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Sony RX1 review

Small but mighty full-frame compact put to the test

Sony RX1 review
The Sony RX1 is the first full-frame digital compact camera


  • Large, full-frame sensor
  • Beautiful craftsmanship
  • Excellent lens


  • No touchscreen
  • Terrible battery life
  • Very high price

The Sony RX100, with its larger than average (one-inch) sensor for a compact camera, has made fantastic waves with critics and the public. Now on the Sony RX1, the manufacturer has stashed a 35mm format full-frame sensor inside a body that is roughly the same size.

As a trade-off, you get a fixed length, 35mm f/2.0 Carl Zeiss T* coated lens, and it will cost you £2,599/ AU$2,999/ US$2,799.99.

Clearly taking on the likes of the Fuji X100 and potentially even the Leica M9, the Sony is an exciting new proposition in the ultra-premium compact camera market.

Sony RX1

Sony hasn't long been in the camera industry, and still faces a tough time convincing Nikon and Canon die-hards that it's a company that should be taken seriously when it comes to its photographic output.

Here in the Sony DSC-RX1, the company is showing off exactly what it can do. It's stuck a full-frame sensor inside the body of something that is smaller than some of its NEX series of compact system cameras (CSCs), just because it can.

It's got the same 24.3 million pixel Xmor CMOS full-frame sensor as found in the Sony Alpha a99, so it's fair to say that people will be expecting big things in terms of image quality from the Sony RX1.

Sony RX1

Also on board is a new Bionz processor, which helps facilitate Full HD video recording and sensitivity capabilities ranging all the way up to ISO 102,400 (and starting at 50).

As Sony develops the three main components of cameras in-house (processor, lens and sensor), it believes this gives it an advantage over competitors in the market.

That said, this camera pretty much occupies its own space in the market, with nothing currently available quite matching it in terms of sensor size, body size or even price.

Sony RX1 review

Other interesting features include a 3-inch LCD screen that incorporates White Magic technology for a brighter screen with better contrast.

There's no viewfinder available here, but a whole range of accessories are available that can extend the system beyond its small body, including filters, an external thumb grip, external optical viewfinders and more.

With a full retail price of £2,599/AU$2,999/US$2,799.99, the Sony RX1 certainly isn't a cheap proposition, but it's being pitched at high-end professionals who may even want to use this as their main or only camera.

Sony RX1