Customer Reviews: Sony DSCRX100M2/B 20.2 MP Cyber-shot Digital Still Camera (Black)
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on August 1, 2013
As a professional photographer who mostly carries a 36 megapixel Nikon D800 SLR, I also needed a strong ultra-compact camera for those times when the big camera is just too much or I need to be inconspicuous in my shooting, and also for convenient personal/family use. For both uses, I find that the RX-100, Model 2 really exceeds all of my expectations.

Shortly after receiving it, I set up lab tests shooting the same objects at a range of ISO settings using 4 different cameras. I expected the Sony to surpass my older Canon compact, which it did easily. The surprise came when I compared the Sony images with my Nikon D7000 SLR, itself a very fine camera. The Sony RX100 M2 matched that fine camera at low ISO settings and surpassed it at ISO 1600 and above.

This little workhorse also has nearly all the settings one would seek as a serious photographer - 3-frame bracketing, manual white balance, focus and exposure control, aperture and shutter priority, 10fps rapid multiple shots, and more. Settings are complex, though and the manual confusing, So while it can behave as a point-and-shoot, this camera is best for someone having a good knowledge of sophisticated cameras.

I purchased mine with the optional, and rather expensive, electronic viewfinder that slides into the accessory shoe. It is a great viewfinder and I highly recommend this add-on for those of us who prefer an SLR-like way of holding a camera. And the electronic finder is really better than the usual optical, because you are seeing exactly what the sensor sees, and there is no mirror slap when you shoot.

I don't work much with video, but I conducted some tests of this capability anyway - full 1080 at 60P setting. I just went to dinner, set the camera on the edge of my table and recorded people coming and going. The results, even in the relatively dim restaurant lighting, easily exceed my 4-year-old $750 dedicated video camera. The RX200, Model 2 is a winner all around for those who are serious about image quality and features, need a pocketable camera and can afford to pay for these capabilities.
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on July 26, 2013
♦ Brief ♦

I purchased the RX100 last year, which has since been my favourite compact camera to use, and so far I haven't come across a camera that betters it, that is of course until this upgrade that brings some much welcomed extras.

Here are some of the upgraded features:

☑ An improved sensor (Exmor R CMOS Sensor); it's still the same size and has the same effective mega-pixels, but is now backlit which means it's able to pick up light by a further 40%.
☑ Hot-shoe; no idea why they didn't include this on the previous version, but at least it's here now.
☑ Tilt-able screen; one of the things I was longing for on the old RX100, this is one of my favourite upgrades by far!
☑ NFC (Near-field communications); I love this extra feature, by tapping the bottom of this camera onto your phone that has NFC enabled, it will connect them both together straight away.
If you don't have PlayMemories Mobile installed, it will take you to the store to download it (for free), if you have it installed already, it will connect them both together where you can then control the camera with your phone, though the modes are limited, you're able to take stunning quality photos and instantly transfer them over to your phone when taken.
☑ 24p recording; an extra welcomed option for those who love having more choice when recording (24p, 60i & 60p).
☑ PAL & NTSC choice; in the settings you can switch from one to the other which I'm sure certain people will love.

- Zoom is still 3.6x optical zoom, this is normal for high-quality compact cameras such as this one.

☒ One thing this camera doesn't have is a touch-screen, this is debatable as a lot of people like this kind of feature, however others don't, personally I'm not a fan of touch-screen on cameras; I have a NEX 5RL and I always use the buttons to navigate, I hate using the touch-screen for some reason.

☒ Grip is minimal (best used with the wrist strap), once again this is down to preference, I like the combination of the sleek style whilst having just enough grip, but others may not like this.

- - -

♦ Box contents & recommended items ♦

Included in the box are the following:
Camera | AC adapter | Battery | Micro USB cable | Wrist strap | Two shoulder strap adapters | Manual.

Things you NEED:
SDHC Memory Card (You can choose a different brand/memory capacity, though do remember as this is a 20MP camera, files sizes average between 3MB-5MB if your using Jpeg in fine detail, or is around 20MB if using the RAW format (RAW image has a '.ARW' file extension)).

Camera Case (LCJ-RXC) |SDHC Card Reader |Spare Battery NP-BX1 |HDMI - Micro HDMI Cable.

- - -

♦ Settings & Modes ♦

Just like the RX100, this is aimed towards people who are more advanced in photography due to it's great amount of changeability in settings, that said, like most cameras these days, regardless if it's a professional camera or for basic needs, they all seem to have automatic modes which allow people to snap shots quickly without having to worry about tweaking the settings in most situations.

