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Movie mode

Video quality options

The RX1 offers video specifications that are immediately familiar from recent Sony models, with the frame rate topping-out at 60p (50p in European models). A range of frame rates and bitrates are available depending on what you're planning to use the footage for.

Sizes • Frame size/frame rate/bit rate
1920 × 1080; 60p/50p; 28Mbps
1920 × 1080; 60i/50i; 24Mbps
1920 × 1080; 60i/50i; 17Mbps
1920 × 1080; 24p/25p; 24Mbps
1920 × 1080; 24p/25p; 17Mbps
1440 x 1080; 30p; 12Mbps*
640 x 480; 30p; 3Mbps*
Audio Stereo internal mics, Dolby Digital
Format AVCHD, MOV* (1440 x 1080 and VGA resolution only)
Recordable time 29 min. 59 sec.

Movie mode handling

Movie shooting has a dedicated position on the camera's mode dial or can be initiated using the record button on the rear corner of the camera. Engaging movie recording from a stills mode gives movies in program exposure mode. We found the button a little too easy to knock accidentally, so tended to disable it in the menu.

When the dial is set to movie mode, you can take more control over movie exposure - gaining the options of full aperture or shutter priority and manual control. Thankfully, unlike the SLT cameras (which need to retain a fairly wide-open aperture to be able to use their phase detection AF sensors) the RX1 doesn't have to put restrictions on the working aperture, so can offer autofocus in all movie exposure modes.

Movie focusing

Movie shooting is the only time the camera will attempt continuous focus (AF-C). Its performance is certainly on the conservative side - it refocuses slowly and occasionally feels the need to shift the focus back and forth to re-confirm that it has successfully focused (a common problem with contrast-detection focus systems).

It's possible to use autofocus tracking in video mode, where the camera will try to maintain focus on an object moving within the frame. This isn't tremendously successful - the focus moves at too pedestrian a pace to keep up with even gentle movements of a subject or camera - leaving a pause while the camera's focus catches up with the previous change. However, at least the progression between focus points is subtle, so the footage remains watchable. The only other control you can have over focus in movie mode is to switch to manual focus or set a button as AF/MF Control Hold, so that you can halt its attempts to refocus if you wish.

As for manual focusing, the RX1 is something of a let-down. Magnified live view isn't available when shooting movies, with the consequence that focus peaking isn't either (despite the lower resolution of video making precise focus slightly less critical). The focus distance indicator is also unavailable in movie mode. Instead you have to focus 'by eye' in manual focus mode, essentially ruling-out the likelihood of getting results that live up to the potential of the specifications.

Movie displays

Movie mode offers essentially the same viewing modes as stills shooting, though histogram and QuickNavi display modes are not available (they appear the same as 'No Disp. Info.' and 'Display All Info.' options, respectively if selected).

The field-of-view you get depends on whether you have Movie Steady Shot (the camera's only stabilization option) turned on or off. With stabilization off, movies are taken from the same full-width 16:9 crop that you can use in stills mode. Turn Steady Shot on and the camera uses a tighter crop, presumably to allow information from the cropped-out regions to be used if the camera is shaken.

The movie mode screens are essentially the same as the ones from stills mode.

QuickNavi and Histogram mode aren't available, so are replaced by this screen and the one shown below, if you have them selected as display modes.
The camera uses two different crops for video, depending on whether you have Movie Steady Shot engaged. The preview screen represents the correct crop for the mode you've chosen.

Video quality

The focus limitations of the RX1 (either the rather sedate autofocus or unassisted manual focus) mean it's hard to ensure the video from the camera consistently lives up to what the camera is theoretically capable of. It seems odd to have a camera capable of 1080p60 and to give it an external microphone socket if it's then impossible to guarantee sustained focus on moving subjects - something that is likely to rule-out its use as a portable documentary camera.

Turning the (digital) SteadyShot stabilization on not only changes the camera's field of view, it also adds a slight shimmer to any significant horizontal movement either of the camera or the subject. This is a common interaction between digital stabilization and the rolling shutter effect. It's far from the worst we've seen but it's worth planning your shots to avoid it if you can.

The video quality itself is ok for casual use but the footage is achieved by line skipping so is too prone to moiré and artefacts to be much use to video professionals. Resolution is a tolerable 700 lph, but the likelihood of you getting it into perfect focus and maintaining that is so small that you can't rely on getting this. Reportage photographers hoping to shoot pro-grade footage alongside their stills are likely to be disappointed, but the option to grab clips is there if you want it.

Video Samples

Dpreview is partnering with Vimeo to bring you high-quality embedded video in our test pages, but as always, the original files are available for download from the links beneath the thumbnails. We've turned HD playback on by default for our embedded videos, but depending on the speed of your internet connection, you may get better performance by turning it off.

Video 1

1920x1080 60p, MTS, 16 sec, 45.0 MB Click here to download original file

This video was shot in 1080p60 mode (28mbps compression). With autofocus tracking. The small aperture (F8) the camera has chosen means that most things are in focus. The slight refocusing around 5 seconds into the video is barely noticeable. Sharpness and detail aren't particularly impressive, though.

