Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R Review

July 11, 2013 | Mark Goldstein | |

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 24 megapixel JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 6Mb.

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R produced images of excellent quality during the review period. The RX1R has an extensive and very usable ISO range of 50-25,600. ISO 50-1600 is noise-free, whilst ISO 3200 and 6400 produce more than acceptable results, and even ISO 12,800 and 25,600 are OK for emergency use. The RAW samples illustrate just how much processing the camera does by default, though, as they're much noisier at all ISO values than their JPEG counterparts.

Chromatic aberrations were in evidence but were well-controlled, with some limited purple fringing effects appearing in high contrast situations. The 24 megapixel images are a little soft straight out of the camera using the default creative style and ideally require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can change the in-camera sharpening level. The night photograph was excellent, with the maximum shutter speed of 30 seconds and the Bulb mode offering lots of scope for creative night photography. Macro performance is OK, allowing you to focus as close as 20cms away from the subject, while the built-in flash worked well indoors with no red-eye and good overall exposure.

The effective Dynamic Range Optimizer function extracts more detail from the shadow and highlight areas in an image, without introducing any unwanted noise or other artifacts. The High Dynamic Range mode combines two shots taken at different exposures to produce one image with greater dynamic range than a single image would produce. It only works for JPEGs and for still subjects, but does produce some very effective results. Sony's now tried-and-trusted Sweep Panorama is still a joy to use. The Picture Effects quickly produce special looks that would otherwise require you to spend a lot of time in the digital darkroom, while the Creative Styles provide a quick and easy way to tweak the camera's JPEG images.

Noise

There are 12 ISO settings available on the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting for both JPEG and Raw formats.

JPEG Raw

ISO 50 (100% Crop)

ISO 50 (100% Crop)

iso80.jpg iso50raw.jpg
   

ISO 64 (100% Crop)

ISO 64 (100% Crop)

iso80.jpg iso64raw.jpg
   

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

iso80.jpg iso80raw.jpg
   

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso100.jpg iso100raw.jpg
   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso200raw.jpg
   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso400raw.jpg
   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso800raw.jpg
   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso1600.jpg iso1600raw.jpg
   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

iso3200.jpg iso3200raw.jpg
   

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

iso6400.jpg iso6400raw.jpg
   

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

iso12800.jpg iso12800raw.jpg
   

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

iso25600.jpg iso25600raw.jpg

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are just a little soft and ideally benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. Alternatively you can change the in-camera sharpening level.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

sharpen1.jpg sharpen1a.jpg
   
sharpen2.jpg sharpen2a.jpg

File Quality

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R has 3 different image quality settings available, with Extra Fine being the highest quality JPEG option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

Extra Fine (14.7Mb) (100% Crop) Fine (6.93Mb) (100% Crop)
quality_extra_fine.jpg quality_fine.jpg
   
Standard (4.67Mb) (100% Crop) Raw (23.9Mb) (100% Crop)
quality_standard.jpg quality_raw.jpg

Chromatic Aberrations

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R handled chromatic aberrations very well during the review, with slight purple fringing present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

chromatic1.jpg chromatic2.jpg

Macro

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R allows you to focus on a subject that is 20cms away from the camera. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro

Macro (100% Crop)

macro1.jpg macro1a.jpg

Flash

The flash settings on the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R are Auto, Forced Flash, Slow Syncro, No Flash, with a Red-eye Reduction option in the Main menu. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Suppressed Flash - Wide Angle (35mm)

Forced Flash - Wide Angle (35mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Forced Flash setting or the Red-Eye Correction option caused any amount of red-eye.

Forced Flash

Forced Flash (100% Crop)
flash_on.jpg flash_on1.jpg
   

Red-eye Reduction

Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

flash_redeye.jpg flash_redeye1.jpg

Night

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R's maximum shutter speed is 30 seconds in the Manual mode, which is great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 25 seconds at ISO 100. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night

Night (100% Crop)

night1.jpg night1a.jpg

Dynamic Range Optimizer

D-Range Optimiser (DRO) is Sony's solution to improve shadow detail in photos taken in contrasty light.

Off

LV1
dro_01.jpg dro_02.jpg
   
LV2 LV3
dro_03.jpg dro_04.jpg
   

LV4

LV5
dro_05.jpg dro_06.jpg

High Dynamic Range

High Dynamic Range Optimiser (HDR) is Sony's solution for capturing more contrast than a single exposure can handle by combining two exposures into one image.

Off

1.0EV

hdr_01.jpg hdr_02.jpg
   

2.0EV

3.0EV

hdr_03.jpg hdr_04.jpg
   

4.0EV

5.0EV

hdr_05.jpg hdr_06.jpg
   

6.0EV

 
hdr_07.jpg  

Creative Styles

There are 13 Creative Style preset effects that you can use to change the look of your images.

Standard

Vivid

creative_style_01.jpg creative_style_02.jpg
   

Neutral

Clear

creative_style_03.jpg creative_style_04.jpg
   

Deep

Light

creative_style_05.jpg creative_style_05.jpg
   

Portrait

Landscape

creative_style_07.jpg creative_style_08.jpg
   

Sunset

Night Scene

creative_style_09.jpg creative_style_10.jpg
   

Autumn Leaves

B/W

creative_style_11.jpg creative_style_12.jpg
   

Sepia

 
creative_style_13.jpg  

Picture Effects

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R offers an extensive range of thirteen creative Picture Effects.

Off

Toy Camera

picture_effect_01.jpg picture_effect_02.jpg
   

Pop Color

Posterization

picture_effect_03.jpg picture_effect_04.jpg
   

Retro

Soft High-key

picture_effect_05.jpg picture_effect_06.jpg
   

Partial Color (Red)

High Contrast Mono

picture_effect_07.jpg picture_effect_08.jpg
   

Soft Focus

HDR Painting

picture_effect_09.jpg picture_effect_10.jpg
   

Rich-tone Mono

Miniature

picture_effect_11.jpg picture_effect_12.jpg
   

Watercolor

Illustration

picture_effect_13.jpg picture_effect_14.jpg

Sweep Panorama

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R allows you to take panoramic images very easily, by 'sweeping' with the camera while keeping the shutter release depressed. The camera does all the processing and stitching and even successfully compensates for moving subjects.

Standard
panorama1.jpg
 
Wide
panorama2.jpg