#122. Should you buy a Sony RX1 ?

By pascaljappy | News

Sep 17

Sony’s new RX1 camera could cause a sensation. It’s a gorgeous camera that could fulfil the dreams of many photographers. Small, full frame and equipped with a high pedigree lens in a configuration that could optimise the match between glass and silicon to provide unprecedented levels of image quality in a compact camera.

So, should you buy it ? There are two ways of looking at this.

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY THE SONY RX-1

First there’s image quality. No, wait, that’s not true.

First, just look at it !

Sony RX1 (c) Dpreview, click for their preview

If you’re geekish enough to dream of photo gear and are receptive to the more traditional camera look, this is what the dream should look like. Granted, that’s a purely subjective point of view but, in the eyes of this author, few inanimate things on this planet stir primal lust as strongly as this little gem. The Ford GT40 MkI comes to mind, as do the original Ongaku amp and the Mamiya 7. What else ? Errr … not much.

Then there’s :

Image quality

It’s not long ago that I implored manufacturers for large sensors and large pixels in portable cameras. And here we have 24 thousand thousands, each about 6 micron wide (almost three times the size of those in my current Olympus OM-D). It doesn’t get much better with current technology.

Then, there’s that lens. Zeiss are very good with 35mm f/2 lenses. I was fortunate to use one on co-author Philippe’s NEX-7 in drab, gloomy light and the results were spectacular. Reviews abound to confirm my claim. And this one comes with a leaf shutter !

Then’s there’s the opportunity of matching the lens design to the sensor and vice versa for optimal use of each other’s qualities. By attaching the lens to the body rather than mount it, you free your design process from several constraints, opening up possibilities for even better quality.

The pictures produced by this combination could (should) be very smooth, very sharp and very robust in post-processing (high signal to noise ratio).

Ergonomics

Old farts like me who cling to their old M-mount lenses do so not only because of sharpness and other aspects image quality but also because we have developed allergic reaction to plastic focus by wire, aperture by menu and the cheap feel of (this is not being snobbish or derogatory : some of my Leica lenses were acquired way cheaper on the used market than current plastic horribilia and my favourite brand is cheaper still Voigtlander).

A Mamiya 7 and 2 lenses

The Gold Standard

Old fashioned ergonomics simply rule our world. A real manual focus is great. An aperture ring on the lens is great. Camera controls that have matured over decades are great. The RX1 appears to tick all the right boxes. I mean, just look at it. You know instantly that while fast and modern, it should feel natural and never get in your way. It will support your vision rather that hinder it because of a control hidden 4 menu layers down on the rear screen. Best of both world ? It could (and should).

Price

Yes, $2800 is a lot of money. But if this camera holds its promises (it could, and should) it is a camera you could own forever. Unless you have special needs, this (potential) level of image quality is all most photographers would need for all their life. It is also a small fraction of the price a Leica M-9 with 35mm Summicron would command.

In recent months, I’ve been shooting more and more with only one of two lenses. 35mm is a very useful focal length and stitching & cropping really provide a range from 24mm to 70mm. You could spend $2800 on a DSLR and plenty of lenses, or just get this. Both decisions are valid, but I’ll take one lens or two over swapping any day.

WHY YOU SHOULD NOT BUY THE SONY RX-1

Image Quality

Initial images of the A99 look more like 12Mpix resolution, if that. The AA filter seems so strong that 100% viewing is, well … blurry. Of course, 100% viewing is irrelevant and the A99 is still in pre-release mode. Still, a strong AA filter is a possibility and would kill this RX1.

Sigma DP 2 Merrill

Hail to the King of IQ

Then, there’s the Sigma DP2M to take into account. This is by far the sharpest camera I have ever tried. It rivals the Nikon D800 at fraction of the cost and size, not only for sharpness but in dynamic range as well. A really wonderful effort by Sigma that deserves far more recognition than it is getting in the media (thank you Luminous Landscape for making things right).

Ergonomics

Normally, the whole concept of high ISO imaging leaves me unimpressed and sometimes miffed at the absurdity of commentators requiring ridiculous values over 12800.

But when a camera seems purposely designed to defeat all efforts at steady hand-holding (the Leica suppository shape, only too small / the minute area on each side of the lens for placing fingers, and forget about mittens / the low weight / the absence of a viewfinder) it’s really comforting to know that ISO3200 is readily available to keep the shutter speed fast. Frankly, internal stabilisation and a decent grip in a camera costing this much would have been a nice touch. No, actually, it would have been normal. Hopefully, Sony will learn at lot about this from their tie with Olympus.

