Rx100 sony 2
Sony RX100 II vs Sony RX100 IV
Sony RX100 II advantages over Sony RX100 IV
- $598 vs $898 Save money for lenses or accessories
- More telephoto lens reach 100 mm vs 70 mm Capture objects farther away
- Longer stills battery life More info 350 vs 280 shots
- Hot shoe vs None Off-camera flashes open new possibilities
Sony RX100 IV advantages over Sony RX100 II
- Eye-level vs Rear display only You'll be able to frame photos even when the sun is out
- 4K (UHD) vs 1080p Make sure you have a fast computer
- ~2.10 vs 2.8 sec Faster startup lets you catch the moment
- 562 vs 483 iso Take photos in low light with less noise
- Yes vs No Shoot in daylight with a large aperture or slow shutter
- 4 years vs 6 years old Newer cameras often support more advanced features
- 24 mm vs 28 mm Capture more of the scene
- 16.0 fps vs 9.6 fps Faster JPEG shooting (burst mode)
- 40 vs 13 shots Take more JPEG shots before waiting (burst mode)
- 8.6 fps vs 4.9 fps Faster RAW shooting in burst mode
- 28 vs 13 shots Larger buffer for RAW shots (burst mode)
- Yes vs No
- 1/32000 vs 1/2000 sec Shoot wide open in bright light
- Both provide Your camera will highlight what's in focus
- In-Camera Image Stabilization Both provide Reduces the effects of camera shake at slower shutter speeds
- Both provide Stitches multiple shots into a panoramic photo
- Both provide Tilt the screen for shooting flexbility
- Both provide Gives you more flexibility to develop your photos later
- Both provide Share your photos wirelessly
- Both provide Simplifies pairing your camera with supported phones
- Both provide Useful in a pinch for fill flash
- Both provide AF is for the weak. Real photographers focus manually.
- Both provide Use HDMI output to monitor or review video
- Both provide Hold the shutter open manually for long exposures
- Neither provide Tilt and swivel the screen for maximum shooting flexibility
- Neither provide Interact with your camera just like your smartphone
- Neither provide Always-on wireless connectivity
- Neither provide
- Neither provide Usually improves live view and video AF performance
- Neither provide Improved sound fidelity when shooting video
- Neither provide Monitor audio recording while you shoot video
Sony RX100 Mark II (M2) Review – evolution in times of revolution
When I reviewed the Sony RX100 exactly a year ago it was genuinely novel. The closest image quality yet to a DSLR in a pocket camera.
Can the RX100 Mark II improve enough to stay interesting?
You may remember the RX100 was very capable at the time for video, neck and neck with the NEX 7 but the size of a packet of cigarettes.
In my filmmaking I enjoyed using the first RX100 as a kind of ‘Pocket Bolex’ – a run & gun camera with 1080/60p for slow-mo and peaking for manual focus. Here’s the video I shot on the previous model last year.http://vimeo.com/45682834
The RX100 M2 is a chance for Sony to fix the quirks of the RX100 but all-around it is a revolution.
We’ve now got 14bit raw on Canon DSLRs, 1080/60p on the G6 for $650, full frame sensor in a jacket pocketable Sony RX1 and the ProRes shooting Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera to follow.
To give you an idea of the kind of revolution needed on all high end stills cameras with video modes – just look at the gap between what the sensor delivers on the RX1 and what it delivers in video mode. It is a beautiful stills camera but a quite appalling video one. The RX100 Mark II also looks like home video but at least has more detail. Click the images to view at 100% –
Click images to enlarge
All three shots share identical exposure settings but the video output on both cameras suffers from heavily crushed blacks, blown highlights, aliasing, lack of detail, moire and compression relative to what the sensor is truly capable of.
The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera has a ProRes encoder in there for $999. Now there’s just no reason for Sony not to get real about video processing in their stills cameras.
The other way to improve video quality is to bypass the poor in-camera processor altogether. Raw on the 5D Mark III gave us a very eyeopening insight into the image that exists in RAM onboard consumer stills cameras and that image that you end up with on the card.
