Sony RX100 II

Big-hitting optics poured into a properly compact camera

Not only does the RX100 II have the highest megapixel count on test – 20.2, pixel fans – and a bigger-than-usual one-inch, back illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor, it also packs a bright, f/1.8 aperture Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens, with a 3.7x optical zoom.

Sony RX100 II

It’s the cat’s pyjamas and it all comes artfully stuffed into a sturdy but slimline case. ISO sensitivity that stretches to 12,800 matches the other cams on test. Focal range, which is the equivalent of 28-100mm in 35mm terms, delivers a performance that’s more than respectable, if not ideal for those that prefer candid photography from a distance.

A now standard issue control ring handles quick setting changes and can be used for manually zooming, with a cool virtual dial on the screen letting you keep track. Creative functions, including aperture, can be adjusted for full-HD video as well as stills, so that anyone wanting to keep subjects sharp whilst blurring the background can.

Unusually for a compact camera you get a hotshoe for adding accessories, such as the pricey but helpful electronic viewfinder. Save your pennies and you still get a very hi-res three-inch screen that’s tiltable, but not touchable. There’s also built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity – the first Sony cam to include both.

Not just an over-achiever in the still photography department, the RX100 II also creates stunning 1080p videos with the added benefit of stereo sound. The dedicated video button is a bit too small for speedy access, but the results are worth that extra hassle.

This is a heavyweight camera in every sense apart from the literal – at 281g, the only place it will weigh you down is the wallet. But while the hefty price tag could bag you an entrylevel DSLR, if you’re willing to splash out, you certainly won’t be disappointed.

Love: Rock solid construction. Tilting LCD and hotshoe – a rarity on a compact. Carl Zeiss lens

Hate: Tiny buttons. No handgrip. Costs the same amount as an entry-level DSLR

Verdict: An A-grade selection of features crammed into a pocket snapper but at a price

Feature:

1. screen

The three-inch LCD can tilt and has a killer resolution, but isn’t a touchscreen

2. controls

Apart from the shutter button, helpfully encircled by a zoom lever, buttons are painfully small

3. lens

This Carl Zeiss number is the best on test, but focal range could be improved

4. build

Extremely well-built, this feels made to last and is easily pocketable

Height 58.1mm

Width 101.6mm

Depth 35.9mm

Weight 281g

Specification

Sensor 20.2-megapixel Exmor R CMOS

display 3-inch LCD

Lens 28-200mm

zoom 3.6x optical

ISO range 160-25600

Video 1080p at 50fps

Stills capture JPEG, Raw, Raw + JPEG

connectivity Wi-Fi, NFC

Battery life Up to 250 shots

Price: £649, SONY.CO.UK