I finally got my hands on the Sony RX1. Excellent timing since I also have the Fuji X100s here. You might remember I was totally blown away by the RX100, a great street camera (click here for my Paris street shots) AND video camera (click here for the Sandy Hurricane video). Needless to say my expectations for the RX1 were very high. OK, let’s get right to it, my impressions about image quality, handling, responsiveness from my time with the RX1 so far, after the break
Exceptional build and solid feel, we have all read about it, however, the real experience to hold and shoot this little gem is something else, all manual dials and control wheels felt better than most cameras I have used recently and reminded me of my good old Leica M days.
Little things like the feel of the shutter button, the almost inaudible leaf shutter sound which reminded me of another oldie, the fantastic Mamiya 7. The most impressive aperture and macro ring and finally, it is about time, a fly by wire ring mf ring which felt (almost) like on a mf Zeiss lens!
I encountered a few challenges during this photo walk:
Wet snow, flat, white top light, moving subjects.
The LCD is very good and I was comfortable using it most of the time, at certain angles however, the glare was annoying and I would have much preferred a built in EVF.
Which brings us to the auto focus performance, the Achilles heel of the RX1 with non static subjects.
If you have been following my reviews you probably noticed my low tolerance level for crappy af performance. There are just too many cameras out there that get auto focus right. This one doesn’t.
However, in this case, I will make an exception.
I am so impressed with the files, Sony did a fantastic job with the sensor/lens combo, this is not only a FF camera that fits in my pocket, the RX1 is approaching medium format quality ( the bokeh rendering of this lens has a lot to do with it) and if I look at it as a pocketable medium format camera, the af speed is fine for a unique, first generation heavy weight champ in sheep’s clothing.
This does not mean that Sony doesn’t need to address these issues in the RX2:
Here is my wish list for much needed improvement.
A) Auto focus speed.
B) Built in EVF.
C) Interchangeable lens option would be nice.
D) A more direct way to change AF point and focus peaking in non-magnified view!
I hope this can be fixed via firmware on the RX1.
I didn’t have a chance to check out the video yet.
And here are my impressions when shooting with the Fujifilm X100s (link to my first shoot with the X100s):
The Fuji X100s is way more responsive and in AF-C mode, blazing fast, moving subjects during street photography are not a problem!
The built in Hybrid finder is also a huge plus, I am biased of course, I really dig that thing, but even if you don’t care about the OVF you will appreciate the EVF.
The feel of the Fuji X100s, dials and controls is every bit as good as on the RX1 except for the new
scrolling will on the back, it feels too loose.
Menu based Macro mode activation isn’t as straight forward as the ring on the RX1.
Fly by wire manual focus ring feels just as good as on the RX1.
Shutter sound is so low, it practically doesn’t exist.
The lens is very good already wide open and accepts the Fujifilm WCL-X100 Wide-Angle Conversion Lens.
Battery life sucks on the X100s, not a big deal, I have two spares on me when I am out.
ISO, still inflated as with all Fuji X cams (not a practical negative)
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