The Sony RX1 Camera Review Part 2. The amazing full frame compact and my pick for Camera of the year 2012!
Now shipping! Order the RX1 at Amazon HERE or B&H Photo HERE
See part 1 of my RX1 review HERE
Hello once again to all of the great and loyal readers here! I am back once again and this time with part 2 of my full Sony RX1 Camera review and I have to say I am pretty excited about it. As you recall, part 1 contained the “meat” of the review with loads of thoughts and JPEG samples. I have still been shooting this camera almost non stop and even though I have had a Sony NEX-5R and NEX-6 here with me I have been spoiled by the RX1’s gorgeous image quality and it has been making it tough to go back to using APS-C sensors after shooting this camera so much. You do indeed notice the difference in quality between those cameras when you shoot them together and what has really hooked me is the gorgeous full frame sensor qualities as well as the qualities of the Zeiss 35 f/2 lens that is attached to the RX1 body.
The video showing why I call this my “Camera of the Year for 2012” as well as showing the OVF and EVF with my thoughts on them. Keep in mind the close focus minimum is .2 meters not 2 meters 🙂
To be totally honest, there has not been any camera that I have tested or owned in recent times that has given me the visual rewards like the RX1 has. What I mean by this can be explained with a few reasons..1st one is ease of use. The ease in which it gives you beautiful quality and rich images huge in Dynamic Range is pretty sweet to have. I also say this due to the size of the camera. No camera of this size can give you results like this. Period. You can get it with a Nikon D800 and Zeiss 35 f/2 but that combo would be much much larger, much much heavier and much much more expensive! After shooting with the RX1 for a few weeks I have grown to appreciate what it does and I seriously do not want to be without it! With most cameras, after I review them I am fine with sending them back to the manufacturer but not this time! 🙂
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Even taking a portrait of an old cowboy in afternoon AZ light and f/2 was not a problem. The camera/sensor has the dynamic range to tackle it and the lens has the 3D quality that will give you details without looking harsh or crude. Yes my friends…the RX1 is the real deal and it can even provide a “timeless” quality to your photos as long as the ingredients are all there. When I snapped this shot the mans eyes were in a dark shadow from his hat. In the RAW file I was able to pull that detail out without any problem whatsoever. This was not the ideal light for a street portrait but it still worked and I was able to get a great image of this old cowboy.
The Sony RX1 at f/2 – ISO 100 – 1/1600s – click it for larger – from RAW – Standard Color Mode
and it can do black and white as well. This one is a JPEG, ISO 1600 at night. Plenty of DR.
Anyone who knows me or knows this site well will know one thing. I LOVE SMALL CAMERAS THAT PUMP OUT HIGH QUALITY! I also love cameras that give you a great user experience. I touched on all of this in Part 1 of this review HERE (so go read it before you read this one if you have not yet done so). I also posted some low light B&W JPEGS HERE. Bottom line is that this Sony RX1 gives me what I always wanted. Small size, great lens, amazing full frame sensor, good auto focus and manual focus, superb HD video and solid build quality that goes toe to toe with Leica. This is a camera that could have had the Zeiss logo on it and put on the shelves for $3995, and it would have sold very well. They could have called it the “Zeiss ZX-1” and I bet it would have done very well at a premium price.
From RAW – at f/2 this lens is insanely good and I get the feeling this is where it wants to be shot the most. Shallow DOF fans will be happy. This has the Zeiss Look and Feel for sure!
In fact, Some have been put off by the name “Sony”. Let’s face it, Sony is a relative newcomer to the serious enthusiast photo world. Sure they have had a ton of cyber shot cameras and point and shoot cameras but never have they tackled the serious market until just a couple of years ago with the NEX 7 camera. Now with their A99 DSLR hitting the pro market and this RX1 for all of us crazy quality starved enthusiasts they are starting to get many people to take notice, including me and not only are they talking the talk, they are walking the walk.
The Zeiss lens on this RX1 is a beauty when it comes to Bokeh. Smooth, buttery, and delicious. Just like the beer in the image below. 🙂
The best tasting beer in the world (imo) at f/2 and ISO 1250 and 1/80s – from RAW.
and this one too and BTW, no problem locking focus here in a dimly lit bar which was lit only by Xmas lights.
So with that long intro out of the way let us get started into part two which will consist of everything part one did not get into. Things such as shooting in RAW, high ISO, FULL SIZE files, Video, EVF/OVF and even what I do NOT like about the RX1. So sit back, relax, and hide your wallets because once you are done reading this you just may have the urge to whip out that credit card and order one of these beautiful and sexy cameras. Don’t say I did not warn you!
RAW Conversions – RAW is good. Always.
In part one just about EVERY image was shot as a JPEG as I did not yet download the Sony software to convert the RAW files. At the time of this writing the RX1’s are just now starting to ship in the USA and RAW support from Adobe is not yet available so we are stuck with the slow Sony converter. It works but I am much more speedy and comfortable with Adobe Lightroom or Camera Raw. In any case, in this part of the review 90% of the images will be from RAW conversions.
In case you are a newbie to RAW files, shooting in RAW is always better as you can tweak anything you desire AFTER the fact. Exposure, White Balance, Black Level, Color Style, Brightness, Contrast, Sharpness, etc. This means you can “perfect” your shot and create what you intended to create in the 1st place.
Here are four full size files converted with the Sony software from RAW. You can click each for full size. That 1st spiderweb shot is at f/2, wide open where I find the lens to be at its most unique.
Shooting in RAW is always recommended but as I stated in part 1, the JPEG files coming from the RX1 are sublime. Best I have ever seen from any serious mirrorless digital camera. I would not hesitate to shoot in JPEG for street shots, even using the high contrast B&W JPEG setting but remember, JPEG’s are sharp and clean but you can get better color by shooting RAW.
High Contrast B&W Mode – JPEG
High ISO shooting with the RX1 – Hangs with the best but AF hunts in really low light
The RX1 promised many things when it was announced, including amazing low light performance along with best in class high ISO performance. After using this camera extensively I can mostly agree with these statements. The low light and high ISO quality is up there with the very best. The only thing that lacks when you are in very low light is the AF. It does indeed hunt as it needs contrast to find and lock focus. If you are shooting a dark area without contrast the camera will have a hard time. The good thing is that focus peaking is here and available so you can whip it in to manual focus and keep going if you are having issues locking it in.
But let me get a little more into this. The RX1 has contrast detect AF. This means, like I already mentioned, that the camera needs to see something with contrast in it to achieve and lock focus. If it is really dark without any light then you will have a hard time locking focus. This is true for ANY contrast detect AF camera. Cameras like the X100, X-Pro 1, NEX-5, 6, 7 and OM-D are all contrast detect AF cameras. The RX1 performs somewhere between the NEX-6 and OM-D in my experience with the camera.
As for high ISO..
I did a quick comparison with the cameras I had laying around the house. The new NEX-6, NEX-5R, OM-D and the NEX-7 at a high ISO of 6400 just to test the extremes. Take a look below at the results of this test.
ISO 6400 – pretty rough test as it is an ISO that no one usually will use. There was NO Noise Reduction applied to ANY of these files. What surprised me was how bad the NEX-7 did and how good the OM-D did. Most true to color? RX1
The image above says it all. The RX1 wins and the NEX-7 looks outdated already in regards to high ISO performance. Remember, these had no noise reduction applied. The OM-D looks damn good though the color is off. After shooting the RX1 I have not only been spoiled by the amazing files but also the nice high ISO performance.
Anytime I shoot ANY digital camera at night I turn off noise reduction as I hate the way it smears images and details. So in my samples you will see more noise than in other samples just due to this fact.
With and Without NR (Noise Reduction)
Some have asked me to post samples with and without Noise Reduction so ask and you shall receive!
click on the image for a larger version with 100% crops of a section with and without NR so you can see the effect it has on the image. Keep in mind this was shot late night and the only light was from my headlights. ISO 6400.
and full ISO testing with the RX1 with and without NR (using Sony RAW converter)
and now with Standard Noise Reduction applied by the Sony RAW converter
I always prefer shooting digital with noise reduction turned OFF. I always prefer noise and grain to smudgy details and soft blobs.
More real world. high ISO samples.. click for larger
This one is a JPEG – again, no problem focusing in this light
Tough lighting here but ISO 5000 at night – the camera makes it look much brighter than it really was. The camera hunted twice and then locked AF.
ISO 6400 indoor, no flash, f/2, from RAW. B&W Conversion using Alien Skin Exposure – AF locked on no problem, 1st time.
High ISO shooting is quite amazing with the RX1. Just as good as any camera I have tested (besides the high ISO KING, Nikon D3s and even then it is close). I remember when performance at high ISO like this was just a dream and now it is a reality and to top it off it is in a small camera body with a full frame sensor. Technology rocks.
LOW ISO. The RX1 has an ISO 50 Setting as well!
With the 1/2000s shutter speed limitation when using the camera wide open at f/2 it could run into a problem if shooting in full sunlight where you want to get that creamy f/2 shallow DOF. To combat that Sony has added an ISO 50 mode which will help out with that. Below are two test shots. One at ISO 50 and the other at ISO 100. These are slightly cropped but you can see they look identical. The RX1 also has an ISO 64, ISO 80 and ISO 160 setting.
HD Video – Full uncompressed through HDMI? Yep.
The video capabilities of the RX1 are good but I have used better. When I say this I mean I have used better for video in regards to AF speed, Image Stabilization and overall versatility. For example, I love the video from my Olympus OM-D and 12mm f/2 or 75 1.8. The RX1 takes great quality video but it has electronic IS and it does not work as good as some dedicated lenses for other systems. In low light the AF is slow when shooting video so I would recommend using manual focus when indoors. Other cameras never gave me a problem in the low light aquarium I test video in but the RX1 had a hard time keeping up with the AF and many of the shots I took were out of focus.
With that said, the sensor in the RX1 is able to record some pretty nice quality video and the camera also has a dedicated mic input for those that want to use an outboard mic. Sony will be releasing a slew of accessories for the camera including their own mic that will attach to the hot shoe with no cable needed. Below you will see a sample of the video I shot with the RX1. It is similar to what I test all cameras with so will give you an idea of what it can do. The video below is short and sweet and will upload a longer one with a better sample of video soon.
BTW, I have been asked if this puts out uncompressed video through HDMI and i have confirmed through Sony that yes, it does.
I am happy Sony included video on the RX1 but the slow AF when using video in low light is sort of a hit or miss.
The Sony RX1 Viewfinder Choice – EVF vs OVF
The Sony RX1 gives you two options for a viewfinder. You can either go with an Electronic Viewfinder at $449, which is pretty sweet and works very well, or you can go with the Zeiss 35mm Optical View Finder which is even more expensive at $599. My choice 100% is the EVF. It is big and the best quality EVF I have used on any camera to date. Also, It does indeed have a diopter for those who have asked. With the EVF you can see what you are shooting and get an idea of just how your photo is going to look. With the Optical you can not see what the camera is focusing on nor any settings. I do have one issue with the EVF though..you can not “lock” it on. It slides on without a way to lock it down so it is possible it could slide off. It did slide off on me once while in my bag and when I lifted it to my eye and did not come on I realized it was 1/4 of the way off of the shoe. Sony should have created a way to lock it in.
It does come with a nice case so you can store it when not using it though. I would say the EVF makes the user experience much better with this camera. Bringing a camera to the eye just feels so much better than holding it out at arms length. The RX1 deserves the EVF and the looks have even grown on me quite a bit 🙂 See my video at the top of this page for more on both view finders. You can order the EVF at Amazon HERE and the Optical is also at Amazon HERE.
Shot in RAW but used VIVID mode which is why the sky is such a deep blue. VIVID adds contrast and deep color. I prefer Standard or Neutral for most shooting.
Pro’s & Cons of the RX1
- Small but built well
- Fast f/2 Zeiss 35mm lens matched to the sensor for optimal quality
- Manual Aperture control on the lens
- Extremely good IQ in low light/high ISO
- Nice quality LCD on the back – can be seen in sunlight
- Comparable with the top dog DSLRS like Nikon D4, D800, 5DIII
- No dusty sensor hassles
- Close focus as close as .2 meters (Zeiss 35 on Leica M is .7 meters)
- HD video with full uncompressed through HDMI
- Crop mode gives you a 50mm and 75mm equivalent shot in JPEG mode
- EVF is best I have ever used (if you buy it extra of course)
- Manual focus works well and is smooth and silky
- Focus Peaking!
- At the price of $2799 a real charger should have been included in the box!
- EVF is pricey at $449
- AF hunts in low light and can have trouble in really low light.
- Focus peaking only works with focus assist magnification on.
- Battery life is not the best (250 shots or so) so get a few more.
- Lens seems optimized for close distances. Seems sharpest up close and at mid distance.
- Video AF is slow as molasses in low light. Had trouble finding focus so manual focus is recommended if shooting video indoor.
- If you forget to turn on lens distortion correction and shoot JPEG your shots will have lens distortion.
Which Camera should I get? HELP!
Sony RX1 – This is expensive at $2799 and it is small and limited with just a 35mm lens. If you can not imagine only having one focal length in a camera then it is not for you. But if you can, and you want sublime IQ and the ability to shoot in any light without fear of noise killing your shots then you may want to seriously look at this camera. It is small but well made and the sensor/lens combo rocks. Think about what you shoot and if you feel the RX1 would help you with that. Cons? No built in EVF and the charger it comes with is the USB type that requires the battery be in the camera to charge.
OM-D – Olympus hit it out of the park with the OM-D and they have been on a roll with their lens releases. The OM-D is my 2nd camera pick for Camera of the Year 2012 and for good reason. It is like a min DSLR with amazing lenses and delivers superb image quality with 1/3 of the weight and size of a DSLR. You lose some shallow DOF effects but IQ is there and the video is super as well. Better overall video capabilities than the RX1 IMO due to the lenses you can slap on. The OM-D is priced right at $1000 with kit lens. You will not get the silky smooth files of the RX1 nor the high ISO performance but it is also much cheaper. If you cant spend $2800 then you may want to look at the OM-D.
Fuji X – The X cameras have the IQ no doubt but what about the othetr good stuff? The X-Pro 1 was a bit of a let down for me (IMO) and I still prefer the X100. The X-Pro 1 build feels cheap, AF is slow and clunky, lenses feel hollow. I was turned off when they released it mainly due to the AF mis-focusing and slowness. It frustrated the hell out of me. It is now much better though with the latest firmware and you can not fault the IQ, which has that Fuji signature all the way. In comparison to the RX1, for me, the RX1 takes it all the way. The files from the RX1 are richer, have better Dynamic Range and the Zeiss lens beats the Fuji lenses for me. The full frame of the RX1 beats the APS-C of the Fuji, again MY OPINION. The Fuji takes incredible quality shots but the user experience is not quite there yet. The X-E1 may be better. Still, the X-Pro 1 and X-E1 is a cheaper option but you do not have the FF sensor nor that Zeiss lens. At the time of this writing a Fuji X-Pro 1 and 35 1.4 would set you back $1700, still $1000 less than the RX1 without an EVF. Something to think about.
NEX – The new NEX-6 is great. At $999 with 16-50 it is a great deal for such an advanced camera. Sony has improved things but I found the AF to still be lacking. The AF has mis-focused for me on many occasions where the camera will focus on what is behind my subject (The 7 did the same). It is frustrating but I also find it lens dependent. Some lenses focus blazing fast and with accuracy, others have been hit or miss. Still, the NEX-6 can deliver beautiful quality though it can appear to be a little flat when looking at files side by side with an RX1 or full frame sensor camera. Still, at $999 it is $1700 less than the RX1 and a beautiful machine in its own right. The NEX-6 is the best NEX yet when you factor use, price, quality and sensor.
Leica – Leica has the X2 and D-Lux 6 but neither can beat the RX1 files. The X2 is a beauty no doubt (my review is here) but the RX1 gives me a richer and deeper file to work with as well as having more DR, better high ISO, faster AF, smoother operation and the Zeiss f/2 character. Also focuses much closer than the Leica X2. The X2 with EVF is about $2500. The RX1 with EVF is $3150 so the Leica is actually LESS expensive but you lose the FF sensor, lose ISO ability, lose HD video, lose an f/2 aperture, lose close focus and yes, even lose some build quality. If you love Leica like I do then the X2 make you a very happy shooter. It is indeed a Leica and has that timeless quality to the design and feel but I have to give credit where it is due and to me the RX1 is the better camera with more capability though it is more expensive as well.
A B&W conversion using Alien Skin Exposure – click for larger
The RX1 – My final bottom line conclusion
I have now written over 11,000 words in part 1 and part 2 of my review of this camera. Bottom line? The RX1 is a beauty. Like you have already read in the title, I have chosen it for my “Camera of the Year 2012”. My 2nd place choice is the Olympus OM-D and 3rd place is the Leica Monochrom. The RX1 takes the top spot though because I have never used a camera that has just given me gorgeous results like this so easily. It is almost like the camera knows what I want..like it is reading my mind. Of course this is not actually a true statement but the main reason I enjoy the RX1 so much is probably due to two things. The Sensor and the Lens. These make up the heart of the camera and with these two thing matched and combined it delivers the image quality that is flat out gorgeous with that Zeiss 3D color and quality we know and love. Dynamic Range even in the Harsh AZ sunshine was fantastic and this is a camera that can motivate.
If you have the cash to spend and want a serious compact and can live with a 35mm only focal length then this is a camera you will most likely cherish and adore. It is not perfect though! Be sure to read through my “cons list” above because it does have a few things that could have been improved upon. The AF is fast but not super speedy. In low light it will hunt because you need something with contrast for it to lock on to. It does not have phase detect AF, only contrast detect AF. So when the lights get low be prepared for it to hunt somewhat. If there is some light around it will lock on an AF just fine. If it is dark you need to switch to manual focus for best results. Video and AF in low light is worse and it is locks focus VERY slowly so I recommend manual focus for video.
Battery life is not the best but luckily you can find batteries on Amazon for $8 a pop that are actually more powerful than the included Sony battery. I bought 3 extras.
When this camera was 1st shown to me months ago and I was told the price I thought deep inside my brain that Sony was nuts. $2700 for a small compact SONY. Ummm. No way. But after using it, shooting it, and making memories with it I can say that I feel this camera is indeed worth the money for me. The image quality has its own special look and it is spectacular. It may not beat out a Leica M for landscape detail shots or overall joy of use but for almost any kind of image you want to take it has a special quality and character that is so unlike “Sony”. It has the magic..the mojo..and the rendering that was once only attainable with expensive Zeiss glass or Leica lenses. Some will not agree with me of course but I call it like I see it, and I have used EVERYTHING. Being a reviewer gives me the chance to try anything I want. The RX1 is hands down my favorite camera of 2012 and one of my favorites of all time and this is only with just over 3 weeks of use.
The build is solid, the lens feels great, the manual control of aperture on the lens is a godsend and the silent shutter means that for street shooters this camera will be just what they have been looking for. High ISO is superb as well.
I think I have said all I can say but for me the pros far outweigh the cons because when you see those results on your big screen or in print you will sit there with a huge grin. If you like the Zeiss look you will love the Sony RX1. It is not for everyone though so be sure to weigh your own pros and cons before taking that $2700 plunge!
TIP: BE SURE TO TURN ON LENS CORRECTION BEFORE USING THE RX1! It ships with it turned OFF, which is silly as the lens will give you some barrel distortion in JPEGS is it is off.
Order it at B&H Photo – Order it at Amazon
Where To Buy the Sony RX1 and Accessories?
I would buy this camera from ONLY a reputable source such as Amazon or B&H Photo.
Direct Links: AMAZON – B&H PHOTO
Optical VF – AMAZON
EVF – AMAZON
Great Batteries for less – AMAZON
December 6th 2012: UPDATE: I will be adding to this review in the next 2-3 weeks with more samples shot at smaller apertures. I will include full size files as well as tripod mounted shots. There will also be a comparison with the NEX-6 with the same images, etc. Check back here over the next few days. Thanks!
My open letter to the few who feel I am too “enthusiastic” in my reviews
After I posted part 1 of my review I had 1 lonely email from a rather bitter individual who felt I was lying about the RX1 for some reason..or was possibly “on the take” as he said. This person felt I was too “in love” with the camera and that I should not be so enthusiastic because I run a review site. This guy demanded I remove my Amazon review I posted there as well..yes, demanded I remove my own review on Amazon (which was posted to offset a fake 1 star review from someone who never even held the RX1)! This was from an individual who called himself a “Journalist” and said I was obviously being paid off by Sony to write a gushing review and when I replied back that I was not paid off he said I was indeed paid off! Why? He said just by going to the Sony Event in CA where they launched the camera was a pay off and he told me I should re-imburse them for that week long trip. Sort of ridiculous. Guess some people have nothing better to do than be bitter, angry and stressed. I guess I should have refused that invite because as he said “David Pougue would have never accepted it”. Well, not me..! I’d go every year if I was invited. No doubt.
