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 – 35mm f/2 Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* lens

Like its predecessors that also bear the Sonnar designation, the RX1’s 35mm f/2 Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* lens has a large f/2 aperture, allowing good performance in low light. However, this new lens comprises eight elements in seven groups, whereas the classic Sonnar lenses have seven elements in three groups, or slight variations on this. The aperture has an impressive nine blades that should produce an almost circular shape and therefore smooth, circular bokeh.

Like other premium Carl Zeiss lenses, the RX1’s lens has T* optical multi-coating, which should help to reduce flare and ghosting. One of the main advantages of using a fixed lens is that the optical coatings and performance of the lens can be designed to get the best possible performance from the sensor.

In practice, I found the lens to be excellent. There is some slight distortion, which is largely corrected on JPEG files but is visible on raw files. Similarly, there is some chromatic aberration, which is again corrected in JPEG files.

However, the lens is extremely sharp in the centre and there is very little drop-off in quality towards the edges of the frame.

Even when shooting with the lens wide open at f/2 images are sharp, with only a fractional drop in quality from shooting a stop or two down.

Whenever the name Carl Zeiss appears on a lens we have high expectations of it, and thankfully the 35mm f/2 Sonnar T* doesn’t disappoint.

Image: With such a large sensor on the RX1 and its wide-aperture lens, it is possible to create a very shallow depth of field

  • 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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