Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1

September 12, 2012 | Mark Goldstein | Digital Compact Cameras, Photokina 2012 | 4 Comments |
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The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 is the world’s first compact camera with a 35mm full-frame sensor. Featuring an Exmor CMOS sensor with 24.3 effective megapixels, the Sony RX1 has a Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 35mm F2 prime lens, ISO range from ISO 100-25600, 5fps burst shooting, 14-bit RAW, and Full HD movies at 50p/60p or 25p/24p. The Sony DSC-RX1 will be available in December 2012 for around £2600 / $2800.

Sony UK Press Release

Cyber-shot™ DSC-RX1 from Sony is world’s first compact camera with 35mm full-frame 24.3 effective megapixel sensor

Full-frame imaging from a compact camera that’s drastically smaller and lighter than any full-frame DSLR
Exmor™ CMOS sensor with approximately 24.3 effective megapixels for flawless, detail-packed photos and Full HD video
Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 35mm F2 prime lens; with Macro mode for 20cm minimum focusing distance
Extremely wide sensitivity range from ISO 100 – 25600
Intuitive manual controls with aperture and focus mode dial
New Multi Interface Shoe compatible with optional flash, electronic viewfinder, optical viewfinder and clip-on LCD monitor

You’d never have believed it was possible. Now photo enthusiasts can explore the creative possibilities of full-frame imaging with a compact digital camera that fits easily in the palm of your hand.

The extraordinary new Cyber-shot™ DSC-RX1 from Sony realises the dream of photographers everywhere. Just 482g (with battery and memory card), it packs a 35mm full-frame sensor and wide aperture F2 fixed-focal lens into a camera body that’s perfectly proportioned for travel and street photography as well as portraits and day-to-day shooting.

Far smaller and lighter than any full-frame DSLR, the Cyber-shot™ RX1 offers superb imaging quality that’s previously been the domain of high-end professional DSLR cameras. The unified lens/body design assures razor-sharp alignment of the sensor and optical components. This brings out the full potential of the lens to deliver unprecedented image quality, right to the very edges of each frame. Full manual control options are complemented by effortlessly intuitive operation, making it easy for enthusiasts to realise their creative vision without sacrificing portability or operating comfort.

In a world first1 for digital compact cameras, the Cyber-shot™ RX1 features a 35mm full-frame Exmor CMOS sensor. With a resolution of 24.3 effective megapixels, it’s over twice the area of the APS-C sensor inside much bulkier DSLR cameras. Capable of resolving the finest image details and subtle textures, the full-frame sensor assures absolute fidelity, rich colours and an impressively broad dynamic range.

The large sensor size also helps boost the camera’s sensitivity range to a generous ISO 100 – 25600. Sensitivity can be adjusted as low as ISO 50 in expanded mode2. Similarly, ISO settings as high as 102400 can be achieved using Multi Frame Noise Reduction. This allows the Cyber-shot™ RX1 to capture natural, low noise handheld images in near-dark conditions without needing flash.

Complementing the full-frame sensor is a fast, bright Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* lens with a fixed focal length of 35mm – a versatile choice for portraits, street photography and everyday shooting. Derived from the German word “Sonne” (“sun”), the Sonnar name reflects the ability of the lens to capture as much light as possible. This premium lens features newly designed optics including an Advanced Aspherical (AA) glass element. This contributes to the camera’s extremely compact palm-sized dimensions without sacrificing optical performance.

The lens’s wide F2 maximum aperture and 9-bladed circular aperture enable beautiful ‘bokeh’ (defocus) effects to rival professional-class DSLR camera lenses. A Macro switching ring on the lens barrel instantly shortens minimum focusing distance to just 20cm (from image plane), making the Cyber-shot™ RX1 ideal for capturing small close-up subjects with exquisite detail.

Data from the Exmor CMOS sensor is handled by the evolved BIONZ engine that also powers full-resolution burst shooting at up to 5 frames per second. The BIONZ processor can output image data in 14-bit RAW format, giving advanced users immense freedom over developing, post-processing and managing RAW files to match their personal creative vision.

Despite the camera’s extraordinarily compact dimensions, photographers are offered a virtually limitless palette of options for creative expression. The Cyber-shot™ RX1 offers a full range of manual control modes, just as you’d expect from a no-compromise DSLR camera.

Dedicated lens rings allow fingertip control of focus and aperture, while a DSLR-style Focus mode dial on the front of the camera allows easy switching between focus modes. Top-mounted exposure compensation and mode dials are ergonomically placed for easy operation, while custom function and AEL buttons fall comfortably to hand without interrupting your creative flow.

Accessed via the camera’s pro-style control dial and cross keys, Quick Navi mode allows fast, intuitive adjustment of camera settings: it’s ideal when using the camera with an optional viewfinder. As a further enthusiast-oriented touch, there’s a memory recall (MR) mode that allows storage and instant recall of up to three sets of camera settings.

