Sony RX1 – the day after

Clearly the Sony RX1 compact full frame camera has been the most interesting announcement for the 2012 Photokina show so far. Here is what some websites that got the chance to try out the camera had to say:

This isn't just Sony's most serious compact camera, but arguably the most serious compact camera we've ever seen (dpreview)

Honey I Shrank the Full-Frame. Yes, it's freaking crazy. It's potentially brilliant too (Gizmodo)

If the X100 is the poor man's Leica, than the RX1 looks like the middle-class man's Leica. Do I think Sony can achieve great photo quality with it? Yes; all the pieces are there. And it looks especially yummy if you like street shooting. (C|net)

Only a handful of cameras have made me want to utter expletives of happy astonishment. "Holy Moly, they finally did it!" (IR)

Sony RX1 has a 24.3MP CMOS full frame sensor

It will be interesting to see if and how other manufacturers will answer to the Rx1. The big question remains: will the camera sell with a $2,800 price tag? With the lens hood price of $180 and $250 for a leather case, we are almost in Leica price territories. Here is a poll - will you buy the RX1?

ot many RX1 sample images are available at that point - I could only find two on Sony's website.

According to Sony, the RX1 will start shipping on December 19th. The camera is currently available for pre-order at B&HAdoramaAmazon and Sony.

Here are few more Sony RX1 hands-on videos:

Sony RX1 video sample:

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  • Hank Carter

    Very interesting camera.

    The focus by wire is unfortunate. There has yet to be a good implementation of this feature, so I remain skeptical.

    The big question for a lot of people is how good are the controls are for scale or zone focusing. If they are good this could be a street photographers dream. So, far pretty much only Ricoh has gotten this feature right with the GRD series and to a certain extend Leica with the X1.

    If they failed on this point they can keep it, because it will be no more useful for street shooting than any other AF DSLR or compact.

    • Jean-Pierre

      First thought, kudos to Sony for this camera
      Second thought, I wonder how comes that now as several cameras are launched having definitely a higher claim than just to be another good P&S that the makers doesn’t seem to listen what the potential customers of this product bracket want.
      An excellent sensor is very good but not sufficient. Direct access to the main adjustments as aperture, shutterspeed, ISO and bias (correction) is mandatory.
      A large LCD is nice but hard to frame with during bright daylight, so an OVF or at least an EVF isn’t just desirable but a must depending on the quality of the LCD.
      The Zeiss lens looks very promising and will have a good share of the price asked. Given the average livespan of nowadays cameras, it really hurts if this lens can’t be taken to the next model. Therefore a bayonet is needed.
      No information about this camera yet, but we’ve learned the AF speed on the Nikon 1 is a deal-maker while on the Fuji X Pro1 it is a deal breaker.
      As far as I’m concerned, I would prefer a TTL hot shoe instead of this tiny flash (I admit not to know if that is possible with this kind of cameras.)
      And generally spoken, cameras in this price bracket should be robust and therefore be of magnesium-alloy.
      Enough complained, I’m happy about a maker being on the right track.
      Would I buy it? Hmmm. If Sony’s product policy hadn’t left me with some bad experiences I most likely would.

      • Regular

        Have you really (i mean really!) watched those videos??
        there are 5 programmable buttons user can link to functions. There is an aperture ring. The bias ring-button is there, on top of the camera.

        Anyway do you switch ISO settings on the fly? I usually keep the same ISO value for 36 consecutive frames and never met that much of a problem…

        the only caveat I retain is the lack of a rangefinder or OVF. And watching the last video, it seems that focus in video record mode is quite limited. But I juste don’t care about video recording.

        • You can attach an external OVF. Sure… don’t think it’ll be the same as a SLR’s OVF but not every camera has to be a SLR.