I guess these type of individuals do not know me very well or have not been reading this site for very long. From day one this website has been about inspiration, enthusiasm, excitement, sharing of images, stories and experiences and not just about me, but about all of YOU who come here as well. When I review something that is THIS good, you guys will know about it as I never hold back. It is in my writing. It oozes out of me like honey from a squeeze honey bear bottle. When I merely “like” a camera you can also tell by the way I write. For example, I had a Nikon D4 here for a month. I did not like (for my use) it so I did not even review it. I could have hyped it up like everyone else and made some $$ with affiliate sales for sure but why would I when I did not like it myself? When I loved the Nikon V1 I was attacked on that one as well. When I raved on the Leica M9 I was accused of being paid off by Leica. To those accusing me of hyping this camera by lying about it all I can say is either TRY the camera and see for yourself, or if it bothers you that much then go to the other review sites for your reviews and do not come here. I would not go to a site that I did not enjoy. Period.
The fact is that this Sony RX1 is a superb camera. I love it, for ME. I have tried to write down my feelings, emotions and share my enthusiasm like I always do when I talk about something I really love and hell, if Sony decided to give me a free camera to use long term…then I say “HELL YEA”. In fact, I will invite them to do so right now! Hint, hint.
I used to be called Leica “fanboy” all of the time because I enjoy my Leica M’s so much. I would respond with “I guess I am a Leica fanboy, because I adore my M’s”. I just find it quite ridiculous when someone emails me and demands I tone down or take down my reviews. Makes me chuckle. To those individuals, nothing is changing here, I will keep doing what I have always done for the past 3 1/2 years. I am not about doing what other sites do..that is the whole reason I created this one!
Oh and I do not consider myself a “Journalist”..my grammar is too horrible to ever be one, but I do consider myself to be a normal guy who likes to write passionately about the things I love..and my passion is right here and right now on this very website each every day and I thank YOU for coming here and reading, no matter who you are or what you believe. The fact that even the haters come here and read what I write is sort of a compliment. BTW, part one of my RX1 review had over 130,000 views in the 1st day, a record for this site!
With that said, I will leave you with a few more RX1 samples 🙂 ENJOY!!! OH! and if you want even more of the RX1, take a look at this Tumblr page with a collection of some of the best RX1 shots on the internet!
KEEP IN MIND THE IMAGES BELOW ARE ALL SHOT IN RAW AND CONVERTED WITH THE SONY SOFTWARE. Some have different color modes applied such as “Vivid”, “Standard”, “Neutral”, “Portrait”, etc.
click these samples to see them how they should be seen
and next to it’s excellent baby brother, the Sony RX100
More images here in my “RX1 files”
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I just wanted to drop by for a little inspiration as I patiently wait for the courier.
The biggest photographic regret I have was selling my RX1. At the time I didn’t fully appreciate what I had. I used the camera, I loved the camera dearly, but I kept searching for more from it. It has deficiencies for sure, unfortunately for me, I focused more on the 1% that was wrong with it, rather than concentrating on that 99% of perfection. A lot of this came from what I read and was told about the camera. This is why I regret my decision so much.
The truth I now realise, after searching for the past 12 months for it’s replacement, is that every single camera on the market has it’s deficiencies. I think photographers are spoilt for choice and many are looking for what is new and different, rather than realising what they already have is more than capable.
After paying retail on my RX1 18months ago, I was looking around and have found a great deal for a new RX1. From what I understand, there are now very few of these new in stock (at least in Australia) and I couldn’t pass it up. I had thought of purchasing a good used copy, but there is just something about knowing the camera you purchased is new. You look after it and take care of it, and learn to grow together. And of course, it had to be the original RX1.
I hope Sony release a second version, I understand there has been talk about the curved sensor. I hope more people go out and support those manufacturers that revolutionise photography. Most concentrate on evolution, more pixels, more features, when all they are really doing is playing the same song with a different tune. I like that you support Sony and Olympus. I hope more people support manufactures that try to do things that have never been done before.
I have sold a lot of gear over the past 6 months, including my Leica film cameras and lenses and my medium format Hasselblad system. When I owned the RX1 I practically stopped shooting film. After I sold it, I went back to film for a while, but realised a lot of the magic had dissappeared. I realised it was the simplicity I missed. To be in the moment with my family and friends, being able to take the images I want, but not being overloaded with equipment.
Thanks for giving me the forum to rant. I realise, stuck down here at the bottom of a 3 year old review that I will probably never get read, but that’s ok. I am moving to China soon to begin a new job, so I hope one day I can send you a few photos taken with my RX1.
If anyone does happen upon this post, my simple advice is be sure to really evaluate your options when purchasing camera equipment. Do you really need it? or are you buying it because you’re being told that you need it?? For me I missed out on 12 months of images with an amazing camera because I was so focused on what I read and was told was wrong with my camera, rather than having confidence in my own judgement.
It must be said that some of the best experiences I have had have stemmed from failure or regret. I know that when I open the box this afternoon on my brand new RX1, It will be with a different perspective. The RX1 isn’t perfect. But what it does so well is it allows you to document your life with family and friends in as unobtrusive way possible, while still being involved in all of the fun, love and laughter that is happening around you. You can capture those moments with stunning images while being a part of the moment, not outside it, like what seems to happen when carrying too much gear.
Well said, thank you for contributing to the conversation. Hope you are enjoying your new camera and China.
Totally agree with you and I’m a year behind you! I sold my Sony RX1R about a year ago mainly because I got the sony A7RII and I thought the RX1 would just sit. About two months later I was regretting ever selling it! The A7RII is a wonderful camera but I miss the simplicity of the RX1, I miss it’s feel. Plus, 42mp is great but 24mp is more than competent enough for a lot of my work. Today I just picked up a used RX1 on Ebay and I’m eagerly awaiting it!
The RX1, original is such a beauty. Yea, slow focus but the IQ is so beautiful. To me, it beats the MKII in IQ while the MKII beats it in speed. (or course)
Great job Steve! I always enjoy your reviews BECAUSE you are such an enthousiast! And who cares about a “journalist” who…. if he is a journalist at all! Thanks for all your great enthusiastic reviews. I hope you will continue for a long time. All the best!
I am using sony RX1 in my day to day, and I’m loving it. Easy to take anywhere, and getting stunning photos. Simply spectacular.
Hello Mr. Huff, Thanks for the wonderful real life reviews you always put out. Question for you (or anyone having owned both the X100s and the RX1) You said (I paraphrase) focus was good on the RX1 but not blazing fast. I need blazing fast .. 🙂 Just my crazy style for the street, I need “THAT” moment not the next one. I find myself most times carrying my back killing D3s just so I can get faster focus than my X100s. But I love the weight of my X100s and shoot with it whenever possible. The RX1 and RX1r seem to be wonderful cameras, but how is the focus speed? As good as the X100s? Thanks in advance for the replies.
The RX1 plus EVF plus spot autofocus is fast enough for most ‘street’ shots – any shot which you could have done with a manual focus Leica is doable with the RX1. Zone Focussing actually works as well – set manual focus, dial a medium distance and step down to get enough DoF – then just snap away from the hip, or via EVF/OVF. I sometimes plug a late 1990ies Voigtlaender (CV) 35 mm OVF – secured with a rubber band – and use the RX1 set to B&W shooting style in the same way I used to use my M4P or M6 with an old ‘Lux 35 on film.
You will not be disappointed…
Thanks for your review. Can I use it the studio/location with my strobe packs? I dont think there is the socket to attach the sync cord into.
Steve, love my RX1! Thanks for the great reviews you do. Any thoughts about a tripod, ball head setup for the RX1? Really Right Stuff is still not listing a plate.
Hey Steve, thank you for the passionate review of the RX1. Your reviews and words have brought something new to photography, enjoyable reviews, not only numbers, facts, and technical information. This is what we also need for photography. I appreciate many websites for their technical reviews which help us as photographers, however, we need enthusiastic reviews like yours. Keep it up!
A frequent visitor of your website, using an Olympus OM-D E-M5!
Great review Steve. Please dont change a thing with your site and reviews. Continue to rise above it and stick to your plan.
RX1 = stunning image quality in your coat pocket. After just one night of shooting my new RX1 for Chinese floating lanterns and dragon dance motion in very challenging night outdoor light, I understand why it was your pick for 2012 camera of the year. I was a bit shocked at the great image color and quality. I doubt that I could have done any better with my 5D3 and maybe not as well. Still love my OM-D but the big Canon is now used only for special situations. However, the RX1 will see a lot of daily use. I can easily work around it’s just adequate auto focus speed.
Steve: I’ve seen in other reviews and in photos in DPReview evidence of back focus. There is one photo of Beckham on DPR, his face is unsharp, but his lapel is in sharp focus. Another review noticed the same thing. Have you seen any evidence of this?
I have heard rumblings of this from others but my RX1 has not given me any issues in this regard. The NEX-6 did though with the 35 1.8 lens.
I am seriously considering this camera. One thing though, and I can’t find anywhere… Does the optional evf have an eye sensor to switch on? Or is there a switch?
I love the eye sensor on my x100. I once had a gf1 with an optional evf and it used a button to turn on every time. Was a nuisance that I am not sure I can go back to…
My “Camera of the Year” for $3,250 is a Nikon D800 with 50mm 1.8
The LAST camera on my list for $3,250 is the Sony RX1
If the Sony RX1 were $1,000 less it MAY be in the running IF it had an included Viewfinder
“This guy demanded I remove my Amazon review I posted there as well..yes, demanded I remove my own review on Amazon.” <- the world is never short of morons and retards. Ignore that idiot. Good job on your review.
Just finished reading your review and then Ken Rockwell’s review. Talk about an extreme anti-Sony bias on Ken’s part. The colors don’t sing to a colorist? “With no shutter speed dial, I was never able to find the shutter speed adjustment.” Really? It’s right on the dial on top marked S. This shows how much effort was put into doing a fair review of the RX1. Isn’t there a law against such sloppy review practices by a web “personality”?
I agree; although I find Ken’s reviews interesting and although he does more than occasionally make good points, you really have to question someone’s objectivity — or even his competence — when he claims to be unable to find the shutter speed dial on the camera when (a) it is in a completely conventional place and (b) is labeled “s”.
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3350302 another issue is sticking aperture blades – not even aperture, how is your rx-1 in this regards?
Steve, pls look at this thread about the yellow color cast and maybe test your rx1 sample. If this would be general issue it would put me off the purchase. thanks a lot!
After over 3000 shots with my personal RX1 I have yet to see anything unusual or with color casts.
Still loving my Yashica Electro 35 GSN… Full Frame, rangefinder, 40mm f/1.7 lens… $129 refurbished. Hat-tip to Sony on the RX1, and appreciate the great review, but IMHO, this 35mm f/2 could very well prove to be the world’s most expensive disposable lens. The RX100 is a significantly better value proposition at $595 duty-free in Australia, not to mention the interchangeable lens NEX-6.
Great review, merci beaucoup !
I just love your simple but focused style.
Is it possible for you to post some pictures with built in effects (watercolor, hdr, color hilight…)
Thanks in advance.
Lyon – France
I have read the RX1 review two times. Because I am thinking to get one. I am a Leica user, have M7 and M9P. The reason I like this camera is size and AF. I have a Leica 35f1.4, I don’t I should get a RX1 or not…. Still thinking……
Damn, can any one give me some ideas? or suggestions?
The only thing I can tell you is my very personal opinion based on my use and needs. First the m9 + the 35mm summilux is a very strong, outstanding kit, but the only reason I would keep the m9 is the possibility of changing the lenses. Right now, if I were in your shoes, I would simply keep/get a RX1, sell the M9 and get a Monochrom. If you are really into film and love working with b&w film, just sell the M9, skip the monichrom and keep the M7. Just a view…
Hi Steve, thanks for your great reviews… got the RX1 based on your reviews and agree that most of it was right on the money. However, after shooting for few days the auto focus thing is so frustrating. I love night photography and one of the biggest motivators for getting this camera was ability to carry a small package at night. seems like the minute the light gets less than perfect the camera just cant focus.. even with center focus confirming that its locked shots come out blurry 3 out of 5. Wonder if you have any tips… kind of defeats the purpose of great ISO performance if you cant catch a decisive shot on a fly.
I still have not had any focus issues (unless it is dark outside) while using the RX1. In fact, just shot it in a dimly lit room without fail. Very odd. I know I use center point focus only, as always. Remember also if you are up close and shooting wide open you have to be exact on where you want to focus.
I don’t know if its your style of shooting but try this
Center point AF and have someone walk towards you at a normal pace in moderate to dim light.
I am someone who finds the AF sluggish
Anyone find an alternative lens hood that fits well?
You can get slotted 49mm metal lens hood similar to the Sony in style on ebay. I got a unslotted B+W 49mm aluminum hood #950 from B&H very happy with it.
I posted a request for a comparison of the RX1 with the Fuji X100…
After my reply to Steve’s “there is no comparison between the 2” I reminded him of his own post comparing the M9 with the X100… And now it seems this conversation is deleted? Or was that a glitch?
What I said was…I no longer have an X100 so I can not compare them. Due to the cameras that come and go for review I do not and can not keep them all. So I can not compare them at this time. With that said, the RX1 is faster, has a better lens, better high ISO, better sensor, better build and is more responsive. The IQ of the Fuji is great, the RX1 is better. The RX1 beats the M9 in my book as well though it can not replace the M9 shooting experience, which IMO is unmatched.
The posts/comments you speak of were never removed btw. I do not remove comments unless they have personal attacks, and even then sometimes some slip by me due to the number of comments in any given day. Thanks.
You are just a gearhead mate.
You have churned more cameras through your system than anyone else in the whole wide world.
These happy snaps could be taken with any camera or phone never mind a $2500 dollar outlay.
It will only be a few months before the RX1 will be knocked off poll and you’ll be back again with another of the latest and greatest.
Photography is not about equipment – it’s about telling a story
I think you do not understand what this website is or who I am. I am a camera reviewer. It is my full time + job. 70 hours a week I do this. I review cameras that come out and use them and write about them for all of you to read. It is what I do. I do not keep all of the cameras I review, I use them and once in a while I keep one for my personal use and upgrade. I basically went from my 3+ year old M9 to the RX1 and MM. All of the others were here for review and getting used. Some I may keep for extended review and buy them but when U have written enough about them they get sold. IN my personal life for personal shots I have shot with my M9/M9-P for over 3 years. Now it is the RX1 as I feel it gives me the same results in a more portable package without having to worry about lenses. So of course Photography is about telling a story, I have been saying that for the 4 years this website has been up .
But keep in mind readers come here to read about new cameras and exciting products to use with their cameras. It is my job, my passion, my work, my desire to use them and write about them.
Thanks for stopping by, even if you left a grumpy ass comment 🙂
Most folks who come to your site will agree that we are very grateful to you for providing this wonderful service, Steve.
There’s been a lot of chatter in the DPReview forums about the aperture blades in the RX1. The link is this: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3358727
Have you seen any of these issues? Maybe they are not worth worrying about….
My aperture blades look about the same as the DP article. I’ve shot at all apertures its not affecting my images. Not concerned.
Any difference between the power 2000 batteries you link to and the kits which come with two and a charger? I’m guessing they are probably all made in the same factory and wholesaled for rebranding….
The batteries I linked to and bought from Amazon for $7-8 actually last longer than the stock battery. Same size, same thing but more power. I have three of them and they all have been fine.
Lets see if Sony have balls to create a Range Finder, that will empty my bank account for sure.
thanks for the great review and info.
I bought the RX-1 through your site when you posted that it was available through BHPhoto!
Boom had it in a next day free UPS, thanks.
Been loving the IQ and learning the ins and outs.
Been shooting some sweet BW but they import into ligthroom 4.3 as color?
Why, been trying to find some info on this online.
If you have any answer, would love to hear it.
Thanks for all your help.
You are probably opening the RAW files, only the JPEGs are affected by the camera’s effects.
Yes I am shooting raw files, but I thought you could do this since there was a difference tween creative styles and picture effects?
I thought picture effects were jpg only? And creative styles worked for raw.
If not why the different names?
And they look great on the LCD.
I have had a few focus issues, not sure if its my skills or camera, it seems to lock after its hunting, but focus seem out of place.
Kinda hurts when you see that in LR.
The only thing that will “change” the RAW files is the White Balance settings, nothing else.
About focusing, it is hard to tell you anything since I don’t know exactly what you are focusing on. But did you try peak focusing, if not try it and check again.
Thanks for the help Luiz.
so then i guess the creative styles are just for jpg and the lcd view of it in blackand white is just a tease.
Very different from my x100 or em-5, what you see is what you get.
For focusing I was using the focus points and usually on eyes. With hopefully enough depth of field so that when I find a point of contrast it really locks in the focus and that my shutter is twice the 35mm lens at least or there is gonna be shake considering that rx1 has no stabilizer.
I think I am starting to look at my EM-5 with new eyes and taking some comparison shots.
About the camera shake, the lighter the camera (RX1 is very light) the greatest the chance your shaking will interfere with the image. So, try a few techniques if you want to slow down the shutter too much.
And some weird ones:
There are lots more, just find one you feel comfortable with. The amount of camera shake depends a lot on the shooter, I believe I am a bit tense and prone to a bit more shaking. But if you get used shooting with cameras like Leicas and Light Film Cameras, you will be able to manage the shaking better. The RX1 is just like that, but even lighter…
Yes, what you see on the LCD (If you choose so) is a JPEG preview, not the RAW. About the Fuji and Olympus, are you by any chance using Apple Aperture? Because both cameras do provide RAW files that are significantly different from the JPEGs, maybe it is the setting you are using that makes both look so similar. Apple Aperture may import both files as one and use the JPEG as a preview, and in this case you may think you are seeing the RAW file, but you are actually seeing the JPEG.
That’s an interesting concept. Yes, I have been using aperature but switched recently to Lightroom.
As I recall the the raw files from the Fuji and Em-5 that were black and white where in fact imported and developed as bw then exported to jpgs.
But now that I feel either incompetent, insane or having a poor memory, I will return to all the files and take some new raw BW EM-5’s to find out.
Thank you for your replies and help.
It’s Christmas eve… My wife works retail and she’ll be home in two hours. Meanwhile, I’ve been agonizing over a camera purchase I made. I already have an OMD with three primes (thanks for the reviews, Steve), which is my main camera. I also have a Nikon V1 with the 10-30mm zoom just because… Heck, it’s a lot of fun, and for $299, I can take it anywhere and not worry about it. But, having used a Fuji X-E1 recently, I bit the bullet and ordered the kit and it ships Wednesday to arrive Friday. However…sitting with the dogs and waiting for my wife to come home, I realized that no matter how good the X-E1 is and how different it is from the OMD, the two really do overlap in significant areas. I decided that I don’t need that overlap. I canceled the Fuji and ordered the RX1 instead. After I did so, I felt like it feels when you can’t make a decision, flip a coin, and the randomly-made outcome brings a smile to your face. A BIG smile. I get the SONY Friday. Ho Ho Ho and Merry Christmas Steve!
Thanks for a great review. When seeing the camera on a fair (not shooting with it because the battery was down), I thought nah – its too flimsy, like I find the Fuji x100 and Xpro-1 to be. But after seeing your images from it and seeing in your video that AF works pretty fast, I am seriously considering this camera for the exact same reasons as you like it – it inspires to be used, its easy to use, high IQ, good at high ISO too. Only the missing viewfinder is a bummer and one thing I dont understand is; after having been shooting with a Hasselblad for many years I have come to love the square format because it looks great and one can always crop later on if needed. So why dont camera makers take use of the full image circle and make a square format in a small package like the Sony RX1 or Leica? Like a small digital SWC with autofocus…
Steve, do you know if there is any hand grip out there for this camera that will allow one to use the EVF simultaneously?
I was close to selling my X100 and my NEX-7 and get the RX1 but I’ll wait… until… don’t know…RX0? I have no hesitation spending 3 grand on a 2nd camera even though I’m not rich or full time photographer. Nevertheless there are some points where I have to say “WTeff did that product manager think???” (and I have to quote Ken Rockwell here, who I don’t like at all – but he’s right).
The RX1s software reminds me of the NEX-7 and even there it sucks. The X100 menu is so much more serious and when I think of my a850 I’m thinking: “Sony, you once knew how to do it…and it’s all gone in terms of UX”.
– Pros (who are the target group) DON’t want a mode dial with swipe panorama on it instead of a shutter speed dial.
