Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1 Review
Nobody can deny the similarity in design between the new DSC-R1 and 1999's DSC-D700, however lets not linger, a lot has changed in six years. The DSC-R1 has a fairly typical prosumer SLR-like layout, lens on the left with a rounded rear profile, a large hand grip with a prominent shutter release. Personally I find the protruding viewfinder and oversized top plate (which houses the LCD monitor) leave the camera looking a little awkward.
Some features which make the DSC-R1 unique are the top mounted LCD monitor and EVF assembly, also new to Sony prosumer digital cameras is the rear command wheel which is located to be right under your thumb (which functions as exposure compensation in shooting mode). The body is constructed from a thick plastic material with a metal sub-structure.
Side by side
As you can see from the image below the DSC-R1 is approximately the same height as Canon's EOS 350D (Digital Rebel XT) and about 10 mm (0.5 in) wider. The biggest difference is in weight, the DSC-R1's impressive 24-120 mm equiv. lens means that it weighs in about 270 g (9.5 oz) heavier than the EOS 350D with its kit lens, don't forget however that you're getting a much more impressive zoom range (24 - 120 mm vs. 28.8 - 88 mm) and a faster lens on the DSC-R1.
+ Lens equiv. FOV (kit)
(W x H x D)
(battery, card, kit lens)
|Canon EOS 350D
28.8 - 88 mm equiv. (3x)
|127 x 94 x 64 mm
(5.0 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
|724 g (1.6 lb)|
35 - 420 mm equiv. IS (12x)
|141 x 86 x 138 mm
(5.5 x 3.4 x 5.4 in)
|740 g (1.6 lb)|
27 - 82.5 mm equiv. (3x)
|133 x 102 x 76 mm
(5.2 x 4.0 x 3.0 in)
|828 g (1.8 lb)|
28-200 mm equiv. (7.1x)
|134 x 91 x 156 mm
(5.3 x 3.6 x 6.1 in)
|906 g (2.0 lb)|
28 - 90 mm equiv. (3.2x)
|147 x 85 x 64 mm
(5.8 x 3.4 x 2.5 in)
|911 g (2.0 lb)|
24 - 120 mm equiv. (5x)
|139 x 97 x 168 mm
(5.5 x 3.8 x 6.6 in)
|995 g (2.2 lb)|
In your hand
Considering it's only a little wider and higher than the Canon EOS 350D (Digital Rebel XT) the DSC-R1 feels large in your hand, the grip is big and deep (some may find it a little too deep) and the entire camera feels weighty and solid. Build quality and finish are very good, the DSC-R1 certainly feels purposeful. Most of the camera's weight is on the left side (there's a lot of glass) so it's natural to support the lens barrel with your left hand.
The DSC-R1 has a really unique LCD monitor, mounted on the top of the camera it can flip-up and twist through 270 degrees. Usually it would be folded flat (as shown in the first image below), flip it up to enable LCD view and it can be used in a range of different positions. This also facilitates a fairly interesting waist-level 'medium format like' shooting option. The 2.0" screen has a very good anti-reflective coating and appears bright and sharp, it's also transreflective which means it works just as well in direct sunlight.
It just didn't work for me
This is a nice LCD monitor, but I'll be honest and say that in all my time with the camera I never could get used to its location. There's something strange about trying to frame with the LCD above the shooting axis, and I found it even worse in the portrait position. I did try using it for 'waist level' photography where it works as long as it's not in direct light. But frankly I found myself using the EVF nine times out of ten, and it's no substitute for a proper Optical TTL viewfinder (as per a D-SLR).
Below the EVF is a switch marked 'Finder / Auto / LCD', when in the Auto position the camera will use the LCD monitor if it is folded out unless you move close to the EVF (a proximity sensor). On slight frustration I had in Auto mode was that it seemed a little too sensitive, it was too easy to loose the LCD display because you had accidentally covered the EVF.
Monitor modes (LCD and EVF)
You can choose between FRAMING or PREVIEW monitor modes. In FRAMING mode the camera attempts to always produce an image bright and clear with which to frame the shot. In PREVIEW mode the image you see is most representative of the final shot (taking into account the final exposure). PREVIEW mode can be most useful in aperture priority where it effectively gives you a live depth of field preview, as you change the aperture you see the effect on depth of field instantly. Note you can't use FRAMING mode with manual focus.
Using the EVF all the time
As I mentioned above I did find myself using the EVF almost all the time, because I couldn't get used to the LCD monitor location. At first you find yourself using it like a D-SLR, looking through the EVF to frame and shoot then looking for the LCD monitor on the back of the camera to see the record review, of course there isn't an LCD on the back. This camera could have been so great with a proper Optical TTL viewfinder (yes, that would mean a prism and mirror) and normal LCD monitor on the back. I also found the image view through the EVF noticeably darker than you would get from a normal optical viewfinder.
