Seeking a full frame sensor in a portable camera body? Sony gives you the answer:  the Cybershot DSC-RX1. Are your wallet ready?

The Sony RX1 comes as a big surprise to those who long for a full frame sensor in a small camera body. Not long ago Sony has released the nice and elegant small RX100. While we are still rejoicing its inner and outer beauty, we don’t expect the full frame era is getting so close. Why Sony? Don’t forget nearly all the CMOS in the camera bodies (except Canon and Panasonic) are manufactured by Sony. As a company that has made great full frame sensors (such as in the body of Nikon D800), why not makes one for its own? This is not unusual seeing the success of the Fujifilm X100 followed by the Fujifilm X Pro-1. But this year when Potokina is approaching, we first see the release of Sony’s SLT-A99, then followed by the Nikon D600. Both of them are equipped with a full frame CMOS sensor and the body price is around US$2500.

Here are some of the latest releases (models listed in alphabetical order):
Canon EOS-1D X
Canon EOS-5D Mark III
Nikon D4
Nikon D600
Nikon D800 & 800E
Sony Cybershot DSC-RX1
Sony SLT-A99

The race to a full frame sensor may become the major event of the big guns in Photokina this year.  I personally think the just released Nikon D600 and the Sony SLT-A99 are not the lone players. Some leaked Canon 6D pictures are now widely available online. In terms of specifications, it is presumably a direct reply to the Nikon D600.  Now I am a bit confused by these model names. What are the differences between a 5D Mark III and the rumoured 6D? Would you buy the Canon 6D instead of the 5D Mark III? Of course you can tell some basic differences from their pricing. The question is: are the Nikon D600 and the Canon 6D too late?

In a word: better late than sorry. Imagine if you were Canon and Nikon, wouldn’t you consider the profit or how many people are going to buy your camera? Now putting a full frame sensor in a camera is not hard. If the full frame sensor becomes a trend, how about the Fourth-Thirds? The Olympus OMD E-M5 (what a name!) so far produces the best image quality in this popular category. Its body is not tiny though. But how long will it survive?

From the pre-show releases by all major players, the Sony Cybershot DSC-RX1 attracts all attention because of its full frame sensor, small size body equipped with the Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* lens. This is a giant step for Sony and the RX-1 is truly a leader. One thing for certain is that like the Fujifilm X100, the RX-1 is not an interchangeable system camera, so there is no worry of dust on the sensor when you change the lens. With a price set at the same level (perhaps a bit pricy) as its big brother A99, the RX-1 is a sought-after camera in every photographer’s bag.

Featured image: Central Station. Summicron-M 50 mm, ISO160, f3.4, 1/350 sec

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