Cameras

Sony RX100 II promises improved low-light skills for £650

Sony's RX100 II packs a 20.2-megapixel sensor with boosted low-light capabilities into a compact digital body for £650.

Sony's new RX100 II is like Mighty Mouse: small but formidable. This compact camera promises dSLR-like quality along with smart features such as NFC and Wi-Fi, packed into a small and light body for the weight-conscious travellers among you.

As the name strongly suggests, the RX100 II is the successor to the RX100 -- a camera we were very keen on. The main upgrade comes in the form of an improved image sensor. It's a backside-illuminated 20.2-megapixel affair -- the same resolution as its predecessor -- that Sony claims has improved low-light capabilities over the original.

It can shoot at ISO speeds up to 12,800, which, together with the wide f/1.8 lens and Exmor R image processor, should be able to capture more light in a scene, without filling the image with awful noise. It seemed to perform well in my brief hands-on time, but I'll be putting that to the full test when we give it the review treatment.

It's also the first camera from Sony that uses near-field communication (NFC) and Wi-Fi technology. Hold it against a compatible phone and -- assuming you have the Sony PlayMemories app installed -- you'll be able to use your phone as a viewfinder and transfer photos over from the camera. Perhaps not a critical feature, but it worked well when I used it and it's certainly quicker than diving into menus to set up Wi-Fi connections manually.

Other features include a 3-inch tiltable LCD screen and a 24-mm wide-angle lens with a 3.6x optical zoom. It'll set you back the princely sum of £650 though, so it's not one for the casual shutterbug. If you're travelling to remote locations and don't want to lug a heavy dSLR with you, it could be a capable option.

Sony has also given its full-frame compact digital camera, the RX1, a slight tweak. The RX1R, as it's known, removes the optical low-pass filter found on the standard version, which apparently gives a more detailed image. It'll set you back a cool £2,600.

The RX100 II will be on sale in Sony stores and online from mid-July with the RX1R following in August.

Is £650 too much for a compact camera or is a big sensor in a small body worth paying for? How about £2,600? Pop your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.