This is not another of the many Sony DSC R1 reviews that you find on the Internet, which begin with a description of this digital camera, end off with a long list of technical specifications and does not really say much.
This is a story about how one camera connoisseur got round to buying the Sony RI, how he had fun and joy with it and how he really loved it and admired it.
This is about the joy and the art of photography, not about technical specifications which may not mean much.
In the process of telling this story, I'll throw in some excerpts of Sony DSC R1 reviews, so you will know what some of the various official experts say.
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The story began with one camera salesman, at Cathay Photo Store in Singapore, proclaining the Sony DSC R1 to be the "Rolls Royce" of non-SLR digital cameras.
At about USD $999, it does have a somewhat "rolls royce" price tag compared with other non-SLR digital cameras. But, if you read on, you will realise this is actually a bargain rolls royce!
If you think the salesman was anxious to make a sale, well, not quite. The Sony R1 was not the first camera he recommended when my friend Joe Lee dropped by the shop looking for a digital camera recently.
The salesman was showing Joe various other brands and models, and raving about how good they were when Joe casually asked, "What about the Sony?"
That was when the salesman said, "Oh! That's the Rolls Royce."Joe had not read any Sony DSC R1 reviews. He asked about it only because he had seen it being advertised – in National Geographic Magazine and on Discovery Channel, showing a professional photographer using the Sony Cybershot DSC R1 shooting in India.
The pictures fascinated Joe. This truly was a case of pictures being worth a thousand words. Joe felt that the photographs he saw were worth more than the lengthy Sony DSC R1 reviews he later read (after he bought the camera).
The salesman actually recommended an Olympus Z500 which he used, and which he claimed gave the most natural pictures. He also show Joe the Panasonic Lumix FZ30 using Leica zoom lens with an absolutely amazing 12x zoom range of 35mm to 420mm!Joe actually claims that he knows nothing about digital cameras – which is probably true because he, like me, prefer so-called old-fashioned cameras that use film and, better still, slides.
But whereas I am content to use a Nikon 801 with Nikkor lenses (and previously with cheap, 3rd party lenses), Joe sets much higher standards than I. He knows a great deal about cameras. And asbout lenses. And about quality.
Joe shoots mainly medium format and his favorite combination is a Hasselblad ELX with a KIEV prism, and a 135mm S-Plannar lens on Bellows, together with the very expensive Hasselblad handgrip. “The whole thing is heavier than a M16 machine gun,” he says. Occasionally he uses a Rollelflex Twin-Lense Reflex with a DIY special handgrip that allows him to shoot as if he was using a 35mm SLR.
Joe is the sort of person who would use Leica and Hasselbald lenses on Nikon camera bodies and he has told me, many times, that once I try the Leica lenses, I would junk my Nikkor.
Joe is a camera connoisseur. Thus, I trust his judgement more than the various Sony DSC R1 reviews, My experience in another field – high-end hifi, which Joe is also familiar with – tells me that a lot of magazine reviewers are no where near as knowledgeable as the true connoisseurs.
Anyway, Joe had a look and feel of the Sony R1. And he bought it within a few minutes! He did not have to go home to check some Sony DSC R1 reviews first. He thought the camera felt good. So he bought it. Paid cash.
He said: When I touched the Sony Cybershot DSC R1, immediately I said to myself, “This is it.” It is the feel that is most important. It is tough-built, bulky, and the handgrip is top-class.
The last time Joe bought a digital camera was more than two years ago. He bought a famous brand – an award winning model. I won't mention which camera this is because Joe sold it off two weeks later at a great loss. He did not like it at all.
It has been a few months already since Joe bought the Sony DSC R1 and Joe is still keeping it. Joe used it to take pictures of me when I needed some face shots for an article due to appear in Asian Photography magazine.
I was really struck by the clarity and sharpness. I have a front tooth whose filling had dropped off and, from the picture Joe sent me, I could see the inside of my broken tooth!
Joe took a picture of his hand holding a gemstone, and he could see the fine lines on his fingers that mark his fingerprints!
A few weeks later, Joe sent me an email with some large photos, asking me to view them at full size to appreciate how great the Sony R1 is. That was when I thought perhaps I should write some Sony DSC R1 reviews.
So what is great about the Sony Cybershot DSC R1? The 24mm to 120 mm Carl Zeiss lens, the bright, clear, 3-inch LCD screen that can be flipped in nearly all directions and lots more things.
More details when I continue with Sony DCS R1 reviews...