How the guys who designed the utterly amazing NEX-6 and NEX-7 came up with this slippery little bugger is beyond me.

Price

If you look at it as a lifelong investment, $2800 really isn’t bad.

But my first Sony NEX-5n lasted 3 months before it died on me (in the middle of a once-of-a-lifetime shoot). Amazon’s customer service was incredibly good, but Sony’s was incredibly bad (in Australia, at least), an experience confirmed by many others on the web. So the lifelong investment could rapidly turn into a warranty-long investment, which doesn’t look anywhere near as good, as this thing is likely to hold value as well as a 1970’s Fiat.

Plus, there’s the price in Europe. $2800 equates to 2150โ‚ฌ and yet pricing in France has been announced at a ridiculous 3200โ‚ฌ. If that proves to be true it’s simply outrageous.

Then, you have accessories. Seriously, who is going to buy a camera of this quality and hand-hold it at arm’s length like your teenager’s average point’n’shoot? A viewfinder is a must and a real grip seems rather important as well. Sony, gunning at Leica’s market doesn’t mean you *have* to price your gear as ludicrously. To me, this is a real turn-off.

So, if you allow your mind to reason beyond the initial attraction, there’s no way you can’t find this overpriced. Particularly as Michael Reichmann reports Sony have “very high wafer yields at this size and so the unit costs are going to be very low”.

SO, SHOULD YOU BUY ONE?

The RX1 could (and should) be Sony’s Bugatti Veyron. A flawed masterpiece too heavy and too expensive for its own good, yet a statement for the ages. Volkswagen lose millions for every car they sell, but consider this a marketing investment to show the whole world they have the technology, know-how and guts to produce a car faster than any other on the planet.

To succeed, the RX1 needn’t be a 9th symphony. It too can drawn drooling crowds in spite of shortcomings. But it too needs to be really special and the best at at least one thing. Not stupid high ISO ability, not focusing speed, not frame rate. What this camera must achieve is ultimate image quality. This is what the design promises. This is the statement Sony needs to make. If not it will only be an overpriced single trick pony for posers.

My initial comparisons with the current king of the hill are very encouraging. If an AA filter is being used it is very mild. Pictures are incredibly smooth and rich in tone. You will find great sample pictures at Sony Japan. Here is a comparison with the Sigma DP2M (sample loaned by Richard Frances of LaPetiteBoutiquePhoto, a fantastic camera store in France – no affiliation to them :))

The Sigma image was resized to 6000×4000 to match the Sony’s output. To me it looks a tad sharper, but after reviewing a complete set from both cameras, I do think the smoothness and richness from the RX1 wins. At any ISO rating above 400, the RX1 also wins hands down. As for other features, you need to make the decision for yourself.

Eyes are used as a sharpness comparison between the SOny RX1 and the Sigma DP2M

Click for 100% view (Sony on the left, Sigma on the right)

Of course, you can get much of this quality far cheaper and far more conveniently with Nikon’s new D600, but this is comparing apples to oranges.

While we are still far from the quality of a 6×7 image, the RX1 comes closer than ever before to the spirit of the Mamiya 7, to my mind the best camera ever designed (although the Sony NEX-6 and NEX-7 capture it even better, functionally).

All I can tell you is that, right now, I want one so bad! But I also know I need to buy fast as every minute that goes by my mind realises how unjustifiable the price really is and how many more intelligent alternatives exist (DP2M ?) or are on the horizon!

At any rate, well done, and thank you Sony.

  • philberphoto says:

    I would like to add a few points to Pascal’s fascinating approach.
    – First, factually, the RX1 is the product of Sony’s Cybershot group. Not the NEX or the Alpha group, but the people who gave us the RX100. That alone suggest that the RX1 sensor need not tbe the same version of the 24Mp FF sensor as in the Alpha 99, not the 35mm Zeiss lens the same as the ZA 24mm f:1.8 for the NEX E-mount.
    – Second, the RX1 has a macro mode, for close-up shots. If the Zeiss 35mm f:2.0 lens delivers anything like the Zeiss ZE 35 f:1.4’s bokeh for such shots, it will be a dream come true
    – Third, Sony offer a “electronic zoom” that delivers a 1,4 multiplier, and a 2x one. Which means 50mm and 70mm focal lengths, though with fewer pixels. Not perfect, but still helpful…

