Sony RX10 II - The best digital camera ever

Sony RX10 II - The best digital camera ever
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One of the best camera in the world is here.
This is the sequel to the woefully under-rated and overlooked RX10, a fancy point and shoot camera for serious photographers with a razor sharp but fixed 24mm to 200mm lens, great video and compact size. I consider it to be the ultimate travel companion, with an image sensor more than 3 times the size of the one in an iPhone.
The new model lets you shoot 4K video, super-slow motion videos that look way crisper than what you'd see on a smartphone, and gives you faster auto-focus. It also has a way improved one-inch sensor (bigger than a point and shoot, smaller than a DSLR) that allows for shooting photos in lower light, with less noise, and faster photo taking--up to 14 frames per second, up from 10 frames per second on the original RX 10.

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(Note to camera buyers--most image sensors for cameras are made by Sony, and used on models from Canon, Nikon and smartphones from Apple and Samsung. All the really interesting innovations here are coming from Sony.)
People ask me all the time--hey, what camera should I buy? The answer usually starts with, well, what do you want to use it for, and what’s your budget? After I get the response, I come up with a few different models for them.
The RX10 II would fit the bill for everyone who asks the question--except when it comes to budget. It’s expensive, at $1298.

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But when you break it down--it’s worth every penny. It really is.
I like it best for vacation photos and videos, when you want to wow your social media friends with pictures that snap, crackle and pop from the road, with shallow depth of field and the ability to zoom into the image. Those are two things you’ll never get from a smartphone.
And the video is super sharp--now at 4K, and you also have built-in image stabilization, which means you can hand hold your video shots, and not have to worry about serious camera shake.
The RX10II is what the industry calls a “bridge,” camera, since it's bigger than a traditional point and shoot, and smaller than a DSLR, or the petite mirrorless cameras.
The one inch image sensor is way larger than you generally find in a point and shoot camera, and just a little smaller than the mirrorless micro four thirds cameras.

But even more important than the sensor is the lens.
The Zeiss 24mm to 200mm 2.8 lens has everything any photographer would generally want, in terms of range, and it's a consistent 2.8 opening. That means it doesn’t close down when you zoom in, which is what many other zooms in point and shoots do.
Put into english--you can go ultra wide, to close-up. And try finding a 24mm-to-200mm lens that you could purchase and put onto a digital SLR. I haven't seen one for sale, and if there is one out there, I doubt it would be this light.

Now sure you could buy a digital SLR, which start as low as $500, but you’d have to buy a lens to go with it, and the kit lenses that are available for entry-level SLRs are quite inferior. They don’t perform well in low light, they’re not sharp, and they’ll drive you crazy.
A lens of this quality, with this kind of range, isn’t on the market, and if it was, it would cost thousands of dollars.

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The first edition of the RX10 didn’t sell well. Most consumers probably thought $1000 was too much to spend on a small camera.
But Sony stuck with it. With the new model, you still get the 20 megapixel image sensor, 3 inch LCD and a viewfinder, faster and more accurate autofocus, and built-in Wifi. The improvements are slight, but quite welcome, especially the 4K video, which looks terrific, even if you don't have a 4K TV, and the faster autofocus.
I love everything about the RX10 II but the Wifi and the LCD. To upload photos from the camera, you first need to connect with Sony’s PlayMemories app, the process is clunky, and takes so many steps I’d just assume pull the memory card out, throw it in the computer and upload the old fashioned way. I also wish the LCD swiveled, so we could use it for either one-man-band solo video productions or the simple act of composing yourself for a selfie shot.

But bottom line: I loved the RX10, and love the RX10 II even more. The images seem even sharper and more colorful, the video is a joy, and the focus is faster than before.
You’ll get even better images if you move up the food chain, and go to one of the Sony A7 cameras, which have a full frame image sensor--and that’s 3 times larger than the RX10. They start at just over $1,000 for one of the older models, but you'll need to spring for a good lens to go with it.
For an all-around, all-in-one camera that you can take anywhere with you, with full manual controls for obsessive photographers, and fantastic video, the RX10 II is hard to beat.

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