In somewhat of a surprise move, Sony unleashed their new RX1R II compact camera with a massive full-frame 42.4 Megapixel EXMOR R back-illuminated CMOS sensor and a fixed Zeiss 35mm f2.0 lens. The Sony RX1R II also features a super-fast 399-point phase-detect Fast Hybrid AF system, which is just like the 42 MP sensor borrowed from the more than impressive A7R II monster. Implementing the A7RII beast of a sensor into a tiny compact size camera body is quite a feat, but the technological bragging rights don’t end there. According to Sony their new RX1R II is the world’s-first variable optical low-pass filter – this allows you to take full advantage of the high-resolution sensor by applying voltage to a liquid crystal layer to determine the amount of filtration that is desired. It can be set to “Off,” which focuses on detail, “High,” which aims to eliminate moiré and aliasing, and “Standard,” which balances the two sides.
Sony RX1R II Highlights
- 42MP Full-Frame Exmor R Back Illuminated CMOS Sensor
- BIONZ X Image Processor
- Variable Optical Low-Pass Filter (Switchable)
- Fixed Zeiss Sonnar T* 35mm f/2 Lens
- Full HD 1080p/60 Video & XAVC S Format
- 399 Phase-Detect AF Points & 5 fps Burst
- 0.39″ 2.36M-Dot XGA OLED Tru-Finder EVF
- 3.0″ 1,228.8k-Dot Tilting LCD Monitor
- ISO 102,400 & Uncompressed 14-Bit RAW
- Built-In Wi-Fi Connectivity with NFC
A few observations about the newly specifically redesigned Zeiss 35mm f/2.0 lens – it features a similar if not the same aperture ring as on my RX10 II, which I found quite nice. Three aspherical elements, including one advanced aspherical are present on the optics side of things. The lens can also focus as close as 7.9″ using a macro mode, and has a control ring for manual focus when desired, as well as a physical aperture dial. It utilises a fast f/2 maximum aperture and 9-blade diaphragm for extensive control over depth of field with smooth out-of-focus elements.
Other notable features in the RX1R II is the pop-up 0.39″ 2.36M-dot XGA OLED Tru-Finder EVF, which has a rather impressive magnification of 0.74x for comfortable, clear eye-level viewing and has a 4-lens optical system with two glass molded aspherical elements to ensure crisp, vibrant imagery. On the back, there is a 3.0″ 1,228.8k-dot LCD monitor can now tilt upwards 109° and down 41° for working in a variety of positions and angles. The inclusion of uncompressed 14bit RAW will make a lot of photography purists happy.
On the video side of things, the camera tops out at 1080p/60 in the very familiar to many Full HD XAVC-S 50Mbps codec, same as the one in the good old Sony A7s. In the Video department unfortunately, at least on paper for now, is where the RX1R II falls short of its larger brethren.
Not having any 4K/UHD recording option at all is a bit of a bummer for a uber expensive pocket camera, but I am guessing Sony had their reasons not to include it – possibly the small form factor and the massive 42 megapixel sensor prohibit UHD recording due to heat issues. At least this is what I think.
Here’s a video from Sony, which explains how the Variable Optical Low-Pass Filter system works:
As expected, full-frame goodness such as this that fits in the palm of your hand and is equipped with high-quality Zeiss optics, won’t come exactly cheap and is not for everyone. The Sony RX1R II is expected to start shipping in November and can be ordered for $3,299 over at B&H on November 5th.
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