The interface is pretty much identical to that of the RX100, with the addition of a few extra available settings located within the menu, for those who haven't seen it before all the settings are changed within the main menu, unlike the other cyber-shot cameras where a side menu pops up allowing you to change settings whilst being able to see what the camera is pointing at, this one has a solid menu that covers the whole screen, which is very appropriately tabbed making it easy to navigate.

Though if you wish to change a few settings quickly without going into the main menu, you can edit the 'Fn' button options (located on setting tab 2 in the main menu), this will give you the choice to select 7 out of 17 settings which will instantly be available upon pressing the 'Fn' button, choices range from image size, exposure, ISO, white balance, picture effects, HDR etc...

This function is partially transparent, so you can see where your pointing at.

To change modes, all you have to do is twist the mode dial located on top of the camera to the setting you want:

Intelligent Auto | Superior Auto | Program Auto* | Aperture Priority* | Shutter Priority* | Manual Exposure* | Memory recall** | Movie | Sweep Panorama | Scene Selection***.

* Advanced modes which allow you more customization in the settings.
** Allows you to set three different profiles, giving you quick access to your favourite settings.
*** Gives you a choice of many pre-set modes such as 'portrait', 'landscape', 'night scene' etc...

- - -

♦ Image Quality ♦

The quality is utterly fantastic, the camera is able to focus quickly to the subject to then take very nice sharp photos.

This camera is able to deliver an amazing amount of depth of field (obviously depends on which mode or settings you use), and found it be a bit more better than the previous RX100 when it comes to focusing on subjects at a closer range.

Due to it's sensor it's able to produce great low-light shooting results even when it's being held, though for some more impressive shots at lower lighting levels, I would recommend getting a sturdy tripod and play with the shutter settings.

The flash on this camera is also very good and I found it not to be overwhelming, I like the fact they've kept the same styled flash that allows you to manually point it upwards, allowing you to bounce the flash off the ceiling.

♦ Video Quality ♦

For those who are into recording movies/video footage, then you will be VERY pleased with this camera, especially on it's highest quality which produces a very smooth looking video.

You also have the choice of the following recording modes: 'Program Auto', 'Aperture Priority', 'Shutter Priority', 'Manual Exposure', which gives you more control over your movies.

The in-built stereo microphone is also very good quality, though with the addition of the hot-shoe it allows you to add a more advanced microphone (model number 'ECM-XYST1M'), when it becomes available.

- - -

♦ Helpful information ♦

When transferring files, if you're using the USB lead provided, make sure when it's connected you turn the camera on, otherwise it wont recognise the camera is connected.

Personally I would recommend getting a USB SDHC Card Reader, it's so much faster to navigate through files and delete the ones not needed, you can then copy and paste the desired photos onto your computer within seconds.

Pictures are located in the "DCIM" folder.

Videos can be found by going through folders; "PRIVATE" - "AVCHD" - "BDMV" - "STREAM".

- - -

♦ Overall opinion ♦

Due to the RX100 having such a positive response from customers all over the world, I think it was a clever move by Sony to improve the camera even further by adding extra features consumers had been talking about which would improve it even further, and with the RX100M2, it has done just that!

With the extra additions of an upgraded sensor with better sensitivity, hot-shoe, tilt-able screen, WiFi & NFC features, this definitely makes the RX100M2 a worthy upgrade.

That said, I don't think it completely replaces the previous model because the RX100 is still a great camera and is available for a lower price, however if the extra features are something that would be of a greater use (which for me it has), then I think it would be well worth either upgrading, or buying this over the RX100.

Overall I would definitely recommend this camera, it's just utterly brilliant!


♦ Video ♦

I have now included a video that shows the unboxing & overview of the camera. Please note that I have the the Japanese version hence why the documents are plugs were Japanese, however the US version will get the appropriate US plugs etc... :)
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on July 31, 2013
My primary camera is a Sony A65 with a G Series 70-300mm zoom, a macro prime, a wide angle prime and a 18-135mm kit lens. I shoot wild life, ultra marathons, sunsets, friend's weddings, events and anything else that takes my fancy. I keep buying point and shoot cameras because I love the idea of a pocket sized camera that is always ready. But the image quality is never good enough and I end up selling them. I read the reviews of the RX100 and decided to go all in on the RX100 II. Maybe this time I'd find a worthy compact camera to supplement my A65.

I got the Sony RX100 II on the day it was released (thanks Amazon). I had bought the Wasabi external charger and spare batteries from Amazon in anticipation, so I could start shooting immediately I got the RX100.

If you have used Sony Alpha cameras, the menus are easy to navigate. I soon figured out how to shoot in Manual mode and how to use the front dial and rear wheel to adjust shutter speed, ISO and f-stop quickly. The only problem I found was I'd sometimes pop-up the flash menu while using the rear wheel. I shoot RAW and JPG. Until Adobe release support for the RX100M2, I need to use Sony's image converter to process the RAW files. It creates a TIFF file that loads into PSE 11.

