The Sony RX1RII 1st Look. Beautiful.

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The Sony RX1RII 1st Look. Beautiful.

NOTE: This is not my review, just a 1st look. My full review will be in 2-3 weeks and no, the title shot above is not banding. It is window blinds 🙂

Wow. So I have had this new Sony RX1RII for only three full days and it is just as magical as the Mark I but with faster AF, a unique beautiful pop up EVF (that bests the A7RII’s EVF) and the new A7RII Sensor giving us 42MP of full frame power that will fit in a coat pocket. The RX1RII is SMALL, just as the original was and this is good as it is discreet, and thin and so easy to take anywhere. It’s about the size of an Olympus E-M10 but packs a 35mm f/2 lens inside with that full frame sensor (perfectly matched btw), powerful EVF and even an adjustable low pass filter. Yep, with the MKII you can turn on your low pass filter or turn it off and even set sensitivity so it defeats the purpose for the non R version as both are now in one! Pretty cool. Having a Moire issue? Turn it on. Want maximum detail? Turn it off. Easy and Brilliant.

See my old RX1 Mark 1 review – My Camera of the year for 2012!

The new MkII has the same body and lens as the original but now with Sony’s current best sensor that now resides in their top of the line full frame A7RII. Superb high ISO, superb dynamic range, a beautiful EVF that slides up so nicely when needed (and we do not have to pull it out as we do with the RX100 IV) and one of the best 35mm lenses ever made (that bests the Leica summicron yet the RX1RII camera costs the same as just a Leica 35 summicron), the RX1RII is here to take on the Leica Q for king of the fixed lens full framers. It has been three years since the original RX1, so I am happy to see the new model arrive.

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I love the original RX1 and RX1R. I love the Leica Q. For me, the Q surpassed the Sony RX1R (1st version) due to the EVF and speedy AF as well as the gorgeous IQ of the Q. So how will the new Sony RX1RII stack up to the Q? In my full review that will come within 3 weeks, I hope to find out as I will shoot them side by side. My early gut feeling tells me the Sony may edge out the Leica Q, and at around $1000 less. The Sony is smaller, feels heftier, has a gorgeous 35mm Zeiss lens, a swivel LCD, very nice EVF, superior low light capability, and that massive sensor from the A7RII inside. It also shoots video but Sony says the RX1RII is more of a Photographers Camera than a video camera, so do not expect A7RII or SII video quality here, it will not beat them. But for photos, it can indeed surpass the quality of even the A7RII.

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The RX1R II is meant for the streets, everyday life, portraits, still life, and even some close-ups with the macro mode of the lens. It’s for the photographer on the move who doest want to worry “what lenses shall I bring”. The RX1RII says “Get in close” and “Zoom with your feet” and using it is quite the joyful experience.

In my early shooting tests I am LOVING the image quality, ease of use, joy of use and the faster AF which I would say is about 30-35% faster (Sony says 30%) than the original RX1 and RX1R. It’s a noticeable improvement for sure. But the files from the RX1RII can and will beat an A7RII with 35mm lens attached (so says Sony and ME) as the lens of the RX1RII is matched perfectly with the sensor, so it was tweaked for amazing output. The files are sharp corner to corner, and it is quite amazing how well this lens and sensor work together. Sony showed me some large prints with perfect sharpness across the entire frame.

I am shooting this camera daily right now and will have the review up in December (which is soon). For now, enjoy some snapshots I took during my 1st 24 hours with the RX1RII…nothing serious just yet but this camera builds on the now cult status original and improves it in all the areas we wanted it to be improved. AF, EVF, and even Sensor. Oh, it also now has continuous tracking AF (will test this in my full review) and it is accessible from the front dial with the other focus modes.

The RX1R II next to the Leica M (Top) and OM-D E-M10 II (Bottom) – Smaller than both.

