Sony rocked the compact camera world last year when it launched the RX100, a pocketable zoom camera with a larger than usual sensor. Now it's revealed the Cyber-shot RX100 II. The new device adds Wi-Fi connectivity with NFC, a tilting screen, and a more sensitive sensor. Sony also showed off the RX1R, which will be sold alongside the RX1 and removes the optical low-pass filter for sharper pictures.
When we reviewed the original RX100, we said it was "possibly the best pocketable compact digital camera ever made" thanks to its combination of image quality, build quality and pocketable size. But there were some things that we didn't like, such as the lack of inputs or the ability to use an electronic viewfinder. Well, it appears Sony was listening.
The Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II, also known as the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 M2, builds on the original RX100 but makes a number of key changes. These include an updated sensor, the addition of wireless connectivity, the ability to use more accessories, and a tilting LCD screen.
While the 1-inch-type CMOS sensor still comes in at 20.2 megapixels, it's a new sensor with boosted sensitivity. As a result, the ISO range is now 100 to 12,800, which is useful if shooting indoors or in low-light without flash. The addition of Wi-Fi and NFC means it's easier to share your images, and that a simple touch can make a connection with suitably NFC-enabled smartphones and tablets. Once connected, images can be downloaded or the smart device can be used as a remote shutter trigger.
Enthusiasts will also be happy to know that the new Multi Interface Shoe on the RX100 II means that it is compatible with a range of optional accessories including an electronic viewfinder, external flashes and a stereo microphone. The Multi Terminal also allows for the addition of things like a shutter-release remote controller.
The 3-inch LCD on the rear of the RX100 II still has 1,229,000 dots, but it can now be moved. Tilting up 84 degrees and down 45 degrees means it's easier to shoot over crowds or at lower positions. Other nice touches include the addition of a step zoom function, which means the lens control ring can be used to quickly switch between popular focal lengths (equivalent to 28-mm, 35-mm, 50-mm, 70-mm or 100-mm in 35-mm-format). Full HD video modes are also expanded with the addition of 24p/25p for cinematic-style movies.
Things staying the same include the 10.4-37.1-mm F1.8-4.9 lens (giving a 35-mm-format equivalent of 28-100-mm), the 10 fps continuous shooting and the 25-point autofocus system. The RX100 II is almost the same size as its predecessor and is only slightly deeper, at 101.6 x 58.1 x 38.3 mm (4 x 2.3 x 1.5 in) compared to the RX100's 35.9 mm depth (1.4 in). It weighs 281g (9.9 oz) to the RX100's 240 g (8.5 oz).
The new RX1R is not a replacement for the RX1 and will be sold alongside the respected full-frame fixed-lens camera. Keeping the 24.3-megapixel sensor and 35-mm Carl Zeiss Sonnar T F2 lens, the new camera is essentially the same device, but without an optical low-pass filter.
Following the recent trend for ditching the optical low-pass filter, as seen with the Nikon D7100, Fujifilm X100S and Pentax K-5 IIs, Sony says the RX1R is capable of capturing sharper and more detailed images. The model’s ‘R’ suffix is there to denote an improvement in resolution, and the camera is aimed at photographers who shoot landscapes or other high-detail scenes.
While the camera’s processing functions have been optimized to compensate for the OLPF’s removal, Sony notes that moire and/or color artifacts may be visible in some photographic situations as a result.
Both of the new cameras will be available from mid-July. The Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II will cost US$750 while the RX1R will set you back $2,800.
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