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Monday, 10 September 2012


Remember TOP's list of most desirable cameras? There you have it. The new number one on said list...

Could this be the digital Hexar AF I've oft dreamed of???? I guess we'll find out Wednesday, and if it's true please excuse me while I squeal like a school girl.....

A modern day equivalent to fixed lens rangefinders of yesterday. 35mm FOV, f/2.0, full frame, the size of a Panasonic GF1. A built in finder of some sort seems to be missing, though.

Another bold move by Sony, kudos to them for really pushing the envelope. I'm liking it a lot, if it was priced around the 2k mark I think it would sell like hotcakes, but at around 3k it seems a bit steep, unless you have all bases already covered (like, you have a full blown dslr system), or unless you only shoot certain genres (street/travel/pj?) and you are a die-hard 35mm focal length fan.

No matter what, this camera will definitely create waves, a tsunami even. Every passing day, I wonder where is Canon and Nikon.

Desirable. Yes. "Affordable". No.

Alpha Rumors is saying the price is $2,800. I'm not suggesting this is unjustified but it is a heck of a lot for a fixed lens camera with no viewfinder.

This would be so tempting if it had a built-in EVF. As it is, even if it's for real, meh.

Who stole the viewfinder (and film) from my Konica Hexar AF?

Perhaps I have spent too much on ZF and ZM lenses over the years but I would have expected a 35mm lens on a mirrorless camera to be a Biogon rather than a Sonnar design. Happy to be corrected of course!

ha ha After see the pictures I thought: "I'd like to see the take of Mike from theonlinephotographer about this camera."

Seems the price of $2,700 is a bit too steep to try and return it; imagine you drop it and have to sell it for parts on eBay!

Kudos to Sony for having the brass to do this, though had they asked me, I would've recommended a G lens to bring the cost down to $2k. Then they really would've had something special on their hands.

Of course it's photoshoped because the focal distance doesnt' correspond at all to that of Contax/Yashica.

An ISO hotshoe? I doubt it!

The fact that both the RX1 and the A99 have the orange lens connector (a new branding element?) tells me that the RX1 is valid. A statement camera to be sure. Just wish it was 50mm!

It's really great thing in 21st century that some people still remember and try to revive the legend of Hexar AF.


Apparently the hot shoe isn't intended for a flash as much as for an external optical viewfinder. With a nod to Sigma's "Merrill" naming convention, Sony is reportedly going to call the optional clip-on finder the "Salomon" in homage to the man who in the late 1920s made this form-factor of handheld camera popular.

I guess you finally got your DMD, Mike :)

Looks really real to me.

Practical? That's another discussion.

The RX-1 got my attention... until I saw that it probably doesn't have an integrated EVF. No sale.

The Monochrome version will be interesting (only half joking).

A decent optical viewfinder will bump the price up quite a bit, but I hope they don't try and cut corners with that.

It will be very attractive to street shooters.

I've been following the pre-Photokinda rumors. It's an armchair sport. The rumors are for a Sony "pro mirrorless" emerged in the last week.

There are problems with the RX1 as this "pro mirrorless".

The lens really appears to be fixed to the camera like the Fuji X100. There is no lens unlock button in the images. I guess that's the logic of the RX. Or someones wishful thinking and they forgot to put in the lens release button.

From the images the RX1 doesn't have an EVF (2359k dot viewfinder) like the NEX 6 (and NEX 7). I seriously doubt that Sony would ship a full frame mirrorless camera without an EVF (they lead in that tech) and with fewer manual controls than a NEX 7.

It's small ... the filter diameter is 49mm so scale the camera from that. It's perhaps under 75mm/3in high.

So $3000 for a small fixed lens camera with no EVF, no extensive controls and a built-in flash. That's all a bit bizzare.

In this image you can see it says "Full Frame" on the red band ...


Very odd that the A99 has that red band too on the lens. I think someone is putting 2 and 2 together to get 5.

The RX1 may be real and the pictures fake. Or it may all be fake.

The A99 is real though with a 24MPx sensor with on-sensor PDAF. That's a big deal. On-sensor PDAF in the NEX range too (NEX 5R and NEX 6) with hybrid focusing system (PDAF to get close then CDAF to fine tune) Sony is rapidly becoming a major player in the camera business.

In other Photokina news Sony NEX-VG900 interchangeable lens HD camcorder shows that the NEX E mount can be full frame. The Nikon D600 (entry level) full frame might carry an interesting price. Canon may have a similar full frame DSLR. Hassleblad may have a new (bigger than full frame?) mirrorless camera. Pentax will have the Q10.

I guess we'll see on Wednesday if it's real or not.

For those commenting on the more traditional ISO hotshoe, the A99 and NEX-6 are leaked with the same ISO hotshoe. It looks like Sony is phasing out the iISO, which kind of stinks when you have a mess of Sony flashes like I do.

