• The full-frame, fixed-lens, pocket-sized RX1 is set to stand the camera world on its ear.

Sony Breaks New Ground With the RX1, the World's First Full-Frame Compact

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The full-frame, fixed-lens, pocket-sized RX1 is set to stand the camera world on its ear.

Coming pretty much completely out of nowhere, the Cyber-shot RX1 is a remarkable new full-frame, fixed-lens, compact camera from Sony that ought to stand the camera world on its ear. A halo product par excellence, it crams a new 24.3 megapixel CMOS sensor (also seen in the new A99) into a body no bigger than the Panasonic LX7, and tacks on a sure-to-be-superb 35mm f/2.0 Zeiss Sonnar T* lens.

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The Sony Cyber-shot RX1.

The impressive new EXMOR sensor boasts an native ISO range of 100-51200 (or 50-102400 when fully expanded), and combined with a new BIONZ processor can capture 5 frames per second in a burst. Meanwhile, the lens claims a 9-bladed aperture that creates a nearly perfect circle throughout the aperture range.

Designed with professional photographers in mind, the RX1 features a magnesium alloy body with an exposure compensation dial, a shooting mode selector dial, and a programmable function button on the top plate. The lens should also be an ergonomic winner with an aperture ring, macro switching ring, and focusing ring. A 3-inch WhiteMagic rear LCD promises clear viewing even in bright light, and shooters can choose between two add-on viewfinder accessories: the FDA-EV1MK EVF, and the FDA-V1K optical finder.

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It may be a compact camera, but we don’t recommend trying to fit it into your jeans pocket.

With specs like these, we expect the RX1 to set a new bar for street shooting, and to be the perfect backup for pro photographers on the go. But perfection doesn't come cheap—an asking price of $2799 is sure to spell sadness for many hopeful buyers. Even so, it's a huge step forward for the compact camera market, and a sign of good things to come.

To get the full rundown on Sony's new baby, check out our in-depth first impressions review.

Ben Keough 9714f09447eba36d48866d15ee9c62a0?s=48&d=mm
Ben is an experienced industry journalist, now managing news and features for Reviewed.com. Most recently hailing from the vast wilds of the American southwest, he is an avid photographer who is deeply disturbed by the lack of wide open landscapes in Boston.