– Also they like viewfinders (at least to not look like a stupid tourist)…
– …and blocking the hot shoe with a attachable one is not super smart
– … especially when you don’t have a PC sync jack or any other way to trigger a flash (I’m ignoring slave mode and IR speedlite control – don’t know if it’s in there though)
– …and when it makes a beautiful small camera bulky
Just remove the tourist shit from the software, include a shutter dial, a viewfinder and the cam is SO MUCH BETTER and SO MUCH MORE ATTRACTIVE. And just dynamite. Sold.
The RX1 software is not even close to the NEX-7..not even close. It is like the Alpha DSLR series, totally different and just as easy, if not easier to navigate and set up as the Fuji X100. So whoever made that statement (you or Ken) is wrong. The RX1 is a revolutionary product. Not perfect, but no camera is. It produces some of the best IQ I have seen from any 35mm based camera to date and that includes Fuji, Nikon, and yes, Leica. Shooting with the EVF is a great experience BTW, best EVF to date on any camera. As for flash, this is not a camera that is really meant for big flash use. IN fact, it doesn’t even need one. If you want to do studio work there are cameras that will be a better choice, such as a full frame DSLR or medium format.
You have great comments to make about the Sony RX1.
Ken Rockwell on the other hand at http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/00-new-today.htm really doesn’t have much positive to say about this camera especially its color rendition.
So who do I believe, especially when you are talking about a $3000 camera plus accessories?
Well Ken is used to two color signatures. Nikon and Fuji. I have mentioned that each brand has their own “look” and color but why ask me? Just look at the reviews and images (especially on the tumblr page) and see for yourself if you like it. Simple as that, believe your own eyes. 🙂
I am more interested in comparisons of the rx1 to the xe1 and x100.
1. Does the RX1 FF sensor enable IQ equivalence to the Fuji even when shooting in fake 70mm mode?
2. Many love Fuji colors. Where in the spectrum are the Sony colors?
3. Zeiss lens pop versus Fuji, how about some examples?
1. It exceeds the Fuji IMO in it’s native 35mm mode. In 50 and 75 mode it probably does not, but I really have not shot in those modes much as they are JPEG only.
2. You can be the judge. There are plenty of Fuji and Sony reviews online with images. Fuji has their own unique colors and Sony does as well. Which you prefer is up to you.
3. The Zeiss lens has much more pop over the Fuji IMO. No contest in the “pop” and 3D department for me. 🙂
Again, plenty of samples online from all of these cameras but I would take an RX1 over a Fuji X-Pro 1 with all lenses any day of the week. I have tried to love the X-Pro 1 three times now with three long term trials. Just didn’t work out for me. Maybe the X-E1 is better, I will know in about a week.
Hi Steve, after the first wave of excited user feedbacks recently quite a bit of discussions about color shift and CA with the RX1 is being discussed on different fora and for some it seems a deal breaker. I’m wondering whether you still have the RX1 and could do some testing and share the results.
What I have seen online regarding color shift is not that surprising as it reminds me of the M9 with its first FW with some of the wider lenses fully open and does not look like something one could not address in PP, if it mattered at all in real life shooting (the lesser the content of a photo the more obsessions peopel seem to have on finding technical flaws of gear).
I know you asked Steve, but since i read your comment I decided to drop a reply. I saw some people talking about a yellow cast on some forum, yellow center cast in the JPEGs. But I haven’t read anything about the RAW, if this is the case this clearly looks like some processing issue that can be easily solved by a firmware update. Now, in mine I haven’t seen this yellow cast in any picture, nor JPEGs or RAW files. CA happens in every single lens, but I am actually finding it not very prominent when shooting wide open. But it may happen and can be solved in post as you know. I am really enjoying mine, more than my A99. In the end I simply dropped my Canons and Nikons aside.
Thanks, this is helpful information.
My guess is that every RX1 is “infected” with color shift (cast). All depends on lighting condition.
My RX has the same purple/yellow color shift issue . I don’t think it’s a manufacture defect , Quality control, or some bad production batch. I believe it’s a design flaw and Sony needs to fix it. Not sure if a new firmware will fix it.
But until then, my RX goes back to the retailer.
John, any chance you can provide a RAW file with this color cast. I haven’t seen one until now. I also failed to replicate this on mine, even on bright backgrounds, overexposed backgrounds or white walls. But I am interested in the RAW if you can point to one. Thanks!
Here’s the link to the shot I took yesterday of the wall of my apartment. The light was coming from the window across.
You can see some purple cast on the bottom and yellow color unnaturally saturated on the right of the mage.
it’s a RAW file converted into JPEG in PS6
This is not so uncommon, on mine I tried to replicate it now on a underexposed white wall. It is indeed possible to see some magenta cast on the soft edges (i shot it wide open). It is a property of the lens, probably by having the rear element being so close to the sensor. I believe the Leica M9 had a similar issue and they solved it somehow, perhaps Steve can recollect this case better.
Here is the original from RAW:
And here is the slighted corrected version on Lightroom (Basically vignetting and a bit of exposure correction):
This that I am seeing on mine hardly ever can be replicated in a real shooting situation and does not look problematic at all, actually CA is usually more of pain but can, generally, be easily solved on post.
But, what I saw at another forum was different than this, it was a noticeable yellow rounded cast in the centre, coming from JPEGs, not RAWs. That looked more serious if detectable on RAW files.
I have seen ZERO cast in my images take with the RX1 but then again, I have not shot a white wall and never would 🙂 I now have hundreds of keepers and have yet to see any issue with any of them. When people start creating scenarios to find issues then it starts going away from Photography and into obsession with finding flaws. I’m thrilled with the performance and the body I am working with does not show any issues when using it to take real photos. Thats about all I can say. I have taken images of blue skies, no color casts. I have images of a white wall in my review when testing the ISO 50 and 100 settings. Did not see any cast. BTW, I shoot JPEG and RAW and have lens corrections on.
I just would like to add that I completely agree. I also haven’t found a single problem in my real scenario shots with this camera, and If only underexposed white backgrounds can bring this cast on the edges I see it as irrelevant, and even so it is looks correctable.
I really like your statement regarding “correctable” Luiz.
According to your post here – D800 has no issue with left focusing, Canon 5DIII does not have top LCD light bleeding problems, etc. Just go outside and take some shots! That’s all “correctable” BUT for some people who work hard to make their money it does not seem to be Okey paying $2800 for a camera and then spending time correcting images in post just because Sony has not taken care of this problem in the first place.
And if the customer like you Luiz is fine with a half baked product – why Sony has to bother fixing it?
John, why pick up a fight? When you say hard earned money, what do you think that I found my money on the toilet? That I got this for free? The problem you guys are going about this camera seems exaggerated, as you can see on mine is far from the samples I see around and it is indeed easily corrected. And i significantly decreased the effect through moving 2 sliders on lightroom and not wasting more than 30 seconds.
But not only that I fail to identify perfect lenses, unless you aim at an Arri Zeiss Cinema lens, that costs around 30k each and are made for super 35mm not even full frame and a 3 or 4 times bigger and heavier than the camera we are talking about here.
Have you tried a few voigtlanders? Even Leicas and checked some aberration even when used on Leica bodies. But photographers know their equipment and how to deal with it.
It if were a serious problem, like some D600 ones I wouldn’t be light on it. Not even Steve,, I remember reading his review of that 50mm f0.95, I never saw a more open bashing of a lens from a review site. Do you want to compare the distortions? And alone costs 1k.
Now, shooting a white background underexposed wide open is simply an invitation for aberration. For starters, why would someone shoot anything white underexposed if it is known that color shifts are likable. Why is that I couldn’t find any problem shooting more than 200 images with this cam?
Btw, do you how much money the 5D makes in the hands of professionals, or the D800? I am sure you do, it is a rethorical question. Do you think this people are unaware of their problems or they simply weight the benefits?
If to anyone the problem here is not acceptable, I am sure you try the Fuji, Olympus, the mini Canon, the Nikon V1, The Leicas, and even the Nex.
I suffered from problems all my life dealing with cameras, Canons and Nikons mostly, almost 100% was regarding lens aberrations and back focus, very annoying btw.
I think this here is easy to deal with, and that it may be corrected or aliviated through a firmware update as well, for the artists who like to shoot underexposed white backgrounds.
Great review but I hope u can describe 2 more features. I am looking at this as an X100 owner. Is it possible to show what the display info looks like in the EVF??? I love the tilt ability of the EVF! Secondly, can u describe how the Auto ISO works, and in particular relative to the X100???
Way to go Steve, I just shot honey all over my screen.
Steve, can you tell us specifically which batteries you get on Amazon for $7?
I linked to it in this review near the bottom – but here is the link. Looks like Amazon is sold out so now they ship from someone else.
RX1 purple casting
Steve love your enthusiasm! How can some call themselves enthusiasts when they have no enthusiasm or don’t appreciate one’s?!?
Keep up the good work 😉
Got mine two days ago from the Sony Online Store in the Netherlands.
First impression compared to my M9 and OM-D
Truely amazing to see such great image files from such a small P&S camera.
Camera is well built but absolutely not comparable to a M9
Autofocus is OK but hunting in low light conditions. Difference with the OM-D is in real life use noticeable.
Battery sucks, worse than the M9, but nobody minds because they are so cheap on Ebay.
But most importantly is: without the EVF or OVF it stays a P&S experience like any P&S camera on the market with a OK auto-focus. You are really paying for the best files in the smallest form factor.
For me the RX1 is not a substitute for the M9 or new M at all. The OM-D is actually the most versatile allround system without a full frame sensor.
Congrats on the new camera. Me, I find the build to be on par with the M9 in every way. I also stated the same as you – amazing image quality, AF hunts in low light, Battery – you need 3 of them, and EVF rocks. For me, it is easily a sub for the M9 as it gives as good or better IQ than an M9 with 35 cron in most situations, especially in low light and high ISO and for many thousands less than an M9 and 35 cron it cant be beat. But the build is just as solid as the M9 – may not seem like it at 1st due to the size but it is. Comparing them side by side the back dial is even smoother than the one on my MM, feels better. But none of that even matters anyway, both are built well. BTW, at night (as in when there is no light) using MF with the EVF is a joy and works fine.
In went in to pick mine up and left it in the shop.
Only reason…….just too small for my liking. Regardless of IQ and capability you have to be comfortable using a camera. I bought the Oly instead with 25mm and 45mm.
That’s small but felt more comfortable straight away.
Shame as the RX1 is awesome little camera.
I just wanted to “Thank you” for all your reviews and especially the RX1 review. I just received mine today…
I’m a big Sony fan (had a NEX-5 and NEX-7) because of the compact size. I have tried BIG DSLR cameras and I HATE the size (I love to take my cameras on mountain bike adventures).
Anyways, love the reviews and love your perspective on this camera, especially for us non-professional users.
Keep up the good work!!!
PS- Happy Holidays!!!
Thanks and enjoy!
I became sold on the Nex 7 earlier this year and bought it with a Novoflex adapter for my 6 Leica Summicron lenses. Should I sell the body and adapter and buy the RX1? My main camera is an M9 P, A900 and A77. Thanks
I just did that. Am waiting for my RX1 to arrive…
Ah, it is.
Personally, I’m over with the zombies. A little childish if you ask me…but you didn’t.
This RX1 is soooo good, I think it’s a heads-up with the M. I’m just using the rear screen, and the results are scary good. And I can’t see that well.
Steve, thanks for your reviews. I just got the RX1 yesterday and have been using it. The camera feels great except there is no grip. The RX1 IQ looks amazing from jpegs. Still haven’t try the raw converter yet. Amazing little camera!
Congrats! Enjoy it. The more you use it the more you will like it.
I want one…I hope they sell well. Then in a year or so we’ll see used (or new ones if an RX2 arrives) for much, much less. Power to the people!
I went in to pick up my RX1 today…and left it in the store!
Far too small for me re ergonomics. My hand was starting to cramp after 5 minutes of use! It is so small…..
And due to one feature it’s not right for me. I was originally all of this camera, owning an x100 but did not realise just HOW small this was.
So the search goes on. Going to try the Oly, with grip (FYI…straight away even without the Oly grip it felt better and more comfortable.) so bought that with 25mm 1.4 and 45mm 1.8. I thought both were smooth to focus as well than the RX1 IMO. One day I’d love to own a Leica…but for another day.
just received my Rx1. Love IQ, but the focus hunts a lot even in moderate light.
Another thing is AF will focus on background if it’s more contrasty than a subject. The same issue I have in GH2 sometimes, but GH2 is $500 (body only) versus Sony RX1 $2800.
Jpeg’s are nice and sharp. Can’t wait to see RAW files (not supported yet).
I just ordered RX1. I am wondering what kind of cases you guys recommend to use, and also any filters available to protect the lens. Thanks!
I ordered the B+W 49mm UV Haze MRC F-Pro filter on Amazon for about $30. Should get it soon. I, too, am interested in what others are doing for cases. The Sony case is very $$$!
Here’s a couple that I have:
http://tinyurl.com/bzn4hf5 This one, from Amazon, is a form-fitting neoprene case that will protect the RX1 from dings. There’s no room for other accessories, however.
http://tinyurl.com/apedkkn This one, from eBay, is also neoprene, but it is bigger, lined, and has room for some additional accessories.
I use both of these in different situations.
I always use the X-Pro version of the B+W filte which is a great filter, even though it is a bit more expensive it is cheaper than the Sony one. The Sonys are excellent as well and I heard the glass is from Zeiss.
can we have a comparison between rx 1 and leica M9/M9P? full frame vs full frame
I think in previous articles you’ve written about accuracy of OVFs, and you may have mentioned the frustration of using the OVF in the Fuji X100 as being slightly off.
How accurate is the Zeiss viewfinder with this camera?
Thanks beforehand for your reply.
The Zeiss is optical so there is nothing but glass you are looking through. If you mean the framing, it is not 100% accurate. The EVF is 100% accurate though, but that is made by Sony. I actually like both but prefer the EVF, and it is cheaper.
I rented one from lensrentals.com great camera very light. Great in lowlight when shooting at ISO 5000 with the flash.
In your review you mention with an OMD you won’t be able to get this smooth DOF with the kit lens, I have one and was considering a few lenses to buy, and really like bokeh and close ups like some you show here.
Would a Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 or the upcoming new Oly 17mm grant this DOF and bokeh effect? Thanks
Yes they would 🙂
Sony should make an OVF with a focus indicater and shutter/f-stop data. They have the new pins in the hotshoe… should be a no brainer to pop that data into a powered OVF with small leds.
Great reviews! Thanks Steve!
Thanks for the great review. Question for you: will you be keeping both the RX1 and X100 in your personal collection, or has the RX1 pretty much replaced any need for the Fuji?
Sadly the X100 had to be let go a couple months ago due to all of the cameras coming through. Since I review them and get to try everything I realized I do not need 3-4 cameras for my personal use.
Anyone know if there’s an advantage going to faster (45mbs,95mbs) memory cards?
Great review Steve.
Apparently my comments were not worthy of a response, or even posting.
What comments of yours were not posted? The only comments that get moderated are those with personal attacks against anyone. If you made a legit comment and it did not show up then try again, something went wrong.
RX1 isn’t good for landscapes? See this test:
This comment thread is rapidly becoming an RX1 “user forum” as more people start receiving theirs and have questions. I suspect Steve doesn’t mind that (too much) but it would be nice to have a dedicated RX1 user forum. Anyone know of one?
I have a question regarding the video mode on the RX1. I can’t seem to get the controls to go full manual. Even when I am in M mode ( or any other mode for that matter) the camera want to control shutter speed and aperture. Even my NEX cameras all let me manually control the Aperture and Shutter. I switched cam to MF mode, and tried all modes but does;’t seem to work. I do a lot of video and stills, but I need full manual for video and was really looking forward to shooting this at F2.
Any thoughts? This is kinda of a deal breaker for me.
My RX1 works properly when the mode control dial is on “M”. Aperture control by the aperture ring and shutter control by the control dial.
You might want to try a full reset which re-installs the firmware. You lose any changes you have made to menu settings different from their factory default settings but you may get proper operation restoration. My Sony RX100 was the first Sony camera/camcorder that I ever had to do a reset to restore it to proper operation when it quit responding to the shutter button. A reset restored proper operation.
I received my RX1 a few days ago. Been playing around with it and have a make or break question. In video mode, full manual ( or any other mode for that matter) I can not control the aperture or shutter speed. It seems to be fully automatic all the time. Am I missing something here? On my NEX, I have complete control over everything? Any feedback from anyone would be great. I am both a video geek, and stills guy and was hoping this would be a great video cam as well. But I need full manual controls, and really was looking forward to shooting video with full frame at F2.
You have to put it in movie mode, then in the menu choose “A” mode for when you are in movie mode. This will allow you to use whatever aperture you desire in video mode.
Thanks Steve for your reviews!
Liked your Facebook page and added it to my interest list!
Great review, Steve! Thanks for sharing ur thought on RX1. I personally love the Crazy Comparison of the Camera and Lens review that u posted, but long time didn’t hear from u… What about comparing D800 vs RX1 vs Leica ME vs MDIII, only for the photo quality?
In the UK this costs $4169 !!!
Think I will boycott Sony products for life unless there is a simple justifiable reason that I am missing??
Great review and awesome looking pictures. Would have been even good if this was an IL camera instead of the fixed lens. I cannot digest the fact that it costs so much. But seems there are even takers for this Camera which explains the power this little house could offer. Like some of the other posts above mention, I would pump in additional 2k odd and get an M9.
when can we aspect a review of the new Nex-5R with the 16-50??
Best Regards from Germany!
It’s coming next week as a combo review with the NEX-6
My opinion so far is that this camera warrants your selection as Camera of the Year 2012. It will be a while before any other vendor can produce a FF anywhere near this size. I’m sure Sony engineers are justifiably proud of their accomplishment. Thanks to your enthusiastic review and even more importantly your fantastic image samples I purchased it. It is well worth it to me.
Awesome! Glad you are enjoying it. I’m loving it.
Steve, you are authentic – that is extremely valuable and rare these days. Keep up the great work and don’t bother about “journalists” and open letters.
To begin, it’s amazing how much people think they “know” from reading a review in dpreview or similar columns. And, it’s amazing that folks contort themselves into such knots to de-justify buying this camera or that. The list of excuses as to why the RX-1 is a poor camera makes me grin. I hope all of you who complain that it has no built in EVF for example realize that to do so would make it far larger and even more expensive. Paradoxically it would seem that these are the two most common “faults” folks find.
So which is it? Is it a no-go because it lacks an internal EVF, or because it’s too expensive?
Anyway, mine came yesterday and I didn’t want to like it as much as I do. Sold my Leica gear (M9, a bunch of glass, S2 ditto) since $50K worth of photographic toys (I’m no Pro) is silly. Yes the M9 was fun, and the S2 is downright spooky good. But it’s a picture, look at it. The beauty is the subject, not a 2:1 enlargement of a small detail. In between I had a full XPro-1 system and it was very good, but the AF, even after the 2.0 upgrade drove me crazy… lost way too many moments.
My other camera now is a D4 and a bunch of glass, and I love it too. It focuses and takes pictures in the dark.. literally. But it is a very different kind of camera and very useful in many circumstances. Bought the RX-1 for times when discrete and compact is the main objective.
The RX-1 and D4 are wonderful compliments to each other. Not using RAW with the RX yet, but soon will. In the meantime the grab-shots taken yesterday are just as Steve says, wonderful, balanced jpgs. Great color. owned an A77 in the past and this blows it away, especially in low light. ISO 6400 is no problem.
Don’t like it, or don’t think Sony makes a decent processor because of some article you read where they had them on the bench…? Fine. Just don’t take yourself too seriously… please. Unless you’ve seen it for yourself, you do know what your opinion is worth, don’t you?
Sorry, don’t mean to be a rude as I may sound, but some appear quite silly about this.
Don’t get it, you didn’t like X-Pro1 mainly due to ‘slow’ AF yet it’s OK on RX1 with exactly the same problem in low light as X-Pro1 🙂 Oh well, to each its own I guess. Would I buy this camera? Well, for US price maybe but X100 does wonderful job with that focal length and in the similar package.
You must have misunderstood or misread both reviews. The RX1 is faster than the X-Pro 1 with AF in ALL light, Good or bad light. The RX1 will focus in low light, and lock and not miss. The X-Pro 1 could not and would not lock focus for me even in evening light when testing the camera in Las Vegas. When it did “lock” it really didn’t and my images were OOF. When the FW updates came it improved some but the RX1 is still faster to AF and much more accurate. As for X100 vs RX1, much different results. DR, Depth, Detail, Usability, etc not a contest. I love the X100, I consider it a classic but I am honest and the fact is technology moves on at a rapid pace. The X100 can not compete with the sensor and lens in the RX. There is a reason it is $2700. Just like there is a reason the D800 and D4 are so expensive. I feel the X-Pro 1 was overpriced and now with the discounts is creeping closer to what it should be.The X-E1 is a better buy IMO.
