Sony RX1R II First Shots: If you like tack-sharp images you may want to hide your wallet


posted Wednesday, November 18, 2015 at 1:13 PM EDT


Do you crave high resolution in a compact yet full frame camera? How about one that can actually vary the low-pass filter electronically? The full frame, fixed lens Sony RX1R II and its 42.4mp resolution has just touched down in our test lab, and our senior lab technician has barely spoken a word since.

Indeed, for anyone in the market for such a unique yet powerful instrument, the Sony RX1R II is an intriguing proposition. You can disable the optical low-pass filter entirely for uber-sharp images where moiré is not a concern, employ the full strength low-pass filter for eliminating most moiré instances, or choose a "low" low-pass filter setting for splitting the difference. And for those times you're unsure which to use? You can even bracket them!

We've just completed our lab test First Shots series, which explores our Still Life target across the available ISO spectrum. And we've also included on our lab samples page a shot at base ISO with all three LPF settings so that you can compare them for yourself. For anyone ready to dive right in, head straight to our RX1R II Lab Samples page and get started, or you can head to our Comparometer for side-by-side image comparisons against other cameras we've tested including the original Sony RX1R.

For everyone else, below are a few 1:1 side-by-side comparisons to get you started. The first few show areas of our test target prone to moiré, and how the three LPF settings render the scene. The trade-off between moiré and overall sharpness is evident, especially in the first example with the bottle label. The second example with the red and pink fabric swatches is not quite as evident for moiré as we've seen with many other cameras without a low-pass filter, and we expect this is due to the higher resolution of the RX1R II not creating moiré patterns from this particular distance.

  LPF off                                          LPF low                                        LPF high

Moiré is clearly evident in the green bottle label with the low-pass filter disabled on the left, and the red writing and Pure lettering are clearly sharper as a result. The far-right image shows virtually no moiré, with the lettering below being softer, and the center image shows the result of splitting the difference.

  LPF off                                          LPF low                                        LPF high

While not as obvious as in some cameras with no LPF, there is still a trace of moiré evident in the image crop to the left in the red fabric, but the resulting sharpness in the pink fabric is the benefit.

And for anyone interested in a direct side-by-side comparison beside the original 24.3mp RX1R, below is a revealing shot of how much more detail the RX1R II can extract from the yellow fabric from our test target. The RX1R has no low-pass filter, and the RX1R II image below has it disabled.

  Sony RX1R                        (no LPF)                        Sony RX1R II

42.4mp shows a marked increase in the ability to extract fine detail from this fabric swatch as compared to the 24.3mp sensor in the Sony RX1R.

Sony RX1R II Lab SamplesComparometer

Stay tuned for much more to come in our Sony RX1R II review!

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