Sony Cyber-shot RX1R: Destined for legendary status

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We expected a full-frame sensor in a compact body, but we never expected Sony to be the company to pull it off—nor did we expect the results to be so astonishing. Sony’s RX1R looks rather unremarkable and can pass for any prosumer point-and-shoot camera. Upon closer inspection, however, one realizes that this is a Sony product that’s destined for legendary status. The RX1R has a distinct Sony Cyber-shot look and feel. Encased in black aluminum with quality machined buttons and controls, the RX1R feels like a quality tool all the way. The design is understated, elegant, and functional. Sony placed rubber accents, including a grip that ensures consistent feel and control. All-in-all, the design is timeless without having to subscribe to the retro-look and feel that some camera makers have started pushing. The fast sensor and the Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens pack a powerful combination that yield stunning photos easily. 24.3MP on a full-frame sensor in this camera results in large, vivid images with a large amount of visual detail. While this is a fixed-lens camera without any built-in optical zoom, it still delivers great images for most common shooting conditions. The f/2.0 aperture is supremely sharp and ideal for portraits, landscapes, and even action photography, especially with the fast auto-focus. Sony has made the menu system very intuitive. All the familiar settings and menu items from their Cyber-shot and NEX lines are featured here as well. It performs as good as or better than most prosumer DSLRs. The large and detailed photos it takes are on par with larger cameras. The small size makes it possible to cover and even sneak into events where larger DSLRs with huge lenses would be red flagged. Verdict The Sony Cyber-shot RX1R doesn’t just make P&S cameras cool again; it seriously challenges big, bulky, and equally expensive full-frame DSLRs. Physically tiny and unobtrusive, it creates stunning, pro-level photos that look like they came out of a flagship Canon or Nikon. Best of all, anyone can use it. Review by Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla First published in Speed November 2013