There are cameras I like, there are cameras I love, and there are cameras I adore.
The RX1RM2 is the latter. It’s a camera I adore.
The RX1RM2 sits at the top of the RX line with its full frame sensor in a compact-sized body. It’s a technical marvel – an ode to how far we’ve come in technology over the years. Even though it’s a year and a bit old now, it’s still one of the most technologically advanced cameras on the market today.
This camera wins mainly in two areas. The first is the amazing image quality it produces. A 42MP full-frame sensor with a fixed, Zeiss 35mm f2 lens delivers some of the best images you can get from a full frame camera, wrapped up in the second area it wins in; a tiny, compact-sized body.
Even for a premium product (and a premium price tag to match), this camera feels astoundingly solid and well built. The body is made of a magnesium alloy, giving the entire encasing a remarkably sturdy feel. The difference is immediately apparent when comparing to its little brother, the RX100V compact. It’s something that has to be held and felt to be understood.
Size wise and body to body, it’s just a little larger than the RX100, although it has a fixed lens attached to it that you can’t remove. This means you can’t really put it in a jean pocket, but it easily fits in a jacket pocket. Throughout my Japan trip, I had it attached to a Peak Design strap that went over my body. With it being so light, it was never an encumbrance. I barely felt its presence.
That’s really crazy for a full frame camera. Especially when travelling, where space is at a premium and conscious decisions have to be made about what you carry with you day to day, never once was the RX1RM2 not with me on my Japan trip. The convenience and the confidence behind the imaging of this camera make it a no-brainer to bring it around with you wherever you go.
One of the big issues I have with my RX100V is that the pop-up flash is dual-actioned, meaning you have to pop it up, then pull out the diopter to make the EVF focus.
This isn’t the case with the RX1RM2 – a simple flick of the EVF toggle, and she’s ready to roll. It’s so much more convenient, so much more usable, so much more considered. It’s exactly how I wished my RX100 would be.
This trait of well considered usability is a theme for the RX1RM2. This camera has so many more physical dials on the outside, which is fantastic for quick manoeuvres – you don’t have to dig in to menus to get what you want.
There’s a horizontal dial on the back for your shutter speed, there’s an aperture dial on the lens, and my favourite of all, a focus mode toggle on the front of the camera, allowing you to switch to AF-S, AF-C, DMF or MF on the fly. So handy.
It’s the combination of all these things that allows you to assess a scene and adjust all your settings in just seconds – crucial for capturing a fleeting moment.
The only gripe I have in this area is that the grip is a little too shallow. It keeps to the sleek body line where it could use just a tad more beefing up to inspire a little more confidence whilst shooting one handed. It’s not bad, but it could be better. Definitely not a big deal, though.
Sensor and lens
The second part of why I adore this camera. Aside from the extreme convenience of its compact size, this camera is a modern example of exceptional imaging.
Utilising a very similar sensor to that found in the Sony A7RII, this 42 megapixel beast shows off the power of Sony’s highest resolution sensor. Don’t let the size of the body fool you – this is the same image quality you get in the A7RII, at half the body size. It’s incredible.
Combine the sensor with a super quiet leaf shutter and the world’s first optical variable low-pass filter and you’ve got a sensor package that is even better than what’s found in the Alpha line.
But of course an amazing sensor is only half the equation when talking about imaging quality. The other half is the lens – and Sony delivers.
Once again its partnership with Zeiss delivers a fixed 35mm f2 lens that is sharp as a tack and delivers crispy images with smooth-rendering bokeh.
You may think that having a fixed lens is limiting, but 35mm is a ‘do-it-all’ focal length for me, and for many others too. If I could only have one focal length, it would be 35mm. Sure, a sharp zoom would be nice, but you can’t have it all!
Some minor annoyances about this camera:
- The lens cap is not really confidence inspiring. The snap-on connection is flimsy, even though it’s built solidly and far better made than most lens caps. I kept worrying about it falling off when walking. So much so that I decided to buy a clear filter to go over the top of the lens so I never had to use the lens cap at all.
- Jesus this thing is expensive. At an RRP of $5500AUD, it’s out of reach for 99.9% of photographers.
- Under difficult lighting conditions it suffers from chromatic aberration, although that’s easy to fix in post.
- Where’s the Lock on: Expandable flexible spot? 😭
Aside from those points, the RX1RM2 is probably my favourite camera I’ve used in awhile, if not ever. There’s just something about the usability here for me that’s such a win. I use it in a similar way you would use a rangefinder – know what moment you want to capture, adjust your settings on the fly without really looking at the camera, shoot. I love that.
I’m not a super huge fan of long exposures – I do them when I need to. Mobility and variety is far more important to me than staying in one place for too long. With the RX1RM2, I’m able to move around as much as I want to, I can be loud, or I can be discreet. Whatever the situation, I know that with its fantastic imaging capabilities, I can be confident I’ll get the shot every time, no matter where I am.Buy the Sony RX1R Mark 2 from Amazon