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Thursday, 27 September 2012


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I'm no bokehxpert, but to me that looks good.

Too bad the powers-that-be seem to have decided that people who buy integrated-lens cameras only want 35mm(-e) lenses (while the exchangable-lens crowd only gets 50mm-e).

Seems I'm stuck in exchangable-lens-land for now...

Cover your eyes and ears with wax...

I don't notice the noise in the second sample, so much as I notice the noise *reduction*.

Masts are usually associated with sailboats. Sailboats make cameras seem economical: "A hole in the water you fill with money."

Pretty freaking amazing! Maybe they'll churn one out with a dedicated lens in every focal length between 20 and 100- not that I'll be able to afford any of 'em.

the camera that everyone want to have, but that no one wants to pay...

It's not fair... why are they doing this to us...? First Leica announces an all-European camera (with a sensor designed in my hometown of all places, which makes me feel obliged to buy one), and now this.... and I'm currently shooting a 2006 DSLR and a 1992 analogue camera so I'm first in line for an upgrade... oh dear oh dear...

Even with obvious noise reduction still looks pretty decent for 6400....

I'm just thankful they didn't include a X100-quality OVF on the body, or I'd have to find out how much a kidney can fetch on the open market.

Relax, Mike.

You already wrote "A 6- to 8-MP sensor is plenty," so you don't really need the RX1's 24-megapixel sensor--and, besides, that otherwise-desirable camera lacks image stabilization, a must-have feature for what you described as "the digital camera I'd like to own." (Otherwise, "large sensor, fast prime" does sound rather nice.)


Now you can afford a mast.

K-thunk. That's the sound of my jaw hitting the table.

Yeah, nice. Interchangeable lenses and I'd be in. Thank you, Sony. I'm out.

The research 'suggests' that it'll do fine the way it is.



You know you want one. This is the camera you've been waiting for. Could you live with just one camera body and only one lens, like the 35mm lens on the RX1?

Your drawers are full of gear waiting to find new homes!

DMD!!! Mike, oh, Mike!!

"the brief brief: Bazillion digital point-and-shoots currently inundating market: tiny sensor, slow zoom. DMD: large sensor, fast prime."

every year they raise the bar...
First it was the X100 @ $1100 that I resisted. Then came the EM-5 @ $1300, and now this @ $2700.

I better buy something soon, otherwise at this rate the best must-have-camera will cost me $10,000 ;-(

Has anyone seen an operating manual? Can it scale / zone focus?

If in that respect it is anything like a Ricoh GRD, it would be a real winner for street photography.

Mike Plews said, "$2700? For that you get a D600, 35mm ƒ/2, 50mm ƒ/1.8, and a steak dinner in change."

... or half a Leica.

I gotta say that...Jodie Foster still looks terrific.

Oh, the samples? They're fine. Who can really judge anything from little Internet pictures?

But $3,000 is too pricey for a fixed lens camera today. I'm happy to wait for (a) the inevitable full-frame NEX, or (b) an interchangeable lens version of this design. Either can't be more than a a year away. Meanwhile I have plenty of picture-makers.

I remember you saying something similar when the 645D came out. Not sure if you ever lashed yourself to anything, but you made it through, right? Then again, this is about a quarter the price of that one. He he, good luck.

In Re: Mike Plews: "$2700? For that you get a D600, 35mm ƒ/2, 50mm ƒ/1.8, and a steak dinner in change."

Now let me see you stuff that D600 and two lenses in a shirt pocket. And if you can get the steak dinner in there as well, I'm really impressed.

They're very nice, for sure--impeccably clean and distortion-free. But to me they look a little *too* perfect, as in a bit sterile and plasticky, or...digital. That seems to be par for official samples, though (whether because of subject or post processing, I don't know) so I'll try to stay open minded.

Are those actually untouched, right from the camera? Because according to those images (look at them at full 6000-pixel wide size), there's damn near NO chroma noise at ISO 6400 (it's the image of the glasses in the bar). Is that possible? And if it's in-camera noise reduction, it's pretty darned subtle -- details are left intact.


Sell the Benz in the garage, then purchase the latest
camera from Sony.

Do not pass GO!

Do not collect $2700.00!

I own the Canon 35 ƒ/2, and it's not even in this universe. I doubt the Nikon is either. They're both relatively pedestrian all-spherical retrofocus designs. The ƒ/1.4 designs are also compromised in order to reach their extreme aperture. Even Leica's M lenses are hampered by having to clear the focal plane shutter.

