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...
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