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Sony RX100 II review

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  • Sony RX100 II
  • Sony RX100 II
  • Sony RX100 II

Summary

Our Score:

9

Pros

  • New tilting screen is useful
  • Impressive build quality
  • Hot shoe accessory support
  • Large, 1-inch sensor

Cons

  • Short zoom range
  • No touchscreen

Best Deals for Sony RX100 II

  • ebay

Key Features

  • 20.2MP back-illuminated Exmor CMOS sensor; 3.6x optical zoom, 28-100mm f/1.8 - 4.9; 3-inch, 1,229k-dot TruBlack LCD; ISO 80-6400, expandable to 25600; 1920 x 1080 @ 50p, AVCHD / MP4
  • Manufacturer: Sony
  • Review Price: £649.00

What is the Sony RX100 II?

One of the side effects of the improvement in smartphone camera technology, and now genuine camera-smartphone hybrids like the Samsung Galaxy Zoom S4, is that manufacturers have looked to improve upon their advanced compact offerings.

The impressive Sony RX100, released to great acclaim last year, was the perfect example of this – one of a great many ‘large sensor’ compacts from the last couple of years. The RX100 II replaces the RX100 and looks, on paper at least, to be an exciting model with some real improvements upon its predecessor. Let's take a closer look at the compact to fin d out what's new.

Sony RX100 II 1

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Sony RX100 II – Features

As is the case with quite a few advanced compacts, the Sony RX100 II doesn’t have a particularly large focal range. The zoom itself is a 3.6x optical zoom composed of Carl Zeiss optics, covering a focal range of 28-100mm in conventional 35mm terms. That’s neither long nor particularly wide by recent standards – many top-end compacts have a mighty useful 24mm wide-angle.

What the lens does benefit from, however, is a substantial maximum aperture at the wide end of the zoom of f/1.8. This decreases to f/4.9 at the tele end, which is slightly less impressive, but the benefit of the f/1.8 at the wide end is substantial.

The lens itself is composed of a 7-blade aperture diaphragm to assist the production of pleasing Bokeh shots, while another new addition is the option to set up a series of zoom increments for quick access through the focal range.

Sony RX100 II 3

What sets the RX100 II apart from the likes of the Panasonic Lumix LX7 or Lumix LF1, which both have fast lenses at their wide-angle, is the supremely large 1-inch, 20.2MP Exmor R sensor. It’s not only larger but also a much higher resolution, which means you capture more detail and have more opportunity for cropping into shots. Although the RX100 II’s sensor is the same size and resolution is as the RX100, the chip itself is now different, as it includes back-illumination technology.

This back-illumination should help control noise at the higher ISO settings, with the RX100 II featuring a native ISO range of 160-12,800, which extends to ISO 25,600 in certain shooting modes.

The large sensor allows for a range of movie capture modes, including full HD at either 24/25p or 50/60p, in either AVCHD or MP4 formats.

Both video and stills capture benefit from the addition of Sony's Optical SteadyShot system, with both Active and Standard shooting modes available during video capture in particular.

As you'd expect for an advanced compact such as the RX100 II, the model features full manual (PASM) shooting controls, as well as the option to shoot Raw files alongside JPEGs. The RX100 II also caters for those happy to let the camera do the work, with the inclusion of Auto shooting modes and a host of Creative filters.

Sony RX100 II

RX100 II vs RX100 – what’s the difference?

There are more differences between the RX100 II and its predecessor than just the back-illuminated sensor, ones that are bound to appeal to any discerning enthusiast. The most eye-catching of these is the 3-inch, 1,229k-dot display.

It’s not the fixed variety as found on the RX100 either, as the screen here is tiltable and as such can be pulled away from the body and viewed from a range of angles. The screen also features White Magic technology to allow for clearer image reproduction.

The RX100 II also features a new 'Multi Interface Shoe' that not only allows for the connection of an external flashgun in the manner of a traditional hot shoe, but also allows for the attachment of a remote control or electronic viewfinder – more on the latter later on.

