Sony RX1R II Test: Tiny Resolution Giant

The Sony RX 1R II combines a 42-mega pixel full-frame sensor with a fast 35 mm prime lens in the 500 g light magnesium housing. We have the precious compact camera in the test.

Sony RX1R II Test Tiny Resolution Giant
You decide to buy the Sony RX 1R II? Granted, you have to be a little wacky or at least well-off to afford a “compact” for 3,500 euros. Especially if the tightly integrated lens like with the Sony RX 1R II covers a single focal length: 35 mm with luminous intensity 2.
But “normal” photographers could be at the Sony RX 1R II, this exception into raptures: who would flat in 3.3 cm, 11.3 x 7 cm small case suspect a 35-mm full frame sensor with fantastic 42,4 mega pixels? Who would have thought some years ago that such a small camera is able to absorb such high resolution images suitable even for large-format prints device?
You got the first taste of in the fall of 2012 and 2013, when Sony first presented the RX1 under the motto “full frame like never before”, and then its sister model RX 1R also 24 Mega pixels, but without low-pass filter. Now Sony is the next huge step and used the same back illuminated EXMOR-R full format sensor with 7.952 x 5,304 pixels like in the current, semi-professional top system camera in the small RX 1R II 7R alpha II.

Variable Low-Pass Filter

As the first Sony digital camera at all, the RX1R II has a variable optical low pass filter, which can be by means of voltage variation on liquid crystals based on demand one or turned off. In the Basic setting, he is off, it will lead to loss of resolution.
For this reason is also the older RX 1R without low-pass filter; In contrast to the RX 1R II, it risks but still increased occurrence of moire, i.e. streaks of color on regular structures. Although you are generally rare, but when they actually occur, disturb her greatly and are subsequently often incomplete and with great effort to eliminate.
The Sony RX 1R II offers precisely for such cases the LPF function with two adjustment options: when “LPF HI” the variable low-pass filter with engages full power, as much as possible to reduce moire effects; When “LPF STD” he goes slightly more restrained to works to conserve the resolution.
In the laboratory, the low-pass filter as compared to the Basic setting (LPF OFF) at full load 282 cost (LPF HI), standard (LPF STD) still 184 LP/bra resolution. Who to post-process all ways want to keep open, accepts he needs therefore best three pictures with all three low-pass filter variants – with the LPF series automatic trigger for it only once.

New: Retractable Viewfinder and Adjustable Monitor

While the older Sony RX1R has a fill flash, but no built-in viewfinder, it behaves in the RX1R II reverse: instead of the Flash device a fold-out OLED viewfinder 786,432 RGB pixels and 100% is recessed frame coverage top left in the case. He delivers a bright, clear, well-recognisable image with effective 0,74-facher magnification. There’s a hot shoe for an external flash.
Also at the rear monitor Sony put: it can be swivelled upwards up to 109 degrees and down to 41 degrees. With RGBW structure, so an additional white sub-pixel to each of 307.200 RGB pixels, the display even in bright surroundings and wider viewing angle remains comparatively easily recognizable.
By default, the live view image shows a most harmonious exposure preview. For special situations, as for Studio Flash or bulb shots, you can disable the LV exposure preview (menu: “display live-view/all Einstell. Aus”).
The camera with a distance scale, helps with manual focusing also on request with a greatly enlarged Loupe View (“MF support”) and colored or white marked edges (“Ban to know what to do b. level “and” Ban to know what to do b. far be”).With the display button is available: 3D-Ausrichthilfe, histogram and important shooting settings, you right button can edit following after pressing the 1-800-whatever.

Solidly Magnesium Housing

Sony has for the RX1 – series for a fairly compact wide angle fixed focal length lens decided, the Carl Zeiss Sonnar T * 2.0/35 mm. It stands out just a little more than 4 cm from the case otherwise 3.3 cm, offers enough space for three setting rings: a smooth-running ring to focus and two with tired of resting point levels for the aperture dial and switch between macro – (0.2-0.35 m) and standard mode (0.3 m to?).
Lens and magnesium alloy case are very high quality and carefully processed. However, they lack the water resistant, we expect a camera of this price class. Also the integrated sensor cleaning system eliminates the risk factor of changing lenses, and instead of mechanical image stabilizer, a digital replacement for the video operation must comply with.
Given the high resolution, the missing image stabilizer is a constraint. Too bad also that II is in the RX1R only a small lithium-ion battery. According to the manufacturer, whose time in the monitor mode should be at 220, with viewfinder only for 200 shots.
Because Sony RX1R II attaches no charger, but a power adapter, the camera is blocked during charging. If she sure to sustain the next longer photo trip without interruption, probably worth investing in a second battery (NP-BX1 for around 50 euros) and the matching optional charger (around 75 Euro). Image stabilizer, more battery power and splash water protection are at least top on our wish list for the successor model.

