With all due respect to all models registered in the sagas Alpha and NEX, if there are two cameras that located Sony in the Major Leagues of Photography in recent months, they have be the Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 and the exclusive full-frame RX1. High end compact point-and-shoot cameras are now renewed – or a variation of the RX1- to revalidate the prestige achieved by its predecessors. Recently announced, at thedigitalcamera.net we have already had the opportunity to take a first look at the new Sony RX100 II and RX1R.
As they say, “don’t fix what isn’t broken”. This law of universal application seems to have been very present in Sony when it came to renew their two biggest stars: the Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 and RX1. Transformed last year in the most acclaimed compact point-and-shoot on the market, the bet by both continuity in design as in benefits in the new RX100 II and RX1R seems rather than logic.
But apart from the appearances and the obvious similitudes, both come with interesting changes which – as always – is best reviewed with the cameras in hands.
“R” as in “Resolution”
In the case of the RX1R, and beyond its convoluted name, little can be said before a final model is available to demonstrate its true potential. And it is that, as you can see in the pictures, the camera is apparently identical to its predecessor RX1.
Or rather, to the original RX1, because this new arrival is distinguishable only by the absense of its low-pass filter and therefore there is no point talk of an upgrade. The RX1 and the RX1R will coexist on the shelves, and will also do so with the same price. Although those 3,100 euros – which is the official price given by Sony – are no bargain, the Japanese company has opted not to raise the price on this version just like it has happened with some Reflex models that have followed the same path (Pentax K-5 IIs or Nikon D800E, for example) and which are somewhat more expensive than the normal version.
Intended for nature and landscape photographers and in general for all those who look for more detail and not have to deal with scenes that incite moiré patterns, on our hands the RX1R feels right and we like it as much as the RX1. In other words, a lot.
Beyond the support for the Triluminos color system that Sony uses in some of its TVs – an addition that, sincerely, we doubt that photographers pay too much attention on-, the sensor without low-pass filter is the only novelty.
While waiting for results that it has offer and the differences compared to the standard model, we could ask ourselves why the firm has not tapped to introduce any improvement on this model. There is always room to add new features, but we must not forget that this is not a RX2 and the RX1 has been in the market for less than a year.
Much more extensive is the list of novelties of the RX100 II (which read "Mark II", Sony clarifies us), although externally only the hot shoe and the articulated screen break with the design of the previous model.
Faithful to the model lines of the RX100 and that control ring that we like so much, the width of the camera body grows very slightly: something more than 2 mm. Enough, that Yes, as for the RX100 cases does not fit this new generation.
But beyond the external changes (welcomed be the hot shoe and flip-up screen, two of the few benefits that were missed in the RX100), also the sensor has been updated. At the moment we can only speak based on theoretical data, but the bet by the technology of Exmor-R backlit forces Sony to promise an improvement in the noise control. By experience, we are skeptics with the miracles performed by the backlit sensors, but that the RX100 II raised its maximum sensitivity to 12,800 ISO seems a good sign.
It doesn’t convince us that the minimum sensitivity range is 125 to 160 ISO. If we already missed in the RX100 the absence of a built-in neutral density filter that would reduce the brightness to take advantage of the f1.8 in scenes with lots of light, now the problem increases by one third.
In addition to Wi-Fi, increasingly common in photographic market, Sony also debuts the NFC connection. As we have already seen in some Panasonic models, the idea is to facilitate the always cumbersome connection settings to connect the camera with a tablet or a mobile device. Something that will now be possible with a simple touch between both devices. Whenever your mobile phone has NFC, that is.
It is true that we would have liked more zoom, or even a long focal somewhat brighter, but the camera size and the size of the CMOS 20 megapixel (1 inch) rule over the rest of the benefits. It is not perfect, but the combination is fairly balanced, and that 28 mm f1.8 in our pockets, gives us a lot to play with.
In the absence of developments in this field, a detail that will delight lovers of the classic focal and that a camera like this would fit you very well: the setup zoom. Although it’s a function that comes deactivated from factory, a little browsing through the screen menus – there are no changes in this respect – to activate it and use the front ring to move the zoom focal fixed coup: 28, 35, 50, 70 and 100mm.
Small details and other more significant changes – as the new sensor – reinforce the “all or nothing” launched by Sony in the market for advanced compact point-and-shoot. By now no one has dared to comment in this same area.