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The Sony RX1 goes with a physical mode dial, eschewing the in-camera mode menus that have been commonplace on the Sony NEX line. The mode dial allows easy and instant access to most of the camera's various modes, including the full suite of PASM modes, scene modes, a full automatic mode, and three user-savable custom settings. Also included on the dial are Sony's ubiquitous sweep panorama as well as a video mode.
The automatic mode on the Sony RX1 allows you to let the camera pretty much take over and do all the work for you. The camera features both a program automatic mode and a full smart auto mode. The program auto mode allows you to let the camera do most of the heavy lifting, while making adjustments to things like exposure control, ISO, and color filters.
The video mode on the RX1 makes use of the new AVCHD 2.0 standard, allowing for up to 1080/60p (28 Mbps) video recording with a full-frame sensor. It can also bump that down to 1080/24p (24Mbps), recorded to AVCHD H.264. You can also shoot in the awkward widescreen 1440x1080/30p or 1280x720/30pp at approximately 12Mbps in MP4. Standard definition 480/30p is also available, but at just 3Mbps.
When shooting video, users can select from any of the four PASM modes. This will allow you to adjust exposure settings on the fly while recording. We found that we were able to adjust shutter speed and ISO while recording, but not aperture. The firmware we used with the camera was still pre-production, so this may change in the final version of the RX1. The RX1 also included a mic input and HDMI output, though we didn't have the accessories on hand to take advantage or test these features out.
One area where the Sony RX1 lags behind the A99 is in terms of burst speed. The RX1 is only capable of shooting at roughly 5 frames per second, according to Sony's numbers, compared to 10fps on most of their interchangeable lens lineup. That still puts the RX1 on par with what the Nikon D800 can do with its higher resolution sensor, and is slightly behind the Canon 5D Mark III.
The Sony RX1 features a standard playback mode, activated by the "play" button on the back of the camera. The RX1 features just basic slideshow options in playback, with the ability to zoom in or out to check focus on photos you've captured.
Picture Quality & Size Options
The Sony RX1 uses the same image sensor and processor as the Sony A99, allowing it to capture 14-bit RAW files, as well as JPEG and RAW+JPEG images with a single shot. The camera's maximum resolution is 24.3 megapixels, which equates to a file size of 6000x4000 pixels.