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Sony RX10 II review

Sony RX10 II angle
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : 1,181
inc VAT

A formidable camera at an equally imposing price, it’s the Sony RX10 II’s slow motion modes that really stand out

Specifications

Sensor resolution: 20 megapixels, Sensor size: 1in (13.2×8.8mm), Viewfinder: Electronic (2,359,296 dots), LCD screen: 3in (1,228,800 dots), Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths): 8.3x (24-200mm), 35mm-equivalent aperture: f/7.6, Weight: 813g, Dimensions (HxWxD): 88x129x102mm

Wex Photographic
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Performance and image quality

Photo image quality and performance are in line with the original RX10, which means they’re excellent. Photos were captures every 0.4 seconds in normal use, and autofocus was reliably quick. A speed-priority burst mode rattled off 45 JPEGs at 13.7fps, while shooting with continuous autofocus was at 5fps.

The 1in sensor is smaller than most CSCs’ sensors but bigger than most bridge cameras’. AS a result, noise levels fall somewhere between the two. However, it’s the f/2.8 constant-aperture lens that makes the biggest difference, allowing for faster shutter speeds and slower ISO speeds than most cameras must resort to. It captures four times as much light as the average kit lens at the long end of the zoom, which more than compensates for the smaller sensor compared to CSCs. It also helps that the 24-200mm (8.3x) zoom range is far bigger than most kit lenses.

The lens, sensor and image processing live up to their promises, and the result is a camera that holds its own in virtually any environment. The only notable limitation is for wildlife and sports photography, where the 200mm maximum focal length may not be enough to capture smaller and more distant subjects. The very similar Panasonic FZ1000 has the advantage here with its 25-400mm lens. The trade off is that its f/2.8-4 aperture captures half as much light for telephoto shots, which pushes up noise.

Sony RX10 II sample image 1 ^  Rich colours and precise details from corner to corner of the frame. (1/320s, f/4, ISO 100, 32mm equivalent)

Sony RX10 II sample image 2 ^  Skin and hair textures in bright light aren’t far off the quality we’d expect from an SLR. (1/320s, f/4, ISO 100, 57mm equivalent)

Sony RX10 II sample image 3 ^  I’ve used shutter priority at 1/400s to freeze motion, and the large sensor and bright lens combine to deliver exceptional image quality in this shaded environment. (1/400s, f/2.8, ISO 800 135mm equivalent)

Sony RX10 II sample image 4 ^  This is the RX10 II at its best, zoomed in to 200mm for a close up on faces. The camera has chosen a reasonably fast shutter speed and the bright lens means it can still shoot at ISO 100 for optimum image quality. Tracking autofocus worked well in our burst of shots, too. (1/200s, f/3.5, ISO 100, 200mm equivalent)

Sony RX10 II sample image 5 ^  This shot would have benefited from a bigger zoom – the Panasonic FZ1000 with its 25-400mm lens would have fared better here. (1/250s, f/4, ISO 100, 200mm equivalent)

Sony RX10 II sample image 6 ^  Shaded skin tones are a tough test for noise levels, but this is an excellent result at ISO 1250. (1/100s, f/2.8, ISO 1250, 84mm equivalent)

Sony RX10 II sample image 7 ^  Shooting at night, there’s a fair amount of grain at ISO 2500 but quality is closer to an SLR than a compact. (1/40s, f/2.8, ISO 2500, 38mm equivalent)

Sony RX10 II sample image 8 ^  I set the ISO speed to 6400 here, but the camera could have captured this shot at ISO 3200 by using a wider aperture. Even so, image quality is good enough for online sharing. (1/50s, f/4.5, ISO 6400, 47mm equivalent)

Conclusion

Almost everything about the RX10 II is seriously impressive, but I have two niggling doubts that stop me giving it top marks. One is the lack of a touchscreen, which I feel is a significant drawback for video capture – something this camera is otherwise superbly equipped for. If video isn’t a concern, you’re better off with the original RX10. Admittedly, the Panasonic FZ1000 also lacks a touchscreen, but it’s much cheaper at around £600. At over £1,000, the RX10 II must compete with the Panasonic GH4.

And that leads me to my other niggling doubt. The RX10 II’s lens is extremely versatile but it can’t be replaced with another one. If you went for the GH4, you’d have to spend £1,500 on the Panasonic 12-35mm and 35-100mm lenses to match the RX10 II’s 24-200mm (equivalent) focal length range and f/2.8 aperture. Then again, you might choose to go for one or two other Micro Four Thirds lenses instead that closely match your needs. The RX10 II’s lens takes most challenges in its stride but it won’t ever give the sumptuous shallow depth-of-field effects of a wide-aperture prime or the ultra-telephoto focal lengths required for wildlife photography.

Still, if you just want one camera for all occasions and want to avoid the temptation of pricey lens upgrades, this is an excellent choice. If you’re a fan of slow motion, the RX10 II might be hard to resist.

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Hardware
Sensor resolution20 megapixels
Sensor size1in (13.2×8.8mm)
Focal length multiplier2.7x
ViewfinderElectronic (2,359,296 dots)
Viewfinder magnification (35mm-equivalent), coverage0.7x, 100%
LCD screen3in (1,228,800 dots)
ArticulatedYes
TouchscreenNo
Orientation sensorYes
Photo file formatsJPEG, RAW (ARW)
Maximum photo resolution5,472×3,648
Photo aspect ratios4:3, 3:2, 16:9 1:1
Video compression formatXAVC S up to 100Mbit/s
Video resolutions4K (3,840×2,160 at 24/25/30fps), 1080p at 24/25/30/50/60/100/120fps, 1080i at 25/30fps, 720p at 25/30fps
Slow motion video modes1080p at 250fps (1/10x), 1080p at 500fps (1/20x), 1080p at 1,000fps (1/40x)
Maximum video clip length (at highest quality)29m 59s
Controls
Exposure modesProgram, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed range30 to 1/32,000 seconds
ISO speed range100 to 12800
Exposure compensationEV +/-3
White balanceAuto, 9 presets with fine tuning, manual
Auto-focus modesMulti, centre, flexible spot, face detect, tracking
Metering modesMulti, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flash modesAuto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, rear curtain, red-eye reduction
Drive modesSingle, continuous, self-timer, AE bracket, WB bracket, dynamic range bracket, HDR, panorama
Lens
Optical stabilisationYes
Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths)8.3x (24-200mm)
Maximum aperture (wide-tele)f/2.8
35mm-equivalent aperturef/7.6
Manual focusYes
Closest macro focus (wide)3cm
Closest macro focus (tele)25cm
Physical
Card slotSDXC , Memory Stick Pro Duo
Memory suppliedNone
Battery typeLi-ion
ConnectivityUSB, micro HDMI, 3.5mm microphone, 3.5mm headphone
WirelessWi-Fi, NFC
GPSNo
HotshoeSony Multi Interface Shoe
Body materialMagnesium alloy
AccessoriesUSB cable, neck strap
Weight813g
Dimensions (HxWxD)88x129x102mm
Buying information
WarrantyOne year RTB
Price including VAT£1,181
Supplierwww.wexphotographic.com
Detailswww.sony.co.uk
Part codeDSC-RX10M2

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