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Sony Cybershot RX100 II Review
By Steve Rhys 02.09.2013
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Sony Cybershot RX100 II Review

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  • Limited zoom
  • No touchscreen

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Overview

Last year, Sony set the standard for premium compact cameras with the incredible RX100. This year the Japanese electronics giant is back with the RX100 Mark II. The upgrade is not exactly a feature revolution, but there are enough upgrades to get us excited about this fantastic Sony flagship.

To be fair, we shouldn´t expect any drastic changes given the original RX100 is almost near perfect.  The only gripe we have is the £649 asking price which is £100 more than RX100 owners would have paid last year – and a lot to pay for a compact system camera.  But then again, the original justified a hefty RRP and Sony has added some pretty nice features to the latest-generation model – but is the Sony Cybershot RX100 Mark II really £100 better than its predecessor?

 

Sony Cybershot RX100 II

lower sensitivities show little signs of image smoothing. Even at full-zoom, detail remains impressively sharp –incredible amounts of detail from a pocket-sized shooter.

 

 

As one of the leading lights in the world of compact system cameras, we demand a lot from the Japanese electronics firm, even for upgraded cameras. The Sony Cybershot RX100 was always going to be a tough act to follow and Sony hasn´t exactly pushed the boat out with its successor despite a couple of significant upgrades. In terms of build and design, it´s a case of spot the difference. 

Sporting the stylish sleek black shell with rounded edges, the Cybershot RX100 Mark II looks identical to its predecessor and feels very similar too. However, there are several distance differences – and they are not all that subtle either.

Sony Cybershot RX100 II

Upon examination of the new model, the most notable upgrade is the 3-inch tilting display that gives you more scope to shoot from different angles than the original RX100. And it fairs pretty well against reflections and glare.

There’s a hotshoe now as well – or a ‘Multi Interface Shoe’ as Sony calls it.  This opens the door to a host of accessories like a viewfinder, external flash or remote control.  You’ll have to pay good money for any of these add-ons but at least the option is there if you want it.

The RX100 Mark II comes equipped with two new connectivity features.  Wi-Fi has been added to the RX100 package and the Mark II is the first Sony camera to boast NFC – meaning you can transfer images with a single touch to compatible devices such as your smartphone or tablet.

 

Sony Cybershot RX100 II

Wi-Fi has been added to the RX100 package and the Mark II is the first Sony camera to boast NFC

 

Otherwise, controls are pretty much the same as last year’s release.  That’s not a bad thing because the RX100 controls are quick and simple, yet intuitive. The control ring around the camera lens allows you to adjust zoom, aperture or shutter speed – depending on your preference.  Sony has also integrated a new ‘Step Zoom’ function that switches between common focal lengths by twisting the dial.

The mode dial makes another appearance at the top-right corner of the RX100 Mark II.  Rotate to select between various shooting modes including MR – or ‘Memory Recall’ – that can remember a bunch of commonly used settings.

Sony Cybershot RX100 II

Mark II comes with a new backlit sensor to make the latest RX100 a better performer in low-light levels

 

 

Around the back you’ll find a familiar collection of RX100 controls. Most of these are customisable to suit your preference and the function button opens a quick menu where you can assign seven settings for speedy access.

Lens control comes via a switch around the shutter release.  The Carl Zeiss 3.6x optical zoom is smooth to operate, fluid to adjust and responsive to control.  The only downside is we’re only talking a 3.6x optical zoom – pretty tame on paper.  But Sony’s Clear Zoom technology actually helps give the RX100 a digital push.

 

The Carl Zeiss 3.6x optical zoom is smooth to operate, fluid to adjust and responsive to control.  With only 3.6x optical zoom – pretty tame on paper.  

 

If you’ve had your hands on an RX100 you’ll understand what a pleasure the Mark II will be to use.  The new RX100 impresses in every avenue and even where it’s out-muscled by the big specs of CSCs and DSLRs the RX100s constantly leave you asking how a compact can be this good.

The Mark II comes with a new backlit sensor to make the latest RX100 a better performer in low-light levels and packing a bunch of quick and accurate auto features every image counts. The automatic white balance takes care of accurate colour reproduction and a super-quick auto-focus means you’ve got your shot in an instant.  In most cases you won’t need to alter any shooting setting at all – you can trust the RX100 Mark II to do its thing.

The flexibility is always there if you want it though.  As expected, there’s a full range of manual controls and the vast collection of RX100 digital filters returns this year.  Just like the first RX100, the Mark II is primarily aimed at advanced users.  But the beauty of the RX100 auto-features is a premium compact like this can do great things for users at any level.

