Sony RX1 Hands-On

Sony RX1

While “hands-on” might be a bit of a stretch for this article, I wanted to pass along my thoughts from actually putting my hands on the Sony RX1 at PhotoPlus 2012 today – even though the camera didn’t have a battery in it because Sony didn’t want to show off the camera without final firmware.

That said, the RX1 is unbelievably small.  As I held it, I just kept thinking about how incredibly compact they managed to put together a full frame camera.  With cameras like the RX1 (and even other models like NEX or Canon’s new EOS M), there is no longer a need to sacrifice image quality for camera size.

Sony RX1 Compared to Sony RX100

Sony RX1(left) Compared to Sony RX100 (right)

The body of the RX1 is just slightly larger than the compact RX100, as seen the image above.

While the Sony RX1 isn’t cheap at $2800, it is clear that Sony is targeting the Leica market.  As I was checking the camera out, I heard a Sony rep repeatedly reference the price of Leica’s M digital cameras in comparison to the seemingly high price of the RX1 as he spoke to other attendees.

There are plenty of manual controls accessible on the RX1, including the exposure compensation dial in easy reach of your right thumb while shooting.

The hot shoe functions as an accessory attachment point, as you can see the optical viewfinder and the thumb rest mounted just below it.

Sony RX1 Thumb Rest and Optical Viewfinder

As you can see from the focal plane mark on the top of the camera, the sensor sits way back in the camera in order to keep the size down and allow the lens to extend into the camera body.  The below image shows the lens unit separated from the camera body so that you can see just how deep it goes inside of the camera.

Sony RX1 Lens

See just how much goes into the compact frame of the RX1 in the blown-apart display below.

Sony RX1 Full Frame Sensor

Sony RX1 Full Frame Sensor Compared to APS-C and 1" Sensors

Sony RX1 w/o Lens Hood

Sony RX1 w/ Lens Hood

Sony RX1 w/ Lens Hood

The Sony Rx1’s aftermarket aluminum lens hood retails for $179 . . . a bit overkill on price I think.

Sony RX1 Lens Hood

Sony RX1 $179 Lens Hood - Model # LHP-1

While it is aluminum, it has to be all of $5 worth of aluminum.  While I think the camera will do well at $2800, this is an absurd price for what a lens hood is and does.  Likewise, the thumb rest seen in some of the above images has a $249 price tag, which also extends beyond the edge of reason.  The thumb rest feels great and works well with the camera’s ergonomics, but $249 is ridiculous for the functionality it offers.  These accessories make some of the pricey battery grips for DSLRs seem almost reasonable.

Aside from the expensive accessories, there is a lot to look forward to with the Sony RX1.  The camera should be available in December 2012 and looks to be one of the really hot cameras for this year.

The Sony RX1 is available from Photography Bay’s trusted retail partner, B&H Photo, at the following link:

Sony RX1 at B&H Photo

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  1. Grant says

    Looks good but the whole thing is over priced.
    Wait until the financial crisis digs in and the product stays in the show room with dust.
    Obviously Nikon will watch and come out with something much cheaper and sell like hot cakes and the oven stays hot 24/7 with an adapter to all their lenses.
    Bye bye, Sony and sweet dreams Leica, your days are counted and your grave are open wide.
    Meanwhile Canon will be selling well with their M series.
    The survivors will be Canon and Nikon.

    • Bengt Nyman says

      I tend to agree with your assessment of the pompous fairy tale posturing of Leica.
      But I think it’s a bit harsh when it comes to judging the role of Sony.
      Don’t forget that Sony is supplying much of the worlds image sensors, including those used by Nikon. It may be that Sony’s contribution to photography is more temporary than that of Canon and Nikon, but if Sony manages to introduce new technology to help us move on from the antiquated platform of the DSLR, then Sony has already earned a place in the photographic world.

      • Bob Johnson says

        Comment to: Bengt Nyman!
        “You hit the nail on the head.” Well said. Short, sweet, and to the point.

        Also: I really enjoy reading all the replys.

      • says

        I think you’re right Bengt – but I’d take it even a step further…

        I’ve had a few conversations this week noting how Sony is this global electronics giant; however, Sony somehow has managed to listen to the consumer in a lot of respects with product development. And, they’ll take a chance on bringing a “wow” product to the market – like the RX1. Or, going further back, how about the FS100, which really shook things up.

        It seems to me that Sony is going a great job of keeping its finger on the pulse of the photography community (in consumer, enthusiast and pro segments) even if they miss the mark here and there (note the recent NEX-7 firmware update that was a direct response to user feedback re: the functionality of the camera).

    • Tony says

      Thanks for the comment, it gave me a good laugh. Nikon already came out with a large sensor compact the 1 series. Giant yawn. And Canon’s M, giant flop. 800 bucks for the same mediocre 18MP sensor they slap into every cheap Rebel, 7D and everything in between. Sony will steal away from Leica with the RX1 and continue to crush everything else with the NEX. Every time another Nikon, Pentax and soon Olympus dSLR is sold, it’s money to Sony. Survivors Nikon and Canon? Sony already owns this segment there are no survivors.

  2. Patrick says

    Deal Killer: Shutter Button Location
    Come on! Are you kidding?
    This location completely ruined my DMC-L1 experience.
    Retro must be Ergo these days!

  3. Everlast66 says

    I bet manufacturers in China are already stockpiling cheap-o third party lens hoods and thumbrests and eBay sellers hand are itching to start pushing those to market as soon as the RX1 starts shipping :)