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Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 Mark II Review

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Welcome to Mark II of the Sony Cyber-Shot RX100, a neat, surprising camera that could sit happily alongside an upper level snapper (like a DSLR) in the camera bag. Unsurprisingly, it is priced at the upper level of compact digicams.

It has a reasonably fast Carl Zeiss f1.8, 3.6x optical zoom, imaging to a 20.2 million pixel CMOS, enabling the capture of a maximum image size of 5472×3080, leading to a 46x26cm print.

Video can be captured in AVHCD or MPEG4, up to a Full HD 1920×1080 pixel resolution.

Yes, you can shoot still shots in the middle of a video recording but with a click or two on the audio.

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The body is made from aluminium and has a tiltable (up/down) LCD screen that responds to touch commands as well as tilting up by 84 degrees and down by 45 degrees. There is a (pricey) turret viewfinder to allow clear viewing in bright light that fits into the camera’s hot shoe; this shoe also accepts a clip on LCD screen, external flash or a microphone adaptor.

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Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 Mark II Features

The camera control layout follows the usual Sony pattern: at extreme left is the flash cell; centre of the top surface is the multi interface shoe (or ‘hot shoe’); to the right is the power button, zoom lever and shutter button; nearby is the mode dial with positions for intelligent and superior auto exposure (!), PASM, movie, memory recall, sweep panorama and scene selection (presets for portrait, sports, macro, fireworks etc).

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Rear: the familiar movie record button is on the top right corner; beneath it is a really useful Function button that offers exposure correction, ISO setting, AWB, the D-RANGE Optimiser and access to a wide range of effects … such as posterisation, pop colour, partial colour, retro, toy camera effect (in colorisations such as cool, warm, green, magenta). You could spend days with this item!

The D-Range Optimiser shoots a bracket of three shots with different exposures; the camera then overlays the bright area s of the under exposed image and the dark areas of the over exposed image to create an image with improved gradation. A single image with the ideal range is saved.

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Nearby is the menu button which displays a super wide range of options. Newbies should pay deep attention to this menu … it all happens here! If you find a specific function is not working properly, it’s most likely because a ‘box’ in the menu has not been ticked!

Lower is the control wheel. Here you can select options for flash, self timer, burst shooting and exposure compensation. If your camera happens to be set to auto or intelligent auto you can access a range of picture effects, change image brightness, colour etc.

The central button of the control wheel locks in tracking focus to the subject nearest centre frame.

Lower still is the replay button and one which doubles as the image trash action and gives access to a useful information bank. I guess the latter gives the game away with the RX100: it is really a high priced beginners’ camera! Oh well!

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Sony, IMHO, has by far the best sweep panorama feature of all compact digicams: you can pan right, left, up or down and capture panos in enormous sizes. Like: 12,416×1856 pixels!


This is also Sony’s first NFC camera. Wassat?

Near Field Communication is designed to enable users to instantly share images with other NFC capable devices, such as Android smartphones, tablets, laptops or even TV.

The company’s strategy behind NFC is to simplify the connection of its RX100 II to smart devices. Once connected, users can remotely control the camera’s shutter release from the mobile device, quickly receive the captured image via WiFi and upload the transferred images straightaway to a social networking site.

But is NFC just Bluetooth or Wifi? Maybe.

Take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near_field_communication for more info.

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No problems at either end of the zoom. A well corrected lens.


In just a little over two seconds the camera came to life after the power was tapped. Then I was able to fire off a run of shots as fast as I could tap the button.

Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 Mark II Review ISO Tests

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At ISO 1600 sharpness dropped off slightly but noise was low. By ISO 6400 these factors were a little worse. By ISO 12800 sharpness was down further and noise up — but not by a large factor.

Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 Mark II Review Verdict

Quality: just above average.
Why you would buy the Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 Mark II: compact; fast Zeiss lens.
Why you wouldn’t buy the Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 Mark II: limited zoom range for your needs; LCD screen tilts are limited.

A surprising package in such a tiny body.

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I felt the manuals to be inadequate: aside from a 37 page PDF basic guide in English and a Web-based user guide with no search facility, that was all. For a camera at this price level you could at least expect at least a decent searchable PDF manual.

Otherwise, a very good performance.

Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 Mark II Specifications

Image Sensor: 20.2 million effective pixels.
Metering: Multi pattern, centre-weighted, spot.
Exposure Modes: Auto, Program AE, shutter and aperture priority, manual.
Sensor Size: 13.2×8.8mm Exmor R CMOS.
Lens: Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* f1.8-4.9/10.4-37.1mm (28-100mm as 35 SLR equivalent).
Shutter Speed: 30 to 1/2000 second.
Continuous Shooting: 2.5, 10 fps.
Memory: Memory Stick Duo, PRO Duo/PRO-HG Duo/SD/SDHC/SDXC and Micro SD/SDHC cards.
Image Sizes (pixels): 5472×3080 to 2592×1944.
Movies (pixels): 1920×1080, 1440×1080, 640×480.
LCD Screen: 7.6cm LCD (1,229,000 pixels).
Colour Space: sRGB, Adobe RGB.
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 160 to 25600.
Interface: USB 2.0, micro HDMI, WiFi, DC, remote.
Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery, DC input.
Dimensions: 102x58x38 WHDmm.
Weight: 281 g (with battery and card).
Price: get your hands on a Sony DSC-RX100M II Cyber-shot at Amazon here.

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Barrie Smith
Barrie Smith

is an experienced writer/photographer currently published in Australian Macworld, Auscam and other magazines in Australia and overseas.

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