Sony Cyber-shot RX10 II Digital Camera Review
Sony offers small improvements, but they come with a large price tag.
By the Numbers
Given the overwhelming success of its predecessor, we knew that the RX10 II was going to be a top-tier camera. What we didn’t know is if it was going to be good enough to unseat the Mark I from its place atop our scoring system.
Even with the improved sensor that offers 4K video and higher burst speeds, the Mark II couldn’t match the legendary noise performance of the original RX10. Even if it has to live under the shadow of the Mark I, the RX10 II is one of the best point-and-shoot cameras we’ve ever tested.
Color and White Balance
Most changes on the Mark II have to do with balancing out the somewhat extreme results of the Mark I, and color is no different. The most accurate color mode on the Mark I was the “Deep” mode that had a ∆C00 of 2.11 and a saturation of 112.4%, with 100% saturation being the ideal. The RX10 II’s “Standard” mode is now the most accurate and it tones down the over-saturation, at the loss of some overall accuracy with a ∆C00 of 2.42 and a saturation of 104.1%.
White balance has seen a vast improvement in the newer model, with even the troublesome incandescent light improving over 1000 kelvins in accuracy. Auto white balance, while better, could stand to improve a bit more, especially with how well the new RX100 IV handles auto white balance.
Just like the Mark I before it, the Mark II aced out sharpness tests, but was aided by some software sharpening. The in-camera sharpening software of the RX10 II actually proved to be even more aggressive than that over the Mark I, with oversharpening as high as 35%.
The images that we saw from the RAW files show that–even without the software stacking the deck for sharpness scores–the combination of the 8.3x zoom, f/2.8 lens and the new sensor yields impressive results. While other cameras in its class may have longer zooms, the quality you get for using a shorter zoom is well worth the trade off for most users.
With the original RX10 proving to decimate noise with aggressive noise reduction, we excepted similar results from the Mark II. However, we saw that Sony has indeed toned down the noise reduction substantially. Where the original never even crossed 1% at the highest ISO levels, the Mark II crosses that around ISO 3200.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing since the Mark I might have been a little too aggressive and sacrificed too much detail for the cause of reducing noise. The Mark II preserves much more of that fine detail throughout the ISO levels even with noise reduction active, but still does a good job of keeping images clear enough of noise for good print quality.
The addition of the new sensor, which opened up the ability to capture 4K and high framerate video, really turned the RX10 II into a multimedia powerhouse. We played around with a variety of resolutions and framerates while testing the RX10 II and our sample footage was smooth with very few signs of artifacting.
In bright light, we observed 1400 lp/ph horizontally and 1250 lp/ph vertically. This dropped slightly when we dimmed the lights for our low light test, giving us around 1350 lp/ph horizontally and 1200 lp/ph vertically. We were actually able to capture usable footage in conditions as low as 5 lux. While this footage isn’t incredible, it could be used in an emergency situation.
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