The RX100 Mark II output look even more video-like side by side with raw 1080p from the 5D Mark III, unless you view it very small on the web (like below) or at 720p streaming via a video sharing site. That so many people now view video like this has clouded the judgement of what a good image actually looks like, so to really see what I mean click the image below to enlarge it, or better download the DNG from my 5D Mark III raw video and the TIFF exported from AVCHD on the RX100 Mark II, open them in Photoshop.
Download the frames
Click image to enlarge
With the exception of firmware updates from genius third parties completely unrelated to the manufacturer, video quality has tended to change in step with new sensor hardware. The RX100 Mark II features a brand new sensor but it’s essentially of the same spec as the previous one. The only change seems to be that it is rear-illiminated (Exmor R) for a small gain in low light performance. This makes more space for light by moving most of the electric circuitry of the CMOS to the back of the chip rather than the front around the photosites.
However I saw zero evidence of improved low light performance in the raw stills direct off the sensor. Opening the files with Adobe Camera Raw from the RX100 and RX100M2 shot at identical settings (ISO 3200, F5.6, 1/200) the black levels are lower in the RX100 Mark II shot before you make any adjustments. That hides some of the noise in the blacks but the overall exposure seems darker, causing you to shoot at a higher ISO or lift the shadows in Photoshop – possibly creating more noise. As you can see, noise levels are the same in both shots so I am not too impressed by Sony’s claims that the RX100 Mark II is better in low light than it’s predecessor. Better noise reduction in JPEG and crushed blacks is not what I call improved low light performance!
Alas, let’s get things into perspective.
This camera is $750 and and a pocket stills camera not a pocket cinema camera – albeit a top of the range compact.
How well has Sony done in responding to the RX100 Mark I’s drawbacks and sorting them out?
To do this let’s go through the biggest ‘cons’ from my RX100 review –
No native 24p or 25p frame rates
Solved! The RX100 M2 adds both the cinema frame rates 24p and 25p at a bitrate of 24Mbit/s. The old model only had 1080/60p and something called ‘interlaced’ which dates from 1984. Generously the RX100 M2 adds both 24p AND 25p because it is PAL / NTSC switchable. Hooray!
Poor placement of HDMI port
Solved! The RX100 M1 had an HDMI jack more inconveniently placed than the Falkland Islands. It was on the bottom of the camera next to the tripod mount. Now more sensibly it moves to the side like on all other cameras.
Low manual focus ring / control ring sensitivity
No change. This ring is still too narrow but more crucially takes too many turns. For roughly 50% of the time you use it either for focus or aperture you end up twisting it like a wheel on a leaking submarine. The newest Olympus Micro Four Thirds lenses have by far the more, shall we say ,’natural’ fly-by-wire manual focus systems.
Stabiliser allows handheld jitter to creep into videos and doesn’t work at macro
No change. Although the RX100 M2 does an astoundingly good job of locking down the frame it does allow tiny jittery vibrations to creep through at all focal lengths. At macro focus it doesn’t stabilise as effectively and the frame is no longer locked down. The solution if you are listening Sony is to use ultrasonic stabilisation motors. Canon introduced ultrasonic IS on the fantastic Canon 100mm F2.8L IS Macro (and newer 35mm F2.0 IS) – not only does it get rid of a lot of jitter, faster moving elements really helps stabilise macro and close-up shots. Interestingly Sony recently acquired from Olympus the use of their brilliant IBIS stabilisation (which works by moving the sensor) and I still think this is the best system in the entire camera business. Despite the jitter, the RX100 M2’s Optical SteadyShot does allow for a great deal of roll and steady pans in video mode, making for a more natural look than usual when shooting handheld video. The camera glides and floats like you’re using a dolly or a steady cam – it’s just a shame about the jitter when holding it still.
Cannot assign peaking to a function button
No change. You can sooner assign ‘Control with smartphone’ to a function key than you can focus peaking. Also focus punch-in zoom cannot be activated in movie mode – only in stills mode. AF is slow but smooth to rack and you can actually get away with it quite often. It only tends to hunt when the centre of the frame contains a large area of low detail (such as blue sky or clouds).
Fastest shutter speed of 1/2000 relative to 1/4000 on most other cameras and no built in ND filter like G1X
No change. Due to the leaf shutter the limit of 1/2000 maximum remains, which means to shoot at the widest aperture in strong sunlight isn’t possible without attaching an ND filter, a filter which really should be in the narrowest path of the lens optics like the Canon G1 X and thus built-in. The benefit of the leaf-shutter however is that it is almost silent.