Completing the range of new features is the addition of new connectivity functionality. The RX100 II not only offers Wi-Fi technology, but also becomes the first Sony camera to feature NFC technology, allowing for one-touch transfer of images between it and other NFC devices.

The Wi-Fi connectivity, meanwhile, allows for easy transfer of images between the camera and Wi-Fi enabled smartphones or tablets, as well as remote control of the camera from these devices.

Best Deals for Sony RX100 II

  • ebay

John

July 15, 2013, 3:57 pm

Actually it doesn't replace the RX100, it will be sold next to it and Sony will continue to produce both as some will not want the WiFi etc.

Brian O'Neill

July 16, 2013, 10:46 am

I got the RX100 for £400, it is an amazing camera but at £649 the sony nex is a better buy. One tip is check out the sony uk outlet store, you get some amazing bargains there. They have nex 5 cameras on there now for less than 300! outlet.sony.co.uk

Designergenes

July 16, 2013, 12:09 pm

As the RX100 is only £430 now, is this camera £200 better? Is the image quality that much better and the user experience that much more enjoyable?

Angus

July 18, 2013, 7:20 pm

Re comment that, "The screen itself pulls away from the body and
tilts upwards to around a 90-degree angle, or downward to around 20 degrees. This isn’t as great a versatility as found on some cameras...": One Sony featured award
winning professional photographer reviewer suggested just turning the
camera upside down to get even more tilt screen viewing angles. Now you
have your 90-degree downward tilt. And, there you go.

pluto

July 19, 2013, 4:31 pm

I suspect that none of the reviewers here is aged over 50. If they were they'd know the problem with this camera intuitively, because to look at the screen on this camera they'd have to take their reading glasses out of their pocket and put them on. I once said this to a Ricoh salesman and he said "I'm sorry for your affliction sir", to which I had to reply "young man, it's not an affliction, it's an inevitability of age, as you'll find out". So its problem is that it doesn't have a viewfinder. Other similar sized cameras do, and e-viewfinders are getting very good. So good, in fact, that soon they'll be able to dispense with the useless power consuming screens that now encumber every camera and replace them with e-viewfinders. And if they cut the in camera menus down to a useable size (try the one on the Leica M9, and no, I can't afford one either, but try it) then all menu functions could be accomplished using the viewfinder. Then we'd be able to buy camera cases that went ALL THE WAY AROUND THE CAMERA(!), and we'd put screen protector manufacturers out of business (sorry guys). So no, it isn't the best compact ever made.

Jonas N

July 27, 2013, 6:23 pm

I plan to use it for street photography, and then I'd at least easily throw £50-£100 on the tiltable LCD display alone. In my view, it serves to polish one of the major applications of this camera.

Guest

July 31, 2013, 12:39 am

Almost no other pocketable cameras have a viewfinder either. So it is the best camera every made in it's class. If you go a little bigger viewfinders are pretty standard. And the new RX100 can use an e-viewfinder with it's hot shoe but it's pretty pricey ($400).

pluto

July 31, 2013, 8:17 am

Agreed, but that's a bit like saying that the Citroen 2CV is the best car in its class at the Le Mans 24 hours.

rakun

August 29, 2013, 11:07 am

Both viewfinders and LCD screens have downsides. You cannot check the image quality from a viewfinder which is vital if you are on the go. You cannot make overhead shots. You cannot be comfortable looking from a tiny viewfinder when the camera is on tripod. So judging buy that is not fair. Especially in compact class. Its a camera designed to have a relatively large sensor in a compact body which gives impressive results in its class. This earned the camera a lot of respect and popularity. So the question is who would want to go for a camera with viewfinder instead of a one that provides better image quality?

Mangap

January 20, 2014, 2:02 pm

Another cons:
1 high price.
2 no grip
3 not wide enough, 24mm is good with more than 6x zoom

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