The camera feels very solid and it is easy to handle. I keep putting my left forefinger over the flash, but I've kept the flash turned off, so it isn't a problem so far. The LCD screen pivots nicely, so you can take overhead shots and shots with the camera held low and discreetly. I do miss the A65's EVF but I'm not quite ready to spring for the RX1's $400+ EVF option.

Image quality is amazing. I compared macro shots of bumblebees on flowers taken with the A65 and 300mm zoom and the RX100. The RX100, wide open at f1.8, and held 2" away from the subject delivered more detail and nice brokeh. The RX100 turns out to be a great camera for casual macro photography.

The few sunset shots I've taken match those taken by the A65.

The WIFI capabilities will appeal to many users. It was very easy to pair the camera with my PC and my old Android phone. I can use the phone as a remote control and view finder. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm planning to use this feature to shoot small birds, such as hummingbirds.

I shot an ultra-marathon using the A65 and the 18-135 zoom. I considered using the RX100, but the lack of a view finder stayed my hand. If Sony releases a cheaper, lower-res EVF for the RX100, I'd be in hog heaven.

It is starting to look like the RX100 is going to be my primary camera, with the A65 staying home until I need the reach of the 300mm zoom or the power of an external flash. I am blown away by the RX100 and I've just started dipping into its capabilities. I'll update this review as I use the camera in different shooting situations.

I was going to give it 4 stars because it doesn't have an affordable view finder option. I'd like a lower resolution EVF that would plug into the multi interface shoe. On the other hand, an external view finder compromises the ideal of a pocketable camera that is ready to shoot at a moment's notice.

Update - Aug 1st, 2013:

I just discovered that when the camera is off, I just have to touch the review button to see my pictures. This saves the camera from extending the lens.

I bought the Sony PCKLM15 LCD Protector for DSC-RX1 (Black) to protect the screen. This has a stiff border and seems to be better than those 3rd party films. I also ordered the Sony RM-VPR1 Remote Control with Multi-Terminal for when I use a tripod and the Sony ADPMAA Shoe Adaptor for Mi Shoe so I can mount my Sony DSLR Alpha HVL-F43AM Camera Flash. Will update again after I've tried them out.

Update - Aug 4th, 2013

The RM-VPR1 works very well on the RX100. I'll be using next time I need to take tripod mounted shots. The Shoe Adaptor makes it easy to mount the F43AM flash. There is a protective cover you need to remove from the adaptor before you can slide it onto the camera. The combination of a large flash unit and the tiny RX100 looks odd and makes the camera more difficult to handle. You end up holding the flash and the camera. It sort of defeats the portability requirement, but the camera takes such great photos that you can use it in contexts where you would normally use a DSLR.

Update - Aug 12th, 2013

I tried using my old Android phone as a remote control to take pictures of a hummingbird at a feeder, using Sony's Play Memories app. This could be a great feature but it is fairly primitive; it seems to be geared towards getting photos from the camera to social media. It was sluggish and introduced a long delay between shots. You couldn't trigger a burst of shots, even though the camera can do that. Focus is an issue, because you don't want to introduce focussing delays and sounds. I chose to use manual focus and pre-focussed to where the bird would be. Despite the limitations, I got a few nice shots of a hummingbird shooting while wide open (f/1.8). Next time, I'll zoom in. If Sony could migrate more control to the Android app, wildlife photographers would rejoice. It is very cool to use your phone as a remote view finder. It is almost enough to induce me to buy a smarter phone with a better screen. What I would really like to see is a smart phone app that replicates the RX100 interface.

Update - Sept 4th, 2013

I bought the Sony AGR1 Hand Grip for DSC-RX100 series (Black). It was easy to attach and stays on solidly. It does improve the way the camera feels and makes it easier to shoot one-handed.

I upgraded my Kindle Fire to Android Jellybean so I could install Play Memories. It is a bit flakey but I can now preview and shoot from a tablet computer. Interestingly, Sony is headed in that direction with the release of the Sony DSC-QX100 Smartphone Attachable Lens-style Camera and the Sony DSC-QX10/B Smartphone Attachable 4.45-44.5mm Lens-Style Camera. I hope this leads to much more sophisticated versions of Play Memories.

