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Sony RX1--full frame fixed lens compact
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Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Sony RX1--full frame fixed lens compact on 10/13/2012 17:47:31 MDT Print View

The Nikon D800 with a 35mmF2 is more than twice as heavy (1100g vs 482g) and about four times the volume of the Sony.
Hardly comparable...

Its ok for a magazine(maybe), but not something you would hang on the wall.
That is simply because you think that having everything in focus is all there is to photography (or your photography)
A lot great images (photo and paintings) use selective focusing to convey the intended message.
But , yes, like any form of art in the end you chose.

here are a couple of shots from someone that obviously likes and knows how to use shallow depth of field :
Ryan Who 1
Ryan Who 2

This guy, Ryan Jordan, used to be a member here or something so I thought I could just steal a couple of shots from his blog.

PS You are talking to a guy that has sold cameras to pros for 30 years...
up to 6x9 but I do have a bit of an idea of what large format is all about

Edited by Franco on 10/13/2012 18:41:32 MDT.

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Sony RX1--full frame fixed lens compact on 10/13/2012 19:41:57 MDT Print View

I would say off hand that most go for FF photography for 5 reason, non of which are DoF. (In no particular order)

1) Bright OVP(A very real reason)
2) Dual Card Slots(A very real reason)
3) Ease of Vertical Shooting
4) Auto Focus speed, continuous shooting, buffer size
5) Cave Man, beat my chest, lookie what I got, I must be a pro now! After all, pocket cams are just as good if not far better than older FF digital cameras today. Those FF pictures back then were all touted as "artsy awesome shots and attributed to the camera" while today folks tend to deride small cams which certainly were derided for good reason. Most photogs, or wanna be photogs, think they are all artsy when in reality just effete snobs who for some reason take a particular like to one facet. Most think the camera makes them good photographers when its the composition and the lens, and the sensor makes little to no difference at all. Uh, hem, not saying I am a great photographer, but I can appreciate good composition when I see it, and know what it takes to obtain said picture. None of which IMO require a FF sensor. If you really want DoF shallow, go with medium Format. Personally, I see FF as a dead sensor size as it doesn't give advantages over APS-C which already allows you fairly extreme iso now and will only get better.

DoF can be obtained with smaller sensor cams. Its all about the lens and always has been and always will be. The recording medium is just a crutch/excuse for poor composition or poor quality lenses.

PS. Seems you can't read as I was not saying take a d800 packing. Though, why not, its not that heavy.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Sony RX1--full frame fixed lens compact on 10/13/2012 20:53:12 MDT Print View

There are two separate issues here , one is a specific product , the Sony RX1, the other is FF.
Very simply there is no other camera in the same category as this Sony.
Not in the weight nor form factor ...

As for FF
Lets have a look at the 5 reasons listed by Brian :

1) Bright OVP(A very real reason)
2) Dual Card Slots(A very real reason)
3) Ease of Vertical Shooting
4) Auto Focus speed, continuous shooting, buffer size
5) Cave Man, beat my chest,

can't comment on the first one because I have no idea what OVP is , the other are valid but there are more often quoted( by users) reasons:
1) image quality (same reason folk bought an Hasselblad rather than a Canon/Nikon 20 years ago)
2) lens availability. The two major brands have dozens of lenses that work with their FF bodies, Sony is not far behind.
3) Low light performance *
4)wider angle lenses
5) brighter lenses (wider aperture lenses)
This does not apply to people that never use selective focusing however when you shoot at F11 with an F2.8 lens your viewfinder will still be brighter than shooting at F11 with a F4.5 lens..
So some buy wide aperture lenses to focus and compose not unnecessarily to shoot at full aperture.

* Low light performance is a combined effort of the bigger sensor as well as the wider aperture lenses available.
You can make "bright" lenses for any format however because of volume or size it isn't practical for most formats.

The peculiar part about compacts (small sensors) cameras is that in theory because it is easy to get an all in focus image you should be able to get those Ansel Adams type shots, in reality they suck at that because they cannot resolve well enough fine details found in grass,leaves and waves.
And that is the reason why the Group F64 (Ansel Adams and mates) shot using large format (comperad to 35mm as the small format then) and at F64 , to get both great detail and great deph of field.

