Forced to buy the RX 10 because the R1 was so darn good. Sony inertia.

As many of you may know I recently picked up a Sony RX10 which is kind of an all-in-one camera with a one inch sensor and a very good Zeiss 24-200mm equivalent lens. This is not my first Sony all-in-one camera. That honor goes to the remarkable Sony R1. The R1 was the first fixed zoom lens camera with an APS-C lens. It used a sensor from the same family of sensors that was used in the Nikon D2X around the same time period. The lens was also designed by Zeiss and matched precisely to the sensor. Just like the RX10 the R1 sported an electronic viewfinder, although it was primitive by comparison.  

I liked the camera a lot. Enough to purchase two of them and press them into many, many commercial projects. The images from this project date back to 2007 and were photographed for a capabilities (print) brochure for a national financial services company with a branch here in Austin, Texas. We made a lot of images during the course of a long day. I ran across a back up DVD this afternoon and wanted to try it in my main computer to spot check and see if we are starting to have an corruption issues with data stored on older, Kodak Gold DVDs. 

Once I started scrolling through the files one thing led to another and I decided that I wanted to see if Adobe had made any improvements to the lens profiles and camera profiles in the latest revs of PhotoShop. I was happy to find that there was a complete profile for the R1+lenses that included updates for vignetting, chromatic aberrations and lens geometry. One click gets you a very clean and rectilinear file, whether you shot it raw or in Jpeg.

While the R1 is only a ten megapixel camera it does wide angle well and when used at its native ISO of 160 it makes nice files. Compared to the current Sony RX10 you can see some difference in the progress of noise reduction even at both cameras' base ISOs. The R1 has more, and more obvious color noise in the shadow areas. Noticeable at 100% but negligible at almost anything you'd do on the screen. On the other hand the files have rich colors straight out of the camera. 

On this project we worked all day in mixed lighting and I thought the Sony did a great job sorting out color shifts and making good AWB selections. But whenever I had doubts I'd pull out a white target and do a custom white balance.  The camera does not have image stabilization but it is an early example of mirror less and has a leaf shutter so there's no shutter shock and there's no real noise or vibration. I tend to shoot on a tripod. Go figure, I own five or six photo tripods and two different video tripods with fluid heads...

I doubt I would have jumped into purchasing the RX10 if I had not first worked with the R1 for nearly nine years. I trust that Sony has the sensor tweaked as well as it can be and I know I can claw out a lot of detail in the dark areas. I trust that Zeiss wouldn't allow their brand to be plastered on a lens if it didn't perform. I'm in the early days so far with the RX10 but I think it's the descendent of the R1 and I hope I get five or ten years of good photography out of it as well. It's all in the family.


Anonymous said...

Looks like I'll end up doing the same. Still have and shoot my two R1s.

JD, Adleaide AU

rlh1138 said...


Just checking thru my PS CC, can't find where (in ACR?) it recognizes my R1 and has corrections. I'm not familiar with that part of PS or ACR, so might be misunderstanding you?


Ray H.

Anonymous said...

That reasoning works in reverse too - my first Fuji camera took lovely photos, but had quirks which made it almost unusable before killer battery problems.

Can't see that I'll buy one again.


Kirk Tuck said...

Ray, look in filters then lens correction. The program should already have"Sony" selected and the drop down menu under Sony will let you select the R1. Send me an e-mail if you need more info.

Gato said...

I may have said this before, but you keep reminding me of my Sony 828 -- the only digital camera I ever really loved. (For those not familiar, a 2/3 chip camera with fixed Zeiss zoom which preceded the R1.)

While I liked the idea of the R1 I never quite bought one, instead going for Nikon system that (for me) was a very expensive detour on my way to relative happiness with an Olympus system.

An RX-10 would completely blow my budget right now, but once I get time to ebay some of my surplus gear it will be affordable. So keep us up to date on how it's working for you.

Anonymous said...


The shots look fantastic. Did you have to correct the perspective on these or crop? Just curious. Regardless, impressive work. Thanks for sharing them.


Kirk Tuck said...

Hi Curtis, I used the Lens Correction tool in PS. Thanks for your kind comments.

rlh1138 said...


Looked in filters, lens correction, all there as you say. Had Sony filled in. When I click on the dropdown under Sony, ('Camera Model'), I get the DSC-RX1, and the RX1R, A700, A900, no DSC-R1. Hmmm. No problem really, I was just curious what the correction would do if I chose it.

Enjoy the blog - I learn a lot about what is happening with new cameras w/o costing me a cent!

Ray H.

Robin Whalley said...

A friend sent me a link to this blog as he said it could have been written by me. I bought an RX10 for identical reasons and like it a lot - I like your train of thought.

But there is a flaw in the design of the RX10 if you use slot in square filters. The white lettering around the front of the lens is placed at an angle and will reflect back onto the filter, appearing in the final image. I have fixed mine now by covering over the lettering with white board marker dividing tape. Here's the link to a blog I did with some examples of the problem.


Love your blog. I hadn't come across it before.

Kirk Tuck said...

Robin, thanks for the heads up. I am not a filter user except for the random circular polarizer or ND filter and I tend to use conventional metal ring filters. My first reaction is to take a black Sharpie and fill in anything that reflects..... but that might not appeal to people who trade cameras a lot.

Anonymous said...

I read this post the same way I talk (immaturely)with a pretty girl: I am distracted seeing her instead to concentrate in the words. Beautiful images and portraits (Although I think that the R1 is a darn good camera yet)

Sven W said...

Very appealing images - I'm sure the client was happy.

Do you think the RX10 would handle a more dynamic situation, like a wedding? (ambient light, hand-held)

marc petzold said...

The R1 presented an outstanding value into 2005 - and it was way ahead if it's time...still...nowadays into 2017, when using RAW @ISO 160/200 a very good lens, even up to IS0 400, and ISO 800/1600 with DxO Optics Pro & PRIME denoise...works very well.