Reviews Roundup: Dec 2012

Here are five great RX1 reviews from around the web:

  1. In this review, James presents some colorful out-of-camera JPEG’s on his blog:
    James Duncan Davidson’s’ First Clicks With the Sony RX1

  2. This short review includes sharp-looking black-and-white cityscapes:
    Jonathan Fleming’s RX1 blog review

  3. Yodobashi the famous Japanese camera store in Tokyo presents a two-part series of RX1 photos:
    Volume 1
    Volume 2

  4. Great mix of shots by SLIK, from macro to triggered off-camera flash photography:
    SLIK images First Impressions

  5. And of course, I am sure you have already checked out Steve Huff’s extensive coverage of the RX1 here:
    Preview, Part I, and Part II

Cityscape Nikon D3 vs RX1 Comparison: ISO 200 at Small Apertures

As promised, here are three scenes we captured using both the Nikon D3 with 35mm f/1.4G and the Sony RX1. The setup and idea is to use long shutter speeds with a steady tripod to test the lens performance across a small range of lighting situations, and is not a high-ISO test.

Scene A: Daytime comparison. 1/100 second at f/9.0

Nikon:

Click the above for a full-screen zoom. Full resolution JPEG download can be found here.

Sony:

Full resolution JPEG download can be found here.

Scene B: Sunset comparison. 1.3s at f/7.1

Nikon:

Click the above for a full-screen zoom. Full resolution JPEG download can be found here.

Sony:

Full resolution JPEG download can be found here.

Scene C: Night cityscape comparison. 4.0s at f/16

Nikon:

Click the above for a full-screen zoom. Full resolution JPEG download can be found here.

Sony:

Full resolution JPEG download can be found here.

Scene C Bonus: RX1 shooting the same scene at ISO 3200: 1/250th second at f/2.5

Full resolution JPEG download can be found here.

Sunday Hong Kong Skyline Photos (Two Teasers Before Comparison Tomorrow)

Today I wanted to share a glimpse of the RX1’s capabilities for landscape photography. Although many have commented that the Zeiss lens may have been optimized for mid-range and close distances, I wanted to test the RX1’s longer-distance focus capabilities. I’ve shot the below photos at f/11 at ISO 100 for maximum clarity, using a tripod.

Both photos below were shot at: 4.0 seconds, f/11, using ISO 100, and using some basic tweaks in Lightroom: (click image for full-screen version)

Full image JPEG download can be found here Full image RAW download can be found here

Full image JPEG download can be found here Full image RAW download can be found here

I’d say the RX1 seems to do pretty well for landscape. Details are sharp even in the full image. The lens seems to stand up pretty well to the demanding 24-megapixel sensor, especially the first image. The micro-contrast allows us to easily separate the dark windows from the building structures and neon signs.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting three sets of comparison images between the:

  • Nikon D3 + Nikkor 35mm f/1.4G at ISO 200, f/8 and above

  • RX1 at ISO 200

I will be sharing my thoughts on the tradeoffs between the litte camera and the big beast. Can the more substantial Nikkor lens combo provide better results than the Sony?

Come back tomorrow to check out how the RX1 fares!

Elinchrom EL-Skyport Transmitter Compatibility

I’ve just tested the Elinchrom EL-Skyport flash triggers with the Sony RX1. I have both good news and bad news to report:

  • Good News: Sony’s 2012 cameras including the RX1 now use the ISO standard hotshoe, which should mean that the world of flash accessories should just work as they should. I’m sure that the move to abandon existing Sony system users wasn’t taken lightly but it will certainly be a positive for pros thinking about switching systems to Sony.

  • Bad News: The bad news however is that my version of the the Elinchrom Skyport transmitter does not work with the RX1 out of the box. In my testing, the Skyport wireless flash transmitter does not sit correctly in the hotshoe. I do not have the newer “SPEED” transmitter to test its compatibility.

Elinchrom Skyport transmitter sitting in the RX1 hotshoe

Some theories: Perhaps the front of the skyport slopes forward or perhaps the limited depth of the “U” part of the RX1’s hotshoe is causing the poor fitting. The latter could be due to the design to accomodate the electronic viewfinder.

