I have been a photography enthusiast for a few years now and was looking to upgrade from my entry-level compact camera. There’s times I don’t feel like lugging around my dSLR and I also was hoping to find a camera I could leave in my car. Don’t worry, I have a good hiding spot!
Anyway, after going through a number of websites and forums, it seemed to me that the Sony RX100 II was a good choice. The only problem was that the price tag was perhaps a bit too high for someone just looking for an extra camera to leave in the car. In spite of my hesitation the less practical side of me that says “I still need to take good photos” won out and I decided to make the purchase. It’s been about two months now and I could not be happier with this product.
Though there are a few things that could have been made better, overall there is a lot to love with this camera and it is definitely one of the best compact travel cameras I’ve come across. So lets look a little closer at what makes the Sony RX100 II a good buy.
The first thing to be impressed about is the large 1-inch sensor this camera sports. This is going to help you control noise in low light situations, allow you to crop images a little more without losing much quality and just give you sharper cleaner images all around.
My finding is that the image quality through ISO 400 is just great, the JPEG photos are in excellent condition. ISO 1600 images are also good but the images you get beyond ISO 3200 need to be seriously tweaked to look good. The ISO sensitivity range has been actually raised to ISO 12800 with this model, but the images are pretty much unusable at these levels.
Shooting raw as any serious photographer should will help add a bit of midrange sensitivity to the picture. Highlights do tend to get clipped a lot however and this has seemed to become a staple with Sony cameras in my experience. For most amateurs though, this level of image quality is more than enough for a camera in this price range.
Video quality is also quite good and audio is recorded quite clearly. The lens also remains quiet while zooming in.
This is definitely the fastest camera in this price range. It takes only about 2.5 seconds to power up, focus and shoot the picture. The focusing is much faster in clear light than in dim settings. The shot to shot speed is also very fast, especially when taking pictures in the JPEG format. For normal photography requirements, this is more than enough. Only the auto focus seems to take sometime to kick in. But you can play around with the settings to take care of this problem. There is a flexible spot setting option that can be very useful for outdoor photography.
The only real problem I had was with Auto Focusing at night. In dim light conditions, the camera tends to move the focus area to the whole screen. In order to prevent this, you have to shoot with the Flexible Spot option, but this means the camera is unable to focus on high-contrast lights. This was the only problem with an otherwise reliable focusing mechanism.
The optical zoom is 3.6x which essentially covers a focal range of 28-100mm in conventional 35mm terms. This isn’t great by any means and if you need something with a little more telephoto capability then you might want to look elsewhere. Likewise, on the other end 28mm is not particularly wide by today’s standards so again, not so impressed there.
I do like that at 28mm you can set the aperture to f/1.8 which is definitely great in low light conditions. Of course, when you use the zoom you loose this and the minimum aperture is f/4.9 at the longest zoom end.
Design and Portability
Portability-wise the camera is absolutely perfect. It is small, light and can easily fit into your pockets. You will also have no problem accessing the various buttons on the tiny frame as they have been designed in a very efficient manner. Because of this many people have called this the best compact travel camera.
The only problem I found with the design is that it can be difficult to get a good grip on the camera especially if you have larger hands. Lucky I do not but I haves still thought about purchasing the grip accessory that can help with this.
The LCD is also of a good quality and it is clearly visible even in sunlight. The tilting range is slightly limited though.
You can manually tilt the flash while shooting, and this is definitely an added bonus for photographers.
Battery life is also above average for a compact camera. The addition of NFC in the camera also makes it very useful for Wi-Fi connections and GPS.
Finally, it does have a hot shoe accessory support which is a must! Thank You!Published in