What’s entirely new?
The RX100 Mark II adds a very welcome articulated screen without bulking up the camera. Very useful for video and reducing chiropractor bills as it means less back bending, crouching or kneeling. The articulated screen comes out on a metal hinge like on the NEX 5N but it doesn’t rotate 180 degrees to face forwards for self shooting as on the NEX 5R. Aesthetically it isn’t great. The camera looks odd with it extended and has way too much white writing on top of it, take a deep breathe – “RX100 II Exmor R AVCHD Cybershot”.
Even more significant improvements to the live-view experience come from the addition of a smart-shoe, the same one as featured on the top of the range full frame RX1. This allows the RX1’s OLED electronic viewfinder (TruFinder) to be used on the RX100 MK 2. The viewfinder isn’t the best optically but it offers very good resolution and sharpness. I tested mine and it does work as expected on the RX100 Mark II but generally this accessory hasn’t had much use to making the camera much more difficult to pocket (both the RX1 and RX100) and being an additional thing to carry, indeed something small enough that it’s easy to lose. Sony should definitely consider building the EVF into the next RX models even if it means removing the built in flash or increasing size a bit.
There’s still no mic input but any audio accessory Sony has for the smart-shoe should work. To date I have not tested any.
The HDMI port on this camera is of the micro-variety. That’s smaller than ‘Mini’ but don’t bother buying a new cable – although it works in live-view mode and the feed stays alive when you hit record it isn’t full screen, nor can it be made free of icons (clean). Cabled up on a video rig the RX100 M2 won’t be getting much external recorder or monitor love.
It’s still the best image quality per cubic centimeter but some excitement has gone.
Could it be that we’re spoilt? We have a full frame RX1 in our jacket and a ‘Pocket Bolex’ in our pants. We have the Canon 5D Mark III which shoots 14bit raw video at 2.5K and a $650 Panasonic G6 that gives the Cinema EOS C100 at $6000 something to think about.
Stills are once again superb for a compact camera, very good dynamic range and low light – I just wish Sony would prioritise their video quality more.
The RX100 Mark II shows no improvement on the RX100 Mark I and moire / aliasing are still present having plagued every Sony video mode since the dinosaur era – NEX 5N, NEX 7, NEX 5R – the list goes on. All the cameras have a sometimes quite electronic feel to the video output and cope poorly with strong blues tones. Compression isn’t as good as Panasonic’s nor is overall video quality (G6, Gh3, Gh4) and that is something of a tragedy for Sony users in the case of the full frame RX1. On the RX100 however it’s easier to accept the NEX-5N-ish image for $750 which is good for a compact. Still a shame though! It’s such an enjoyable camera to take around with you and could be a real filmmaking asset for many.
For this price $750 if you plan to also take a tripod then leave the RX100 at home and choose the Panasonic G6. Even with the kit lens it isn’t much heavier though it’s by no means as pocketable. The image is so much more like a sequence of moving photos and doesn’t fizz with electronic essence quite as much.
That’s not to say great results can’t be had from the RX100 Mark II. As with the RX100, with the right light and circumstance it can work magic and aliasing takes a back seat. Indeed if you’re shooting mainly for Vimeo in a run & gun way with absolutely the bare bones with no rig, no camera bag, not anything (though hopefully some clothes) – then the RX100 Mark II offers a ‘good enough’ video image in a form factor that is pretty unique for the features offered.
And don’t forget the 20.1MP stills are superb.