Video 2

1920x1080 60p, MTS, 10 sec, 26.3 MB Click here to download original file

This video was shot hand-held without stabilization. Despite this, the footage is of similar quality to that of the tripod-mounted sample above. Note the moiré on the truck's radiator grill as it turns the corner. Despite capturing progressive frames (whole-image frames), the lettering on the truck's cab are never clearly visible.

Video 3

1920x1080 60i, MTS, 17 sec, 41.1 MB Click here to download original file

This video was shot at 1080i60 at the camera's 17mbps compression quality. Image stabilization judder and moiré are both clearly visible.

Video 4

1440x1080 30p, MP4, 19 sec, 26.9 MB Click here to download original file

MP4 video, shot at 1440 x 1080p30. Again stabilization judder and moiré are both apparent and resolution is never striking.

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Total comments: 38

I have only one thing to say about this camera: It is a masterpiece.
I have a 5Dmkii with lots of lenses, I have micro four thirds cameras, I have APS-C..... But the skarpness of the pictures from this camera is fantastic. Expensive? Here you get what you pay for - at least.


It's crazy that a camera of this price and status NEVER got a single firmware update from Sony to correct some of its quirks and improve features. It's a scandal they release a camera of this price and caliber and totally abandon it's development. I will NEVER buy another Sony product. Ever! It's no wonder Sony is going down..

1 upvote
absent friend

mate, sony is a leader in the camera market. Sony is going down only because of the smartphones.

1 upvote

From a poster who's name is Nikon and more.


Sony has not much success in the smartphone market either yet that market is booming.


That is my biggest concern with Sony; their After Sales support.


There is a petition for an long overdue firmware update to the RX1 and RX1R:

1 upvote

Anyone used this and the new Leica X type 113? I'd be interested to hear what you thought. I was looking at the Leica and found this but clearly the Leica delivers only APSC/16MP but it does cost less (there's something you don't hear often!!).

I've always fancied a Leica but will go with better performance if justified, which on spec the Sony seems to do...

Max Bancroft

The RX1 does not is in my opinion noticeably suffer from moire. In over 7000 exposures I have come across significant moire once - a product of the scene rather than the camera.
This camera has exceptional dynamic range. Blown highlights are not an issue.

jim seekers

I am about to buy a Sony RX1 as it is £500 cheaper than the Sony RX1R.
but can anyone tell me the following about the Sony RX1 Please.
1. Does The Sony RX1 Suffer from Moire.
2. Does it Suffer From Overblown Highlights as the Sony RX100 Does.
and Remember this is info I need for the RX1 and not the RX1R


With my budget I can only buy the EVF for this camera! Shall I invest in this system by buying the EVF and stop smoking and save money to get the camera later on? God, some people have money!

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting

It is certainly pricey... but then I remember a story passed on by a friend who worked in Africa.

He helps a local village build its first deep well to provided reliably clean drinking water. Stream water is bad because if it is contaminated by animals or human excrement it can cause illnesses that are deadly in those parts of the world. Afterwards a village asked what was on the cover my friend's book (postcard? I can't remember exactly) and he said it was a public fountain, something similar to the well they had just built in a village. The village asked what it as for... and my friend said "well basically it is pretty to look at" and the villager was just against that someone would use water... which is one of precious things in the world to that village (either for irrigation of crops or for drinking) merely for decoration.

Moral of the story... much of the world is aghast at how much money we Americans have. Yet we are always aghast when someone else might have even more money.


Have patience grass hopper... In 3-5 years you will see full frame compacts going for $1200.. Today you can go to Walmart and buy a 55" flat screen for less than $500. Five years ago that same TV was $2200.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting

3 years have passed since the release of the RX1. I don't think any company is a hurry to release a 2000+ dollar compact.

It took barely a year for rangefinder mirrorless cameras to be cloned by other manufacturers. Same with retro-style OMD-like clones. The FF compact is something only Sony is crazy enough to do.


"The main drawbacks stem from the camera's autofocus performance. While not at all bad, it's not fast enough for 'decisive moment' street shooting."

Kind of a strange comment, given that the man who coined that phrase and mastered that style (Henri Cartier-Bresson) shot with a manual focus camera ...


Word, difference is though, he had a great viewfinder, zone focused and didn't care about this new fandangled thing called bokeh. If this had a great MF lens and viewfinder to match, I'd be all over it.


Rod you are dead on but unfortunately many shooters don't understand depth of focus. Leica lenses have almost always had markings for virtually Every aperture. When I first moved to auto-focus I complained to the owner of the professional shop about the lack of markings and he laughed and told me very few even knew what they were for. At least my Nikkor lenses had 4 or 5 . Point being, unquestionably HCB was not walking the streets stressing about focus. But today we are stuck with the autofocus speed of a particular piece, fast or slow. I think this camera has strong appeal, I'm wrestling over the cost for a fixed 35mm lens. Zeiss lenses combined with Sony software offer a camera that can compete very strongly with other major brands.