Not much has changed inside the RX100 over the last year and you can expect the same kind of image quality from the Mark II.  That’s good news, because the original RX100 is hard to fault on that front.

 

Sony Cybershot RX100 II

The Carl Zeiss 3.6x optical zoom is smooth to operate, fluid to adjust and responsive to control

 

 

Sony’s D-Range Optimisation keeps dynamic range in check for a natural transition and contrast between those low and highlights.

 

Colours have the same punch and vibrancy we saw from last year’s RX100 while that 1-inch 20.2 MP sensor remains the standout feature in this ultra-portable power package.

 

There’s one key upgrade with this second coming, however.  Sony has integrated back-illuminated technology into the Mark II sensor and promise greater results in low-light situations.  The new backlit sensor lives up to expectations with notable improvements in handling noise – particularly at higher ISO settings.

At the other end, lower sensitivities show little signs of image smoothing.  Even at full-zoom, detail remains impressively sharp –incredible amounts of detail from a pocket-sized shooter.

 

Who is it for?

Anybody that wants the best CSC money can buy – and you don’t mind paying for it.

 

Value for money

The RX100 Mark II is a premium compact that comes at a premium price.  When you consider you have to pay for quality, then the RX100 is value for money – but only if you have £649 to shell out on a pocket-sized digital.

 

Final thought

The original Sony Cybershot RX100 was probably the best compact of 2012 and the Mark II looks set to take the awards for 2013. For a carry round compact system camera, the RX100 II does everything that made the first RX100 great – and does a little bit extra. 

Sony has done a great job correcting the minor flaws found in the original RX100, and despite adding an extra £100 to the price tag, you could argue the upgrades are worth the added value. However, when you consider you can pick up the original

RX100 for £450 these days, you may think twice about shelling out an extra £200?

That sounds like a lot.  Until you add the tilting, a new backlit sensor plus added connectivity features in NFC and Wi-Fi into the equation.  The list of new features adds up, and given these are premium features £200 doesn’t seem like such a massive rise in price.

Of course £649 is still a hefty price to pay for a compact and by far the biggest gripe we have with the RX100 II – yet we still cannot go as far to say it is overpriced. It’s expensive, but is worth every penny. This is the best compact out there and if you can meet the asking price you won’t find a better buy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overview

Last year, Sony set the standard for premium compact cameras with the incredible RX100. This year the Japanese electronics giant is back with the RX100 Mark II. The upgrade is not exactly a feature revolution, but there are enough upgrades to get us excited about this fantastic Sony flagship.

To be fair, we shouldn´t expect any drastic changes given the original RX100 is almost near perfect.  The only gripe we have is the £649 asking price which is £100 more than RX100 owners would have paid last year – and a lot to pay for a compact system camera.  But then again, the original justified a hefty RRP and Sony has added some pretty nice features to the latest-generation model – but is the Sony Cybershot RX100 Mark II really £100 better than its predecessor?

 

Sony Cybershot RX100 II

lower sensitivities show little signs of image smoothing. Even at full-zoom, detail remains impressively sharp –incredible amounts of detail from a pocket-sized shooter.

 

 

As one of the leading lights in the world of compact system cameras, we demand a lot from the Japanese electronics firm, even for upgraded cameras. The Sony Cybershot RX100 was always going to be a tough act to follow and Sony hasn´t exactly pushed the boat out with its successor despite a couple of significant upgrades. In terms of build and design, it´s a case of spot the difference. 

Sporting the stylish sleek black shell with rounded edges, the Cybershot RX100 Mark II looks identical to its predecessor and feels very similar too. However, there are several distance differences – and they are not all that subtle either.

Sony Cybershot RX100 II

Upon examination of the new model, the most notable upgrade is the 3-inch tilting display that gives you more scope to shoot from different angles than the original RX100. And it fairs pretty well against reflections and glare.

There’s a hotshoe now as well – or a ‘Multi Interface Shoe’ as Sony calls it.  This opens the door to a host of accessories like a viewfinder, external flash or remote control.  You’ll have to pay good money for any of these add-ons but at least the option is there if you want it.

The RX100 Mark II comes equipped with two new connectivity features.  Wi-Fi has been added to the RX100 package and the Mark II is the first Sony camera to boast NFC – meaning you can transfer images with a single touch to compatible devices such as your smartphone or tablet.

