Premium compact cameras are something of an odd concept. They certainly offer the portability of a compact camera but they attempt to combine this with improved sensors and other features that would normally be associated with high end and expensive units. The problem is that compromise must be made – few of the units sold have decent interchangeable lenses and while a little more room is given for a bigger sensor, they rarely match the benefits of a digital SLR camera sensor. They also cost considerably more than a standard compact camera so is there room for the likes of the Sony Cybershot RX100 II announced this week?
The Cybershot RX100 II is certainly not without strong features, many of them new to the mark 2. It has a tilting screen which is useful for capturing awkward shots and when the camera is placed on a tripod or stand. It has both WiFi and NFC, too, so it can communicate with just about everything from mobile phones and laptops to the self-service tills in Tesco.
However, it has retained the same 1” 20.2mp sensor from the original RX100 so no upgrade there. It also has the same lens – the Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* lens with 3.6x optical zoom. However, improvements have been made in these areas, even if not in terms of the numbers. The sensor has backlighting so produces greater quality photos in lower lighting conditions. Maximum sensitivity has been increased to 12,800 too, which further augments these improvements.
The 3” screen is still only LCD, and there will have been many hoping that it would offer touch screen capabilities this time around. It can, however, be tilted up and down which will make the composition of more difficult photos a little easier and allow greater flexibility in the photographer’s position.
The problem for this type of camera, and for the Sony Cybershot RX100 II specifically, is the price point. There are some great features which means that you should expect to pay a premium but we would understand if you were to baulk at having to £650 when the camera is released in July. Especially when that is £100 more than the original RX100 – there are a few improvements but are there enough to warrant that kind of a price hike?
If you are in the market for a truly compact camera that will fill but fit your pocket, and you want to be able to take professional grade photos in a range of settings and situations then the Sony Cybershot RX100 II may be the ideal choice.