Edited by Franco on 10/13/2012 23:46:05 MDT.

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Sony RX1--full frame fixed lens compact on 10/14/2012 00:28:41 MDT Print View

OVP... How did my fumble fingers hit P instead of F? =)

You don't see me throwing my medium format lenses away... If only I was rich enough to obtain a MF back. Ah, Dreams and back to shooting at F48.

Erm regarding small sensors, the resolution is there, its just that they regularly do not put top notch glass in front of them. The smaller the sensor the better the glass required. Therefore from a bigger sensor cheaper glass can be used obtaining the same resolution. So instead said sensors get crippled due to diffraction. Right now we are indeed to the point that small sensors can outresolve the glass in front of them and obtaining higher resolution will require a larger sensor or diamond lenses. Hmm which one will happen first... Yea, Diamond lenses! Uh, no that won't happen anytime soon. I see guys trying 1" sensors... Probably very near the sweet spot for what the average Joe really wants and what good glass can resolve. Just waiting for SN ratio of said smaller sensors to increase obtaining dynamic range and color fidelity.

Reminds me of the D800 and its 32Mpix. Its frankly useless resolution unless you have a dead steady tripod and very good glass. Same with 24Mpix cams. True at any resolution/camera, but its exacerbated the higher your resolution.

Eventually the silicon on small sensors will have same Signal to Noise ratio equivalence as what is obtained with larger sensors today. Frankly IMO, sensors of APS-C are more than adequate for 99.999% of what is desired from anyone today. Give it 2 years(or less) and m4/3 with half the silicon area will surpass that of APS-C today. We already see this in that m4/3 easily parallels any(FF) old camera from 5 years ago, and 12mpix 1/7th sensors etc have better or equivalent dynamic range and color space as FF 8 year old cameras baring the outlier of the Fuji S5 pro. Won't be long till the small sensors have equivalent dynamic range and color fidelity as APS-C does today. It is already way past the point that unless you are shooting RAW you may as well be using a P&S compact camera in regards to dynamic range, just folks put crappy alogrithims in most of these small sensor cams so they blow the highlights. Those folks who do, have a very good camera, like the Canon G series and the Fuji cams. From my experiences playing with my "measly" 16mpix Pentax K-5 and its 14 stops of dynamic range, it is equivalent and frankly vastly superior to 4x5 film, let alone 35mm. The only place 4x5 still has it beat is in Total resolution in a single picture, though not really. Now cams like the Nex-7 have this ability at half the weight! Of course with stitching, the only folks who need super high resolution single frame cameras are those who do flower photography or other highly detailed motion photography that one wishes to blow up wall sized.

Oh yea, there is one other reason to go with FF, Tilt Shift lenses. Though personally I have not tried to adapt a tilt shift onto a APS-C. Don't know why it wouldn't work.

PS. Personally I find the super super wide angle lenses useless due to the advent of stitching seamlessly and dead pipe simple software to use. Add in the fact that distortion is likewise eliminated this way, though that too can be corrected in computer, though it still looks weird to my eyes for some reason.(Biased I guess)

PPS. All of the above is pretty pointless to those wishing to take landscape photography pictures, other than we the end backpacking consumer get smaller cameras with the ability to take amazing pictures equivalent to that of film(still haven't really surpassed film though in some instances using RAW we have) without all the hassle of film.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Sony RX1--full frame fixed lens compact on 10/14/2012 01:40:58 MDT Print View

All those words just to say that your assumptions for the reason why folk buy an FF cameras were wrong ?
Good grief.

"Dreams and back to shooting at F48."

How about F45 ?
(see I CAN read)

Edited by Franco on 10/14/2012 02:16:28 MDT.

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Sony RX1--full frame fixed lens compact on 10/14/2012 16:21:26 MDT Print View

Reading comprehension seems to be your bane...

