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Sony Cybershot DSC-RX1R Review

Sony Cybershot DSC-RX1R Review - The RX1R has a 24.3 megapixel full frame sensor, with the anti-aliasing filter removed to deliver sharper images. Find out how it performs in our review.

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Category : Compact Cameras
Product : Sony Cybershot DSC-RX1R
Price : £2,600
Rating :
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Sony Cyber Shot RX1r (1)

The Sony Cyber-shot RX1R is an update to the Sony Cyber-shot RX1 but with the anti-aliasing filter removed to deliver sharper images. The camera is available at the same price as the original, and features a fixed Carl Zeiss Sonnar 35mm f/2.0 lens. Nb. Due to similarities in the RX1 and RX1R, this review is based on the RX1 review, but with all images and tests done with the RX1R.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R Features

Sony Cyber Shot RX1r (2)

The Sony Cyber-shot RX1 was the World's first compact camera with a full-frame sensor and fixed lens, with the RX1R an updated version of it. It uses the same 24.3 megapixel sensor as the Sony Alpha A99, but with the use of the fixed Carl Zeiss Sonnar 35mm f/2.0 lens the camera is able to have a compact body. The RX1R offers 5fps continuous shooting, a 3 inch screen, built in pop-up flash, and 49mm filter thread.

A Carl Zeiss Sonnar 35mm f/2 T* lens sits on the front of the camera and in normal use has a closest focus distance of 30cm. Rotating the macro ring allows the camera to focus from 20cm to 35cm. Nearest to the camera is a manual aperture ring with settings from f/2 to f/22 with 2 click stops between each marked aperture.

A recessed pop-up flash can be found on top as well as a standard flash hot-shoe with Sony multi-accessory port. The side has connections for microphone input (standard 3.5mm jack), HDMI, MicroUSB for both connections to the computer and charging the battery when inside the camera.

Sony Cyber Shot RX1r (3)

Key Features

  • 24.3mp Full Frame Exmor CMOS sensor w/o AA filter
  • Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 35mm f/2 lens
  • 3 inch 1229k dot screen
  • 20cm macro mode, 9 aperture blades for high class rounded bokeh
  • f/2 - f/22 aperture lens ring
  • Macro ring (middle), focusing ring (at front)
  • AA lens (advanced aspherical lens)
  • BIONZ processor
  • Mode dial on top. On/off/ flash hot shoe
  • ISO100 - ISO25600, extended range ISO50 - ISO25600
  • Multiframe noise reduction: ISO51200, ISO102400 available
  • Full HD PASM video, 24p
  • Magnesium body, with customisable buttons, dial at front focus modes, exposure compensation dial on top, control wheel at back

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R Handling

Sony Cyber Shot RX1r (4)

Handling - The camera feels well built with a solid metal body, with a rubber grip on the front and back. The copper coloured ring is designed to represent all the full frame models from Sony, and gives the camera a bit of bling, on what could otherwise be considered a somewhat plain design. The battery cover is plastic, although seems sturdy enough.

The top C (Custom) button can be set to: Drive mode, Flash mode, Autofocus area, Soft skin, Smile/Face detection, Auto portrait framing, ISO, Metering mode, flash comp, white balance, DRO/HDR, Creative style, picture effect, image size, aspect ratio, quality, AEL hold, AEL toggle, spot AEL hold / toggle, AF/MF control hold / toggle, smart teleconvertor / zoom, focus magnifier, memory, deactivate the LCD, or to not set. In addition to this the function of the AEL, left, right and down buttons can be customised to any of these options. The movie button can be set to be active in every mode, or alternatively just when selected on the mode dial.

Highres Sony Cyber Shot Rx1 16 1359468872

A number of accessories are available for the RX1 / RX1R: FDA-V1K Zeiss OVF (£499), lens hood, thumbgrip TGA-1 (RRP £199), 2.359 million dot OLED EVF is also available (RRP £379), leather case (RRP £199). The camera comes with a wide Sony RX1R branded camera strap. The thumb grip aids grip, making it more comfortable to hold, and is particularly useful if you are using the optical (or electronic) viewfinder available, however it does cover the playback button and control wheel on the back until you flip it out of the way.

Sony Cyber Shot RX1r (6)

Menus – The camera uses menus that are very similar to Sony's Alpha cameras, making it easy to navigate and change settings, particularly if you've used other Sony Alpha Digital SLRs. A built in pop-up flash is found in the body, as well as a standard ISO flash hot-shoe. A microphone socket is included for anyone interested in using it for video recording.

The RAW + JPEG option reduces JPEG image quality, eg a detailed image will be 10mb in size, compared to a "Super Fine" JPEG of the same subject being roughly 19mb+ in size.

Sony Cyber Shot RX1r (5)

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 220 shots according to Sony / CIPA test results, and a spare battery is recommended if you don't want to take the charger with you everywhere you go.