  • Erick

    will you buy it ? NEVER , that camera is a nonsense

    the same with EVF and the possibility to change the lenses YES

    • Sky

      RX1 got interchangeable viewfinders – you either leave it without none, or use OVF or EVF. It hardly gets any better. As for the lens – well, I prefer fixed lens and portable body over ILC that I can’t fit into almost any pocket. And from all of the lenses – 35mm is probably the best choice. If anything – I’d wish f/1.7 but f/2 is fine too.
      And besides – FF NEX is coming, so… just be patient. 🙂

      • For a lot of people things like lack of a built-in OVF/EVF and “fixed lens” gives them a point and shoot inferiority feeling because that’s what they’re upgrading from.

        As Sony said, this is for people who already have serious cameras… so they won’t have these superficial inferiority feelings when using such a camera.

        • Nick

          Whereas others think that viewfinders are of fundamental improtance, used to pick their film slrs, in part, on the quality fo the viewfinder and think a good viewfinder is a large part of what makes a camera “serious”.

          The x100 drives me up the wall, as great as the results from it can be, but I would never swap it for the X2 or RX1 simply because it has a proper built in OVF which I would find a greater detriment to the handling than any of the many small irritations of the fuji.

          As for the accessory findedrs – sticking a hump on top of a camera like this just strickes me as crazy. The point of them is to offer what you need and no more in a conevnient package. I don’t see how a removable lump makes this “convenient”.

          Also, “point and shoot inferiority feeling because that’s what they’re upgrading from.” You what? People will upgrade from pretty serious cameras to this one if they aim to use it as their sole camera. I’d have thought mainly film rangefinders, the Leica X1/2, the X100, the sigma DPs and their ilk. Not p&s camera (most of which have zooms anyway, which makes your comment dumber still).

          • “used to pick their film slrs, in part, on the quality fo the viewfinder”

            Get real, Nick. This is not a film SLR. Do you really want me to tell you why a good VF is much more necessary with a film camera than with a camera like the RX1? How much of the basics do you want me to explain to you? Next thing you’ll be saying you want to weigh your P&S down with a block of concrete because Ansel Adams said it’d make a great camera support.

            I don’t see how a removable lump makes this “convenient”.

            If size is not an issue, get a DSLR or a DSLT with a FF sensor. Who told you that you must get a RX1? Leave it alone.

            “I’d have thought mainly film rangefinders, the Leica X1/2, the X100, the sigma DPs and their ilk.”

            LOL! For a big talker you have a very limited idea of what “other” cameras are. I suggest you go and learn a thing or two first before you embarrass yourself by name-calling the wrong people.

  • nycPete

    Just sold one of my 50mm Summicrons to finance this sucker


    • Dafaq

      +1. Pre-Ordered.

    • Regular

      you will need to sell a second 50cron to fully fund the RX1.
      Second-hand summicron-m 2/50 are not so expensive.

      bTW, I know what to expect from the optic formula of a *Biogon* 35/2 ZM.
      But the Sonnar family is a different matter, and I have not heard of *Sonnar* 35/2 design before.
      Sonnar is usually less crisp than Planars and biogons. More dreamy.

      • The 24mm f/1.8 version that is there for Nex has the same field of view and is called a Sonnar.

        IMO, these old design names are used very loosely. The resemblance to the original designs from the early 1900s is very little at times and for good reasons.

      • Documensony

        There is a long tradition for compact 35mm Sonnars from Zeiss. The Rollei35 camera of the 1960’s had one. Numerous Contax T models from the 1980’s and 1990’s had 35-38 mm Sonnars too. And there’s a Nex 35mm eq. ZeissSonnar as well.

  • Andy

    Something wrong with that sensor size image. 1″ sensor is much smaller in relation to full frame.

  • I probably won’t be buying this, but I think what Sony has done with this compact is amazing! Hopefully it will spur innovation in the non-DSLR, full frame category, from Nikon and Canon.

    • Padaung

      Totally agree. It’s too pricey for me, even speaking as a working photographer, but the premise of the camera is very exciting. It’s been a long wait for a full frame compact digital camera. Let’s hope this spurs innovation from the other manufacturers as well, which will push the quality up and price hopefully down!