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With all of these amazing new cameras hitting (Leica SL, Leica Q, Sony A7RII, SII and RX1RII, Olympus E-M10 II)..not sure which one is going to make my “Camera of the Year” for 2015 just yet!

You must click the image for a larger and MIUCH better view and rendering! All are OOC JPEGS! This camera is incredible as nothing out there can touch it for size..hard to believe this packs a 42MP full frame punch in the size of an E-M10 II with a nice solid build. Wow. 

YOU MUST CLICK IMAGES TO SEE THEM CORRECTLY! IF YOU DO NOT, YOU ARE NOT SEEING THEM AS THEY SHOULD BE SEEN.

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You can order the new Sony RX1R Mark II At B&H Photo or Amazon at the direct links below. Starts shipping November 25th! It’s not cheap but quality never is. 

B&H Photo

Amazon

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96 thoughts on “The Sony RX1RII 1st Look. Beautiful.

  1. Received mine today, looking forward to taking this out for a test drive and comparing the IQ against the Leica Q. Have it setup for 14bit RAW so will put it through the paces and see just what this one can do.

      1. So… after receiving the RX1RM2 on Saturday here are my quick impressions with a couple of caveats, I shoot in RAW, manual mode mostly at base iso and use a mix of handheld and tripod. So things like touch screen and autofocus aren’t on my radar.

        1. It is small, significantly smaller than the Q
        2. Subjective but I think the Q does better color rendering
        2. The image quality is about equal if you process in Lightroom and use the Lens Profile Correction. I have the Sony set to uncompressed RAW.
        3. The Sony has better dynamic range.
        4. The EVF on the Sony works well once you figure out how to adjust, it is not intuitive and is a slider versus a traditional dial.
        5. I greatly prefer the shutter speed dial on the Q
        6. I prefer the menus on the Q to the Sony
        7. The 28/1.7 versus the 35/2 is a coin flip and totally user preference, both are great lenses.
        8. I do like the tilt screen on the Sony, I find myself using it frequently
        9. Totally personal preference but I like that I can use a soft button on the Sony, I can’t on the Leica.
        10. The Sony’s EVF being a pop-up doesn’t swing me either way. I don’t use a flash so don’t miss that option compared to the Q. If the pop-up makes the Sony’s form factor smaller then it was a good design choice. Otherwise I would prefer the Q’s EVF.
        11. The build quality of the Sony is excellent, the Q feels more solid.

        So my feedback based on a few days is both are extremely good cameras and we are lucky that in 2015 manufactures are producing and innovating at this level. It truly is one of those you can’t go wrong type choices. For me, I prefer the Sony due to the dynamic range. It is a significant difference when I view images on my 27″ monitor. The smaller size is nice on the Sony but not enough to swing me either way. I can argue the 28 or the 35 lens so that doesn’t swing it for me. If price matters then the Sony is cheaper and does have a built in EVF in this version versus the previous model. Hope this helps, not sure I would sell a Q to get this one unless the dynamic range is a big deal for your style of shooting.

        1. I had a chance to hold one for a short time and click off a couple pictures. I found the camera way too small for my hands. I don’t think a camera needs to be that small, even for smallish hands. I have never held the Q, but the Sony does feel well built.

  2. The DPR studio samples do not concern me at all. The poor results are almost certainly due to testing conditions involving a wide angle lens having field curvature. There is no way that Sony would release a camera, especially a high end one, that performs poorly.

  3. Steve —

    I read that plenty of people consider the predecessors of this RX1RII to be a “cult classic” producing beautiful images that have a certain “character” to them, apart from their sharpness.

    I understand Sony and Zeiss collaborated very closely to create the perfect marriage between the specific sensor in the earlier cameras of the RX series and that specific 35mm lens.

    But the RX1RII has a different sensor — so the “marriage” will be a different one.

    Do you think that in any way affects the fabulous “character” of its predecessors?

    Thank you.

