Menu system is the same as in any other Sony SLT; simple and easy to navigate.
There is also a quick-menu which is recalled via “Fn” button on the back. It allows quick access to almost all of the most important settings.
SONY RX1 LCD AND VIEWFINDER
LCD is a 3-inch unit with 921,000 dots. It is nice and sharp, and has an option seen in NEX cameras called “Sunny weather” which boost brightness dramatically for visibility under direct sun. Sadly, it doesn’t have the tilt-option which would be very helpful when framing shots. It is clear Sony wanted this camera to be as small as possible, but I think tilt mechanism wouldn’t add to much bulk to it.
There is no viewfinder on RX1, but it can be bought separately and attached to the hot-shoe. There are two available models: optical and electronic viewfinder. Both are expensive though… But then if you have money for RX1, you can probably afford these.
SONY RX1 SENSOR
24 megapixel sensor is the crown jewel of this camera (besides the lens). It is very similar to sensor used in Nikon D600, and has magnificent performance in every aspect. I used it without any though up to ISO 6400, and even 12,800 is perfectly usable.
ISO has a range from 50-25,600 (base value is 100). Auto ISO is available even in manual exposure mode. There is an option to set lower and upper limits for Auto ISO, but none to limit lowest shutter speed. It is therefore set in firmware to 1/80, and the camera will not go lower than that if it can open the aperture or crank up the ISO.
SONY RX1 LENS
The lens proudly bears Carl Zeiss name. It has 35mm focal length and F/2 aperture. What makes it very unique is a built-in leaf shutter mechanism. Major advantages are silent operation and the ability to sync with flash units up to 1/4000 of a second (pro DLSR’s like Canon 1DX or Nikon D4 go only up to 1/250).
Lens performance is exquisite. It is very sharp across the whole frame even wide open. Bokeh is very pleasant and will allow nice background separation.
RX1 can correct lens imperfections in software. If you shoot JPEG, all corrections can be applied: geometry, corner light fall-off and chromatic aberrations. When used with RAW file format only light fall-off and chromatic aberrations will be corrected. I always left all of these options turned on (Auto); there is no reason not to use them.
Focusing is possible down to 20cm from the sensor plane. There is no image stabilization, but I rarely missed it with F/2 aperture and exceptional high ISO on this camera.
Sony RX1 has a card slot which accepts both SD and MemoryStick.
SONY RX1 BATTERY
Battery is a very small Li-Ion NP-BX1 model with 1240 mAh. It provides juice enough for around 150 photographs. It is charged in camera with USB connector (AC adaptor included). This is a nice detail, but utterly impractical. I’ve ranted about it in some previous Sony-gear reviews, and it seems I’ll have to continue until someone from Sony starts reading my reviews. How am I supposed to use the camera while the battery is being charged? Or charge second battery while using the camera? I can understand in-camera charging approach for mass-market point-and-shots, but this is a $ 2,800 premium product! For this price I expect external charger to be part of the package. Even more, it would be logical to be dual charger, able to charge two batteries simultaneously. With battery life of only around 150 shots this would be a very welcomed detail.