Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II review

Popular premium compact gets an upgrade

Sony RX100 Mark II review
The Sony RX100 Mark II is a high-end compact camera

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The upgrades to the existing Sony RX100 are significant enough to warrant a new version of this very popular and well liked camera. It seems that Sony has been listening to existing users and the market when thinking about what to include on the latest version - and that's no bad thing.

We were excited to test out the Sony RX100 Mark II's new backlit sensor, and both our labs results and real-world samples indicate that Sony has made some significant improvements to the performance of the sensor, making it an incredibly useful camera to use in low light. While it can't compete with those cameras that have a larger sensor, such as the Fuji X100S or the Nikon Coolpix A, it is also much more pocket friendly, has a zoom lens and is cheaper.

Images are bright and crisp, packing plenty of detail and saturation without being overly vibrant. This is something we saw in the original Sony RX100, so we're pleased to see it continue here on the Sony RX100 Mark II.

Some of the problems we had with the original Sony RX100 haven't been addressed, such as the camera's inability to shoot digital filters in raw format, but this is a relatively minor complaint compared with the noticeable improvements that have been made.

While we're a little disappointed to still not have a touchscreen, the fact that it tilts up and down is a significant improvement that thankfully doesn't add too much bulk.

We're also pleased to see the addition of a hotshoe for adding accessories should you wish to do so. This is a premium compact camera without a viewfinder, like the Panasonic LF1 or Canon G15, but you could always add one at a later date if you found you were really missing one.

The addition of Wi-Fi and NFC is also a welcome one, all we need now is for phone and tablet manufacturers to start including NFC as standard (we're looking at you, Apple) and we can see this kind of technology becoming incredibly popular.

We liked

There's plenty to like about the Sony RX100 Mark II, from its small, pocketable size to its excellent image quality. We're most pleased about the improvement to low light performance, which is significantly better than its predecessor, thanks to that new backlit sensor.

We disliked

Putting aside our disappointment about there still not being a touchscreen, we're still a little bugged by the functions that can't be shot in raw format, leading to some pretty tedious menu diving. Still, if you predominantly shoot in JPEG only, this shouldn't be too much of an issue for you.

Final verdict

The biggest bugbear at the moment is the Sony RX100 Mark II's price, which will hopefully come down in due course. As it stands, it seems like a good idea for Sony to continue to market both versions of the camera at the same time, the original Sony RX100 available now for an excellent price for the feature set.

We tipped the original Sony RX100 as the best compact camera of its class available on the market today. That is, a premium compact camera with a smaller than APS-C sized sensor. With a raft of welcome improvements, it's fair to say that the Sony RX100 Mark II steals that crown now, making it incredibly worthy of your lust.

Amy Davies

Amy has been writing about cameras, photography and associated tech since 2009. Amy was once part of the photography testing team for Future Publishing working across TechRadar, Digital Camera, PhotoPlus, N Photo and Photography Week. For her photography, she has won awards and has been exhibited. She often partakes in unusual projects - including one intense year where she used a different camera every single day. Amy is currently the Features Editor at Amateur Photographer magazine, and in her increasingly little spare time works across a number of high-profile publications including Wired, Stuff, Digital Camera World, Expert Reviews, and just a little off-tangent, PetsRadar.