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Sony DSC-R1

Sony DSC-R1This is my first non-interchangable lens digital camera with an APS-C sized sensor (the same size as used in most digital SLRs). I'm finding the R1 both great fun to use and frustrating due to my personal policy of instant gratification taking too long. Official Sony DSC-R1 website.

Major features are:

  • APS-class sized 10.3-megapixel CMOS imager
  • Fixed 14.3-71.5/2.8-4.8 Carl Ziess T* lens (24-120/2.8-4.8 in 35mm equivalent terms)
  • Manual zoom and focus rings on lens barrel
  • Fast startup, AF and short shutter lag time
  • TTL 5-point autofocus with AF assist lamp
  • 5-zone Auto Focus area, auto or manual selection
  • File format: RAW and JPEG in Fine or Normal quality
  • Three color modes: sRGB, Vivid sRGB or Adobe RGB
  • 2.0" tilt/swivel top-mounted color LCD monitor
  • High-resolution eyelevel TTL color viewfinder
  • Program AE w/Shift and four Scene modes
  • Shutter speed priority (30 secs. to 1/2000 sec. in 49 steps)
  • Aperture priority (f/2.8 to f/16 in 15 steps)
  • Full Manual exposure with EV indicator and Bulb to 3 minutes
  • Advanced Gradation Control System (AGCS) - Enhances dynamic range, avoids crushed shadow detail and clipped highlights
  • Auto Exposure Bracketing with +/- 0.3, 0.7 or 1.0 steps
  • Multi-pattern, Center-weighted or Spot metering
  • Five white balance presets, one-push custom and WB fine tune
  • Selectable ISO sensitivity (Auto, 160, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200)
  • In-camera saturation, contrast and sharpening
  • 14-bit A/D conversion for wider dynamic range from highlight to shadow
  • Adjustable TTL flash with Red Eye reduction
  • Hot shoe for high power Sony HVL-F32X external flash
  • Uses CF memory cards as well as Sony's own "Memory Stick" storage media. Supports FAT32 (over 2GB cards supported)
  • Video output for displaying images on TV sets
  • USB 2.0 connectivity for fast downloading to PC
  • Rechargeable Sony InfoLITHIUM NP-FM50 battery
  • Exif 2.2 compatible and direct USB printing via PictBridge
  • 1kg (2.2lbs) with a size of 5.5 x 6.6 x 3.8 in (139 x 168 x 97 mm)

A Class of Its Own

Sony DSC-R1Photo enthusiasts know that image sensor size is one of the most important influences on picture quality. Professional-grade image sensors, sometimes referred to as advanced photo system (APS) or APS-class, are many times the size of compact sensors used in point-and-shoot cameras; large sensors deliver extraordinary resolution, high sensitivity to light, and lower image noise or graininess for exceptional pictures. At 10.3 megapixels, the R1's sensor offers one of the highest resolutions available in the APS class.

Unlike digital SLRs, the Cyber-shot R1 unit's sensor allows for a "live" preview thanks to Sony Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) technology. Until now, the extraordinary power consumption of these large sensors has limited their operation to image capture only - unable to support the benefit of a live preview. Sony's distinctive design is employed to reduce power consumption, as well as increase image processing speeds.

The camera's electronic viewfinder or two-inch LCD lets you evaluate scene conditions, such as exposure and how color is rendered before taking a shot. Because the R1 camera can preview electronically, using the image sensor itself in real-time, framing is always 100% accurate.

There's no shortage of controls on the back of the R1. Joining the traditional thumbwheel and four-way joystick is an additional wheel which works in a similar way to those on Canon's higher-end DSLRs - albeit not as tactile.

Sony R1 composition and screen

Like other long-zoomed all-in-one cameras, the R1 offers the choice of composition using either a colour LCD screen or electronic viewfinder. Of course the special thing about the R1 is it's the first camera to use a large format CMOS sensor which can also deliver a live view to its displays.

Sony DSC-R1Sony's made the most of this capability by offering the option of a live histogram, and even zebra patterns borrowed from the camcorder world to indicate saturatedareas. Optional grid lines can also be over-laid on the live image to aid composition.

The effect of exposure compensation can additionally be seen immediately as you rotate the rear wheel - it's a great way to work. Zebra patterns aside, these may all be things we'd expect from any high-end all-in-one, but it's neat knowing it's the first time you've been able to enjoy them with a large format CMOS sensor.

Sony may have abandoned the swivelling body of the earlier F-series, but in its place is a more flexible tilt and swivel 2in screen.

Rather than fit this on the back of the camera though, Sony's mounted it on the top surface. This lifts open with its back towards you, then can be swivelled round 180 degrees to face you. While the camera can be used like this, you'll find the screen slightly obstructs your actual view of the subject.

But rather than peer around the screen in this upright position, it's far better to fold it back down again into the body, where it can then be used at waist-level. This is a very natural way to work, with the added flexibility of being able to tilt the screen upwards a little until it's at the perfect angle for shooting.

This approach encourages interesting angles which you'd often dismiss as inconvenient with a conventional SLR. The whole mechanism also feels very strong and well engineered, although it's far better suited to landscape orientation than portrait.

