Cheeraz Fouad from Sony was gracious enough to allow me to play with this new camera, Sony’s Cyber-shot RX1. Hotly anticipated, the mere mention I was receiving this camera, even for a short period of time, generated a buzz.
Why all the fuss? As you can see in the pic above, the camera fits in your hand and yet houses a sensor as big and sensitive as one in a high end DSLR. Couple that sensor with the top notch Zeiss 35mm F2 lens and preliminary reports are that results are amazing. Albeit at a price tag of $2700!
I recieved the camera mere hours before I was to drive to Brandon for the Grey Owl dinner sponsored by Manitoba Canola Growers. So I had no time to familarize myself with the camera. A crash course of 3 mins by Cheeraz is all I had. The camera is a solid brick and yet it was small enough to store in my sport coat pocket. It certainly didn’t take much more more room that say my Fuji X10 but felt much more substantial.
I also had my Nikon D4 as I was planning on shooting some pics of the event, but as we sat down for dinner, the DSLR gear went in the corner and the Rx1 sat at the table with me. In this scenario, a small sized camera like the RX1 was welcomed.
I think when everything comes together, this camera produces some amazing results. The shot above for example, taken in the blackness of the grill of a commercial kitchen, reveals as much detail in the shadows as my D4.
Like all new cameras, I think you need to learn it’s quirks, strengths and weaknesses, adjust your behaviour accordingly and work with it. The biggest quirk to contend with is focusing. At time the camera would struggle in lowlight. In those cases I would grab the huge knurled ring on the front to try manually adjusting it, using focus peaking, but I found the throw on the focus ring to be too far to focus quickly. Again perhaps these things could be adjusted with the settings and the obligatory firmware upgrade cameras of this calibre all seem to receive.
The only other limiting factor for me was the fixed 35mm lens. I’m not a street style shooter, I enjoy using zooms. Even a 35mm-70mm would be better, for my style of shooting. I will say this though, the lens seems very sharp and shooting at F2 is a wonderful bokeh dream!
As you can see the files from this camera are extremely tight, very low noise, and great colour. I didn’t have time to explore the RAW files this camera generates, I simply shot Jpegs and they looked great straight of the camera.
With the RX1 Sony is definitely commanding attention in this mirrorless camera market. To have a full sized sensor in some as small and compact as this camera, it’s truly amazing. Between this cameraand the NEX series of cameras, Sony will definitely be one to watch.