Sony DSC-R1 Review

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Features & Controls

Size really does make a difference! Compare the size of the DSC-F828's 8MP CCD imager with the APS-class 10MP CMOS imager of the DSC-R1.

Top-class image quality is guaranteed through the inclusion of a large-sized Sony CMOS image sensor (effective 21.5mm x 14.4mm), uniquely designed to significantly improve dynamic range, sensitivity, and signal-to-noise ratio. The large Sony CMOS sensor is able to capture more light, reducing noise levels, allowing higher shutter speeds, and therefore reducing the effects of handshake for clear, true to life pictures.

Picture blur is significantly reduced because of the camera's high sensitivity capability, with noise being simultaneously reduced as a result of the newly developed Clear RAW NR feature. The signal is amplified within each pixel, resulting in ultra-fast signal transfer, no smear and ultra low power consumption.

The DSC-R1 delivers fabulous detail, perfect for giant, poster-sized prints, professional 4-color offset printing and other advanced applications.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1

The dedicated Carl Zeiss T* 5x, 14.3 to 71.5mm (24mm-120mm in 35mm equiv.) wide-angle zoom lens of the Cyber-shot R1 is integrated into the body of the camera. With its F2.8-4.8 aperture, the camera is designed to exacting specifications for optimum performance, reduced internal reflections and fast, quality photography, even at low light levels.

The unique 'short back focus design' of the Cyber-shot R1 also allows the last lens to be positioned immediately in front of the CMOS sensor, contributing to a reduction in chromatic aberration. On the Cyber-shot R1 this distance has been reduced to an astonishing 2.1mm.

The fixed-lens design of the Cyber-shot R1 provides enhanced durability, reducing the risk of dust or foreign bodies scratching or damaging the sensor as a result of multiple lens changes. The lens block designed specifically for the Cyber-shot R1 is made up of 10 groups of 12 elements, four of which are aspherical.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1

Sony has developed an ultra-efficient Linear Focus system for the Cyber-shot R1. This direct drive system uses a motor without gears, resulting a super-fast response and extremely accurate focus. Equipped with a low-light AF-assist lamp with an effective range of 2.3 m (W) / 2.7 m (T), the contrast detection autofocus system has a range of 19.7" (50 cm) to infinity in W/T and can focus as close as 13.7 in. (35 cm) in Macro mode.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1

The 5x zoom lens is controlled by a manual ring on the lens barrel. Behind that is the manual focus ring which is a "fly-by-wire" electronic type.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1

The camera is supplied with this "petal" shaped lens hood which should be used whenever you're in bright lighting conditions to avoid wide angle flaring. The lens is threaded and accepts 67mm filters.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1

The auto/manual popup speedlight has modes for: Auto, Red-eye Reduction, Fill-in and Slow-sync. The working range at ISO Auto in Wide angle is 1' 8" to 12' 10" (0.5 m to 3.9 m) and 1' 8" to 7' 10" (0.5 m to 2.4 m) at Telephoto at ISO Auto. Despite the specified minimum flash range, it does squelch down nicely for most macro exposures and has a ±2 EV (in 0.3 EV steps) compensation adjustment.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1

The accessory shoe supports wireless connections, pre-flash and automatic adjustment for the best exposure. It can also be used with conventional flash units for analog cameras if they have compatible connections.

The high power Sony HVL-F32X has a flash range up to 48 feet, built-in modeling light, bounce and tilt head with diffuser, 6 level manual flash selection, AF assist lamp, red-eye reduction and automatic TTL Pre-Flash exposure control. Powered by four AA type batteries.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1

The new EVF (electronic viewfinder) has an improved optical system with three lenses, for a lower distortion and aberration and better eye position. The image resolution is also higher than on previous models. The camera seamlessly switches between the EVF and the LCD using an eye sensor. Both can show zebra stripes as well as the newly designed information display.

The Cyber-shot R1 offers two different monitoring modes, Framing and Preview. The Framing Mode reduces flicker under fluorescent light, and the screen is brightened to view the subject more easily, so is ideal for use indoors or in low light conditions. Preview Mode, on the other hand, reflects the true camera settings such as the aperture and shutter speed so that you can confirm the real depth of field before shooting.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1

The top-mounted 2.0-inch color LCD has 134,000 pixels and tilts 120° and swivels 270° to nearly any angle. It can be closed face-in or face-out and can be used for preview, review and accessing the camera's menu system. The swivel action allows you to shoot from horizontal or vertical levels, high or low angles or waist height, to maximise creativity.