Thanks. I always wondered who started the decisive moment street scene – Henri Cartier Bresson

Paul Richman

The Leica comparison in the Introduction is dated. Leica now offers the X Vario at basically the same price point, but with a zoom. I prefer it, from the little testing and comparing I've done.

1 upvote

Is "it" the Sony or the Leica?

1 upvote

@ mcshan:

It is a Leica with APS-C sensor and slow lens (F 3.5 - 6.4).

Rooru S

mmmmm Leica with APS-C, slow lens, yes a zoom, but proturdes more than the Sony-Zeiss 35mm F2 Fullframe lens. And let remember again...Fullframe.


f 3.5 to 6.4 ? SLOW isn't even the word :(


why would a working pro consider this camera when they can get a nikon D3100 + a 35mm 1.8 lens for about $500, which will practically do the same thing for a fraction of the cost and still have the option of taking the lens off. And no, Sony is not a better brand than Nikon as far as cameras go and hopefully never will be in my lifetime because most photographers own Canon or Nikon lenses which makes Sony practically on the island of their own. I can't even put my canon flash on this thing so why would I even consider this as my 2nd camera?

It's not like the rx1 will fit into my pocket, I still have to hang it around my neck which makes this camera irrelevant in my opinion as far as compacts go...

This camera is aimed at a rich audience but then again if you have an RX1 and not a Leica M9 than you are not very rich, are you?

Who is the target market here?

I am off to look at Canon S120, that's my next camera I will be buying for my wife to take great family photos and videos.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 8 minutes after posting

A D3100 with 35mm f/1.8 does NOT do the same thing. The Nikon is a 50mm f/2.8 equivalent. To get the equivalent from Nikon you would have to buy a D3100 plus the $2000 Nikon 24mm f/1.4. THAT would be the equivalent of 35mm f/2 on full frame.

That Nikon setup might be marginally cheaper, but is ridiculous in size and balance.

And Zeiss makes much better glass than Nikon. The 35mm f/1.8 from Nikon is a joke of a lens.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting

There is no comparison
Firstly the IQ of this thing is the best there is in the 35mm FF space. That includes dynamic range, ISO performance, colour, etc.
Secondly it is quite small.
Thirdly the shutter is silent, as compared to the DSLR you mention
This really is the best there is. If you don't want, don't need, or can't afford, he best, well that is something else.


Maybe we are not talking about the same camera.. RX1 is a full frame camera....more light enters its sensor, the overall picture quality is far superior in many ways. Nikon D3100 is not even close or comparable to this RX1. Take a look at the image comparisons, it beats out many high end cameras. I'm not going into that thing about which brand is the best, but specifically in this case, Sony has beaten the heck out of any other camera with similar size and class.


Thanks Guys :) When I read the post I got a little annoyed until I scrolled down. I know we're supposed to be "polite" here & I respect that, but there's a lot of misinformation floating around too, and some of it comes from lack of depth in understanding. For laughs, ref my post above re "depth of focus". Beyond all the hype, one issue at point here is still the theoretical differences between SLR & rangefinder. Leica of course started the rangefinder market (for all practical purposes @ least) and even Nikon was first a rangefinder. Even as a stringer for Nat Geo, David Allen Harvey used Leicas for years. It's a niche, for sure, but what a sweet corner to duck into occasionally. Unquestionably there will be working pro's who will want this camera. As a non-pro I'm wrestling between emotion and intellect. But you folks are dead on.

Gabriel Yeo

$4000 for this fixed-lens....This has to be the biggest joke of the year.
At that price, I can buy a real full-frame slr.

1 upvote

when you own one you can comment, I have a 5d3, Fuji xpro1, and this Rx1R.. guess which one is most portable, shoots the best Raw images, and is the most fun to use?


You can also lug around a big camera.


Well, I don't know what the price was when this thread started but it's about $2800 USD today. And of course you can buy a full frame DSLR for $4000, probably just a bit less, but you're talking apples and oranges. The RX1 is essentially a rangefinder style camera, hence the comparisons to the M8 and M9's. Leica now makes an X series, which would actually be a much more accurate comparison to this, & close in price. Granted in today's modern photography the comparison is not 100% accurate, but it's close enough to make a point. This camera is going to have a very strong appeal to shooters-pro or non-who might own or consider a Leica M or X. I think you have to start with an understanding of those products & their history.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting

The JPEG quality rating is below that of even the Fuji x100, & significantly worse than the Fuji x-E1.
So I am not sure How dpreview can say that the the JPEG is one of RX1's pros?

Paul Farace

This is the Erminox of the 21st century! Someday tyros will handle one in a camera show and wonder how a few folks could spend that kind of money for a bauble.

Under The Sun

I think you are missing the white elephant in the room: Leica

Rowland Scherman

The Ermanox changed the history of photography.

Greg Gebhardt

The best of the best for less than the cost of a medium cost Lecia lens!

1 upvote

Indeed, the same price as a summicron 35mm lens only. Actually I think it is cheaper now

Total comments: 38