    But the most important IMHO is this. When I go out with a single lens on my camera body, I do not take the same pics as when I have a bagful of them, or when I had a zoom lens. I tend to be a lot more creative when I have to, than when I can take the lazy path of swapping lenses, or even lazier of changing my zoom settings. And, judging by other people’s comments, I am not alone in this, far from it. What remains to be seen is what the camera forces me to do, in the good sense. How much it forces me to up my game compositionnally. To use “only” what tool HCB or Doisneau had at their disposal. For me, the Sony RX1, ultra-high tech and all, is a resurrection of that type of photography. The lone photographer that walks through life and captures what oppportunities that travel offers him…. This week-end, I will go to Dresden to meet Boris and Stephan. I will attempt to do everything with just my NEX 7 and Leica Elmar 24mm, with Hawks adapter for close -up shots (what a great accessory!!!!). That, in essence, will be pretty close to the RX1. I bet I will have a blast!

    My pre-order is in….

    • pascaljappy says:

      Hi Philippe,

      I couldn’t agree more with your analysis. Shooting with one lens is both intellectually stimulating and so liberating. I did this during my summer vacation and loved every minute (post coming soon). And although electronic zooms do degrade quality, it’s comforting to know you can use a mild version (or simply crop in that 24Mpx file) in certain circumstances. You should have a wonderful time with that fantastic combination (NEX-7 & Elmar 24).

      Let’s just hope Sony gets its act together on this one. After yesterday’s ridiculous Hasselbland announcements, that RX1 is looking more and more like a gem.

      Sony has obviously been listneing hard to what (some) photographers have been asking and, on paper, the RX1 looks fantastic (with the external VF … grmpff) It is wonderful to think such a large corporation is actually paying attention to what individuals are saying !! Kudos.

      And I guess my pre-order is in too, thanks to you ๐Ÿ™‚

      Cheers,
      Pascal

  • Si says:

    Pascal, I’ve ordered one when the rumors came out. I couldn’t wait. I didnt care how much as fortunately money isnt an issue for me right now. I’ve been seeking something to give me more DOF wide open than my current Summilux 50 as i shot in nightspots quite often. I got a Lux 35 and it was perfect on my M. I found that the comparative aperture at a shorter focal lenth gave me greater DOF at the same distance to a subject. And with the RX1 serving up 35/2 (I’m assuming some sort of stalisation giving at least 1 stop) is perefct for night time indoor people shots! In a compact body adn FF? Wow. Takes my breath away.

    I haven’t felt this right about something since the magical iPad 1. So I will submit you a review when I receive it in December. When I bought the Summicron-R off you I didn’t know that my first Leica purchase would lead me into a world of ringefinder wonderness. Btw I’ve captured some great portraits with that Cron and I’ll submit a review soon ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve learned to get to know my Lux 50 and 35; that I’ve got to have my exposure, FOV and DOF sorted before I look through the VF to work on my composition. I think this gives me the confidence to predict that not only will this Sony Veyron has the power to give me the image quality I desire but its constraints match perfectly to my needs: FOV, (hopefully DOF) and compact size.

    Finally, on the topic of high ISO. I find that focus peaking on my 5n struggles at 12800. I take a lot of nightclub pics with natural light. So there are times I wish that peaking worked better at high ISOs just so that I can achieve critical focus at those sensitivities.

    Ta,
    Si

    • pascaljappy says:

      Si, so lovely to hear from you.

      What a wonderful story. Iโ€™m so glad you enjoyed the Cron 50 and went on to even more exotic Leica glass. Both your reviews (50 Cron and RX1) are most welcome. The lack of an EVF pissed me off initially. Hereโ€™s a company that can produce a body like the NEX-6 and wastes their best sensor and lens in a body that appeals to the lower end of the consumer segment. But in the end, it doesnโ€™t matter. The RX1 is the most exciting camera released since the NEX-5n and Olympus PENs (the first mature mirrorless digital cameras ?) I canโ€™t wait for mine to arrive. My current workhorse, the Olympus OM-D, is a fabulous little camera. But it is up for sale on Amazon with all its lenses. The lure of FF is just too much to resist and 35mm is a perfect focal length to be โ€˜strandedโ€™ with ๏Š. Thereโ€™s still much that is unknown about the RX1. How good the lens will be at full aperture. How well it will handle, focus, expose. How effective electronic-IS can be. How small can the digital zoom degradation be … But I think weโ€™re very fortunate to be in a position to actually test this.