  • stepper

    It looks like a great camera but I will be honest,
    I would never buy it because… it’s a Sony

    • nycPete

      yeah they are fairly new in the Photography market, with the last 3 years of products coming from Sony, you know they are here to stay. Sony owns Minolta and they use Zeiss lenses. if Sonys sensors are good enough for Nikon and Leica, they’re good enough for me.

      • Sky

        New to photo market? They are kind of new to DSLR market, but to photo market? They’ve made cameras even before era of fully digital cameras. Sony Mavica was first camera with CCD sensor (although giving analog output). And they build compacts for ages, including excellent R1 with APS-C sensor. One could argue that in terms of digital photography they got more experience then, for example, Olympus which released only a small fraction of cameras Sony did over the time.
        And as for DSLRs… well… they got Minolta – ’nuff said.

  • Nq

    2800$ no Evf! No way! Every camera pretending to go for pro without it is an overpriced point and shoot!

  • FBY

    Thank you, Sony! Now I’m waiting for the answer from the other big boys….

    • leo


    • Gunnar

      well if that answer is as awe inspiring as their answer to the NEX then good luck with that 😉

  • vinman

    Gotta vote a firm “no” for this one. I just don’t see the appeal of a fixed focal length (even fast and high quality) compact for nearly 3 grand. It’s certainly not for me, anyway. I’d love to get my hands on one to play with, but no way I could justify buying one.

  • Vlad

    If I had money I’d get this camera, most if the time I use a single lens anyway. The video is pretty awesome, certainly done by a pro.

    Excellent job Sony! I’d get this camera when someone is selling it for 1500 used 🙂

  • Gary

    April fools’ day everyday! Gag me with a (silver) spoon and tell me about a “pro” camera without a viewfinder!

    • Sky

      It got interchangeable viewfinders. 🙂

      • Gary

        Why not a wire frame from a good old Graflex?

  • Mark

    Maybe they or someone else will have the guts to do this with a fixed 50mm prime. That would be a desert island camera for me. Lens might be smaller too.

    I love Sony for making it FF, but the VF in my X100 weighs more than the sensor size difference.

  • tch

    That sensor image is wrong, that’s a APS-C sensor in the middle not the 1″ one in the RX100

  • JC

    Mistake ! With this pricing level, it has to have a built-in view finder, not some add on as an after thought.

  • PixelBrine

    I have been waiting for someone to take the Leica approach and put a full frame sensor in a manual bodied mirrorless camera. I think it is a great step and hope it does well. Unfortunately I wont be buying one mainly because of the price point. I would love a full frame compact street camera but I’d be much happier at around $1,500. Not to mention that even though it has a great lens I would want an interchangeable system. I am sad that Nikon went with the absurdly stupid 1 system. Hopefully they will see that pros would love a serious mirrorless and that it’s not just for consumers taking travel photos.

  • Nobody Special

    I see little to complain about. Technology keeps opening up new possibilities in camera design and I see little reason that will slow down. Does it have ‘traditional’ controls? No. Is it over-priced? Perhaps – unless it really delivers with high quality images – and is durable – that will help take the edge off the price.

    I think – assuming that it delivers – Sony has broken new ground. Are there enough photographers’ out there to make it profitable – who knows. But it’s an innovative design. IF it came with interchangeable lenses it would be a no-brainer and probably a high volume seller. Zeiss lenses are some of the best even if this camera has only a fixed lens my guess is it will really perform well.

  • Photo2d

    $2800 for RX1, I’ll going for D800.

    • Exactly.

    • Nick

      250k for a ferrari, I’ll go for a house.

      At least compare like to like!

      • Gunnar

        i guess they found nothing to compare it too 😉 ..its unlikely you`ll see lots of people here complaining: “what no viewfinder?? i`ll go for a Leica then” 😉

  • newoldmate

    Well after there were no photos of the back of this thing for a while, i thought it may have been just a mock-up concept. Not even on the Sony website i went to was there a photo of the back of it.

    Would like to see some full size samples..

    Anytime someone points out the lack of a VF, someone always pops in with “it has interchangeable optical or electric..”. Yeah, purchased separately..

