RX1: Because even when they stuff a huge sensor into a tiny camera and you think that's all you ever want in life, I can find things to complain about

My RX1 came in yesterday. Just in case you don't know about it, it's a full frame camera in a small camera body, with a fixed focal length 35MM Zeiss lens. If you're wondering why you want it, you don't. This is not a camera for anyone who doesn't have camera issues. This is my 3rd camera in the house, and the 6th I've bought in the past year. I have camera issues.

There's been a tonwrittenonthecamera already. I wanted to share some random thoughts I've found so far. My baseline of comparison is mostly the Olympus OM-D E-M5 that I've been using as my primary camera since it came out, as well as my Canon 5D MKII that is only brought out for the "pro" shoots these days.

Charging: To charge the battery, you plug a micro-USB cable in. I'm really surprised that this pricepoint camera doesn't come with a separate charger. The included wall wart is a 11W USB charger. My iPad 10W charger works, sort of. When plugged in it provides enough juice to charge, however turning the camera on provides a warning that it can't charge with the power source while on. Switching to the sony wall wart lets it charge while on as well.

Battery: I've heard the battery life is poor. Looking at the battery, it's obvious why. It's tiny! The other battery in this shot is the Oly's. I did buy a 2nd cheap $5 ebay battery. It works and charges, so knock on wood there. Of course, since you need to charge it in the camera, I have to remember to keep swapping around instead of just leaving one in the charger. 

Focus: Autofocus is slow. Borderline an issue for me. The Oly is insanely fast. I'm spoiled. The RX1 hunts around. It racks end to end often. And the huge lens takes a while to go back and forth. The contract detection AF seems accurate, it just has a ton of glass to move around a huge physical distance. Manual focus is shockingly good. With the focus peaking turned to red high, I've actually been using MF for about 1/3 of the pictures.

Grip: The camera is nice and skinny, with a tiny little rubberized grip on the right hand. It's not enough. My right hand actually gets tired trying to hold the heavy camera with just one hand and not enough to grab onto. Compared to the Oly which is in the same weight class, the Oly just has a worlds better holding experience.

Exposure compensation dial: many have said that it's too easy to bump. So far it feels more "knotchy" than I'd expect, in a good way. It doesn't easily turn with a brush, it takes deliberate action. Way more deliberate than the X100 for example. I think it's about perfect.

Built in flash: I wish it didn't exist. It takes up a precious space in the left that could be better used by a control dial. Ideally, I'd love to see the PASM dial moved over to the left, and a second control dial in the space where the PASM is now. Kind of like the Oly (if you're noticing a trend...)

Lens Cap: Not enough has been written about this lens cap. It's a thing to behold. It's 27 grams (!!!), metal on the surfaces you touch, and just feels perfect. It lends the whole package a feeling of quality.

Metering: So far, it appears to meter well, with inside scens often 1/2 stop underexposed. Better than a 5D MKII, worse than an X100 (which had the best white balance and metering I've used), slightly worse than the Oly. Check out these two pics below. The first is the untouched JPG, the second is with +0.5 stop exposure comp applied.

Image Quality: I'm a hack. I am not a professional. I don't deserve this much camera. And still, it's blowing me away. Here's the worlds most unscientific, pathetic comparison ever. A shot with the Oly 50MM 1.4 and the RX1, taken ~1 minutes apart, of my kid in two totally different poses. I'll leave it as an excercise to the reader to identify which is which (or click through to flickr).

Bokeh: 35MM may not be the knock-out-background go-to-focal-length, but with a full-frame sensor it does pretty well.

Bottom line: I'm excited to go take photos.