Seven months ago, I made the plunge to by the Sony DSC-RX100M II
point and shoot camera. Why say “plunge” you might ask? It’s a plunge because even though this is a completely pocket-able (read: small!) point and shoot camera, it retails for nearly $700. Yes, you read that right, $700 – more than several of the entry-level DSLR’s on the market today!
However, one look at the following stats, and you can see why:
– It has a Carl-Zeiss f/1.8 lens (for those not familiar with Zeiss lenses, they are some of the sharpest (and most expensive!) on the market. An aperture of 1.8 has never been seen in a point and shoot before either. f/1.8 means you can get incredible low-light photographs, without a flash!
– It has a 1 inch sensor- this is the size sensor found in most DSLR’s, meaning you’ll get amazing quality photographs out of this tiny camera.
– It has fully manual settings, as well as aperture priory or shutter priority (and many scene modes and auto that you’ll find on all point and shoots).
– Besides full manual settings for the shutter speed and aperture, it also has full manual white balance settings and manual control over aspects such as ISO.
– It can take photos in both jpeg and RAW.
Enough with the fancy camera talk– the photographs are what speak for themselves.
The lens goes from f/1.8 – f/11, and with the full manual settings, I can set my aperture to f/11 and get those starbursts that I love so much with my DSLR in this point and shoot! This was one of the very first photos I took as soon as I got my camera out of the box, and believe me when I say that I literally squealed when I saw that sunburst come up on the screen!
It also takes great panoramic photos – no stitching required- just pan the scene with the camera and it does everything in-camera.
The colors that this camera renders are absolutely gorgeous:
The f/1.8 aperture means lovely blurred backgrounds:
The camera also has an in-camera HDR (that you can set on a scale of 1-6, one being subtle HDR and 6 being strong). Most P&S cameras make a very “fake” looking HDR, but in the Sony, it is very realistic, and helps a lot at night when brighter areas may be blown out. This first one is with the HDR turned on (to a level of 3) and the one below is without. You can see in the “with HDR” picture the trees are a bit brighter and there is more detail in the Grand Ole Opry. In the “without” picture, the whole photo is darker, and parts of the two guitars are blown out (meaning they’re just white, no details or colors).
Another with and without HDR – the HDR can really help bring out the sky when the camera wants to meter off of a building (oh- and gotta have that sunburst!)
The manual settings mean you can really slow down the shutter speed to get some creative shots like this:
And did I mention how awesome the f/1.8 lens is? This shot of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland was done hand-held!
I may have only purchased this camera back in February, but it has already travelled through 17 states with me and to be honest, on our road trip, I used it more than my DSLR. It was convenient to have in the front seat with me, and on some of our stops (such as walking around Nashville, or spending the day in Disneyland), when I know I’m going to be walking a lot, carrying this Sony in my pocket was so much easier than carrying my DSLR. I’m not saying it is a replacement for a DSLR, but it is a close contender.
I have yet to go through all of my road trip pictures, but when I do, I’d love to update this sony rx100 ii review post with more of what this camera can do. In the meantime, if you have any specific questions about it, do not hesitate to ask- I love to talk camera and I’d be happy to answer!
(ETA; Sony has updated this amazing camera, and now has the Sony DSC-RX100M III – a few key updates include an even better lens (with an even better aperture!), a back screen that flips up completely for ‘selfies’ (you can see what you are taking a picture of!), and a built in ND filter. If you can swing it, I’d go for the newest model – if not, I’m sure this means that the original will go down in price now!