.

  45. One word – amazing – really great shoots and at ISO 25.600. Probably same high ISO capability as D600 or D800.

  46. Dude, that’s not helpful. I’m tryin’ to convice myself for days that I don’t need it… Your not helping with posting stuff like that…

  47. great lens.. great sensor
    quite small package

    if only.. if only.. they have the snap focus capability of Ricoh..

    it will be perfect street camera.. but its just If only

    its one perfect little big camera

    • Ricoh Snap Focus in this camera would be AWESOME.

      … but it sounds like autofocus is holding up pretty well in this camera from early accounts. Tell us more Steve!

    • Isn’t there a hyperfocal distance scale on the RX1, or did I hallucinate that? Should work the same, no?

      I have been holding off for an updated GXR, resisting all Fuji and the RX100. But this, I don’t think I want to resist.

  48. I remember when the Fuji X100 was THE camera everyone was talking about. This Sony RX1 is THE new camera that everyone is talking about. So very exciting. Unfortunately, without a built-in viewfinder, I will have to wait for the RX2 (or is that a car?).

  49. Hi Steve,
    WOW… That ‘3D’ and they look oh so real. IMHO, this camera could be a serious alternative to leica M, IQ wise, based on what i see here. Too bad (or not?) the lens is fixed.

  50. U.N.B.E.L.I.E.V.A.B.L.E !!!
    Hey Sony, you MUST come with an IC version of this camera. You simply MUST – asap!
    And don’t forget the EVF and the tiltable LCD…
    That camera would blow everything away.

    • Except, the lenses… of course then people would say “It’s supposed to be used with legacy” yeah right.. Sony has a massive problem with quality of lenses, hence this fixed lens camera, it’ll take them a couple of years working with olympus to totally figure that out, THEN it will be game on, because they certainly have the best or equal best sensors with Fuji.

      I can’t believ how little attention I pay to Canon and Nikon nowadays..

      • I’d say: make the IC camera M-mount compatible. It’s probably possible for Zeiss to create a few OF lenses for that camera in M-mount. Think about the possibilities that would create!
        If not, I would buy an M-mount adapter anyway, since I’m typically always manually focussing with primes. So I don’t need/want the OF, Zoom etc.
        BTW what problem do you have with legacy lenses? Maybe that there the best available?

      • I do not agree. Sony has quite a couple of good lenses, just look at the Zeiss 24mm (build by Sony) which has very similar performance and character to the RX1 lens btw or the 50 and 35mm for E-Mount, which are great for their price. Also the zooms are good. Of course not every lens is great however. If they offer three or four good primes for a full frame NEX from the beginning, I would immediately upgrade from the NEX-7

        • I have to second what Hans said. I have the Sony G 70-200mm f2.8, and the 85mm f1.4 Zeiss Planar T* are both awesome. The 50mm f1.4 isn’t bad either. Sony has several great lens.

      • It’s not the quality of the lenses that are the worry. Sony is capable of great lenses. It’s the size of lenses that is the issue.

        Also, the Fuji X-trans is just a Sony sensor with a Fuji color filter on top of it. Nikon, Pentax, etc. all use their own CFAs on Sony sensors, too, although the Fuji filter is more unique.

      • But they will do something really good in the future – I’m sure. Sony makes fantastic sensors and Olympus has done incredible small and lightweight lenses for the MFT System in the past which can outperform some much more expensive L lenses. The new partnership between this two can be a huge benefit for both companies. Nikon and Canon have to begin to put more effort into the mirroless market if they don’t want to get overhauled by Olympus & Sony one day.

  51. woww…!

    and once again.. wow! finally there’s something usable for photographing in pitch black.
    nicely done, Steve. thanks for sharing.

    I’d better start saving (more) now..

  52. Steve,

    Is it the shooting angle, or am I seeing barrel distortion in some of the shots? Mind blowing high ISO in B/W, noise is never such a problem, but would love to see colour images with fine detail at 25,600.

  53. That really is amazing. If Sony bring out a Nex-9 full frame camera with resolution like this, it will really change the market.

  54. Wow! I wonder how this compares to the x-pro1 x-trans sensor in terms of low light. It will be interesting comparing this to the x100 as well. If only rx1 and x100 had combined together, then this would be the perfect camera!

    • I love my X100, but the RX1 has a similar (but newer) sensor design, larger pixels, and a larger sensor, so I think it’s pretty safe to say that it’ll show a nice improvement in high ISO over the X100.

      The X-Trans sensor is a different story, because of the chroma smoothing inherent in the design. X-Trans is great for high ISO, but the trade off is too much smoothing in good light.

    • First, the Sony looks great. I know you can get a EVs of 4-6 on the street. Street lamps can be very powerfull. It is very Foot Candle dependent. I just shoot my X-Pro @ 25.6K. I will put them on Flickr, under krakikamera. I shoot pictures in my dark bed room with only a reading lamp. One in B&W + grn. One in color JPEG. The color one has a little motion. For 24 MP it does low light much better then the NEX-7. Remember the sensor in the X-Pro is 50% smaller. Look at the Canon 5D III. It’s low light is also killer.

        • are you sure about that, the D3S got smoked by the 5D3 by several reviews, enough of the fanboy stuff and enjoy taking photos, a camera is a tool not some fancy car that could do 0-60 in 2 seconds. capiche!!

          • the 5D3 pics may be nice but if you looked a bit closer, the Canon applies heavy NR and smears details.. I prefer no NR and razor sharp details keeping all the details intact and I don’t mind the noise as I can control them in post in LR or PS

        • I would appreciate if you posted colored pictures with high iso setting. You’re showing the people here with black&white photo’s which is not really good for defining overall image quality.

      • Wow that’s killer. I take that back. Blows the pants off my x100 in low light even though x100 jpegs at 6400 very usable. I want to see dynamic range. My k5 at iso 80 is the best thing ever since slice bread comparable to some ff cameras I owned in the past life.

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