Features: Wi-Fi Included

The shutter of the Sony RX1R II exposure times allows until ¼.000 s from f/5.6 to 1/3,200 s at f/4.0 and only to 1/2.000 s at f/2.0. In very bright ambient, the RX1R encounters II relatively quickly to their limits. An ND filter can create some more space, but 70 euro extra – fit the RX1R II filter with a diameter of 49 mm.
The sensitivity ranges from ISO 100 up to 25 600 by default, extended from ISO 50 up to 102,000. In serial mode the RX1R sets to II minimum of 4.9 to 5.2 B / s, while it can handle up to 24 JPEG images per series.
Compared to the RX1R comes the almost mandatory built-in Wi-Fi/NFC module- and with it the opportunity to enrich the camera via the Sony Play Memories camera apps to selected functions and about the “smart remote control” app via Smart phone to remotely control. Who wants to exploit the maximum possible dynamic range, capable of storing uncompressed to the SDHC/XC card 14-bit RAW images.
However, the file size increases this rapidly: In the test the same image as JPEG less than 7 MB, as compressed RAW claimed around 40 MB and than uncompressed raw files more than 80 MB.

Fast Hybrid Auto Focus

The hybrid auto focus assumes the RX1R II as so much of the large model Alpha 7R II. It combines a 25-point contrast measurement with a phase detection on 399 sectors, which cover 45% of the sensor area, according to Sony. Especially in good light conditions, this solution promises a regular tempo boost: 0.26 s shutter delay with 300 Lux – so actually significantly faster than the RX1R (0.6 s) works the RX1R II and passing II even the alpha 7R (0.31 sec). In darkened surroundings it lands with 0.51 s shutter lag between the still slower predecessor (0.65 s) and the faster A7R II (0.45 sec).
Using a rotary switch front on the housing the photographer from the single can switch to perform autofocus, manual focus or to the AF/MF Combi mode. In contrast to the A7R II, here no AF-A setting, which automatically switches between the frame and the continuous AF can be found.
Apart from that, the RX1R remains little guilty II but her big sister. For the selection of the measuring field are, for example, like this “Broadband” (all measurement zones) and “Middle” also “flexible spot” to move the measuring field zone and the option “Advanced. Flexible spot” ready – helpful example for moving subjects, where the camera if necessary to involve around the points to the selected point in the auto focus measurement. Also involved: the relevant to perform auto focus AF-lock, which track the subject within the selected AF area in half by trigger.

The RX1R II as Full-HD Digital Camcorders

In the video test led the RX1R II sharpness during filming but quite accurately, but every now and again something delay and then frantically after. Sony bought her a separate video trigger right thumb rest, the recording independently start allows the currently set operating mode.
Who wants to manually control exposure and tone, must try to do so but the dedicated video mode. As the file format HD to the election are under yonder AVCHD and XAVC S. The former saves space 190 instead of 400 MB / min; average in the test of consumed AVCHD videos for this, the XAVC-S-HD clips look better, show a better fine detail and more details.

Proven Operating Concept

The RX1R II with a clear number of controls must be due to their compact case; but Sony brings out a lot of the options limited by the square. Above are the mode and the exposure correction wheel in addition to trigger and a function key. The latter can be in the menu under “Benutzer Key” separately for the recording and the playback mode to demonstrate, as with the ISO number and zoom function. Also the delete, the AEL and the four direction buttons of the rear thumb wheel can be programmed.
To the flexibly, includes extensive customisable operating concept that can users assemble the quick access menu yourself and be filled with up to twelve setting options. More entries are made via the main menu, that Sony is divided into six categories with up to eight bases.
However, the sorting of entries raises questions. Why are, for example, the settings that affect the video recording, not together, but are scattered on several pages? After all, goes the menu navigation with the upper universal dial to the horizontal and the bottom 4 – directional rocker wheel for vertical scrolling quickly by hand.

Top Image Quality

The RX1R similar to cut off II in the laboratory we would be expected as the alpha 7R had II with the same 42.4-megapixel full-frame sensor. That she more sweeps even some points thanks to minimal shifted priorities in the picture vote overall, and at all appropriate levels of the ISO, we had hoped that at best. In particular, the RX1R II brings fewer artifacts in the image as the A7R II, also she performs better in DL-LC measuring important for the fine drawing.
Together the loose outweighs their minimal weaker resolution – what you want in the face of such dream values: 2.411 LP/bra at ISO 100, nor always very good 2,113 LP/bra at ISO 12,800, since the residue compared to the alpha 7R falls II barely in the weight (2.448 to 2,157 LP/BRA).
The noise remains relatively stable compared with the A7R II (1.0 to 3.7 UN at ISO 100 to 12800); as well the dynamics, which reaches its maximum rather than at ISO 100 (9.7 aperture), but at ISO 400 and 800 (10.0/10.3 aperture) and up to ISO 12,800 drops 1,600 and 8.7 aperture in addition moderate to 9.3 at ISO.


The Sony RX1R II get a track more from the 42.4 megapixel full frame sensor as the larger interchangeable lens version alpha 7R II. Particularly, she has better artifacts and the Visual noise despite 4.5? m of small pixels similar in to the handle, and it has fantastic high resolution.
That this performance package in a such a compact housing is, convinced. We still miss some details: an ordinary image stabilizer, which we believe is indispensable at 42.4 mega pixels. Also the missing water resistant, the weak battery and a battery charger will cost in addition, do not fit a 3,500 euro-expensive camera. The Inventionshorn Kauftipp criticism but nothing changes: more image quality on so little space does not provide.

Personal View of the Author

At least for me, there is no doubt: If this small marvel of technology would cost not 3,500 euros, it would be a promising candidate when choosing my next camera. Under these circumstances, however, a fixed focal length to little and therefore the alpha 7R II is me my clear favorite – even if it already with the relatively light interchangeable lens Sonnar T * FE more 35 mm / f2, 8 ZA weighs less than 250 g and 600 euros more costs.