Other refinements include a MF Assist function that magnifies a portion of your image to simplify fine focus adjustments. There’s also a pro-style Peaking function that highlights sharply-focused areas of the image on screen. Adding the optional FDA-EV1MK electronic viewfinder kit allows even greater manual focusing precision.

By Pixel Super Resolution Technology allows magnification of image size without sacrificing pixel count – maintaining far higher quality than achievable with conventional digital zoom. There’s also a Smart Teleconverter function that crops a central portion of the image sensor, boosting effective magnification by 1.4x or 2x. Thanks to the full-frame sensor’s extremely high pixel count, even zoomed and cropped images maintain generous amounts of fine detail when blown up at large print sizes.

In addition to flawless stills, the Cyber-shot™ RX1 can capture high-quality, low-noise Full HD movie footage at a choice of 50p/60p or 25p/24p (progressive) frame rates. 24p recording enables the Cyber-shot RX1 to transform everyday scenes into film-like movies. It’s easy to record beautifully atmospheric video in very low lighting, such as at dusk. There’s a full complement of PASM exposure modes to give photographers absolute creative flexibility during video shooting.

Artistically ambitious photographers can fine-tune images with a choice of 13 Creative Styles, plus a wide range of inspiring ‘PC-free’ Picture Effect treatments.

Even wider compositional possibilities are offered by Auto HDR and D-Range Optimiser, bracket shooting (Exposure, DRO or White Balance) and Auto HDR shooting modes. There’s also a Digital Level Gauge that indicates camera pitch and camera roll on the LCD screen for straight, even horizons and architectural shots.

Shooting possibilities for stills and video are broadened by the camera’s Multi Interface Shoe3 that accepts a growing range of accessories. Options include a powerful flash, electronic viewfinder, optical viewfinder, clip-on LCD monitor. Also available are a high-quality jacket case, lens hood and thumb grip for sure, comfortable handling.

Learn more about official accessories by Sony for the Cyber-shot™ RX1 here:
http://www.sony.co.uk/hub/cyber-shot-digital-cameras/accessories

The Cyber-shot™ RX1 comes preinstalled with PlayMemories Home (Lite Edition) software, allowing easy image transfers to a PC for managing, editing and printing. Available for free download, a full version of PlayMemories Home adds movie editing and disc burning.

Also available as a free download, PlayMemories Studio allows game-like editing of photos and videos on PlayStation®3. Images can be shared easily via PlayMemories Online, the cloud-based sharing service from Sony that simplifies ‘any time, any place’ viewing on a wide range of connected devices.

The new Cyber-shot™ RX1 full-frame digital compact camera from Sony is available in Europe from December 2012.

1 Among compact digital still cameras. According to Sony research, as of September 12, 2012.
2 Recordable dynamic range is reduced at sensitivity levels below ISO100.
3 The Cyber-shot™ RX1 is equipped with Sony’s newly-developed Multi Interface Shoe. This is capable of accommodating various accessories for photo and movie shooting such as flash and microphones, while drawing power from the camera. It is also compatible with Sony accessories that use the standard ISO 518 accessory shoe. The Multi Interface Shoe was developed as a common shoe for imaging products by Sony – such as digital still cameras, digital video cameras and interchangeable lens cameras – promoting compatibility among accessories and offering an enhanced shooting experience for users.

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Your Comments

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#1 Dave

Hello Sony (goodbye Leica).  

I, for one, am in the "yay!" camp on this one.  I only buy one camera every decade or two, so cost is not much of an issue.
By using a dedicated lens, you can get top quality in a smaller coat-pocket.  Every camera is a trade-off, but I only ever use one lens at a time.   (Lenses are like guns.  If you have three big ones back at home in the closet, it doesn't matter how good they are.)

If this is not a camera for you, don't buy it.  Sony is about to sell a million of these, and if what you really wanted was a 5Dmk3, you are not going to be happy with anything else.  Get yourself a big backpack and a work-out video and buy that Canon you always wanted.  This leaves more little Sony toys for people who actually do want one.

Sony, I am checking my bank balance.  If you want to send me one now, I will also throw in a free marketing slogan:  "Better than anything smaller, and smaller than anything better."   Just don't hire Ashton Kutcher. 
 

1:25 pm - Wednesday, September 12, 2012

#2 DanO.

With the lens being the most key element of the camera, I'm surprised not one single review mentions whether the lens accepts a screw-on filter. In at least one photo I see threads and markings that suggest that it accepts a 49mm filter. Maybe it’s just me but for the price of the lens with camera, I think it’s an important aspect to mention. There is no way that I would want to carry this expensive thing’ around without a protective filter.

9:53 pm - Wednesday, September 26, 2012

#3 Richard

It might be true that Sony will sell a million of these, certainly interest will be huge.

Of course, if they rush out a version with a compact fast fixed zoom, about 24-70, then Sony would sell 5 million+

Someone will.

10:33 pm - Thursday, September 27, 2012

#4 Chris

Well since I here that these cameras are meant for professionals I am not entirely convinced that a millions will be sold as these are quite specialist cameras and likely out of the average person's budget.

3:34 pm - Monday, October 8, 2012