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 review – Viewfinder, LCD, live view and video

Like the current Sony Alpha cameras, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 has a 3in, 1.22-million-dot LCD screen. Unlike the Fujifilm X100, the RX1 doesn’t have a built-in electronic viewfinder, but it does have an optional FDA-V1K Carl Zeiss optical viewfinder. This slides into the RX1’s hotshoe, and the sturdy aluminium viewfinder is bright and clear, but there is some obvious parallax error. If a 100% accurate view is required, there is an optional FDA-EV1MK XGA OLED Tru-Finder electronic viewfinder. This digital display has a 2.359-million-dot resolution and is based on the same unit that is used in the Sony Alpha 99 and NEX-7. Again, it slides into the hotshoe, but also takes advantage of the electronic interface tucked away in the shoe.

Although a sample of the EVF was available when I reviewed the camera, it wasn’t a final model. I found it to be excellent, though, and if the final version is as good as that found in the Sony NEX-7 and Alpha 99, it will be about the best electronic viewfinder currently available, and it is easy to forget that it is not an optical display.

With a choice of two viewfinders and the rear screen, there should be something to suit all photographers. However, both items are expensive. The EVF is £379, while the optical unit is a staggering £499. Of the two, and if you can afford it, I would advise purchasing the EVF, as I naturally found myself raising the camera up to my eye, forgetting that I didn’t have the EVF attached. With the EVF it really does start to feel like using a traditional-style compact camera.

One feature that may be overlooked at first is the RX1’s video capabilities. The camera can record full 50p HD, 1920×1080-pixel-resolution footage, with a high 28MB/s rate. Footage is saved as an MP4 file using the AVCHD codec. When this high-performance quality is combined with the low-light capabilities of the sensor, as well as the shallow depth of field created by the large maximum aperture, the RX1 becomes a very powerful, small and discreet camera for aspiring filmmakers.

  • 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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