Sony RX1 vs. The World

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I’ve owned my little Sony RX1 for almost a year now, and every time I shoot with it, I am constantly blown away by just how impressive the resulting image quality is. The sharpness and level of detail the camera retains when zoomed in at 100% seems to be so much better than my bigger, more pro bodied DSLRs.

I was talking shop with friends and fellow photographers, Alex Wong, Ron Palarca, and Camden Thrasher about just how good I find the RX1. I kept zooming into images I shot with the camera and kept blowing their minds. And what do a bunch of photographers do with a bit of time to spare? Break out all their cameras and have an RX1 show down.

In our arsenal we had access to a Canon 5D Mark III, 5D Mark II, 1DS Mark III, Nikon D4, D700, D800, and of course, the Sony RX1. The Canons used the 35mm f1.4, the Nikons used the new Sigma 35 f1.4, and the Sony used its non-removable Carl Zeiss 35mm f2.0.

rx1vworld

To keep things somewhat scientific, all the cameras used the exact same settings: 35mm, f2.0, 1/200th shutter, at 400 ISO. We did this test to compare image quality only. Everything else was completely ignored. We also shot fairly wide open because we wanted to see how the lenses on each DSLR stacked up to the Sony’s lens at f2.0 since we were most impressed with how insanely sharp it is when shot completely wide open.

Canon 1DS Mark III:
Canon1DS3

Canon 5D Mark II:
Canon5D2

Canon 5D Mark III:
Canon5D3

Nikon D4:
NikonD4

Nikon D700:
NikonD700

Nikon D800:
NikonD800

Sony RX1:
SonyRX1

 

100% crop:

Canon 1DS Mark III:
Canon1DS3label

Canon 5D Mark II:
Canon5D2label

Canon 5D Mark III:
Canon5D3label

Nikon D4:
NikonD4label

Nikon D700:
NikonD700label

Nikon D800:
NikonD800label

Sony RX1:
SonyRX1label

In conclusion, the RX1 wins because of this:
eyeball

This is a 100% crop of the image below shot wide open at f2.

DSC00072

None of the DSLRs tested would be able to retain that much detail and dynamic range. So, what does this mean to the future of DSLRs? Almost nothing. They will still be the king of the photographic castle as long as there will be major sporting events, motorsports races, weddings, and fast moving babies to be photographed.

But damn, these little compact cameras have come a long way.

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