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Sony DSC-R1

Uncategorized author: admin 03.13.2006 Comments Off

Another step in bringing dSLR technology to the people

Sony DSC-R1 front
By presenting new DSC-R1 prosumer digital camera, Sony actually presents new digital cameras class, in a segment just below entry level dSLR cameras. But in a fact Sony DSC-R1 implements few functions that can be only found in professional class dSLR cameras ($2000 or more). DSC-R1 camera is the direct heir of DSC-F828. F829 was typical prosumer camera, but new DSC-R1 is not its unique because few things first time implemented in this class. This is the first non dSLR camera using large format sensor (APS class size), first CMOS in non dSLR camera, this is the first large format sensor that provides full-time live preview. Also because of large format sensor new Sony offers the largest scale of ISO sensitivity for non dSLR camera – from ISO160 to even ISO3200. Also this is the first Sony digital camera that support Adobe RGB color space, Auto Gamma Control. One more thing that differs this camera from all the others available on the market its the placing of LCD screen, its placed on the top of the camera.

First large format APS class sized CMOS sensor in non dSLR camera

Sony DSC-R1 Sensor compare On this picture you have comparison of F828 and R1 image sensors. Key advantages of using large sensor are higher light sensitivity larger ISO values with lower amount of color noise, simpler lens – with less distortion. R1 CMOS sensor offers 10.3 effective Mpix, image size up to 3888×2592 pixels.
DSC-R1 is using excellent new Carl Zeiss T* 24-120mm equivalent F2.8 – F4.8 lens. That means that we have 5x optical zoom, with zoom ring on the lens barrel.
Maximum shutter speed is 1/2000, and that is also Flash x-sync. Camera supports two type of memmory cards one is Sonys Memory Stick and standard Compact Flash.
Sony DSC-R1 top One of the lacks of this camera is built in image processor it just not able to folow great lens and sensor. Display location can be a problem for some users. Built in electronical viewfinder is good, but an optical viewfinder is even better, that was the thing which Sony sacrificed to get smaller, lighter camera, no pentaprism, better image quality – sensor is closer to the lens. Frame buffer for JPEG continuous shooting is just 3 frames which is simply intolerant, and there is no RAW continuous mode. RAW mode is quite useless because there is no compression of RAW file, its quite large about 20MB and there for it takes up to 10 seconds to transfer it to CF, so you need to wait 10 seconds to be able to take another shoot. Also lack of better image processor is nocable in high ISO values ( 1600 – 3200 ) so grade of color noise is considerable. And there is no control of in-camera high ISO noise reduction. Auto focus could be better. One other non logical things is lack of a external charger, you have to connect camera to charger to charge battery in it.
Sony DSC-R1 back
Conclusion:
If you buy this camera you will get excellent lens worth every buck. If you chose for example some dSLR camera instead for this kind of lens you will have to spend 2 or 3 times more money, just for lens. Also you will get great ( large ) 10Mpix sensor, but also you will get a sony image processor which is just still two steps behind canons DIGIC II image processor.
Its not a perfect camera, but in a under $1000 pack, its the right choice. If you decide to go dSLR way, you will have to spend 2 times ( Canon 350d and appropriate lens ) more money to get just a bit better result, even with 2 Mpix less. So if you are in doubt and you are not still prepared for giant dSLR step, buy SONY DSC-R1, it worth every buck.