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Published On: Thu, Jan 31st, 2013
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Sony Cybershot RX1 Review – Compact Full-Frame Camera

The device that sells in high quantity to the audiences is always a big hit, no matter what the price and worth it holds. So, it has been very clear that the Indian customers are more interested in buying low priced or budget devices that contain almost every experience to stay awaken in the competition. Same goes to camera market where now Sony has its RX1 to offer. This is Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 that comes for a price of Rs. $2,799 and is the first commercially successful device with full frame compact personality. So, lets check the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 review.

Design

The first thing to consider is its full frame feature. Now why does it matter? Well, a full frame sensor is similar to 35mm film size. When your camera has a capacity of larger sensors, it means the camera has potential to click larger photosites per pixel with a set resolution. Also, this bigger size offers more creative flexibility by bringing clean depth of field at a manually set focal length. Light sensitivity also turns good when larger photosites is applied, meaning higher quality photos. This becomes a great choice for hobbyists or professional photographers to carry a pocket-friendly camera.

The RX1 is smaller in size than NEX-7, but its fixed focal length goes pretty far and easily fits in your jacket pocket. This is the latest and greatest, but another concern for owners is the money. This camera has been claimed as the smallest full-frame camera in the market. It uses image processing engine and Sony’s latest noise-reduction technology. This compact camera is the world’s first fixed lens compact to offer full frame 35mm sensor. This is the only appeal to this device with a fixed Carl Zeiss 35mm f/2.0 Sonnar T* lens.

Sony Cybershot RX1 Price

Sony has stepped into a unique pattern which was demanded by the market for long. In fact, thoughtful minds planned to work on it but engineers failed to come up with such technology.

Coming to the design part, this device does not have a zoom lens and there is a hotshoe based accessory for viewfinder. Well this is not a professional photographer but is a good choice for the first generation photographers or beginners. However, for them the price will be really more. Still the device is wrapped up with loads of features including lens.

The external design of this camera is kept simple, yet boxy that manages to get some style. Once you hold it in hand, you may find a lot of sense in having this device with a boxy body, which seems to be a good thing. For say, during winters, the metal body of the camera gets cool, making you feel colder to touch it. Also, metal increases the weight and its premium quality. So, this is a beneficial one.

As per the size, the dimensions are same like that of compact system, but cannot be compared with other models on perfect grounds. This way, we would say that Olympus Pen E-PM2 that comes with 14-42mm lens gets smaller body than this one.

One interesting thing is the aperture’s metal ring, giving more premium look to this device. The Cybershot RX1 has top glass hallmarks on its entire lens. Also, at the side of the lens locates blue Zeiss logo that makes the camera more appealing. Beyond these rings, you will find two additional macro ring and manual focus ring, delivering different functionality. At the top sits a main mode dial, “C” function button, and an exposure compensation dial. All these features can be found around the shutter.

The rear holds mini thumbwheel and a d-pad that rotates as a second thumbwheel. You can program the d-pad’s directional keys. Also you can make settings with Function (Fn) or AEL (auto exposure lock) buttons.

Check the main menus and you will find loads of accesses. You will options for many things including switching from centre AF point to multi auto. If you wish to access all major controls instantly then just tap the Fn button that will show you 14 strong settings shortlist. These options are visible on its LCD screen which you can navigate by using d-pad.

Sony Cybershot RX1 Display

The camera carries a 3-inch LCD display with an aspect ratio of 4:3 (12,29,000 dots). One great thing about this display is that it uses White Magic technology. The same we have found on the Sony Xperia P smartphone. This technology adds an extra white pixel in standard RGB configuration.

Performance

The camera holds a BIONZ image processing engine that some other DSLRs with interchangeable lenses do not hold. We cannot say that RX1 is the fastest, but it’s still very capable of delivering accuracy. You can experience the enchantments by shooting at ISO 6400 in low light like in a pub with AF assist lamp switched off. No wonder, you will get great photography with subject into sharp focus.

There is no direct competitor to RX1, but device like Fujifilm X100 based on APS-C technology is comparatively compact and breathtakingly expensive for its interchangeable lens. The huge amount you are paying is not for getting a camera like Canon EOS 5D Mark III, but for a contrast-detection AF system.

The little LCD screen is very attractive. With 3-inch size, the display offers extra white pixel. Images clicked from this device are astounding. The lens generates luxurious effect when shooting at f/2.0. This is the best effect that a full-frame can offer. This sensor used in RX1 is not used in any other Sony’s devices. This sensor is the Japanese adaptation used in Sony Alpha A99, but not the exact same.

Sony Cybershot RX1 Features

Lower ISO range images are very crisp and clean, exposure is well balanced, auto white balance is cool, and image processing and noise reduction are also judged as good. Well when the lens is super sharp, no wonder the perfection becomes crucial to check. However, this lens fails to provide what we were expecting. Though the lens is super sharp, there is slight corner softness when it is widely opened. It also brings chromatic aberration and barrel distortion especially for soft purple and green fringes. While using we have come across that at ISO 800-100 percent, the display features chromatic aberrations. At 24 megapixel, obviously you can expect a great image with better appearance and color noise which does affect the images from ISO 1600 level.

Accessories

Sony is offering a number of accessories along with Cybershot RX1. They include a Zeiss optical viewfinder, an electronic viewfinder, a lens hood, and a thumb grip. All these accessories are already come for high price and with these additions, the camera altogether becomes much more expensive for its lavishly presented features and specs.

Sony Cybershot RX1 Design

Conclusion

Since Sony is stepping boldly on this area, the enormous pricing of this device has to be forgotten. This first point and shoot camera cannot be said as an ordinary one. Yet, it comes for Rs. 1,79,990 which would only serve a few. The price itself dominates other high end devices such as Nikon D800, Sony Alpha 99 and Canon 5D Mark III. This world’s most expensive fixed lens compact camera has minor disappointments, but since it is for beginners though, professionals will mind a lot.

Sony Cybershot RX1

If 35mm fixed focal length is not wide enough for professional photographers then they might like this news that there will be a 50mm lens version in future. The camera does feel special and its images are special too. With its so-so battery life, you may find this camera a masterpiece, but for that you gotta forgive all minor errors which could have given more prominence to the device. Remember that its 24 megapixel full frame CMOS sensor is a great advantage.

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