Sony DSC-RX1 review

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Who else if not Sony? If it were all up to Canon and Nikon, we, our children and our grandchildren would be shooting with a big traditional SLR till the end of the time. And beyond. But Sony has hired several out-of-the-box thinking Japanese engineers with fresh ideas: “Let’s use semi-transparent mirror! Let’s stuff APS-C in smallest possible NEX body! Let’s use 1″ sensor in ultra-compact! And finally, how about a full frame compact with a nice Zeiss F/2 prime lens?” And so we have it. DSC-RX1 hit the shelves this month and it’s different from anything we’ve seen before.


  • Announced: 2012.
  • Type: Full-frame compact with fixed prime lens
  • Dimensions: 113 x 65 x 70 mm
  • Weight: 482g (with battery)
  • Sensor: Full-frame CMOS, 24 MP (6000 x 4000 pixels)
  • ISO range: 50-25,600
  • Image stabilization: No
  • Dust and moisture protection: No
  • Flashlight: Built-in + hot-shoe
  • Continuous shooting: 5 fps
  • LCD screen: 3″, 921,000 dots
  • Memory card: SD, MemoryStick
  • Battery: Li-Ion NP-BX1
  • Video: 1920 x 1080 @ 60, 50, 25, 24 fps
  • Connectors: USB 2.0, mini HDMI, 3.5mm mic. input


Design is traditional – RX1 has straight lines with big lens up front. It fits in a big coat pocket, but otherwise you’ll have to find a small pouch for carrying it.

Build quality is excellent. It is solid and heavy, but uses smooth plastic on the back which doesn’t quite reflect the price point in my opinion. Grip material (leather-like rubber) looks as it will wear out over time, but we’ll have to wait for some time to see what will happen.

The grip does not protrude so it didn’t fit in my hand as good as NEX-6 (which has overall similar dimensions). In my opinion, lens could have been placed further to the left, and then there would be more space for a proper grip on the right side which would then even have enough room for bigger battery. Still, RX1 ergonomics is pretty good. There is enough room for my thumb and the buttons and controls are very well placed and easy to reach. All the dials and switches are extremely solid and firm, amongst the best I’ve tried. Mode dial, EV dial and ON/OFF switch have very firm detents and no free play whatsoever in them; once you try them it becomes pretty obvious this is high-end camera.

Movie button is recessed and positioned at the right side of thumb-grip, so there is no danger of accidental movie recordings like on NEX-7. If you’re still afraid of it, movie button can be completely disabled in menu. There are several assignable buttons with more than 20 features to be assigned.

Most of everything, I liked the aperture dial around the lens. It is not mechanically linked but still has nice clicks when rotated. RX1 has two multi-function dials, one at the back combined with the multi-way controller, and the other close to the place where my thumb rests. In most modes, this one controls shutter speed, so with aperture ring around the lens controlled with left hand, RX1 can be used in manual mode in the same manner as Leica rangefinders.

Above: RX1 compared in size with Canon G15


RX1 has a small built-in pop-up flash. Sadly, it has somewhat different pop-up mechanism than the one used for NEX-6 and NEX-7, so it can’t be tilted upwards what would provide rudimentary bounce function. There is also a standard hot-shoe connector, and given the leaf shutter used in RX1, flash units can be synchronized all the way up to 1/4000 of a second.

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4 thoughts on “Sony DSC-RX1 review

  1. Pingback: Sony A7 full frame mirrorless camera preview |

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