My Sony RX1 Review | Full Frame Point and Shoot | Real World Perspective

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1
88
Full Frame Point and Shoot Style Camera
Buy Now @ BHPhoto

My Sony RX1 Review | Full Frame Point and Shoot | Real World Perspective

In this Sony Cyber-shot RX1 Review I will go over everything you need to know with High Res Sample Photos, Video, and lots of Real World Style Testing.

The Sony DSC-RX1 is packing a full frame format image sensor and a Zeiss 35mm f/2 lens. Together, the sensor and lens combination is capable of producing some of the best image quality I have ever seen on a a point and shoot style camera! In fact, the image quality is noticeable better than my Canon 5d Mark II. The camera body is extremely well made with pro quality written all over it. From the battery door, to the manual dials, to the LCD screen on the back, to the pop-up flash, the DSC-RX1 is a Pro grade point and shoot style camera. Designed for the hardcore photographer looking for the best image quality possible in a relativity compact package.

Sony RX1 Overview

The new Sony DSC-RX1 is the world’s first 35mm compact digital camera, with a small camera body that houses 24.3MP full-frame sensor. The RX1 has a built-in 35mm f/2.0 Carl Zeiss Sonnar T lens and the can impressively shoot up to ISO 25,600 fairly clean. The full frame image sensor is physically much larger than an APS-C sized sensor found in the Sony Nex-7.

Sony-RX1-sensor
RX1 – Full Frame Sensor VS RX100 – 1″ Sensor Vs HX300 – 1/2.3″ standard sensor

So, what this means is the surface area of the full frame sensor itself is much larger, which allows for the individual pixel sensors to be larger. Much less pixel density per square inch pretty much. Bottom line, the full frame Sony RX1 sensor should have better high ISO performance, and dynamic range, compared to smaller sensors cameras. In addition to that, the depth of field and perspective that the full frame sensor offers is different and very appealing to the eye. Separating objects is relatively easy on a full frame sensor equipped camera like the RX1. Even a though the 35mm lens is a relative wide-angle, the fast f/2 aperture does the job well for helping creating separation between subjects and backgrounds.

Sony DSC-RX1 Key Features:

  • Full-frame 24MP Sensor
  • 35mm f/2 Zeiss lens
  • Full HD 24p video with manual control and audio output
  • Max. ISO 25,600 Claimed AF speed of 0.13 sec
  • Full-resolution burst rate 5fps
  • 3 dedicated rings for aperture, focus, and macro
  • Quick navigation and control shortcuts
  • MR mode recalls up to 3 preferred setting combinations
  • 9 iris blades for good Bokeh
  • Multi-interface shoe for flash, light, microphone
  • 3-inch 1,229k dot  LCD monitor
  • Auto HDR capture
  • Two aspect ratios
  • Built-in flash (GN6)
  • Weight = 1.06 lb / .48 kg

RX1 Build Quality and Design

I go over the RX1 in detail in the hands-on HD video below, but here are some high Res photos of the camera itself first from the “Lab”. The Sony DSC-RX1 has Pro Grade build quality as you will see in these high res photos below. The machining is top-notch and the tolerances are extremely tight at the seams. The body is all metal and it feels like a little brick in your hands. The camera weighs in @ 17 oz (782g), which is just over one US pound. Not exactly lite, but not really that heavy either.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 Review
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1

The RX1 comes with a great lens cap that is machined out of metal and locks on very easily and very securely. It actually makes me wonder why Sony can’t make a better plastic cap to replicate this cap for their other cameras, but then again, the pro stuff really should be better πŸ˜‰  The lens cap actually has a bit of weight to it when you hold it in your hand, and the spring tension is just right on the clips. Really well done Sony and a pleasure to use! I very rarely have a good thing to say about lens caps, because most of them  suck, and either fall off or are impossible to get on. Sony got it perfect IMO, and although it may be a minor accessory to the whole package, it shows the attention to detail given.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 Review
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1

