Using the Sony RX1rII! Street photography review in 1 hour of shooting by Franklin Balzan

Using the Sony RX1rII street photography review in 1 hour of shooting

by Franklin Balzan – His website is HERE

Some time back I already had the RX1, which I loved dearly, but which I had decided to sell as I was not willing to tie that kind of money to a camera which I used casually.  I must say that I was wrong in my assertion.  For me photography is all about spontaneity, passion and moments and during this year without a real camera I could not take out with me and shoot high quality images in my style. I could still shoot images in my mind and later with the RX100 IV which I purchased some months ago, but it never felt right.

As much as I like the RX100 IV for what it is – super portable, pop-up viewfinder and decent IQ, the comparison with images from a full-frame camera are too distant.  I therefore needed to have a camera which was discrete, had a fixed lens prime and had great IQ.  I really looked at opting for a Fuji but the fact that Fujis are not full-frame pushed me a bit off from them. 

I also must say I have all my cameras are Sony mirrorless, so for me I knew that the RX1rII was more suited as I am accustomed to their menus and way of being.  It was just a matter of time to get the necessary financial resources to buy this camera.  

My camera arrived yesterday with a number of accessories:

  • Lims Grip case
  • B+W Filter
  • Lens hood.

Camera Impressions and Settings

My first impressions of the camera is that it is exactly as I expected it.  It is a compact professional camera, which requires a grip!  The 42MP sensor is great to crop into and the f2 lens matches well with the sensor.  Did I also tell you that 35mm is my favorite and most used focal range?

A small but large improvement is that the EVF (electronic viewfinder)  pop-up up finder does not need to be pushed out to be used.  I must say however that I mostly do shoot from the hip, with the tilted screen, but when I can I will be using the viewfinder as it is a joy to use.

I have read other reviews and modes of using the camera, but I prefer to stick to single focus point autofocus and single shoot autofocus (S) modes.  This gives me more control and is still good for street photography.  I have however switched to continous frame shooting, so as to ensure I get a shoot or two in quick action.  

Other reviewers have advocated for a wide autofocus mode and continuous autofocus mode, and while I will need to expert more, I felt I lost all control of the the focusing and left all the decision making to the camera.

Real world Review – Street photography

So this morning I took the camera off for a spin… I mean I went to do something I have not been doing for some time – real street photography.  The path I took is hereby retraced, just around Tarxien and Paola area, where I live:

Insert image – Map

The images here under were taken during a 1 hour period this morning.  As the images show, to take good images one does not need to go to the other side of the world or take impossible travels.  For me, photography is all about observation, exploration and story-telling.  To those reading this from outside of Malta, these images display in a simplistic manner daily life in a typical Maltese village.


The RX1rii is exactly what I had hoped for, and I think there is no other camera at the moment which delivers the same image quality in such a small and discreet package.  If I could give Sony an advise for their future RX1 models, I would ask them to add a bit of a grip and possibly use the same batteries they use in the A7rii in the grip space.  

I do know however that this time around I will not be repeating the mistake as I did with the RX1!  I will be keeping this camera for a long time to come!

More of my work can be seen on

I exclusively use Sony mirrorless cameras for my photography, though I have no affiliation with Sony! 


  1. I use a SWC for the last 45 years, never had an issue and can relax and dont need to worry about all this quality and button or menu issues, the SWC has one button and one lever and you what, the pics are quite good and I bet I spend far less money on gear than any of you.

  2. Thank you for the great review.
    I just wondering about the AF speed of this camera in low light condition. How do you rate in compared to the speed of the Sony A7II or A7RII?
    Thank you!

  3. When people take time and trouble to comment or question contributions to this excellent site, I really appreciate the contibutors who take the trouble to reply.

  4. I still have and utterly love my RX1. I use it on a regular basis for my work when shooting people. Yes, the AF is slow as a snake (but I got to work around it). Yes, the battery life is short (although I get around 200-300 shots because I never chimp on the screen, just like in the old film days) and I have a few spares.

    But nothing else I use for work, is rendering like the Zeiss does on this camerabody. It is insanely gorgeous!

    Others here have lamented that its not about the sensor size. Well, I have also a Fuji X100S and a Lumix GX85. Both are very respectful travel cameras and ai got nice pictures out of them. But nothing will come close to the RX1(Rmk2) without spending a fortune on a M10 with a proper 35mm lens.

    Yes, its that good. End of praise.

  5. Nice images and content.
    I personally don’t believe and fall for the “image quality” line. If we are honest with ourselves, the image quality coming from most cameras and sensor size is exceptional. If you want to discuss the form factor of a camera, it’s placement of dials and to a lesser degree the menu of these digital wonders, then ok, but to go on about image quality is boring.

  6. With 42MP, stabilization would have been nice. The slightest movement or slower shutter speed will be an issue for many.

  7. Hi Franklin, glad to see that you are enjoying the RX1R II . I see it as a love or hate kind of relationship with these. I loved the first one, but unfortunately bought and sold the second iteration in less than a month. I thought that I would miss the larger sensor when I moved to the X100F – but after a few months now, that thought has never crossed my mind. Although the IQ from the RX1R II is superb, albeit even unmatched in a fixed lens camera, the fluidity of its haptics drove me insane. I can see what Sony are trying to do, but they just fall so short of what Fuji have achieved with the X100F. The general speed of operation, playbacks and continual diving into menu’s was simply something I didn’t want to live with in a camera that you want by your side all the time. I really hope they do a complete overhaul for the third iteration – and most notably the battery life. Yes, they’re small – but by god, I actually got 94 shots from a battery charge once. Appalling.

  8. I had the RX1R II but ended up selling it. Great camera in every way short of the battery life which is atrocious.

  9. I love the Rx1rII so much as well. I have a bunch of gear, including the new Sony stuff, but if I have to have one, it’s that one. The IQ is awesome, focusing is solid, and I love the fixed 35. Nice work on your trip.

      • Steve often provides 100% views.
        I’m not saying he shouldn’t display the full image areas. Of course he should. But since the image qualities of the camera are in the headline & content of the article, a small 100% section would be nice to see.

  10. Very nice images of Maltese life that are familiar and which I love as I too am Maltese. I also use Sony mirrorless, both full frame and APS-C but prefer the a7r2 as I find it more versatile for my preferred use. I have also have an Nex3n converted to IR. These excellent images are typical of Maltese life given great photo opportunities for street photography. Regards.

  11. Don’t know how much it is the camera and how much it is Malta, but I am still trying to work out why these images appeal to me more than most “street” photography I see. You clearly use other Sony mirrorless cameras. I do, too (APS-C): I wonder what the fascination of 35mm focal length is for you since you also mention cropping (an alternative to zooming in)? Anyway, thanks for sharing.

  12. Hello my fellow Malteser, nice work!!! Born in Malta leaving in Canada I truly miss its beauty and amazing people, oh and the food…yummm


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