Compact cameras have already started the metamorphosis from being entry-level solutions for budget-conscious amateurs to serving as a secondary body for the professionals always on the go. Sony has been quite successful in this segment with highly capable models fitting possibly all categories. The Sony RX1R II is the second generation of one of the unique products in the industry—a premium compact with a full frame sensor and a wideaperture fixed focal length lens.
Design and Build Quality
The RX1R II is built sturdy on a strong and light magnesium alloy chassis, usually found only in high-end professional cameras. On the flip side, this leaves much less flexibility with ergonomic design than in the case of moulded engineering plastics. The camera has a slightly boxy design, but we cannot complain. The lens has an aperture ring with markings for every 1/3 step. It also features a focus limiter ring with settings for 0.2 to .35m and 0.3m to infinity. The tripod receptacle is metal. The buttons and dials are of premium quality. The shutter release button is threaded to accommodate a cable release or soft release attachment.
The Sony RX1R II uses a 42.4 megapixel, full frame (35.9 x 24.0mm) Exmor R CMOS sensor along with a BIONZ X image processing engine. The camera features a ZEISS Sonnar T* 35mm f/2 lens constructed with eight elements in seven groups including three aspherical elements. These elements include a double sided aspherical element. In Normal mode, the lens focusses from 24cm to infinity from the front element and in Macro mode, from 14 to 29cm. The filter has a diameter of 49mm. It uses a 9-bladed diaphragm providing a circular aperture. The camera uses Fast Hybrid AF employing phasedetection and contrast-detection methods. This makes use of 399 focal plane phase-detection AF points and 25 contrast-detection AF points for blazing fast autofocus. Focus modes include Single-shot AF (AF-S), Continuous AF (AF-C), Direct Manual Focus (DMF) and Manual Focus. The camera uses Wide (399 points for phase-detection AF, 25 points for contrast-detection AF), Centre, Flexible Spot (S/M/L), Expand Flexible Spot and Lock-on AF (Wide, Centre, Flexible Spot (S/M/L), Expand Flexible Spot) as Focus Area options.
The RX1R II uses 1200-zone evaluative metering with the usual three metering modes—Multi Pattern, Centre Weighted and Spot. Exposure can be compensated up to +/-5.0 EV in 1/3 EV steps. Sensitivity ranges from ISO 100 to 25,600, expandable to ISO 50 to 102400. Shutter speed ranges from 30 to 1/4000 sec along with Bulb option. Aperture varies from f/2 to 22. White Balance options include Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent (Warm White, Cool White, Day White, Daylight), Flash, Custom Temperature, Filter and Custom. White Balance micro adjustment is possible.
Still images are captured in Raw or JPEG formats at maximum dimensions of 7952 x 5304 pixels and you also have the option of capturing both Raw and JPEG simultaneously. The camera also allows you to capture uncompressed Raw images. JPEG quality options are Extra fine, Fine and Standard. The RX1R II can capture still images continuously at a maximum speed of 5 frames per second. Videos are recorded in XAVC S, AVCHD or MP4 format with the best quality of 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) 60p. Shooting modes available are Auto (Intelligent Auto, Superior Auto), Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual, Memory Recall (3 options), Movie, Panorama and Scene Selection. Movie modes include Program Auto, Aperture Priority, Shutter Speed Priority and Manual while Scene Selection provides options such as Portrait, Sports Action, Landscape, Sunset, Night Scene, Handheld Twilight, Night Portrait and Anti Motion Blur.
Drive modes available are Single, Continuous, Speed priority continuous, Self-timer, Self-timer (cont.), Continuous bracketing, Single bracketing, White Balance bracketing, DRO bracketing and LPF bracketing. With LPF bracketing, you can adjust the effects of Optical Variable Low-Pass Filter. Self-timer can be set to 10, 5 or 2 seconds for 3 or 5 consecutive shots. Picture Effects include: Toy camera, Pop Colour, Posterisation, Retro Photo, Soft High-key, Partial Colour, High Contrast Mono., Soft Focus, HDR Painting, Richtone Monochrome, Miniature, Watercolour and Illustration. Creative Style options are Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Clear, Deep, Light, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, Night Scene, Autumn Leaves, Black & White, Sepia and Style Box.
The camera uses a 3.0-inch, 1,228,800 -dot Xtra Fine TFT LCD. The screen can be tilted up by approximately 109 degrees and down by approximately 41 degrees. The electronic viewfinder is a 0.39- inch OLED with 2,359,296 dots. The built-in flash provides modes such as Off, Auto, Fill-flash, Slow Sync., Rear Sync. and Wireless. The RX1R II uses a Memory Stick Duo/PRO Duo/PRO-HG Duo or SD/SDHC/SDXC for storage. The camera features a 3.5mm stereo mini jack along with Multi terminal, Micro USB and Micro HDMI. The device has built-in Wi-Fi and NFC, and is powered by a rechargeable battery pack (NP-BX1, supplied). The RX1R II measures 113.3 x 65.4 x 72.0 mm (W x H x D) and weighs 480g.
The RX1R II has a synthetic textured rubber ‘flat’ grip. Though this is not as effective as deep contouredgrips, Sony has made use of a comparatively less slippery surface coating, which makes it comfortable to use. The electronic viewfinder is pop-up type, which can be raised by a switch by the left side of the LCD. While we appreciate Sony for incorporating a viewfinder in the limited space, it is difficult to align the frame properly if you wear spectacles. The menu is straight forward and easy to navigate.