    I’m sorry but when did it become a normal thing to buy the friggen viewfinder separately?! As far as im concerned, if it doesn’t have a built-in viewfinder, its a point and shoot. You point it towards something and press the shutter.

    I loved my Sigma DP1, but all too often i found myself bringing it up to my face to compose a shot, and when the only option was an external OVF.. its kind of pointless when you take into consideration the cameras other shortcomings. It was a point and shoot.

    I had an X100 and the EVF was always my choice over the OVF, because when using the OVF you couldn’t operate in macro (apparently anything closer than 80cm is considered macro..) and the focus was very hit and miss. The problem with EVF’s though, is the lag they cause. I have not used an EVF camera yet that has not had focus lag or blackouts after taking the shot.

    One of my favorite cameras ever was the Lumix L1. I foolishly sold it to buy a Fujix100 and seriously regretted it. I sold the X100 and now have an Epson R-d1s 🙂

    I know these aren’t compact cameras by any means, but my point is, I think technology is getting in the way of an enjoyable photographic experience. I see so many things that could have been removed from that camera to make it more enjoyable and possibly even leave room for a built in EVF.

    Get rid of the useless pop up flash. Its only going to be used for Facebook uploads anyway.

    Get rid of all the video crap, the hdmi-out and the mic port. Is it a serious compact stills camera or a video camera? Make up your mind, because the price is very serious.

    Now add some functional improvements (from the Lumix L1):

    Add an ‘A’ (auto aperture) to the aperture ring, so when its on anything but A, its in Aperture priority.

    Give it a real shutter dial. (shutter speeds + ex comp) So when you select a shutter speed manually (and the aperture ring is on ‘A’), then its now shutter priority.

    If you use any aperture other than ‘A’ , and change the shutter speed yourself, then its in manual mode ‘M’.

    If you use an exposure compensation setting while aperture is set to ‘A’, then its essentially in ‘P’ mode.

    Now you can get rid of that Mode Dial.

    Replace the focus-by-wire with a real focusing system. Seriously? Is focus by wire now an accepted system for focusing? Jesus..

    Reduce the screen size a little and with the lack of pop up flash the HDMI, mic port and mode dial taking up space, they might be able to fit an EVF in the corner.

    Reduce the price to $2200 and supply it with a spare battery and lens hood.

    Now its looking pretty darn good.

    For the next model;

    Make it a bit bigger, give it an M mount (with a range of electronic adapters sold separately of course, for people with lots of other lenses). Give it a built-in SLR OVF (just like lumix L1, only brighter), and perhaps develop a pop / slide up reflector (like the fuji x100) in the eyepiece so you can have a REAL hybrid Optical – Electronic viewfinder. Best of both worlds.

    You could then add ISO controls like the R-D1s has and you have all the essential controls covered. I personally don’t like having to access a menu to change an essential camera function. You can add some custom buttons around the grip and shutter for those who want them.

    Put a price under 6k on it and watch it walk out the door. No one has to buy lenses for a new system, and if your greedy and annoyed for missing out on lens sales for your own mount system, charge $200 for the adapters.

    Wait, its Sony.. Charge $400 for the adapters..

    Just some thoughts..

    • newoldmate

      Sony Alpha mount may be better option over m-mount due to flange focal distance.

    • “As far as im concerned, if it doesn’t have a built-in viewfinder, its a point and shoot. You point it towards something and press the shutter.”

      It has a TTL 3″ viewfinder with a ~200dpi resolution on the back. It allows you to set the exposure to your liking, see exactly what you’re shooting and capture at a time you want it to. It’s not a point and shoot. How can another camera be better if it had a EVF? What more will it do? Are you going track birds in flight with a 35mm lens or shoot action without a DSLR? You need to learn a bit more about cameras.

      “I know these aren’t compact cameras by any means, but my point is, I think technology is getting in the way of an enjoyable photographic experience.”

      Whiners like you are getting in the way of technology and ruining what could be a great photographic experience for some by discouraging manufacturers and asking them to stick to old ways. I look forward to the day I won’t have to listen to anyone talking about Ansel Adams or Henri Cartier-Bresson. Use the freaking tools you have to create what you like. Who cares about what anyone thinks about built-in EVFs and OVFs? Sheesh.

