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First Look: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1: A pricey slice of heaven

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First Look: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1: A pricey slice of heaven

2:27 /

With a terrific lens and a great full-frame sensor, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 delivers the best photos we've seen from a fixed-lens camera. But that doesn't come cheap.

With spectacular lens, excellent full frame sensor and very good image processing, it's no surprise that the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 delivers fabulous photos. Of course, for its $2600 plus price tag, I'd expect no less. Thanks to its sturdy magnesium alloy body and its really nice functional shooting design. Shooting with the RX1 is a fine experience as well. It has pretty much the same interface as Sony's DSLR style cameras, with a few exceptions like an exposure compensation dial and manual aperture ring that are common for this type of fixed lens enthusiast compact. The aperture ring feels really nice with useful feedback. A few design quirks bother me including the hard to use record button and the awkward focus mode switch, plus the flash doesn't tilt and I wish it had a bigger grip. Plus there's no manual focus peeking when shooting in movie mode which is really annoying. The camera doesn't have any notable features like GPS or wireless connectivity but it has a full set of manual controls for both still and video. And most of the cost to the camera probably goes towards the spectacular size, 35 mm F2 lens. I do think it needs some sort of built-in view finder. You can buy an optional one like its great EVF or the size optical view finder. But they're both quit expensive, beyond the high cost of the camera. It's not the fastest camera especially if you use auto focus but it's not irritating slow either. The trade off for the lens seems to be some sluggish driving for it. If your primary criterion for buying a camera is image quality, this wins for best compact. Photos look sharp, colors can be accurate if you adjust the settings. It renders a broad tonal range and the image processing for mid-range ISO sensitivities is excellent. You can shoot JPEGs as high as ISO 1600, and if you shoot raw, you can probably [unk] more. Video looks very good as well even in low light. There are a few more edge artifacts and I'd like though. You can still get extremely good cameras like the RX1 that cost at least $1,000 less because they're equipped with an APS-C sized sensor. The photo quality isn't quite as good but for a lot of folks, it's good enough. Sony Cybershot DSC-RX1 really isn't for everyone, just a lucky view.

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