      In the past, Iโ€™ve realized my photos are much better with some cameras than others. It has to do with the ergonomics of the camera much more than itโ€™s technical characteristics and features. How well is suits my natural workflow and outlook. Let’s hope the RX1 is one of the good ones ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Cheers,
      Pascal

      • Si Pham says:

        Pascal,

        Yes there is much that is still unknown, indeed. But RX100 shows good form and the formula is pretty good. So i’m hoping – at least it’ll be a good little wait to get me through to 2013!

        I’m okay with the add-on VF. My first camera was the 5n with the excellent EVF. Then i got an M7 and use an X100 for a bit; I suddenly realise the appeal of OVFs, or rather, the utility of being able to see the area around the edge of the frame and how that positively affects composition. So I’m okay that with the RX1, there’s an option of either. I am pissed off with the price though: $650! That’s almost double the NEX add-on EVF. For the same EVF. That’s bullsh*t. Actually come to think of it, they should include the EVF in the standard price and offer the OVF as an option for those who like OVFs. Saying this, I’ve ordered the EVF with the body but I think i’ll try a few other 35mm optical viewfinders (Leica, Voigtlander…) before I try the $450 Zeiss.

        I haven’t used an RX100. Maybe I should. Philippe make sa good point about this being a Cybershot team product. So this explains the relative departure from the NEX6 model. But then again, there is a lot of superfluous design aspects on NEX cameras that don’t aid the photographic proces such as the awful menu system and inflexible auto ISO. They’ve left out stuff on the NEX6 as well: a touch screen to select focus probably my biggest complaint. So maybe the handling on the RX1 will be a bit more direct than on the NEX and make up for the lack of traditional photographic aids. I hope the RX1 will have a competent auto ISO with minimum shutter speeds (if the 5n had this then I wouldn’t have to dive into the menu so often).

        In recent news, they’re saying that in response to the RX1, Fuji is now investigating putting FF inside the X mount. I’m glad Sony has had enough balls to release the RX1 and I think this will be a good thing for future camera design.

        I’m excited ๐Ÿ™‚
        Si

        • pascaljappy says:

          Me too ๐Ÿ™‚ Very exciting. And good job if Fuji is joining in. These two companies have the intelligence to produce cameras for slightly different photographers, segmenting the market efficiently. Much better than the Canikon competition in my mind.

          The accessory prices piss me off as well. They’ll be plenty of used 35mm OVFs on ebay, but that EVF is tempting. Prices will probably drop later.

          Yes, Philippe’s analysis is correct (as always :)) but keeping the lines separate doesn’t mean they had to leave out essentials such as a grip. That’s really a severe drawback, for me. A bit like a car with tyres too fat or too thin for it’s own good. It won’t handle as well as the chassis could have made it capable of. Shame.

          Cheers,
          Pascal

      • Si Pham says:

        Oh, one more thing. Both the RX1 and NEX6 (as well as the VG900 and A99) shows Sony is listening at least. Can you think of a current manufacturer who has this much to offer in so many different product lines at the same time! Good times.

        • pascaljappy says:

          Exactly. The RX1 may not be perfect but it is proof that Sony listened to those who cried out for a compact full-frame mirrorless. Better still, they listened, then did something else (better) as Apple used to do. Listen, understand need then produce somthing better (I hope) : the fixed lens is probably the only way to get the best possible IQ. They could have simply listened and produced an interchangeable camera, but didn’t and went a step further, at the risk of frustrating some. Brilliant product marketing.

  • […] Dearsusans wrote a nice article writing the PRO and CONS of the RX1. Check it […]

  • John Koelsch says:

    The RX-1 Sony is indeed lovely to look at but too much of that and you fall into the trap of “shutterbuggery”. Imagine Edward Weston doting over the look of a new, at the time, Commercial Ektar that he couldn’t or barely could afford. Then imagine “e w” having to settle for a 5 X 7 Deardorff with that Ektar permanently attached to the front lens standard. Certainly the Pt. Lobos shots required a lens change at one point or another.
    Why bother writing this, why bother getting involved in this “boys’ toys” game? Isn’t image capture the name of the game?! Whether you are shooting with an iPhone or a Nikon F2 with MD-2MB-1, a Hasselblad 500CM or any other glorious mechanical device, “the best camera in the world is the one in your hand” -that you got the image, that’s the art! Imagine Picasso spending hours drooling over a new type of paint brush or James Joyce fussing over the chic lines of the latest type writer. Carpe diem, or in this case, that glorious image that others failed to notice and if you captured it on you iPhone, more power to you!!