This camera is everything you said it was and maybe more. My only complaints are minor nits that could easily be remedied in firmware. The images are just fantastic, best high ISO I have seen with a bokeh that is really creamy and detail that matches the DP2M. That is a lot. Here are my nits in case you get to provide some feedback to Sony:
A few things I have observed or learned so far about the operation of the RX1:
1. On Auto ISO, you can select a minimum and maximum ISO but not a minimum shutter speed. The camera seems to select a minimum of 1/80 sec in A mode.
2. You can turn on or off all sounds but you cannot turn on focus confirm and turn off the fake shutter sound.
3. There is no way to make the AF box larger or smaller. You can select center box or movable box of let the camera pick.
4. The dial on the upper back is mostly for changing shutter speed in S priority mode or program shift in P mode.
5. The LCD as a viewfinder cannot be set to show a histogram and the level function concurrently, only one or the other.
6. No information on flash sync speeds.
7. Gives you the option of seeing the image the way it will appear or enhanced for easier viewing (not a nit).
8. AF speed could be better.
The EVF is also very good with no smearing and very fast response time.
Hey John, you CAN turn off focus confirm and shutter sound. I did it the moment the camera arrived. The setting is under the 3rd screen in the toolbar menu – make sure Audio Signals is set to OFF.
Steve, I was aware of that. What I meant is that I could not find a way to turn shutter sounds off but leave focus confirm on.
“6. No information on flash sync speeds.”
Since it is a leaf-shutter camera, is there a sync speed? Won’t flash will work at all shutter speeds?
That is exactly right BrianO.
Reference my comment #153.
All is forgiven. As long as one doesn’t manually release the flash head, then even in the modes in which you can’t turn off the flash, the flash will not operate. My mistake was assuming the flash head would pop up automatically like the RX100’s does.
I’m more happy now. 😎
Hi Steve! I love your reviews of the RX1. Your reviews helped me to decide to acquire one which arrived today. Coincidentally, Sony America yesterday finally posted the RX1 Cybershot User Guide which is really needed since the manual that comes with the camera is pretty bare bones.
The only disappointment I’ve had so far with the camera is the fact that you can’t turn off the flash, even in the non-auto modes. The RX100 allows one to turn the flash off even in the auto modes. You’d think that with a camera such as the RX1 that really promotes the use of manual modes you’d be able to turn the flash off.
My RX1 came into 2 days ago and it won’t turn on. Now I get to send it back and wait another 3 weeks. Yay!
Wow, that is not good at all. I’d be pretty unhappy. BUT maybe it is a b ad battery? I have seen this before with other cameras. Did you charge it fully while in the camera and while doing so did the light come on?
Participants of the survey on http://www.sonyalpharumors.com support the choice of Steve!
Your enthusiasm for this camera is so, very inviting. Love my Nex 7’s which I use on the job as a news/press photographer. Their speed burst makes all my big brother DSLR buddies so envious. But the IQ of the RX1 just rocks so much. Your Cowboy shot and it’s sharpness leaps off the screen!
Would be oh so appreciative of your work flow with the raw files. I am no PS or LR pro but the way you recovered all that detail beneath his brim has me salivating for how you achieved it in processing.
Would make a nice follow up, to show how you treat the RX’s files. You got me wrangling how to latch onto this camera.
Rick Maiman in a post Sandy NY City
This has got to be one of the best review on a camera yet. Thanks for putting in the hours. There are almost 300 comments here so apologies if this has been asked. Is the auto focus as fast as RX100? I bought that thanks to your review and never regretted it. Love it to death. It’s fast and its just wonderful to use. But RX1 has to be a camera that I want to use for a decade. I loved the X100 but autofocus let me down way too many times and I just worry that RX1 is going to give me superb IQ but most of it are out of focus. Please help if you can. Everything else that you said about the camera is fine, but AF is a big factor to me. Thx you.
Follow-up to my earlier email to you re the RX1: Mine will be delivered Friday morning and that evening I head to Berlin on a business trip. I look forward to taking pics in the cold and snow…. BTW, at B&H last week, I purchased the Leica 36mm viewfinder for almost half (!) the the cost of the Zeiss 35 mm viewfinder. One millimeter will not make the difference and besides the outside of the viewfinder’s “frame,” about 33-34 mm worth of the scenery is covered. Nevertheless, I likely will purchase the Sony EVF in January. Thanks for your review of the RX1 and your website in general. I have spread the word to friends in the DC area.
Thank you, Steve, for this G.R.E.A.T review!!!
And thank you also for mentioning the access to a lot more very interesting pictures, at the end of your article, with the link under “take a look at this Tumblr page”.
As I expected, THIS ZEISS LENS IS IN-CRE-DIB-LY SHARP, and this over the widest depth of field possible, when stopped down to a somewhat smaller aperture. Most photographers don’t always seek shallow DOF, and IMO, being a 35mm F2 lens, although it’s able to produce shallow DOF (with beautiful bokeh), this isn’t its primary purpose. In an earlier comment, I asked you for some shots to illustrate it’s performance regarding sharpness over a very wide DOF. Well, one can find those examples here in this Tumblr page. For instance on flickr, there are excellent pictures shot by darwinfish105. One of those pictures is called “Hama-rikyu Gardens 3”. It’s shot at 1/160, and ISO 100, with an aperture of F/5.6. With this aperture, the Zeiss delivers stunning sharpness over the complete field, the more stunning when taking into account the 24MP resolution. One can open a 6000×4000 px file here and see the enormous 100% image. Impressive!
So I’d like to maybe nuance your statement a bit, Steve, when you say that it’s not very sharp at infinite and less sharp than a Leica lens. Of course this flickr image is no comparison, but I guess the Zeiss is top of the line for very large DOF images with maximal sharpness. This is when stopped down to F/5/6 or even smaller. We know that you mostly shoot at very large apertures – that’s your style – so I think your opinion must be interpreted in this regard and not that much for smaller apertures and maximal DOF. If you don’t agree with this, I’d very much like to hear it. My conclusion: for maximal DOF, I guess this Sony/Zeiss combination is absolute top class. For shallow DOF it is still very very good, with stunning IQ, delivered by the Sony sensor.
Finally, regarding your open letter, I really feel the urge to support you for 200% here. You have a very justified point of view in this matter. And I agree that negativism isn’t helping anybody in any way. I’m not talking about having criticism or difference of opinion, because this can help improve matters. I’m talking about attacking and depreciating people with the only purpose of making look oneself more important or whatever other dubious goal. I simply wonder if those people think that there alleged freedom of speech give them the right to flat out harm people with no intention at all to create something positive, to add some value. So I also want to ask those people to simply stay away. This site and it’s publisher is too valuable for too many people and gives them too much joy, to be spoiled or humiliated or done any harm.
The idea that you’re being too enthousiastic is simply rediculous to me. Of course, when you review so many camera’s there will always be that one camera that pleases you the most. How can you not be very enthousiastic about it? Can people criticize you for not having the same opinion than themselves? I’m utterly enthousiastic about the RX-1, but will never buy one, because it’s not IC. Still I love it, and I love this review. Anybody any problem with that?
The more I read about this the more I want one, for personal use. I’m a Toronto based wedding photographer and run around weddings with a D4 and a D800.
But for personal use I have an X100. I love it but always wanted some full frame goodness in a small camera.
It’s here now…ummmm
Damn you, Steve, for making me want one. 😉
Just wondering whether it’s possible to fit a UV filter to the lens of Rx1;if possible what’s the filter size? Thanks.
49mm filters fit.
Congratulation Sony! You have made the camera I was waiting for. But, I am not buying this first edition of the RX1. I will wait until you make the same camera with a larger battery. Only 250 images per battery are far too few. If Sony wants to remedy this failure they have to include a charger and 4 extra batteries when selling the camera.
@Alive, to me I think you will not buy the 2nd edition and neither the next one etc. right? I think your aguments are weak. I think you are just a forum writer on many blogs and btw what camera do own at the moment 🙂
Fred, I think you are a Sony employee 🙂
I can get 700+ shots before I’m under 10% on my 5D Mark 3 battery. I do compare the RX1 with a DSLR because that is what I normally use.
A battery grip on the RX1 similar to any PowerShot would make space for a larger battery. 500 shots is an absolute minimum for me.
Really? You are not going to buy this camera because you need to change a battery after “only” 250 frames? That is it?
It is not just that. Continuous AF would have been possible on this camera if the battery had been larger. That is another reason why I will wait until a similar camera has a larger battery. If I had the money I would buy both this and the next model 🙂
It would be better with more shots per charge but anyone who bought an X100 has the same thing and know to pack an extra battery. Not a deal breaker really. It’s like saying your supermodel girlfriend has a gap in her teeth so she is not good enough.
This is a great review! Thanks!
I’ve been following your articles about RX1 since the CA sony event. And I want to tell you a good news that I will pick up my RX1 tomorrow at sony shop in Hong Kong. I’m so excited and I expect some great experience like I bought my first serious camera Contax T3 10 years ago.
About your ranking of camera of the year, how about RX100? Which place you rank it? I love it so much and I am just hard to admit that I have abandoned my NEX7 since then…
Interestingly I like very much the review, but I do not like very much most of the pictures presented.
I usually like the examples Steve shows for other cameras (e.g. for OMD).
Perhaps it is too shallow depth of field for me. Perhaps the exposure…
I do not know, but it makes me think that image quality is indeed somewhat subjective and one does not need full frame for the best pictures.
Image quality is purely subjective. And you just need a format that gives you what you want–whatever that happens to be.
How does the low light AF compare to the NEX-5N?
Still not convinced. I’d say novelty of the year, perhaps. Not camera of the year.
With 130.000 views there will be some idiots among 🙂 keep going with those great reviews
Received an Rx-1 last night. So far I love it. Took it out to dinner and took some night shots. High iso is fantastic and the camera fit nicely in my vest pocket. Very nicely built. All the controls are crisp and firm. As a Leica guy, I have to say that this has Leica build. Autofocus hunted a bit in low light as Steve has mentioned but only missed a couple of shots.
Question: for the life of me I cannot figure out how to set the custom memory functions (i.e., the 1,2,3 on the top dial). Any suggestions?
Er…read the manual?? Maybe?? : )
Thanks for the great review, Steve. The butterfly and the picture of the model behind the piano taken during Sony event are really amazing pictures.
I was wondering what results you can expect to see when using the RX1 Crop mode 50mm? How good is the 50mm crop mode? Is it fair to say that a picture taken with RX1 at f2 would render the same look and give the same IQ as the om-d with 25mm leica open at 1.4? Or would you expect higher quality and/or shallower depth of field from the Sony RX1?
Crop mode is talked about in part 1. You can only use this mode with JPEG only and it basically crops the image while keeping detail and IQ high.
Some more images here…. http://www.flickr.com/photos/philipbloom/
Steve, thanks very much for your review, this might be the camera I have been waiting for 🙂
Have you tried the digital zoom feature on the RX1, from what I hear it’s supposed to be very good? .
and, if I understand it correctly, it gives the option of 50 + 75mm
I would love to see some examples of this from you.
Digital Zoom is covered in part 1 of the review. Thanks for reading.
Thanks for the review and the pictures, Steve, and +1 on your open letter.
On the question of participating in junkets like Sony’s, it’s true that major news organizations insist on paying their own way and refuse to let their people accept travel, accommodations, etc. I work for a news organization and that’s our rule. Smaller organizations often take part in promotional activities, understanding that there are risks and benefits. The risk is that hospitality could sway you. The benefit, for a website or publication without deep pockets, is that the story would not be covered otherwise. I enjoyed David Pogue’s review of the RX100, but if we left all camera coverage to the New York Times, CNN or other large news organizations, we wouldn’t learn much.
I love your review of this camera and the photos that you have posted up and I’ve just got to laugh at the review police officer that demanded you take down your review. As it stands I am looking forward to more of your images from this camera. It is definitely a piece of gear to aspire to but I think I would like to wait for a version with a built in EVF and tilt screen. In the mean time I am thoroughly enjoying learning more photography with my Nex-5n. Keep up the great reviews!
Wow, wow, wow, what an excellent Part ll write up from Part l. I surrender. Even though I will not be buying this camera due to a lack of a built-in viewfinder, this camera is absolutely amazing. I can see why Steve gave it the accolades, “Camera of the Year 2012”. Well deserved. The details, the bokeh, the sharpness, the color, I could go on and on, are just amazing on this camera. I’m looking at these photographs by Steve and I’m thinking they would make Kristian Dowling (my favorite photographer in the world) jealous.
How in hell did Steve get these kind of images out of such a small camera? I don’t know. The Sony RX1; camera of the year. Steve Huff; website of the year. Steve, you’re so good, it kills me.
Oh, by the way, that couple kissing on the skytram is so beautiful, death doesn’t stand a chance…
Its a very nice photo……
If they release a version down the line with built in EVF, a tilt-able LCD like the original nex and quick phase AF I’ll buy straight away. 😉
Does it bother you that the RX1 has no mate stabelization? Or do you think the lens is better that way? I’v been spoiled very badily by it and can’t imagine my camera without it.
Oh and great review. I’m sort of happy when there’s a camera you fall for cause then I look forward to reading your enthusiastic reviews.
Great review Steve..
Dont worry too much about all the brand fanatics or haters…
when its a good camera and lens… for a specific person.. than it is..
It seem not just in your web .. but esp in my country… the haters is very strong
Dont count how many times people are mocking me for using a photocopy machine (Ricoh) , a walkman (sony) or air conditioner (panasonic) to shoot photos..
or how people critize not based on results but based on
Pocket and Mirrorless is not even have right to be called camera
They just hate when we dont praise the 2 big brand DSLR…
either than the C or N .. either than DSLR…
everything else is not good enough
Just ignore those fanatics…
Simply ask them to show their results
I respect your review and enjoy it very much 🙂
Keep up the great works Steve
Just a pity it’s a “Cyber-shot” and an ugly thing.
The RX1 has a fine lens. 24MP full frame. Sounds like good package. It would be if, the fine lens would come off the camera. What a waste to have to give up the fine lens down the road. Wait for the Sony RX PRO 1.
Karl, you don’t have to give up the lens–it won’t come off…
My point is, camera sensors come and go. Glass is forever. If this camera has interchangable lens and sutter dial ( or some thing ). Then I would look at the camera. A camera in this gender should have a about five/six lens to be used. I think Sony is testing the waters, as Fujifilm did with X100. Sorry, the 35mm f2 is a great one choice, but just one lens is too limiting. For others do what you will. No matter full, APC or ?, MP ? One lens only, just too limiting for me.
When I looked into buying a new digital camera system I looked at the photos that were being taken with the new cameras not technical reviews or 100 per cent crops but the photographic results. For me, one camera impressed me with the sharpness and color quality of the images. That camera was the Olympus OMD and I don’t see anything exciting about the photos posted taken with the Sony RX so I must be one of the few people who thinks this camera doesn’t live up to the hype. I bought the OMD and still think it’s the best.I have never been a huge Olympus fan, in fact I used Minolta for years so you would think that the Sony would appeal more. Of course you can take great shots with any of the new generation of cameras so it’s a personal thing but check out the photos taken by the likes of Ming Thein to see what the OMD can do. For me the OMD is still the one to beat and even some of the cheaper Oly lenses give remarkable and consistent quality in a way iv’e only experienced with Leica before. Other brands seem to have a few great lenses, several of mediocre quality and a few terrible ones.
I want to like the Sony’s but I am not yet impressed with the results I’m seeing maybe because people are taking too many shots in murky light with garish colors.
The OMD looks great set up. But funny how people are different in viewing images. IMO the quality of these files has more contrast and deeper colours straight out of the camera than the OMD. No doubt you can get some great results with the Oly and that AF is a killer however in PP in general I think you’d find you would need less time with files from the Rx1 than the OMD. The Leica Ms are the same with the FF sensor. Really nice contrast, pop files coming from those.
But the OMD is a great set as mention and Ming does take some great photo’s.
Auto focus… blah.
Rather an M8.
My name is Alexander. I’m from Ukraine. I have found your unique site casually a few months ago in the Internet and now it is the one of my favorite site in general. Every day I come here to watch new reviews and inspirations. Now my friends know this site as well.
Unfortunately Ukraine is a poor country in this time. We have many difficulties with buying new cameras and lenses, also we have much bigger prices if compare with the U.S. And a middle year salary in Ukraine is around from $4000 to $5000. Despite it we have a lot of enthusiastic and inspire photographers and we love and buy cameras and lenses . And you give very useful information for us about making the right choice.
I wish you do not to pay attention to envious persons and do what you love!
Great review as always Steve. When will you be reviewing the Nex 6? It’s a little bit closer to my price range:)
Yes, soon! 🙂
Price parity in the UK and I’d order one tomorrow, until then no way!!
Are you listening Sony??
Sick of being ripped off compared to U.S. prices!
As are many others according to the comments.
But thanks for the great reviews, updates and good energy Steve.
When the price comes down to sensible levels I’ll buy one in a heartbeat.
Happy Christmas Steve and to all the contributors and The Comment People.
One final thought…imagine if the RX1 had a Red Dot…
Superlative review! Does the OVF accessory viewfinder for the RX1 also feature diopter correction?
Thank you nice review and sample pictures. The RX1 seams to be a great concept for a camera but i really don’t like the way it renders flat looking images and dead sony colours. Even if it seams to be miles better than the NEX-7 witch is a damn good machine but NOT a “camera” hehe… I traded mine noisy NEX-7 and got my OM-D witch i love. Its a matter of taste………. 😉
Some more images here…. http://www.flickr.com/photos/philipbloom/
Steve – Don’t worry about the haters. We can’t let them get us down. We’re keenly aware you’re not a journalist – you’re an independent informer! Opinions not just allowed, opinions are desired! How great for someone to take a stand and tell us “I like this and not that.” …and I do hope you’re invited to future vendor events so you can report back to us. There’s no doubt you’ll do so just as honestly as you are now.
Steve, great review and the images are stunning. Could this be the camera of the century so far? I think so. Truly groundbreaking for those like me who have always wanted a full-frame, but the bulk was always an issue.
Also, please don’t waste your time (or ours) by writing paragraphs about some guy annoying you. Not worth it. You have a huge following so no worries, mate 🙂
I just compared the flat field test images shot by Imaging resources between M9 with 50mm Sumilux and RX1 for corner sharpness and center sharpness. You can see the results at this link: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3344183?page=3#forum-post-50406983
The RX1 holds its own and then some. The RX1 showed slight barrel distortion and the SUmilux had slight pincushion distortion. Bot had some purple fringing in the image and were removed with LR 4.2 and some distortion correction applied. I also sharpened both some (M9 more). The Sumilux costs more than the RX1 so it should be a better lens by far.
In 5 years the Summilux will cost more than today. The RX1 a fraction of today. So much to price and value. Speed and build difference not even considered.
Great review Steve. Very convincing candidate for “Camera of the Year”. You just made one mistake in your video. The lens focuses down to 0.2 meters (20 centimeters) NOT 2 METERS. You might want to change that. I know it can be difficult for Americans to deal with the metric system. Keep up the great work. Best regards, Alex.
Hi Steve…Ignore those bitter nonconstructive comments, those people are obviously not able to construct a reasonably thought out counter discussion with evidence to your reviews so slagging you is mentally easier….
Its the real world reviews that attract me to your site, there are enough techie reviews out there which for me are too involved with specs…I have used the RX100 extensively and on my 30 day trip to Japan took over 4800 pics with just excellent quality, again its not perfect and tended to overexpose by a couple of stops but I was able to pack it on my belt and climb the mountains without the weight and size if a DSLR and get pretty dam close results to a DSLR, and was able to makes some super high quality crops that made up for lack of lens range, some people with me were definitely struggled with their DSLR’s to the point of not enjoying the hikes …I had an A77 and previously D3 but for an active person they are just too big. There are times that you are not interested in packing and changing lenses.
If you are wanting the best quality in a fixed lens camera that you can pack on the most demanding adventures this is the camera I want. I have been asked why I would pay so much for the RX1 (I have it on order) and this person ordered a $4000 upgrade to his truck for a rear seat DVD entertainment!!
Keep up the good work…
Steve, great review. Saw this post on DPReview and wondered if anything like it is present in your camera.
Not at all. NOt even a teeny spec is on my sensor.
Good to hear. Hopefully the DPReview post was a very isolated case. Thanks!!
Hey Steve – great review. This is the thing you do best on this site. To be honest I’m not all that keen on all the guest articles you keep publishing – the reason I liked your site to begin with was because there was a lot of you in it and because it was written mostly by one person it was kind of consistent. Anyway, that’s another matter!
