Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 review

January 19, 2013

Overall Rating:


Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1

  • Star rating:



Price as Reviewed:


A 24.3-million-pixel full-frame sensor and a fixed 35mm f/2 lens could make the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 the best digital compact camera yet. However, at £2,600 it doesn't come cheap. Read the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 review...

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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 at a glance:

  • 24.3-million-pixel, full-frame, CMOS sensor
  • Fixed 35mm f/2 Carl Zeiss lens
  • ISO 100-25,600, extendable to ISO 50
  • 3in, 1.22-million-dot LCD screen
  • 1920×1080-pixel HD video capture
  • Street price £2,599

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 review – Introduction

When Sony released its Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 in June 2012, it caused a stir in the compact camera market. Here was a truly compact camera with an impressive 20.2-million-pixel, 1in (13.2×8.8mm) CMOS imaging sensor. The RX100’s compact size, high resolution and larger-than-average image sensor were aimed directly at enthusiast photographers who would usually opt for a Canon PowerShot G or Panasonic Lumix LX-series camera. It certainly impressed the AP technical team, with the RX100 coming top in our comparison of advanced compact cameras (AP 24 November 2012).

Then, just a few months later, Sony surprised us once again when it announced the Cyber-shot DSC-RX1. Costing around £2,600, the RX1 isn’t cheap, but what you get is a compact-sized camera with a 24.3-million-pixel, full-frame, CMOS sensor, combined with a fixed 35mm f/2 Carl Zeiss lens. The RX range is an exciting new direction for Sony, and one that could help redefine how photographers view Sony as a camera company. In fact, a comparison can be drawn between Sony’s RX range and Fujifilm’s X series. The Fujifilm X100 rangefinder-style compact camera, with its large 12.3-million-pixel, APS-C-sized sensor, is probably the closest competitor to the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1.

In the eyes of many photographers, the X100 and its more compact sibling, the X10, helped to reinvent Fuji as a premium camera manufacturer, producing cameras that many enthusiast and professional photographers would be more than happy to have in their camera bags. The fact that it is Sony, and not Nikon, Canon, Leica or Fujifilm, that has produced the first compact camera with a full-frame sensor, is undoubtedly a boon for the company, and one that will raise the profile of its cameras among enthusiast photographers.

Some photographers will view the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 as having the potential to become their primary camera because, after all, many will happily shoot with a Leica rangefinder with just a single 35mm focal length lens. The only question is whether the performance of the world’s first full-frame compact digital camera will meet the expectations that come with its price tag.

  • Video: Full HD (1080p) AVCHD (50fps), MP4 (30fps), VGA (480p)
  • External mic: Yes
  • Built-in Flash: Yes
  • White Balance: Auto, 8 presets (including 4 fluorescent), custom and manual
  • Memory Card: SD, SDHC, SDXC, Memory Stick Pro Duo, Micro SDHC
  • Output Size: 6000 x 4000 pixels
  • Viewfinder Type: Optional FDA-V1K optical and FDA-EV1MK electronic viewfinder
  • LCD: 3in, 1,228,800-dot, TFT LCD
  • Hotshoe: Yes
  • Sensor: 24.3-million-pixel, 35mm, full-frame, Exmor CMOS sensor
  • Power: Rechargeable Li-Ion NP-BX1 battery
  • Weight: 482g (including battery and card)
  • Exposure Modes: Program, aperture priority, shutter priority, manual, memory, iAuto, Superior Auto+, 180° sweep shooting, 14 scene modes, picture effects
  • Lens: 35mm f/2 Carl Zeiss Sonnar T*
  • File Format: JPEG, raw (ARW 2.3 format), JPEG+raw (still images) AVCHD 2, MP4 (video)
  • Shutter Speeds: 30-1/4000sec
  • AF array: Multi-point (25 points), centreweighted, flexible spot, spot tracking, spot face detection
  • Drive Mode: 5fps continuous
  • Colour Space: Adobe RGB, sRGB
  • ISO: ISO 100-25,600 (expandable to ISO 50-25,600 and ISO 100-102,400 in multi-frame noise reduction)
  • Focusing Modes: Single, continuous, manual and direct manual
  • Dimensions: 113.3x 65.4 x 69.6mm
  • Compression: 2-stage JPEG
  • Connectivity / Interface: Mini HDMI, Micro USB, hi-speed USB 2.0, multi-interface shoe
  • Metering System: Multi-segment, centreweighted, spot
  • Exposure Comp: ±3EV in 1⁄3EV steps
  • RRP: £2,599

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