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Sony RX1 Comparison Review

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 is a fixed lens compact camera that was revealed to the public in September 2012 and is equipped with a full frame sensor. It offers a resolution of 24 megapixel.

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The RX1 has an Elo rating of 1832. The Camera Elo represents a comprehensive assessment of digital cameras, as derived from a large number of pair-wise comparisons of body, sensor, and feature characteristics.

The Elo rating puts the Sony RX1 below average of all prime lens compact cameras. In terms of its sensor size category – full frame cameras – the RX1 also ranks below average. Based on its within category standings, the camera receives a 2.5-star performance rating.

Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, and reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison with a credit card

An illustration of the physical dimensions of the Sony RX1 vis-à-vis a credit card is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Sony RX1 vs credit card front
RX1 versus credit card top view
RX1 and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Sony RX1 alongside a set of comparators. If you want to review a camera pair side-by-side, just select a right-side comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Sony RX1 113 mm 65 mm 70 mm 482 g 270 n Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony RX1
Leica X Vario« » 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850 i i Leica X Vario
Nikon D5300« » 125 mm 98 mm 76 mm 480 g 600 n Oct 2013 799- i Nikon D5300
Sony RX1R II« » 113 mm 65 mm 72 mm 507 g 220 n Oct 2015 3,299 i i Sony RX1R II
Sony A7« » 127 mm 94 mm 48 mm 474 g 340 Y Oct 2013 1,699- i Sony A7
Sony A7R« » 127 mm 94 mm 48 mm 465 g 340 Y Oct 2013 2,299- i Sony A7R
Sony A3000« » 128 mm 91 mm 85 mm 411 g 470 n Aug 2013 329- i Sony A3000
Sony RX1R« » 113 mm 65 mm 70 mm 482 g 270 n Jun 2013 2,799- i Sony RX1R
Sony RX100 II« » 102 mm 58 mm 38 mm 281 g 350 n Jun 2013 749- i Sony RX100 II
Sony RX100« » 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 240 g 330 n Jun 2012 649- i Sony RX100
Sony NEX-7« » 120 mm 67 mm 43 mm 400 g 430 n Aug 2011 1,349- i Sony NEX-7

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Sony RX1 was launched in the US market at a price of $2,799. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tent to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

The Sony RX1 features a full frame sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Sony RX1 among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality.

Sony RX1 sensor measures

For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Sony RX1 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.114.3253493Sony RX1
Leica X Vario« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078Leica X Vario
Nikon D5300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.9133883Nikon D5300
Sony RX1R II« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53041080/60p25.813.9320497Sony RX1R II
Sony A7« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.814.2224890Sony A7
Sony A7R« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.614.1274695Sony A7R
Sony A3000« » APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.712.8106878Sony A3000
Sony RX1R« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.013.6253791Sony RX1R
Sony RX100 II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.512.448367Sony RX100 II
Sony RX100« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.612.439066Sony RX100
Sony NEX-7« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.113.4101681Sony NEX-7

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The tables below summarize some of the other core capabilities of the Sony RX1 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Sony RX1- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n Sony RX1
Leica X Vario« »- n 3.0 920 fixed n 2000 5.0 Y n Leica X Vario
Nikon D5300« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel n 4000 5.0 Y n Nikon D5300
Sony RX1R II« »2360 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 4000 5.0 n n Sony RX1R II
Sony A7« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 5.0 n n Sony A7
Sony A7R« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 4.0 n n Sony A7R
Sony A3000« »202 n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Sony A3000
Sony RX1R« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n Sony RX1R
Sony RX100 II« »- n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 10.0 Y Y Sony RX100 II
Sony RX100« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 2000 10.0 Y Y Sony RX100
Sony NEX-7« »2359 n 3.0 921 tilting n 4000 10.0 Y n Sony NEX-7
Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Sony RX1YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Sony RX1
Leica X Vario« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Leica X Vario
Nikon D5300« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--Nikon D5300
Sony RX1R II« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-Sony RX1R II
Sony A7« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7
Sony A7R« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7R
Sony A3000« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Sony A3000
Sony RX1R« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Sony RX1R
Sony RX100 II« »Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony RX100 II
Sony RX100« »-stereomono--micro2.0---Sony RX100
Sony NEX-7« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Sony NEX-7
 

Expert reviews

While the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the RX1 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased. This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Sony RX1-79/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony RX1
Leica X Vario« »--4/54/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850 i i Leica X Vario
Nikon D5300« »HiRec79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799- i Nikon D5300
Sony RX1R II« »-82/100-rev4.5/5 Oct 2015 3,299 i i Sony RX1R II
Sony A7« »HiRec80/1005/54.5/55/5 Oct 2013 1,699- i Sony A7
Sony A7R« »HiRec82/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2013 2,299- i Sony A7R
Sony A3000« »Rec-4/54.5/54/5 Aug 2013 329- i Sony A3000
Sony RX1R« »--4/5rev4.5/5 Jun 2013 2,799- i Sony RX1R
Sony RX100 II« »HiRec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jun 2013 749- i Sony RX100 II
Sony RX100« »HiRec78/1004/55/55/5 Jun 2012 649- i Sony RX100
Sony NEX-7« »HiRec81/1004.5/55/55/5 Aug 2011 1,349- i Sony NEX-7

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Sony RX1 FAQ

Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the RX1.

What technology is the imaging sensor in the RX1 based on?

The camera features a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor.

Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?

Sony equipped the RX1 with the BIONZ X image processor.

What is the ISO sensitivity range of the RX1?

The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 50-102400.

Can the camera be equipped with an optional viewfinder?

Yes, Sony provides the FDA-EV1MK as an accessory (here on amazon) that can be mounted on the hotshoe.

Does the Sony RX1 feature an autofocus assist light?

Yes, the camera has a lamp build-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.

Which battery does the RX1 use?

The camera gets its power from the NP-BX1 (here at amazon), which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.

 

Camera to camera comparisons

In case you are interested in seeing how this camera compares another one, just make your choice using the following search menu. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please contact me, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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