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Old Sep 15, 2005, 12:01 PM   #1
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The latest sampling of photos from the yet to be released Sony R-1 have been published by http://www.dpreview.com. There are some very impressive high ISO shots at ISO 1600 and 3200.

Here is the direct link to the photo collection: http://www.dpreview.com/gallery/?gal...dscr1_preview/Enjoy!

Sarah Joyce
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Old Sep 16, 2005, 8:23 AM   #2
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Sarah

This is a very impressive camera, especially regarding image quality at high ISO, however I am not certain that Sony makes the best implementation of this chip. As with the F-828, there seem to be some performance issues which Sony has not really addressed in terms of speed of operation and buffer size. This is a valid option to a DSLR if you use mostly wide angle and shoot slowly (the perfect landscape, portrait, architecture camera for the price).

Compared to competition such as the Fuji S9000 the Sony wins on image quality and resolution but loses out on zoom range (the result of the large sensor no doubt) and on price (most entry level DSLRs with the kit lens are cheaper (the Olympus E-300 with an external flash and two lenses is cheaper than the reported price of this camera.)). I realize that this camera offers better image quality then most of these entry level DSLRs, but they blow it away on shooting performance and flexibility. Too much to pay for an incremental increase in quality and the ability to frame with the LCD. I would be first in line to buy one if the price was lower.

If you plan on marketting poster sized prints this is a bargain, otherwise either get a DSLR or go with the faster, more flexible EVF models such as the Panasonic FZ30 or Fuji S9000.


I think Sony are again using their name and reputation to market a product which could have been much better (and should have been for the price). I wish they always lived up to the hype.


Ira

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Old Sep 18, 2005, 2:58 PM   #3
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Hi Ira,

I am very interested in the views (criticisms) of the Sony R1 you raise in your post. I am currentlytrying to determinewhat I will buy to replace a Canon Digital Rebel which I have had for less than a year and which I have found to be a very disappointing camera. After much research of about 6 contenders I have narrowedmy selection down to 1. Fuji S9500 or 2. Sony R1. Alas, I neither aspire to nor can afford anything more exotic these days.

I had a Fuji 6900Z until a few months ago (had it 3 years) and could not fault it. I think it was a brilliant camera which produced a very high percentage of fine shots. So I am favourably disposed to Fuji, based on this prior experience. By contrast, I have never owned or used a Sony camera.

I saw and handled the S9500 yesterday at a local dealers and it felt good. I think if I bought it I would not be disappointed. So, as it is available now and is also cheaper by a good margin, these are strong points in favour of this camera.

The R1 is a more recently announced product and will not be available for inspection/purchase for about 2 months. However, its specification is definitely a cut above the S9000/FZ30 competition on several counts which are important to me. I have prior experience of Zeiss lenses and feel drawn to the R1 on this count. The significantly larger sensor chip is also clearly an advantage. The smaller zoom range of the R1 lens is something that I am prepared to trade for the 24mm wide end. My experience over a long period has always been to need more width than reach, so (whilst I would like a greater range) I will settle for the rangethe lens offers. My knowledge of the camera is restricted to the very recent anouncement data from Sony and the Digital Photography review by Phil Askey. The review and test data available appears to show the product to be capable of delivering the performance Sony describes in its blurb. Based on this review, I have decided to postpone my purchase until the R1 is available to be checked out personally.

I boughtmy Canon Digital SLR based on world-wide (favourable) review information and I am not happy about the outcome of that. The main problem with it is that the images from it (whilst they are good in the technical sense of resolution, low noise, etc.) just lack "life". It is difficult to be very specific about why I don't like them but when I compare Canon and Fuji shots of the same scene taken a few seconds apart, the Fuji printsjust seem to have a greater vitality about them. The Canon also tends to irregularly (but frequently) underexpose and thereby lose detail in shadow areas.At the maximum size I print (15"x12") there is little to chose between them for noise and resolution. The advantage of the Canon in these respects does not show until I crop and enlarge beyond this magnification.

I know, as an electronics engineer, that (although a few might disagree) CCD imaging chips give a better overall performance than CMOS. This is why they are so widelyused for astronomical imaging.I know they have measurably betterdynamic range and sensitivity but I have been surprised that the difference is so noticeable. The only reason that I can see for the recent move to CMOS is that it is cheaper for the production of the larger format sensors. But the price paid seems to be in reduced inage quality in terms of bandwidth and saturation effects.