By making this a fixed lens camera with a leaf shutter, they've given the lens designer carte blanche. That rear element is huge, aspherical, and right up against the sensor. The results speak for themselves; be sure to see the 100% images at Flickr.

Unfortunately, they've hampered this poor camera with a digital sensor. They should make a version that takes 35mm film so we can see what that lens can really do—a fine grained B&W stock can handily outresolve any 24 megapixel sensor... Sigh...

I really enjoy reading gear related comments on TOP. It is the last bastion of sanity, decorum and humor as related to camera lust. Any other site would by now be awash in brand fanaticism.

Maybe I'm getting really old, but I've gotten to the good enough stage and just don't feel a compelling need to upgrade. My D700/35mm combo has been doing pretty much the same thing for the past 3 years. Yes it's bigger, but the Sony doesn't take interchangeable lenses, does it? And the X100 has a viewfinder and wonderful ISO 6400 output as well, at less than 1/2 the price. And I do like steak dinners--tastes better than instant noodles and cold PBJ in the doghouse.

Sorry to rain on the parade.

After reviewing all their Flickr photos at max size, the performance for their first attempt is very decent (nice low light performance) but even though there is a strong centre of sharpness at f5.6, the rest of frame gets soft quickly towards the edges.

For 2700 $, I'll echo Mike Plews's comment and add that you could invest in a high end lens because lenses is where the smart money is - like the Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VRII for that price.

> I own the Canon 35 ƒ/2, and it's not even in this universe. I doubt the Nikon is either.

Nope, the Nikon 35/2 is really average on a 35FF dSLR. Ugly bokeh too. So to get close to this, you'll at least want the 35/1.4. Big, bulky, etc.

Anyway, APS-C size sensors are good enough. To bad Fuji ruined the X100 we were promissed.

I wonder how this RX1 focuses. Sony put phase detection sensors in the NEX5R and NEX6 in addition to contrast detection. That was a good move.

Mast recipe: get a NEX, do the same picture at ISO 3200, f/4, looks identical.
Where should I send the invoice ?

Off-topic, sorry.

"How did Odysseus do it again?", you said.

I'm curious, Mike: how come you didn't use "Ulysses"?


I find IBIS most useful with a slow shutter, which is often *necessary* on older sensors to keep low noise and high DR. Noise-free iso6400 eliminates that constraint in most cases. Of course it's nice to have but 95% of the time I'd prefer to just up the shutter speed.

Advice to Mike: Buy it! This is it. This is your dream camera. You have a chance to marry Marilyn Monroe - Do It. You only live once. You can't take the $2,700 to the grave. Be happy. Buy the freakin' camera. You can even sleep with it for the first week.

> Too bad the powers-that-be seem to have decided
> that people who buy integrated-lens cameras only
> want 35mm(-e) lenses

not quite... the Sigma DP2 Merrill has an absolutely fantastic 45mm (e) lens - see e.g. http://www.pbase.com/ianvermeer/image/146003874
and costs 1/3 of the Sony.

the older Sigma Dp2 models (personally I own the Dp2s) have 41mm (e).

of course they don't do ISO 6400, but I can't recall when I last needed that.. the Dp2s has stunning image quality for ISO 50-200, it is still very good at 400 and looks gorgeous in BW at ISO 1600.

That's pretty good for a camera that costs almost nothing nowadays (just bought a second one for backup for very little).

"It's not fair... why are they doing this to us...?"
Thanks for making me smile Gino - my thoughts exactly. My you, I've been burnt before (X100 - too darn complex to be useful in a lot of situations) so maybe I'll be able to resist; the price will help in that regard.

Any chance this camera comes down in price, at all? I can't at $2700 but at $2000 I might be able to make it happen. This is the only digital camera that has really caught my eye in a long long time. Kudos to Sony for doing something unique.

Mike replies: The memo said, "You're not supposed to be so sensible about this stuff!"

Ok I gotta fess up that this camera leaves me pretty much blown away too but right now I'm trying to help my son get a photo business up and running so I tend to look at cameras like a farmer looking at tractors.

That clean a frame at 6400 is pretty amazing.

And here I'm agonizing over possibly purchasing a refurbished m4/3rds kit for 1/10th the price. At least I know I'd be able to shoot the same crappy photos with either. ;)

am i out of my mind and completely crazy for not falling in love with these?
too much noise reduction for my taste.... i wonder what the raw files will look like. (i feel like not much different-what is the term? NR baking?)
and the images are not crisp and transparent enough for my taste. (but judging from the reaction, i must be crazy and alone here-and please do show me my place if you think i am being completely ridiculous)

I have to say I'm very impressed with this and also their sensor in the OMD. Sony have really progressed a long way since their first offerings. I don't want to sound like a wet blanket but my only worry about anything Sony is that all the lovely designed stuff of theirs that I have owned has died prematurely...