- Extremely compact
- Articulated screen and optional EVF attachment
- Adds 24p/25p and is PAL / NTSC switchable
- Good build quality and tough hotshoe / smart-shoe
- Excellent stills camera features and image quality
- Large sensor by compact standards (1″ or approximately Super 16mm similar to the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera and Digital Bolex)
- Good 10-34mm (28-100mm) Zeiss lens, fast at wide angle (F1.8) and a smidgen faster than the average Sony NEX kit lens at telephoto (F4.9)
- Good stabiliser but doesn’t stop the smaller vibrations, jitter from the hand
- WiFI and NFC with smart-phone control
- Video quality beginning to lag behind similarly priced models – no match for Panasonic G6
- Zoom short by modern compact trends (20x +)
- No high quality video codec
- AVCHD folder structure convoluted for accessing individual clips on a computer
- Playback mode remains needlessly split between AVCHD, MP4 and stills in the main menu
- Peaking bured in menus, cannot assign to a button
- Manual focus ring sensitivity cannot be tuned to user preferences
- No punch-in focus assist in video mode
- No clean HDMI output
- SD card slot under battery cover on bottom of camera
- Articulated screen looks un-aesthetic when out on hinge
- Articulated screen catches on the camera casing with a ‘pop’ if you slide it out flush to the chassis
Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III review
The Sony RX100 is now in its third version, but all three are now on sale at the same time, which could be confusing. So here's our quick guide to the key differences between them:
RX100: 3.9x 28-100mm equivalent f/1.8-4.9 | RX100 II: 3.9x 28-100mm equivalent f/1.8-4.9 | RX100 III: 2.9x 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8
The original RX100 and the RX100 II that followed it have a 3.9x optical zoom lens with an equivalent focal range of 28-100mm. This gives them a very useful everyday zoom range, but the maximum aperture at full zoom is quite restricted at f/4.9. The RX100 III, however, has a new and different lens. It has a shorter, wider 2.9x zoom range equivalent to 24-70mm, but a maximum aperture of f/1.8-2.8. It doesn't go quite as long as the previous versions, but it goes a little wider and maintains a high maximum aperture all the way through the zoom range.
RX100: 1-inch CMOS, 20.2Mp | RX100 II: 1-inch back-illuminated CMOS, 20.2Mp | RX100 III: 1-inch back-illuminated CMOS, 20.2MP
All three RX100 models have a 20.2-megapixel 1-inch CMOS sensor, but with the RX100 II Sony introduced a new 'back-illuminated' version. In this design, the sensor's electrical circuitry is placed on the back of the chip not the front. This leaves the photosites unobstructed, and Sony claims they now have 4x the light-gathering power.
RX100: BIONZ | RX100 II: BIONZ | RX100 III: BIONZ X
The RX100 I and II use a regular BIONZ processor, but the RX100 III has a more powerful BIONZ X processor which, amongst other things, increased the ISO range for the latest camera.
RX100: ISO 125-6,400 | RX100 II: ISO 160-12,800 | RX100 III: ISO 125-25,600
The original RX100 has a decent enough ISO range for most purposes, but the new back-illuminated sensor in the RX100 II boosts the maximum ISO from 6,400 to a much more respectable 12,800. Thanks to its BIONZ X processor, the RX100 III can go higher still, to a maximum ISO of 25,600.
RX100: 3-inch fixed, 1,228,800 dots | RX100 II: 3-inch tilting, 1,228,800 dots | RX100 III: 3-inch 180-degree tilting, 1,228,800 dots
There's been a gradual evolution of the rear LCD display on the RX100. The screen size and resolution has stayed the same, but where the screen is fixed on the RX100, the RX100 II adds a tilting mechanism for waist-level and high-angle viewing. The RX100 III takes it that little bit further, extending the tilt range to a full 180-degrees, so that you can see the screen from the front of the camera.
RX100: No | RX100 II: Optional | RX100 III: Pop-up EVF
The screen on the back of the RX100 cameras is good, but there are still times when an electronic viewfinder would be useful. On the original RX100, that's not an option, but you can get an add-on EVF for the RX100 II. The RX100 III, however, has an EVF built in. It's a pop-up unit activated by a switch on the top of the camera – you then pull out the eyepiece a few millimetres for viewing.
RX100: 101.6mm x 58.1mm x 35.9mm, 213g | RX100 II: 101.6mm x 58.1mm x 35.9mm, 254g | RX 100 III: 101.6mm x 58.1mm x 38.3mm, 263g
Amazingly, despite its continued development, the height and width of the RX100's body has not changed through all three versions. The RX100 III has a slightly thicker body, but only by a couple of millimetres so you're hardly likely to notice the difference.
Sony RX100 II Review - Gallery
All images copyright © 2014 by The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.
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All images copyright © 2014 by The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.
