My Sony RX 100 ii arrived in the post today… and initial thoughts are “holy crap am I glad I purchased this camera!”. I won’t bore you with all the details and specs of the camera as they are all over the net, but rather talk about what stands out to me instead. I bought a Sony RX 100 ii as a compact camera to go in my pocket as I find I leave my D800 DSLR at home due its size far too often. I think the future of photography lies in mirrorless cameras but don’t feel their image quality and HDR firmware controls has not yet reached that of the D800. I plan to wait a year or so till I leave behind my D800 and invest in a mirorrless system with interchangeable lenses. Until then I will have the RX 100 ii as my camera on hand and keep shooting my D800 at all planned landscape and cityscape shoots.
If you are after a FULL ON detailed spec analysis of the Sony RX 100 ii, I haven’t found a better one than this yet- detailed review and it helped me in deciding on purchasing the camera.
Me being a HDR photographer I went to find two things on the camera first as soon as I had it in my hands- *AE bracketing and *custom EV shooting. *note- The camera does not come with a manual so it is very much a pick up and explore approach to it.
It turns out Sony was thinking of us (HDR Photographers) when they made this bad boy because to get to both of them I just press the turn dial on the back of the camera once. AE bracketing shoots 3 exposures at a choice of either 0.3 or 0.7 EV and the manual EV can be done from -3 to +3 EV and that includes the thirds as well. So you can shoot -2.7EV or +1.3EV depending on the conditions. This will be great for shooting 5 or even 7 frame HDR’s too which I will edit back on my MAC. There are also a lot of in camera HDR controls and I took some practice shots out the window of EV6.0 HDR for example and the results were excellent considering the dynamic range from inside to outside was so extreme. These are only available in JPEG and not RAW shooting though. There is also a Dynamic-Ranage Optimiser in these settings known as DRO which should be interesting to explore as a HDR photographer. Even though I enjoy doing my HDR post-processing on my MAC Im interested to see how the in camera HDR’s will come out.
The LCD screen on the back is super sexy ! as it is 1229k dots ! Plus it rotates 90 degrees upwards and 45 degrees downwards. It has to be one of the highlights of the camera without a doubt. A few years ago it would have seemed crazy to buy a AUS$900 camera without an eyepiece, but now days we are so used to holding up our smart phones and shooting a scene with the video screen on the phone it’s now common place. So I actually like that I won’t have to hold the camera up to my eye to compose the image all the time and the tilt screen means I won’t have to get in awkward positions either 😉 The screen takes up 80% of the back of the camera and then the other 20% is the menu dial and some functional buttons which I’m lucky I have small fingers because they are tiny. I am a little worried about scratching the screen as it has no flip over cover or anything so I will get a small case or pouch for the camera, I already got myself a few plastic lcd protectors.
The weight of the camera was heavier than I was expecting but is light enough to be in your pocket for an extended period of time and mistake it for a phone. It feels really solid almost like the outer shell is made out of metal, it could be some type of composite alloy (don’t quote me on that). But next to my Nikon D800 this camera is miniature ! and that is precisely why I have purchased it. I was so sick of being in a situation where I have witnessed a seen or place where the lightning was just perfect only to miss out on capturing it because my D800 was too cumbersome to bring along. The Rx 100 ii is a wopping 20.2MP so it can certainly hold its own when it comes to image size, but look at the difference ! so cute !
Another feature I was quick to explore was the wifi and ability to control the RX 100 ii camera with your smartphone. It didn’t take long to work out and was happily viewing a live stream video through my iPhone5 within minutes. All I had to do was navigate in the camera menu to “operate the camera with smartphone” and then install the app on my iPhone. I also had to connect to the cameras wifi network using the password provided. The settings here were pretty disappointing though as it was pretty much just having control over the shutter and if you were shooting video or stills. So you have to set the camera settings on the camera like aperture, ISO etc. before using your smartphone to control the shutter. I suppose it would be too much to ask to have control over the entire Sony RX 100 ii firmware and software from your iphone, :P. It did however offer you the option to save the image on your phone too, which is great for sharing images quickly.
The Menu’s are in depth, just what I was hoping for, It seems to have more options than my D800. There are plenty of things to play with and explore in the creative shooting controls too. It has the ability to shoot RAW which I will probably never go out of as I have plenty of SD cards and storage space on my PC and MAC.
As I become more familiar with the camera I will be posting HDR images here in my Gallery, so stay tuned if you wish to see the results. I can also upload some Full sized RAW and JPEG files for you guys to download if you are interested.