Great Camera with a Learning Curve
I recently bought this camera as an upgrade from my Sony 8.0 MP 828. This is my third Sony SLR-like camera, with my first one being the 5 MP 717. I upgraded to this one in order to get photos that were as clear and as sharp as possible from the miniature items that I buy and sell.
As I found with the 828 when upgrading from the 717, there was a significant learning curve over previous cameras. However, now with my third Sony camera, I've discovered that the learning curve lasts for about a month - then one can start taking photos with good results.
The learning curve with the R1 was as predicted. Out of the box, the camera is impressive, if only just in size! It is probably double the weight (or at least close) to a 717, and is probably 25% larger than the 828. The lens is a whopping 67mm - a full increment larger than the 828. The next thing you notice on the camera is the lack of an LCD viewfinder, which Sony took off the camera and placed on an adjustable screen on top of the camera. Quite novel.
A quick walk around the camera shows that Sony learned from the cumbersomeness of the 828 with regard to adjustments on the camera and made the R1 very "user friendly." The camera is easy to hold (though heavy) with one hand, and the photographer is able to make the adjustments with his other - definitely making it two-handed operation. It seems that just about everything has a button on the back or side of the camera, and once you learn where everything is, it is easy to change the exposure, etc., with just a quick adjustment.
For what I do (and if you're planning to use it for eBay sales for small objects, this is something to keep in mind) the major initial drawback was the focus length of the camera. Unlike the 828, where you could be within inches of the object and shoot beautiful closeups, this camera requires at least a foot, if not more, in order to focus. Once you get it to the right focal length (and after the purchase of a macro filter - a must have) the shots are glorious. HOWEVER, what does a long focal length with detailed photos mean? You MUST have the camera stabilized (tripod, etc.) in order to get good shots. Hand-held detail shots are a no-go with this camera. Also, if you like to take .mpg movies through your camera, you'll be disappointed. This camera does not have that capability.
As far as plusses, the camera is super high quality, and is relatively easy to use. The lens is fantastic, and the rest of the camera seems to be as equal in quality. I've gotten used to the LCD viewfinder, and have been able to use it for some great shots that I might not of otherwise been able to view with the fixed viewfinder.
Would I buy another? I'm not sure. I'm a fan of getting new toys, so I had to have it. However, I think my 828 may take better (or at least easier) close up shots. I must admit that I haven't taken this camera on a road trip just yet to take outdoor photos, and I can only imagine that with the lens and processor that it will be terrific. My word of advice would be: if you HAVE to have the highest-end quasi-SLR, then this camera is for you. Overall, I'm happy with this camera, but I just don't know if it might just be worthwhile moving over to the quality SLRs that don't cost much more than this, such as the Canon 20D. Though I'll happily use this camera for now, I believe that my next upgrade will be to a quality SLR.
18 of 20 people found this review helpful.
Sony really understands how digital photographers think. The placement and accessibility of buttons and features is simply unmatched by any other manufacturer. I have owned the F-717, F-828, R1, as well as Canon's Rebel XTi, and have used a friends Nikon D20 and his Canon 30D. The problem these others have is that they have years of experience building great FILM cameras, and still think along those lines. With Sony's DSC-R1, all features can be changed on the fly. Try changing the ISO speed on any Nikon or Canon; the R1 can be changed in about two seconds. Digital photographers want to be able to change these kind of settings quickly, while film photographers don't.
The other benefit of the R1 is the lens size and quality. An equivalent lens, with the range and aperture values can't be found for less than $500. The field of focus can be very short with the lens allowing a person to catch some pretty artistic photos. The zoom and focus rings feel perfect. The camera as a whole seems made from very good high-grade plastics and rubber for a solid and secure feeling.
Another thing that deserves mentioning; Sony seems to be the only company that understands that a person's face usually has a nose on the front of it. The eyepiece viewfinder on the R1 protrudes from the camera at least a full inch, which is awesome. Getting my eye up to the flat viewfinder on Canon's XTi is awkward to say the least. But who needs a viewfinder with the R1's *REALLY* nice LCD view screen? It swivels completely around to almost any angle and can lay flat, facing up, for waist-level shooting (I can't emphasize enough how useful this feature is).
Lastly, the flash hot-shoe is off-center (two inches to the right of the lens barrel) which reduces red-eye. The MS/CF door has a good hinge system and holds itself open. The camera accepts memory stick as well as compact flash. The manual focus has a quick-focus button (you can leave it in manual, and press a button for a quick one-time auto focus; pretty handy). And of course, a 10.3 Mega Pixel CMOS, APS sized sensor! The bigger the imager, the cleaner the image (APS stands for Advanced Photo System, 24mm film size).
I love this camera!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Great Zeiss T* Lens
Sony DSC R1 bridge camera. I bought one from eBay for £215 in 2009 as I wanted one just for the quality of the lens for landscape work (I also have a Nikon and Canon SLR).The bad points first it`s shutter lag is nowhere near as good as a good SLR, so for work with children etc where you may need several action shots quickly its somewhat lacking.The electronic viewfinder is good but is no substitute for a real time prism finder as in a SLR and the auto switch between LCD and viewfinder is far to sensitive and cuts out when you hold the camera in a waist level position to close to the body very irritating, also with the LCD showing in the top position it is a finger print/mark trap.
