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Displays and operation

The RX1's interface has most in common with that of the A99 full-frame SLT. It has fewer direct control buttons than that camera, but the five customizable buttons mean that you can easily get to most of the settings you need to engage with.

In addition, the RX1 has a dedicated aperture ring and an exposure compensation dial, meaning the thumb dial at the top right of the camera's rear only has to control shutter speed in M- and S-modes. Beyond this it controls program-shift in P mode. The four-way control dial consequently has little to do, beyond navigating the menus.

In playback mode both dials are well used in playback mode though - both are used for scrolling between images until you hit the AEL/Magnify button, at which point the four-way dial controls zooming in and out, while the thumb dial continues to scroll between images, while retaining the chosen level of zoom. This makes it very easy to skip back and forth between images to check focus on a particular detail.

Record display modes

There are five main display modes that can be used either on the rear screen or the optional electronic viewfinder, with a sixth mode (Quick Navi) reserved for the rear LCD. A menu setting allows you to select which display modes are available when shooting. Pressing the DISP button cycles through the selected modes. A different set of modes can be defined for the rear screen and the viewfinder.

It's worth noting that the DISP settings are some of the only ones that require confirmation before taking effect - quit the menu by pressing the shutter button, rather than the Menu button and the settings won't be registered.

There are six different views available on the camera's rear display, five of which have equivalents when using the viewfinder. The views available for the EVF and rear display can be defined separately.

Function menu and Quick Navi

The camera's primary interface is the Fn menu, available from five of the camera's display modes. Pressing the Fn button sees thirteen icons appear down the sides of the screen, with the last changed setting highlighted in orange. The positions of these icons are consistent with their positions in the 'Display All Info.' display mode.

This menu can be navigated using the four-way controller. If you want to see all the available options for each parameter then pressing the central button takes you to a dedicated screen for each. Alternatively you can use the four-way dial to cycle through the options without leaving the Fn menu. Parameters with sub-settings, such as the different levels of DRO, can be adjusted from the Fn menu using the thumb dial, which becomes very quick, once you're familiar with the trick.

Pressing the Fn button brings up a standard Sony function menu. (So standard that it's got a space left where AF drive mode icon would appear, were that not set by a dial on the front of the camera).

Most of the camera's main settings are arranged down either side of the screen and can be adjusted in either of two ways:
Pressing the center button takes you off to a dedicated screen for each parameter and includes a list of available options.
Alternatively, once you're familiar with the options, you can spin the four-way dial on the back of the camera and it'll scroll through the options without leaving the Fn menu screen.

Sub-options, such as the extent of DRO or HDR can be adjusted using the thumb dial.
The Quick Navi display mode works in essentially the same manner. The settings are already shown on the screen of course and, unless you're using the options EVF, you'll probably have to press DISP to get to this screen from a viewing mode that actually shows you what the camera's doing.

Once here, pressing the Fn button makes the panel 'active' - highlighting the selected setting in orange, just as with the standard Fn menu.
Again, from here you can change a setting either by turning the four-way dial or by pressing the center button to visit a dedicated screen.

It's worth noting that the Quick Navi screen includes more parameters than the standard function menu - we'd really like to see this screen accessible as a Fn menu, rather than a display mode.

The sixth display mode - available only on the main screen - is Sony's resurrected 'Quick Navi' interactive control panel. As with the SLT-A99, the intention is that this screen is used in conjunction with an electronic viewfinder - recreating a pre-liveview-DSLR experience. The Quick Navi screen shows all the camera's settings, arguably more clearly than the Fn menu and allows more of them (including Image quality) to be adjusted without needing to visit the main menus.

Pressing the Fn button from Quick Navi mode activates the panel, allowing you to navigate around the screen and adjust settings just as you can in the normal Fn menu (only with 16 options, rather than 13). We found Quick Navi a nicer way of operating the RX1, even without the electronic viewfinder and even though it means scrolling through the other available display modes before reaching it. We'd really like it to be an option to replace the Fn menu, rather than as a combined display mode/Fn menu.

Playback mode displays

The RX1's playback display modes are pretty conventional, with the exception of its insistence on separating stills, MP4 and AVCHD video. Switching between the three file types can be achieved either via the main menu or from a tab on the corner of the thumbnail view. It's a rather annoying way of coping with the camera's need to put its image and AVCHD files in different locations. Still more annoying is the camera's insistence of playing back all its video clips as a continuous run of footage - with the risk that the camera has moved on to the next clip if you try to delete while it's playing.

There are three playback views - full screen, full screen with basic info overlaid or a full info screen with histograms and highlight/shadow 'blinkies' on a small thumbnail.

The playback options are pretty basic - the full-screen view works well to get an impression for how the shot has worked out. The playback image rotates in response to you turning the camera but this can be switched off if you're rather the images simply retaining their native rotation and taking up the whole screen.

There's still the slightly disappointing lag between pressing the magnification button and anything happening, though this seems to depend on the capacity of the SD card used. It would also be nice to have the option to see the highlight and shadow warnings on a full-screen view but, other than this, the system is simple and effective.

Pressing the AEL/Magnify button zooms in. Rotating the four-way dial changes the magnification while the thumb dial jumps between images. Pressing either the center button or the AEL button jumps back to full-size view.
Pressing the Fn/Thumbnail button jumps out to a 2x2 thumbnail view with a file-type tab on the left. The four way dial scrolls through individual images, the thumb dial jumps up or down by four images. Pressing Fn or the center button returns to full-size view.
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Comments

Total comments: 30
Dylthedog

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...

0 upvotes
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.

0 upvotes
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

0 upvotes
moji

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

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

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
4 upvotes
jrlosangeles

"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 ...

4 upvotes
RodluvanII

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.

2 upvotes
mtsporty

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.

2 upvotes
1486CF0C80AA47A4AB757729847DF085

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

0 upvotes
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.

0 upvotes
mcshan

Is "it" the Sony or the Leica?

1 upvote
avronaut

@ mcshan:

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

0 upvotes
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.

0 upvotes
mtsporty

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

0 upvotes
Marksphoto

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

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
4 upvotes
harold1968

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.

3 upvotes
Raonisk

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.

2 upvotes
mtsporty

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

$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

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?

3 upvotes
mcshan

You can also lug around a big camera.

0 upvotes
mtsporty

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

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

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

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

0 upvotes
Rowland Scherman

The Ermanox changed the history of photography.

0 upvotes
Greg Gebhardt

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

1 upvote
harold1968

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

0 upvotes
Total comments: 30