Nowhere in the review data on the R1 is there any mention of the points you make about factorssuch as any lack in "speed of operation", "shooting performance" or "flexibility". Or of your view that Sonymay not have maximised its effective application of the new CMOS sensor.Also the suggestion thattheSony announcement "hype" may not be fulfilled in the flesh.

My interest in these points is not to suggest that your views are inappropriate - indeed the very oppositeis in my mind. At the present time, armed with the Sony announcement and the review opinion I am much inclined to think the R1 would be a better bet for me than the Fuji. Unfortunately, that's where I stood with the Canon opinion before I boughtthat camera, andI do not wish to make a mistake like that again. So, if there are any specific things about the R1, Sony products or designsin general which lead you to your conclusions, I would be interested in any further details you may have.

Regards, Alan Sickling, Sheffield.
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Old Sep 18, 2005, 3:57 PM   #4
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Alan

My issues with the Sony need not necessarily have any bearing on you since it appears that you fill the criteria for a happy R-1 owner, i.e. you prefer the wide angle end of the focal range and you put ultimate image quality ahead of some very minor performance issues. This camera may very well be made for you.

I am just disappointed with Sony in that they have given it the buffer size of digicam, a shame considering it has the sensor of a pro dSLR. The narrow zoom range is of course the result of the larger sensor, a 10X zoom would be huge. If the R-1 was the same price as the S9X00 I would put it at the top of my list immediately, but it is considerably more costly. I have been disappointed with other Sony products in the past and I may be generalizing a little.

I have also looked at the Canon 300d, and I wasn't very impressed either, the build quality was fair at best.

I apologize if I let my own prejudices blur my view, the F-828 was a fine camera but for the noise problems, and I am sure the R1 will be the top digicam for image quality from the samples I have seen, I just hoped for more at the price. When other companies start using this chip perhaps they will improve the performance, although judging from the 8MP cams that followed the F-828, they are not likely to improve on the handling and build quality of the Sony.

I think it will be worth it to wait until you can actually try out an R1 before you make a purchase.

Ira


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Old Sep 18, 2005, 6:50 PM   #5
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Ira,

Many thanks for your reply. That puts things nicely into context for me, and be assured that you haveno need to apologise for your views.

You have alerted me to a potential weakness with the camera's buffering that I wasunaware of and will look at that when I get the opportunity to assess its effect. I'm also still a little worried about the R1's CMOS sensor and whether it willhave anything of the nature of the Canon chip. The fact that Sony are offering extended rgb modes may indicate they have identified a need to do something to counter any inherent defects. We'll see.

Meanwhile, Inow feel justified in holding offmaking an early purchase of the S9500 until I have seen and handled the R1. I want to be absolutely sure I get the right instrument this time and will not be rushing into anything. My assessment of the current contenders' strengths and weaknesses leads me to think that I am down to the last two candidates for me. I just hope no-one comes up with something else at an early date to upset the apple-cart.

I agree with your view of theCanon Rebel build quality. I feel at times as though it was engineered to get through the warranty period and little else.

Regards, Alan Sickling, Sheffield.
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Old Sep 18, 2005, 10:27 PM   #6
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Alan

Check out Canon's ad campaign, they have a comment in one ad about "all you have to do to look like a professional", makes me wonder if the 300d isn't just jewelry for those who can't afford a Leica:lol:.

If you want to get some idea of the cmos sensor in the R1 just look to the Nikon D2X It uses a chip from Sony (I think Nikon calls it anLBCAST chip (sic)) that is the same type as the R1's but a higher resolution (12.4MP).

I know that I am not as enamoured with Canon as many are, and I am not particularly impressed with the 20D's picture quality either. The 20d produces flawless, sharp images which somehow seem to lack some non-specific feel that images from other camera have. Is it possible that the Canon images may be too good, lacking the flaws which give an image character?

As for the R1, I can forgive Fuji for its 3 frame buffer depth because it offers so much for the money in the S9X00, but the 3 shot buffer in the far more expensive R1 seems like an oversight. Here we have an extremely high quality dSLR sized sensor with a lens which is probably a match for any pro glass out there and they saddle it with a three shot buffer!!!

I guess what I am really saying is that the Sony is really the camera I have been waiting for (sick of changing lenses) but they priced it just out of my reach and tied one hand behind its back.

