How do you stuff a full frame sensor into a compact camera body? The answer: with great difficulty. It appears that Sony is running into a few technical hurdles after announcing its groundbreaking RX1 full frame compact camera. The company announced today that the camera will be shipping with a couple of last minute modifications made to the design and to the specs.
There are positive and negative changes: on the happy side of things, the maximum shutter speed has been boosted from 1/2000 of a second to 1/4000… when using an aperture of f/5.6 or smaller. It’s a bit strange, but the maximum shutter speed of the camera increases as you stop down from the maximum aperture. At f/2, you’re limited to 1/2000. Drop to f/4, and you get 1/3200. Step down some more, and you get the fastest possible speed.
Apparently this quirk is due to the camera’s leaf shutter. The Fujifilm X100 works the same way: at f/2 on that camera, you’re limited to 1/1000. Stop down to f/8, and you get 1/4000.
The second change, illustrated above, is the removal of the Single and Continuous options on the AF selection dial. There’s no longer a choice, since they’ve been combined into a single “autofocus” mode. It appears that the camera will make this decision for you, using Single for stills and Continuous for video recording.
It’s a bit strange that these changes come after the camera had already been unveiled, scrutinized, and made available for pre-orders. Continuous autofocus is helpful for a number of types of photography — street shooting, for example — so it will be interesting to see whether this last-minute edit causes any significant number of pre-order cancellations (at least the sample photos are jaw-dropping).