I’m using all Fuji X-gear at the moment, and we obviously don’y see eye-to-eye on their systems, I think it depends what style you shoot and admittedly they take a bit of work to get the best out of them, but I just think they are one of the best mirrorless systems around if you’re looking for great IQ.
This Sony RX1 looks seriously fantastic though, I wish Fuji would release a full-frame X100 next (here’s hoping!) but I’m going to be looking seriously at this camera as soon as my local camera shop get one in. Looks like they have copied a lot of the details from the X-series – aperture ring, AF/MF switch, ON/OFF switch (and the threaded remote shutter!) and the exposure comp dial – that isn’t a bad thing, and I guess you could argue that Fuji copied a lot from Leica! They are all just right on the Fuji so to have the same on the Sony would be great. I’m impressed! I do wish they could have snuck it under 2k though!
Best SONY alternative to RX1 if you can’t wait OR don’t want to pony up $3,247 for camera + EVF with no ILC:
NEX-5R $598, EVF $227, Zeiss 24 1,8 $1,049 = 1,847 vs RX1 $2,798 EVF $449 = $3,247. You save $1,348. The 5R/Zeiss Combo gives you fabulous IQ, good bokeh, touch screen for quick spot focus, Phase Detect AF, ILC – 3 more Zeiss e-mounts coming in ’13. Remember, I said: “Best SONY” alternative. I love it…but I bought an RX1 anyway 🙂
great review as always. the images are superb. btw have you tried the olympus 17mm f1.8 lens?
would like to know your preferance between OMD + 17F1.8 or the Nex6 + 35mm.
Hoping to test it soon. Thanks!
I like the idea and how the camera looks for You, also the photos that You make with it.
Still, I am very happy with the X100 right now. Thinking about the X-E1 when I want the extra lenses.
Fujifilm is awesome for what I do 🙂
Great Review Steve,
Not sure about the D800 and Zeiss 35mm f2 statement.Much much more expensive?? Much much more heavier?? I guess your definition of much much differs from mine.My D800 cost me $2800 and the Zeiss $800 which totals $3600,the RX1 and viewfinder costs how much? And I agree its nice to carry around a small camera but in all honesty their must be some bloody weak people out there if they find a D800 or any 35mm SLR and a 35mm prime combination heavy esp when you have a decent strap attached!
Anyway,besides this crazy statement,great review and I will be keen to get my hands on one….someday!
I agree. Also, don’t you find it funny how the “weak” lot never mentions what a small and light camera body does for ergonomics and stability at slow shutterspeeds?
A D800 with a top class 35mm would weigh around 1500 grs and offer ergonomics superior to any Mickey Mouse offering. Easy choice.
Not so. Everyone has their preference. If I had both in front of me and someone said “take the D800 and Zeiss plus $1500 cash, but you cant sell it” or “take the RX1” Id take the RX1. I can not stand shooting daily with a heavy DSLR, and yes, the D800 is a tank. When you get used to shooting small HQ cameras going back to a DSLR and huge lens sucks. Ive done it and did not enjoy it. I also prefer the Ergo of the small cameras. To me a big fat DSLR feels just like that..big and fat. Some will like this, others will not. So not such an easy choice there. Maybe for you, but not for all.
My point, you may have missed it, was actually something else. Weight and size bring benefits as well as disadvantages, so eloquently emphasized by you. You will not make a sharp image at 1/15 with a small and light camera. Perhaps that doesn’t matter.
Last April I rented a D800 and shot a wedding with it. Yes, it was a tank. I was miserable. The image quality was astounding though. The worst thing was that I shot every frame at 36mp and, yet, the bride groom wanted every frame on one CD Rom. The finished product: 556 full sized 36mp reduced to .4 mp for each photo. It was a travesty. The experience was awful. The camera? I am still in disbelief.
D800 and Zeiss 35 f/2 new is over $4100 before shipping if ordered online from a dealer. It is also 4X the weight with the Zeiss and much much much larger. It is not about being weak, it is about lugging around a huge and heavy camera when you do not have to or if you do not need the things a DSLR brings. The RX1 is a joy to shoot. Id take it over a Zeiss/D800 combo ANY DAY of the week. The D800 is awesome but I’ll never own a DSLR again as I do not need a DSLR.
Well im not sure what online dealer you use but $500 more than what I paid for my combo is considerable.I know what your trying to say and if you fit into that very narrow market it is the best camera out there,but it is a VERY narrow market! Fixed 35,not the best AF,expensive for a point and shoot with a 35mm sensor which it basically is.Not saying it won’t sell like hotcakes,lots of people with money to burn but for most mere mortals we will buy and own a system that can be a little more adaptive esp when you earn an income from the actual photos we produce.For a carry around casual camera I can deal with a little less bokeh and a little more noise and save a few thousand for a nice holiday! 😉
This is the reason why I feel like your website is your mission: To get DSLR image quality into a small compact camera. Your influence is reaching far and wide. Camera manufacturers are responding. I believe the RX1 is going to usher in the golden era of your mission.
I would challenge that Sony is only a relative newcomer to serious camera business, but they lack a brand status that Leica, Zeiss and the like have.
The APS-C DSC-R1 (notice the similar name?) from 2006 attracted a lot of good press, including from Luminous Landscapes, and the Sony A900 made some waves by introducing a pro body with a full frame 24 Mp sensor at a much lower price than competition, and that was 4 years ago already.
However, the R1 and A900 did not sell so well, even accompanied by some great Carl Zeiss lenses (135mm, 85, 27-70…). Is it going to be any different this time?
In Europe, this camera retails at 3000 EUR (~ 3900 USD) without the viewfinder. That’s just too much to consider this camera. It absolutely needs a viewfinder to be desirable for most enthusiast, and personally I think a better implementation of manual focusing would also be very useful. Nice package that many will like, but not quite there for me. IMO, YMMV, and all that.
Same for me. Morph this with the Fuji X100 and we have a digital Canonet! If you can morph the prices as well 😉
But for someone who has already a large investment in Leica M-mount lenses and cameras, the RX1 is not so tempting. I haven’t handled the camera but it does not seem that smaller than a M with a small Summicron.
I bought a Olympus OM4 for thirty years ago with 35/2.0 as standardlens and I love it. For the last 4-5 years I started to look at a new digital camera when the Olympus new pen-model introduced. My old camera is really handy and I was never interressed in bulkier/heavier DSLR, yes I develop and scanning myself, mostly Portrafilm. Sins the last years I have difficult to decide which camera to buy. Pen-model, X1, X2, Sigma DP, Fuji E-X1 is realy interesting and so on, and now this. It will cost 3875 dollar + EVF in Sweden, but I think I will jump now.
If you love the OM4, the OM-D is well worth considering! I went for it after owning a Pen EP1 which I tried very cheaply for a year – and the OM-D is a wonderful step up with some great native lenses and a good built in EV-F. I’m sure you’ve done your homework but if you’ve not tried one, I’d highly recommend it!
Good luck and enjoy whatever you end up with!
Yes the OM-D is high on my rank and I like the colorsignature what I have seen so far. But E-X1 seems to be slightly better pictures and it will come with 23/1.4 soon. RX1 seems to put picturequality a big step over Fuji/Olympus, is it wort it?
Thanks Steve for this great review, I already pre-ordered mine!
I would like to know if other 35mm’s OVF (Leica, Voigt…) are compatbile with the RX1 hotshoe, I love OVF but I don’t want an extra cost of 600 euros…
Yes, any OVF should fit.
Good news thanks!
Haters gonna hate, that’s how I feel. I think the people that get truly upset when someone gushes over a camera that doesn’t say Canon or Nikon on it, they just feel threatened for some strange reason. I’m a Sony shooter from the start, not because I thought Sony was amazing, but because with my limited money and knowledge, a Sony A100 deal came my way and I jumped. That didn’t last long, amazing sharpness and color but go beyond ISO 400, forget about it.
I quickly jumped to the Sony A700 and I have beaten the F out of that camera for the past five years. I’ve seen Sony go from nothing in the dSLR/serious camera market to a true force in those six years. Back in 2006-7 the forums were practically drowning with anti Sony comments. Not a real camera company, pros will never switch, etc. Now it’s has been silenced but you still get a few bitter people. Sony is now the number one image sensor maker on the planet and it seems they learned a few things along the way.
The RX1 appears to be a gem even if it’s a bit pricey. For that much power and quality in something that can fit in a jacket pocket, well it’s just amazing. Sure the D3s and D4 are great in low light but would I carry one when I’m not getting paid? Hell no. Even though I like Sony, I still pack my old A700 for a few reasons. There is nothing for me to upgrade to except the A99 and I notice that the on sensor AF and T mirror come at a cost. The A77 sensor is barely OK at high ISO, put the t mirror in front, it’s garbage, sorry, just me being honest. That’s why I never cared for the NEX 7.
When you look at the RAW files of the A99 vs the RX1 you see the A99 files run out of steam past ISO 1600 faster than the RX1 and there’s something to be said for a lens made for a sensor, just take a look at the sweet files coming out of a Fuji X100. Also with used Nikon d700 bodies selling for a song, I just feel like I’m stuck with my A700 for a while. With the RX100, RX1 and NEX line, Sony showed that they can make Canon, Nikon and Pentax shooters switch in a sense. They go that way for their compact go to camera.
Like so many people here, if I shoot with a compact, I want the best I can afford, it’s tough to go back to a small sensor camera. Sony has more and better options IMO. Anyway, I’m preaching to the choir or just annoying those that don’t care for this camera. Thanks for putting in the work, and sharing your honest feelings about the RX1. I can’t say I will go for this camera straight away, but down the road, a used model will eventually make its way into my hands regardless. Sony innovates while other camera makers pump out the same old, same old. Time for the other companies to think boldly, or they will be run over, or just arrive late to the party, ask Canon about the M series.
Don’t EVER tone it down Steve! Why would you want to be like all the other boring, copy-cat, cookie-cutter sites out there? You offer something unique, you! Keep oozing like a honey bear bottle, LOL! Thanks for being you and thanks for your site. The real fans of your site, the ones who come back every single day, know who you are.
Steve, it’s your blog, your opinions, your decisions on what to write. Those of us who appreciate it can stay and the rest who don’t appreciate it will hopefully find another home. Good review on this but this year I added two OMDs and lenses plus the Sony RX100 to my existing D700 / D300 so I have to call it quits with this equipment lust I have. Good thing the RX1 is soooo expensive so I have a REALLY GOOD excuse not to buy one because I so really want one. 🙂
I currently have 5D Mark II as a main camera and RX100 as a secondary one. It might be that I can’t abandon the full frame sensor at the same time I want a compact one. I guess there are many out there that have the same equips as mine.
Do you think I should switch to RX1 instead of two cameras mentioned above? Is RX1 worth it?
This may seem to be a stupid questions but …
Can a soft shutter be fitted on the shutter button?
Yes you can use a soft release.
Great review Steve!
Keep up the great work and ignore the haters! Those who take themselves too seriously often loose sight of the the value of honesty and emotion in writing.
Thanks I really enjoyed reading your review. I use a Nex 6 with a plethora of alternative lenses and am consistently amazed at its capabilities. I don’t think I’m skilled enough yet to consider the RX1 or Leica but perhaps in a couple of years time… I am a bit of a techno geek and have been using my IPhone tethered through the playmemories remote control to shoot street photography, I have to say that it is a tremendously satisfying experience specifically when coupled to the Sigma 30, 2.8 …
Last thing, what do you eat for breakfast, you have an off the scale work rate 🙂
All in all a very interesting camera and I might eventually pull my credit card. What bothers me somewhat, though, is the considerable barrel distortion for a USD 3000 package. This does not speak for a stellar lens design. And don’t give me the compact, yet FF and flange distance thing explanation. A M8 with a flawless and compact FF CV or ZM lens can be had for around USD 2000 these days.
I love your reviews Steve and feel that are very fair. I’ve owned the OM-D and now a happy X-E1 owner. The problem with some of these “haters” is that they expect some super negative reviews thrown in sometimes. Well, I don’t see that will happen. The market is too competitive these days and not allow companies to put out total disasters. You see the same thing in the auto industry. Back in the day, there were some real bombs out there, but that simply doesn’t happen anymore. Just about all these new digital creations are successes. People just need to figure out which one fills their need the best. I initially held out for a RX-1, but instead decided to go cheaper with an X-E1 and very happy with it as my digital source.
How do you rate the X-E1 compared to the OMD?
Steve, I appreciate your candid review and your enthusiasm. Your reviews inspire me to go out and shoot. Keep up the good work! RX1 is a perfect camera for ME, light weight/compact and take anywhere camera that will give me full frame image quality!
Are you going to review the Pentax K-30?
Thank you 🙂
Great review Steve. Wow what a camera & wonderful pictures too. I think we are seeing the type of innovation that the other manufacturers will hopefully soon adopt. If you can fit a FF sensor into such a small package it won’t be long before Fuji, Olympus, Canon & Nikon all follow with FF interchangeable mirror less cameras that are as good as the 5d Mk iii or D800 that you can carry anywhere. This is so exciting……I can’t wait for the launches in 2013 & beyond. Really great site you have, and one of my favourites. Keep up the great work. Your authenticity is well respected.
This review/test is very thorough and honest, thank you so much and please keep the inspiration and enthusiasm, and forget about stupid people.
For the high price – for me – there is missing a good grip, an EVF (it is fine it is not integrated, but it should be included in this high price) and for the price the AF should be as good as the E-M5, so the price has to be lower (for me, otherwise I would feel stupud to pay this price)
It is also not so intelligent (and not normal), that there is a so high difference in USA- and EU-prices = Normally it will end about the same when you import it and pay the taxes, but not here = Sony this is not clever, in fact it is stupid.
But we all know, that the prices will go down in EU, if people begin to import it from USA
I love your site and your reviews. Don’t worry about what other people complain, probably they do not know as much as you, besides you’re for real! Keep on trucking… I bought the RX1 and accessories trough your site at B&H, except the lens hood that I had to buy it directly from Sony. By the way the OM-D it’s a hell of a camera, I have lots of fun with it and just recently I purchase the Oly 12mm Black Edition -a beauty-!
Thanks for the review Steve. How’s the skin tone on the RX1? I have the Fuji S5 Pro. Wondering if I should upgrade to the RX1 based on skin tone.
I have been reading your site ever since I stumbled upon it while looking for a camera for a trip I was taking to Japan. I tried the Fuji x100, the Sony RX100, and then settled on the Olympus OMD. I really enjoy your style of review. Hands on and no BS.
And after reading this…I may have to go to B&H to check out the Sony RX100. I too have a love for small, compact, with great picture quality. For me your reviews have been spot on. Many thanks for this great site!
I meant the RX1! Please amend my last post!
Re The Con on the Lens.
“Lens seems optimized for close distances.”
After looking at Steve’s and the tumblr photos I would agree. I’m not too happy about that. The camera should be able to tackle landscape for the price…still debating this one.
Interestingly, the same has been said about the 24mm Sonnar for NEX by many users, in terms of sharpness at infinity.
It’s a Sonnar, not a Distagon
Who said anything about a Distagon? The Zeiss 24 lens for NEX, and the Zeiss 35 lens for the RX1 are both Sonnars.
Hey Steve, you are on a sinking ship, you are about to go down with the boat and all of a sudden you see a life jacket floating by in the sea, if you jump now you might reach it and be able to float to that desert island on the horizon , but you must jump now or your chance will be gone…
You turn and realize you have a split second to reach for just one camera that’s on the floor behind you before you jump, it’s going to be your only camera for the rest of your life…
What do you grab? The RX1 or the Leica M9 with 35mm Cron?
Hi James, I would say it would be the RX1, better close up for self portraits 🙂
For this case I will just go for OMD just for the weather sealed ability alone 😛
Easy one. A soaked RX1 as well as the M9 might never work again. The 35 cron will still be fine and keep its value. Just in case one will get rescued from the Island one day;)
Re: NEX 7 comment
“but never have they tackled the serious market until just a couple of years ago with the NEX 7 camera.”
NEX 7 was plagued with delays, and so, its not even a year old yet.
Steve, bokeh is not pronounced “bo-kay” nor “bo-kuh.” It is pronounced “bo-ke,” like the ke- in kettle. In fact, when Mike Johnston was editor at Photo Techniques in the ’90s, he commissioned three articles about the subject to introduce it to the West, and he was responsible for adding the “h” at the end of boke (the actual spelling,) so that Americans wouldn’t mispronounce it.
Thats funny because over the years and the thousands I have spoken to I have never heard one person pronounce it the way you say it should be. Doesn’t bother me how anyone says it as no matter how you say it, everyone knows what it means.
Hey, no biggie. It doesn’t matter to me how anyone says it. I was just addressing it, because you mentioned the pronunciation in your video, so I figured that you’d want to know which pronunciation was technically correct.
Mike J. added the “h” to the end of boke in the ’90s to avoid this confusion, but I guess it didn’t work. 🙂
Well mike j.’s adding the ‘h’ wouldn’t help much in Canada eh….
Well it is a Japanese word so if you think how they pronounce it. But language is always modified, especially when it crosses cultures.
Ok… And now for the question….
So how about that charger? Do you have to charge inside camera? or you can buy charger individually?
The charger it comes with has to hook up to the camera with the battery in it. You can get an external by Sony or after market which would be much cheaper. Amazon has them.
I demand you to stop worrying about those people who don’t appreciate your devotion. I command you not to concern you’re self with those silly mean men! If you’ll spend even one moment of your life thinking about them instead of taking pictures and hanging out w your family I will instruct sony to stop sending you money!!!
In case I didn’t write till holiday ends (very unliely…. what is one supposed to do? taking pictures? nah!) have a nice holidays.
Let’s not forget Minolta. Sony IS Minolta 2012! This camera would not be like it is if not for the rich talent and technology absorbed by merging with Minolta. I used a Minolta X700 in graduate school (Pratt) and I still am in awe as to how good Minolta was. This Sony gives me Minolta pride! I just wish this thing looked like a CLE!!!
Thank you for the lovely review. Contrary to many other interesting creatures, I do actually enjoy and prefer your personal review style as opposed to clinical tests or template-based tests found in other sites. And all the samples are lovely and show you know not only how to review but also how to take photos. That’s a rare combination.
I don’t agree the RX1 should be camera of the year. If I were you I would make that a separate article, published at later date to reflect some more time taken with this camera. Right now it feels like a decision rushed by your enthusiasm. I do understand the excitement about it. It’s quite a unique and quality product right now and may lead to many other good ones down the road. I did not try it but I do like to appreciate good judgements.
I think Sony is right now producing the most interesting cameras overall, not to mention they’re probably kings of sensors, so I wouldn’t hesitate to name it the manufacturer of 2012. As for 2012’s camera? I dunno if the RX1 is the right choice.
Sorry Sergio, I have to agree with Steve on this one. Sony has introduced what is essentially a full-frame compact camera with a ridiculously good lens and IQ that rivals all D-SLRS and $7K – $10K Leica’s.
Compared to every other release in 2012, the RX1 is a game-changer – and all other manufacturers will need to ante up and introduce full frame as well.
The RX1 isn’t perfect, I will personally wait for its successor in hopes it has a built-in viewfinder – and as much as I hope an RX2 has interchangeable lens capability, it won’t be a deal breaker for me if it doesn’t. The viewfinder for me is a big one though.
Still, no other camera maker had the intestinal fortitude to release something as gutsy as the RX1.
I think Leica was pretty gutsy to release the Monochrom.
I love reading your reviews, I look forward to receiving notifications of new reviews in my emails. I bought the Sony RX100 because of your recommendation and I love that little camera. I took it away camping this weekend with friends and took some lovely pics of the kids playing in the rock pools. Our friends on the camping trip were amazed at the beauty of the camera and the quality of the images, wait until I give them the images on a CD they will freak out. I would love to buy the RX1 but I think it is probably a bit to expensive for me as a weekend camera. If it had detachable lenses I could use it for work as a back up or main camera. I’m thinking of buying the Nex 6, although I thought we were passed the whole miss focusing thing? I remember when I had a 10D canon and it back focused, that was many years ago, my 5D and 7D focus beautifully never a problem.
Keep up the good work, thanks Mark
An IMPORTANT omission ….I can’t find anywhere. What’s the wake up time from rest? I would use this as a serious discrete camera in a variety of indoor shooting…but I would need better than what I get with my fuji x100,that’s for sure.
I am upgrading the x100!! Well going to hold onto it for a little while until really see if I like using the RX1 initially. If not the x100 stays!
The x100 fits in my outdoor jacket pocket, short pockets, etc….for what you get AND this feature of the x100 it’s a gun little performer.
Yes…I know all that. I have it and love it too.But the wake up time is rubbish.
Anyone? WAKE UP TIME FROM SLEEP?
