My thoughts on Sony RX1

Well I have had the new Sony RX1 in my possession for a good 2 weeks now, so I thought I’ll post my experience using the Sony RX1. (since it has started snowing I have nothing else to do indoors).

But firstly let me bore you a little bit about what made me choose this camera. I first became interested in photography back in 2005 when I picked up my first Nikon DSLR, a Nikon D50. I then upgraded to a D7000. The main reason for sticking to Nikon is that I already had the lenses, so i didn’t want to make a switch to another camera maker, and buy new lenses all over again.

I became interested in Sony, when I read that the sensor used in my D7000 is made by Sony. So I started following Sony Alpha Rumors to find out the latest developments by Sony.

By following this site, I then find out that the sensors in the new Full Frame DSLR from Nikon, the Nikon D800, Nikon D800E, Nikon D600, are also Sony Made sensors. And these 3 cameras are sitting in the top 3 camera sensor rankings on DxOMark. Now this tells me that Sony is pretty damn good in tthe camera sensor business. Actually they dominate the world in this area.

I wanted to upgrade to the Nikon D600 Full Frame Camera, but Again didn’t want another bulky camera and new lenses. And when Sony announced it would be releasing a compact Full Frame, using the same full frame sensor as the D600. I kept my options open, and eyes peeled for all news about this camera. And the best source of news was Sony Alpha Rumors.

The Sony RX1 uses a fixed 35mm F2 lens made by Carl Zeiss. If you are into photography you’ll know it’s a lens maker you can trust, that will give you the best optical performance out of your camera. And choosing the best lens for your camera is very important if you want superb image quality. (My favorite lens on my D7000 is also a 35mm)

I bought my wife the Sony RX100, and was amazed at how this compact camera performs. So I’m sure the RX1 is not going to disappoint.

With these points in mind, I thought long and hard, read as many news and reviews as possible, and took the plunge. I made a preorder and picked mine up for 223,000 円. Note that the model released in Japan only comes in Japanese Language. It also comes with a complete FULL users manual (again in Japanese). It didn’t take me long to learn the menu settings anyway. And besides I always shoot in Aperture Priority mode, and adjusting the aperture ring on the RX1 is a treat.

Then I started this blog to share some of the pictures taken using the Sony RX1, as there werent many blogs around with RX1 images. Please note that all pictures on this blog was all taken hand held and uploaded straight to my Ipad and then blogged using the wordpress app. so I think the images are resized a little, but they are still blogable and presentable.

So after using it for two weeks, was it worth every penny?

YES!!! It was worth it. This camera is small, so it isn’t too intrusive especially when you want to take pictures of kids. It feels sexy in your hands, and best of all, it produces beautiful images. I’m glad to say that this will now become my every day camera, a camera that I can feel comfortable carrying around all day, especially traveling. I’m glad I left all my Nikon camera gear at home in Sydney. And glad i didn’t by another bulky camera. I’m also thinking of selling all my Nikon stuff and saving the money for what Sony has next in line.

I hated taking pictures in low light, and feared low light. the SONY RX1 performs superbly in low light, I never ever venture beyond ISO 800 due to grainy images, but with this camera I can. Let me show you some images at high ISO’s, So If your afraid of low light, then have no fear, Sony RX1 is here.

See below images at ISO 1600:

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The below image was captured using the Handheld twilight mode and was captured at ISO 6400

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Handheld twilight mode again in the silver mine captured at ISO 20000

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Handheld twilight mode again ISO 12800

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So how is the Bokeh? Well see for yourself, it’s beautiful. All below images captured wide open at f2

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Just like the RX100 The RX1 has panoramic mode, which I like to use.

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Then you have HDR mode which I just started exploring. The camera will take 3 bracketed images and then combine it for you, and then it will give you two copies, one image in normal exposure and then the second image is the HDR copy. For example below:

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Then you have rich black and white mode

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And high contrast black and white mode

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Any many more other modes, like miniature, which makes it fun to use.

The only problem I have with this camera is that the Battery life is short, so I have two. I guess this is expected as this is a compact camera. so an additional battery is a life saver! And there isn’t a proper charger, you have to connect the charger to the camera directly. other than that, I don’t have any other complaints.

Other accessories to consider getting is: A shutter button to make it easier to press (and just to pimp this camera up a little) . And maybe get the EVF at a later stage.

Overall I love this camera and I’m sure other owners will feel the same.

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18 thoughts on “My thoughts on Sony RX1

    • Hi rafidea, sorry it took a while to write back to you. I wasn’t able to upload the video for some reason, but i can say that the RX100 is faster than the RX1 in terms of AF speed. Note that these two cameras are using the same battery model, but is powering a totally different lens. The RX1 is definitely notably slower than RX100.

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  2. Pingback: User Review on the RX-1 - The Official Alphanatics Website

  3. Thank you for sharing your experience.
    Can you please let me know where you bought your strap for the camera, I love it. It looks like it comes from Japan.
    Best Regards.

  4. I enjoy following your blog and photo journey. Thanks for sharing. I love using my RX1, and have it with me at all times, which is much easier to carry than my Canon 7D.

  5. I went to pick mine up…….left it in the store! Too small! Just ergonomically was not right for me. But a great camera still. Good to hear you are enjoying it.

    • Well if you have big hands, then it may be a little difficult to grasp. But this is expected with a compact camera like this. Im sure a hand grip attachment or battery grip may be available in near future. You never know.

  6. Thank you for your professional report on the RX1.
    For your information:
    I shoot with Leica M9 and Summilux 35 and 50mm and with Elmarit 28 and 90 mm.
    My problem is that I have a slight hand shake.

    I feel that purchasing the FF Sony XR1 could reduce my hand shake problem, although the RX1 has no AS.

    I have the following questions:

    *Is my expectation correct that the excellent ISO and low noise performance of the RX1 will make it possible to shoot in far higher shutter speeds than the M9, due to its rather mediocre ISO noise performance, can handle?
    If this observation is correct will the substantially higher shutter speeds solve part of my hand shake problem?
    * The RX1 has no VF and shooting with the LCD while “sticking my hands in the air”, does certainly not reduce my hand shake! Could I solve that problem by the purchase of the excellent EVF that RX1 offers.
    * I read in some site that the RX1 does not have a very good AF and that it is weak in low light? Is this your experience?
    * I dislike charging batteries with-in the camera. Could you recommend a good charger make,

    Thank you very much for your advise!

    • Hi Harry,

      The problem with low light situations is that you have to take images at a slower shutter speed to get the right exposure and with hand held anyone will have camera shake in their images, most people will increase ISO but in effect you get poor grainy images. (some people like the grainy effect) but most of us like a clear image without the grains. The RX1 definitely has excellent high ISO performance and that you will find that the RX1′s High ISO performance in low light situations will effectively improve hand held camera shake. If you find that you prefer to hold your camera up close to your eye to help reduce camera shake than the EVF will surely help. Note that the RX1 has a setting called ‘hand held Twilight’ mode which takes several burst of shots and then merges it to produce an image (see picture above with me in the cave). Regarding AF speed in low light, i can say it is fast, and I dont have much problems with focusing in low light, i beleive it could get a tiny faster with a firmware update. There are a few chargers, for charging out of the camera. Here is a link of one on ebay: http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/300769725420?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649
      hope that helps.

  7. Pingback: DxOMark: Sony RX1 “Up there with the best” | fotolife

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