Sony Cyber-shot RX1 squeezes full-frame sensor into a compact

Sony has done the unthinkable, and managed to fit a 24.3-megapixel full-frame sensor into a compact camera, producing the Cyber-shot RX1 in the process. Using a 35mm Exmor CMOS paired wih a Carl Zeiss Sonnar T 35mm F2 prime lens with macro mode support, the RX1 offers ISO 100-25600 (or as low as ISO 50 in expanded mode) and promises bountiful bokeh with its 9-blade circular aperture.

Inside, Sony's Bionz processor keeps things churning with alacrity, with Sony promising 5fps burst shooting and the option of RAW output. There's a MF Assist feature to zoom into specific areas of the frame for clearer focusing, and a digital zoom which the company claims won't lose too much in the way of detail in the process.

Despite the scale, manual controls are plentiful. There's a dedicated mode dial on top, and lens rings for focus and aperture; a separate focus mode dial on the front of the camera allows swift access to each. A macro switching ring on the lens barrel flips the RX1 into a mode for 20cm close-ups; most of the other settings are accessed via Sony's Quick Navi interface on the 3-inch, 1.2m dot display.

Full HD video recording and a bundle of different picture effects and styles round out what might be the perfect power/pocketability camera for many. It's still a little larger than a regular point-and-shoot, at 113.3 x 65.4 x 69.6 mm and 482g (with battery and memory card), but the appeal of that full-frame sensor is undeniable.

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 will go on sale in November, at a not-inconsiderable $2,799.95. An XGA-resolution OLED electronic viewfinder will be a $599.95 option.