I still believe that the iPhone 4 was the most magical product I have ever owned (respective to the time in which it was released). It brought the precision of thousand dollar watches to the mainstream and made me lose sleep over its beauty. If you were to ask me what’s the most magical product out of my current possessions, I would have to answer with the Sony RX1. If you’re wanting a more formal review of the RX1, refer to my original review. This post will focus on my long-term impressions of the camera.
Also, because so many people are asking - yes, I will be posting a review of the iPhone 5S. In the meantime, here’s a photo of the 5S taken with the RX1.
Even after 8 months with the RX1, I still feel like we're on a honeymoon. It’s so capable and delivers so consistently that I feel no motivation to even look at new competitors. It's bizarre, I should be filled with complaints by now. Sony’s idea to jam a full frame sensor into a compact turned out to be genius. It’s like being able to have a compact sports car with loads of luggage capacity. It’s shouldn’t be allowed to exist but somehow, Sony’s made it real.
I’ve added two accessories to my RX1, the first is Sony’s electronic viewfinder. At $450, it’s clearly overpriced but in practice, very useful. It brings you closer to the image and allows a level of finesse that is difficult with the external display.
I’ve found myself using the viewfinder more than the rear display but I would purchase it from a retailer that allows easy returns - incase your shooting style differs from mine.
I’ve also added a Leica-style lens hood. The official Sony hood is a ridiculous $180 so I found this cheap alternative on Amazon.
The RX1’s brilliance comes down to its spec sheet. It’s got a massive sensor paired with a beautiful f2.0 Zeiss lens. But since we like to talk about benefits, not specs here on MM, all you need to know is that the RX1 enables flexibility. The photos, or raw materials the camera produces are flawless, giving you tons of room to be creative. I’ve seen people argue about whether or not my photos have been post processed. The answer is, yes, I tweak every photo I take using Aperture. The filters I apply are the result of years of experimentation to create a natural, soft aesthetic. But the RX1 really deserves more credit than me for supplying a detail-rich canvas to work with.
That's not to say that the RX1 is perfect though. The camera’s focus is fast, but not as fast as other professional offerings. The RX1 also has a terrible menu system with illogical organization. It’s also annoying that muting the shutter feedback mutes the focus beep. I also wish that the startup speed could be a touch faster. However, these gripes dissolve when I look at the photos the camera delivers. There’s something very real, human, and vital about the photos. Stylistically, they have the ideal balance of surgical perfection and film-like honesty.
If I were to rank every product I’ve reviewed, the Sony RX1 would easily be on top. $2800 is a lot money for anything but it's a shame to not have your life documented with this camera.