In the bottom of the camera's hand grip is the battery compartment. The door opens by pushing it forwards, it moves on a metal hinge and is sprung. The DSC-R1 uses a fairly common Sony battery, the NP-FM50 Lithium-Ion which provides 1200 mAh at 7.2 V (8.5 Wh). The battery charges in-camera when attached to the supplied AC adapter/charger unit. I really wish Sony had switched to external battery charger (they have one, the BC-TRM), the AC-in terminal isn't in a convenient place and the AC adapter itself is bulky.
Dec 6, 2005
Sep 8, 2005
Dec 2, 2008
Dec 2, 2008
|Rocks at Dawn by phucthang|
from The Rock
|Sarlat, France by poppyjk|
from Your City - Dinertime!
|Double Eagle by herbymel|
|Great White Egret vs Lizard by jose garcia|
from Strong - Weak
Fujifilm recently unveiled the second in its series of affordable cine lenses, the MK50-135mm T2.9. We got our hands on it for a couple days and took it for a spin.
Leica's first attempt at an M-series digital rangefinder was rough around the edges, but set a pattern for all of the cameras that came after it. In this week's Throwback Thursday, Barney remembers the M8.
No stranger to extreme situations, legendary climber and filmmaker Jimmy Chin talks to Outside Magazine about his career, and the challenge of filming Alex Honnold's rope-free solo climb of El Capitain.
A company backed by Android co-founder Andy Rubin is attempting to make video conferencing less terrible.
Rangefinder magazine asked five professional portrait and wedding photographers about posting on Instagram; no surprise, they got five different answers.
This captivating stop motion film was created by stripping away one layer of wood at a time. It's hard to look away.
It will enable users to simulate the presence of the sun, moon and Milky Way and see how they interact with an area's topography.
Since its introduction in November last year Instagram's live streaming feature has been used by millions, but videos could not be archived for watching at a later stage. A new update has now added the capability.
CopyTrack's study also found that the second most-stolen image is a woman wearing painted jeans. That's apparently a thing.
Forget expensive lenses with fancy coatings and special lens elements – photographer Robin de Puy took these portraits using just a water drop for a lens.
Adobe reports a record quarterly revenue of $1.77 billion for the second quarter fiscal year 2017 ended June 2, 2017.
Zeiss says its new lens is particularly suited for portrait photography but also a good all-rounder and can be used in video applications.
We present to you the top photos from the Kennel Club's 2017 Dog Photographer of the Year photo contest – take a look at 10 of the award-winning puppers.
In case you were looking for any more inspiration to go fly one.
Following a couple of successful Kickstarter campaigns, Videre 35mm's creator has re-tooled the camera with sturdier components and a simpler user assembly process.
The two hour long video covers everything an aspiring drone pilot needs to know.
This is what happens when a Canon 17-85mm F4-5.6 lens meets 60,000 PSI of water pressure. Spoiler Alert: the water jet always wins.
Andrew Harnik discusses the challenges – and rewarding moments – of a career making images for the Associated Press in his native DC.
The VMic Pro, VMic Recorder and VMic microphones are targeted at DSLR users who want to record high-quality audio.
While our full OnePlus 5 review is underway, we've put together a sample gallery with images that were taken with both the wide-angle and tele lens in a variety of lighting situations.
The OnePlus 5 main camera comes with a 1/2.8" 16MP Sony IMX 398 sensor and a fast F1.7 aperture. It is supported by a 2x tele-module featuring a 20MP 1/2.8" Sony IMX 350 sensor and F2.6 aperture.
In this video, Vincent Laforet explains why the RED 8K Weapon camera has mostly replaced his still cameras, and it's not all about resolution.
Dupe, Dupe Negative is not a pop song, and Newton's Rings are not NASA's next destination. If you've ever wondered what all that film terminology means, Kodak has you covered.
Fujifilm's X-A3 is the company's only offering to use a new 24MP sensor without their trademark X-Trans color filter array. We've had it out and about with a variety of lenses to see how it compares.
If you thought Nikon had the market cornered on expensive commemorative products, we've got news for you.
The simple drag-and-drop web app reveals the Lightroom edits applied to any JPEG, along with its associated EXIF data, provided that metadata is intact.
Danish photographers Ulrik Hasemann and Mathias Svold spent time documenting the 75,000 refugees currently in Serbia's capitol city. Most are young men from conflict zones in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
It takes a highly-skilled drone operator to execute a video like this in one take.
According to a report by Nikkei Ricoh is facing its biggest crisis ever and will have to cut costs in order to survive.
Air Koryo started flying in 1952, and much of its current fleet still dates from the 1960s. Danish commercial photographer Arthur Mebius has taken 24 flights on some of its oldest airplanes, so you don't have to.