Sony RX1R review: Your wish for sharper, more detailed images came true (especially for JPEGs), but at what cost?


posted Friday, October 4, 2013 at 7:54 PM EDT

With the introduction of the new Sony RX1R full-frame compact camera -- a "special edition" of the award-winning Sony RX1 full-frame compact camera -- the company has attempted what not long ago seemed impossible. After all, the combination of the Cyber-shot RX1's exquisite 35mm f/2 Carl Zeiss lens and powerful full-frame sensor captured images that appeared virtually unbeatable in its class.

However, by removing the optical low-pass (anti-aliasing) filter to maximize per-pixel sharpness and by tweaking the image processing accordingly, Sony has indeed improved the camera's imaging capabilities, especially for JPEGs. The added red capital "R" in RX1R emblazoned on the front of the camera definitively heralds the new model's purpose: Resolution, Resolution, Resolution.

In all other aspects -- save for the RX1R's upgraded HDMI connection that now supports Sony's Triluminos Color TV technology -- the two cameras are identical. Like its near-twin, the RX1R boasts a 24-megapixel, full-frame sensor and a bright, sharp 35mm f/2 lens that are housed in a lightweight and compact, almost-pocketable body. Even the price is the same: a whopping, but well-worth-it $2,800.

But Sony's push for sharper, more detailed images does come at a cost; the Sony RX1R is more prone to moiré, aliasing and false color than the RX1.

Are its gains in resolution worth this risk? Read our Sony RX1R review to find out. You'll find side-by-side image quality analyses of the RX1R and RX1, including direct comparisons of their JPEGs, RAW files and moiré.