I'm using my RX100 a lot. The highlight for me is macro photography. I can get in close to a subject and get super-sharp detail; better than I get with a 300mm on my A65 in stand-off mode. Moreover, I can crop heavily and still have a sharp image. However, getting focus is a problem, especially in sun-light. I've resorted to taking lots of shots as I move my camera around the subject. This has forced me to order the Sony FDAEV1MK Electronic Viewfinder Kit (Black). I know it's a lot of money to spend on something that should be standard on any serious camera. I could just put my prime macro lens on the A65 and do the same stuff, but I don't carry it around with me all the time. Next update will report on whether or not I spent my money wisely.
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on January 1, 2014
I echo all the accolades of this camera from other reviewers. RX100M2 produces beautiful images that rival (or sometimes better than) DSLRs. The new backside illuminated sensor is supposed to be 40% better at gathering light than the 1st gen RX, though this has been debated. The daytime photos are fine. Evening/low-light photos are another story.

There is one big problem that just destroys the camera experience for me. I'm a long-time photo enthusiast and understand enough about photography and cameras. I'm not a beginner-DSLR user that never graduates from the 18-55mm kit lens and full auto mode. But carrying a DSR kit while hiking the mountains in Canada, I got tired of all the bulk and subsequently sold and bought a NEX outfit (currently 5R). I also wanted to upgrade my p&s Nikon P310 (a 2012 camera) as a capable complimentary camera to the NEX, so I bought the RX100M2.

Especially for p&s cameras, I prefer to use the cameras in "P" mode for the least amount of thinking. Sure I can tinker with all the dials and settings like a DSLR but you know what, most of the time, I'd rather let the camera do the job, intelligently, and intervene when I have to. The one huge problem with RX100M2 is that if you have auto-ISO and in low light, then the max shutter speed that the camera chooses is 1/30 and even with OIS and with my best efforts to keep the camera still, I often get blurry photos in low-light situations. A handheld, auto-ISO 1/30 is too slow for this camera and you cannot set min shutter speed with auto ISO. I've gotten more blurry handheld photos than I've ever gotten compared to my older, tiny-sensor Nikon P310 in similar lighting situations. The components inside the camera are not to blame. It's how they're being used. Why did Sony choose to cap the camera at 1/30 knowing this is too slow for handheld shots? I just don't get it. Yes, I can set it on Shutter priority and force faster shutter. Or I can boost ISO for the shots that need it. But then now I feel like I'm using a DSLR, which is what I don't want using the RX to feel like, and even with DSLRs, you don't have to do this much tinkering for a quick/easy shot. It's a P&S after all - a capable one, but for my usage, I'd prefer to use it like a P&S and don't want to be adjusting the controls on every shot I take. In a dimly lit environment, it's very difficult to simply turn on the camera, have it in auto-mode and snap and get a good blur-free pic. Instead, I feel like you have to endlessly tinker with shutter and ISO settings to "get it right". Imagine being out with friends at a restaurant - you're either taking photos of them or your food (and forget asking the waiter to take a group photo w/o flash - but to be fair, that's probably the case with other cameras too). This simple task now feels like a big chore b/c it's not a simple 1-2-go operation. I never had this problem with my Nikon P310. And come to think of it, not with my NEX 5R (or the previous 5N) either. So I spent $600+ on a camera I can't simply turn on and snap when it's dark. I'll give you an example. I took a pic indoors in a semi-well lit env. Not outdoors-bright, not an Italian restaurant for dinner dark. In Program mode, the camera took a photo of the subject at 1/5, f4.5, ISO400. The resulting photo is blurry and unusable. My point is simply this - why is the camera programmed for such a dismal aperture/shutter/ISO combination when in many real-life, hand-held situations, the resulting images are just unusable? In dark settings, the camera should boost ISO (to a point) until the shutter speed becomes usable for handheld pics. Sure it's noisier but I'd rather have noisier, usable pics than clean but blurry, unusable pics. Plus, this camera can handle higher ISOs anyway.

On many occasions, the camera also chooses to set low ISO and compensates for that by setting the aperture wide open (1.8)... it's great if you want to get bokeh deliberately but not when you're taking a closeup of something (i.e. your dinner) and only part of the image is in focus because of the shallow DOF. That's when the 1" sensor gets in the way compared to other P&S with equally large apertures but smaller sensors.

The 1/30 issue is extremely disappointing and frustrating for such an expensive camera with so many good features packed. On top of that, this camera is supposed to be the low light champ. Why couldn't Sony get this right? All it takes is a firmware update to fix this well-documented problem that's existed since the original RX but Sony hasn't corrected this. My workaround is using Shutter mode in dark places, using shutter speeds that I know won't create blur hoping for aperture and ISO to adjust and take care of the rest. Though when I do this, it tends to open the aperture to max so again, you're not getting the sharpest pics and now you get unwanted bokeh. So to close the aperture, I'd raise ISO manually. But if it's still not closing up, then I'd go to aperture mode to close it up. Then the shutter goes to 1/30 again. It's a ridiculous merry-go-round of fail. So am I to set this camera on Manual on every take? I don't even do that with my DSLR (and don't need to)! What's more baffling is that I take pics at 1/30 all the time on the Nikon and it takes great, sharp low light pics.