The lack of a protruding grip in combination with the weight  of the camera, makes the ergonomics on the RX1 a bit lacking in my opinion. Your fingers need to wrap under the camera to support it with one hand effectively. You also have to squeeze really hard with your fingers.  It’s not really that big a deal, but a Nex-6 style grip would give much more leverage and make using the camera much easier in my opinion. Granted it would totally change the retro/modern look, but practicality wise it would be much better I think.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1

On the back side of the RX1 you can see how the thumb area protrudes outward giving you a good spot to hold. This part works well, but again the rest of your fingers will wrap around and under the camera to support the weight. From this view we can also see the fixed 3″ high res LCD screen. I really wish the screen articulated like the new RX100II, or my Nex-6 for that matter.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1

The manual control knobs on the other hand are awesome on all accounts. Quality feel, confident click for each position, and very easy/ intuitive to use. I really like the exp.comp dial and used that a lot in my limited review time with the camera.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1
Sony RX1 - Flash Up
Sony RX1 – Flash Up
Sony RX1 Zeiss Lens
Sony RX1 Zeiss Lens

Sony RX1 Hands-On Video Review

In this 18+ minute Hands-On Review of the Sony DSC-RX1, I will go over the camera body design in detail and show you sample HD video. I will then go over the menu system and camera settings in detail so you can see first hand all the features and settings.

Be sure to select the HD option when viewing the video!

Please consider supporting SonyAlphaLab by clicking the links to our affiliates: Sony DSC-RX1 – $2798 US @ BHPhoto

Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photos

All the sample photos taken with the DSC-RX1 were imported to Adobe Lightroom 4 and then exported @ 65% quality, 1200px Jpegs. Most photos were shot raw, but I did use jpeg for the creative shooting modes and some sample pictures here and there. The image EXIF info is just below each photo in the caption area for your convenience πŸ˜‰ Here’s a few real world sample photos and be sure to click on the images for the full size ~1200px version!

Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Raw Quality - F/4, ISO 100, 1/1250sec
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo – Jpeg Quality – F/4, ISO 100, 1/1250sec
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Raw Quality - F/4, ISO 100, 1/1250sec
100% Crop

Chopper Smiling and looking for some pets as always. The biggest ham of a dog I ever met πŸ˜‰Β  Sadie in the background.

Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Raw Quality - F/4, ISO 100, 1/1000sec
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo – Raw Quality – F/4, ISO 100, 1/1000sec

You can see me very clearly in his eye reflection and just how sharp the Zeiss optics are on the RX1.

Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Raw Quality - F/4, ISO 100, 1/1000sec
100% Crop

Taking a cool picture with the RX1 is as easy as grabbing a flower and holding in your hand while looking towards a background that is pretty far away. In my case, I was looking upwards towards some woods with the bright sky poking through.

Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Raw Quality - F/2, ISO 100, 1/1000se
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo – Raw Quality – F/2, ISO 100, 1/1000sec
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Raw Quality - F/2, ISO 100, 1/1000sec
100% Crop

A raging spillway scene.

Sony RX1 - Sample Photo @ f/9, 1/20sec, ISO 100
Sony RX1 – Sample Photo @ f/9, 1/20sec, ISO 100

A stack of multiplexers at work.

Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Raw Quality - F/2, ISO 800, 1/80sec
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo – Raw Quality – F/2, ISO 800, 1/80sec

The back of some dsx panels where the wires from the multiplexers pictured above get physically wired out to. I think I actually did this one myself about 10 years ago.

Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Raw Quality - F/2, ISO 1250, 1/80sec
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo – Raw Quality – F/2, ISO 1250, 1/80sec
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Raw Quality - F/2, ISO 1250, 1/80sec
100% Crop

Had to pick up some Propane for the grill at Lowe’s and grabbed a snapshot as I liked the lighting conditions and deep blue sky.

Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Jpeg Quality - F/4, ISO 100, 1/3200se
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo – Jpeg Quality – F/4, ISO 100, 1/3200sec
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Jpeg Quality - F/4, ISO 100, 1/3200sec
100% Crop
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Jpeg Quality - F/4, ISO 100, 1/3200sec
100% Crop
100% Crop
100% Crop
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Jpeg Quality - F/2 ISO 100, 1/200sec
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo – Jpeg Quality – F/2 ISO 100, 1/200sec

Layla is getting big so fast!

Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Raw Quality - F/2.8 ISO 100, 1/320sec
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo – Raw Quality – F/2.8 ISO 100, 1/320sec
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Raw Quality - F/2.8 ISO 100, 1/320se
100% Crop
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Raw Quality - F/2 ISO 100, 1/80sec
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo – Raw Quality – F/2 ISO 100, 1/80sec
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Raw Quality - F/2 ISO 100, 1/80sec
100% Crop

The Moffat Library

Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Raw Quality - F/2 ISO 100, 1/1600sec
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo – Raw Quality – F/2 ISO 100, 1/1600sec
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Raw Quality - F/2 ISO 100, 1/1600sec
100% Crop
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Raw Quality - F/2 ISO 100, 1/1600sec
100# Crop

F/8 vs F/2

Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Raw Quality - F/8 ISO 125, 1/80sec
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo – Raw Quality – F/8 ISO 125, 1/80sec
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Raw Quality - F/8 ISO 125, 1/80sec
100% Crop @ f/8
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Raw Quality - F/2 ISO100, 1/800sec
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo – Raw Quality – F/2 ISO100, 1/800sec
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Raw Quality - F/2 ISO100, 1/800sec
100% Crop @ f/2
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Raw Quality - F/8 ISO 100, 1/200sec
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo – Raw Quality – F/8 ISO 100, 1/200sec
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Raw Quality - F/2, ISO 100, 1/2000sec
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo – Raw Quality – F/2, ISO 100, 1/2000sec
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Raw Quality - F/2, ISO 100, 1/2000sec
100% Crop
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Raw Quality - F/2, ISO 100, 1/2000sec
100% Crop
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Raw Quality - F/4, ISO 100, 1/1250sec
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo – Raw Quality – F/4, ISO 100, 1/1250sec

Sleeping Giant.

Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Raw Quality - F/8, ISO 100, 1/400sec
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo – Raw Quality – F/8, ISO 100, 1/400sec
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Raw Quality - F/8, ISO 100, 1/400sec
100% Crop
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Raw Quality - F/8, ISO 100, 1/400sec
100% Crop

F/8 vs F/2.8

Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Raw Quality - F/8, ISO 100, 1/250sec
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo – Raw Quality – F/8, ISO 100, 1/250sec
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Raw Quality - F/8, ISO 100, 1/250sec
100% Crop @ F/8
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Raw Quality - F/8, ISO 100, 1/250sec
100% Crop @ F/8
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Raw Quality - F/2.8, ISO 100, 1/2000sec
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo – Raw Quality – F/2.8, ISO 100, 1/2000sec
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Raw Quality - F/2.8, ISO 100, 1/2000sec
100% Crop @ F/2.8
Sony DSC-RX1 Sample Photo - Raw Quality - F/2.8, ISO 100, 1/2000sec
100% Crop @ f/2.8

I took a few firework photos on the 4th of July using my tri-pod and various settings on the RX1 using manual mode. I started @ f/8, ISO 100, and 4 seconds or so, and then moved on to longer shutter speeds and higher aperture settings from there.

Sony RX1 - Sample Photo - 4th of July
Sony RX1 – Sample Photo – 4th of July
Sony RX1 - Sample Photo - 4th of July
Sony RX1 – Sample Photo – 4th of July
Sony RX1 - Sample Photo - 4th of July
Sony RX1 – Sample Photo – 4th of July

Creative Mode Sample Photos

I took a few photos using the creative modes such as illustration, watercolor, and selective color. Illustration mode in particular is a lot of fun to use and I can’t help but get carried away with it, because the results are so interesting. You need to have the camera set to jpeg quality to use the creative modes/ effects.

