Sony has officially announced the Sony DSC-RX1R, a special version of the high-end “full-frame” DSC-RX1 with the low-pass filter (anti-aliasing, or AA) physically removed from the camera. The RX1 has won awards for its size/performance ratio, so why remove the AA from such a camera? If anything, one may think that you would want anti-aliasing to avoid unwanted noise in the photos. Well, it depends. For most situations, anti-aliasing is a good thing, and that’s particularly true if you shoot all kinds of photos from portrait, to fashion to architecture. In many cases, AA will actually prevent a “moire” pattern from appearing in the photos.
But AA is basically a form of “blur”, and as any kind of blurring, it does remove some details. This is very true for landscape/nature photography where vegetation, rocks and other natural elements have great details that you may want to preserve. This is really where the RX1R comes in. Without the low-pass filter, the sensor resolution is fully utilized and since colors are not blurred before hitting the sensor, one could argue that they are more “correct”, although that’s not how I would put it.
Obviously, this can look like a “details”, but it’s really what the RX1R is about: getting more details in the photo. And while it may be hard to relate to this, you’ll have to assume that someone who is willing to pay $2800 for a camera like this may want to get the most out of landscape photos. My advice is: if you know what you’re getting into, check it out — if not, you may want to stick with the version that as the low-pass filter.
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