I guess it depends on expectations. Mine seems fine.
Yes….but at this ‘pro’ level that it is being sold in…the expectation is that the wake up time is at a pro level. It isn’t mentioned in mirror less as much as autofocus speeds….but you are also likely to miss shots due to slow wake up time. It is the main reason you won’t see working pros switch to mirror less. It isn’t mentioned much at all…but is probably one of the biggest reason you can’t use most of these cameras to shoot an event or wedding,where a moment presents itself and your camera needs to be ready…fast. On the x100 I don’t even bother to wake it up with a half press…because it is too difficult to figure out how hard o press it without also taking a shot…creating more lag time…so I have been in the habit to just quickly switch camera off and back on.
STEVE HUFF…can you pretty please explore that a bit and let us know? Thx!
Keep halfpressing it all the time for it to not get to sleep mode 🙂
Never been a problem for me.
I know the start time and always start it before even put it to my eye. That way it is up and running allready when it gets there.
i love your site exactly for what it is, so i’m very happy to read that you have the balls to just do your thang! thanks A LOT! there are brilliant “objective” and “scientific” review pages out there and they have their place, your site has its place, too. so please keep up the enthusiasm and the reviews about cameras/lenses/combos that one can’t find elsewhere!
to me the rx1 is a dream camera just by looking at your pictures. they are so much better than usual (not saying the other one’s are bad – i just admire the zeiss and sony look). i’ll keep shooting with my little nex 5 – c-summicron combo though. 700€ and totally does the trick for me (would swap anytime, tho :D).
so, thanks again, read you again soon!
Great reviews and blog, I have you on my RSS feeds as well. Don’t worry about the bitter people, as the line in Dark Knight, “Some Men Just Want To Watch The World Burn …” We will never understand their mindset and be glad we don’t.
RX1 is a piece of technology – it has some excellent points, and some questionable design decisions. Try to see it objectively: be critical, not blind, praise and criticize it. It was designed by imperfect human beings. It will be followed by a next design (possibly very different) a few years from now. This is part of process called progress.
It appears to me that consumers are going in circles: in 2012/2013 a 35mm lens, non exchangeable optics, price like a pro or semi-pro equipment satisfies some kind of a market niche? I feel that this is a repeat of late 1920ies discussions when Oskar Barnack worked on first Leica, and people wondered: is one focal length lens sufficient? (I know, I can carry five different cameras).
This camera will go nowhere. Not only is it limited because of the fixed lens, it will be a one of camera if Sony decide that it doesn’t sell enough, and it wont…not for that pro price tag. No viewfinder unless you fork out more money. The pro price they are asking for does not give you a pro camera in return. Sony should stick to making TV’s, cause Minolta sure as hell aren;t helping them enough.
LOL. Why? Because YOU don’t like it? If you check the comments, there are a lot of people not listening to you.
Read it again: Nico Foto said very clearly “WHY” (of course one can “listen or not listen”, “LOL”, selectively read positive comments only, etc.):
* limited because of the fixed lens
* price tag (and viewfinder $600 extra)
Nico, why is it not a “pro” camera?
If you looked at and liked an image coming from this camera (without you knowing it) and it was shot by a “pro” you follow (or not) then would it not be a pro camera? Would you also know whether the pro used the EVF or not? No…you wouldn’t….
All of the above can be said for any camera.
Will pro’s choose to use this in their workflow…depends on what they shoot? Will professional street photographers, travel photographers, event photographers use this……? Not all but there will be enough of them.
Nico….there is NOTHING like this in the market at the moment for this price…..FF in this size with a lens like this at this PRICE (keep carrying your DSLR – larger or move to Leica M system – more expensive) . A lot of people seem to forget that.
Perhaps a back up to another system……but no one will know that unless it’s mentioned!
It is not a pro camera because it will never become a part of a system: the lenses are not exchangeable. It is also not environmentally sealed (all pro equipment is). How many advanced photographers you know who use 35mm only? Of course one can always argue that this is the way to go:
Ask yourself this: how many advanced photographers would buy a RX1 MkII with removable lens, promise of more accessories and lenses coming in future, would a MkII really have to be more expensive? I would. Meanwhile, the fact that there is nothing exactly like MkI on the market can indicate many things… in the past there were many unique cameras, for example in 2005 there was Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1 with fantastic Zeiss lens (no, there never was a DSC-R1 MkII).
So because it does not have ICL it’s not considered good enough to be a camera used by professionals or even considered a pro camera? Yet it brings the same key features with it, yet in a different package.
Derek I respect your definition…but i personally don’t agree with it.
If you have a DSLR set up, with this in the bag….are you as the pro going to say…”oh it’s really not a professional piece of equipment, just something I play with!” No…if your good enough behind the lens, this will allow you get results “consistent with the quality expected from a pro…!!” If it does NOT do that, then that is when i’d say it’s not worthy of the title. Forget the “stuff”….think about the output in a FF capacity.
As for the environmentally sealed…Leica M9 and MM…are they sealed? They have ICL system!
Andrew, the point I am making is this: RX1 is a camera perfectly suitable for demanding professional work which requires 35mm lens in a clean, dust free environment. Leica models are not sealed, but the lenses are removable, thus allowing to clean their sensor from dust.
People I know would much rather have different lenses which they can mount in a body they know, as opposed to have different brand of bodies with their unique peculiarities. The RX1 is a great solution waiting for a problem and seeking a market niche. My personal prediction is that Sony will kill it (as it killed excellent DSC-R1), or release a similar model with removable lens.
Where are you going to find that one working pro who happens to just use a fixed 35mm lens on a camera with no viewfinder? Where are you going to find a working pro using a fixed 35mm lens. I don’t even think war photographers use a fixed lens anymore.a fixed lens camera is not a system camera, it is a dead end camera. ..you like the 35mm lens, great, you don’t like it, too bad, buy another camera. That’s not going to get you alot of business. Your lens is dead, too bad can;t seel the body because it’s attached to it. Your camea body is dead, too bad, you can’t sell it cause the lens is attached to it.Wnat to sell your camera, too bad the buyer doesn’t like the lens focal length on it. It is a dead end advanced camera for uncle rich Rob…nothing more.It’s good for what it is, but pro use it is not suited for. That camera’s shutter doesn’t look like it can get up to 60 k cycles and the lens doesn’t look like it can stand up to long use without creeks and cracks, Adn what happens if internal dust lands on the sensor? How do you clean it? Especially when it’s out of warranty? Do you take the camera apart or send it in and pay to clean it year after year. And you;re right, I don’t like it because its not an open end system, but a dead end adavnced amateur model with a pro price tag…without pro ststem features.
LOL. Richard Avedon used a Rollei TLR with a fixed lens–I remember he got a lot of business. Avedon was not the only professional that used a Rollei. Everyone claims, and wrongly too, the HCB one used one focal length.
Of course the cleaning thing is just some made-up junk.
There is a 3″ viewfinder on the back of the RX1, if you had not noticed. Oh, and I am a pro, and I am buying one.
You guys are a riot.
Will, HCB USED ONE FOCAL LENGTH? I never claimed such a thing.
You’ve never heard of internal dust in cameras? Perhaps you need to go back to the school of science or common sense. There is internal dust, grit in any cameera and dust from the outside creep their way in sooner or later. I defy you to open up any camera, new or old and not find one spec of dust in it.
Third, who the hell is Richard Avedon and why would I care if one person or two can use one kind of fixed lens camera or not? I’m sure there’s someone who can take better photos than most with a disposable camera but that’s not the issue here is it? Anyone can pull out a name or two to back up an oppinion or an idea. You are not this Richard Avedon, are you? You are not HCB, are you? just because someone can use a twin lens camera does not mean the public will buy it. And this is about what sells, Sony is in the business I think to make money, nothing else.They wont make money with fixed lens cameras, even Fuji has gone on to make the xpro 1 and xe1.
You are a pro, good for you. You could be Wonderwoman and I could care less. The point is this camera aint going to sell, except to you, but even if you buy a hundred of them it still don’t change the facts about the camera.
You are clearly in love with a camera and cannot have an objective oppinion.
“Where are you going to find that one working pro who happens to just use a fixed 35mm lens on a camera with no viewfinder?”
MMM…I didn’t suggest they would just use this. But they could well have it as an option. Actually, as Will just mentioned he is going to use one. So we’ve found our first one….how long did that take…about 15 minutes and this is only one blog. But be careful pros who use this….it’s not a “SYSTEM” so it probably is not worthy!!
I am with Will on this one……
With all due respect Andrew, will said he was a pro and said he would buy one, and yes in about 15 minutes. This is the internet, If I told you I was a naive 18 year old girl with a model’s body, would you believe me too?
Saying you’re going to buy something on the net is totally different than actually going out to buy it. All we have to do if we want to see what cameras sell most is to go oustide and look at what most people use. It sure aint Leica and it sure aint going to be the RX1 either…you can bet worry free on that. I would not buy this camera anymore than I would buy a Pontiac.
Good for you!
Same to you!
Already pre-sold out in Hong Kong Kong and China, and a long waiting list. Why do people put down a camera they haven’t even seen, let alone touched; especially when someone as respected as Steve Huff has, right from the start, devoted so much time and effort to put it through it’s paces, and written so eloquently and passionately about it. It’s pretty obvious from it’s specs and the glowing reviews, especially Steve’s, that the RX1 is one hell of a camera, albeit not for everyone.
Not every “pro” or “semi-pro” is a professional photographer. There are many professionals who need a small, straight-forward, high quality camera to support their core business. Think of journalists without budget to hire a real photographer, or people working in the outdoor business. To these people, this camera could be godsent.
(I write travel stories and need a camera like this to support my writing. But there’s no real money in such writings in a language with less than 20 M speakers, so I do not count as a pro, alas. But I will buy it.)
I suppose you said the same about mirror-less cameras eg the NEX series. As for digital ..well that could never catch on…Hell you probably thought Canon was mad introducing …AUTO focus on their SLRS…who would want that? Whatever you do don’t have a look at a Lytro camera.
For me the main barrier for sales of the RX1 is the price. Not the camera itself.
I still think Sony will shift quite a few. I bet they sell double what Leica does.
I paid a whack for my X100 when it first came out. It is now about a third cheaper.
No doubt the same will apply to the RX1.
It is good to be enthusiastic about technology. It is not good to ignore the facts. How can you say under “Pros: “No dusty sensor hassles”?! Really? Why? Could you expand on that wild claim?
It is a myth that dust gets inside a camera only when you remove its lens. No offence, but you do perpetuate this misinformation.
+1 hahahaha – precisely! but i guess when enthusiasm runs high, eeh?
I suppose “hassles” could mean dust getting on the sensor often as it does with most DSLRs. It’s going to be fairly rare for a mostly closed system like the RX1 to get dust on the sensor. On the other hand, getting the RX1 sensor cleaned will be more of a hassle than the typical DSLR.
@Darius “It is a myth that dust gets inside a camera only when you remove its lens. No offence, but you do perpetuate this misinformation.”
Maybe not for some cameras (thinking Nikon D600 that apparently creates its own dust inside!) but my X100 have had for 20 months and about 10,000 shots does not have even one spec on its sensor. Nor did my G11 or A650 – any fixed lens camera I have owned. 5D MK1 – lots, 60D – not much. SD14 – a bit (I don’t change lenses much, generally).
Great review Steve. My RX1 is listed as shipped as of this afternoon.
I was wondering if you had any suggestions or recommendations for settings of the user defined keys. I realize much of this depends on personal preference, but do you suggest any functions be moved to these keys?
Very exciting review. I’ve been looking for a low-light indoor camera. When you say it hunts in low light but can eventually lock, would you say that it would be able to AF lock in a dimly lit restaurant?
Hi Steve, thanks for your great review!
Was wondering if you (or any reader here) could say how the RX1 EVF compares to the built-in EVF on the Nex-6? In terms of image size, brightness, noise level, etc.
Thank you for another great review. It is exactly that passion and enthusiasm of yours that attracted me to the site in the first place. Photography is an art and art is about passion. I don’t know why we have (or want) to be clinical about it.
I love the camera and if I had the dough I’d get it, even though I don’t need it. I was impressed by the butterfly shot (surprise, surprise) and the night shots in particular. And no, the lack of built-in VF, of the E or O variety, would not be a show stopper for me – science has solved this way back by a great invention called “accessory” 😉
Can you please send me some of your RAW files?
I have the Sony software installed and want to see what they really look like, also maybe print one or two
Thank you very much. Very nice review. It’s a shame I don’t have the money to buy this fantastic “little” camera. Keep up the good work. Cheers.
Is there a diopter adjustment on the RX1 EVF or is there a fixed diopter available? I asked this on your part one but no response. Thanks
I responded there and here already but yes there is. All EVF’s have a diopter adjustment. Sorry for not putting this in the review though. Will fix it now. 🙂
Just go on being enthusiastic, Steve, and we’ll back you all the way. We can still make our own choices and have that much more fun making them with you around ! (I guess the only way I’m going to be able to pay for FF is by going back to film !!)
This is a fantastic little camera, as it will be available for 400 bucks in ebay in, say, 6 months, when Sony will have shocked the market with the first full-frame fully electronic interchangeable lens camera.
By the way, what I hate about EVILs is
– the sticky character of the electronic image, when the engine has something else to do than taking care of updating the viewfinder. The Oly OM-D E-M5 is, like all Pen-types, particularly bad in this respect.
– their very bad dynamic range.
I love optical viewfinders, as they benefit from the HDR of the human eye and the calmness and smoothness of conventional light transmission.
But I understand, that I am not a consumer.
Wow. What a revelation! I’m going wait 6 months then!
Make it 7 and you will get money back 😉
A photograph is recorder fully electronically, thus the future belongs to PROPERLY designed electronic viewfinder. With interchangeable lens camera, and a range of different lenses, optical viewfinder works well only with SLRs design. Bad dynamic range and “sticky” viewer are not inherent problems, they are only design issues: more processing power, better technology will continue improving it. The electronic viewfinder is one step closer to your final product (the photo), it can show you many things optical can not, example white balance for one. What I do not like about designs like the RX1 is inability to clean the sensor, but many people (including Steve) simply decided against all evidence that there is no way dust can be left in the manufacturing process, or that it can get inside the camera in use.
I’m thinking one thing … there is RX1 and RX100…where is the RX10? (APS-C sensor and fixed 23 2.0 lens like the Fuji x100)
great review. its a good read. but steve i have a question.. for all its smallness its still not pocketable.. rx100 is better for that i think.. and for the price $2800 (+500 for the evf) .. the grand total for this beauty is somewhere around $3300 in my math. and u still need couple of batteries cos it 250 shots in one full charged battery. sooo what about D600. i think it got the same sensor.. so dynamic range should be same.. and sigma 35mm f1.4(from all i read from net its quite nice lens ).. the price for these is 1900+ 950/1000.. so $2900 and it take around 1000 shots per charge. yeah its big compared to this beauty.. what u think??
Well, id take a RX1 over a D600 and 35 1.4 anyday. 1st reason? Size and Weight. That Sigma is large and as a combo with the D600, bulky, heavy and DSLR like. It’s also plastic. The RX1 is solid, small and will give better quality than that Sigma (I am guessing here). The RX1 will fit in my coat pocket. The D600 will not, The RX1 will fit in a tiny bag, D600 will not. So it’s all about size and that lens. The D600 having the same sensor will also give and does give superb results but you give up the size, weight, and also silent shutter of the RX1.All personal preference though. Some would much rather have a D600 due to IC lenses. Others would rather go for an RX1. Others a Leica M9 or M.
The advantage that the D600 has over the RX1 is that the hotshoe can be used for speedlights and external flash triggers. With the RX1, if you use the hotshoe for the EVF than an external flash is out of the question.
Sony has a new history of making cameras and is doing really well–it isn’t like it is rocket science anyway. It might be worth noting they also have the help of the Minolta and Konica engineers that have a great deal of experience doing the same thing. I see this as a digital Konica Hexar or Minolta CLE. And Minolta did design cameras and optics for Leica.
hey steve! i love your reviews man! i recently came into photography and have been following your blog as of late. haha i’ve been checking out your blog everyday for the past few weeks waiting for your rx1 review. part 1 and then again for part 2. i’m thinking of getting this camera and i’ll def be getting it through the link on your site if i do. love the site and what you do man!
Thank you for sharing your thougts and the review simply excelent
can’t wait to get my ordered camera from BH
ignore the guy pretrnding journalist he is just jealous.
Anyway cheers with the beer Papago from Arizona
nice review steve … !!! i almost want to buy this even though i do not have the money for this … and that is not fair … 🙂
i have been on the look out for a new travel camera to take out on my travels and i feel that both om-d and x-e1 are excellent choices for travel photography and i’m leaning heavily towards the om-d at the moment. fuji, i feel, is simply researching on painful photography ie finding new ways to take excellent image quality in the most painful manner …
a crazy comparison request …
how about slapping a voigtlander nokton 17.5mm f/0.95 lens on om-d and doing a three way comparison
between om-d, sony rx1 and fuji x-e1 with 35mm f1.4?
lemme us know … 🙂 … thnx.
You just go on liking the RX1. I certainly don’t mind your enthusiasm. What I find strange is the folks who don’t want one for whatever reason, need to bash the camera. If I don’t like liver, I simply don’t eat liver. There is no need to extrapolate that all liver eaters lack good taste and liver is a horrible food.
Thanks for the time you have taken to do this. I am waiting patiently for my camera to arrive.
I just wanted to say thank you for your honest review and to keep up the amazing work you’ve done thusfar with this website. I will definitely be purchasing this camera now that your review is complete. This will be the 3rd camera you’ve convinced me to buy (OM-D and its lenses, RX100) and I’m grateful for it!
I would also like to say that you can never be too enthusiastic when writing about something you’re passionate about. I (we) wouldn’t be here, albeit slowing down your site, if it weren’t for your love of photography. Journalists are robots IMO and you’re not.
Steve: The wannabe journalist hater that emailed you with demands must have just recently purchased his dream camera. One that he had, no doubt, been saving for and lusting after for a very long time … then BAM! …the RX1 hits the scene with all of its glorious specs, fabulous IQ AND endorsed buy you!
Trying to keep up with the ever increasing pace of camera technology these days can be a huge drain on one’s bank account and now apparently, the need to increase the dosage of meds one needs to maintain proper daily mental health…poor chap 🙂
Awesome review! I ordered! I’m in!
Thanks for the review Steve, it seems a great camera and I think you nailed it on its unique value proposition.
One point; in the video you say that the close focus knob on the lens can be switched to allow focusing down to 2 metres. On the lens it’s labelled as 0,2 ie point 2 (some countries use a , instead of a . to denote decimal places) or 20 cm and Sony says on their UK website that close focusing is actually 14 cm or about 5.5 inches.
I mis spoke in that video. I meant .2 meters. 🙂
When they said it’s 14cm, they might mean from the front element of the lens, but technically, it’s from the sensor panel, so 20cm is valid minimum distance the camera can focus properly. I assume.
Please stop speaking about this camera
I can not buy one… and every time I watch a sample picture I want one!
Life in unfair
At least I own a RX100
Really good review
a plus to the letter : “From day one this website has been about inspiration, enthusiasm, excitement, sharing of images, stories and experiences” + and Paranormal or some may call metaphysics (a small part of it though! )….”
Oh Yeah i miss that part so much , it was like…actually i liked to do that myself (just for seeing)but those videos from Mr.huff’s Youtube channel were perfectly clean , and yeah i miss that part… 😉 😀
BTW Once again these PICs , left me wonder how is it possible?!?!?!?! a small camera and that much horse, i mean Sensor 😉 power !!! the DR is perfect and Sharpness and colors and about every other things its just hell of a compact FF camera …WOW
and mr.Huff….Just ignore idiots or individuals , there are a lot of PPL that ENJOY your different Review 😀 OK. THANKS and CHEERS…………(and 100 more dots) 😉 😀 🙂
Oh , i forgot to add : i meant some individuals not every individuals , and PLZ say you liked NEX-6 😀 (is this rude?) any Way waiting for your review on that one 😉 😀 🙂
NEX-6 is great! My fave NEX to date though I still am a fan of the 7. 5R is also good but the 6 gives you the 7 build and EVF as well.
Great review as always!
I am just wondering about how you rate the Nex-6 compared to OM-D. You seem to have a preference for the latter.
Oh THANKS Mr.Huff now i can calm down 😉 , anyway im waiting for images from NEX-6 , 5R is good but i figured out that its not that much better than 5N actually i learned (from some image comparison BTWN 5N & 5R) that 5R has a bit better details and higher digital Noise (in higher ISO) , so im still confused which 1 to go for , then there is NEX-6 that i think is better that 5R and on par with 5N (aside from built-in Flash , EVF and material Qual. in the body) so eagerly Waiting ,… 🙂 😀
Thanks for the review Steve, your pictures are really good and I appreciate your passion, based on your results its understandable. This isnt a balanced review and that might be your style and its taken when we come to read your reviews, so not a problem with me.