To date, I've two occasions of unintentional, unwanted bokeh where I was out at dinner with a bunch of other people and asked someone to take a group shot and came home to find unfocused faces. Here's how it happened - the camera is on Shutter-priority as usual and it's on something like 1/160, even 1/200 so you're assured there would be no motion-blur. What I didn't realize (or forgot about) is that b/c the camera is on shutter priority on auto-ISO, the aperture gets set to 1.8, which is horrible for a group shot being taken from one end of the table. Clear faces in the front and blurry ones as you head towards the back. I didn't see these until I got home. So either you'll have to use aperture priority to force longer DOF (then 1/30 kicks in, so basically aperture priority is useless), gamble that Intelligent Auto might pick good settings (no), or set the camera on Manual... All this just to take a measly group dinner photo. It's not that I'm against 1.8 or big sensors. But the way this camera works, it is NOT an easy one to use b/c you have to be constantly thinking about the environment and camera settings and this becomes a huge chore.

Lastly, let's identify what type of user you are. If you're already considering this camera, you're already a hobbyist or photo enthusiast. You might even be a prosumer or a professional photographer looking for a smaller toy. If you're the type to just want to do most things auto, this camera will give you many bad, blurry photos in low-light evenings and indoor pics. That's me. Many of my recent vacation photos are absolutely useless. As I said over and over, my older, smaller-sensor Nikon P310 takes better(aka usable) photos than RX in the dark. If you're the type to tinker the settings on every shot, this camera will be great for you. It's not me and I'm seriously considering selling the RX and getting something else. If you're looking to upgrade from an aging Canon "S" series like S90, S95, S100 and looking for something equally as easy to use, don't get this camera. I'm just curious why other reviewers have not voiced this since there are 5-star reviews galore.

Please Sony, fix this.
We need the ability to set min shutter in Auto ISO or use higher ISO/higher shutter speed instead of 1/30 in the Auto modes. Better yet, create more usable aperture/ISO/shutter combination in Auto that's more compatible in real life situations.

[Update 11/27/2014] Despite all of my ramblings about this camera, I've not sold it and rather learned to accept that this is the way it is, seeing how a firmware update woud never happen. The major reason for keeping the camera is, well, I couldn't come up with another P&S camera to replace it. So 95% of the time, its in shutter priority, which still is very frustrating and confining, but oh well. However the one major thing I've done is to get the Sony HVLF20M flash unit (wrote review as well). I used RX100M2 + HVLF20M at a wedding reception recently and came back with excellent results. It almost looks ridiculous yet funny when you see this camera with the flash attached, but hey, the pics are great! If you're wanting to expand the capabilities of this camera, I highly recommend you look into this little, inexpensive flash unit. Sadly,RX100M3 did away with the hot shoe mount to make room for the in-body EVF, which means M2 will be the only camera to take advantage of external accessories. I'm sad about this >_< Looks like I'll be holding onto M2 for a lot longer.

Another update: It's always a challenge to find a good case/pouch for a p&s camera. Recently I've come across Manfrotto NANO 0 CAM pouch and If you go to their website, they show Canon S95 for the pouch, which is smaller than RX100 but in reality, this pouch is a better fit for RX100, nice and snug.

Google "rx100 1/30 max shutter" and "dpreview rx100 1/30" and "RX100M2 Initial Thoughts (and likely return)" and you'll find plenty of threads about this issue.
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on October 11, 2013
It basically just came down to a point where I told myself this during a vacation:

"I am not a professional photographer. I am just a serious hobbyist who likes getting quality pictures during family vacations. I do not shoot sports or fast action, I do not shoot weddings. What are you doing walking around Las Vegas with a Nikon D7000, big/heavy Nikon 17-55 F2.8 around your neck, along with the other lenses and your flash inside your camera bag which is hanging on your shoulder???"

No more. To be honest, it was taking the "fun" away from photography. After a few hours of walking around during trips (wherever I would be), I would just feel tired and desperate to dump my camera bag somewhere and leave it there forever. At certain times, it started to feel more like a "duty" to crouch down and get this certain tough shot.

Do not get me wrong. I am aware that with DSLR's, among other larger cameras, you are able to get magnificent results and shots that I may not get with my RX100M2. But you know what? It's vice versa. There will also be shots I get with my RX100M2 that I would never have gotten with my DSLR.

The RX100M2 is plenty sufficient for what I shoot, which is 99% landscape/scenery, family portraits and some low light.....which is what this camera is made for. It has AMAZING image and video quality for a camera this size. It is as close to DSLR as you can get. VERY well built, not plastic cheap stuff. There is NO better traveling camera than this, period. It easily fits in my pocket, while giving me superb results.

