Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II

42.4MP full-frame BSI-CMOS sensor | Hybrid AF | Pop-up EVF

What we like:

  • 42MP sensor offers excellent dynamic range and noise performance
  • Advanced phase detection AF system is quick and accurate
  • Clever pop-up, high-res OLED viewfinder

What we don't:

  • Poor battery life
  • Performance can be sluggish
  • Disorganized menus increase learning curve for new users
  • Buttons are mushy; no touchscreen available
The Sony Cyber-shot RX1R II is a compact camera with a 42MP full-frame sensor and fixed 35mm F2 lens. Although that fixed lens is large enough to keep you from slipping the camera into a jeans pocket, it’s capable of very sharp results.Of note on a camera of this price and caliber is a lack of 4K video recording and the lack of a touchscreen.
The RX1R II’s dials are well damped and easy to manipulate with your eye to the high-resolution viewfinder, and there’s a good amount of customizable buttons. On the flip side, though, the buttons are generally mushy and offer little feedback. The design is attractive and tidy, but there is no real grip to speak of – you can improve handling comfort with Sony’s pricey WGA-1 thumb grip. It has a clever OLED pop-up electronic viewfinder and a tilting (but not touch-enabled) LCD screen.
If you want tons of resolution, excellent dynamic range and pinpoint autofocus performance in a compact package, the RX1R II stands alone
The autofocus and tracking performance on the RX1R II is superb, offering the same 399-point phase-detection system from the Sony a7R II. Eye-AF in particular is useful for photographing people, and it works with remarkable precision and reliability. However, the RX1R II’s control layout makes manual selection of autofocus points a finicky experience. Continuous shooting speed is a respectable five fps, but card write times are lengthy in Raw. Lastly, you will want a spare battery or three – the battery life really is that bad. It’s rated at a relatively poor 220 shots, but you can usually expect less, especially in colder weather.
Image quality is excellent across the board. A sophisticated JPEG engine ensures good detail retention without oppressive amounts of noise at high ISO, and the Raw files offer an impressive amount of dynamic range. The lens is very sharp in the center even at wider apertures, though the corners tend to lag behind in sharpness.
The RX1R II isn’t really set up to be a videographer’s go-to camera. The ergonomics are poorly suited to video capture, and it doesn’t offer 4K recording or optical image stabilization. However, autofocus tracking in video, particularly when utilizing face detection, is great, and the digital image stabilization works well without too much warping or artifacting. It also offers zebra pattern, focus peaking, and can record slow motion clips in 720p at 120 fps.
The Sony Cyber-shot RX1R II promises ultimate image quality under a wide variety of conditions, and in a solidly built, compact package. The pop-up viewfinder and tilting screen are welcome additions, and the abundance of external controls means it’s a fairly customizable camera. The price of admission (beyond the rather high MSRP) is an unrefined user interface, long file write times, and class-trailing battery life. Really, though, if you want tons of resolution, excellent dynamic range and pinpoint autofocus performance in a compact package, the RX1R II stands alone.

Studio Test Scene | Specifications Compared


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