Count down to the arrival of the Sony RX1, a dream come true, part 1

Count down to the arrival of the Sony RX1, a dream come true, part 1


I went to the PDN photo plus expo specifically with one camera in mind, the (preorder here) Sony RX1, all shots properly snapped with the Sony RX100, my absolute favorite pocket camera do date. More photos and a few thoughts on this unique camera after the break

There is a big difference between staring at a camera on screen or holding it in your hand.

It normalizes things, sobers one up. Like trying on a new pair of running shoes, it feels right or it doesn’t and you know it right away. Ignoring initial signals will most likely lead to pain and discomfort on your next long run. First impressions with a new camera aren’t much different, just replace pain and discomfort with irritation during and after every use. No one to blame but yourself because you ignored those initial signals, rationalized them away. Of course this only applies to folks who use their running shoes for running and cameras to take lots of pictures with.


The Sony RX1 body is hardly bigger then the RX100 and that is nothing short of amazing for a full frame camera.
Although the samples displayed where non functioning prototypes I could get a pretty good idea if I would like it or not, assuming there are no shutter lag/AF issues. Looking through the CZ optical view finder was a crystal clear experience with slight distortions and I know I won’t be getting one.
The camera felt just right in my medium sized hands and control dials and buttons were in the right place. I was a little disappointed to realize the size of the lens, especially with the lens hood attached. It will not fit into my pockets, your mileage may vary, I know of someone who carries his Canon 5D3 with the pancake like I carry my RX100.


The built quality is on a very high level and as I admired the beautiful Sonnar 35mm f2 T* it hypnotized me back to the analog days when I was shooting with the Leica and Hasselblad-zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
So what attracts me most to this camera besides its size?
1) the silent leaf shutter (and extremely high flash sync)
2) base ISO 100-25600 AND image stabilization (video only)

I haven’t made up my mind about the fixed lens yet, you see, back in the film days, I would be perfectly okay with the one lens forever approach, but that was then and now is now :).

Dreaming about the RX1 Pro and RX1Z.

Primes are all the rage these days (for good reasons) and I am all for a version with interchangeable leaf shutter lenses, despite the added cost to each lens for the built in shutter. Three lenses is all I need, a compact CZ Biogon 21mm f 4.5, a Sonnar 35mm f2 or a CZ Planar 50mm f1.7 (not a typo, I would prefer a 1.7 over a 1.4 for weight savings) and a CZ Macro Planar 100mm f2.

The other option I would like to see and preorder right away is a RX1Z with a collapsible CZ Vario Sonnar 24-85mm F3.5-4.5 with leaf shutter. Some of you might not get too excited about this configuration but to me this would be the nonplus-ultra street and no nonsense back up camera for professional assignments.

For many of us the price puts the RX1 out of reach. Alternatives? There are currently no alternatives because this gem has a full frame sensor and is hardly bigger then a point and shoot.
Although, I could see the Fuji X E1 with the 35mm 1.4 as a possible option, but I am comparing oranges to apples here.
I am curious to hear your thoughts on the RX1, alternatives and dreams.

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14 thoughts on “Count down to the arrival of the Sony RX1, a dream come true, part 1

  1. Lainer

    Love the idea of a zoom on this, but I wouldn’t buy it because it is fixed right now. Also, no OVF or EVF. So, it’s a deal breaker for me. I’ll keep my Fuji X-E1. Love the idea of a zoom though.

  2. Andrew

    I love the RX1, and would like to get one, but all the talk of a full frame NEX system also piques my interest. I’ll wait and see on this one, it’s very costly for something that’ll be obsolete in a couple of years.

  3. Jim Meyer

    Hi Mike,
    I like your idea of a 24-85 zoom lens. I have an R-1 that I bought in 2005, and it has this lens – excellent. Sharp from edge to edge, contrasty. I also like the EVF because it tilts up and makes tripod work much easier. (I currently have an NEX-5n with the external EVF and I love it.) This would be a great landscape camera. After the R-1, I always hoped Sony would bring it up to date with the latest in sensor technology and make it smaller. I would buy one in a heartbeat.
    Jim Meyer

  4. Pingback: Pics of the “new” RX1! | sonyalpharumors

  5. mike.kobal Post author

    thanks Bob! I am sure you know there is an external EVF, too expensive imho, one thing I like about it though is the 90degree tilt option since there is no articulated screen, lets hope the camera sell extremely well and for a successor with built in EVF, interchangeable lenses/or high quality zoom

  6. bob

    Mike: first of all I have to say I love your blog and photography. I too am toying with the idea of getting the RX1. The lack of viewfinder is the one thing still holding me back from ordering one

  7. mike.kobal Post author

    Hi Ron, I agree, we need one with an EVF. I don’t think we will see anything like theMamiya 6 or 7 with a huge sensor but the RX full frame could nicely fill that niche.

  8. Ron Greer

    Hi Mike; What stops me from buying one is the lack of a viewfinder. I have a RX100 and Nex 7. The RX100 response and feel is a nice improvement over the Nex 7 but the lack of a viewfinder really bugs me. The fixed lens on the RX1 I could live with, although interchangeable would be preferred.

    I’m assuming this is only the start and that within a year Sony will have a version with an evf (and interchangeable lenses), and I’m also thinking Fuji must be working on a similar camera.

    P.S. what I’m really looking for is a digital replacement for my aging Mamiya 6. Mamiya could even use the same lenses. Now that would be an amazing camera.

  9. JoHNHl134

    Mike: I have one preordered with Amazon Germany, I too would be interested in a zoom version, the thing is the Copal shutter or whatever Sony is using might not work with it and they would have to revert to a curtain shutter and loose high speed sync…and the size would increase drastically if one can take the orig lens as some sort of measure

  10. mike.kobal Post author

    Yes, my mistake, corrected, only in video mode, thanks for pointing it out, Mike. I used the two lens adapters for the E mount 16mm pancake, really liked them actually, especially for video, since most of the blurry extreme corners were cropped out by being in 9:16 mode , the center was quite sharp. I really liked it on the 5N, not so much on the Nex 7-for photos, that is. I can imagine it to be quite a challenge to design high quality lens adapters for the RX1 with the current lens.

  11. Mike

    Hey Mike – I thought image stabilization was only available for video?

    Myself I wouldn’t mind at all a RX1 with a fast Zeiss 85 or a 100 Macro Planar, or a 25mm patterned after the Zeiss Biogon ZM25/2.8 which I use today as a faux 35mm on APS-C.

    If not new RX cameras with different focal lengths, how about high quality lens adapters to go up front? It seems the one wide angle adapter for the Fujifilm X100 is generally liked. Maybe Sony/Zeiss considered this in the design too… a couple of relatively small lens adapters would round out a RX1 kit nicely, if not for all users, probably for quite a few.

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