Sony RX1 - Illustration Mode - High
Sony RX1 – Illustration Mode – High
Sony RX1 - Illustration Mode - High
Sony RX1 – Illustration Mode – High
Sony RX1 - Illustration Mode - High
Sony RX1 – Illustration Mode – High
Sony RX1 - Illustration Mode - High
Sony RX1 – Illustration Mode – High
Sony RX1 - Illustration Mode - High
Sony RX1 – Illustration Mode – High
Sony RX1 - Rich BW
Sony RX1 – Rich BW
Sony RX1 - Creative Modes - Selective Color
Sony RX1 – Creative Modes – Selective Color
Sony RX1 - Creative Modes - Selective Color
Sony RX1 – Creative Modes – Selective Color
Sony RX1 - Creative Modes - Pop
Sony RX1 – Creative Modes – Pop
Sony RX1 - Creative Modes - Toy Camera - normal
Sony RX1 – Creative Modes – Toy Camera – normal

Auto HDR Feature

The Auto HDR feature is very powerful for an in camera option in my opinion. It also works really well for most situations I find. You must be in Jpeg quality for the Auto HDR feature to work.

Be sure to Click on the Photos for the High Res ~1200px 100% Crop version!

Sony RX1 - Auto HDR 6 EV
Sony RX1 – Auto HDR 6 EV
Sony RX1 - Standard Exposure
Sony RX1 – Standard Exposure
Sony RX1 - Auto HDR 6 EV
Sony RX1 – Auto HDR 6 EV
Sony RX1 - Standard Exposure
Sony RX1 – Standard Exposure

High ISO – Real World Testing

ISO 25600 is the best I have ever seen! Incredible real world high ISO performance in my opinion. When compared to there other ISO’s in a test format, the blacks tend to shift towards purple at ISO 12800 and up, which is what Sony sensors normally do. It’s barely noticeable in this first image of the toy truck though below.

ISO 25,600

Sony DSC-RX1 - High ISO Testing - ISO 25600
Sony DSC-RX1 – Raw Quality – High ISO Testing – ISO 25,600
Sony DSC-RX1 - High ISO Testing - ISO 25600
ISO 25,600 – 100% Crop
Sony DSC-RX1 - High ISO Testing - ISO 25600
ISO 25,600 – 100% Crop

The noise is a bit more apparent in these next test photos.

ISO 25,600
ISO 25,600
ISO 25,600
ISO 25,600
ISO 25,600
ISO 25,600

ISO 16,000

ISO 16,000
ISO 16,000
ISO 16,000
ISO 16,000
ISO 16,000
ISO 16,000

ISO 6400

ISO 6400
ISO 6400
ISO 6400
ISO 6400
ISO 6400
ISO 6400

ISO 3200

ISO 3200
ISO 3200
ISO 3200
ISO 3200
ISO 3200
ISO 3200

Effectively noiseless @ ISO 3200 and below

Sony RX1 Accessories

The Sony RX1 does have a nice variety of high quality accessories, although very expensive. The Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) for one is awesome and a great advantage to have for daylight shooting or if you just prefer that style of shooting over the screen. It goes for $448 US @ BHPhoto

Sony Electronic Viewfinder Kit for Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 Camera

Next we have the Thumb Grip which goes for $248 US @ BHPhoto | Amazon >> and Ebay >> have a bunch of affordable aftermarket versions that are worth checking out.

Sony Thumb Grip for Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 Camera
Sony Lens Hood for Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 Camera

The other main accessory item for the RX1 is the lens hood which goes for $178 US @ BHPhoto

In your looking for Lens Filters, the Sony DSC-RX1 accepts 49mm threads.

