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Wednesday, 20 February 2013


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Handsome thing isn't it? You have to hand it to Sony for their cutting edge tech. Some Cankon folks shun them but but someone tell me why? They've shown they are serious when it comes to making cameras.

Personally, I haven't forgiven Sony for the root-kits on music CDs yet (infecting any computer you played the CD in). Wasn't an accident, was a copy protection measure. Probably a violation of cyber-terrorism laws, too.

Dunno any reason Canon people in particular would shun them, though.

Such a tempting camera. I don't even mind the lack of a built in viewfinder. Not in the budget however.

This would be a wonderful thing to take on a stroll through Rock Mountain National Park. It definitely talks to me.
If the price tag makes you want to grab your chest, Konica Hexar AFs are going for around $400 over on Ebay. Throw in a few bucks for some Velvia or a roll of Ektar and you have a believable consolation prize.

Edward Taylor: It is expensive but doubt they can make an RX1 for $1500: how much is any full frame DSLR with a prime lens?

The hypothetical Sony RX10 (imagine an RX1 with an APS-C sensor and a 23mm lens) might be closer to that $1500 price point. Would people go for that? I presonally see it at value when it's closer to $1000 but I may be a cheapskate. The Fujifilm X100s will give it a run for it's money (XTrans RAW processing issues not withstanding).

The other thing that is off putting is phase detect autofocus technology on the sensor is almost here and will improve the current contrast detect autofocus performance immeasurabley. We're about to see that with the move from Fujifilm X100 to X100s.

Are people willing to spend $3K on a camera that will clearly be improved in the next year or two?

My favorite bit of the DPR review is where they state the autofocus is too slow for "decisive moment" photography. So just how fast was the AF in Henri Cartier-Bresson's Leica?

In response to Ken's comment: "I will say that Sony is indisputably leading the camera product race today, and probably for years to come." I'm disenchanted with Sony after 20+ years with Minolta-SLRs (then Sony DSLRs), a Sony F717, a NEX-5 and some other Sony digicam. What's interesting to me, though, is that after not accomplishing much for several years going head to head with Nikon & Canon, I think Sony is finally being Sony: they're producing unique products (the F717 certainly fit that). My sense is that Sony does best when its products can't be compared directly to the competition. I've owned a handful of other Sony products over the years and typically it's not because they're better or cheaper, but because they offer something the competition doesn't. So to the extent Sony can lead (aside from their sensors) I think it's going to happen by finding niches like the RX100 and RX1 where it can be first; not from actually doing anything better than Canon and Nikon. That and having a decent head start over Nikon and Canon with the NEX system. (IMO Sony has wasted time producing mediocre lenses and/or lenses that don't contribute to an attractive system ... but then again, Olympus and Panasonic did the same thing for a while).

No problem with Sony in particular, but I cannot see a use for this camera on it's own, and it's a very pricey adjunct to any FF SLR without any of the cachet of a Leica.

My X100 was sold as soon as the Xe1 came out (when the pancake becomes available it will be no bigger than the X100). I won't ever buy a fixed lens camera again, even a zoom compact. I just don't see the value in them, even at X100 prices.

I will be able to attach a 23mm F1.4 lens on the Fuji and obtain similar low light and DOF performance to this Sony with an F2 lens.

I can't help thinking Sony should worry more about lenses for both NEX and Alpha. Sorry Sony fans, but the reason why Canon, Nikon, MFT and Fuji users are not migrating to Sony is explained right there. I actually find the A99 rather appealing, but the lens lineup less so, given my substantial investment in Nikon's finest.

But Sony seem keen to carry on tanking financially, so I doubt they will heed this advice.

Kevin Purcell: "Are people willing to spend $3K on a camera that will clearly be improved in the next year or two?"

People are not willing to spend $3,000 on many cameras at all. But you make a keen point, one that I considered before, and after, buying the RX1.