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

  Sony Cyber-shot RX1R
Shutter Response 0.00
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.25
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response N/A
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 2.6
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.8
Shot to Shot with Flash 2.8
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
5fps (13-18 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash 2.7s
Continuous Shooting - RAW 5fps (12 shots)

The camera can take shots at 5fps for upto 13 shots without slowdown with all lens correction options switched on, switch these off and it can shoot up to 18 JPEG images. Shutter response is excellent and focus is relatively quick, although occasionally it can hunt for focus, which can double the amount of time it takes to focus correctly.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Sony Cybershot DSC-RX1R Sample Photos


Sample Photos - Colour reproduction is very good with bright saturated colours and excellent control over settings if you want to alter them, with several presets, each with the option to customise contrast, saturation and sharpness. Although not the ideal focal length for portrait photography, the shallow depth of field can be flattering, helping capture light in darker situations. The flash performance is good with no sign of red-eye.

Dynamic range is good, centre and edge quality is excellent, and with very good detail across the frame it's possible to take very sharp images. Despite shooting into the sun lens flare was very well controlled. Exposure is reliable with consistently good results. The RX1R delivers extremely sharp images, and excellent recording of fine detail, with a benefit visible when compared to the RX1.

Sony Cybershot DSC-RX1R Lens test images


Lens Performance - Purple fringing or chromatic aberration was not a huge problem, and when spotted were quite minimal with the built in correction helping. Vignetting can also be noticeable with the shading correction feature switched off. The closest focus distance is 20cm, when the lens is turned to macro focus mode, which won't allow great macro photos, but does provide the option for some close up work, as well as pleasing bokeh.

There is quite noticeable barrel distortion when shooting straight objects near the edges of the frame and the camera does a good job of correcting this. Options for lens correction include shading (vignetting), chromatic aberration, and distortion correction and we've shown an example below of distortion correction off and on.

Distortion Correction Off | 1/80 sec | f/2.0 | 35.0 mm | ISO 400 Distortion Correction On | 1/80 sec | f/2.0 | 35.0 mm | ISO 400
Distortion Correction Off | 1/80 sec | f/2.0 | 35.0 mm | ISO 400 Distortion Correction On | 1/80 sec | f/2.0 | 35.0 mm | ISO 400

Sony Cybershot DSC-RX1R ISO test images


ISO Noise Performance - Noise is excellent at ISO50, ISO100, ISO200, ISO400 and ISO800 with very good detail. Noise is still very low at ISO1600, and it's only at ISO3200 where you start to see a noticeable increase in noise, and a slight loss of detail. ISO6400 sees noise increase and there is a slight loss in colour saturation. ISO12800 sees a further increase in noise, with additional loss of colour and detail. ISO25600 shows the highest levels of noise, however results should still produce useable images if re-sized or processed further. ISO default range: 100-25600. ISO extended range: 50-25600 (manually selectable), although in Multi-Frame NR, ISO can be manually set to ISO51200 and ISO102400. ISO Noise reduction settings: Long Exposure NR (On), High ISO NR (Normal, options: Off, Low, Normal).

Sony Cybershot DSC-RX1R White-balance test images


White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) gives a slightly warm result under tungsten lighting with the tungsten preset giving a much more neutral result. AWB performs well under fluorescent lighting, although using an adjusted preset can give a better result and is easy to apply using the on screen diagram. The fluorescent preset (without adjustment) gives a slight magenta cast.

Sony Cyber Shot RX1R Panoramic DSC00570 | 1/500 sec | f/4.0 | 35.0 mm | ISO 160
Panoramic | 1/500 sec | f/4.0 | 35.0 mm | ISO 160

Panorama mode - Panorama mode - Sweep panorama lets you hold down the shutter button while you pan the camera. The camera then automatically stitches the image together.

Sony Cybershot DSC-RX1R Digital filters


Digital Filters - Creative styles adjust the colour, and RAW files can also be recorded. Creative effects can only be selected when shooting JPEG only. HDR shooting is also only available when shooting JPEG.

Video - The camera has a number of video options, including AVCHD, MP4, 50i, 50p, 25p, or 60i, 60p, 24p in NTSC mode. Digital steadyshot is available, although this crops the view slighting, and wind noise reduction can help reduce noise created by wind. Quality appears to be very good as can be seen in the video below, and manual controls are available. Some imaging artefacts are visible in the video below, however you may need to increase the quality using the settings button, or view the video larger, before you can see it.


