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.
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.
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.
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.
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