SONY RX100 II / SHOOTING REPORT vol.1 vol.2 vol.3

As soon as the RX100 was released, it became one of the top high-end compact cameras because of its functionality and high image quality. It has been favored by all level and age of users who don't need or can't carry a chunky SLR camera. It's a well-balanced camera, so this Mark II inherited many elements from it. The biggest differences are the backside illuminated sensor, the tilting back LCD, the multi-interface shoe connector, and the Wi-Fi. There's no change in the lens, the sensor size, and the number of pixels. So, let's check if these upgrades have made improved the picture quality and the performance.

( Photography & Text : FourtyEight )

The backside illuminated sensor has drastically improved high ISO performance

The new sensor is the world's first 1-inch backside illuminated CMOS sensor. The technology is originally used for smaller sensors. Since it has an advantage in darker situations, I shot in dark situations like the one above. It was shot wide open at the tele-end and the ISO is 12800. Isn't it amazing? Normally, the noise looks ugly with the high ISO, but it looked good on the LCD. I also shot at ISO3200, but as far as I see the whole image, there is no practical difference.

Let's enlarge one part of each picture (75% of the image). At this enlargement level, you can see the difference: the one at ISO12800 lacks of detail and failed to depict the edge lines, while the one at ISO3200 smoothly depicts the wall. But, this difference become salient only when it's enlarged and the picture as a whole still look great. So, I think ISO12800 is usable depending on situations, and there won't be any problem in using ISO1600-3200 actively.

This high ISO performance makes night snapshooting fun. Even the former model was capable of night shooting because of f1.8, but was difficult to shoot at the tele-end without handshake. They can make the lens bigger to solve this issue, but increasing body size for the RX100 doesn't make sense. So, they raised the high ISO performance and I'm fully convinced.

Because of higher ISO performance, we can use a faster shutter, too. Now, it's capable of shooting in the twilight, pulling subjects by using zoom, and shooting with smaller apertures. These ways of shooting become easier thanks to the higher ISO performance.

Just like the former model, the pictures look lively when they are shot under. The texture of the flower and the vase are nice, and they look solid, too. The improved high ISO performance is evident even in the limited lighting conditions.

Improved handling.

The most convenient new feature is the tilting back LCD monitor. It only moves up and down to some degree, but it still makes a great difference in many situations. For example, you can take pictures with the same level of perspectives with children and animals, take ground angle shots, or shoot things ahead of the crowd by reaching up.

Another nice improvement is the multi-interface shoe that connects an EVF and a flash. The beginners may not understand the benefit, but with an EVF you can integrate yourself into the environment. The flash comes in handy for real shooting. I guess this camera will be used as a super-sub camera by advanced photographers and I feel it is designed by reflecting their voices.

I shot almost on the water surface. This low angle is a little difficult for adults, but I was able to do it thanks to the tilting monitor. It requires a little practice to handle it, but you'll get used to it easily. And, don't forget I was able to keep the vertical line because of this monitor.

Now you can send pictures to your smart phone with the Wi-Fi/NFC function, so you can update your blog and SNS with your daily meals and scenes instantly after shooting. As for the macro capability, it's 5cm at the wide-end and 55cm at the tele-end. Again, I was able to take this shot thanks to the tilting monitor.

You can't expect large bokeh at the dark tele-end, but you can still make the subject stand out depending on distance and what to include in the front and the back. It was difficult to get close to the subject, and I stretched my hands to shoot at the tele-end. This time, too, the tilting monitor helped me.

This one camera will do. The prime choice in the pocket.

The body is so compact and you can bring it even if you wear a suit. And, it has a 28mm-100mm Carl Zeiss lens. Without making changes in the highly regarded elements, SONY added some fabulous features such as the new sensor and the tilting monitor. The high ISO performance is just great and it makes telephoto shooting easier by minimizing handshakes. With this high performance, I can suggest you to set the ISO auto and just focus on shooting. In this report, I mainly talked about the new features, but it still carries the RX100's best appeals. The sensor is large for a compact camera and it has a right balance between high functionality and picture quality. This is a camera you can carry all the time, and I even wondered what else I need for everyday shooting.

Because of the minute depiction, I don't feel the size of the body and the sensor. Of course, I see the differences when the images are shown at full-size, but the whole images look great and they are just minute enough for general viewing.

Wide angle is useful for relaxed shots, while telephoto is useful for cropping. I should say one thing so common: how convenient a zoom lens is! The 28mm to 100mm range covers most situations.

How do you like it? The RX100M2 carries the nice features of the RX100 and it's easier to use. I recommend this camera to those who simply want a compact camera that takes great pictures and the enthusiasts who cannot always carry their main system. A camera is meant to be used, and you cannot use it if you don't carry it. This is a camera that will come in handy in many situations.