Of course every product will be "improved" simply to remain viable in its market. The RX1 is no exception and will likely be greeted with an RX2, and RX3, etc. in the coming years.

But in fact what makes the RX1 a genuinely contemporary "classic" is that there is so very little to improve upon. Yes, perhaps the slow low-light auto-focus will be goosed, although a firmware update is the likely primary path for this. Perhaps button layouts get nudged. Perhaps a later model incorporates an EVF (although it would mean a much larger body).

If you're someone who enjoys using a small, fixed-lens camera (in the mid-20th century tradition of such designs) and want a simple, light-but-well-built carry-along camera with a superb fast lens today...the RX1 fills that bill now and for the foreseeable future. There's not a lot to obsolete on it.

Whenever I see a book like "The Minimalist Way" (or a magazine with headlines about decluttering your life) I figure the best way to start is one less book or magazine :)

To much a niche camera to me.....and that is a shame.....with a (collapsable like my 9-18 Olympus) 24-70 on it, and at a price tag of 3200 dollars I would consider it. But with a bare 35.....nah, no way.

BTW, Mark,

Lightning fast.....as I understood he used hyperfocal/zone focal settings quite a lot, which are a lot faster then any autofocus of today. Just stop down the 50 mm Summicron (also collapsable in Henry's case) to 8 and anything from 3.5 meters to 10 meters (11 to 33 feet for smelly measurment lovers) will be in focus.

Greets, Ed.

What an absolutely frivolous waste of money.

@Dennis, the great thing about the book The Minimalist Way is that it is a Kindle ebook, not paper. I'm getting it onto my Kindle for a free 'borrow' right now (I'm an Amazon Prime subscriber, its one of the benefits).


Actually, don't be too sure there will be an RX2.
Those of us waiting for a DSC-R2 gave up holding our breath a long time ago. I still use my R1 and cannot find anything to replace it. At this price the RX1 is not it.

David Pogue, the NY Times tech columnist, has his review up here (behind the Times' paywall; if you're there, the piece on celebrity-endorsed headphones is good, too):


From the responses that I am reading here and elsewhere on the web, it seems clear that the greatest objection to the RX1 is the price. This I can understand, but I also get the feeling that many of the camera's bangers would snap it up if it cost half as much. At the same time, I am reading reviews from owners of the RX1 who say that it is their current and, in some cases, their all time favorite camera. Price, for them, is an afterthought. One might argue that many in the latter group are simply trying to justify an extravagant purchase, but this is not the feeling that I get. Their love for the RX1 seems genuine.

Regardless of price, the camera is not for everyone. One has to enjoy the single focal length style of shooting and to value small size and superb image quality (possibly the best currently available). Of course there will be better, more complete cameras coming down the road, but isn't that always the case? Anxiety about future obsolescence can lead to perpetual paralysis. The perfect camera will definitely not be available until we are all dead and gone from this earth.

@Patrick - touche ! (I tend to forget about books that aren't printed even though I do own a few ... on CD or PDF)

I don't think the manufacturing cost would be high. The RX1 high price now is to absorb the R&D cost. Within months, the price will slowly come down. Sony’s business model for camera is mass production for consumer market. I think the lens is actually made by them. CZ just designs the lens for them. The short answer is, they can bring the price down if they want to.
It's a good camera but maybe we should wait awhile before buying it. Another risk is, Sony has the tendency to add more features in their next release and sell it at lower initial price.

The RX1 is perhaps the most vexing camera that I've ever come across. Obviously the price is a primary sticking point, although I am finding more and more ways to rationalize that. "But the lens alone would retail for more than half the price of the camera if adapted to an interchangeable mount." "Bulky SLR bodies with an equivelant sensor and no lens, same thing."

Can I truly justify this? Not really. Will I end up buying one? Probably. What's left in my wallet won't make me happy but having such a close approximation the Leica M that I won't be buying any time soon just might.

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