Hands-on User Report and preliminary test results posted for Sony DSC-R1|
(Thursday, September 8, 2005 - 12:38 EDT)
Every now and then, a digital camera comes along that breaks the mold of what's gone before, and the new Sony DSC-R1 looks to be one such.
Combining a nearly APS-C sized sensor chip (the most common size used by digital SLRs) with a live LCD viewfinder system, the Sony R1 presents an unusual combination of capabilities and optical quality.
By eliminating the large mirror box between the lens and sensor, Sony engineers radically reduced the "back-focus" distance of the lens. By moving the lens elements so much closer to the sensor (a mere 2.1 mm at the wide angle setting), they managed to produce a very wide-angle zoom lens (24-120mm range) with surprisingly low chromatic aberration and excellent corner to corner sharpness.
While it can't compete with d-SLRs for shooting quickness, you'd easily have to spend twice the $999 cost of the Sony DSC-R1 just for the lenses to give a d-SLR the equivalent zoom range and optical quality. We had a chance to spend a couple of days with the new Sony R1 and have put together a detailed preview of the camera, with a User Report, discussion of some of the technology behind the R1, and our exclusive performance timing data.
Particularly interesting to most readers will be editor Shawn Barnett's detailed User Report, discussing practical aspects of what the camera feels like to shoot with, it's interface highlights and hiccups. We haven't received authorization from Sony to share photos from the camera with our readers yet, so this First Look doesn't include any sample pictures. Stay tuned though, we'll have a full complement of both test and "gallery" photos as soon as we're allowed to share them with you. - And we think you'll find them worth the wait: This is a camera that loves light, with very appealing tonality and color.
The exact nature of what's going on in its photos is hard to pin down, and not at all susceptible to analysis in the laboratory, it's something that you just have to see firsthand to appreciate. All in all, a very intriguing entry by Sony, something we suspect many of our readers will be most interested in. Read our Sony DSC-R1 First Look Review for all the details!