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Sony DSC-R1: Going After SLRs

Introduction

Digital SLRs are superb cameras that are very popular with professional photographers, and are now becoming accessible to a growing number of amateurs. But fundamentally, they're also the basic component of what's known as a "system," in which the camera body is only one component among others - most notably, interchangeable lenses. There are some photographers, however, who don't wish to take that system approach, preferring to limit themselves to a single lens. Even so, an SLR is often the default choice, since other products on the market don't have the quality they want. These folks are obviously the ones at whom the Sony DSC-R1 is aimed, since it's an all-in-one camera that has the one feature that accounts for most of the superiority of SLRs: a large sensor. In practical terms, the sensor is comparable in size to the so-called APS-C sensors used on many digital SLRs, including certain models from Canon, Fuji, Nikon and Pentax.

Overall Design

A larger sensor also means a larger lens, and several other components also need to be larger than on traditional bridge units. The result is a camera that's no more compact than an entry-level SLR, and is even heavier. Don't count on carrying the R1 around in a pocket, unless it's a very big one! And don't expect too much simplification either; there are at least as many controls as on a typical SLR. The R1, however, can't shoot video. It limits itself to its specialty - photographs! Like other bridge cameras on the market, it doesn't have a movable-mirror system. Viewfinding is permanent, so there's no mechanism that might cause vibration. Also, since the lens is fixed, there's no danger of dust getting on the sensor when changing lenses, which is a nagging worry for many amateurs. An additional advantage is that the shutter release makes no noise at all, which can be a valuable feature in certain situations.

Main Characteristics

Manufacturer / ModelSony DSC R1
TypeBridge
Sensor10 Mpixels (21.5 x 14.4 mm)
Maximum resolution3888 x 2592
Lensf/2.8 - f/4.8 / 14.3 - 71.5 mm
(35 mm equivalent: 24 - 120 mm)
Electronic viewfinder235 kpixels + 2" display, 134 kpixels
FocusingAuto and manual
MeteringM, P, S
Shooting modesP, A, S, M, scene
Shutter30 s - 1/2000 s
SensitivitiesISO 160 - 3200
White balance6 modes + manual
Flash1.6' - 28' (0.5 - 8.5 m)
File formatsJPEG, RAW
Memory mediaCF I & II + MS Pro
InterfaceUSB 2.0 High Speed
Video out3.5 mm jack
Power supplyLi-Ion battery
Dimensions5.5" x 6.6" x 3.8"
(139.4 x 97.7 x 156 mm)
Weight2.25 lb (1047g) ready to shoot
SoftwarePicture package, Image Data Converter