  4. I just got notice from Amazon that mine will be delivered on the 2nd or the 3rd of next week (December).

    I ordered it the morning that pre-ordering became available. I also ordered one from B&H, figuring I would cancel one or the other.

  5. From D preview on studio scene topic:

    I’ve updated our news story with the following comment on lens softness; please read:

    Those under the impression that we either have a faulty unit or have conducted this test erroneously may be intrigued by the following comparison of the RX1R II vs RX1R on the left and right sides of our scene. Note how the RX1R II is worse on the left, but better on the right, side of the scene relative to the RX1R, when viewing at common output size. This is simply indicative of the realities of tolerances for unit-to-unit variation of a lens, and also of how discerning a flat target at close distances can be for wider angle lens tests. Our RX1R II unit is no more faulty than the RX1R unit we tested some time back; however, side-by-side pixel-level comparisons allow one to pixel-peep far more than you’re likely to when viewing a single image from your camera in isolation.
    http://www.dpreview.com/articles/8566874996/sony-cyber-shot-rx1r-ii-added-to-studio-test-scene

  6. Steve, I agree with some on the review of the NEW RX1RII vs the Leica Q. I actually decided to try the Leica Q instead of the new RX1RII. I’m a huge RX1 fan; therefore, it will be interesting. It will be my first Leica…

  7. The dpreview test is simply not good for this camera because of field curvature lens design effect. So things shot on a focal plane towards the edge will blur, but if you “warped” the test shoot scene concavely then it would all be sharp.

    So if you are shooting a group of people at wide open, maybe it would be ideal to have them for a bit of a circle slice in front of you instead of a single last focal line.

    I think that dpreview simply needs to avoid testing cameras with this design in that test studio scene because the results certainly make the RX1RMKII really bad and also because it doesn’t reflect the real potential and real world use of the camera.

    1. Well, one could line up a row of people across the frame and the image will be sharp edge to edge. I have no issues with the RX1 RII, and the IQ is stunning, across the frame. My 100% shots look NOTHING like DP Reviews shots. They seemingly (so it seems) forgot to turn on the in body lens correction, which is a must for the original or new MK II. Again, no issues with edge sharpness or distortions on the RX1RII, at all.

  8. Too expensive and toyish for my tastes. To me, nothing to salivate over. I get pretty much same detail with my D600 and 85/2 Nikkor AIS or 28/2.8 AIS. I cant justify it.

  9. I just came across this post elsewhere:

    Most likely this represents peripheral forward curvature of field at very close distances.

    This is a common characteristic of fast and good wide angles.

    It’s important to note that this means that the piece of the image you can see as less sharp would be super sharp *if you focussed on it*

    Of course you could correct for a flat field at close distance: but why would you unless it was an enlarger lens or a reproduction lens? That correction is not cost free. Other aspects of performance would suffer. And are the kinds of things you (or at least I) photograph at short distance with a wide angle are almost always very 3d and surrounded in bokeh.

    Of course a flat field at longer distances matters for landscape and the like where you have a better overall sense of the DOF, and don’t want the sharpness to move noticeably in. I haven’t owned an RX1 series camera (love to instead of a 35mm lens, but too expensive) but what I’ve seen suggests that the field is very flat at longer distance.

    Of course, maybe it does have a flat field and DPR have messed up, or maybe it does have a flat field but terrible peripheral sharpness at close distances, but they both seem less likely…

    (note that the ingterchangeable comparison will be shot from further away with a longer lens)

  10. If you chose RAW + Jpeg in the mark1 you could only have a Large Jpeg and not superfine. Can you tell me if you can have the best of both in the Mark 2 please?

    1. I doubt, as it’s still like this on the A7rii. No idea on why they don’t at least give users the choice. I understand RAW+Extra fine could reduce buffer depth and such, but still…

  11. Just wanted to comment on the DPR test. The softness is due to field curvature. In other words, everything but the center is out of focus. The Leica Q does better with a flat field because even the DNG files are digitally processed in camera. Not sure if this even matters unless you enjoy shooting brick walls at close distances.