I plan to use this little gem like crazy.
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on September 4, 2013
There is no need to repeat what has been said about this cute puppy. The followings are personal impressions, observations and experience that I'd like to share, hoping they might be helpful in some way or just interesting to read or know in some other way.

After a month of usage, along with some adjustments and additions, I have found these features useful by themselves or worthy of price difference over the already excellent RX100. My opinion on the latter is based on reading numerous reviews and watching many YouTube reports. These features are:

- Wi-fi capability: I can take photos in California, transfer them onto smartphone, then send them to anywhere on the planet. I talk about high quality photos, not iPhone equivalent.

- Richard Franiec's grip: unable to wait for Sony's grip, I purchased one from Lensmate. It blends completely well with the little Sony and nicely and noticeably increases its photo taking capability. So far I do without any strap, just using a small Sony bag that fits the RX100m2 well.

- Tilted LCD screen: Enables me to monitor and take photos from above the head or ground low level, using the built-in lever meter (more below).

- What I called a "3-D lever meter": left right and front back lever. Very useful!

- Compact yet solid form: I don't find anything cheesy or cheap about this piece of jewel-like camera. Ok not that high quality you might argue but it's clearly a Sony, and I don't care where it was made from. Hey, my trusty Nikon D7000 among other quality gear is also made there.

- Beside usual DSLR modes (P/S/A/M), the Auto mode is really intelligent and satisfying.

- The LCD screen alone is a beauty itself. Instead of putting the camera in pocket and risking the screen scratched, I bag it in the little Sony bag (see above) that Focus Camera bundles with the purchase. Turned out a vey handy and effective accessory. Oh, the camera in the bag is always with me when I go out, attached to the belt.

- Hot shoe for adding accessories later on: I am very curious about the EVF and mic, but they will have to wait until I have settled down with the camera as is, and until I can justify and afford the extras.

- RAW capability, but JPEGs are quite good. Only time I find raw essential is when lighting is complex, less than predictable requiring WB correction in post processing.

That's all I can think of for now. May come back later if anything new and interesting is discovered. Happy shooting!

Updated 9/6/2013 - Some more thoughts on the subject:

- Add non-Sony extra batteries and charger at lower cost.

- Shoot RAW for ultimate image quality control. LR5 is already .ARW friendly. Download Adobe DNG free converter and have fun with Photoshop/Sony .ARW raw files. Thanks Susan Elliott and Ohcat9 for your greatly helpful information on this.

- Flexible compact-ability and pocket-ability: shooting sans EVF 95% of the time, and with EVF the remaining 5% when focus, bright lighting, and stability are critical. No, I don't have the EVF yet, this is just crossing my mind.

- AWB (auto white balance) is mostly spot on during daytime and/or outdoor. Shooting indoor in evenings, it's easy to tweak WB (in my case: push Fn key, select WB, rotate control wheel to select best WB while looking at the LCD). For instance, I found the Fluorescent White Warm match to my room lighting in the evening. YMMV.

- AF is both effective and fun with focus magnification and/or focus peaking.
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on December 3, 2013
There is no such thing as the perfect camera. In general, small cameras must sacrifice picture quality for convenience; most professional grade cameras must sacrifice portability. I chose the RX-100- II as a possible compromise, choosing portability with the expectation that I would have the camera with me more often, and because of the relatively large sensor the photo quality would satisfy for most purposes. After about a month of use, I find the camera is slightly less portable than I thought. At the same time the picture quality far exceeds my expectations.

On the portability - it's a small point, but that was the rationale for getting a compact - it is just big and heavy enough to be awkward in my jeans pockets. If the pocket is loose enough, like a jacket pocket, there is no problem, even if the power button is accidentally pushed and the lens extends. But in my pants pockets, it's a squeeze getting the camera in and out, and if the lens extends when you reach in for the camera, extracting becomes a major operation. After trying the pocket route for several weeks, I decided to purchase the beautiful Sony camera case that comes with a shoulder strap. This is more convenient than digging the camera out of your pocket, although the camera is less concealed, but having the option works well for different shooting situations.

The picture quality is much better than I expected. The main reason I chose this camera is the sensor size, which is among the largest of any compact camera. Unsurprisingly, in my test comparisons of the same shot, it beat hell out of my older point and shoot, but I didn't expect it to run circles around my 5-year old Olympus DSLR. SLRs are supposed to give better results than compacts, period. Apparently not so. Except for rare situations where an extended telephoto is needed, if picture quality is essential, there is no good reason for me NOT to use the Sony. The resolution, color rendition, relatively low noise even at 1600 ISO and above, low light capability with its f1.8 lens, all this in addition to the extensive control features -- this is one terrific package.

