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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.

camera

The Sony RX1 has a Camera Elo of 1759. This rating puts the 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. – Well, the Sony RX1 is more than 6 years old, and there have been many other good digital cameras released since 2012.

Headline Specifications
Sony RX1
Fixed lens compact camera
35mm f/2.0
24 MP, Full Frame Sensor
1080/60p Video
ISO 100-25600 (50-102400)
Viewfinder optional
3.0" LCD, 1229k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second
270 shots per battery charge
113 x 65 x 70 mm, 482 g


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Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.

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 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.0 oz 270 n Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony RX1
 
Leica X Vario« » 5.2 in 2.9 in 3.7 in 24.0 oz 450 n Jun 2013 2,850 i i Leica X Vario
 
Nikon D5300« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 16.9 oz 600 n Oct 2013 799- i Nikon D5300
 
Sony RX1R II« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.9 oz 220 n Oct 2015 3,299 i i Sony RX1R II
 
Sony A7« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.7 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 1,699- i Sony A7
 
Sony A7R« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.4 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 2,299- i Sony A7R
 
Sony A3000« » 5.0 in 3.6 in 3.3 in 14.5 oz 470 n Aug 2013 329- i Sony A3000
 
Sony RX1R« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.0 oz 270 n Jun 2013 2,799- i Sony RX1R
 
Sony RX100 II« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 9.9 oz 350 n Jun 2013 749- i Sony RX100 II
 
Sony RX100« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.4 in 8.5 oz 330 n Jun 2012 649- i Sony RX100
 
Sony NEX-7« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 14.1 oz 430 n Aug 2011 1,349- i Sony NEX-7
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

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.

Sony RX1:
Check Ebay offers

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

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The RX1 indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the RX1 can use is 1080/60p.

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.

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)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Sony RX1- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Sony RX1
 
Leica X Vario« »- n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n Leica X Vario
 
Nikon D5300« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D5300
 
Sony RX1R II« »2360 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/4000s 5.0 n n Sony RX1R II
 
Sony A7« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n n Sony A7
 
Sony A7R« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 4.0 n n Sony A7R
 
Sony A3000« »202 n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Sony A3000
 
Sony RX1R« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Sony RX1R
 
Sony RX100 II« »- n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y Sony RX100 II
 
Sony RX100« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y Sony RX100
 
Sony NEX-7« »2359 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 10.0 Y n Sony NEX-7

One convenient feature of the RX1 is the presence of an on-board flash. While this built-in flash is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light to brighten deep shadow areas.

 

Connection comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Sony NEX-7

It is notable that the RX1 has a microphone port. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.

 

The RX1 has a prime lens built in (35mm f/2.0). The camera is, hence, ready to shoot, while remaining more compact in size than an interchangeable lens camera with an optic of similar focal length and aperture specifications.

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).

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« »+ +79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799- i Nikon D5300
 
Sony RX1R II« »-82/100-o4.5/5 Oct 2015 3,299 i i Sony RX1R II
 
Sony A7« »+ +80/1005/54.5/55/5 Oct 2013 1,699- i Sony A7
 
Sony A7R« »+ +82/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2013 2,299- i Sony A7R
 
Sony A3000« »+-4/54.5/54/5 Aug 2013 329- i Sony A3000
 
Sony RX1R« »--4/5o4.5/5 Jun 2013 2,799- i Sony RX1R
 
Sony RX100 II« »+ +79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jun 2013 749- i Sony RX100 II
 
Sony RX100« »+ +78/1004/55/55/5 Jun 2012 649- i Sony RX100
 
Sony NEX-7« »+ +81/1004.5/55/55/5 Aug 2011 1,349- i Sony NEX-7
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

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.

Is it difficult to use manual focus lenses with the Sony RX1?

The RX1 offers focus peaking as a manual focus aid. This feature works by placing a colored highlight on in-focus zones within the image.

Does the Sony RX1 feature an autofocus assist light?

Yes, the camera has a lamp built-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 to 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.

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    Specifications Summary
    Camera Model Sony RX1
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 35mm f/2.0
    Launch Date September 2012
    Launch Price USD 2799
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.8 x 23.8 mm
    Sensor Area 852.04 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.96 μm
    Pixel Density 2.82 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100-25600 ISO
    ISO Boost 50-102400 ISO
    Image Processor BIONZ X
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 93
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 25.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 14.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 2534
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 1229k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs
    Autofocus System Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peaking
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s
    Silent Shootingno E-Shutter
    Time Lapse Photographyno Intervalometer
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot
    UHS card support no
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port
    Wifi Support no Wifi
    Body Specs
    Battery Type NP-BX1 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)270 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 113 x 65 x 70 mm
    (4.4 x 2.6 x 2.8 in)
    Camera Weight 482 g (17.0 oz)

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