Sony's provided an automatic option which switches from the screen to the viewfinder as you bring the camera up to your face. Unfortunately this equally detects your torso during waist-level shooting, annoyingly switching the main screen off. Luckily you can over-ride this automatic option and manually select either the viewfinder or screen using a switch on the back.

The screen itself is bright and easily viewable in daylight, and with 134,000 pixels offers a reasonable level of detail for its size. The electronic viewfinder is also good quality, although like many others, appears coarser than the main display. During playback, you can zoom-in up to five times or choose a view showing four histograms for red, green, blue and white light.

Autofocus is quick and generally accurate, but the downside to only having pixel-based displays for composition is the inability to be absolutely 100% certain the image is sharp without replaying it afterwards and magnifying up close. Themanual focus mode may temporarily magnify the image, but it's not in the same league as focusing through the optical viewfinder of a genuine SLR camera.

VCL-DEH17R 1.7X Tele End Conversion Lens

Sony DSC-R1 - VCL-DEH17R 1.7X Tele End Conversion Lens)Get in closer than ever with the VCL-DEH17R tele end conversion lens from Sony. Created especially for the DSC-R1 Cyber-shot digital camera, it provides a 1.7X optical zoom for amazing close up shots that capture every detail.

The VCL-DEH17R features a 3 group, 5 element design and is constructed from high quality plastic for superb durability. The high grade glass lens offers increased detail at the edge of an image for minimized distortion.




VCL-DEH08R Wide End Conversion Lens

Sony DSC-R1 - VCL-DEH08R Wide End Conversion Lens)Expand the scope of your digital photography with the VCL-DEH08R wide end conversion lens from Sony. Designed for use with the DSC-R1* Cyber-shot digital camera, it widens the optical angle 0.8X for incredible wide angle shots.

The VCL-DEH08R features a 2 group, 2 element design and is construction of plastic and glass for enhanced durability.




VCL-M3367 Close Up Lens

Sony DSC-R1 - VCL-M3367 Close Up Lens)The VCL-M3367 lens features a unique design that allows maximum creativity in extreme close up photography. It features high-grade one group and two element lens construction surrounded by a durable plastic housing. The VCL-M3367 includes a protective case to avoid scratching or damaging your lens when not in use.





VF-67MP Multi-Coat Lens/Filter Protector

Sony DSC-R1 - VF-67MP Multi-Coat Lens/Filter Protector)Prevent scratches and dust from ruining your lens and filters with Sony's VF-67MP. Constructed from aluminum and glass, the VF-67MP is sturdy and durable allowing for camera usage in various weather conditions and locations. Also included is a filter case and soft case for safe storage when not in use.





HVL-F32X Handycam Deluxe Flash

Sony DSC-R1 - HVL-F32X Handycam Deluxe Flash)The HVL-F32X is an excellent choice for your photo flash requirements. Equipped with an advanced ACC shoe, this flash allows communication with your camera without a cable. The handy backlit LCD improves operation, making your photo shoot much easier. The HVL-F32X even detects the appropriate exposure before firing the flash. It also detects when a conversion lens is attached. For greater flexibility, the AF assist lamp allows AF photography even when the subject is too dark. Other great features include: Red-eye reduction, bounce flash function and modeling flash.





Lowepro - Voyager S Camera Strap

Lowepro - Voyager S Camera StrapDesigned for adventure photographers who wear their cameras sling-style across the chest, the straight Voyager S strap is also the perfect upgrade for photographers needing relief from those skinny, stock straps. Made of soft, breathable neoprene material reinforced with nylon webbing and coated with a non-slip backing; it also includes the extra padding needed for extended hikes or carrying heavier camera equipment. Two quick-release buckles make switching from one camera body to another fast and easy while double ladder-locks securely connect the strap to the camera for maximum stabilization. Includes a detachable memory card wallet giving quick access to cards.





Photo Logic 61 inch Tripod

Photo Logic 155cm Tripod

  • Folds to 23.2 inches
  • Bubble level
  • 1 quick release camera mount lock
  • Self levelling feet
  • Gear elevator crank and 3 way pan/tilt/flip fluid-effect head
  • Carry handle
  • Soft grip cushioned handle
  • Weight: 46.365 ounces

REI Hiker Shock Light Staff

REI Hiker Shock Light StaffThis telescoping, super-lightweight aluminum hiking staff features internal springs to absorb shock and protect your joints.

  • Antishock springs can be turned on and off with a twist of the pole-use the extra cushion for going downhill; set it rigid for support uphill
  • Shocklight springs are located inside the inner shaft; thus, are quieter and smoother than other pole springs
  • Foam grip and wide, padded wrist loop ensure a comfortable and secure hold; cork knob unscrews to create a monopod camera mount
  • Small-diameter trekking basket keeps the durable carbide tip from sinking into soft dirt and sand, yet resists catching in underbrush
  • The three-section shaft compacts small enough to strap to a daypack
  • Measures 51 inches open and 28.5 inches closed; grip length is 8 inches
  • Weight: 8 ounces