If you have read my Vaio Duo 11 User experience, you might wonder why I can take decent photos even showing my main productive camera, Sony A77, in one of my vaio duo 11 photos. That’s because I used something in a sense better than Sony A77, the Sony RX1, my first full-frame camera.
So why would I pick a 35mm fixed lens Full-frame camera? For hobby and back up camera. Even though it has same resolution as Sony A77, its picture quality is much better, image are sharper, and less noise.
So I have used for few days and I found myself having some difficulties on adjust my sense to Sony RX1. It’s Full-Frame after all, the depth of field is a little bit differ from Sony A77 equipped with cheap 35mm f/1.8 lens, and many subjects in my early test shot was blurred. After some trial and error, I decide to keep this camera on Aperture Mode so I can have quick control on view of depth, and because of camera design, I also gain shutter speed control in a sense while I set ISO to specific amount. Now I’m getting used to this new camera, and it actually feels better than some standard size DSLR, as I have plenty of direct control for my photography needs.
Not much to say about RX1’s photo quality. It’s great as it promises, excellent sharpness and details when focus right, more than enough for amateur photographer like me. It also shoot nice video that out preforms Sony A77 in terms of quality, but moirés are quite visible in certain situation, but that rarely happens in daily use.
Field Experience. I took RX1 without other camera to test its usability. As expected, without zoom lens, I have to move myself to get better shot, often have to get pretty close, but not too close, to subjects I want to take, which could be a problem for situations when multiple photographers shooting same subject at the same time. It can shoot some nice (and extremely sharp) street photos, but it can’t shoot landscape photos, after all it’s 35mm and cannot compete with 10mm wide lenses. For taking photos on someone, say, a model or in my case, cosplayer, it performs very well, though in most case I need to care about aperture, focus position and my/target position very carefully because little moment can cause out-focus very easily. If you look at my recent cosplayer photos (link to mediafire gallery), some of photos are a bit out-focused, this happen more often on photos number over 100 because I only had RX1 while taking those pictures (and the place was dark but I insist not to use flash, yet I need to limit ISO setting). I’d say this camera is small enough for random photography, but the depth of field is too narrow for random at f/2, especially when you’re trying to take someone pictures, tight control is need, and lighting condition also need to be concerned for indoor photography.
While the camera is mostly good, I found there’s few issue that hurts overall experience quite seriously. The camera doesn’t have any stabilization in photo mode, which means while this camera can use high ISO for low light situation, it can’t produce sharp pictures for long time exposure without other tools supporting, and hammer the image quality of free hand shooting in low light. Second, heat generating and power consuming in video mode, while this camera can produce nice and sharp videos in most situation, the camera, mainly the battery, can get hot quickly, and the batter level drops quickly in video mode, making it not an idea camera for taking video, even though it has nice sensor, lens, and video processing. But for short videos, provided that you know your subject, this camera can take real good photos and videos.
It’s a special camera, but with non-changeable fixed lens, this camera meant to take high quality photos in limited range. Within that range this camera produce excellent quality image, but only within that range, which means it has limited usability. Never the less, if you want to get a taste with full frame camera right now, Sony Rx1 is a nice choice, without having you buy lenses again. Overall it’s a great companion if you hope for high-quality random/compact photo experiences, and sometimes it might be more than enough in for certain types of photographers, making RX1 potentially become the only camera one’s need in certain situations.
(…it’s relatively short user experience compare to my Vaio Duo 11, right?)