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Controls

Despite looking like bigger brother to the excellent RX100 and having a very similar feature set, the RX1 has a rather different control system. The direct control of aperture (the effect of which is more meaningful on a larger sensor camera) and exposure compensation means there's less to be done through the on-screen interface - making the shooting experience more engaging.

The RX1 offers a good amount of external controls, and with 5 customizable buttons which can each be assigned to any one out of 26 functions, you can tailor the user interface to your specific needs. The primary customizable controls are the 'C' button on the top of the camera, along with the AEL button on the rear of the camera, since these can easily be reached during shooting. Meanwhile it's also possible to assign functions to the left, right and downward position on the four-way controller.

The major control elements of the camera can be found in three areas - on the right side of the top plate, on the lens barrel and to the right of the LCD screen on the back of the camera.

Lens Controls

The RX1's 35mm lens offers three control rings. The aperture ring offers click stops, but there is no direct mechanical connection to the aperture blades - the camera can happily set its aperture independently of the ring's position when used in P or S modes. Nevertheless the dial's operation feels very nice, with very well defined clicks, pretty much the same as on a mechanical lens.

The second ring lets you adjust the minimum focus distance, which basically makes it a macro-mode switch. The third ring, the furthest form the lens mount, is the focus ring. It's nicely dampened and moves very smoothly, but has no mechanical connection to the focus elements of the lens as the RX1 uses a focus-by-wire system, which we'll look at in more depth later.

Top Controls

In addition to the standard PASM modes, the mode dial on the RX1 offers Auto, Scene, Sweep Panorama and movie modes. The Auto position can be set so that it either enters Intelligent Auto mode (which selects an appropriate scene mode to use), or Superior Auto, which will also invoke multi-shot modes such as HDR if necessary. There are also three user-definable custom modes.

Directly to the right you find the shutter button with a threaded connection for a cable release. The power switch is a ring placed around the shutter button. The right edge of the top-plate is the location of the exposure compensation dial which allows you adjust exposure by up to +/- 3EV. The tiny 'C'-button above the exposure compensation dial is customizable and can be set to any of the following 27 functions:

Drive Mode Flash Mode Autofocus Area
Soft Skin Effect Smile/Face Detection Auto Portrait Framing
ISO Metering Mode Flash Compensation
White Balance DRO/Auto HDR Creative Style
Picture Effect Image Size Aspect Ratio
Quality AEL Hold * AEL Toggle
AEL Hold (Spot Metering)* AEL Toggle (Spot Metering) AF/MF Control hold*
AF/MF Control toggle Smart Teleconverter Zoom Focus Magnifier (for MF)
Memory Deactivate the LCD Not Set

* Not available for the left, right or down positions on the four-way control dial

Rear Controls

On the camera rear you have the flash and play buttons above the screen. The control dial at the top adjusts shutter speed in S-mode and Program Shift in P mode. To the right of the screen you've got the AEL-button, the Fn-button to enter the Function menu, and at the bottom the MENU and Delete buttons. In the middle of it all is the 4-way controller/dial with center button.

The AEL button and the right, left and downwards positions of the 4-way controller can all be customized to control most of the same functions that are available on the 'C'-button (see table above). The only functions that can't be assigned to the four-way controller are the three 'hold' options, that require you to hold the button down to retain the effect. These can only be assigned to the 'AEL' and 'C' buttons that are more convenient to hold down when your hand is in the shooting position.

Hands-on Preview video *

* Note that this video was prepared at the time of the RX1's launch - focus peaking has been removed from movie mode since this point

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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1

Comments

Total comments: 25
moji
By moji (5 months ago)

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
0 upvotes
LegacyGT
By LegacyGT (5 months ago)

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.

3 upvotes
jburrows500
By jburrows500 (3 months ago)

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
2 upvotes
jrlosangeles
By jrlosangeles (6 months ago)

"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 ...

2 upvotes
RodluvanII
By RodluvanII (6 months ago)

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.

1 upvote
mtsporty
By mtsporty (4 months ago)

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.

1 upvote
Paul Richman
By Paul Richman (7 months ago)

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.

0 upvotes
mcshan
By mcshan (6 months ago)

Is "it" the Sony or the Leica?

1 upvote
avronaut
By avronaut (6 months ago)

@ mcshan:

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

0 upvotes
Rooru S
By Rooru S (6 months ago)

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.

0 upvotes
mtsporty
By mtsporty (4 months ago)

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

0 upvotes
Marksphoto
By Marksphoto (7 months ago)

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
0 upvotes
Mike99999
By Mike99999 (6 months ago)

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
3 upvotes
harold1968
By harold1968 (6 months ago)

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.

2 upvotes
Raonisk
By Raonisk (6 months ago)

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.

1 upvote
mtsporty
By mtsporty (4 months ago)

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.

0 upvotes
Gabriel Yeo
By Gabriel Yeo (7 months ago)

$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
shawnfb
By shawnfb (7 months ago)

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?

2 upvotes
mcshan
By mcshan (6 months ago)

You can also lug around a big camera.

0 upvotes
mtsporty
By mtsporty (4 months ago)

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
0 upvotes
UnitedNations
By UnitedNations (8 months ago)

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?

0 upvotes
Paul Farace
By Paul Farace (8 months ago)

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.

0 upvotes
Under The Sun
By Under The Sun (1 month ago)

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

0 upvotes
Greg Gebhardt
By Greg Gebhardt (8 months ago)

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

1 upvote
harold1968
By harold1968 (6 months ago)

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

0 upvotes
Total comments: 25