Sony RX100 II Review
- New tilting screen is useful
- Impressive build quality
- Hot shoe accessory support
- Large, 1-inch sensor
- Short zoom range
- No touchscreen
- Review Price: £649.00
- 20.2MP back-illuminated Exmor CMOS sensor; 3.6x optical zoom, 28-100mm f/1.8 - 4.9; 3-inch, 1,229k-dot TruBlack LCD; ISO 80-6400, expandable to 25600; 1920 x 1080 @ 50p, AVCHD / MP4
One of the side effects of the improvement in smartphone camera technology, and now genuine camera-smartphone hybrids like the Samsung Galaxy Zoom S4, is that manufacturers have looked to improve upon their advanced compact offerings.
The impressive Sony RX100, released to great acclaim last year, was the perfect example of this – one of a great many ‘large sensor’ compacts from the last couple of years. The RX100 II replaces the RX100 and looks, on paper at least, to be an exciting model with some real improvements upon its predecessor. Let’s take a closer look at the compact to fin d out what’s new.
Not what you’re looking for? Read our round-up of the best cameras
Sony RX100 II – Features
As is the case with quite a few advanced compacts, the Sony RX100 II doesn’t have a particularly large focal range. The zoom itself is a 3.6x optical zoom composed of Carl Zeiss optics, covering a focal range of 28-100mm in conventional 35mm terms. That’s neither long nor particularly wide by recent standards – many top-end compacts have a mighty useful 24mm wide-angle.
What the lens does benefit from, however, is a substantial maximum aperture at the wide end of the zoom of f/1.8. This decreases to f/4.9 at the tele end, which is slightly less impressive, but the benefit of the f/1.8 at the wide end is substantial.
The lens itself is composed of a 7-blade aperture diaphragm to assist the production of pleasing Bokeh shots, while another new addition is the option to set up a series of zoom increments for quick access through the focal range.
What sets the RX100 II apart from the likes of the Panasonic Lumix LX7 or Lumix LF1, which both have fast lenses at their wide-angle, is the supremely large 1-inch, 20.2MP Exmor R sensor. It’s not only larger but also a much higher resolution, which means you capture more detail and have more opportunity for cropping into shots. Although the RX100 II’s sensor is the same size and resolution is as the RX100, the chip itself is now different, as it includes back-illumination technology.
This back-illumination should help control noise at the higher ISO settings, with the RX100 II featuring a native ISO range of 160-12,800, which extends to ISO 25,600 in certain shooting modes.
The large sensor allows for a range of movie capture modes, including full HD at either 24/25p or 50/60p, in either AVCHD or MP4 formats.
Both video and stills capture benefit from the addition of Sony’s Optical SteadyShot system, with both Active and Standard shooting modes available during video capture in particular.
As you’d expect for an advanced compact such as the RX100 II, the model features full manual (PASM) shooting controls, as well as the option to shoot Raw files alongside JPEGs. The RX100 II also caters for those happy to let the camera do the work, with the inclusion of Auto shooting modes and a host of Creative filters.
RX100 II vs RX100 – What’s the difference?
There are more differences between the RX100 II and its predecessor than just the back-illuminated sensor, ones that are bound to appeal to any discerning enthusiast. The most eye-catching of these is the 3-inch, 1,229k-dot display.
It’s not the fixed variety as found on the RX100 either, as the screen here is tiltable and as such can be pulled away from the body and viewed from a range of angles. The screen also features White Magic technology to allow for clearer image reproduction.
The RX100 II also features a new ‘Multi Interface Shoe’ that not only allows for the connection of an external flashgun in the manner of a traditional hot shoe, but also allows for the attachment of a remote control or electronic viewfinder – more on the latter later on.
Completing the range of new features is the addition of new connectivity functionality. The RX100 II not only offers Wi-Fi technology, but also becomes the first Sony camera to feature NFC technology, allowing for one-touch transfer of images between it and other NFC devices.
The Wi-Fi connectivity, meanwhile, allows for easy transfer of images between the camera and Wi-Fi enabled smartphones or tablets, as well as remote control of the camera from these devices.
Michael Topham is the Deputy Technical Editor
Unlike other sites, we thoroughly test every product we review. We use industry standard tests in order to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever accept money to review a product. Tell us what you think - send your emails to the Editor.