Boasting a wealth of world-class features, the RX1R II looks incredible on paper. Callum McInerney-Riley finds out if it has held its place as king of the compacts
Sony RX1R II review – Build and handling
In design and style, the RX1R II is more or less identical to the original RX1/RX1R series. The changes are minor, and the same squared-off body we’re used to seeing on the Alpha 7 series continues in the RX1R II. Measuring 113.3×65.4x72mm, the camera is very small, especially considering it’s a full-frame model. While it’s not really pocketable it will fit inside a large coat pocket, but the chances are it will need to be carried in a camera bag.
The camera body is constructed entirely from metal, which makes it quite heavy at 507g. However, this also makes it durable and gives it that truly premium feel. The button arrangement is straightforward, and there are three custom buttons that can be assigned functions that suit the photographer. I think many will find the RX1R II difficult to get to grips with at first, but once you get the hang of it this camera has a comprehensive range of functions and menu options.
The only control that can be an issue is the small focus-mode selector at the front. This switch has a low profile and just a couple of small grooves for grip, making it fiddly to change. In the hand the camera feels good, and there are optional accessories to improve this further, including a front hand grip, a big rear thumb grip and specially designed leather cases.
The RX1R II has a built-in EVF. This means it’s a slightly different handling experience to that of the RX1/RX1R, on which users would rely more on holding the camera at arm’s length and composing with the LCD if they didn’t have the optional EVF attached.
Although the lens has a manual loveliness to it, when moving the aperture ring quickly you don’t get confident clicks between apertures as you would on many manual aperture lenses. If you compare it to many of the Fujifilm X-series lenses, it falls behind in its handling experience. The manual focusing is a great feature to have, but it is fly-by-wire focusing rather than a mechanical system. It’s a small detail, but it does make a difference overall.
Having an exposure-compensation dial is a huge bonus, and while we would usually say it’s great for correcting the metering that’s rarely the case as the metering is very accurate. Instead, it’s great for adjusting the exposure to make the best possible use of the sensor’s huge dynamic range.