      “Make it a bit bigger, give it an M mount (with a range of electronic adapters sold separately of course, for people with lots of other lenses). Give it a built-in SLR OVF (just like lumix L1, only brighter), and perhaps develop a pop / slide up reflector (like the fuji x100) in the eyepiece so you can have a REAL hybrid Optical – Electronic viewfinder. Best of both worlds.”

      What you’re talking about sounds like a Sony Alpha DSLT camera. And no… we don’t want cameras to be bigger. Some of us have cameras that are big enough and want the maximum quality that can fit in a pants pocket.

      “You could then add ISO controls like the R-D1s has and you have all the essential controls covered. I personally don’t like having to access a menu to change an essential camera function.”

      Guess you can’t read. The camera has programmable functions that can be assigned to buttons. If you have ever learned to use a Sony Nex you’d know that having buttons and common dials to change settings (e.g. ISO) electronically is better than having a mechanical knob that you can accidentally flick.

      And there’s nothing saying the RX1 means there won’t be a full frame Nex compact with interchangeable lenses… given that they just released a FF camera with the Nex E mount.

      • newoldmate

        An LCD is not a view finder.

        Who mentioned Ansel Adams or Henri Cartier-Bresson? You did, because your lack of photographic experience and education means you’re unable to appreciate their work, so you just consider them and anyone who still uses film as snobs, stuck in the “old ways”.

        I’m self taught, started with digital, but have never been into film, even though ive owned a few film cameras over the years. I have a lot of admiration and respect for film photographers.

        If an IL model is made, an increase in size is unavoidable, even more so if its not mirrorless. My cat would know this.

        By the way, you cant take photos when the cameras in your pocket.

        I’m well aware of the programmable buttons, and how they work. I was referring to them as an addition to a camera with a simple control layout for those who want it. You might want to take a holiday from Sony Fanboy land and have a look at how the r-D1 iso dial works. It cant be bumped. Ever.

        Why would i have learned to use an NEX camera? Just because you love your Sony gear doesn’t mean its the only way to go.

        You sound like you’ve never used a full manual camera in your life.

  • Zeus

    It’s a nice little piece. If had the Leica Red Dot up front, folks would be rejoicing at $2800. I like the camera, the idea but agree that no built-in finder really stalls my excitement. I would love to try it and don’t doubt for a second that the IQ will be nothing short of amazing, but no finder…accessory finders are how much?!?!?

    It makes for good reading!

  • Mr. Flash

    I suspect that the reason Sony went FF is because they had to in order to match the output of Fuji’s X-Pro1. The big sensor and Zeiss glass may allow Sony to compete with Fuji in terms of IQ. Something that they have not been able to do to date.

    Does that $600 optional OVF adjust for parallax and display shooting info? I’ll bet not. The hybrid OVF is what separates the x100 and X-Pro1 from the rest of the field.

    So what you’ve got here is a camera that costs more than twice as much as the x100 and is not as enjoyable to use. Unless the IQ is WAY better (which I doubt), I just don’t get it.
    You could buy an X-Pro1 and all three lenses for the price of this fixed lens Sony with a ‘dumb’ OVF. I really don’t get.

  • d.b.

    $2800 cam and $600 ovf – no thanks, it’s too expensive. Altho the direction is right, and if someone would make it say for $1500 I would definitely buy it!

  • BP2012

    I don’t wanna be a party breaker but this camera weights 782g and Nikon D600 weights 760g (without lens and with optical viewfinder included). So what’s the point of this “compact camera”. I’m not a Nikon shooter but that weight is ridiculous for a compact.

    p.s. I didn’t even mentioned the price difference: D600+Samyang 35mm f/1.4 is 500$ cheaper then Sony with with Zeiss 35mm f/2. WTF?

    • Ke

      The RX1 482 grams, not 782…

  • genotypetosser

    It’s still crap, even the day after.

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