Some of the disadvantages (I've listed them below) were inherent in the design of a compact, so I don't downgrade it for being what it is. I haven't tried all the features yet, including video, but overall for two main reasons so far I give this the highest rating: 1) The picture quality exceeds my expectations. I was planning to invest in a full-frame DSLR as well, but for my purposes, after seeing what this camera can do, I'm not sure I'll bother. In the long run, this may offset the disadvantage of camera's expensive price; 2) There is virtually unlimited control if you want it, as much or more than most DSLRs. But the two automatic modes quickly and accurately determine ideal settings if you're in a hurry or if you just prefer to leave decisions up to the camera. In summary:

The good:

* compact - fits in jacket pocket or fanny pack, a bit of a squeeze for jeans, but beats an SLR for travel.
* rugged construction, heavy weight (even though aluminum), doesn't feel cheap
* Modest appearance for security: doesn't call attention to itself as an "expensive" camera.
* fold down 3" LED screen - good for shading and angle shots. - an upgrade from the earlier model RX-100 which does not fold out, and well worth the extra expense.
* Superior quality photos for any camera, particularly a compact: -- considerably sharper, less noise and better color rendition than my SLR.
* large sensor for a compact: close to 4/3 size
* Good dynamic range: ISO to 1600 with virtually no noise, higher when needed.
* Fast lens: f1.8 max aperture (f4.9 at telephoto position). Great for low light situations.
* Good resolution at 20 mp (RAW image), 6-8mp (.jpg).
* sharp lens
* Excellent macro position - as close as 2"
* RAW capabilities (.arw) - see below
* Flexible arrangement of dials and buttons, most are programmable to user's choice, a huge plus (i.e., traditional "focus" ring can be used for manual focus, exposure compensation, ISO, aperture, shutter speed, etc.)
* Lens cover closes when lens retracts - provides lens protection without having to place and remove cap. A major convenience in my view.
* Menu intuitive and extensive.
* Good battery life.

The bad:

* No viewfinder -Difficult or impossible to compose shots in bright sun. This is a big sacrifice, but necessary for compactness.
* Expensive for a compact, and expensive accessories (i.e.,case = $70)
* Small size awkward to manipulate if you're used to full-size SLR.
* Zoom only 3X telephoto, not extensive.
* RAW files are proprietary Sony .arw - requires conversion to .dng for Lightroom 4, i.e., a slight inconvenience.
* WI-FI doesn't connect to my iMac. Others have reported this problem. I'm using Eye-FI instead, but the USB cable is fast and easy enough. I haven't tried the NFC and probably won't have much use for it.
* No GPS, but Eye-Fi memory card (optional) has WPS.
* Some edge distortion at the extreme wide-angle position. Wide angle a good feature, but can be a problem with portraits -- may need to back up and use higher focal length to avoid distortion.
* Slippery surfaces with no grip - danger of dropping, despite wrist strap. Recommend grip accessory or Sony camera case (not included).
* Sensitive power switch on top of camera, can activate when handling, i.e., when camera is in your pocket, extending the lens making it difficult to remove.
* No external battery charger included. Recommend purchase inexpensive 3rd party charger with extra batteries, which works fine.

EDIT: I am about half way through "Photographer's Guide to the Sony DSC-RX100-II" by Alexander S. White. Highly recommended if you want to learn the many outstanding, interesting, and fun features of this amazing camera. Did you know that in some modes the camera will take multiple shots and combine them to produce an image with less noise and camera shake in low light? Who knew that dramatic panorama shots were so easy to take without a tripod? Far from a crutch to avoid manual settings, the Scene modes are varied and great time savers. Memory Recall mode, so you can program often-used settings that can be retrieved in an instant. You probably won't use most of the features, but if you are serious about your picture taking, it will benefit you to know what this camera is capable of! There is no way you can learn all this intuitively. I will write a complete review of this book when I am finished.
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on August 27, 2013
Got the camera within 18hrs after ordering it. That was nice. I had a lot to learn to be able to get all I wanted out of it. Played around with it for 2 weeks. Then took it to a trip to Las Vegas, Zion and Bryce National Parks. Good movie quality. (Zoom was slow and exposure was a little tricky - in move mode only.) Surprised by how well soo many pictures came out. High Rez screen better than most. Lots of envy from everybody I showed pictures to. Very pocketable. Hiked with it in my cargo pockets. In the end it had scratches and wear all over the body and on the screen. Had to blow the grit out of the top knob. The action on the rotating ring on the back is not what it originally was as I used it soo much backing to review pics I had just taken. I was never silly enough to put this camera in my pocket with keys or coins. That is just stupid. In short I used it hard and still very pleased. I took some incredible pictures of the milky way out in the parks and away from lights. 1.8, 3200 ISO and 20 second exposure. Amazing. Good low light pics. Fast from off to picture taken. Missed almost nothing. Friends couldn't dodge me. Fast good Auto focus. The zoom really slows the exposure. Wish zoom was a more like 5X or 8X. Panorama function is a little tricky. HDR is good. I wish it had more knobs for adjustments. I'm not a fan of working through menus to do stuff. Pricy but only the very picky will be disappointed. But for the size very hard to beat.
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on October 27, 2013
I do fine art photography, and my regular camera is a D800. I got this because I wanted something to carry around all the time, not just when I was specifically on a photo shoot. This little thing is impressive, not just impressive for its size, but just darn impressive. While it doesn't have the flexibility that my bigger DSLR's have, when used properly the image quality is absolutely good enough to make big prints that are plenty good enough to show in a gallery.

