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.

Andrew Lanxon Editor At Large, Lead Photographer, Europe
Andrew is CNET's go-to guy for product coverage and lead photographer for Europe. When not testing the latest phones, he can normally be found with his camera in hand, behind his drums or eating his stash of home-cooked food. Sometimes all at once.
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Andrew Lanxon
2 min read

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.