After the great success of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 last year, it’s clear its successor will be just as great. With an improved 20-megapixel resolution, foldable screen, and Wi-Fi connectivity, the new RX100 II will surely take its older sister’s place as the best compact camera on the market. It has everything to make this possible, and now we’ll review it in detail.
It’s no surprise for anyone that the Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 is one of the best –if not the best- compact camera on the market. Although it’s not exactly inexpensive, its 1-inch sensor and 29-millimeter Carl Zeiss lens with a luminosity of f1.8 make it the absolute best of its kind.
And now, almost a year later, the Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II is here with a lot of new and interesting features: Wi-Fi connectivity, foldable screen, mounting shoe for flash and an improved version, which still keeps the 20-megapixel resolution its predecessor had.
It will cost around 750 Dollars; the RX100 can now be found for 598 Dollars. What we’re asking ourselves now is that if those extra 200 dollars are really worth it or we should just stick with the older model for now. What a dilemma.
Design-wise, the RX100 II is pretty much identical to its predecessor, since not much has changed. Not that this is bad thing, of course, since we’re talking about excellent, top-notch cameras.
One of the few things that have been added is a foldable screen and mounting shoe; while not extraordinary features, they’re certainly useful. Some accessories, like the case of the RX100, will be rendered useless for this model, however.
Its design is impeccable and it feels sturdy and durable. The camera can be easily controlled with just one hand, though the most comfortable position is using both hands.
The screen, like we said, has the size (3 inches) and resolution (1.2 megapixels), but you can now fold it up to 84 degrees upwards and 43 downwards. Nothing too extraordinary, but certainly useful in some situations that doesn’t make the camera bigger in any way.
Not much has changed, so it’s hard to notice something different at first sight. The changes it has, however, are truly interesting.
The frontal ring is sturdier and more resistant than the RX100’s. The video recording button is still too small, but now it can be deactivated so the video dial takes its place, a very nice feature since it’s easy to press it by mistake.
It handles impeccably, the frontal ring is simple amazing and can now control the zoom by steps and it features configurable buttons so the camera adapts to every user.
Still, we feel a simpler way to change the focus point was needed. A touch screen would have been just perfect for this issue.
Also, the slight increase in the camera’s width makes spinning its Wheel a bit uncomfortable when the screen is folded.
Backlit 20 megapixels
It may seem almost nothing has changed from its predecessor to the RX100 II (neither lens, sensor or resolution), but it does feature a renewed CMOS Exmor-R backlit sensor that has improved noise control and offers overall better image quality –something the RX100 already did right-.
Does it show? Like we expected, at low and medium sensitivities, the results are very similar to the RX100’s in regards to quality, albeit a bit better. However, it seems the way the sensitivity has been calibrated has changed; in other words, the 100 ISO we knew is gone. A classic.
Samples: sensitivity Comparison
But back to what really matters, is it better at higher sensitivities? As you can see in the results of our tests, the RX100 II has better noise control and detail; in short, yes. However, while the improvements are quite notable, the many effects this camera features will only be useful in a handful of environments and situations.
Still, this truly remains as the world’s most powerful compact camera as of now, unsurprising as the results of our comparison between the RX100 and its greatest rival, the Fujifilm X20, suggested.
It’s important to note that the auto-focus system, we felt, performs irregularly, we felt the RX100’s was better. We believe this was because we used a test model and not a retail version, so we’re sure the RX100 II will be just as good as its predecessor in this regard as well.
The RX100 II, like the previous model, only has a minimum focus distance of 5 centimeters, something important to have in mind if you feel this will be an issue to you.
The RX100 II features a new mounting shoe capable of using external flashes and the FDA-EV1MK, an electronic viewfinder. The latter, however, will cost an extra 450 dollars.
The Wi-Fi connectivity is one of the new features of this camera. It has support for the Play Memories Mobile service, capable of sending your pictures to your tablet, smart phone or mobile device automatically.
It appears it controls better than some NEX cameras, since you can control the zoom and record video at the same time, something the NEX-6 isn’t capable of remotely. It also supports NFC connectivity to link with your devices with a single and easy touch.
The RX100 II is also capable of recording Full HD video at 25p and features manual video controls, something its older sister had as well. Sadly, it doesn’t support external microphones, though you can connect one through an additional accessory.
Its battery life is decent: without video recording, with a single charge you can take between 350 and 400 pictures.
Is it worth it?
The Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II is an excellent camera, but that’s not the issue here. After spending a few days with both the RX100 and the RX100 II, this question doesn’t have a definite answer, at least in our opinion. As always, it depends on the user; it’s 200 dollars more expensive, something that some user may feel unjustified because of how similar they are.
Image quality-wise it’s definitely better, especially when shooting in dim light and at low and medium sensitivities. If you’re not shooting under these conditions, however, you may not notice a big difference.
The same thing happens with the rest of its features: Some may be delighted with the foldable screen as we liked waist viewer to go shooting up the street, while others may feel it was an unnecessary feature or even prefer a touch screen or directly by a reduction of 50 dollars.The same happens with the Wi-Fi connectivity, although it’s too useful to not give it at least a try.
The RX100 II is perfect if the specs are what you care about, if you shoot at 800 ISO or higher, or if you want to use an external flash. Otherwise, the classic RX100 may still be the one for you.
In any case, and no matter which one you prefer, these two are without a doubt the best compact cameras on the market right now, and that’s saying something.