By Ben Bowers
on 9.12.12
Photo by Sony

The Sony RX-1 is the smallest camera to ever feature a full-frame sensor. Specifically, it crams the same 24MP 35.8×23.9mm beast found in the newly released Sony a99 DSLR that boasts an ISO range between 100 – 25600, in a body that measures 4 1/2″x 2 5/8″x 2 3/4″ and weighs only a pound. Those specs alone are enough to make the rig a holy grail for some, but there are a few notable caveats.

Find out more after the break.

The first is that the small form factor comes at the expense of an interchangeable lens mount, and it’s $2,800 price tag means it’s aimed strictly at pros (and maybe ladies who lunch). Still, the included Zeiss Sonnar T* 35mm f/2.0 fixed prime lens with a 9-bladed aperture ring for beautiful bokeh is no slouch, especially since Sony designed it from the ground up to complement the sensor. Naturally, all of the desired manual controls are present along with 14-bit RAW file capture, a pop of flash, 1080p video recording, a Bionz image processor for lock-on speeds as low as 0.13 seconds and hot shoe for other accessories. The 3-inch 1,229k dot LCD, featuring VGA resolution with RGB plus white coloring is the only option for composing photos out of the box, but compatible FDA-EV1K electric and FDA-V1K optical viewfinders are available for an additional cost of $600 and $450 respectively.

Taken together, the RX-1 is a serious engineering feat that deserves plenty of attention from the photography world, largely because it’s the first in what we’re sure will be a wave of compact shooters with DSLR-level chops. Tip toeing the bleeding edge always comes at a steep price, though, and the RX-1 is no exception, especially considering the excellent Fuji X100 sells for less than half the price with an identical focal length. So start preparing your case to your bank account now, before it’s October ship date rolls around.

Buy Now: $2,800

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