First Impressions: Sony RX1r Mk II

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony RX1r Mk II first impressions images (2 of 7)ISO 2001-125 sec at f - 2.8

Today, Sony is announcing their brand new RX1r Mk II–the follow up to what seems to be both the RX1 and the RX1 R. While the original R version didn’t include the low-pass filter, the Mk II has the option of incorporating it or not just by selecting it in the menu. This also allows you to dial in how strong you want its effects to be on the image quality.

But that’s not all: the new Sony RX1R Mk II also has a 42MP full frame 35mm sized sensor inside (the same as the A7r Mk II) the same 35mm f2 Zeiss lens from the original camera, 399 phase detection AF points, and essentially the same pop-up viewfinder from the RX100 series of cameras. With that said, there is still a hot shoe and the camera has flash sync speeds of up to 1/4000th due to the leaf shutter design.

Tech Specs

Specs taken from the B&H Photo listing of the product for $3,299.

  • 42MP Full-Frame Exmor R BSI CMOS Sensor
  • BIONZ X Image Processor
  • Variable Optical Low-Pass Filter
  • Zeiss Sonnar T* 35mm f/2 Lens
  • Full HD 1080p60 Video & XAVC S Format
  • 399 Phase-Detect AF Points & 5 fps Burst
  • 0.39″ 2.36M-Dot XGA OLED Tru-Finder EVF
  • 3.0″ 1,228.8k-Dot Tilting LCD Monitor
  • ISO 102400 & Uncompressed 14-Bit RAW
  • Built-In Wi-Fi Connectivity with NFC

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony RX1r Mk II first impressions images (7 of 7)ISO 2001-50 sec at f - 2.8

The Sony RX1R Mk II is a camera that not only looks very pretty but also has lots of functionality to it. From the front, you can tell by the looks of it that it’s clearly a flagship compact camera. There is a focusing type switch near the lens, a 35mm f2 Zeiss lens with an aperture ring, focusing ring and a focusing distance switch, and of course, Sony’s logo.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony RX1r Mk II first impressions images (3 of 7)ISO 2001-80 sec at f - 4.0

Move around to the top and you’ll find similar settings to an RX100 camera. However, the 35mm f2 lens on this camera is a fixed focal length, so there is no zoom rocker. What you’ll find here is the EVF on the left, the hot shoe in the middle, the mode dial, shutter release that’s threaded, on/off switch, a function button and the exposure compensation dial.

It’s quite standard. Here you can also see that street photographers will really need to rely on autofocusing here since there is no depth of field focusing scale on the lens. However, there is that very nice aperture ring and a smooth focusing ring.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony RX1r Mk II first impressions images (4 of 7)ISO 2001-80 sec at f - 4.0

Then there is the back of the camera: here you’ll find the EVF activation switch, the playback button, dials and more buttons for control of the camera. As with many modern cameras, the LCD dominates the back of the camera. This one is 3 inches.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony RX1r Mk II first impressions images (5 of 7)ISO 2001-80 sec at f - 4.0

This new LCD screen flips up and down just like the Sony ILC cameras. It’s much more comfortable due to the fact that in real life this makes shooting from different angles much easier to do. In fact, this is a standard feature on cameras now that really should be included when you’re paying over $3k for a camera–and now we finally have it.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony RX1r Mk II first impressions images (6 of 7)ISO 2001-80 sec at f - 4.0

The RX1R Mk II is truly for the advanced photographer as is evident by the new EVF. This EVF will pop out from the body and extend automatically for you to view what the camera sees. From there, you can push it back in and the camera won’t automatically shut off if you tell it not to.

While the EVF is out, you can also use the hot shoe–and that can hold a wireless flash trigger of some sort.

Of course, we’re super duper excited to test that out.

Build Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony RX1r Mk II first impressions images (1 of 7)ISO 2001-125 sec at f - 2.8

Pure metal–it feels super solid in the hand and is very comfortable to hold. Later on, we got a chance to see it with a special Sony leather half case that Sony’s Mark Weir said involves him taking special care of the cows–he specifically stated that they were the same cows that give Kobe beef.

Of course, he was joking (and I was the one who initiated the joke) but the half case is very subtle and comfortable. It’s optional, of course and quite pricy too.

Autofocus

Earlier on, we went Live on our Meerkat channel with Sony’s Kenta Honjo. He demonstrated and talked about the new camera as well as showed off how quickly it autofocuses. Check out the video and you’ll see just how well it does.

Ease of Use

Sony put an automatic mode on it–meaning that it should be as simple for amateurs to use it as professionals. Essentially, it really will be and the cool thing is that the camera has a lens with a working aperture ring. Fujifilm fans will appreciate this as will all those that love the retro feeling of a camera. To be fair though, the camera doesn’t really feel retro but it’s surely a wink and a nod to specific design cues.

Image Quality

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to stick an SD card into the camera to bring back images; but if it’s the same sensor as the Sony A7r Mk II, then consider looking at our Sony A7r Mk II review for a glimpse at what this camera can do.

First Impressions

So far, I’m in love. A point and shoot, with a Zeiss lens, fast flash sync, an EVF for my astigmatism-ridden eyes, a great image sensor, and solid build quality–what’s not to love?

I’m going to need to reserve my final judgement for the review, but so far the only thing putting me off is the price point.