Sony RX100 II Review

 
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Sony RX100 II Optics


Aperture: Maximum
Wide f/1.8: Sharp at center
Wide f/1.8: Soft, upper right
Tele f/4.9: Sharp at center
Tele f/4.9: Soft, lower left corner
Aperture: f/4 (W), f/8 (T)
Wide f/4: Sharp at center
Wide f/4: Soft, upper right
Tele f/8: Fairly sharp at center
Tele f/8: Soft, lower left corner

Sharpness (wide-open): All four corners are somewhat soft at full wide angle at f/1.8 while the center is fairly sharp. Some of the softness is due to strong distortion correction, both geometric and chromatic aberration (see below for uncorrected results).

Corners are also moderately soft at full telephoto, with the center fairly sharp. Again, much of the apparent softness comes from fairly strong chromatic aberration suppression as well as moderate geometric distortion correction.

Some minor corner shading ("vignetting") can be seen from the dimmer corner crops.

Stopped-down. Stopping down a few clicks to f/4 at maximum wide angle helps corner performance only slightly though contrast is improved, however corners are still not as sharp as the center.

Stopping down to f/8 at full telephoto doesn't help much in the corners, and the center is slightly softer than wide-open, limited by diffraction at such a small aperture (f/4.9 is the maximum aperture at telephoto, so we tried f/8 to see if the corners improved).

Still, very good performance overall especially considering the f/1.8 speed at wide angle, though maximum aperture drops off fairly quickly when you zoom. At the telephoto end, maximum aperture is on the slow side at f/4.9.

The following table reflects the maximum and minimum apertures as reported by the camera:

FL (mm eq.)
28
35
50
70
100
Max.
f/1.8
f/2.8
f/3.5
f/4.0
f/4.9
Min.
f/11 at all focal lengths


In-camera JPEGs
Wide: Almost no barrel distortion; not noticeable
Tele: A tiny amount of barrel distortion, not noticeable
Uncorrected RAW
Wide: Very strong barrel distortion (~3.8%)
Tele: Moderate barrel distortion (~0.5%)

Geometric Distortion: There is only a trace of barrel distortion in JPEGs at the Sony RX100 II's full wide angle and telephoto settings (about 0.02% to 0.04% of slightly wavy distortion). Thus, the camera's processor works hard to keep distortion in check.

In uncorrected RAW files, barrel distortion at wide angle is very high at about 3.8%, while at telephoto barrel distortion is moderate at about 0.5%. That's not unusual, though, and most RAW converters will automatically correct for it, but strong correction does lead to some extra softness in the corners.


In-Camera JPEG
Wide f/1.8: Low
Tele f/4.9: Low
Uncorrected RAW
Wide f/1.8: High
Tele f/4.9: High

Chromatic Aberration: Chromatic aberration in camera JPEGs at wide angle is moderate in terms of pixel count, but coloration is quite muted. Fringing at full telephoto has slightly brighter color, though it's still fairly low.

As you can see from the uncorrected RAW crops, lateral chromatic aberration is actually fairly high and bright, so the Sony RX100 II's processor does a good job suppressing most of it in JPEGs. However as mentioned above, defringing does tend to reduce edge acuity, contributing to softer, lower-contrast corners.


Macro
Macro with Flash

Macro: The Sony RX100 II captures a slightly larger-than-average sized minimum area measuring 3.02 x 2.02 inches (76 x 51 millimeters). Detail is excellent across most of the frame with corners only showing a bit of softness (most lenses show some softening in the corners at macro distances, so the RX100 II does better than most). The flash did a good job throttling down, but coverage is not centered and the lens casts a strong shadow in the lower right. You'll likely want to use external lighting for the closest RX100 II macro shots.


 

Sony RX100 II Viewfinder Accuracy


Wide: LCD Monitor
Tele: LCD Monitor

Viewfinder Accuracy: The Sony RX100 II's LCD monitor shows about 100% coverage at wide angle and slightly over 100% at full telephoto, which is very good.


 

The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II Photo Gallery.



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