↑Leica M9 and Leica Noctilux @ f/0.95.
Back in September 2012, on the day Sony announced the revolutionary RX1, I weighed in with my opinion and made a prediction concerning its image quality. Of course, I was as uninformed as anybody else, but I went on record based on a hunch.
Months and months later, after analysing countless images produced with this camera, I can safely remark that the RX1 produces the best image quality of any “full frame” camera I’ve seen. Yes, that includes any full-sized and conventioanl DSLR, and even my beloved Leica M9.
And yes, the RX1 sports a CMOS sensor. Sony gets full credit for taking this CCD diehard and making him “see the light”.
The fact that this camera is also tiny is a testament to the technical prowess of Sony‘s engineers.
Putting aside size considerations, if the new Leica M(240) sported this Sony sensor, I’d be all over it in a heartbeat. I’d like to be able to use my Noctilux 50mm f/0.95 with this sort of sensor, and I’d accept a larger-than-RX1 camera if I could do that. But in this brave new world of lenses and sensors being customized for each other (and where both, ultimately, are destined to be disposable), it remains to be seen whether any manufacturer other than Leica would, in the future, bother optimising a sensor for Leica M lenses (yes, I know Ricoh did it with the Ricoh GXR with A12 M Module, but it was in the context of a small APS-C sensor).
I’ll tell you one thing though, I’m very tempted to pick up the RX1. What Sony and Zeiss (let’s give credit to the lens designers too) have accomplished with respect to image quality is simply inspiring: the dynamic range, the sharpness, the micro and macro contrast… ohhh!
(I write this from the perspective of a photographer, not a techno-geek.)
I realise the RX1 is not a rangefinder, and thus cannot mesh with my brain the way rangefinders do, but I really want to reward Sony (and Zeiss) for what they’ve done. Who knows, maybe I’ll be rewarded too.
Suffice it to say, I know Sony has a full frame interchangeable camera in the works.
It’s only a matter of time.