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...

Sponsored by

Looking to upgrade? Our Trade-In and Purchase Service is one of the best in the industry. We buy all sorts of equipment and make that upgrade much easier than you may think. Visit for a quote.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 review – Our verdict

Taking price out of the equation, one cannot fail to be impressed with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1. Fitting a full-frame sensor in such a small camera is an achievement, but making it easy to handle and giving it such a high-quality finish is even more of a feat. Image quality is as we would expect from a full-frame, 24-million-pixel sensor, although it doesn’t quite match the quality of the Nikon D600. Perhaps the best endorsement I can give is that within 15 minutes of using the camera, I had mentally added it to my list of cameras I would like to own.

The catch is that the RX1 is a compact camera that costs around £2,600. However, in comparison with a Leica M and Summicron 35mm f/2 lens, the RX1 is smaller, lighter and a lot less expensive. In fact, the Leica lens alone costs nearly as much as the Sony camera.

For anyone in the market for an extremely high-quality compact camera, then the RX1 is an excellent choice. However, if high resolution is less of a concern, then the Fujifilm X100 is a far more affordable option.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 – Key features

Hotshoe and accessory socket
Like other new Sony cameras, the RX1 uses a standard hotshoe, although an adapter is available to convert it to the Minolta hotshoe. The shoe also houses the slim accessory port.

Cable release
In the centre of the RX1’s shutter-release button is the cable-release screw thread.

Sliding the flash button reveals the small pop-up flash that is mounted inside the RX1’s top-plate.

Direct record
The direct video record button sits just on the side of the thumb rest, which is just out of the way but easy enough to press.

Unfortunately, the Sony RX1 doesn’t have built-in Wi-Fi compatibility. However, it is compatible with Eye-Fi SD cards, which will give the camera the ability to transfer images via a wireless connection to a computer, smart device or Wi-Fi hotspot.

Flash sync
As the Sony RX1 has a shutter in its lens, it has a high flash sync speed of up to 1/4000sec, or 1/2000sec when used at the maximum f/2 aperture.

Thumb rest
A thumb-rest accessory is available for the RX1. This simple metal rest slides into the hotshoe and looks a little like a film wind-on lever. It provides a comfortable place to rest the thumb and hold the camera more securely. However, at £199 it is extremely expensive for what it is.

Panoramic sweep
Another popular mode found on the RX1 that is also in Sony Cyber-shot and NEX cameras is sweep panorama. This makes it simple to create a panoramic image by simply moving the camera in a pivoted circular sweep.

  • 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

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

13 issues for £13 - don't miss out!

Subscribe to Amateur Photographer magazine today and receive 13 issues for only £13 - saving 71%!