I always thought that if I had a Rollei Wide and a Rollei Tele that combination would be near perfect for the way I photograph. Of course as the years went on the rising prices of those two cameras made that idea a non-reality. That dream would be resurrected if Sony were to add a matching model with an a fairly fast 85mm lens. Of course I would be in the same boat I was in for a long time with the Rollei Wide and Tele, trying to figure out a way to get the money to buy both cameras. Drat!!


This is like finding what would be the perfect sports car except for it having a pesky 12" iron spike sticking up out of the driver's seat. No EVF, no sale.

I really don't know what you are all getting your knickers in a twist about over this one. Most of you are men over 40 and no man (or woman) over 40 can really hope to get any pleasure using a camera without a viewfinder. Your arms simply aren't long enough to hold the camera far enough away to see what the hell it is that is displayed on the rear screen.

I heard the Contax/Zeiss mob is getting closer to TOP world headquarters. They've only been delayed because they got lost trying to navigate the streets of Waukesha. ;-)

Gas for Less

Great, another stunning camera that we can all take boring pictures with, post online, and debate the medium, not the message.

Sorry, a bit cynical at the moment...

"am i out of my mind and completely crazy for not falling in love with these?"



No, just kidding you.

"No EVF, no sale."

Rumor has it it will offer a choice of EVF or OVF. Zeiss clip-on optical viewfinders are to die for, too. I used several for the Zeiss Ikon ZM review and they are so great they're addictive.


"Gas for less."

Nice one Ken! Got one that says "GAS for more"? That might be more apropos the RX1....


Nikon F... And her lens was a Nikon series E 36–72mm
Handheld metering or sunny 16 guestamation?
Even if it had a meter the Ftn photomics wouldn't couple with that lens.

"Rumor has it it will offer a choice of EVF or OVF"

I should have clarified - *internal* EVF. My track record with external OVFs is pretty dismal.

Well, then, Sony makes a couple of cameras for you, the NEX-7 and soon the NEX-6 for less money. Can't really complain.


The lens looks pretty solid and that's what's needed to make this camera desirable. With an average lens everyone would quickly have forgotten it, but now there's potential... Neither Nikon nor Canon have anything similar in terms of lenses.

Speak of the devil...

While looking up some of your writing on bokeh, I discovered your Lulu bookstore. Serendipitously, since my wife was out at a work function, leaving me to baby-sit. I ended up spending a few very pleasant hours with "Lenses and the Light-Tight Box".

I'm surprised that as a long time reader of your blog, I'd never heard of the store.... There again, I might just be your most unobservant reader, ever.

Well, then, Sony makes a couple of cameras for you, the NEX-7 and soon the NEX-6 for less money. Can't really complain.


And I do enjoy my NEX7!

It doesn't/didn't have a meter Hugh, by the way sunny 16 works pretty reliable, even using Velvia 50 (and lots of it in one go, in my 6x9 Fuji).....and if you have some experience you can even extrapolate that into cloudy situations as well.....have exposed 15 films that way and I must say.....rarely a badly exposed tranny (usually when I resort to my Zeiss Ikon lightmeter). And no, I'm not related to Obi Wan Kenoby and "the force" is usually not with me :-).

Greets, Ed.

True Freddy,

I have had situations where I would need iso 6400 (now Gitzo invented a nifty gadget for that called a Gitzo Gilux Reporter 2) but these were usually not coupled to a f 2.0 lens....more like a F22 1200 mm lens....but since there is no way of attaching one of these babies to the Sony.....what is the point of High ISO...or do you wanna be able to photograph in my dark room (you know the once you use to print negatives onto paper)......1/30 at 6400 and f 2.0 is 1 EV....A christmas tree lit room is 4 EV......and 1 EV is 8 times darker....if I did my math correct.

Greets, Ed.

Dear Ed,

Well, personally, I much prefer to be working at f/4-f/5.6, so there's several stops of light-gathering up in smoke. And, with a longer lens, which I favor (not even extreme ones) 1/30th is most marginal.

Mind you, I'm not saying I *need* ISO 6400 much, but it's a failure of imagination to think one might not need it for serious work.

pax / Ctein

P.S., Not that this cameras *has* a longer lens, but you get my point.

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