If advanced cameras are sort of your thing and any old box won’t do, Sony’s next compact has your name all over it, sporting a full-frame sensor set to 42 megapixels. Just wow.
It’s been a few years since Sony first found a way to make one of the smallest full-frame cameras you’ve probably never seen.
Back in 2012, the company unveiled a compact that was geared at professionals used to working with all the glass in their lenses, not just the centre rectangle, which is the way many cameras have been built.
You see in that camera — Sony’s RX1 (above) — we got to see Sony’s camera ingenuity at work, packing in the 24.3 megapixel full-frame sensor of the A99 packed into a compact camera weighing only 482 grams.
A year later, Sony spent a bit of time updating the camera to produce the RX1R, keeping some of the specs the camera, but ditching the low-pass filter inside the camera for more accurate images and including Sony’s own “Triliuminos” technology for a better LCD on the back.
Now, two years on, it’s time for an update, so what does Sony have in store for photographer keen to have something powerful but still pocketable?
Two years later, Sony’s next evolution for the RX1R is the RX1R II, a camera that still sits in a class making it among the world’s smallest full-frame cameras, with the upgrades added here making for larger images altogether.
In this model, we’re jumping from the 24 megapixel sensor of the original all the way up to 42 megapixels, with the low-light sensitivity now sitting at ISO 50 at the lowest and all the way up to ISO 102400 if you need to shoot in darker environments.
The lens is still mounted to the body here — no chance of removing it, either — with a fixed 35mm f/2 Zeiss Sonnar T* complete with a shifting ring to shift into macro mode, capable of focusing as close to 14cm in front of the lens.
Autofocus has also been improved, with Sony delivering what it says are 399 focal-plane phase-detection autofocus point, while keeping the tracking during continuous shooting up to 5 frames per second. Neat.
And in case that wasn’t enough, you’ll find the world’s first optical variable low pass filter.
This is one of those things that won’t appeal to all, but essentially what this provides is a low-pass filter that can be controlled, allowing the photographer to change the strength of how a low-pass filter would work when capturing images with repeating patterns in them that might produce moire. Bracketing can even be applied here, allowing you to blend images with varying low-pass filters later, which could be very interesting.
On the back, you’ll find a 3 inch vari-angle LCD, but Sony is also throwing in an OLED electronic viewfinder, because LCDs won’t always work when it’s super sunny outside.
About the only thing this compact powerhouse is missing is 4K video capture, with only Full HD supported on the Sony RX1R II, though you will at least be able to transfer those photos to an iPhone or Android thanks to the included WiFi and NFC support.
As for when it’s coming and how much it will cost you, that’s a bit of a tricky question.
Sony has said that Australians will be able to find the RX1R II in December, but hasn’t revealed local pricing yet. That’s unfortunate, but we can tell you already that it won’t be cheap, so if you’re already thinking this compact could be your world, start saving, as this one will easily go into the thousands.