    1. The RX1RII puts out crisp sharp corner to corner files with sharpness at the corners and center. It does not suffer from soft corners or soft anything. DP’s test is flawed without question. Or they have a bad copy, which would be odd as Sony delivers the samples so I am sure they would have checked it.

  12. I think it may be that DPR presented a file with no in camera corrections at all (the RX is one of the few camera where all of it can be turned off), whereas the Leica Q has some baked in. When I downloaded a RX1R II raw file from Imaging-Resource and view it on my 27″ monitor, and compared it to a Sigma DP1M file from the same source, I was very happy indeed that I have one of these cameras coming.

  13. Looks like it’s got the great shallow DOF you’d expect from full frame but I’m just not seeing the old RX1R/Zeiss rendering magic in these snaps. I wonder if those extra megapixels are giving that 4 year old Sonnar some fits when it comes to resolving power?

    1. My files out of camera at 100% are razor sharp and detailed and it has loads of pop and character. The lens does just fine with the sensor as it resolves incredibly well. On my 27″ screen there is some serious resolution going on here.

    1. Sony says so.. will be testing it thoroughly. Worst case it would match the IQ of the A7RII and 35 1.4 (except for f/2 rendering instead of 1.4) – this camera is for those who want a small, quick and easy full frame fixed lens take anywhere type of camera for photos. Shoot it in light, dark, or wherever. The A7RII is for someone wanting a collection of lenses to add or someone who wants pro level video capabilities.

  14. The Leica SL DPR Studio scene was questionable as well. For both the SL and the RX1Rii it looks like they either missed focus or have a vibration issue.

  15. Thanks for that., Steve. I have one on order, and I am relieved to hear that your experience has been all good. I currently use Merrill DP2 and DP3 in my work. The intention is to replace the DP2 with the Sony.

  16. Wow if there is any vignetting there I can’t see it. Extremely sharp. I have XL hands so this is not the camera for me. The a7rII is bordering on too small for me, but I love it anyway.

  17. Whoa, that first shot of the calf just blew me away! Such perfect rendering! I had the original RX1r briefly but unfortunately had to sell it. But, seeing and reading this makes me ache sooo bad for the new version, I might just have to sell a kidney or something!

  18. I must say…after reviewing DPR studio scene, I too am concerned. I have the RX1RII on preorder with high expectations as I’ve had the RX1R in the past. I hope it’s not a let down…

  19. If the DPR studio scene is not the result of user error or huge sample variation Sony will have to go back to the drawing board. The Q beats it by country miles and any of the Sigma Merrills or Quattros is in a completely different league up to iso 400. This is very disappointing.

  20. I agree with what Doug had to say about dropping the built-in flash. With the leaf shutter the built-in flash is very useful. Also, with full frame (no crop factor) a 50mm lens would have been useful. While the 50mm lens may seem too common, most are near state-of-the-art designs. My experience is that longer lenses optimize better with digital sensors, but I don’t know if there is any technical basis for this.

  21. As a RX1 owner, I’m partially disappointed in this new version. One of the least-mentioned, yet coolest features of the original, is that the built-in flash can sync at super-high shutter speeds. So, to see that they dropped the built-in flash, instead of moving it over to take the place of the (now arguably) purposeless hot shoe.

  22. I can see great things from these previee shots. If they are all sooc without any adjustments, the image rendering is just fantastic..microcontrast and sharpness looks better than the a7r2 with a zeiss35

  23. Looking at the just posted studio shot comparison of the Rx1Rii, I would say they look pretty disappointing and their test the Leica Q destroys it for sharpness and detail. I am not sure that the lens is good match with the new sensor!

  24. If I’m not looking for a camera that I ca~ use in any situation(different focal length.)
    I’ll 100% go for this crazy gem from Sony. Can’t imagine the tailor made Zeiss glass can even beat the A7Rii with 35 combo.
    Great! Thanks Steve.