    • pascaljappy says:

      Tell you what, John : we agree that this is a boys toy. But a (potentially) excellent one. Edward Weston was a pro who chose the best tools he could afford. I’m an amateur who chooses the most appealing toys he can afford. No, it’s not rational, but what’s wrong about that ? We do that all the time ? Do you select restaurants purely on technical merit and convenience ? What about your car ? Is it simply cubic feet and economy that made you buy it ? As Si wrote above, some people wanted a camera and Sony made it. And it lookis like they made it as good as they could (I hope :))

      Yes, capturing the image is the name of the game, but as an amateur, I see nothing wrong in selecting a camera that makes me feel comfortable and makes me want to use it. My previous DSLR was very competent, but it was a pain and I simply stopped using it after a while. For some of us, that’s how it works anyway ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I don’t agree with the “more power to you” iPhone capture. There’s no pride in making good pictures with poor equipment. There’s pleasure in making good picture, point. Don’t you think ? But I understand your position : brand fan boys are a pain. Please don’t think that’s the case for me. I don’t even own a Sony camera any more ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Si Pham says:

      Hi John,

      I think understand your premise. A camera is a tool. A photographer sees. A photographer can take a picture with any camera. But taking a snap and making a photograph is the difference between snapper and the passionate photographer. The passionate photographer that want to tell a story. To tell that story you have a workflow; whether innate or learned. And sometimes it’s always the same. Other times it changes to suit the style of photography you’re practising. For me, that workflow involves being able to capture and juggle the subject, scene, exposure and light in difficult or particular circumstances. Sometimes you want to take a candid without flash, or get more DOF without sacrificing speed; not all cameras and lenses are made equal (though this doesn’t mean that there exists a killer camera that will work in all situations!). So when something comes along that suits your needs, you get excited. Every artisan gets excited over tools. I think it would be an interesting question to ask Picasso if he indeed got excited over his brushes. I’d be interested if he just used whatever paint brush, whatever paint, whatever canvas, whatever hue, etc surely different materials and tools lent themselves to the possibility of doing new things and different expressions.

      I can’t make some of the photographs that I do with an iphone. It simply doesn’t expose! So when something that promises to allow me to do something I’ve been struggling to do previously, I get excited. Sure, it’s a toy. An they’ll be many, many snaps of fence posts and brick walls taken with the RX1. But I promise you I’ll try to take make more substantial photography with my RX1.

      Every new tool is like a new journey. It’s like your taking a new subject in your degree that is photography. My first camera was a NEX-5n. I bought a heap of lenses but the possibilities were endless and it sorta crippled me and my photos sucked. I was thinking about the technical aspects of my pictures but not on the compositional parts of my photography. So i was fine for slow moving scenes when i had heaps of time to get my exposure then think about composition but not so fine for fleeting moments. I then got an X10, thinking it was a compact so easier to utilise. The pure optical viewfinder made me see my concentrate on my composition but I often muck up my exposure. Most recently I got an M7. Being totally manual, I learned that I needed to preset my exposure settings, my focus, my DOF; I learned how many clicks my lenses had between stops. I identified the stages in my workflow and I began to nail more shots, more often. Then when I came back to my X10 and NEX-5, I was able to utilise more effectively, their capabilities and realise their constraints. They no longer get in the way of my photography like they used to.

      The point is, I think when photographers who actually make photographss, talk about the next big new toy, they’re not only talking merely about the toy, but imagining what and where it might take them. I think many photographers have their own style and take on photography. It’s hard to speak a common language. But we do speak the common language of sensors, lenses and shutter speeds (out of necessity). So that’s what we’re doing here. Power to you if you’re doing anything that is in the pursuit on making meaningful photographs no matter what tool I say.

      And if you, or anyone, wants to talk shape, form, texture, hue, light, perspective, emotions, movement, place, time, space, narrative, etc etc then I’m sure we’re all ears! (Actually, maybe I’ll start a blog for that!) But this is a post that Pascal is devoting to a recent and significant event – and I’m excited about it too!

