518 of 565 people found the following review helpful
Too limited for $2800, but for some it will be camera perfection,
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sony DSC-RX1/B Cyber-shot Full-frame Digital Camera (Electronics)I purchased and received this camera from Amazon.
I also own a Canon 5D Mark II, Olympus OM-D E-M5, and Sony RX100
I must say I had really high hopes for this camera. I hoped for a low-light monster that would provide the critical image quality that I turn to my 5D Mark II for, just in a more portable package. For reference I also own the Canon 35mm L f/1.4. For better or for worse, this review will be based on my experience with the RX1 compared to the 5D, OM-D and RX100.
First the good...
1.) The image quality is really that good. If you read Steve Huff and look at his samples, they are representative. I must admit the lens/camera combo *is capable* of producing images better than my 5D Mark II (see negatives). the lens is sharper at wide apertures than the Canon. The high ISO performance is really amazing. Probably one of the best Full Frame cameras of any form factor with respect to ISO performance.
2.) It's well built, if not perfect (more on this in the negatives). It feels much more solid than the RX100, but not at the level of the 5D or the OM-D.
3.) The ergonomics and controls are pretty good for the small form factor. I like the manual aperture ring and exp. comp. dial, but really I still prefer the ergonomics on both the 5D and OM-D
4.) Good Auto features for deep pocketed amateurs. In truth I did not test these features extensively
Now the Negatives...
1.) The camera struggles to focus in anything but good and great light. In low and moderately low light (read normally lit interior of a home) the camera misses focus on anything that is not static or has high contrast. Taking pictures of people / faces in these conditions, the camera focuses on the background (which is static and higher contrast) in 30-70% of my shots. This is very similar to my experience with the NEX 7, another camera I have owned and shot with. It is truly maddening to have a camera with so much potential that will not nail focus with any consistency. I warn any OM-D E-M5 owners, you will not be satisfied with the focusing performance on this camera unless you only shoot outdoors in good light or shoot still life. If you like to shoot pictures of kids or any non static people in less than ideal lighting, the camera does not cut it.
2.) The ergonomics should be better. I get the cool look of the camera, but given how far the lens sticks out from the body, Sony could easily have added more grip and better ergonomics without adding to the form factor negatively. The OM-D paired with the very sharp Panasonic 20mm 1.7 or Leica 25mm 1.4 has a similar form factor but better ergonomics
3.) if Olympus can weather seal the $999 OM-D, why can't Sony weather proof the RX1 which has a fixed lens and cost $2,800.00.
4.) The lack of image stabilization nullifies some of the ISO performance vs. the OM-D
5.) I love the idea of a fast 35mm prime, but for some, $2,800 might be to much to commit into a fixed lens camera.
6.) When you spend this much on an item, do companies like Sony really have to price-gouge you on the accessories, like viewfinders and thumb rests!??!?! I digress....
7.) the lens does not perform as well at smaller apertures and when focused closer to infinity, so it's not quite as good for landscape shooters
As I mentioned at the beginning, this review has been based on my experience and comparison of the RX1 and my other camera systems. This camera's sensor and lens are capable of real magic. In the right conditions it is really a dream. But for me, the RX1 did not fit the bill, literally at $2,799, and figuratively in terms of performance in lower light, which to me is where I would be using it often.
Hope this helps someone in deciding.
Tracked by 12 customers
Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-10 of 64 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 5, 2012 1:42:24 AM PST
Mark L. says:
What sort of goober would you have to be to vote this review not helpful??
Posted on Dec 5, 2012 3:14:50 AM PST
G. Lee says:
Excellent balanced review. Thank you.
Posted on Dec 5, 2012 7:42:26 AM PST
David J. Elfering says:
Excellent review that laid things out very clearly. Love Steve Huff's site but his romantic involvement with cameras makes him overlook things like this.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 5, 2012 2:52:11 PM PST
David, I agree that Steve Huff goes overboard, but he said much of this, though long winded.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 5, 2012 3:45:23 PM PST
David J. Elfering says:
Thanks for the reply. I'll have to read his review again. I guess my mid-western, pragmatic mindset wants the down and dirty summary. This camera is a luxury camera that I was considering as my personal, carry and capture camera. Low light would be a huge factor for why I would want this so given the cost, its something to pass on for now.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 6, 2012 8:31:13 PM PST
Radio Man says:
Nice balanced review thanks. I have to say though, I have had no mis focus issues at all. The RX1 has been super accurate re: auto focus and we know the manual focus peaking feature is just great. IF light gets WAY low, yes the RX1 auto-focus will hunt. But I shot in REALLY low light up to 3200 iso and it has stunning detail and VERY VERY low noise. Even using raw and taking all NR off, the high iso low noise capability of this camera is INCREDIBLE. I own the EM5 as well and LOVE it. I think there is room for both cameras, as the EM5 is obviously an interchangeable lens camera where RX1 has a fixed lens. RX1 is MUCH smaller than the OMD though, yeah the lens sticks out a bit so you may need a bigger bag to carry it in than it's actual real overall size. In any case YES RX1 is way expensive..but I am just BLOWN away by it's output AND I CAN'T SAY that about the EM5 though it's a super camera, and does have faster maybe more accurate focus I suppose on the overall. Good point was made though here..the EM5 has it's great 5 axis image stabilization so it's true you can shoot at much lower iso than the RX1 in low light..but still even at way higher iso, to my eyes the EM5's pictures are way flat compared to what I've been getting out of the RX1. Anyway Just my eyes and opinion..not saying I'm correct.. :)
Posted on Dec 8, 2012 5:01:27 PM PST
Once this bugger drops below $2000 is shall be mine. One day...
Posted on Dec 9, 2012 6:06:17 PM PST
Julius Glickstein says:
Great review. Had this camera in my hands today at B&H, NY, NY. Didn't buy. Absence of any kind of zoom for this price range is an obstacle for me personally. Weather seal is also a point.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2012 6:10:11 PM PST
Gear Addict says:
Posted on Dec 10, 2012 3:39:50 AM PST