You can view a 'live' preview of the shot you are framing, so you can clearly see what the end result will look like before you take the shot. The improved display layout shows the basic camera settings such as shutter speed, F number, and EV diagram in the bottom area of both LCD and EVF without overlapping the subject in the image area. In addition to the basic settings, the following functions provide further assistance when shooting:

  • Histogram - The display shows a live histogram when shooting, ideal for adjustment of brightness. Additionally, in playback a histogram also appears for each of the three separate RGB colours, this is ideal for checking the detailed balance of each colour and then making necessary adjustments.

  • Zebra Pattern - This uses black and white stripes (Zebra Pattern) to indicate areas where the brightness exceeds a certain level resulting in burnt-out highlights. The exposure can then be adjusted accordingly.

  • Grid lines - This helps when photographing a horizontal or vertical subject. It can also be used artistically and creatively when composing a picture to a particular pattern.

  • Enlarged Focus - The focusing point appears in an enlarged image when the manual focus ring is used, for more accurate focusing.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1

The Mode Dial (Auto, Program AE, Shutter-speed priority AE, Aperture priority AE, Manual, Scene Modes: Night, Night Portrait, Landscape, Portrait). The MONITOR switch selects Framing or Preview mode. The FINDER/AUTO/LCD button selects the active display. Partially hidden to the right of the EVF is the Review mode button.

Bottom buttons (left to right): Metering (Multi, Center-weighted, Spot). BRK button selects the drive mode (Single, Continuous, AE Bracketing). Self-timer button activates the self-timer, 2 or 10 seconds depending on Setup option. Magnify button, enlarge the viewfinder image. The 4-way joystick is for navigating menus and selecting playback images. The Sub Command Dial is around the 4-way controller. The AE Lock button holds exposure and focus for re-framing. The Main Command Dial is in the upper right. The button below the Main Command Dial controls the amount of information displayed on EVF or LCD. The MENU button calls up and dismisses menu screens. In the lower right is the Memory Stick / CF card selector switch.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1

On top of the handgrip is the shutter release button with the Power on/off switch. Next to that is the ISO button which is held as you turn the Main Command Dial to select the desired ISO speed. Also the TTL flash hot shoe.

On the left side are the Flash Mode, White Balance and Focus Mode buttons.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1

The I/O ports:

ACCessory port (external flash sync and camera remote control)

USB 2.0 (high speed) data port. PictBridge direct print compatible

Video output, selectable for NTSC or PAL

DC input for battery charger

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1

The DSC-R1 has both MS and CF2 card slots. You can use Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, CompactFlash Type I or II cards or Microdrives. The R1 is FAT-16 and FAT-32 compatible which means you can use devices that exceed 2GB in capacity. It takes full advantage of the Memory Stick Pro's high-speed parallel writing feature.

Number of Storable Photos (approx.)

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1
(The top number is JPEG Fine, the bottom number is JPEG Standard)

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1

Sony Europe launches new 5GB CompactFlash Type II media, under the COMPACTVAULT™ brand. The new COMPACTVAULT provides storage of up to 1600 images (based on average file size of 3MB) or four hours of MPEG 4 recording. The one-inch hard disk drive boasts a native transfer rate of up to 96.7Mbps, providing even faster recording of images and higher quality of videos, in what is termed AV mode. The COMPACTVAULT is compatible with all products with a CF Type II slot.

"The COMPACTVAULT is the next step in the development of our removable media family", said C�line Haffner, Product Manager, Sony RME. "It offers high storage capacity for state-of-the-art digital cameras, such as the new Sony Cybershot R1. In addition, we expect to see devices becoming available in the future that take full advantage of our Cybercapture technology. By moving the file system from the hardware device onto the hard disk drive itself, the Cybercapture technology will allow an even higher recording rate of still pictures in multi-shot mode as well as higher quality recording of moving pictures, on a COMPACTVAULT running in AV mode."

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1

Power is supplied by a "M" series 7.2v 8.5Wh NP-FM50 InfoLITHIUM battery pack. As with all Sony cameras using an infoLITHIUM battery, the exact runtime remaining is constantly displayed on the LCD or EVF. Included is the AC-L15A combination battery charger and AC power supply which replenishes the battery pack in aprox. 150 minutes.

Sony claims a battery life of approx. 250 minutes (500 shots) when using the LCD or approx. 260 minutes (520 shots) when using the EVF with a Memory Stick. If using a Microdrive it is approx. 230 minutes (460 shots) with the LCD and approx. 240 minutes (480 shots) with the EVF.

Sony RM-DR1 remote control

This is the optional Sony RM-DR1 wired remote control for any Sony digicam like the R1 that has an ACC port on it.

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