  • zstan says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong but the RX1 offers optical stabilisation…

    • pascaljappy says:

      Hi, you may be right but I’ve seen it mentioned nowhere. Apparently there may be digital IS, but that probably won’t be as effective. Better than nothing, though ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I was wondering how soon someone would come out with a FF mirrorless. Now that Sony has done it, I hope interchangeable lenses will be next.

    I suppose limiting oneself to 35mm’s fixed can enhance one’s sense of creativity. You’d certainly have to put more effort into to getting “the shot”. Unless you see the world in 35mm’s/FF, which I think HCB did quite well. But that was back in the day, wasn’t it?

    I think Sony has it right with the latest NEX5/6. I can’t wait to see what kind of software applications will run in them and what creative things people will do with the cameras connected directly to the internet. I feel there must be a place for high megapixel devices well integrated into social networking and image sharing platforms outside of a commercial image making setting.

    Which leads me back to the Sony RX1. If it were connected to the network, it’d be all over for me. I’d have my order for one placed RIGHT NOW! It would replace my Canon DSLR/Nikkor 35mm f/2 Ai setup in the field.

    Alternatively, if the new Sony came with a 50mm f/1.4 Zeiss, my order would be in the queue as a replacement for my studio rig. I find my Canon FF DSLR in the studio to be increasingly cumbersome. I must be getting old. The size and weight are worrisome, though the overall image quality of the Canon still can’t be beaten in any meaningful real world manner.

    As an object of camera fetishism, I think Sony has hit the nail right on the head. They’ll sell a ton of them! Just like Fuji sells a ton of those oversized small sensored mirrorless they currently make. If it looks the part, it must be the real deal, right? ๐Ÿ™‚

    None of this prevents me from wanting the new Sony. I’m old enough to remember when Real Men used Real Cameras. The Sony certainly looks the part, doesn’t it?

    • pascaljappy says:

      Hi Christopher,

      how are you doing ? Are you making the most of your new life ? I certainly hope so ๐Ÿ™‚

      If money was no object, I’d get a NEX-6 AND a RX1. If I ruled the world, the NEX-6 would have a RX1 sensor and Olympus IBIS ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Still, if production RX1s are as good as we are all hoping they will be, it should be a wonderful camera to use (hey, Sony, how about a real grip for the damn thing !!). If you’re not printing too large, cropping will give you a very high quality 12Mpix, 50mm/2. Not that bad, but no 1.4 ๐Ÿ˜‰ We’ll see what that digital zoom is loke, although my hopes aren’t too high.

      So you’re after the apps, huh ? Remind me to tease you about that ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜‰ That said, the idea is brilliant. Having had the most photographic fun of my life, in a darkroom, LightRoom is my app of choice, but seeing how utterly brilliant the art modes where on my NEX-5n, I can’t wait to see whant the “Sony app store” comes up with ๐Ÿ™‚ Like them or not, these guys have been doing brilliant thinking.

      Yeah, I’m old enough to remember the days. But, having dragged a Linhof 4×5 in the field (man, the grip for this thing is bigger than an NEX-6 ;)) then a Mamiya 7 (jooyyyy, pure joooyyyy) then a Nikon DSLR, then a NEX, I’m not going back !!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      All the best & see you soon,
      Pascal

      • We absolutely love it here! France is an incredible place to be. Really, it is (all jokes about dour Parisians aside ๐Ÿ™‚ ).

        I’m old enough to say with first hand knowledge that the Folmer and Schwing 12x20inch view camera was incredible, that the Korona 7×17 pano-camera was too good for it’s own good :-), that Linhof/Sinar/Arca all built fabulous 4×5/5×7 cameras, and that Kodak Commercial Ektars were the class of the world (better than Schneider or Zeiss at the time), and that the old Deardorff 8×10 helped me make a few decent images. I’m old enough to completely agree with you that the Mamiya 7/7II system was perfect. I hauled one through India many times and gave me some of the sharpest images I’d ever made.

        I’ll be open to teasing about the apps. ๐Ÿ™‚ Some of the stuff I’ve looked at is just brilliant. What will the “one button push” artists come up with next?

        A doctor/photo gallery curator friend once said that digital was a slippery slope. I now believe him! Creativity need not include learning and understanding the basic processes behind image making, like it did for us in the chemical darkrooms. Yikes! What has the world come to???