 

Sony Cybershot RX100 II

Wi-Fi has been added to the RX100 package and the Mark II is the first Sony camera to boast NFC

 

Otherwise, controls are pretty much the same as last year’s release.  That’s not a bad thing because the RX100 controls are quick and simple, yet intuitive. The control ring around the camera lens allows you to adjust zoom, aperture or shutter speed – depending on your preference.  Sony has also integrated a new ‘Step Zoom’ function that switches between common focal lengths by twisting the dial.

The mode dial makes another appearance at the top-right corner of the RX100 Mark II.  Rotate to select between various shooting modes including MR – or ‘Memory Recall’ – that can remember a bunch of commonly used settings.

Sony Cybershot RX100 II

Mark II comes with a new backlit sensor to make the latest RX100 a better performer in low-light levels

 

 

Around the back you’ll find a familiar collection of RX100 controls. Most of these are customisable to suit your preference and the function button opens a quick menu where you can assign seven settings for speedy access.

Lens control comes via a switch around the shutter release.  The Carl Zeiss 3.6x optical zoom is smooth to operate, fluid to adjust and responsive to control.  The only downside is we’re only talking a 3.6x optical zoom – pretty tame on paper.  But Sony’s Clear Zoom technology actually helps give the RX100 a digital push.

 

The Carl Zeiss 3.6x optical zoom is smooth to operate, fluid to adjust and responsive to control.  With only 3.6x optical zoom – pretty tame on paper.  

 

If you’ve had your hands on an RX100 you’ll understand what a pleasure the Mark II will be to use.  The new RX100 impresses in every avenue and even where it’s out-muscled by the big specs of CSCs and DSLRs the RX100s constantly leave you asking how a compact can be this good.

The Mark II comes with a new backlit sensor to make the latest RX100 a better performer in low-light levels and packing a bunch of quick and accurate auto features every image counts. The automatic white balance takes care of accurate colour reproduction and a super-quick auto-focus means you’ve got your shot in an instant.  In most cases you won’t need to alter any shooting setting at all – you can trust the RX100 Mark II to do its thing.

The flexibility is always there if you want it though.  As expected, there’s a full range of manual controls and the vast collection of RX100 digital filters returns this year.  Just like the first RX100, the Mark II is primarily aimed at advanced users.  But the beauty of the RX100 auto-features is a premium compact like this can do great things for users at any level.

Not much has changed inside the RX100 over the last year and you can expect the same kind of image quality from the Mark II.  That’s good news, because the original RX100 is hard to fault on that front.

 

Sony Cybershot RX100 II

The Carl Zeiss 3.6x optical zoom is smooth to operate, fluid to adjust and responsive to control

 

 

Sony’s D-Range Optimisation keeps dynamic range in check for a natural transition and contrast between those low and highlights.

 

Colours have the same punch and vibrancy we saw from last year’s RX100 while that 1-inch 20.2 MP sensor remains the standout feature in this ultra-portable power package.

 

There’s one key upgrade with this second coming, however.  Sony has integrated back-illuminated technology into the Mark II sensor and promise greater results in low-light situations.  The new backlit sensor lives up to expectations with notable improvements in handling noise – particularly at higher ISO settings.

At the other end, lower sensitivities show little signs of image smoothing.  Even at full-zoom, detail remains impressively sharp –incredible amounts of detail from a pocket-sized shooter.

 

Who is it for?

Anybody that wants the best CSC money can buy – and you don’t mind paying for it.

 

Value for money

The RX100 Mark II is a premium compact that comes at a premium price.  When you consider you have to pay for quality, then the RX100 is value for money – but only if you have £649 to shell out on a pocket-sized digital.

 

Final thought

The original Sony Cybershot RX100 was probably the best compact of 2012 and the Mark II looks set to take the awards for 2013. For a carry round compact system camera, the RX100 II does everything that made the first RX100 great – and does a little bit extra. 

Sony has done a great job correcting the minor flaws found in the original RX100, and despite adding an extra £100 to the price tag, you could argue the upgrades are worth the added value. However, when you consider you can pick up the original

RX100 for £450 these days, you may think twice about shelling out an extra £200?

That sounds like a lot.  Until you add the tilting, a new backlit sensor plus added connectivity features in NFC and Wi-Fi into the equation.  The list of new features adds up, and given these are premium features £200 doesn’t seem like such a massive rise in price.

Of course £649 is still a hefty price to pay for a compact and by far the biggest gripe we have with the RX100 II – yet we still cannot go as far to say it is overpriced. It’s expensive, but is worth every penny. This is the best compact out there and if you can meet the asking price you won’t find a better buy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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