Assuming it's no fake, the Sonnar name on the lens suggests it's an APS-C-format camera. If it was 35-mm full-frame format then the lens name most likely would be Biogon.

If Sony is developing a camera like this, I would expect it to be based on Nex system rather than on RX-100. An aperture ring seems to be an impossible luxury to me. Nonetheless, this is very exciting if it is real.

Jeffrey, I like the idea of aperture rings (even if "fly by wire") too ... in fact, the rumors of the $1000 Fuji X-E1 a couple weeks ago got me looking again at that system ($1700 for the X Pro 1 was steep, but the lenses looked good) and I realized that they have aperture rings. Throw in the EV compensation dial *and* a shutter speed dial and that looks like a really fun system.

Interestingly, while some might call the aperture ring an unnecessary nod to retro designs, other manufacturers are adding similar rings - just not with such a dedicated purpose. The Canon S100, Samsung NX system, and the Sony RX100, I believe, have lens-based function rings that can control aperture, but also other things. Given that the aperture is electronically controlled, the rings on the Fuji lenses (and possibly this new Sony RX1) are similar in nature, but just dedicated to aperture setting only. What I also like is the 'A' setting on the aperture ring and shutter speed dial that eliminate the need for a PASM dial. The aperture and shutter settings basically dictate which mode you're in.

Looking at the images on SAR, the side view shows a significantly longer lens than the other two images. I take that to mean it will have interchangeable lenses. For that indicated price it should have been a bit wider and included a viewfinder however.

Why are people harping on this "no viewfinder" thing? There's a perfectly good viewfinder on the back, shows 100% coverage, etc.

It bugs me the way it's expressed; people make it sound like you can't see where the camera is pointed, which is nonsense.

If you really want to be required to squeeze it up to your face (and just try to hold it steady there!), you can get optical or electronic viewfinders that go right up to your eye for it.

What I want to hear about is whether it has a tilting LCD.

Also, it's far too limited for a primary camera and far too expensive for a secondary. Sigh.

Ho hum. Another camera where you have to buy the viewfinder that should have been built in, making it even less affordable and pocketable.

If this camera exists I think it will be a loss leader, designed to whet the appetites of guys and gals like us who want a FF interchangeable lens system, but whose attention isn't fully focused on Sony - yet.

I love the thought of the a99 but love the thought of a FF Nex so I can use the various lenses that I have.

The Hexar AF is still a great camera, unmatched even today at what it does best. The ovepriced imposter from sony will be no better than other attempts (x100 et al), most likely.

Re sonnar vs biogon... Biogon design would put the lens too close to sensor for ideal digital use, e.g too much ray angle from the nonretrofocus design. Sonnar retrofocus design puts rays at a more telecentric angle, e.g. Better resolution in the corners of the frame as a result.

I read Kirk Tuck's blog on most days, and Kirk likes to fool around with a lot of different cameras. And more power to him, I guess -- but I've noticed that whatever camera he's using, the photo, often a portrait, tends to look a lot like a Kirk Tuck photo and it doesn't seem to me that the type of camera he's using, from the Nikon 1 through FF, makes much difference.* And I think that's where we're at -- for most purposes other than oversize gallery prints, it doesn't make much difference whether you use a good, but small-sized sensor like that in the Nikon 1, or a FF sensor. Sure, there may be some benefits at the margins, or for specialty shooters, but for roughly 99% of the shots taken by 99% of the people, sensor and camera no longer make much difference. Ergonomics makes a difference, price makes a difference, viewfinder quality makes a difference, and so on...but the biggest difference now, if you ask me, is the presence or absence of interchangeable lenses. And this camera, if it's real, doesn't have them. I think Kirk Tuck could use any of the recent, high-quality cameras with 35mm-equivalent lenses, like this one, and without trying, make photos so similar that he'd be hard pressed himself to tell the difference between them. So why spend $2800 for a camera with one lens?

*I would have written most of this on Kirk's blog, but he has the free world's worst comment system.

An interesting extrapolation: Given RX100 uses a type 1.0 inch sensor and RX1 uses full frame then (a future) RX 10 would use a APS-C sensor.

That RX10 could have a similar fixed focal length zoom (X100 competitor) though they do have a compact/pancake zoom for APS-C NEX that might be adapted for a fixed lens use in a zoom RX10. But it won't have an EVF.

This release also defines their three lines of cameras that may vary in sensor size inside each line:

  • RX fixed lens; very small body; no built-in EVF
  • NEX interchangable lens; small body; some built-in EVF
  • Alpha interchangable lens; DSLR body; built-in OVF or EVF

As the E mount can use an FF sensor (see the new E mount camcorder) we might expect a full frame NEX at a future date. Though that would cause even more problems for Sony's lack of NEX lenses.