        When I first saw the new Sony RX1, my heart melted. I want one so bad! It just “looks” right, doesn’t it?

        It makes me think of 35/50/90mm HCB Leica kit that he hauled everywhere and made such incredible images with. I know Fuji makes such a kit, but the sensor is too small and the camera too large for my tastes and slips too far into camera fetishism for my tastes. OTOH, it seems like the new RX1 is “just right” (as in pudding and porridge and three little bears of legend).

        After these hit the streets and after the pixel peepers show me the new camera’s image capabilities… my old Canon?… ooooo… I might be in trouble… that’s for certain. I can nearly, just nearly, justify using a 35mm focal length in the studio. It’d certainly make for a unique “look”, wouldn’t it?

        Keep up the GREAT work. I love your article (as in jealous that you have one on order). Let us know if you’re in town and needing lunch sometime. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • pascaljappy says:

          So glad to hear you’re loving life on the old continent. It’s refreshing to see someone happy, these days ๐Ÿ™‚

          Wow, 12×20 inch, not that must have been quite an experience! There was something wonderful about setting up a camera for 10 minutes and waiting for the light.

          Your curator friend is right in that digital has all but destroyed this slow deliberate process. It makes up for this by freeing creativity but it’s true that the best pictures today seem ‘different from the pictures of yesteryear.

          Apps leave me less impressed. As much as I loved the ‘creative modes’ on my NEX-5n because they encouraged you to try different looks, websites such as Instagram leave me dead cold because all pictures are so stereotyped. A few members are making great use of the filters but the rest is so drab and look alike.

          Let’s hope Sony’s apps encourage developpers to produce more varied stuff. Could be really great.

          Yes, the RX1 looks just right (apart from the grip, ramble ramble ramble). My initial disappointment that it had a fixed lens has totally gone and I think or more or less perfect camera could use an equivalent of Leica’s Tri-Elmar. Something like a 24-40 3-stepped zoom would be amazing. And why not another at 60-90mm ? Or why not a single 35-90 (though that’s a long focal range).

          Love the camera fetishism concept ๐Ÿ˜‰ Fuji is indeed guilty of that but they seem to be ‘getting it’ more with their more recent cameras.

          35mm in the studio ? Why not. After all, breaking the rules is part of creativity, right. If/when mine comes, I’d be happy to give it to you for a few sessions, if you’d like to try before plunging.

          And yeah, let’s hook up one evening. I’ll be up in October if you feel like an evening stroll ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Should Sony put a very high quality 35-50-90 step zoom on the RX? Oh man. That’d just be perfect! I fear the step zoom concept is a Leica thing, though.

            If you’d like a bit of dinner before a stroll, we found a great place down in the 15th that can’t be missed. And of course, it’d be very interesting to someday see a RX1 in person. ๐Ÿ™‚

            The more I think about this, the more I’m coming to believe the RX1 is a quite nearly perfect entry camera for a FF mirrorless. Kitted, as you suggest, with a NEX of some kind or other? That’d be a killer combo. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

            When I look back at how quickly Sony realized the NEX was a “game changer” (how fast did they design, manufacture, introduce the NEX7 after the first NEX3/5 were seen in the marketplace?), I think Sony will do something very very good with the FF RX series too.

            • pascaljappy says:

              Dinner would be great !! I’ll let you know (mid October should be fine).

              Yes, a NEX + RX combo looks very promising ๐Ÿ˜‰

              Given how intelligent Sony’s product management seems right now, let’s hope they pounce on the stepped zoom idea. And ADD a decent grip ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • outline says:

    What Voigtlander lens would you recommend for NEX 5N?

    • pascaljappy says:

      Hi there,

      it really depends on your priorities (size, focal length, budget). My 35mm Colour skopar is tiny and wonderful. But it’s a 50mm equivalent on the NEX-5n, so you my feel cramped if you have no winder angle lenses. The 25/4 is a cheap and nice way to start and the upcoming 25/1.8 certainly looks promising, albeit at a more expensive price. I don’t think you can go wrong with any of them to be honest. And you’ll easily sell the lens used with minimal loss if you don’t enjoy using it.

      Have fun.

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  • […] time later, I pondered whether you should or not buy a Sony RX1, the answer for me being a clear NO, because of the lack of grip and viewfinder. My mind never […]

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