Im passing on RX1 for now, and I think your list of cons is very valid. Im not a focus recomposer, I dont think its accurate at f2 and its clunky to move that focus point on an RX1. Also if there is only peaking while magnified I would regard the RX1 as having no useful peaking mode, especially for video, this is a step backwards and a deal killer. And yes, I dont entirely trust Sony to update the firmware very quickly.
It looks like zeiss`s lens design compromise is a lot of barrel distorsion, I suspect that is what is keeping such a flat field at f2. Im not sure how I feel about this and Ive not seen enough image samples to judge, but I guess its an appropriate step in a point and shoot.
It will be interesting to see what Lloyd Chambers has to say, but I really enjoyed your review, thanks again Steve. Personally I think Im going to take the $2900 discount on an M.
Thank you Steve! Great review. I really wanted to some comparison between M9/Cron and RX1.
BTW, please take out that so called journalist’s name from you review. He is getting some UN-necessary popularity and clicks to his site now.
Keep up the good work!
Thank you for posting this fantastic review (and also for posting part 1). The images look really great. The price $2800 is still too much for me. If only I can also slap a 85mm lens on it somehow, it would buy it.
BTW, I buy a lot of stuffs from Amazon. If you could somehow make some kind of link that can direct any purchase to Amazon, I would do it to support your site, which I really enjoy.
Oh, I found the link to Amazon in the shop & support menu.
Good review (as usual). While the DP2 Merrll has some serious flaws relative to just about EVERY camera on the planet in terms of AF speed, write speed, high ISO performance above 400, battery capacity, processing software and Lord knows what else (but because of what I read here I bought it just the same and love it!), I would love to hear your thought about a comparison of images at low ISO (100 – 400).
Please ignore the negative people. I love your “reviews”, they are your opinion of a camera and you allways look at a camera from the users point of view. I would love to have this RX1, but then again, I already have a M9 (with 35, 50 and 90 lenses), so I’m already covered with a good quality camera 😉
thanks for your review of the RX1. I am a little puzzled over one con you gave: “Lens seems optimized for close distances. Seems sharpest up close and at mid distance.”
What do you mean? 35mm is a focal lenght I love to shoot landscape with. Is there really some softness at focusing distances which are not that close? That would be a deal breaker for me. That being said, I am quite pleased with the 24mm 1.8 Zeiss lens on my Nex 5N, so I guess it delivers at least the same quality for sharpness at further focussing distances.
I had the RX1 on pre-order for several months.
Was super Excited to get it.
But i ended up canceling it today (not because of your review, it still looks a friggen incredible camera that even as i canceled it i still lusted after)
I did it because i honestly couldn’t justify getting it in light of the fact that i’m really just looking to delay getting the Leica i’ve wanted from the beginning.
So i went a different route.
I picked up a good Leica M6 and a 50/2 Plannar ZM
And its just been amazing ^__^
Thanks always for your enthusiasm.
(will be looking forward to your Leica M review as well as anymore Leica Lens reviews you may do in the future >__<)
Thank you for your review. What do you think about the fact, that Sony has removed the AF-C autofocus option found on the camera’s AF selection dial, leaving users with Autofocus (AF), Direct Manual focus ( DMF) and Manual Focus (MF) modes. Hardware changes after an official presentation are rare.
This is certainly a camera that won’t be ignored, very, very impressive.
I’d just like to say that I have bought my last three cameras on the back of your reviews and reports. X100, M9, MM.
I’ve do so because of the passionate way in which the information is relayed, because your prepared to commit when you like what you see and ultimately because I trust your judgment.
I don’t want charts and overly technical reports, I want to know the thoughts of a photographer, a simple as that.
As for writing style, I’ll say this, I read these articles and it’s like having a chat with a mate in the pub, it’s real and honest, to the point, that is what the vast majority of us want to read.
I know this is how you’ll continue.
This lens is not a real made Germany lens, so why paid so much. Full frame, if you cannot change lenses, what is the use, Noise, too much if you compare with the others, for examples : Canon or Nikon same prices DSLR, or even with Fuji X. I have a Fuji X Pro1, ISO6400 still can produce good image. All other Sony cameras, even the A99 still cannot control noise level in an acceptable level, ISO3200 or higher. Lastly, too much, for this money, can buy a camera with better features and value.
– Nearly all of Zeiss’ DSLR and rangefinder lenses are made in Japan. If you want them made in Germany, you’re talking Leica prices. The Leica 35/2 is $3K US on its own.
– The RX1 has the same sensor as the Nikon D600, and it is certainly competitive with other FF cameras. The RX1’s output will be a little cleaner than the A99, because it doesn’t have the pellicle mirror in the way.
– Fuji’s X-trans filter array sacrifices low ISO performance for high ISO performance, because chroma smoothing is inherent to the design. X-trans isn’t better than bayer. It is just different. One is better at high ISO, the other better at low ISO,
Until now, although D600, A99 & RX1 are using the same sensor, Sony’s camera processor is using their own processor which is no match with either Nikon or Canon or Fuji, specially when we talk about the ISO noise. See the new Dpreview Sony RX1 ISO comparison, you can use D800, D600, A99, Fuji X Pro1, change the setting to ISO6400, then you will see the difference, which is the best.
D600 has the same sensor, but it’s internal image processing for the RAW files looks different. There is a bit less noise in the Nikon, but I think Sony keeps more details. Noise isn’t everything! It can be reduced later in PP if really needed.
Fuij seems to have great sensors as well, but the cameras have other flaws, and no full frame sensor at all!
In the whole package there is nothing comparable on the market as mentioned enough by Steve and others already. So there isn’t really much other choice to get this quality, unless you want to carry around 2 kilos of expensive and loud DSLR-machinegun (which is kind of pointless) or an also bigger and 4 times more expensive Leica M9 with not comparable quality (due to older sensor), manual focussing, worse video etc…
D600 has the same sensor, right, but the Nikon D600 processor is more advance. If we go to Dpreview http://www.dpreview.com/previews/sony-cybershot-dsc-rx1/11, change the ISO to 6400, change the camera X100 to X Pro1, you can see the big difference.
Although Sony can make good sensor but not the processor, that is right for the time being. For my last trip to China, I carried both D600 & Fuji X Pro1, even the Fuji is using APS-C, it is hard to tell the differ between D600 & X Pro1 image quality. What I want for a camera is good image quality, I believe Sony will eventually has the best camera, not this one, RX1. Also, the lens is not Sony. That is why people prefer to buy Leica, because it is Leica lens & body and same as others.
Why do I come to this site? Passion, excitement, inspiration, honesty, and a great set of pics with an amazingly positive vibe. It’s been a great addition to my life, so thank you Steve!
I’m waiting on something like this until they figure out AF in low light. I’ve had a few mirrorless cams and the low light AF is nowhere compared to my DSLR and I just find it too irritating to tolerate. The only reason I’d want one of these is to have something small that performs well in low light so that it can use the high ISO capability to the fullest and without good low light AF there are just too many compromises. Otherwise looks good.
Like Steve said, when in low light use manual focus/magnify assist/focus peaking. If you had an EVF it will have more fun.
i meant the RX1 sorry.
but does the rx100 produce better image Qaulity than a Canon 5D mkII….?
Does the EVF work with Nex-6 or A99?
This EVF is built in to the A99..
I know but don’t they all use the same accesory port now? Maybe the EVF would work too(I know the add-on EVF works on some Olympus models, even though they also have a built in EVF).
I think you misread Steve’s comment.
Why would you put the RX1 EVF on an A99 if the same is already built in. Yes, the same one.
No reason, just wondering.
Great review, the RX1 has amazing IQ and DR, but the EM5 is THE camera of 2012 – it raised the bar for m43 into and in many cases above APS-c land and the 5-axis IBIS is simply unmatched. The RX1 is very much a niche camera, more so than the X100 because of its price. The EM5 brought pro level build, handling and IQ to the M43 format and its priced for the masses. Though I’d love to have the RX1 as 35mm is my favorite FL, I just can’t justify the cost over a gently used ZE 35/2. I’ll take the EM5 for small camera outings and as a backup to the 5d3 for video and event shooting. Now when the used copies drop by about $1000, I reserve the right to change my mind.
Like I said, the RX1 is “MY” pick for COTY 2012. There is nothing like it, not even close. OM-D is #2 for me as there is some competition from Panasonic and it is still micro 4/3. Leica Mono is #3 for me due to the unique qualities and the fact that again, it is original. Thanks for reading!
Exactly. This is Steve’ site and HIS pick for 2012…not your pick or mine.
Steve,if there’s any chance you review the Sony SLT A99 side by side with the RX1 ,.i’m really curious about the performance of the A99 with Zeiss 85/1.4 ZA or maybe you can pull some comparison also about the Zeiss 135/1.8 ZA against OM-D +75/1.8 since they’re close each other,.
btw ,.i really surprise how the Olympus can manage the chromatic noise @ISO 6400. its almost noticeable and still retain the sharpness and detail ,It can be a very good setting for B&W shooting at night time with 6400 ISO.
Called around and not one of the retailers will have it for Christmas unless you pre-ordered it.
If you are trying to purchase it today here are the dates for shipping according to the CSR’s
Amazon Shipping on the 26th
B&H Can’t guarantee it for Christmas and it “Might” Ship before New Years.
Adorama Won’t ship untl after new years.
Apparently its selling extremely well! I hope i get mine before Christmas!
Steve, are you saying that this camera is not really appropriate for landscapes?
Would like to know that too
Nothing wrong with this for landscapes but it’s a 35mm lens. You can shoot landscapes with a 35mm lens generally people speak of a “landscape” lens as being wider, like 24mm and wider. You can shoot landscapes with any lens it’s just the FOV. So, do you find 35mm a good landscape lens?
If yes: then this camera is appropriate for landscapes
If no: then this camera is not appropriate for landscapes
I’d be happy with 35mm for landscapes, just wonder about sharpness
I believe Trypa is referring to Steve’s comment in his list of Cons that the “Lens seems optimized for close distances. Seems sharpest up close and at mid distance.”
This suggest that the focus on this Zeiss 35/2 Sonnar is soft at infinity (perhaps in the corners?). Maybe Steve can comment on this.
NB: landscape photography isn’t tied to any specific focal length, I’m a landscape photographer and my favorite focal length is 50mm.
Ahhh I see. Well maybe Steve will chime in then.
Concerning sharpness for landscapes, I suspect it will get sharper at smaller apertures. I’d like Steve to contradict this, if he specifically tried this and found out otherwise. But it’s my experience with Zeiss ZM lenses anyway.
Take a look at flickr.com/photos/darwinfish105/8196617868/in/photostream/ , you’ll see a marvelous picture (there is a 6000x4000px version available). It looks pretty sharp to me, from close to infinite. And don’t forget, this is 24MP, so it’s really a very big image – I guess much bigger then almost everybody will ever need. So when reducing the image to a workable size will drasticly increase the sharpness.
A more precise suggestion. Open the above mentioned picture. Download the full size version. Open it in Photoshop. Apply some unsharp mask. Very gently. Something like 80% at 0,8px radius. You can do this twice. Result: an incredibly sharp image, from corner to corner, from really close to infinite. I just did it. IMO, that’s the typical Zeiss sharpness – at 100% with a 24MP image. Like to know what you think.
All I meant was it seemed that the lens was sharper up close, even wide open. You can download the full size shot of the Sedona scene here..that is from RAW. Ive seen sharper with my Leica M9 in that kind of shot. But when the Zeiss lens is up close or mid distance, even at f/2 it is razor sharp (look at the parrot eye in the larger version). The lens is excellent all the way around from what I see.
It seems the Sedona shot is not so sharp at f5.6 maybe it needs a little more stopping down for landscape work. (I am not sure Steve has heard of anything above f5.6 (just kidding – but you are the king of wide open).
Well, f5.6 to f8.0 is the sweet spot for most Zeiss lenses, so either the lens was not focused on infinity or the focus is soft on infinity.
Well, samples on DPreview also show pretty unsharp landscapes. This is a disappointing…
I took 2 snapshots yesterday with the RX-1 just to test the dynamic range of the camera, so i wasn’t aiming at sharpness. Both shots were edited from RAW with Capture One Pro 7, and NO sharpness AT ALL was applied (just some clarity and shadows/highlight), the Long Exp Noise reduction of camera was ON so the JPEGs should be softer but I didn’t compare. These are not HDR shots, they are both simple log exp shots. one at f4.0, the other f5.6. (both 30s). Keep in mind these are long exposure shots.
One more, this is a JPEG from the camera but I used Lightroom to mess just a bit with it, basically just some slight shadow adjustment in the foreground. This is f8, the dynamic range of this JPEG is amazing. And this JPEG came from the camera with SHARPNESS and CONTRAST set to -3. I was actually testing it for video, so I decreased the sharpness and contrast from the camera. I saw a vulture passing and aimed at it, a simple snapshot. I think this camera is sick and Steve was shy when judging it as good, it is by far the best camera of 2012! The only thing I miss is the movable LCD screen… I prefer it to the EVF!!!
Thanks Jay, this is what I meant. Sorry I should have been more specific.
I am planning to buy this camera for backpacking, so this is why I wanted to know if the camera would perform well in that kind of situation. But I guess, it’s probably sharp enough anyways. And on the other hand the dynamic range seems to be a great advantage.
Thanks for the comments!
Mine is on the way, but I decided to get the EVF instead of the OVF because I can see the camera focusing, so it should help to achieve critical focus. So my question is, can I see the focus peaking through the EFV?
BTW, I am always amazed by the stress you go through with some people. Why would someone be so desperate to bash this camera and your review? Makes me wonder….
Appreciate the review(s).
I had a problem with Fuji xpro due to lack of evf diopter correction. It appears (?) that the Sony evf does not have diopter correction either. Any comments on this?
I have the Fuji X Pro1, have no problem finding the right diopter, you can look for eBay, just use the old Nikon FE, FM series diopter, they are the same, Fuji is now selling their own diopters, you can order it from Fuji through your retailer, according to the Fuji guys told me two days ago from their special promotion in the mall, I did confirm that. Other alternative is, there is a diopter lens from the after market which can insert it between the camera body and viewfinder lens. I actually bought a Nikon diopter +2 from eBay and a new one +1, the one i just mentioned in Hong Kong during my visit. They have a lot from +3 to -3, the brand is called Lewis eyepiece correction lens.
I have the EVF here (sadly not yet the RX1), and it does have a diopter adjustment. It’s a tiny lever at the bottom.
Olivier, thanks for the diopter adjustment info, I was concerned about buying the EVF (for (RX1) and not be able to see the screen in focus.
Thanks so much for a great review Steve! I pre-ordered mine back in September and now I’m just more impatient than ever!
Because you clearly state your personal preferences and criteria when evaluating cameras, your enthusiastic response to some products is both justified and welcome. Keep it up. The OMD with good lenses is giving me very satisfying results, so I don’t feel a pressing need for an RX1 even though I would really like one! I confess I’m still considering it though because I do love cameras and shoot daily.
It was really fun following your posts from the Sony event, then as you unboxed your own RX1, and finally as you got to know the camera better. IMHO this is way more balanced than a quicky review as done on most sites. Plus, the more technical reviews putting the sensor, the lens, and the body through their paces always end with subjective conclusions anyway. So, don’t let the negative opinions bug you – i am pretty sure the vast majority of your readers value what you do highly. Thats why we keep coming back for more!
One quick question. It could be that I am a de facto Oly fanboy (due to cost constraints), but in the 6400 ISO crop comparison, is it just me or did the OMD seem to be the only one that kept the leather covering looking natural, except for a little color cast that could be fixed in processing? Even the RX1, which admittedly seems a big step above the others, seems to have the funky blotches of color that mark high ISO images. Are you sure NR wasn’t turned on for the OMD, or am I looking at the wrong features of the image for this comparison?
Thanks and keep up the great work!
Steve, your two big negatives on the camera were focusing in low light, & lack of built-in viewfinder. The focusing issue could be easily addresses as soon as they put phase-detect pixels on this sensor like they’ve done on the NEX 5R. Can’t wait to see your review of that camera in regards to focusing speed.
Thanks Steve 🙂
Good review Steve and great image quality from that little camera with the big sensor. One question though about the “Old cowboy” image. Was this AF? I’m asking because the point of focus (critical @f2.0 and close-up) appears to be just in front of his eyes. Most AF systems I know do that (getting the focus slightly not where you really wanted it), which is why I prefer manual focusing (on my D700 and Zeiss 28 and 50) for that sort of situation.
Can you explain how you focus with the RX1 in situations where exact focus is critical?
Also interested in a more feedback on manual focus. Great review Steve….thank you. Mine arrives tomorrow!!!!
Thanks for your reviews, i always come to your site for “Real world” reviews and i love how enthusiastic you are. There are plenty of other review sites full of boring technical reviews by people who take themselves far to seriously.
I think this “journalist” must be a bitter individual to take precious time from his day and use it to be so negative about a sight loved by so many. Thanks for your work and reviews and all the best from Scotland.
hi steve 😀 very very thanks for your review, i really love this camera at the first sight. when this camera appear on me i really falling in love, and when i see image sample n some review about RX1 then i more n more falling in love this camera. absolutely i will save money to take this little cam to use along side with my dslr 😀 thanks steve i like your review and your photos 😀 keep it on man 😀
First off, congratulations on you 130k views on your first day. I would probably have contributed 5k hits but I just left my tab on your review on for 5 days. I was reading it slowly. I am really wondering what percentage of the 130k readers will actually buy because of your review.
Secondly, thanks for the honest and practical review. I am seriously considering getting one. I’m currently using a 5d3 with a 40 pancake because I am also looking for a relatively small FF shooter. This cam just seems perfect.
Last, thank you for your enthusiasm. Don’t let those haters get to you, you can’t please everybody. It is that enthusiasm that makes your site a fun read. It is up to us readers to take what you write with a grain of salt. Just write the way you want to write and let your readers decipher which is applicable for them. I mean just because you are excited about something does not mean we’re gonna buy it right? I think most of us are over 8 years old.
With that said, more power to you Steve.. Keep shooting and for our sakes, keep writing.
Well, after reading his Part 1 review, I moved the RX1 to the top of my potential upgrade camera list. I purchased it a few days ago. I shoot similar shots to what Steve shoots, so his reviews are most relevant to me.
But I am still trying to justify to my wife why and how the RX1 is different from my 5D3 and X100 and RX100 … where does the RX1 fit in?
Let go of your 5DIII and X100. 😉
I have no doubt about the ability of RX1, and have no surprise if you, Steve, loves this camera so much. It is really a great camera for producing high quality images.
Another thing that I want to point out is another camera RX100. After seeing images from this camera in Flickr site, I hardly believe in my eyes that this point and shoot camera can produce very high quality images as well. It seems it can do a better job than those Nex series. This surprises me very much. I am kind of thinking who is going to buy Nex cameras if they have seen images from RX100.
The NEX-system is in my opinion still the most versatile mirrorless system of the all and is priced very good for entry-level up to enthusiast mirrorless system. I see that the RX100 is a fantastic camera, but more at enthusiast price. RX1 is the same.
For myself, I am a NEX-7 owner and use the Zeiss 24mm F1.8 (35mm eqv.) 90% of the time since I own it. The results are just as great at least in lower ISO and open aperture as the results from the RX1, in MY opinion. NEX-7 is very usable up to ISO 1600 in color and in black and white very usable up to 6400, again in my opinion without comparing charts etc. As the NEX-7 has a built in EVF at a much lower price tag than the RX1, I still think it’s placed very well in terms of performance.
I shot about 5000 pictures with the Zeiss at least and many of them have the same or very similar look as those from the RX1’s lense IMHO. Color, sharpness, contrast, bokeh (at least at open aperture) yes the whole rendering of the scene is pretty much the same. DOF maybe a bit less, BUT SURELY ENOUGH to create that nice 3D-pop effect for most pictures. It also has the same macro capability as the RX1 without having to set in on the lens. I almost always shoot it at open aperture for portraits in any light, results are great!
The comparison with the NEX-6 and the 35 1.8 mentioning 3D-pop in the video isn’t fair because it is a 50mm equivalent. In my experience the POP-effect of the Zeiss 24 is much better than that of the Sony’s own 35mm, 50mm and the 18-200 (which i also own).
