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Sony RX1 — Optical Performance and Value vs Leica Alternative

See my discussion of the Sony RX1.

My information is that the Zeiss 35mm f/2 Sonnar lens on the 24-megapixel RX1 will be a very strong performer even wide open. Combined with what I expect to be an outstanding sensor (perhaps the same one as in the Nikon D600), I expect the Sony RX1 to be an exceptional performer in terms of sharpness and bokeh and dynamic range and color and noise.

Sony RX1 pricing

While there is legitimate concern that the Sony RX1 is expensive at about $2800, this is unjustified on the basis of competing cameras in the proper quality context.

Consider that a 24MP Leica M240 + Leica 35mm f/2 Summicron-M ASPH would cost about $10,150. Or that the Leica 35/2 lens alone costs more than the RX1.

On my recent trip, I retested the Leica 35/2 Summicron-M ASPH extensively against its 35/1.4 sibling and the Zeiss 35/2 Biogon, I can say the the Leica 35/2 ASPH is not a lens I would spend my money on in that context (comparisons coming fairly soon in my Guide to Leica).

Aside from a presumed anti-aliasing filter in the RX1 and no AA filter in the Leica M240, it remains to be seen whether the Leica 35/2 actually offers superior image quality—

It is my expectation that the Zeiss Sonnar 35/2 will outperform the Leica 35/2 Summicron-M ASPH at ƒ/2 and ƒ/2.8 (and perhaps ƒ/4), and match it at ƒ/5.6 and ƒ/8. I am not basing this on the fantasy-land Sony MTF charts. But we shall see— real camera lenses (not lens designs) have to be built to high tolerances to pan out.

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