Away, moiré! Palm-sized Sony RX1R II banishes the demon without killing resolution, offers variable low-pass filtering (UPDATED)
posted Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at 12:15 PM EDT
Sony surprised the camera world once more today with the announcement of the long-awaited update to its fabled RX1-series of full-frame compact cameras. The new Sony RX1R II, slated to ship this November, brings the dual product line into a single model, bridging the divide between the standard RX1 and the RX1R, the latter of which did away with an optical low-pass filter.
This new model features an innovative variable optical low-pass filter, which gives photographers the ability to enable, disable or strengthen the low-pass filter effect depending on the need or subject. You can disable the OLPF completed for maximum detail and resolution, keep it in "standard" mode for a balanced effect between detail and anti-aliasing reduction, or switch it onto "high" for heavier protection against moiré and artifacting. This is truly groundbreaking stuff: The closest we'd yet seen is rival Ricoh's on-demand antialiasing in the Pentax K-3 DSLR, but that works by moving the sensor during exposure and so has limitations. Sony's technique would seem to be the holy grail of low-pass filtering: A filter that's truly there only when you need it.
Pixel-peepers will thoroughly enjoy the massive increase in image resolution, as the new RX1R II gains the same 42.2-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor as the recent A7R II camera. In addition to a near-doubling of resolution, the RX1R II also gains Sony's Fast Hybrid AF system with 399 on-sensor phase detect points. The original two RX1-series cameras use contast-detect AF only, so the addition on phase-detect AF provides a significant boost in AF speed. (And while we've only tested it informally in a press briefing, the AF system initially struck us as responsive and fairly swift.)
Borrowing from the RX100 III and IV compact cameras, the new RX1R II gains a built-in, pop-up electronic viewfinder. The 2,359K-dot XGA OLED Tru-Finder is very similar to that on the A7R II, and provides 100% field coverage and approximately 0.74x magnification. A very nice touch is that it now extends automatically once raised, saving you the additional step of pulling the rear element backwards manually. A generous eyecup is included, but not quite so refined, as we found it a little fiddly to put on or off the camera. There's also a tilting LCD monitor in place of the earlier fixed-position screen of the RX1 and RX1R.
Other notable improvements include 14-bit uncompressed RAW file support, a major increase in ISO sensitivity to an expanded 102,400 (a big jump from the max. ISO 25,600 of the RX1R), and built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity. The lens remains identical to that in the original RX1 and RX1R cameras, with a fast Zeiss-branded 35mm f/2.0 Sonnar T* lens that's comprised of eight elements in seven groups, including three aspherical elements.
Our Sony RX1R II Hands-on Preview is now complete, so head over to our Sony RX1R II Review page for all the details. Accompanying our Sony RX1R II Preview, Dave Etchells goes in-depth with the camera's new game-changing variable optical low-pass filter technology.
The Sony RX1R II is set to be available in November for US$3,300 (CAD$ 4200). You can get your place in line for pre-orders using the link below to one of our trusted affilates. Purchasing a product from one of these retailers helps support the site!
Sony RX1R II, $3,299 -- B&H