Sony’s full frame RX1R II gets a resolution jump and pop-up EVF

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The Sony RX1R II is a powerful full frame compact camera

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Sony has revealed the RX1R II, its latest full frame compact camera. This time the diminutive shooter packs a 42.4-megapixel sensor, a 35-mm F2 lens, and a pop-up electronic viewfinder into a device small enough to fit in your jacket pocket. The new camera also features an optical variable low pass filter which can be manually adjusted.

The original 24.3-megapixel Sony RX1 made a name for itself when it launched in 2012, by offering photographers a pocketable full frame device with a 35-mm lens that was capable of delivering high-quality images. It was later joined by the RX1R, which ditched the optical low-pass filter in a bid to improve sharpness, and more recently the rival Leica Q was launched, which pairs its full frame sensor with a 28-mm lens.

A 35-mm Zeiss Sonnar T* F2 lens sits at the front of the new RX1R II and features nine diaphragm blades to produce smooth background defocus and pleasing bokeh to go along with its optical sharpness. This is paired with a full frame (35.9 × 24 mm) 42.4-megapixel back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor, presumably the same one used in the mirrorless A7R II. Sony says this lens and sensor combo has been fine-tuned to optimize performance, and that the camera delivers the highest picture quality of any Sony compact camera ever made.

Another new feature of the RX1R II is that rather than simply ditching the low-pass filter in a bid for sharper images, it features an optical variable low pass filter. This is the first of its kind and can be set to "off," "standard" or "high" and allows users to balance their desire for resolution with the removal of moiré or color artifacts. Low-pass filter bracketing is also available.

Sony’s BIONZ X processing engine brings all of this together to produce high quality and high resolution images, with an impressive sensitivity range of ISO 100 to 25,600 (expandable down to 50 and up to 102,400). The camera can also capture uncompressed 14-bit RAW images, and fire off a burst of images at 5 fps with AF tracking. Unfortunately there’s no 4K video, with the camera maxing out at Full HD 1080p 60/30/24 fps, but it can shoot in the XAVC S format at 50 Mbps.

Autofocus is also improved, and is said to be 30 percent faster than the original RX1, thanks to Sony’s Fast Hybrid AF system which uses 399 focal-plane phase-detection AF points that cover about 45 percent of the image area, and 25 contrast AF points. The camera also features improved subject tracking as well as Eye AF for ensuring the eyes of a subject are sharp in a portrait.

The addition of a retractable XGA OLED electronic viewfinder will come as good news for photographers who prefer eye-level shooting, or are likely to be using the camera in bright lighting conditions. This pop-up 2,359,296 dot EVF is similar to that which was introduced by the RX100 III, but is bigger, and moves up or down with a simple one-push operation. On the rear of the camera is a 3-inch WhiteMagic 1.229K dot LCD display that can tilt upward to 109 degrees and downward to 41 degrees.

Despite packing all of this tech, the RX1R II only measures 113 x 65 x 72 mm (4.4 x 2.6 x 2.8 in) and weighs 507 g (17.8 oz) when loaded with a battery and memory card. Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC means the camera can share images or be remotely controlled with the Smart Remote Control app from PlayMemories Camera Apps, when using compatible iOS or Android devices.

The Sony RX1R II will be available from November costing US$3,300.

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