Value For Money

The Sony Cyber-shot RX1R is available for £2600 which makes it a significant investment, with little comparison possible as the only full-frame compact camera with fixed lens. Included in the box is a black fabric pouch for the camera, as well as a grey lens cloth, and a wide neck strap, however there is no external battery charger, as this is performed with a USB cable and AC adapter provided and with the battery inside the camera. Other cameras that aim to give the sharpest images possible, by removing the AA filter can be found below:

Full Frame Cameras, without AA filter
Nikon D800E, 36mp, £2349 body only
Leica M Typ 240, 24mp, £5099 body only

APS-C Sensor cameras without AA filter
Ricoh GXR A12 Mount (Leica M mount), £449 mount only
Fujifilm X-Pro1, 16mp, £949 body only
Sigma SD1 Merrill, 15/45mp Foveon Sensor, £1553 body only
Pentax K-5 IIs, 16mp, £949 body only

APS-C Sensor without AA filter, fixed lens
Nikon Coolpix A, 16mp, 28mm equivalent, £750
Ricoh GR, 16mp, 28mm equivalent, £599
Sigma DP1 Merrill, 15/45mp, 28mm equivalent, £701
Fujifilm X100s, 16mp, 35mm equivalent, £1099
Leica X2, 16mp, 35mm equivalent, £1449

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R Verdict

The Sony Cyber-shot RX1 and RX1R are currently unique in being the only full frame compact with fixed lens, with APS-C sized sensor (or smaller) compact cameras being developed in greater numbers. The only other option is to invest in a full-frame Digital SLR and equivalent lens, with the added bulk, or look at a digital rangefinder, albeit with much higher costs involved.

Like the RX1, the Sony RX1R is clearly capable of delivering extremely high image quality with a sharp Carl Zeiss 35mm f/2.0 lens on the front. The camera is roughly the size of a medium sized mirrorless camera with a compact fixed lens on the front, but with a full-frame sensor its noise performance is excellent, and for those who are looking for the highest quality in the smallest package available, the Sony Cyber-shot RX1R is an excellent camera, particularly if you have the money to afford it.

With a premium camera you would expect to have an external charger so that if you invested in a second battery, which is recommended due to the short battery life, you would be able to charge the battery while still using the camera, but unfortunately as charging is performed in the camera with a USB charger you will have to stop shooting. Although if you have the money to buy the camera, then buying the additional batteries, charger and accessories may not be too much of an issue.

The Sony Cyber-shot RX1R is a very slightly improved camera compared to the original RX1 with the AA filter removed it has the potential to deliver slightly sharper images, although with the added risk of moiré appearing. The difference is quite subtle and you would be hard pressed to see the difference without comparing results side by side.

For those that are looking for the highest image quality possible in a camera that is as compact as possible, then the Sony Cyber-shot RX1R certainly delivers impressive results, however the price is likely to put the general user off. For those trying to decide between the RX1R and original, then the RX1R would suit those looking for sharper images, and if landscapes or similar detailed shots are important to you then the RX1R would be a good choice.

 
 
  The Sony Cyber-shot RX1R delivers sharp images in a compact camera at the same price as the RX1.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R Pros

Smallest full-frame camera available
Impressive noise performance
Sharp Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* F/2.0 lens
Excellent image quality
Extremely quiet shutter
Very good build quality
5fps continuous shooting
Built in HDR / Panoramic shooting
Dual-axis electronic level
AA filter removed for sharper images

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R Cons

High price / price of accessories
RAW + JPEG options reduces JPEG image quality to JPEG fine
Raw shooting not available with HDR / Creative effects
Battery charger not included (internal charging)
Short battery life
Moiré visible at times and in video

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

Sony Cybershot DSC-RX1R Specifications

ManufacturerSony
Lens
Max Aperturef/2
35mm equivalent35mm
Optical Zoom0x
Image Sensor
CCD pixels24.3Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)6000
Pixels (H)4000
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor SizeFull Frame
Sensor Size (width)35.8mm
Sensor Size (height)23.9mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution1,229,000 dots
Touch ScreenNo
Focusing
Min Focus20cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Spot
  • Multi
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • A
Metering
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity100 - 25600
White balance
  • Auto
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
Exposure Comp+/-3
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting5fps
Video
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080
  • 640x480 VGA
  • 1440x1080
Video FPS50i, 50p, 25p
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoNo
Other Features
Image StabilisationNo
Interface
HDMIYes
USBUSB 2
Wi-FiNo
Storage
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • Memory Stick
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeRechargeable Battery Pack NP-BX1
CIPA Rating220
Box Contents
Box ContentsRechargeable Battery Pack NP-BX1, AC Adaptor AC-UD11, Micro USB Cable, Shoulder Strap, Lens Cap, Shoe Cap, Instruction Manual
Dimensions
Weight482g
Width113.3mm
Height65.4mm
Depth69.6mm

View Full Product Details

 

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Photographs taken using the Sony Cybershot DSC-RX1R

tree decoration.window display.tilbury grain terminal.a peaceful mooring.blacksmith.
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Comments


josa e2
2 25 Czech Republic
3 Aug 2013 10:54AM
The clock in the right hand corner is blurred beyond recognition...I left a message here yesterday, why you deleted?

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joshwa e2
4 710 United Kingdom
3 Aug 2013 10:52PM
Hi js12, I'm not aware of anyone deleting a comment. I'm checking with Sony on this to see if there was an issue with the camera loaned to us, as the RX1 did not suffer from the same problem. Thanks.
26 Aug 2013 9:46PM
I'm really surprised at the poor quality of the ISO6400 image of Tom Hingley. It doesn't look that much different to an image from a decent MFT camera.

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