Sony RX1R II Optics

Lens Test Results

Fixed 35mm lens
Excellent far-field performance from the fixed 35mm f/2 Carl Zeiss lens.

35mm @ f/8

The Sony RX1R II is equipped with the exact same Carl Zeiss-branded 35mm f/2 lens as its predecessors. Construction consists of 8 elements in 7 groups, with a 9-bladed diaphragm providing a minimum aperture of f/22.

Sharpness and contrast are superb across the frame at f/8, and chromatic aberration is almost nonexistent since the camera suppresses it (see below). Performance in the corners appears to be very good, with just a hint of softening and very little coma distortion.

Digital Zoom. The Sony RX1R II still offers three types of digital zoom which come in handy for a wide-angle fixed-focal-length camera, though we did not test these modes here. Sony's Clear Image digital zoom is available with up to 2x magnification, standard digital zoom up to 4x, and Smart Zoom is available where the camera crops away the unused portion of the image when a lower resolution is selected. You can combine the various zooms as well, but maximum total zoom is 4x at full resolution increasing to 16x at the small image size (11MP). There are also 1.4x and 2.0x "digital teleconverter" modes which just crop the full-res image.

See below for our lab results including macro area, geometric distortion, corner performance, chromatic aberration, etc.

A larger-than-average minimum coverage area, with excellent detail.

Macro @ f/8

The Sony RX1R II captured a fairly large minimum area measuring 5.45 x 3.64 inches (139 x 92 millimeters) in macro mode. Detail is excellent over most of the frame at f/8, while corners and edges are just slightly soft. (Most lenses have some softening in the corners at macro distances.)

Geometric Distortion
About average geometric distortion.

Barrel distortion is ~0.8 percent

The Sony RX1R II's lens produced about 0.8 percent complex barrel distortion, which is about average for cameras we've tested (including those with zoom lenses), and geometric distortion is not corrected in firmware unless enabled. See below for details. This is the tendency for the lens to bend straight lines outward (like a barrel -- usually at wide-angle) or inward (like a pincushion -- usually at telephoto).

Chromatic Aberration and Corner Sharpness
Low to moderate levels of CA (the camera suppresses it in JPEGs). The lens produces fairly sharp corners even when wide open.

Aperture: f/2
f/2: Upper left
C.A.: Moderate
Softness: Reasonably sharp
f/2: Center
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Very sharp
Aperture: f/5.6
f/5.6: Upper left
C.A.: Low
Softness: Fairly Sharp
f/5.6: Center
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Very sharp
Aperture: f/8
f/8: Upper left
C.A.: Low
Softness: Fairly Sharp
f/8: Center
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Very sharp

Chromatic Aberration. Chromatic aberration in the corners is moderate and noticeable in the above shot at f/2, especially with shading correction applied which lightens corners significantly when the lens is wide open (more on that below). The center of the image shows almost no CA. Stopping-down from max aperture dramatically reduces the appearance of CA in the corners, though it's still slightly visible at f/8.

Corner Softness. Wide open at f/2, the RX1R II's lens is quite sharp across most of the frame, with only minor softening in the corners. There's some loss of contrast in the corners particularly when wide open, but that's also likely due to the shading and CA correction applied (see below). When stopped down to f/5.6, corners have better sharpness and contrast, but are still just a hair softer than the center which is very sharp. This is also true for f/8 which produces a small improvement over f/5.6. Still, very good corner performance for a compact 35mm full-frame lens.

Corner Shading. There's very little corner shading ("vignetting") in JPEGs even wide open, as the Sony RX1R II corrects for it by default (see below).

Lens Corrections

Like its predecessor, the Sony RX1R II includes the ability to automatically correct for geometric distortion, chromatic aberration, and lens shading (vignetting), as images are captured.

Geometric Distortion

Barrel distortion is ~0.2 percent

Above, you can see with Distortion Correction enabled (set to Auto), the lens shows significantly less geometric distortion (~0.2% versus ~0.8%) in JPEGs, though edges are cropped away in the process. The default Distortion Correction setting is Off.

Chromatic Aberration

CA Correction Auto CA Correction Off
f/2: Upper left
C.A.: Moderately low
f/2: Upper left
C.A.: Higher and brighter

As you can see, lateral chromatic aberration is higher and much brighter with Chromatic Aberration Correction disabled, so the Sony RX1R II's processor does a pretty good job at eliminating most of it in JPEGs. The default for this setting is Auto.

Lens Shading

Aperture: f/2.0
Auto Off

Mouse-over the links above to see the difference Lens Shading Correction makes when wide-open at f/2 (the worst-case scenario). The default setting for this correction is Auto, which means the camera will apply Shading Correction depending on the current aperture and perhaps other shooting conditions.

As you can see, corners are brightened significantly without affecting brightness at the center, so actual vignetting is quite pronounced at maximum aperture. (We measured just under 1 EV of fall-off in the corners at f/2, and just over 1/2 EV at f/8.)

We weren't able to reproduce the shading correction tint issue we ran into with the RX1 (the slight hue shift in our RX1R II lab shots is due to minor differences in our studio lamp temperatures). And yes, the Sony RX1R II still bakes shading correction into its .ARW files.

Overall, very good to excellent performance from the Sony RX1R II's 35mm f/2 lens, and it's nice to be able to individually control the application of various lens corrections offered.

Viewfinder Test Results

Very good accuracy from the EVF and LCD monitor.

Click to see RX1R2hVFAO.JPG Click to see RX1R2hVFAL.JPG
LCD Monitor

The Sony RX1R II's electronic viewfinder and LCD monitor both produced just under 99% coverage in our tests, though it's a little difficult to accurately measure with the lens' barrel distortion. This is very good performance.


The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II Photo Gallery .

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