Review: Sony RX1 Camera Hands-On

Sony has set the camera world on fire with the release of the RX1 Cybershot. he accolades are appropriate even if the cost is high ($2,799). It's the first time a full-frame sensor has been shoved into a body this compact and precise. It's truly a beautiful thing to hold and a joy to use. 

I'm not going to fill these pages with a massive specs review, others have done a fine job, but I will give you a few highlights and lowlights. 

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The Body: It's sturdy and well crafted for the hand although a tad smaller than I'm used to, and that's a good thing. 'm so used to holding my hulking Nikon D800 that I did have to get used to holding the RX1 like a hot piece of toast, with just the tips of my fingers.  

 

The Three Dials: There's a smart use of the dials here for quick access to the things that matter most like the mode dial with three customization options, an exposure compensation dial in case you quickly fire off a few versions of a shot for an HDR, and a dual function dial used for both ISO and shutter speed. I've been shooting in Manual mode for most of the past year and it's nice to have a dial with quick access to those functions. 

The View Finder: My biggest gripe is that the RX1 has no electronic viewfinder. My eyes have gotten progressively worse over the years and peering down the barrel of a viewfinder is essential. I need to check focus, compensate for bright light all without the bright sunlight shining in my eyes. Sure you can buy a good electronic view finder for about $400 but the price on this camera demands one built-in. 

Auto Focus: It has a 25 zone contrasted detect AF system and it's very nice. I like a fast auto focus for grabbing those quick shots of the kids and I was pleasantly suprised. It's not as fast as my Sony NEX-7 or the D800 but it wasn't slow enough that I didn't want to shoot with it. 

RAW: I always shoot in RAW format thanks to my buddy Trey Ratcliff who showed me the value in being able to pull as much light data you need from a RAW shot during post processing. Shooting in JPG format simply keeps you from doing more with the photo in Lightroom or Photoshop. That's a long way of saying the RX1 shoots exceptional RAW shots and the amount of data available was stunning. 

Here's a gallery of shots taken with the RX1. All of these were RAW photos with some minimal processing. In fact here's a little secret, I was traveling for most of these shots and I didn't have access to Lightroom on my iMac so I edited the RAW photos on my iPad using Photosmith, SnapSeed, and iPhoto. The future! And don't forget to scroll down for a little hands-on video.