Now the good news you can look up the technical spec. on line so I will deal with the day to day use.Put very simply the camera takes really great pictures,hard to quantify why but must be the way Sony don`t do anything half-hearted and they really scored with this c-mos sensor and lens combination shame they stopped making it, but they felt the market was in SLR`s and teamed up with Minolta to use their expertise and range of lenses a shrewd move.
All the controls fall to hand and are easy to access, you can of course set the camera to full auto and take terrific pictures really pin sharp and beautifully colour rendered with great contrast and clarity, or be more creative with the manual settings either way you will not be disappointed.Think of this camera like an old medium format or twin lens reflex film camera and hold it down low at or below waist level and get landscapes and seascapes over water as I do with amazing results. Battery life by the way is brilliant and its worth at a later date getting a HVL-F32X flashgun.
The zoom lens alone would cost a Kings ransom if bought separately so buy with confidence you will not regret it.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Visual perfection in a compact design!
| Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
|Size / weight|
|Value for money|
I have purchased this camera to replace the identical item, that was stolen from my car, while I was on vacation in Rhode Island. Since it was taken, I had purchased several Canon cameras, and a dozen lenses to replace what this one camera did. It has a versatility that, in my opinion, is unequalled in the digital world. Its ability to shoot in every lighting situation, and in every shooting scenario makes it a valuable tool for every photographer from the novice, to the professionals. Its rotating digital review screen/viewfinder makes it a mutiplane shooting platform that anyone can use expertly, and with amazing results. Its extra sharp Carl Zeiss lens captures images just as they are seen with the naked eye, without distortion or the need for any additional filters. The dual memory card design allows the ability to switch card formats with the flick of a switch, making it easy to take thousands of images, depending on its resolution. I would choose this camera over any of my Canons, because all i need to carry is this camera, and an extra battery, without having to lug around all my extra lenses. From telephoto, to Macro, it is the best overall Point and shoot camera ever made. I give this little jewel a 5 star rating.
Beautiful Device for Amateurs and Professionals Alike
Recognizing that the world is going digital when it comes to photography, I decided that now was probably the time to begin considering a digital camera. While I had had some experience with Canon point and shoot digital cameras like the A430 I quickly came to realize the benefits and possibilities found with owning and using a digital camera.
Having read numerous reviews on point and shoots, prosumers and DSLRs the choice of what type to get was quickly resolved based on quality of image, price and features. Despite coming across sites trying to dispell the supposed misconceptions about megapixels and the thought that a 5 or 6MP camera would do a wonderful job taking photos, I soon put two and two together to discover that if I ever planned on printing 8x10 photos I would require the highest possible megapixel number that was possible. Of course, while DSLRs by Canon and Nikon have broken the 10MP threshold with offerings of 12+ and 16.7MP in the case of the Canon 1Ds Mark II, they carry a hefty price tag of $5000+ from reputable dealers. Anything cheaper, in the form of a DSLR would mean sacrificing features and build quality. The other thing to consider was the cost of accessories. DSLRs rarely if ever come with lenses; if they are included as a kit package, they are always of lesser quality and do not provide the wide range of focal lengths needed for the amateur photographer who wants pictures like the pros but isn't being paid for their work.
Issues related to the size of image sensors found in point and shoots quickly became a bone of contention. While they are highly portable, almost to a fault, the miniscule size of their sensor means that image noise at ISOs of more than 100 makes printing and enlarging the images futile. You'll wonder how that 'snow' ended up in your photos from the beach. While they may be had for relative peanuts, point and shoots are suitable for only the most casual of photog, someone who rarely uses a camera and isn't interested in printing images larger than 4x6, if that.
In my case, prosumers filled the void. They offer the possibility of near identical build and lens quality and features found in high end DSLRs as well as point and shoot presets that make convenience possible. Offerings from Minolta, Fujifilm and others prove to be some of the cheapest prosumers available ($600 and under) but as the adage goes, you get what you pay for. In these cases this means high noise levels at relatively low ISOs (~400), smaller than suitable sensor size, poor lenses and less than desired build quality.
The SONY DSC R1 ended up being everything and then some for what I wanted in my first digital camera. A top shelf Carl Zeiss lens with the widest 24mm lens available in a prosumer. Telephoto to 120mm gives you more than enough range for everyday shots. I won't go into the rest of the features available on the camera since they are too numerous to fully detail in this space and are described virtually everywhere on the net. Suffice it to say that this camera could and would act as a highly competent backup for a professional photographer or an equally capable stand-alone for an amateur like me. Being FAT32 compatible with dual memory capability (MS Pro/Pro Duo, CF II) plugging in an 8GB Seagate photo drive/microdrive is a cinch and offers very reasonable space for the hefty 5MB HQ jpgs taken with this camera. Lest I forget, let me mention that a major selling point is the camera's ability to take RAW images.
18 of 18 people found this review helpful.