Ira
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Old Sep 19, 2005, 9:22 AM   #7
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Alan Sickling wrote:
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I'm also still a little worried about the R1's CMOS sensor and whether it willhave anything of the nature of the Canon chip. The fact that Sony are offering extended rgb modes may indicate they have identified a need to do something to counter any inherent defects. We'll see.

Hi Alan.

To resolve your doubts, a few quotations from the review at imaging-resource.com:

"This is the sort of thing that's hard to quantify in any sort of a laboratory test (and that's also highly subject to personal preferences), but we just found the R1's images very appealing to look at. Its photos had a quality that was impossible to describe, but that just made them very pleasing to view, somehow better than real life, without appearing unnatural or inaccurate in any way."

"Color-wise, the Sony R1's images looked great when printed on the i9900, with bright, vibrant color, and beautiful tonality. As we noted before, the R1's images are just unusually pleasant to look at."



The only real issue they identify is the timing performance, which, while better than the average P&S, can't compete with DSLRs. As Ira has pointed out, this is in part due to the undersized buffer.

Another issue would be the proprietary battery. While it may last longer, I'd prefer something I can buy in any store.

cheers, nymano.


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Old Sep 19, 2005, 10:32 AM   #8
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The battery issue always irks me, Pro dSLRs use honking big Li-ion batteries because a working pro can amortize the cost of extra batteries over a number of jobs (and claim the business expense on his taxes). These big batteries have lots of endurance. Tiny pocket cams need batteries small enough for their miniature form factors, the price you pay for being tiny. Now everything in between can probably be efficiently powered by AA sized rechargeable batteries, and I believe should be. Part of the reason I bought this Fuji S7000 was that I did not have to pay big bucks for a second proprietary battery, I just bought some low cost AA NiMH 2500mAh batteries. Some of these proprietary batteries may even dissappear from the shelves while many photographers are still using the camera, a camera now made obsolete because of battery availability (Li-ion batteries only have a limited life, like all rechargeable batteries).

If Sony built the R1 with a AA battery set, I would be cleaning out the couch for change to buy one, but a Li-ion battery, regardless how good it is, represents an investment I really don't want to make. I said it before, I want all of my photographic equipment to use the same battery type, it makes life much simpler.

Note, Nikon and Canon both offer battery grips for some cameras which allow AA batteries to be used, expensive but probably worth it. Fuji uses AA batteries even in the S3 dSLR, only their tiny cameras have tiny batteries to match, kudos to them for not grasping for the extra profits which proprietary batteries probably represent (we will ignore the little xD issue for now).

SONY, build a low cost AA battery pack for this camera and your market will increase by one at least.

Ira
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Old Sep 19, 2005, 10:59 AM   #9
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There is a snag at least with the Canon and using AA's in the grip.
Canon claims about 60 shots on a fresh compatible set of 6 AA's in the 20D grip, when I tried it I managed about 20 shots before the duracells gave out.
(They have to power your lens as well, and I use my 300 F2.8 quite often)

On the other hand using the grip with 2 li-on batteries Canon calims about a 2000 shot life, I manage somewhere between 1200-1500 shots on a double charge.

I do agree though, my old Fuji P&S used AA's, and it lasted a long time on them.
AA's would be preferable in most cameras if they did not drain them quickly.

My biggest complaint about Sony when I had a dsc-w1, used to be their use of their own propriatery memory sticks.

Peter.


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Note, Nikon and Canon both offer battery grips for some cameras which allow AA batteries to be used, expensive but probably worth it.
Ira
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Old Sep 25, 2005, 7:59 PM   #10
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Hi namano and ira,

Sorry I haven't replied before now - I've been away for a few days.

Thanks for your reassuring comments. They give me further hope that the R1 may be just the camera for me. I have never found the need (yet) to take rapid sequence shots, so the buffer storage limitation should not inconvenience me.

I do agree with you about the battery format. It is always annoying when any manufacturer bucks standardisation for selfish gain. Thank goodness they included a CF option for storage in addition to their needless silly "memory stick".

I agree that the Fuj 9000 is a terrific camera for the money, and I wonder whether I will ever need the extra peformance of the Sony system, but at the moment I feel that I might regret it if I don't go for that Zeiss lens.

Regards, Alan.
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