I wonder what Nikon and Canon are thinking? Sony is looking to eat their lunch.

I wonder if any of the FourThirds companies are thinking about a fixed lens 35mm eq FL compact? Olympus is updating their 17mm lens (now f1./8) at Photokina.

Biogon designs are disasters on digital sensors. There is too much light falloff and too great an angle of incidence for the sensors to handle it. If they use a biogon, expect lots of vifnetting and color fringing. More modern designs have managed to correct the shortcomings of the Biogon, not least the speed of the lens, while maintaining great performance.

It bugs me when people talk about 'mirrorless with a fixed lens'. It's what we used to call a compact before it became fashionable to jump on the mirrorless bandwagon.

it's not going to take "better picture". No camera does that. the old Nikon D70 or Fuji S2 Pro from 2004 print great pictures sized 2ft x 3 ft. Digital has brought out people who blame their tools. Great entertainment, though when you listen to them.

At the cost of the fancy new digitals, I wonder if it's time to look back at similar film based equipment to do the basics at 1/100 the cost?

Please don't say "Great Big Leak" to a guy my age...

"It bugs me when people talk about 'mirrorless with a fixed lens'. It's what we used to call a compact before it became fashionable to jump on the mirrorless bandwagon."

Not really, because all compacts had tiny sensors until recently.


In regards to the Sonnar designation, it is likely a reverse-Sonnar design, like the Ziess 24/1.8 for NEX, which is much more telecentric than a Biogon design, so it won't wreak as much havoc at the sensor edges.

Unless there's a DOF scale on the lens and there's a Hermès range of models, I'm out.

I just dont understand why Canon-Nikon don't
copy there own rangefinders of yore and use their modern (current) lens system and a ff sensor--done!

O Cosina Made Digital Full Frame Zeiss Ikon, Cosina Made Digital Full Frame Zeiss Ikon,

wherefore art thou Cosina Made Digital Full Frame Zeiss Ikon?

(actually, never mind your silly name, where the hell are you?!?)

Unlike mechanical film cameras, digital cameras are throw-a-ways. So why would anyone spend A99 money on an RX1?? Three years from now you can take the lens off your obsolete A99 and put it on your new A109. But you won't be able to do that with you high dollar RX1 P&S camera.

Er. No thanks. I want full frame sensor with a body to which I can attach my M lenses and get decent high ISO IQ. Then I can junk the M9 :-) AND save money by not buying the M10.

Looks like a full frame lens on an APS-C body.

c.d. embrey, that's exactly the beauty of buying a fixed lens camera. It tends to heal most of the effects of GAS. The Sony A900 is 4 years old, and it is still a fantastic camera. I would imagine that one could get 5 years out of the RX1 easily, before GAS rears its ugly had.

Lack of choice can be a good thing.

To be serious for a mo:
I have two modes: when I go out with little thought of photographing. Then I want a real pocket camera. Currently the RX100 is my fave. (So good it could almost be my all-round camera.)
And then there's when I want to do some real shooting. Then I want something bigger, depending. Currently my Oly OM-D is a fave. For certain uses, maybe Canon 5D II (super-low dof, though that's very specialized).

I tried the Fuji X100, but found that a single prime lens is too limited for me. So this Sony should be the same, though no doubt the IQ should be amazing.
But I've only done a single really large print in... ever... and I didn't know where to hang it.

~$3K for a Sony.

No. Thanks.

Junk the M9P and buy the M10? wouldn't call that 'saving'... wait for the M10 and, unless it's so compelling that you won't resist, get yourself a discounted M9 as a second (in my mind indispensable) body... that's what I might do if I can pass that through my internal spending committee (the bit of me that tries to save me from certain indulgences). I had two bodies for film, I miss them.
Or, chuck the M9, resurrect the M6 from the closet to use those beautiful summicorns, and try and figure out if Sony's better than Fuji or better that Panasonic or better that Sigma DP or whatever you can pick with two bodies and two primes... I am lost in the wave of new great concepts. The newest Fuji XE1 might be it?
Or, do nothing and just go out and shoot a lot! Spend the dosh on a workshop with Steve McCurry....

Apparently there will be a choice of add-on optical viewfinder or add-on electronic viewfinder.

A viewfinder shouldn't be an add on extra.

"add-on viewfinders"
There's such a thing as taking "retro" to the point of absurdity. No viewfinder: no sale here. And the probable price! Greed and gullibility sure do go together well.

Is that a mechanical cable release fitting? That alone makes me believe it's not a real Sony.

Has anyone else noticed the totally weird focus ring markings ? 0.2m-0.35m and 0.3m-∞ Is that some sort of macro mode with no manual focus ?