All those words were additional reasons why FF is a dead format.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Sony RX1--full frame fixed lens compact on 10/14/2012 16:49:57 MDT Print View

And you just confirmed that you don't have a clue...
Photog (never heard a photographer use that version..)
and now FF =Dead format...
The problem is you confuse what you know and like with what happens outside your basement.

(Your long diatribe was just a way to obfuscate the facts.
That might have worked for you but does nothing for me...
The facts are that you totally missed the advantages of the FF format).

Edited by Franco on 10/14/2012 16:59:01 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Sony RX1--full frame fixed lens compact on 10/14/2012 17:12:16 MDT Print View

Franco, I think you are confusing him with the facts.


Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Sony RX1--full frame fixed lens compact on 10/14/2012 18:15:52 MDT Print View

Funny thing is that FF killed the medium format.

Sure Hasselblad is still hanging on but not as a profitable camera maker, in fact if it weren't for Fujifilm it would be dead too.

Now Bob, go and practice your hyperfocal distance settings so that everything in all of your shots is in perfect focus...

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Sony RX1--full frame fixed lens compact on 10/14/2012 18:29:29 MDT Print View

"Now Bob, go and practice your hyperfocal distance settings so that everything in all of your shots is in perfect focus..."

Yeah, sure. Try that with an 800mm lens and an extension tube.


Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Sony RX1--full frame fixed lens compact on 10/14/2012 18:49:12 MDT Print View


Edited by rmjapan on 06/19/2015 08:20:18 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Sony RX1--full frame fixed lens compact on 10/14/2012 19:01:57 MDT Print View

"I bet Galen Rowell would not find the fixed lens limiting and would find a place for it in his waistpack!"

Galen Rowell was more of a Nikon user.


Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Sony RX1--full frame fixed lens compact on 10/14/2012 21:52:54 MDT Print View

Time was there were no "serious" slr zoom alternatives to the vast collection of excellent primes in the day. Zoom design and the available optical materials, treatments and manufacturing techniques have closed a good deal of the gap, but like a kid's math problem about cutting distance by half with each step, you never actually cross the line comparing advanced zooms with primes. And that's without considering that primes also benefit from the same advances in design, materials and treatments.

I met Galen a couple of times because I know his daughter. He'd howl at these silly discussions. If there were ever an "F:8 and be there" guy, it's Galen. See you at K2.



Edited by halfturbo on 10/15/2012 11:40:32 MDT.

Serge Giachetti
(sgiachetti) - M

Locale: Boulder, CO
galen on 10/16/2012 13:11:15 MDT Print View

I interned at mountain light photography pouring over galen's catalogue as an image researcher for a summer in college. I keep thinking about how psyched he would be running around with one of these little high IQ compacts. He was totally an 'f8 and be there' guy, but how he 'got there' was always fast and light. Mountain light would also blow up his 35mm slides (often push processed) into huge prints. They were grainy as hell, but the pictures were so good it didn't matter.

Oh Fool
(dansol) - MLife

Locale: So. Cal
First impressions on 11/22/2012 18:01:57 MST Print View


I know this is an old thread but I got a production model of the RX1 last week and took it on a trip to Mt Whitney this past weekend and I just wanted to share my first impressions. (ill post a full review in a couple weeks when i get all the accessories and better RAW software)

First let me say yes its expensive, very expensive, even outrageously expensive. But in short, for the price, you have no other options as far as end result image quality goes; and if you factor in the revolutionary size and weight, its (in my opinion) a no brainer.

So i packed my bag and headed to sierras to do some real world testing. The first thing notice about the RX1 is the build quality, its amazing. You feel as though you have a true professional tool in your hands as opposed to a toy like feel of many other cameras. the second thing I loved about the RX1 is the battery size, yes the battery size. i know its not on the top of list for many people but for me it is. The batteries were a traditional 'compact' camera size not those huge DSLR or NEX systems batteries. Why is this important, well for us its all about weight right? Right, but for me its also about keeping those batteries warm during an early morning alpine start, and its way easier to keep smaller batteries warm than it is to keep larger ones warm (also i can bring more!!!). And the cherry on top? USB charging. Ya thats right I can charge my full-frame professional quality camera from USB on the side of a mountain. But at the end of the day I have a camera around my neck that can produce professional quality prints at a fraction of the weight and size of a SLR set-up (although i still have my 5d and L-series lenses, the RX1 is not meant to compete with it, its in a whole different category, a different league).

