I love my Canon 5D (mark 1). It is rugged, weather resistant(ish) and the full frame censor delivers superb results. Alongside a few trusty high quality lenses I have been a very happy man and have not really looked for a new camera body or system. Until recently that is.
Whilst I’ve been (and still am) happy with the quality of the pictures I’m taking with the full SLR system, I’ve been increasingly reluctant to want to haul it around. There is no getting away from the fact that it is pretty bulky and no lightweight. This was no biggie in the days when I only had myself to look after but these days I frequently have to accomodate the ‘stuff’ associated with one or two children that are in tow.
This has resulted in either grumbling about the inconvenience or leaving the camera behid altogether and relying on my iPhone for ‘snaps’ neither of which has been an ideal prospect. What I need is something small but without compromising any image quality, a requirement that seemed an impossible dream outside of owning a Leica, and who has the money for that?
Over the years i’ve been keenly looking at a whole host of small agile looking cameras like the Olympus Pen or the Fuji x100 but whilst they ticked the box of ‘size’ I knew they would be less good than a full frame/L lens combo.
And then came along the Sony RX1 (or RX1R) – full frame, amazing lens and only a little bigger than a compact. It sounds amazing but there is no such thing as a free lunch and it has a few downsides to swallow. It seems the 35mm lens, though amazing, is fixed and I have to ask if I can live with one lens forever? I also have to ask if I can accomodate the seemingly eye-watering cost of £2500.
Well, I’ve been using (and loving) a 35mm on the big beast and If I only had one focal length, this would be it. As for the cost, it would require that instead of new, I could get it a lot cheaper by buying second hand and to afford even that i’d have to sell ALL of my current glass. This is quite a wrench as these lenses have been with me a long time and we’ve taken great pictures together. Having said that, I can either have a lot of ace kit sitting around not being used or a new thing out all the time?
Taking the plunge
Lenses have been sold and new (second hand with minor scratches) camera has been purchased from the e of bay. I’ve only had it a few days but the RX1R is (nearly) everything that I could hope for:
- Small – the body is like a compact, made a bit bigger by the protruding lens.
- Superb image quality – Easily as good as my old set-up
Do I have any grumbles? Well it would be even better if the camera had some weather sealing and i may have to get used to the fact that there is no viewfinder. It feels like a compact but takes pictures an SLR would be proud of. So far, I’m very happy.
Here is a nice test picture of some mud for you!