You could be excused for doing a double take when you see the Leica-like price of this, the RX1R from Sony, which has been making serious, professional-standard stills cameras for less than a decade, as opposed to Leica’s 100 years or Nikon’s 55. The RX1R costs around the same as two Leica X2s, which makes it seem ridiculously expensive; but then you could buy nearly three RX1Rs for the cost of a Leica M with an equivalent lens, which makes the Sony a steal.
And it is just that. The brand still has the taint of an ingénue, but the RX1R is hugely impressive. It’s so small and light (482g, against a Leica M’s 900g with a lens) that initially it seems a little insubstantial and unremarkable — neither of which is the case. It’s the first compact camera with a 35mm full-frame sensor, on a par with that in the heftiest DSLR and capable of creating 24.3-megapixel photos that take some distinguishing from the output of more expensive and much bigger competitors. The Sony, of course, has only a fixed semi-wide-angle lens, but this Carl Zeiss optic is of top German quality.
As you might imagine, the RX1R is stacked with too many standout features to list, but I particularly appreciated that you can set it to take extra-fine-quality 14.7-megapixel JPEGs. This makes shooting in pro-quality RAW — normally needed for the best pictures — barely necessary.