  25. I wonder if there is something wrong with DP Reviews copy. The studio scene images are awful and have significant fringing.

    1. Not sure as I did not see their tests but will say I am not seeing any issues. The files look very A7RII like with the rendering of the fantastic Zeiss 35 f/2. Not seeing sharper results than the A7RII but seeing superb performance across the frame – sharp at the corners. The color is improved from Mark I for sure and I see no issues. All of my shots are JPEG though…

  26. Lucky you Steve to get your hands on one already. Could you check if the adjusted Manual Focusing distance is retained after power cycling? On my old RX1R, it would always go back to infinity after turning camera off and on.

  27. I loved my RX1R but sold it and bought the Leica Q which I prefer for various reasons.

    DPR just posted a studio scene using the RX1RII and when comparing it to the Q or the A7RII (which I also have and love), the RX1RII clearly looks blurry in comparison, not to mention having more fringing in spots. Look, for example, at the bottle labels at the center bottom. If this is representative (I don’t know if it is) then to my eye the RX1RII isn’t as impressive as I expected.

  28. Hey Steve ,
    Any chance of a quick comment on the manual focus implementation . It was a bit of a dog on the version 1 , have they improved how it works and the feel of it?

  29. O yes thanks so much I’ve got this ordered and it was between this and the Q but I just can’t do 28 mm but at 35 mm this seems like the perfect little companion to carry around thanks again.

  30. The problem with 42 megapixels is the extreme sensitivity to vibration when hand held. This is controlled in the A7RII with both vr and silent shutter. I understand that the RX1RII doesn’t have vr. Is this correct? Also, does it have silent shutter? As we all know, the smaller and lighter the camera, the more it is subject to hand holding vibration. I hope you address these issues in your upcoming review.

  31. Can’t wait to get this camera! My camera bag for personal shooting will contain the RX1RII and the A7RII w/either ta 25mm Batis or 21mm Loxia attached, done. I like the idea of a two camera setup.

  32. Great first look! From someone who used the RX1 for awhile, there are two features I’d love to see fixed in the new version:

    – Does it remember manual focus distance on power off / on? The original always came on focused to infinity – very annoying for zone focusing.
    – Is focus peaking available without the zoomed view? The original only showed it when zoomed, which limited speedy manual focused shots.

    Very interested in the new version but also a bit wary that Sony could have fixed both the above issues with a firmware update but never did.

    1. +1
      The Q has. And 1/16000 shutter speed. And touchscreen and better battery life. The RX1R II just has 1/2000 and no IS :-(.

  33. Very nice. My question is – does it still hunt? You know how the original RX1 would have to zoom all of the way in and out before repositioning focus? Is that fixed? If so, holy moley.

  34. Love that little Olive!

    I had been debating about the 25mm Batis vs the 35/1.4 for my Sony a7rII but perhaps it makes more sense just to go with the RX1mii for the wider focal length. It also gives a back up option or perhaps the go to option when I want a smaller camera than the A7Rii.

    The A7Rii has been my favorite camera thus far with the Contax G 45&90 lenses as well as the Sony 55/1.8 lens.

  35. Steve: Thanks for the pre-review! It’s good to hear about the faster AF. One of the biggest issues with the old RX1 is not the speed of focusing per se, but simply that it had a tendency to hunt a lot in low light, or even relatively low light. I imagine with the new focusing capabilities that this new version also hunts less. Is that your experience?

      1. Steve, I purchased the RX1Rii to replace the original RX1 and was ver disappointed, and returned the camera to B&H. The camera was not as shaft as the A7Rii with the Zeiss 35mm 2 8. The focusing was always slightly off and still did not lock on to subject quickly. I will wait a few months to see if
        Sony addresses this issue. I should also note it was not tack sharp with manual focus.

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