Temporarily, I was able to test the off-camera flash capabilities by using Nikon’s SC-17 coiled off-camera TTL flash cord. I was able to confirm that the hotshoe does properly trigger the transmitter and receiver.

Using the SC-17 to allow the RX1 to trigger the Skyport transmitter

  • Last piece of Good News: The flash sync with an 300RX studio monolight is possible up to speeds of 1/1200th of a second. This is considerably faster than the 1/250 flash sync speed by traditional SLR’s and some mirrorless cameras, including the full-frame Nikons. This is due to the RX1’s leaf shutter.

(For reference, the specifications on the 300RX quotes a 1/2850 sec flash duration, although I suspect it doesn’t account for any delays in trigger transmission or warmup. Speeds faster than 1/1200 resulted in less amounts of light.)

Adobe Lightroom 4.3 Updated

Adobe Lightroom 4.3 has been released. Not only does it include support for retina-class MacBook Pro’s, it now includes official support for Sony’s DSC-RX1 and NEX-VG900, making Adobe’s RAW support for Sony’s full-frame 2012 line fully complete.

With this update, the RX1 has Automatic Profile Corrections in Lightroom. This change minimizes the slight distortion that RX1 has.

Click here for Adobe’s update details

Detail Closeup

By the way for a peek at how sharp and detailed the RX1 photos are, check out this photo (previously shown in the previous post).

Hong Kong Tram at Night

This was taken at ISO 3200 and wide open at f/2 aperture. Notice the gentleman riding the tram on the second level on the left side. When I went to check focus on him in Adobe Lightroom, I noticed this in the detail inset. Within that tiny image, we can now tell he’s wearing what appears to be white earbuds.

To me, that was rather impressive, given that I was actually focused on the letters on the front of the tram wide open.

First Sample Images: Central District in Hong Kong

A camera blog without sample images from the camera just wouldn’t be right. Using the RAW technique shown in the previous post, we include some very rough photos that the RX1 is capable of, at ISO’s 1600 and above. All but the first was shot in RAW and lightly processed in Lightroom. Click the photos to bring them up to full-screen size.

Let us know what you think in the comments.

Click “Continue” to see more photos from Hong Kong Winterfest.

Using Adobe Lightroom 4.2 to Open RX1 RAW Files

The RX1, having just recently been released in Japan and slowly throughout the world, does not yet produce files that are directly openable in Adobe Lightroom 4.2. However, the latest version of Lightroom does support opening RAW files produced by the sister camera, the A99. By tweaking the EXIF data on the .ARW files produced by the RX1, we can open the files in Lightroom without a problem.

Being impatient and unable to wait until Adobe releases an update that inevitably support the RX1, we can tweak the EXIF file to trick Lightroom into opening the RX1 RAW files.

Here’s how on Mac OS X (some rough details if you’re on Windows as well):

RX1 Size Comparison

To get a sense of the smaller sense of the RX1, we’ve lined up the other cameras we have on hand: a pure-bred professional DSLR, the Nikon D3, and a recent mirrorless camera, the A Fujifilm X-Pro 1. I’ve chosen lenses that are similar focal-length: the 18mm f/2 on the X-Pro1 (27mm equivalent) and the Nikkor 35mm f/1.4G on the D3.

Cameras in reverse chronological order

The Beginning

Today, we begin a journey in discovering the merits of the Sony CyberShot RX1. Its concept and execution is a bit of an enigma to the camera world. It neither fits the prototype of a compact Point-and-Shoot nor does it fit well into an increasingly popular world of mirrorless cameras. And one might find it difficult to believe it’s on the same footing as some of the world’s most advanced digital Single-Lens-Reflex cameras.

We have started this blog in tandem with our own discoveries of this new full-frame camera, in both its strengths and in its imperfections. Will the new RX1 be groundbreaking or will it be a dud? Can it be a match to its class-leading full-frame DSLR peers? Can its compromises (assuredly there have been many in its design) be its downfall? With a passage of time, we will soon tell.

But first, we start with an unboxing ceremony.

Box unopened