"it's not going to take "better picture". No camera does that. the old Nikon D70 or Fuji S2 Pro from 2004 print great pictures sized 2ft x 3 ft."
Ben Ng
Right on Ben. I just brought home a couple of 20x30's from my precambrian D70 and they look terrific. Until that digital geezer drops off the twig, I'm out of the camera market.
So with a camera I like and the old fart lifetime park pass I got at RMNP last year, all I need is some gas money and Mrs Plews and I are out of here.

Reading through the comments thus far, I've now added another job to the list of jobs that I never, ever want to have: Camera Designer / Marketer.

Trying to satisfy the demands of many people -- I would write "needs," but I suspect many of them are anything but! -- with one camera is clearly a task that only a masochist will enjoy.


@ John Camp: "I think Kirk Tuck could use any of the recent, high-quality cameras with 35mm-equivalent lenses, like this one, and without trying, make photos so similar that he'd be hard pressed himself to tell the difference between them."

Wherever we go there we are. We all take the same style of photo regardless of the camera. New cameras are fun but they do not improve our photography a whit.

Completely ridiculous. Crazy expensive.

Why do I want one so much?

The Fujifilm X100 is soooooo good that I can't imagine that SONY being $2000 "more good," unless it also paints your house and makes you a cocktail after every shoot.

The X100 has, for me, hit the sweet spot, especially after the last couple of firmware updates. The files are stunningly good and the camera has become a joy to use. Oh, and it fits in my purse, just like my Canonet QL-17 GIII used to do, back in the day.

And if I really want a "full frame" Sonnar camera, I've got this, which cost me $730.00 total:

Leica M4-P With 50mm f2 Jupiter-8 Lens, April, 2010

My, but what an exciting camera season this has been already! It looks like full frame's time has come in the digital age. Sure, there've always been a few full-frame DSLRs around but now it seems each category of camera is moving up a class in sensor size this year. I'm not complaining. But I think what we're seeing here is not only the ambitions of companies like Sony, but also their fear. The compact digicam class is dead meat now that smartphone cameras are getting so good - and are apparently good enough for the masses. The camera makers are struggling to differentiate their products and prove their continued relevence. I maintain this technology could have been offered to us a number of years ago - but wasn't because the camera companies felt they didn't need to. Times are changing. The RX1 is certainly impressive. But while I personally would at least consider a fixed-lens Fuji X100 on sale for $1000, the RX1 is simply too expensive a piece for my tastes and wallet.

GH, GAS isn't a problem I have. I'm still working with OBSOLETE DSLRs from 2007. And no client has ever complained. But the electronics are at the end of their lifetime, so I'll buy new Digital cameras after Photokina. No need to replace my 1960 Toyo 4x5, it will still be working fine when the last sheet of 4x5 is produced 8-)

But I won't be buying an RX1, it's an answer to a question I haven't asked.

A wild guess: Leica is now working with Sony instead of Panasonic. What we see here might be the Sony-branded version of the new Leica M10.

Blah. A camera for wealthy full frame fetishists who also happen to like 35mm focal length. Very small niche, much smaller than Fuji X100's.

Looks like this is real.

I'm sure it will feature lovely image quality. But it's not very interesting to me. The combination that makes the RX100 such a winner -- larger sensor plus excellent zoom lens in a pocketable package -- is missing here. "Full frame", as a free-standing attribute is really only notable in an interchangeable lens camera able to mate well with excellent lenses. In a fixed-lens camera, particularly with a single focal length lens, it's academic.

I'll pass on this one, Sony. But drop me a note if you decide to do a full-frame large pitch NEX. (Although I am indefinitely content with the NEX-7 for what it is.)

Wow. Looks like my good old Minolta Hi-Matic 7sII.

Hopefully, Olympus now builds the digital version of the XA or Mju II (or both :).

Just preordered my NeX-6 to replace my NEX-3.

@Matthew Stephens,

As Sony picked up up the bones of Minolta when they exited the market, that would be like Leica going back to their old dancing partner. Some of the really early R-series bodies were heavily influenced by Minolta MD/MC/Rokkor SLR bodies (like XG and XK, etc.), and of course there was always the CLE.

That being said it'll never happen because Sony is already working with Zeiss.

This stuff just kills me . . . ostensibly a 'serious-enthusiast' or 'pro-pocket' camera but . . . no shutter speed knob, and I can have an add-on EVF or an optical finder . . . in the hot shoe, so I can't use a real flash at the same time. Does take a threaded cable release.

Cna you imagine this with that just announced Zeiss 135 / f2 ?!?!?

I'm waiting for the "official" post from Mike about this camera now we've the "official" announcement :)

We're waiting for the "official" post from Mike about this camera now we've the "official" announcement.

It's far from my wallet but I'd like a lot the camera.

It strikes me that what this camera shows is that we don't have a truly competitive market in cameras. Surely, seeing the success of tge X100 the logical thing would be for Sony (or whoever) to have knocked off the OVF and REDUCED the price?

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