However, there are some drawbacks. There is no integrated viewfinder. You can buy one...for $600. This is a real misstep by Sony. If you design this crazy new full frame $3000 niche camera why not put a EVF on it? If this thing had a EVF on it would be, without a doubt, an instant classic, a milestone even. Other people will point to the fixed lens, which is not really a problem for me. I always shoot with fixed lenses anyway and 35mm is a perfect focal length for me. Then, I guess, the only other real drawback is the price. Which is frankly ridiculous. Another misstep by Sony, if they price this thing just a little lower it opens the whole thing up. And the price of accessories, are you serious Sony? $200 for a lens hood, $500 for an EVF, and $600 for an optical viewfinder that cant show focus adjustments? Unreal. Hopefully by the time the RX2 comes around they will get these prices under control (probably not). But at the end of the day I would and will and have spent the money to get me one of these. The image quality is just that good!!!!

I have summited Everest 3 times and as a physician I go back every year to provide medical care. And the camera I have seen more than any other up there is, not surprisingly, the same camera every western-based guide service recommends...a variant of the Canon G-series. After my time on Whitney with the RX1, I suspect that clients who pay upwards of $60,000 and their guides are going to be favoring a new camera for their summit pictures.

These are some of my first impressions, I will post a full review and sample pics in a couple weeks. Please free to ask questions.

PS I have no financial disclosures to make. I do not work for Sony or any affiliate of theirs.

Kyle Meyer

Locale: Portland, OR
Re: First impressions on 11/23/2012 13:19:34 MST Print View

Great review. That camera is worth it to some, and not to others. Just like the Leica digitals. Would you post some photos here from your trip? I'd love to see what you captured.

Personally, I've been eyeballing the Fuji X-E1 with the 35mm ƒ/1.4 for my backpacking adventures.

Jon Leibowitz
(jleeb) - F - MLife

Locale: 4Corners
huh? on 12/30/2012 20:28:07 MST Print View

Brian - I am completely confused by your comment that you can't take a photo of a flower with a full frame. That doesn't even make sense. Care to show some examples of what is not possible on a full frame?

Alex Eriksson
(aeriksson) - M

Locale: Austin, TX
Pictures or You're All Idiots (a variation of "pictures or it didn't happen") on 12/30/2012 20:58:20 MST Print View

A whole lot of d*ck waving in this thread with a substantial lack of photographic evidence that any of you know what you're talking about in regards to actually taking a good photo. And none of that "the beauty is in the eye..." BS either. That's the cry of a talentless and equally spine-free someone who hasn't sat through hours of peer critique to realize yes, there really is a lot of crap being produced and you're probably the one producing it (because we all create garbage art for a long time). So basically you'll all wrong until someone demonstrates that in practice you know how to perform!

Aaaaaaaanyhow.... The Sony made me quiver a little inside until I realized the price. I'll stick to my D7000 and collection of AF-D primes. For me it boils down to whether or not I could make $2800 worth of memories with it, OR successfully make $2800 worth of actual salable product with it. Frankly I'd rather buy a $1000 (which I wouldn't need) and take a trip somewhere nice with the other $1800. But yeah, I too lusted after this camera for a time, regardless!

Jon Leibowitz
(jleeb) - F - MLife

Locale: 4Corners
Re: Pictures or You're All Idiots (a variation of "pictures or it didn't happen") on 12/30/2012 23:01:01 MST Print View

I think the camera is awesome and groundbreaking. If I had the disposable income, I'd buy it. I'd also own an M9 if I had that kind of money, too. Not sure what Brian is getting on about Full Frame being a dying format and not being able to take pictures of flowers...

Edited by jleeb on 12/30/2012 23:02:00 MST.