CNET First Look
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II, The best enthusiast compact to dateThe Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II's combination of looks, speed, flexibility, and photo quality makes it a great choice for enthusiasts who can afford the price tag.
Like its sibling the RX100, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC RX100 II is a fast-performer equipped with the relatively large sensor, a bright fast lens and is all wrapped in a small sleek body. In addition to a new sensor that delivers even better photo quality, the RX100 II improves on the RX100 with a hot-shoe, Wi-Fi connectivity and the tilting LCD. Sony hasn't changed the fundamental design of the camera, so my big complaint about the lack of the grip stance. Combined with the slippery metal body, I'm constantly in fear of dropping it. Sony now offers a $15 plastic piece that you can affix to the camera. But that's kind of a chancy solution. As with other cameras that have one, I like the control ring, which you can program to operate for one default settings such as zoom or shutter speed and to use in conjunction with the function button in order to program and access up to 7 more settings. Plus, there are plenty of other customization options and you can tilt the flash for better results, which one of my favorite features. Giving it the size, the addition of the tilting LCD and hot shoe were pretty impressive. The addition of NFC makes connecting the phone to your mobile device a lot less annoying than with most Wi-Fi camera connections provided your devices NFC. That leaves out Apple folks. But they can still use the clunky manual process to connect. But it's still not the most streamlined operation, for instance, you have to invoke the connection differently if you want to transfer photos that you initiate from the playback menu in the camera. Then if you want to remotely control the camera, in which case you initiate from the plain memories mobile app on the phone. On the flip side, there are 2 many functions that are annoyingly only available in auto-mode. For example, this model adds a control ring step zoom for 28, 35, 50, 70 and 100 millimeters that would be really great for people like me who need to replicate exact framing but it's only available in complete auto-mode. For effects junkies, the RX100 II offers a handful with the few very nice and unusual ones. But you've got to scroll through every variation, rotating, cornucopia of 33 slots and really there only 13 basic filters not get seriously annoying. Plus, you can't save an unfiltered version of an image. Overall, the photos look better than those of the RX100 with a better stop more latitude. You can safely shoot JPEGs up to about ISO1600, ISO3200 if you're not really picky. It's got a decent tonal range though like its sibling it clips highlights and it produces saturated contrast the images. For this price point though, I'd really like a neutral color preset option. Video also looks good. It's bright and saturated and reasonably sharp but no noticeable artifacts and bright light and is relatively noise-free and dim. This model isn't quite as fast as the RX100. But it's still faster than most of the competition for most situations. The RX100 II's combination of looks, speed, flexibility and photo quality make it a great choice from enthusiast who can afford the price tag. I'm Lori Grunin, and this is the Sony Cyber-shot DSC RX100 II.