RX100M2 Test Drive

DSC00074As a present to myself, I recently got an RX100M2. I wanted a compact camera for social casual use but with near-DSLR quality. I have to say that the accolades for this little pocket marvel are well founded. It’s not quite as good as an APS-C sized sensor camera but in many circumstances its performance is close enough to not care. The old adage, that a camera with you is infinitely better than one you don’t, holds here. There’s little excuse not to have the RX100M2 with you at all times.

I am still getting to grips (literally) with the camera, there’s a bit to learn about how to obtain the optimum performance from it. But from preliminary testing, I am very happy about the focusing (makes street photography quite feasible), the low light performance (very decent for such a small camera), the controls (fairly customizable), and the image output.

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As others have pointed out, the camera can be a bit slippery to hold one-handed so I hope to get an AG-R1 grip as soon as possible. The highlight headroom (DR 12.4bits according to DXOMark) is a little bit lower than I am used to on the NEX-7 (DR 13.4bits) but it could also be due to the different metering of the RX100M2 favouring a more generous exposure. I shall have to do some simultaneous tests to confirm.

DSC00195I’m also getting to know how the zoom lens performs at different focal lengths and apertures. With a 1″ sensor, it is important not to stop down too much as diffraction can soften the image. Compared with an APS-C sized sensor camera, the depth of field is also greater for a similar angle of view and aperture, so I have to recalibrate my instinctive default settings.

DSC00126It’s still early days yet but I can see the RX100M2 being a faithful companion for years to come. It may have cost a bit, especially compared with other nominally positioned camera, but the combination of a fairly large sensor in such a compact body together with a useful zoom lens is still unique in the compact camera market (RX100 notwithstanding). The responsiveness of the AF, the control customization, flip-out LCD, hotshoe, and RAW files makes it a very versatile instrument. It is truly a photographer’s compact camera, I’d be happy to use it in a studio, on the street, at a dinner party, or walking the dog (if I had a dog).