Now, for why I didn't give it 5 stars...For the price, it's missing a couple of things. I understand why something like the optical viewfinder or the filter adapter would be extra cost accessories, although I'm not sure I understand the pricing on the optical viewfinder. But no external battery charger? C'mon...The camera doesn't have enough battery life to last for a full day of shooting. A $750 camera aimed at advanced photographers should have a battery charger, so that I can charge one battery while shooting with another.

The other thing is the manual. It's a useless pamphlet that doesn't really even cover the main features of the camera properly. The help button on the camera itself is useless as well. For example, if I go to the aspect ratio screen and push the help button, I get "sets the aspect ratio." If that's all the help you're going to provide, why bother with the button at all? Message to Sony...a good firmware upgrade for this camera would be to add help button messages that are actually helpful.

The last thing is that when I'm using Auto-ISO, I can't tell what ISO I'm actually shooting with until after I've taken the shot. The display tells the aperture and shutter speed, and that I'm using Auto-ISO, but it doesn't tell me which ISO it has chosen. Since I print big, I'd like to have some idea how much noise is going to be in the image before I go banging away and shooting a bunch of shots that aren't usable because of ISO noise. UPDATE: A commenter helped me figure this out. You have to hold the shutter button down halfway, then the actual ISO will display. I wish the manual said something about that.

UPDATE 2 (Nov. 27, 2013): Now that I've had it a month and shot with it a lot, I'll add a couple of things. I still give it 4 stars, with pretty much the same pluses and minuses. It's small enough that I use it a LOT, much more than my D800, because I carry it with me everywhere. The ability to carry it everywhere has opened up whole new areas of photography that I hadn't really explored before. Image quality is still impressive for a compact. The poor manual is still poor. There are still features of the camera that I struggle with, like how to make the different autofocus modes work correctly, which are not addressed in the "manual". The other thing that caught me by surprise is how it behaves when the battery runs out. The display says that the battery is full until it is about to run out. Then, pretty much without warning, it runs completely dead and stops working, usually leaving the lens sticking out and the lens cap open. I've taken to carrying a USB cable in my pack so that I can get enough charge from my laptop to turn the bloody thing off when I run the battery dead.
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on September 11, 2013
I used to play a bit in the DSLR world but shortly that camera is picking up dust because it's just too unwieldy and not available at those moments when I need it. I mostly resorted to my iPhone and a compact digital camera but even then something was amiss. I saw some reviews of this and decided I must pick this up. It just arrived today and this little compact camera is definitely impressive.

- Small compact form. Same size like any other compact
- A bit heavy but that shows that it's built with quality in mind
- Amazing photos especially the superior automode that takes a few pics to reduce noise and produce the best image for you automatically!
- Amazing videos on par with DSLR videos.
- Auto detects macro mode when viewing something close up
- Fast auto focus
- Does 1080/60p videos
- Flash automatically pops up when needed and you can angle it
- Very good low-light performance and great color balance
- Automatic camera cover
- Tilting LCD is nice
- Retina like LCD
- A *ton* of menu options
- Expansion slot available
- Uses micro-USB for charging
- Can access photos/videos via micro-USB
- Audio capture is very clear and crisp
- Can send pictures to your smartphone via NFC or WiFi
- Can use your smartphone as a viewfinder to view and take pictures.

- The grip is a bit confusing to hold especially when the flash pops up.
- Start-up isn't as fast since the lens does need to pop up. It takes almost 2 seconds to startup.
- GPS would be nice but I guess they can add that as a shoe attachment
- Price but since this takes DSLR quality photos it's about right

Sample Video 1: [...]
Sample Video 2: [...]

Overall I'm very happy with this purchase as a camera and a camcorder. Highly recommended. I would give this overall 8.75/10 stars. Deducting 1 for price and 1/4 for grip. Still 5 stars for amazon though. :)

I also got these batteries to go with the camera (Halcyon Lithium Replacement Cyber shot DSC RX100 and they work well.
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