You can find 49mm Neutral Density Filters @ BHPhoto >>

You can find 49mm Polarizing Filters @ BHPhoto >>

I recommend investing in a very high quality filter if you plan on using one. The Zeiss optics on the RX1 are top quality, so putting low quality glass in front of it makes no sense. B+W makes awesome super high quality filters as do many other manufactures, but just know you get what you pay for with lens filters and the multi-coated nano technology are the latest and greatest out there.

Sony DSC-RX1 Review – Conclusion

The Sony DSC-RX1 has the best image quality of any camera I’ve ever used personally. The full frame 24mp sensor combined with the fast f/2 Zeiss optics, produces some stunning results.

The Build Quality and attention to detail is also top quality and very well thought out. In particular the buttons and dials, battery door latch, USB port door, tripod mount, and built-in flash. The menu system is the Pro style and has all the options you could ever want or need for this style camera. In the video above I go into more detail about the menu system, so be sure to watch the whole thing!

The Sony DSC-RX1 goes for $2798 US @ BHPhoto, and for that amount of money you get exceptional image quality, build quality, and high ISO performance. What you don’t get however, is a practical grip or an articulating screen like the new DSC-RX100 II. The RX1 is more of a Retro Style, and I think Sony went wrong here personally. I would prefer to see the same exact specs and feature set, but with the awesome ergonomics of a beefed up Nex-7 style camera body instead. I really think it needs a grip considering the weight and overall thin body design of the camera.

My proposal for Sony engineers and designers. Please consider adding a grip in the next generation RX full frame camera. The much smaller RX100 is pocket-able and lighter in weight, so it does not make sense for that particular model to have a grip. Perhaps a new series with ergonomics with long-term hand holding consideration in mind? I was also thinking a few different focal length options with lens adapter similar to the 16mm e-mount conversion lens options. Perhaps a few Zeiss lens adapters to expand the cameras possibilities a bit? A telephoto and wide-angle option would be great if somehow plausible without killing the optics too much. Or a zoom lens version with a grip called the RX2-Z? This is just a few thoughts I had on the RX1 future design options. As good as the image quality and high ISO performance is on the RX1, the lack of an articulating screen and grip makes it a great camera as opposed to a perfect camera. Just my opinion mind you, so please take it with a grain of salt!

I hope you all got something out of my Sony DSC-RX1 Review, and please feel free to ask questions or comment below.

Sony DSC-RX1 @ BHPhoto >>

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1
My Sony RX1 Review | Full Frame Point and Shoot | Real World Perspective
An Ultra Compact Full Frame Sensor Equipped ZBeast!
The Sony DSC-RX1 has the best image quality of any camera I've ever used personally. The full frame 24mp sensor combined with the fast f/2 Zeiss optics, produces some stunning results. The Build Quality and attention to detail is also top quality and very well thought out. In particular the buttons and dials, battery door latch, USB port door, tripod mount, and built-in flash. The menu system is the Pro style and has all the options you could ever want or need for this style camera. In the video above I go into more detail about the menu system, so be sure to watch the whole thing! The Sony DSC-RX1 goes for $2798 US @ BHPhoto, and for that amount of money you get exceptional image quality, build quality, and high ISO performance. What you don't get however, is a practical grip or an articulating screen like the new DSC-RX100 II. Overall I highly recommend the RX1 for those looking for an ultra compact full frame point and shoot style camera with a killer 35mm f/2 Lens permanently attached.
Bang For The Buck
90
Feature Set
90
Build Quality and Design
90
Ergonomics
80
User Interface and Menu System
85
Auto Focus System
80
Real World Usability
85
Video Quality
82
Audio Quality
80
Real World Image quality
100
Lab Testing Optical Quality
98
Lens Distortion Control
95
Low Light Performance
96
Battery Life
75
Fun Factor
100
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Pros
incredible image quality
fantastic Zeiss lens
excellent build quality overall
really impressive high ISO and low light abilities
Cons
no lens stabilization
no articulating touchscreen
no built in viewfinder
ergonomics are not the best grip wise
not the best battery life
88
Full Frame Point and Shoot Style Camera
Buy Now @ BHPhoto

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