NEX System is Sonys choice so far when it comes to versatility. RX series is the most compact one with class leading picture quality, but with fixed lenses. I wonder how the RX10 will look like? I guess it will be an APS-C camera with contrast and phase detection as NEX-6 and a fixed high aperture Zeiss Standard-zoom. I think this would be the one to go for most of us 😉
I’d love to see what Sony could do in the RX line with an APS-C sensor! An RX10 as you described would be right up my alley. Question is, would it follow convention an eschew the built in EVF? I’m inclined to think so. Guess I’ll start haunting Sony rumor boards now…
They did make that already, it was the R1. A new interpretation of that magic cam would be great…
I like to see your pictures if possible. Do you post yours in Flickr?
Well I was thinking about the rx1 from day 1. I’ve been waiting on your review so I can definitely say i’ll get one and i’ll get one through your site when I get the chance.
My only two questions I still have are, what are the benefits of paying more for and OVF if the EVF in your opinion is better? And is there a thumb grip you can use with the EVF because I know you said the one that Sony makes only works with the OVF.
On a side note. A lot of people just hate change and hate when there is a camera people are passionate about because they aren’t passionate about their own cameras or their own work. So either that person cant take any joy in their own photography OR they work for a company who’s competing against Sony and want to take down every overly positive review as possible so it prevents people like me from buying the RX1 🙂 either way, don’t sweat it. Thousands of people go to you for advice; if one individual thinks he can make all of your loyal readers go to him instead, he must have mental problems 🙂
Thanks, Steve, this review is much appreciated.
And, maybe, the “lonely emailer” should re-read David Pogue’s RX-100….
“But every time you transfer a batch of its pictures to your computer, you’ll understand why you spent that money. You’ll click through them, astonished at how often it’s successful in stopping time, capturing the emotion of a scene, enshrining a memory or an expression you never want to forget. You’ll appreciate that the RX100 has single-handedly smashed the rule that said, “You need a big camera for pro-quality photos.”
And if you care at all about your photography, you’ll thank Sony for giving the camera industry a good hard shove into the future.”
It seems like you and David Pogue have a lot in common, and, that is, a passion for photography and cameras that make you happy.
Nice review. I would love to get this camera but can’t afford it right now. But you make me want it so much!
Keep up the good work and keep in mind you can’t please everyone. I think you have a wonderful site and I visit quite often.
As usual, great review, Steve. Thanks so much. I’ve reordered the Oly 17mm for my OM-D, but am seriously thinking about getting the RX-1 instead and carrying both cameras in my bag with the SONY as my dedicated 35mm lens. At my age, I deserve this camera. HA!
Question for you. Is there any way that you can put words to what you refer to as the Zeiss “look or “character”? Thanks.
I meant “preordered,” of course. DUH!
I guess I’m a Steve Huff fanboy because I check my RSS feed everyday for your posts. Thanks for an HONEST review of this camera. I’m currently trying to decide between upgrading my NEX-5N to either a NEX-6 (for the improved controls, AF, built in flash and EVF) or the OM-D…
If only the RX1 had an articulating screen, it’d be easier to convince the wife to splurge on it…
Steve — I always enjoy reading your thoughts on various gear, and this is no exception. So I am curious — do you conclude that the Sony RX1 beats out a Leica M9 + 35mm Cron? I know you state that this combo has that signature look of Zeiss that is comparable to Leica, but to my eye, there is a more unique IQ to the Leica combo — maybe that’s just me justifying why I jumped on the Leica bandwagon. Don’t get me wrong, these are beautiful pictures and (to me) have the look and feel of a Nikon D-something … that is to say, technically perfect but a bit more contrived, rather than organic from the Leica combo.
Anyway, I enjoyed your reading your thoughts and no doubt this is an amazing achievement for Sony and for technology. I’ve been saving my pennies for the eventual Leica M (type 240) (since before September 18th) to shoot alongside my M9-P. It’ll be interesting to see if that CMOS sensor can generate that venerable “Leica look.”
Will be interesting indeed!
I wish that Sony had gone with the Minolta brand name, or the “alpha” name for their higher-end cameras. Sort of like how Panasonic uses the Lumix name on all of their cameras. I don’t know what the perception of Sony is in Japan or the EU, but the US, Sony seems to convey “slightly better than average”. I love their cameras, but my a99 and G lenses have black grip tape over the “SONY”. But if it works, I guess it doesn’t matter.
I can’t believe anyone would tape over the label of any camera not least a product like the A99 simply because of perception fears. With all due respect that strikes me as a lack of confidence in yourself.
Anyone that is in the market for a camera like the RX1 for what it is – a great tool – is not going to be stopped by a Cyber-shot label in small print on the back of the camera. Those are are put off by that sort of thing aren’t looking for tools but fashion accessories or some such thing.
I taped over “Nikon” and “D700” on my camera. Makes it a slightly less intimidating black blob…
I have in the past taped / blacked out the leica logo
And used plastic shop carrier bags to avoid being flash.
Thanks for your review Steve. I have mine on order and can’t wait to start using it.
In terms of the trolls, they’ll always be under a bridge waiting to pounce and all you can do is laugh at them as well as ignore them. 🙂
I don’t intend on buying the RX1 because of the price and because I already have two cameras I completely enjoy. With that said, I really enjoyed both parts of your review and would love to play with this camera given the chance. Even though I’m not in the market for a new camera I still come to your website to read your reviews, see the guest posts, and read the comments. This is due to your enthusiasm, so although you can’t make everyone happy you sure have your own following.
Great review, covers a lot of ground. I’m interested in the RX1 for both stills and video, so the raw HDMI output is exciting.
From a stills perspective I’m into landscapes, and imagine the full frame will provide a great dynamic range and detail, but is this more suited for portraits/street photography with the shallow DOF?
I like that it’s a fixed lens, I think restrictions can be a good thing in film and photography!
Please carry on doing EXACTLY what you do (I know you will anyway !)
I cant afford a lot of the cameras you are lucky to have or try, but I keep coming back for the inspiration and your enthusiasm – I’m yet to see any other site that concentrates so much on “real world” usage.
Steve, thank you for the review.
One question, is the lens threaded for filters? Or is it like the Fuji x100, you need to buy the adapter to use filters?
I’ve loved the reviews. The only issue I foresee in my work flow, the lack of un magnified focus peaking. That’s got to be fixable by firmware!
It says that the lens is “Carl Zeiss 35mm f/2.0 lens with 49mm filter thread”.
The lens hood description also states that: “F121 Metal Lens Hood 49mm For Sony Cyber-shot RX1”.
Thanks for a great review! You come across as honest in your reviews, and as far as enthusiasm is concerned: bring it on, full tilt, reporters be damned!
I used a Minox GT-E for years until I recently purchased a sony (nex c3), it went with me everywhere! I do love small cameras and the pictures they make possible . I am kind of hoping that a newly aquired lens (2.8/28 Biogon for Contax G) will make my sony a “poor mans RX1”.
That being said, my wife is really into photography and has the X-pro 1. Did you ever try it with the latest firmware? It rocks. Totally different camera, all of a sudden. Autofocus is now WAY faster than my sony.
Don’t bother trying to convince. This guys tries to wax poetically about the Leica X2 and then complains about the build of the X-Pro1.
But X-Pro1 is really felt like a cheap product. I agree with him here.
This product (X-Pro1) is full of cheap moves indeed: nominal ISOs are about twice slower than actual ones (i.e. 6400 = real 3200, 3200 = real 1600, etc).
I own the XPRO 1 with the 35, 60 and 18-55 .
The build quality of the XPRO is superb!.. it is all magnesium, and feels solid and brick -like. It is far more compact if you compare apples to apples in that the XPRO has an EVF built in. Carrying that RX1 with that huge bulbous EVF on top is just begging for an accident to happen. and the pricing right now is miles apart!
the XPRO1 with a comparable 35mm is $1,700.
the RX1 is 2,800 PLUS another 450 for the EVF = $3,250!! that is a MASSIVE price difference and the two camera’s are so far apart in price that the XPRO1 is MY camera of the year!!! NO CONTEST
Sorry but if you think the X-Pro 1 is solid as a brick then I suspect you have never shot with a Leica M9 or a Sony RX1 or even a OMD. The X-Pro 1 is far from Brck Like, in fact, it feels somewhat hollow and cheap (I am not the only one who has said this, many have). The X-Pro 1 with their 35 1.4 (which makes it a 50) is $2000 new and the IQ, Depth and RAW file is not as good as the RX1. The RX1 has a full frame sensor, the X is APS-C. If I had 3 cameras to choose from for Camera of the Year, placing them 1-3 for 2012 it would go like this:
The X-Pro 1 would be at the bottom of my list due to build, slow AF, Af that misses quite often, quirks, and overall usability. In fact, of all the cameras I reviewed in 2012, the X-Pro 1 was the one that gave me the most headache. I have been shooting the X-E1 and to me, this is a MUCH better buy over the X-Pro1 and $400 cheaper for the same camera, only smaller. It even feels a little more responsive than the X-Pro. The Fuji’s can take some amazing images with great color but getting there is a pain sometimes, depending on where you are shooting. The three cameras I mentioned above are all a joy to use. The OM-D AF is the best of the lot, never failed me. The RX1’s combo of build, IQ, low light ability, full frame sensor, lens and speed put it over the top. You can get Leica/Zeiss results with it quite easily. The Leica MM is my 3rd pick due to being original and different and a beautiful camera. Something unique in a world of copycats.
But as for the X-Pro 1, while it is a good camera capable of beautiful images (while fighting the camera to get them) it is no where near my top of 2012. For me. I would say though that if someone came from a Nikon coolpix to the X-Pro 1 they would think it was the best camera ever made. It would only be evident to those who have shot the others that it is not. I much prefer the X100 to the X-Pro 1 myself. Love the X100.
Again, I am not trashing the X-Pro 1, just stating my preferences and facts after using ALL of the cameras available today. Another stinker of 2012 is the EOS-M. Dreadfully slow which is unacceptable in 2012-2013.
With all due respect, your current pricing of the Fuji Xpro is inaccurate. The body with a choice of 60mm, 35mm, or 18mm prime is $1,700.00.
The build and performance is fantastic given this price range.
The RX1 is in the $1,500 range MORE expensive than the Xpro.
If I am spending $3,250 I would be in the Nikon D800 with a 50mm prime arena and the ability to expand my options (or not).
Please don’t say that the RX1 easier to travel with than a D800 and 50mm. The RX1 with that silly EVF is HUGE and much more difficult to handle safely, not to mention the same auto focus issues as the Xpro…
But back to the Xpro… $1,500 is ALOT of money.. and with the current firmware the camera is FANTASTIC!
No the build is not a Leica(of course not!!) and that is just ridiculous to mention that camera in the same breath as anything in the 2k range and under.
If you want to spend $3,250 for a full frame point and shoot with the optional EVF that sits on top of the camera like an eyesore… that is great… personally I like to save the $1,500, and keep my XPRO ..
Great review Steve !
Good to hear that Sony has gotten back to you about the HDMI output, so it’s a clean uncompressed 4:2:2 8 bit output ? 😀
Great review as always Steve. It is still a bit puzzling as to why the ovf is more expensive than the evf.
Because the OVF is genuine Zeiss made OVF (Not made by Sony), and genuine Zeiss OVF’s are expensive because of the quality of the materials used.
always love your reviews. I also agree, ignored that “journalist” and keep your passion. Always trust your review and thanks again now i bought RX100 because your article about RX100 vs V1 vs OM-D vs X2.
By the way, isn’t RX1 have a menu to crop from 35mm to 50mm to 75mm? i mean like nikon did (FF crop, APSC crop, CSC crop).
It’s one of 27 possible assignments to the five assignable buttons. It is only operative in jpeg mode.
Many thanks for both Part 1 and 2. In total this has been a fantastically helpful review.
Thanks for the review.
Btw just curious how does the RX1 images quality comparing to Sigma DP?
Totally different signature and look/style.
Looking at my old Sigma SD14 images today (mostly taken with 17-70 lens) and am stunned by the pixel level sharpness and pop. I want my SD14 back or a DP. Be happy with an RX1 in my xmas stocking though!
Hello. Great review as usually. Man, you write YOUR OWN opinion and it’s very good! No ***king graphs and tables, no boring multi-page stories about testing methods! Right what I need as photography lover!
I shoot Olympus OM-D now, and I’m studio portrait photographer and street-photo maniac =) And I’m impressed with that camera universality!
Go on, Steve
Thank you Steve for this very good review. The camera really produces great results and if it fits into your workflow it’s perfect. I like the size comparison to the RX100. Sony shows that making a fullframe compact with the best image quality isn’t impossible and that might be the start of a new camera series. The price is still a bit high for the digital market where you get interesting innovations almost every 6 months but you have to think about, that shooting good photos doesn’t need to have the best equipment and always the newest, too. If you find a setup that works well, it might be the perfect setup for years and that’s I think the way you have to see this camera. It offers supreme quality, a great focal length and small size with some cons that might be solved via firmware updates, but together with the RX100 for wideangle and tele-shots if you really need them, its a very nice everyday and travel setup!
There is a big CON:
The only reason why Europeans should avoid this camera at first is the Sony’s recommended retail price for Europe.
RX-1 (US): 2799$ that’s about 2150€. – Good price but I know, we need to add higher taxes.
RX-1 (Europe): 3099€ – that’s only about 4046$!!! Are you kidding?
Better leave it at the stores and buy it overseas, perhaps combined with a beautiful trip to the states, because when you add taxes it only comes down to about 2570€ which is almost 3360$. Still enough price difference but do you really need one year additional guarantee for at least 1200$ ??? Don’t think repair costs would be that high during the second year.
Sorry Sony, but that’s really ugly! I would really feel being cheated buying it at the higher price…
Don’t blame Sony for the price differentials. It’s common to all manufacturers. The USA price is always much lower than the UK price. Here in the UK it is known as “Rip-off Britain”. It happens across the board on all goods, imported or not. People in the UK are used to this and put up with it. That is our nature. Yes, we are a bit stupid!
Absolutely agree with you. We all know this from Apple Products. They usually change only the $-Sign into a €-Sign. So 499$ becomes 499€ here in Germany. Thats a lot, but we are quite used to it and thats about 30% more than the US retail price. I think Canon and Nikon handled it almost the same way. One adds 25% the other maybe 30%. But we are talking here about 45% more for the RX-1 in Europe. There is no clear reason why, because those other cameras come from the same production country and at moment for Germany, I can only find that we have 0% taxes on digital cameras and around 5% for film cameras. So add the 19% VAT and that’s it. So my opinion remains that 45% is pretty shameless.
The only one who’s able to force those companies not to fool their customers is the customer himself and believe me, we are a lot of people who are able to have a huge influence on companies as the past has shown. Do you remember Fuji and the White-Dot-Problem with the X10?
I think the customer shouldn’t loose his maturity every time a new great and special product arrives, only to get his hand first on it.
Is that a racist comment? Sure reads as such.
For sure! I cancelled mine today, too! Adding some accessories and batteries it’s getting too close to Leica’s M9 or M-E. Maybe worth saving some additional money and getting the new M. I doubt that the Sony AF is faster than my rangefinder focusing 😉
Price dropping to about 2700$ in EU might be able to change my opinion.
Totally agree. I was in Seattle at the weekend and they had one RX1 (which they wouldn’t let me look at as the box was still sealed) for USD 2,800 plus taxes at 8.6%. I almost went for it, but wavered.
As I live in Europe, I won’t be buying at the current Sony Europe pricing, which given the current exchange rates is just crazy.
don’t forget to add $500 for a viewfinder, then carry it around like it’s on pins and needles with that huge $500.00 toy sitting on top of your camera.. $3,300.00 for a point and shoot?
Batteries (more powerful and better ones are $7 each on Amazon, I have 3 of them and they last longer than the Sony battery) are cheap. With EVF it is expensive but this will give better results than an M9 or M-E and an M-E with 35 cron will run you $9k. With a Zeiss f/2 $7200. So $3300 for a decked out RX1 or $7200 for an M-E and Zeiss 35 f/2. RX1 is less than half the cost with much better capabilities. Closer focus, much better low light performance, no chance of an RF going out of whack, and much better LCD screen. The Leica is good if you want an RF and that experience as nothing can touch it for that, but for IQ and capabilities the RX1 beats the M-E or M9.
I share your frustrations but do remember the prices for Apple and Sony in the UK include a 20% government tax (VAT) that you don’t see on the USA prices, its not down to the companies themselves. There may well be state sales tax in the US on the camera but you won’t see that in the USA price listed (and it surely is less than our 20% tax). Having bought stuff in the States and had it shipped here, there is also a customs fee levied of a few percent that you have to add to the already 20% tax. So Ripoff Britain is probably down to a single digit ripoff and not the “get on an airplane and enjoy a week in NYC” ripoff that it first seems.
And when custom asks upon re-entering EU, say it is just a Sony P&S. At my last stopover at Dubai airport duty free I noticed all camera stuff was priced above EU high street, the latter of course including VAT.
Best thing is that Sony marketing cannot screw up by bundling the body with a choice of poor kit lenses. Or promising an unobtainable “premium” prime.
The real differenc is about USD 500 if taxes are eliminated. And the warranty in the US is limited. So apples to apples should conclude to blame VAT rates for the lionshare of the price difference socialist governments collect.
It’s to do with taxes.
In the US prices are quoted less sales tax, in the UK prices are always quoted with 20% tax included (likewise in EU) – that makes en equivalent total of around 30% difference between the prices you see quoted in the US and the ones in the UK. It doesn’t always account for all the difference, but most people forget that fact and it makes it look like we’re paying an artificially high price in the UK.
$2799 = approx £1750 then + 20% (350) = £2100 in the UK
…don’t forget most states pay about 10% sales tax, so you’re paying $2799 + $279 tax = $3078 = £1910.
£2100 v £1910 – not as much difference as it first appears.
That’s at business exchange rates too, expect it to a lot closer at tourist rates, and forgetting you’re flight costs and the fact that if you get caught you’ll be paying VAT and import duty when you bring it back!
If you don’t like it, ask the UK/EU government for your 20% VAT back and see how far you get!
Sorry Matt, but I don’t get your point. You take the US price and change it to UK £. But look at Sony UK, you don’t have to pay £1750 +20% VAT. Sony offers you £2599 with included VAT!
EU currently charges 0% of additional taxes for digital cameras, so now reason here for higher prices. Yes we do have a higher VAT. UK maybe 20%, Germany 19%.
Pretending the 2799$ would be a global base for pricing (important: it’s not the price that the reseller has to pay for buying the camera), you’re right with adding your 5-10% of US VAT and we get a minimum of 2939$ and a maximum of 3079$ for buying inside the US.
If you take this price (2799$) and ad the 20% GB VAT you get 3359$. Thats OK considering the higher VAT.
Britain actually has an even higher retail price than Germany. You have £2599, thats 3196€.
Germany pays 3099€, a difference of 97 Euro (127$) between two European countries who have a VAT difference of 1%, the import duties are the same at 0%.
– If you buy in the US and ad 10% US-VAT + 20% EU-VAT you get it at: 3695$ with 30% of taxes. (£2295)
– If you get it “Tax-Free” as many resellers do for foreign customers you only pay 20% EU-VAT: 3349$ (£2080)
– If you buy it inside the EU you can buy it with one year of additional warranty in Britain: 4185$ (£2599 at Sony UK)
– Or you buy it in Germany with one year additional warranty, too: 4058$ (£2520)
As a result, you can save:
– 1386$ (£861) if you are British and buy it Tax-Free in the US and don’t declare it at EU Customs. (Not recommended!). If you are German you save 1259$
– 836$ (£519) if you declare it as a Britain and 709$ as a German.
– Even if a Britain buys it in Germany, he saves at least 127$. (That’s much more than shipping costs)
Thats enough with all those numbers and currencies but hopefully shows you how Sony fools you EU Customers with their newest product which I still believe is a great camera but 1400$ or at least 840$ is a lot of money for no additional taxes between these two continents.
I totally agree, we just get ripped off here in the UK by all these companies.
The additional year of warranty in EU/UK is not really a manufacturer benefit. It is a EU requirement that all electrical goods be warrantied for 2 years. Yes, it must add to the overall cost of manufacture and support but with most electrical equipment it either fails in the first few weeks or lasts for ever.
SONY like all consumer electrical manufacturers are just exploiting the fact that the cost of living is higher in Europe than the US so they can charge comparatively higher prices. It is indeed ‘rip-off’ Britain.
Jineteando……this a great photo on you site Martin….also like the bird with the x10!!
Thank you Andrew! It was quite successful at Steve’s Wotancraft giveaway earlier this year although it didn’t win. Always shows me that even the old equipment was usable and brought some very nice results. It was made with only 4 megapixels 🙂
Martin (sorry about the short off-topic)
Hi, Steve! After reading your postings, I feel like wanting to buy this RX1. I was hesitating over the choice of A99 or RX1. Since I have Sony A850, RX1 could be a better choice.
Thanks for your 11,000 words!