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Sony RX100 II - Image Quality and Verdict

By Mike Topham

Updated:

Awards

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Sony RX100 II 11

Summary

Our Score:

9

Best Deals for Sony RX100 II

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Sony RX100 II - Image Quality

Most of the RX100 II’s innards are the same as the RX100, so it’s no surprise that it takes similar – and outstanding – shots.

Images have almost exactly the same tone and exposure as the camera's predecessor, which is a good thing as the results are similarly reliable. Occasionally you needed to set the exposure compensation to -0.7 or -1 EV to preserve highlights, but it’s not a major issue.

Sony RX100 II

Click the photo for a gallery of more high-res test shots

Any issues with the RX100 II’s dynamic range are easily remedied through the use of Sony's D-Range Optimisation technology. It has five settings and an auto mode, and results captured using this setting are much more natural than HDR shooting and expand the model's dynamic range as a result.

White balance performance is also reliable, and when it's set to the 'Auto' setting the RX100 II produces a pleasingly neutral colour palette. There are a wide selection of white balance presets on hand should you want to experiment with this at all.

Sony RX100 II

Only image noise handling is noticeably different on the RX100 II, and for the better. Thanks to the addition of back-illuminated technology to what was already an impressive sensor, the RX100 II now delivers even better results at higher ISO settings. Performance is excellent up to ISO 400, with noise only slightly beginning to creep in to shots at ISO 800.

Noise continues to be manageable right up to ISO 3,200, where colour noise begins to become something of an issue. However, detail remains well resolved right up to the native ISO 12,800 limit, where it slightly begins to tail off: an incredibly impressive result.

Sony RX100 II 11

Should I buy the Sony RX100 II?

Has Sony improved on arguably the best compact camera around? On this evidence, it’s a resounding yes. The addition of Wi-Fi, the tiltable screen and improved performance of the sensor, as well as the multi-function shoe, all make the RX100 II the complete package for any enthusiast.

The only real issue is the RX100 II’s price. At around £649 it's one of the most expensive compacts on the market, placing it up against some premium competition. Throw in the viewfinder and you're really pushing it up the rankings.

This doesn’t prevent us from recommending it you buy one – if you want the very best a compact has to offer than this is it. But it’s worth waiting a few months for the price to drop before before making your move.

Verdict

The RX100 II improves on what many considered to be almost the perfect compact camera. The only real issue is the premium price tag, but if you're willing to fork out then you'll own one of the best compacts money can buy.

Next, read our round-up of the best cameras of 2013

Overall Score

9

Scores In Detail

  • Design 9
  • Features 9
  • Image Quality 9
  • Performance 9
  • Value 7

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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